Friday, January 1, 2010

Bringing in the New Year with Bill James

Bill James, the godfather of the sabermetric movement and Senior Advisor on Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox, gives us his 2010 projections. And I give you my impressions.

*There were no projections for Aaron Poreda and Brad Ausmus.

Ryan Braun - .315/.378/.593 for an OPS of .971, 154 games, 668 PAs, 615 ABs, 194 hits, 42 doubles, 6 triples, 39 HRs, 53 BBs, 17 SBs, 6 CS, 112 runs scored, 119 RBIs, 365 total bases

Wow, that's a big year. Braun would be setting career-highs in HRs, doubles, RBIs, and total bases. But is he capable of putting up numbers like these? Absolutely. It's hard to believe, but he is only now just entering his prime. I think it's possible he could draw more walks and steal more bases. In fact, I think if Braun wanted to and his manager let him run more often, he could steal around 30 bases.

Craig Breslow - 5-4, 0 saves, 3.39 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 72 games, 77 innings, .238 BAA, 7.9 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 3.7 BB/9, 8.1 K/9

I think James is selling Breslow a little short. Breslow could easily post a lower WHIP. His WHIP the last 2 seasons was 1.13 and 1.11. I think his BAA and H/9 will also be much better than what you see here. He gave up 6.5 and 6.2 H/9 the last 2 seasons, so 7.9 seems a bit high. It'd be nice to see him with a K/9 as high as 8.1, but that's probably not going to happen.

Scott Feldman - 11-11, 4.06 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 32 starts, 195 innings, .261 BAA, 9.0 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9, 5.2 K/9

Feldman is hard to project, as he's only been a starter the last 2 seasons, and last year was his breakout year. I think he'll have more wins than 11. I could see the ERA around 4.00, but I think the WHIP will be a little lower than what you see here. I could also see Feldman with a lower BAA and H/9. The nasty cutter Feldman developed worked wonders for him last season. I see no reason why it wouldn't work wonders for him again.

Sam Fuld - .261/.346/.357 for an OPS of .703, 65 games, 129 PAs, 115 ABs, 30 hits, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 14 BBs, 5 SBs, 2 CS, 17 runs scored, 9 RBIs, 41 total bases

From what I've seen, Fuld has a patient approach at the plate and hits well to all fields. His OBP will be higher than .346, and his SLG will be higher than .357 because his BA will be higher than .261. I also think he'll get a lot more ABs than this. Newly acquired CF Marlon Byrd will obviously get the bulk of the playing time, but given how injury-prone and streaky Soriano is and how bad Fukudome is against lefties, I would expect Fuld to get somewhere between 200 and 250 ABs.

John Grabow - 4-4, 0 saves, 4.00 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 78 games, 72 innings, .248 BAA, 8.4 H/9, 0.9 HR/9, 4.3 BB/9, 7.6 K/9

This projection is certainly possible, as the numbers are all right around Grabow's career marks. But Grabow has posted career-bests in just about every pitching category the last 2 seasons. I think these numbers represent the worst case scenario for the Cubs, which actually isn't too bad. Will Grabow regress? James seems to think so. To quote Futurama, my guts says maybe.

Gabe Kapler - .262/.326/.421 for an OPS of .747, 101 games, 275 PAs, 252 ABs, 66 hits, 17 doubles, 1 triple, 7 HRs, 23 BBs, 4 SBs, 3 CS, 37 runs scored, 34 RBIs, 106 total bases

Hard to argue with these numbers. I wouldn't be surprised if Kapler wound up with a season like this. But then I also wouldn't be surprised if he did a little better. Assuming Joe Maddon platoons Kapler properly and doesn't have him face too many righties, he could easily duplicate what he did last year with the Rays.

Ian Kinsler - .275/.348/.489 for an OPS of .837, 145 games, 635 PAs, 575 ABs, 158 hits, 36 doubles, 3 triples, 27 HRs, 60 BBs, 28 SBs, 7 CS, 106 runs scored, 84 RBIs, 281 total bases

Sounds about right. If Kinsler can stay healthy and play 145 games, I could definitely see him with a line like this. If he's moved into the 5th hole in that Rangers lineup, I would expect his RBI production to go up. I also think he'll be CS fewer than 7 times. This would be a good year for Kinsler. He would set career-highs in runs scored and total bases. Might even be good enough for Silver Sluggers at second base.

Jason Marquis - 12-11, 4.37 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 32 starts, 202 innings, .268 BAA, 9.3 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9, 4.9 K/9

I believe James made these projections before Marquis signed with the Nats. They all seem very plausible to me, except the wins. I just can't see Marquis winning more than 10 games on that team. John Lannan, who is similar to Marquis, hasn't been able to win more than 9 games the last 2 seasons with the Nats. Hopefully, the newest members of their pen (Brian Bruney, Eddie Guardado, and Matt Capps) will be able to hold onto leads for Marquis. I also think Marquis will give up fewer than 1.0 HR/9 pitching at Nationals Park.

Scott Schoeneweis - 2-2, 0 saves, 4.65 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 53 games, 31 innings, .268 BAA, 9.3 H/9, 1.2 HR/9, 3.8 BB/9, 5.8 K/9

Who knows if Schoeneweis will even play in 2010? But if he does land a job somewhere, this could be as good as it gets from him. He's on the wrong side of 30, and he just came off a devastating year - in more ways than one. Obviously, last season he was emotionally compromised. Can he bounce back?

Josh Whitesell - .267/.364/.438 SLG for an OPS of .802, 46 games, 120 PAs, 105 ABs, 28 hits, 6 doubles, 0 triples, 4 HRs, 15 BBs, 0 SBs, 0 CS, 13 runs scored, 17 RBIs, 46 total bases

After hitting just below the Mendoza Line last season, I'm sure Whitesell would readily take a .267 BA. I know I would. But if Whitesell does hit around .267, his OBP will surely be higher than .364. Whitesell has excellent plate discipline. I'd like to think Whitesell will get more than 105 ABs, but it's possible he may not even get that many.

Kevin Youkilis - .289/.394/.492 for an OPS of .886, 149 games, 642 PAs, 557 ABs, 161 hits, 42 doubles, 1 triple, 23 HRs, 85 BBs, 6 SBs, 3 CS, 98 runs scored, 95 RBIs, 274 total bases

Coming off 2 stellar seasons with an OPS above .950, this is a rather conservative projection for Youk. If he hits around 10 points below .300 as James seems to think he will, I have no objections. But if he hits .300 or above as I believe he will, his SLG will be higher and his OPS will be higher. This year, I think we could be looking at an OPS around .920. I myself predicted Youk would hit under 25 HRs and over 40 doubles, so of course I have to agree with James there.


William said...

Wow. Great post. I agree with all of your comments. I think he is low on Youkilis --grumble--

Josh Borenstein said...

Haha, I'm sure you wouldn't be too upset if his projection on Youk turned out to be accurate. You being a Yankee fan and all.

Greg F. said...

Any word if Yankees Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann is Jewish?

Josh Borenstein said...

I haven't heard anything about Hoffmann being Jewish.

Anonymous said...

Nu???? No David Eckstein? With the Angels, I think, with a WS MVP trophy at home on the shelf, and he's not mentioned.

Josh Borenstein said...

David Eckstein is not a member of the tribe. One of many players with a misleading name. Brad Ziegler also comes to mind.