Thursday, December 10, 2015

A New Challenger Approaches: Stacking Up the Diamondbacks and Dodgers Rotations Part 1

It's been a wild off-season for the Diamondbacks so far as they've been the ones making the biggest moves.  Signing Zack Greinke to a 6 year, 200+ million dollar deal was enough to turn heads but trading their recent first overall pick, Dansby Swanson, along with 2013 first round pick Aaron Blair and solid outfielder Ender Inciarte for pitcher Shelby Miller and minor league pitcher Gabe Speier is a move people are still talking about.  The short term success is clear: the Diamondbacks have now compiled a rotation of well known names they hope will fix their pitching problems from 2015. 

The Dodgers made a lot of noise in last year's winter meetings and are comparatively quiet this time around in acquisitions.  The big trade they were about to make for Aroldis Chapman now seems completely shut down after allegations of domestic violence and gun shots from an incident in Chapman's home in October.  Their only big acquisition so far has been the signing of Hisashi Iwakuma to a 3 year, 45 million dollar deal which is really a great solid signing for the club.  However, losing Greinke has been the big story and now it's a game of who has the better rotation between the two rivals and who's made the right moves.  Because the Diamondbacks are the ones making all the moves it's easy to choose them but let's take a look at each projected starter and some projections for next year.

The Aces
The last 3 years have been the dynamic duo for the Dodgers with Kershaw followed by Grienke but now it's friend vs. foe.  Greinke has pulled a Phil Collins and is going solo out in AZ hoping to help the Diamondbacks and to count the zeros in his astronomical contract.  Kershaw and Greinke were two outstanding pitchers for the Dodgers but Kershaw has throughout the years established himself as the game's best so the advantage tips in his favor.  Greinke may have had the better overall year last year but many signs point to him being unable to perform at that level come next year.  The disparity between Kershaw and Greinke in terms of FIP is almost a whole earned run (Kershaw FIP: 1.99, Greinke FIP: 2.76).   Greinke is also moving to play his home games at Chase Field which according to park factors has about a whole run on average scored more compared to Dodger Stadium.  Interesting to note that Dodger Stadium had more homers on average but Chase Field shows much larger leaps in hits, doubles, and triples which is bad news for someone like Greinke who benefited from a much smaller BABIP in 2015 than his career rate (2015: .229, Career: .298).  What might help Greinke supplement that is Arizona's terrific outfield defense although they just shipped out Ender Inciarte who's 29 Defensive Runs Saved was 2nd among all major league outfielders.  Fangraphs is predicting a 7.4 WAR season from Kershaw in 2016 and a 4.2 WAR season from Greinke.

Second In Command
This is where many say the Dodgers drop off heavily now that Greinke is gone but that might not be entirely accurate anymore.  The loss of Greinke feels like a big one because of what he has done his first two years as a Dodger and most recently the immaculate 2015 with his 1.66 ERA.  However with the addition of Hisashi Iwakuma it might not be as huge a blow considering what the two are projected to do in 2016.  Fangraphs is projecting a 3.6 WAR season from the Japanese ex-Mariner which is just .6 shy of what they're projecting out of Zack Greinke.  It's a decrease in value but not as much as some might make it out to be just because Greinke went bananas in 2015.  Iwakuma brings with him a higher ground ball rate and a lower walk rate even while pitching in the AL.  His biggest concern is his home run rate which is high considering he did most of his pitching in SafeCo Field so if he can keep it manageable and stay healthy then Iwakuma should do great things.  Arizona's projected number 2 pitcher is lefty Patrick Corbin who burst onto the scene in 2013 at a young age surprising many but unfortunately fell victim to Tommy John and only threw 85 innings in 2015 after missing all of 2014.  Corbin was solid in his return from Tommy John showing no real drop in quality and a seeming improvement (2013 FIP: 3.43, 2015 FIP: 3.35).  At a projected 2.4 WAR next season, the Dodgers are still projected to take this match up but with Corbin being so young his development might progress and could still surprise many.  Of course with projections it's an educated guessing game so only next season will the answers be revealed but the Dodgers in their current state at least stack up to the new front of the Diamondbacks rotation and can put up a quality fight.

No comments:

Post a Comment