At the 45 game mark, the Swallows last year were 26-19-0, a far cry from where they are this year. The media and the team appear to believe that Aaron Guiel and Jamie D'Antona are, at the very least, partially to blame for the Swallows' problems this year.
Let's take a look at some numbers:
These are the cumulative stats for D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki through 45 games. Let's organize those numbers a little differently.
These are the totals for D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki through 45 games, combined.
Strange. So the team is doing a lot worse this year, than last year, despite the fact that they're getting about the same amount of production from these three players.
So then what's the problem? Here are the numbers for the rest of the offense, minus D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki.
The offense, minus D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki, has scored 24 fewer runs through 45 games. That explains about 2 wins.
Which means the problem isn't as much offense, as it is the pitching.
The pitching staff has allowed 50 more runs this year, than it did last year. How does that translate in wins and losses? Here are the pythagorean projections:
What does this show us? For one, is shows us that the Swallows could have 3 more wins. Throw in the 2 wins based on the offenses without D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki, and the 5 or so wins based on the 50 run differential in RA, and you have about 10 wins. And that just about works out to the differences between this year and last.
Here's the breakdown of the "fault" based on the numbers above:
The offense, minus D'Antona, Guiel, and Aoki, is about 20%.
Luck is at about 30%.
And the rest is all pitching.
Which actually makes sense, since starting pitching has been a fairly big problem for the Swallows this season.
So what the Swallows need right now, more than a bat, is actually better starting pitching. And that's something that will probably get better over time, without even making any moves, for the following reasons:
Masanori Ishikawa will start winning again.
Having Shohei Tateyama back in the rotation should provide some stability.
Plus you have Yoshinori Sato making adjustments at Ni-gun. He could turn out to be a big boost for the rotation later on during the year.