Saturday Rockpile: Projecting the Rockies 2009 Defense

The other day while writing about our left handed starters, I pointed out how costly the Rockies defense was to their competitiveness in 2008. In 2009, if we are to have any chance at all, this has to change. Using defensive projections from Sean Smith (infieldersoutfielders) let's look at some of the possible alignments for 2009. This is one I think would be the Rockies ideal situation, with part of that ideal being Carlos Gonzalez' bat maturing quickly, so you could probably substitute Dexter Fowler's name if he does the same:

  • 1B Helton +8
  • 2B Baker -4
  • SS Tulowitzki +11
  • 3B Stewart +2
  • LF Spilborghs 0
  • CF Gonzalez +9
  • RF Hawpe -15

I think Ian is a little underrated here defensively, but this arrangement already projects the Rockies a net positive of eleven runs (one win) on defense. If you believe that a porous defense cost the team fifty runs to the average in 2008, which I do, this change would be a six game swing from last season, meaning a close to .500 team without upgrades to our lineup or pitching staff. 

Okay, here's what we look like keeping Atkins at third and moving Stewart to left, Spilborghs to center. I'm going to put Barmes in for Baker at second to make up for some of the defensive hit we'd take at other positions while upgrading offensively:

  • 1B Helton +8
  • 2B Barmes +7
  • SS  Tulowitzki +11
  • Atkins -7
  • LF Stewart ?
  • CF Spilborghs -9
  • RF Hawpe -15

We go from a plus 11 in the top example to a negative 11 here. Smith doesn't project either Stewart or Atkins in the outfield, but I'm going to assume Stewart plays around a Jeff Baker (-6) level and Atkins around a Manny Ramirez (-14) level. I've been suggesting that I'd rather move Atkins to left, keeping Stewart at third, which would amount to only a one run difference. That said, like I said in the first alignment, I think Stewart's capable of being a better than +2 third baseman, so it could be that the separation will be bigger than that. There's a pretty realistic variation on this Barmes as principal 2B, Spilly in center theme in the event of an Atkins trade, which looks like this:

 

  • 1B Helton +8
  • 2B Barmes +7
  • SS Tulowitzki +11
  • 3B Stewart +2
  • LF Baker(-6)/Seth Smith (0)
  • CF Spilborghs -9
  • RF Hawpe -15

 

This would be a decently potent lineup, but we'd praying for groundballs all the time. Speaking of which, here's an alignment that Aaron Cook would probably love if he could hit like Micah Owings:

  • 1B Helton +8
  • 2B Barmes +7
  • SS Tulowitzki +11
  • 3B Stewart +2
  • LF Smith +2
  • CF Taveras +3
  • RF Gonzalez +14

The Rockies would have a +47 in the field, but obviously it would not be worth it to lose Hawpe, Spilly and Baker's bats. Conversely, Cook would probably call his agent demanding a trade to Newark as long as it got him out of Denver if we settled on this arrangement as it's both an offensive and defensive sinkhole:

  • C: Torrealba
  • 1B: Baker -2
  • 2B: Stewart +4
  • SS: Quintanilla +5
  • 3B: Atkins -7
  • LF: Seth Smith +2
  • CF: Ryan Spilborghs -9
  • RF: Brad Hawpe -15

I added the catcher there just to emphasize how brutal things could get. There are a couple of anomalies thanks to small sample sizes in the projections so take a few of them with a grain of salt. The Stewart as a positive at second base projection is one of these. You can pretty much assume that over a full season that the number would tilt somewhere into the negative side of things. Similarly, Chris Iannetta is not going to be neutral at third base, and Dexter Fowler should be considerably better than the minus nine he's projected at in center.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker