For every Brewers game so far this year, I've been using ZiPS projections for the starting lineups, plus the lineup analysis work done by Cyril Morong, to see how powerful each lineup is. The Brewers are generally in range of 4.9 runs per game, maybe a little better when you figure they'll get a pinch-hitter or two in the pitcher's spot.
Last weekend, the Giants came to town. The Giants, as you probably know, aren't a very good team, and their offense is a big part of the problem. Their lineup on Sunday was particularly embarrassing--with a few subs starting, I projected them to score 3.15 runs. With Ben Sheets on the mound, that projection went down, and in actuality, Sheets shut them out.
3.15 runs per game--heck, even the 3.5 or so the Giants were projected to score on Friday and Saturday--is barely major-league quality. But...how does the Giants offense compare to Triple-A offenses?
That's a little tougher to do, since Dan doesn't run ZiPS projections for all Triple-A players, and I want to use the same system for everybody. But I did come across an opportunity to test it today: this afternoon's game between the Nashville Sounds (MIL) and the Oklahoma Redhawks (TEX).
Here is the Redhawks starting lineup, along with their ZiPS OBP and SLG (Dan projected everybody!):
- Jason Ellison - 322/388
- German Duran - 291/397
- Nelson Cruz - 320/435
- Nate Gold - 323/474
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia - 323/425
- Chris Shelton - 353/457
- Joaquin Arias - 297/352
- Brandon Boggs - 305/401
- Drew Meyer - 298/320
After looking at Giants' lineups all weekend, that's a pretty solid offense. In fact, it projects to score 4.31 runs per game. Dan's adjustment for the Rangers' home park might be helping out some, but still...it would take a historic park adjustment to put the Giants on the same playing field as these guys.
Of course, the Redhawks have a slight advantage: They get the DH. Today, Chris Shelton was DHing, so losing the DH means that they would lose their best hitter. (Of course, the manager may have chosen to put Shelton at first instead of Gold had there been no DH.)
Turns out that makes a big difference. (Replace your best hitter with a pitcher and see what happens!)
If we take out Shelton, move everybody up one spot, and put a pitcher batting 100/150 in the #9 spot, that drops the run projection to 3.5. Still right about in line with the best 9 the Giants are going to put out there. Replace Gold with Shelton and it's still about the same.
For Giants fans who need some consolation, don't worry: The Redhawks pitching staff is downright awful.