Q. Is there any way to tell how good Texas will be in 2012?
A. They racked up the 2011 bling with pitching, more so than with hitting. Their ERA+ was 118. The Rangers and Yankees were miiiiiiiiillles ahead of the only other two excellent pitching staffs, those being in Oakland and Anaheim.
All 5 of the Rangers' starters went 29-34 games, with great ERAs+ as a group. And every single reliever was great.
If all five Rangers' starters are all unconscious in 2012, sure, you're talking about a +150 differential again, because their offense will hit. But you go through that B-Ref.com almanac and you see pitching staffs drop off Y2.
Could Colby Lewis and Alexi Ogando have sore arms, and Matt Harrison have an off year? Happens all the time.
Just as a f'r instance, in 2010 the Colorado Rockies had a superb 113 ERA+, led by the 19-8, 2.88 season of Ubaldo Jimenez. ... but in 2011 Jimenez ran out of bullets in the bandolero, and the Rox dropped back to 101 on the ERA+. You could find a hundred example like that.
You can't assume the Rangers will be weak sisters, either. But if I'm Jack Zduriencik, I'm figuring 2011 as the Rangers' perfect pitching storm, and playing against an assumed Rangers differential of around +100 (and a presumed 90-72 season).
Could win more, could win less. Maybe something really farfetched will occur, like they'll all pitch a bunch of extra games in October and frazz their arms.
Q. The M's were -113 differential this year. How much do they need to improve?
A. Dr. D fully agrees that, in the AL and in the AL West, a team needs to target +100 runs. For the 2011-12 Mariners, you bet, this means +200 or more runs -- which could also be represented as 20, 25 WAR beyond the 2011 season.
In 2009, the Mariners won 85 games and Geoff Baker asked Bill James whether the M's could get to the playoffs. He shook his head like Hugo Draxx, who he resembles these days... "The Mariners have made one great move after another. But they need +150 offensive runs [and they don't have them]."
The M's need like +150 hitting runs and another +50-75 pitching runs for 2012.
So, SSI is in conceptual agreement with the blogosphere on this point.
Q. How do the M's best import +200 runs? With four players or with Prince Fielder?
A. ::choke:: ::gasp:: ::splutter:: a;dlkfja;s4iv;v9ivu-ew8adkf;askejf
Nobody imports +200 runs in one winter, babe.