Posts tagged ‘Predictions’

2011 Rays Projections: Evan Longoria

Last in my running posts of position player predictions, and definitely not least, is All-Star and face-of-the-franchise Evan Longoria. In all honesty, Longoria was a little harder to predict than some. Sure, he’s going to be an All-Star again and contend for the AL MVP award, but what made it hard was the fact that he has some trending numbers.

In each of his first three seasons in the Majors Longoria has seen an increase in AVG, OBP, and wRC+ which coincided with his increase in BABIP each season and his increase in BB and decrease in K rates each season. The odd part is that his SLG has decreased in each of those three seasons along with his ISO and HR/FB rates even though his FB rate has increased. Very odd that he has had so many stats increase and decrease in each of his only three seasons.

What makes it hard is that if you follow the trends you get some weird numbers. Do you buck the trends and change some calculations or go with the trends? I bucked the trends. There is no way they all continue in one direction. But I can see some of them, especially the AVG and OBP going in that same direction. His wOBA in those three seasons has been consistent; ranging from .373-.380 so that is a good sign of his consistent productivity.

With that, here is what I came up with:


March 31, 2011 at 10:52 am 2 comments

2011 Rays Projections: Johnny Damon

After his worst season since 2001, 37 year old Johnny Damon signed a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $5.25M with another $750K in attendance incentives. A large reason his numbers, especially on the power side, were down was because he posted a career low (since records were taken in 2002) HR/FB rate of 4.8%, almost half his career mark. That could be fluke or sign of age catching up to him. I think it’s somewhere in-between.

Damon’s patient eye and good on-base skills have still been solid and age has yet to fully catch that aspect of his game but I still see his 2010 as more his norm going forward than his 2009. With Joe Maddon, the master of the match-up, now Damon’s manager, we should see Damon in more situations to help him rather than hurt him and I think we will see a slight bump in his totals from 2010 but not a major one. Take a look:

 Stat  Total
 AVG  .276
 OBP  .354
 SLG  .422
 OPS  .766
 Plate App.  587
 At-Bats  519
 Hits  143
 Homeruns  13
 Doubles  31
 Triples  3
 BB  64
 SO  86
 SB  16
 UZR  +0


Not exactly the numbers I want from my starting leftfielder but still not bad. That should be good, depending on how much time he spends at DH, for 1.5-2.0 fWAR. Damon also brings with him a certain style and relaxed flow that should be good for the clubhouse, and yes, the fans. Yes, I know intangibles are mocked in the stat world I live in but I do believe there are some that are legit and Damon possesses some. Are they worth a ton? No, but they do help. Damon should easily pay for his own contract with his numbers and then some but don’t look for a return to his 2009 form.

March 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm Leave a comment

2011 Rays Projections: Ben Zobrist

I won’t bore you with a long post about how Ben Zobrist will bounce back because quite frankly I already wrote it.

Bottom line was that Zobrist was still swinging the same percentage of time but he was letting more strikes in the zone go by and swinging, yet making weak contact, at more balls out of the zone. This is easily fixed, especially by a guy that works as hard as Zobrist and the projections show a big bounce back. Take a look:

 Stat  Total
 AVG  .272
 OBP  .376
 SLG  .449
 OPS  .825
 Plate App.  627
 At-Bats  530
 Hits  144
 Homeruns  19
 Doubles  29
 Triples  4
 BB  92
 SO  106
 SB  22
 UZR  +11


My gut had him in the .270/.380/.470 range with the article I wrote about him bouncing back and the projections are a little short but not too far off. Zobrist bouncing back is a key component to the Rays’ 2011 success and my money is on him doing so and possibly eclipsing the above projections.

March 22, 2011 at 10:31 am 2 comments

2011 Rays Projections: Dan Johnson

Dan Johnson may be the toughest Ray to project.

Johnson has never had 500 plate appearances in any Major League season and will be 31 on Opening Day. Is there a reason he has not hit the 500 PA mark? Is he what he is, an incredibly patient hitter that is more of a Quad-A player than a Major Leaguer? Perhaps, but the Rays seem set to give him more PAs in the Bigs to be sure he isn’t more than that.

In Triple-A last year he hit .303/.430/.624 with 30 bombs and a .445 wOBA. in 2008 he hit .307/.424/.557 with 25 bombs and a .425 wOBA. Those numbers, especially the power, have never translated to the Majors.

In 1429 career PAs Johnson has hit .243/.343/.419 and been worth 3.0 fWAR. Those are not numbers that scream out starting firstbaseman, especially in the AL East. What the Rays see, though, is his career 13.3% BB rate, huge power potential, and the fact that his career .250 BABIP has nowhere to go but up. What my projections see is about what you get, with minimal upside, but there is some.

 Stat  Total
 AVG  .235
 OBP  .340
 SLG  .442
 OPS  .782
 Plate App.  427
 At-Bats  362
 Hits  85
 Homeruns  19
 Doubles  18
 Triples  0
 BB  60
 SO  82
 SB  0
 UZR  -2


The only reason I had him at -2 UZR is because he is going to play some 3B and he is well below-average there. If he were strictly playing 1B/DH then he’s be at zero or maybe +1 UZR.

The fan in me wants to say that Johnson finds his niche in the Majors this year, the naysayer in me wants to say that he’d be lucky to get 300 PAs, the realist in me ran the numbers and came up with the above predictions. Like it or leave it, they are not your typical firstbaseman but they are probably better than what Casey Kotchman would do.

March 21, 2011 at 11:26 am 1 comment

2011 Rays Projections: Sean Rodriguez

Rays manager Joe Maddon loves versatility and the good thing for him is that he has it. Sean Rodriguez is one of the most versatile players on the team. In 2009 he saw action at every single position except catcher and posted positive UZRs at all positions except thirdbase. In fact, he was listed as the team’s emergency catcher. He possesses very good instincts and range and a has great arm for a middle infielder.

No one has ever really doubted his fielding ability. He has a career UZR of 8.0 in just under 1500 innings, or roughly one full 162 game season. He has played exceptionally well at secondbase and shortstop and will be the team’s shortstop in most games against left-handed pitchers.

Rodriguez has also always shown that he can hit for power, especially for a middle infielder. While his ISO was league-average last year his ISO in the minors in 2008 and 2009 were an outstanding .339 and .314 . Will the power translate to the Majors? Rays fans are hoping so but there are few things holding him back.

What’s holding Rodriguez back is his lack of discipline and pitch recognition. He walked only 5.6% of the time (2.9% against right-handers) in 2010 and had a wSL of -7.0 and wCB of -4.3, while swinging at 30.4% of pitches outside of the strike zone. If Rodriguez is to take his game to the next level he needs to learn a little patience and pitch recognition.

With that, here are my 2011 projections for him:

 Stat Total
 AVG  .259
 OBP  .315
 SLG  .435
 OPS  .750
 Plate App.  495
 At-Bats  451
 Hits  117
 Homeruns  15
 Doubles  28
 Triples  3
 BB  33
 SO  126
 SB  16
 UZR  +7


These projections equals roughly a 2.5-2.7 fWAR player and the Rays will be pleased if he posts numbers similar to these in 2011 especially knowing that Rodriguez has the ability and the playing time coming his way to eclipse these totals.

March 7, 2011 at 11:47 am Leave a comment

2011 Rays Projections: B.J. Upton

B.J. Upton

B.J. Upton might possibly the hardest player on the Rays to project. A player capable of putting up an on-base percentage above .380 with 20+ homer and 40+ steal capabilities. The steals are a virtual lock but the power and on-base skills are hard to predict.

Since 2007, Upton’s first full season, his OBP has seen major declines. He posted an outstanding .386 OBP in 2007 and .383 in 2008 but well below-average .313 in 2009 and .322 in 2010. His average has also dropped every season (.300-.273-.241-.237).

Parts of Upton’s problems have been that he cannot catch up to above-average fastballs. It’s obvious to the naked eye and in his stats. If you take out his 2007 season where he posted an amazing +23.8 wFB he stands at -13.3 wFB. Yes, it is a running stat, but it’s still below average. In fact he sits below average against the slider (-17.4) and the cutter (-6.4). Upton only seems to flourish against softer stuff. He owns above-average career marks in wCH (11.3), wCB (10.3), and wSF (4.6).

Two more problems have been contact and inability to hit right-handers. Upton set career highs in O-Swing% (25.3%) and SwingingStrike% (12.0%). He also hit a dimal .218/.294/.371 in 413 plate appearances against right-handers with a 34.3% K-rate.

On the bright side, Upton has seen increases in ISO the past three seasons (.128+.132+.187), hits left-handers very well, and always adds value with his glove. But due to his inconsistencies I could not project totals for him that I myself believe are attainable. Here are his projected numbers for 2011:

 Stat  Total
 AVG  .248
 OBP  .331
 SLG  .435
 OPS  .766
 Plate App.  628
 At-Bats  556
 Hits  138
 Homeruns  18
 Doubles  42
 Triples  4
 BB  68
 SO  153
 SB  44
 UZR  +3


At first glance those numbers don’t jump out at you and scream excellence, but compared to position they are actually very good and could net him in the range of 3.4-3.7 fWAR depending on replacement level for next year.

Again, the hard part about Upton and doing these projections is that you know he has the ability to post an fWAR around 5 but whether it’s his offense, his defense, his lack of hustle, or whatever, he has yet to reach the 5 fWAR mark. Will this be the year he does? I’d like to think so, at least not until he makes adjustments and learns how to hit the fastball again. I have to be realistic with Upton and the projected stats are plenty to be happy about, especially when you know he has the ability to outperform them.

February 18, 2011 at 10:27 am 1 comment

2011 Rays Projections: Kelly Shoppach

Kelly Shoppach

Raise your hand if you were excited when the Rays traded for Kelly Shoppach by sending a PTBNL to the Indians. *raises hand* Ok, now raise your hand if you wanted to kick him off the team after the season ended with his horrible regular season and postseason performance. *raises hand again* Maybe I’m in the minority, probably not, because at the time most Rays fans just wanted to see someone, anyone, other than Dioner Navarro behind the plate in Tampa Bay and during the playoffs, even against left-handers, all we wanted to see was John Jaso.

Shoppach carried a very nice .208 ISO over in the trade but we were warned by Dave Cameron about his platoon split due to a lack of at-bats. Cameron wasn’t wrong but he wasn’t exactly right. Shoppach did have a horrible season with the Rays in 2010 but his splits against left-handed pitchers weren’t bad. He did hit .261/.369/.455 with a wOBA of .366 in 103 plate appearances against a pitiful .114/.232/.200 in 84 plate appearances against right-handers.

His career line against left-handers now sits at .286/.381/.568 with a wOBA of .404 in 361 career plate appearances. Cameron was right that he could not duplicate his splits against left-handers but he still holds very good value against them. Here are Shoppach’s projected totals for 2011:

 Stat  Total
 AVG  .238
 OBP  .339
 SLG  .419
 OPS  .758
 Plate App.  245
 At-Bats  210
 Hits  50
 Homeruns  9
 Doubles  11
 Triples  0
 BB  28
 SO  87
 SB  0
 UZR  -2


Maddon is as smart as any manager at placing his players in the right environment to succeed. I expect to see Shoppach in the lineup against most left-handers and very few right-handers, only to give Jaso a day off.

Expect a bounce back from Shoppach because I find it hard for him to duplicate his poor performance of 2010 against right-handers and he has proven that he can mash against left-handers.

February 12, 2011 at 11:58 am 2 comments

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