Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Kelvim Escobar

Word is out that Kelvim Escobar is done for 2008 and possibly for good. What does this do to the Angels' chances?

When it comes to analyzing questions like this, most people fall into one of two categories:

- They overestimate the impact of the injury, possibly because by using a flawed stat like WARP3 that overestimates the player's value, or by not considering that the player's replacement isn't that terrible.
- They underestimate the impact by not considering the bigger ramifications of the injury.

I've seen both with regards to Escobar. Some are suggesting the Angels are five wins worse than with a healthy Escobar, which is too much. Escobar's great 2007 aside, he's a three-win player. And his replacement, Joe Saunders, is probably only 15 runs worse than Escobar over a season, which would put the cost at 1.5 wins.

This, however, is too low. Part of the Angels' optimistic projection for this year was based on them having six MLB-ready starting pitchers. With Escobar out, the next injury replacement will be not Saunders but Nick Adenhart or Dustin Moseley, guys who aren't good enough to pitch for a contender. That's a much bigger drop-off when the next injury hits, and it already has--John Lackey begins the year on the DL.

All things considered, I'd rate this as a two-win hit for the Angels. I'm glad I invested early in A's futures.

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