Saturday, March 08, 2008

CRAP: Infield

It's that time of year again! Time for BS projections! I've brought back my world famous CRAP projections. For those unfamiliar, CRAP is my patented (pending) statistical projection system. CRAP, which stands for Chris' Random-Ass Projections, is a highly sophisticated multi-variable regression formula using over 1,000 different inputs. It's been fine tuned from last year, and the sooner we forget about that version (Chris' Random Ass-Projections), the better we'll all be.

Alright.. basically, it's an informed guesstimate, where I eyeball other projections, the player's age, then adjust to see where I think they may be off.

The projections used can all be found at fangraphs. BJ refers to the Bill James handbook projections. CHONE is done by this guy. Marcels makes no assumptions, but just weights the last three years of stats. ZIPS are from Baseball Primer, and the Nats projections are here.

So let's start with the infield.

  • Ryan Zimmerman
             HR  RBI  AVE  OBP  SLG
    BJ 24 98 288 353 493
    CHONE 22 97 284 355 475
    Marcel 19 83 287 352 474
    ZIPS 29 100 282 348 501
    CRAP 27 100 285 360 500

    If you move Zimmerman to a neutral park, his career slugging jumps up to right around .485, so .500 is in line with a natural career progression. I think he'll take a jump in his walk rate, since he won't feel pressured to carry the team on his shoulders. It dropped down slightly last season, and even if he goes back to 2006's levels, it'll be a pretty decent bump in OBP. So far, his wrist seems like it's ok. If it is, him surpassing that projection wouldn't be surprising either.

  • Nick Johnson
             HR  RBI  AVE  OBP  SLG
    BJ ----------------------
    CHONE ----------------------
    Marcel 8 37 286 405 484
    ZIPS 19 87 283 422 492
    CRAP 20 90 285 420 475

    Don't knock the Marcels. That's intended to be a straight projection using nothing but the player's recent history. I'm cautiously optimistic on Nick. He's got a great swing for any park.

  • Dmitri Young
             HR  RBI  AVE  OBP  SLG
    BJ 17 57 287 346 462
    CHONE 14 54 274 337 441
    Marcel 14 54 284 341 451
    ZIPS 13 50 287 352 459
    CRAP 7 35 285 350 450

    The big variable with him (besides his waist size -- i almost spelled that 'waste', which i guess is a completely different joke) is playing time. If NJ is healthy, I imagine that he'll get the lion's share of the playing time, making DY the new Daryle Ward. There's still likely to be a few hundred ABs in there, as a pinch hitter, an injury replacement for NJ, and to give NJ rest, especially against tough lefties. The numbers are a drop down, but keep in mind that he had a career year last year, he's not especially healthy, he's had (even last year) a bunch of chronic, nagging injuries, and he's 34. If he falls, he could fall hard. (make your own seismic joke)

  • Felipe Lopez
             HR  RBI  AVE  OBP  SLG
    BJ 14 64 264 336 395
    CHONE 12 57 255 329 378
    Marcel 12 56 268 339 399
    ZIPS 12 55 264 344 383
    CRAP 10 50 265 335 385

    I was hopeful that he'd ride a hot spring into a starting gig, but he's been poor with the bat so far (even if spring training results are pretty much meaningless). They key with him is that he's giving the team every reason NOT to play him. If I had to guess, I'd say he's going to get 2/3 to 3/4 of a season's worth of ABs shuffling around the infield. He's a better player than he's shown; he just needs to dislodge his head from his tail.

  • Ron Belliard
             HR  RBI  AVE  OBP  SLG
    BJ 13 66 275 331 414
    CHONE 13 55 273 325 411
    Marcel 12 62 277 326 418
    ZIPS 12 55 270 329 405
    CRAP 10 50 275 320 400

    Solid, but not spectacular. I think Belliard played a bit over his head last year. Given his conditioning and his age (33), he's likely to take hop backwards this year. The indicator for me is going to be the quality of his defense. He plays far back, likely to compensate for some lateral movement. If that's the case, and he loses another step, he could move from asset to liability pretty quickly.

  • Cristian Guzman
             HR  RBI  AVE  OBP  SLG
    BJ 6 45 270 313 379
    CHONE 4 30 265 319 379
    Marcel 4 25 264 320 390
    ZIPS 2 22 254 301 340
    CRAP 5 40 265 310 370

    I can hear the fanboys wailing. With the caveat that eye surgery and his new swing are positives in indicating optimism in his performance... Last year was a fluke. He had 175 good ABs fueled by some strong performances, but also some lucky, lucky bounces. His batting average on balls in play was so far out of whack with the rest of his career, that he HAS to take a step back. He'll be somewhere in between what he did in '05 and what he did in '07. If he hits his career numbers (.263 .302 .378), we should all be reasonably content.

  • Aaron Boone
             HR  RBI  AVE  OBP  SLG
    BJ 8 39 249 325 389
    CHONE 8 24 253 328 389
    Marcel 8 40 256 328 387
    ZIPS 4 28 249 330 363
    CRAP 5 25 240 320 380

    Bad knees and coming off a career year. Red flags abound. If he gets more than 150 ABs, the team is in trouble.

    • Chris, do you take into account contract years? I think that could put some fire under Guz.


      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/08/2008 11:24 AM  

    • Shockingly, I'm actually somewhat more positive on Guzman. Although ST at bats aren't really supposed to be good indicators of regular season success, Guz has been surprisingly good with the bat over the games he's played so far. It's going to be interesting to see if he can't keep that pace up once the season start. I still agree he's not a long-term solution and that FLop should be better, but Lopez just seems to have mysteriously tanked--maybe we need to send him to Apollo Creed or something so he can reclaim the Eye of the Tiger.

      By Blogger Michael Taylor, at 3/08/2008 11:54 AM  

    • Guzman's had 20 ABs this spring. Anyone can hit anything over 20 ABs. (see: Pemberton, Rudy)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/08/2008 12:05 PM  

    • Any particular reason not to blend PECOTA into the stat mix?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/09/2008 9:58 AM  

    • I included things that anyone could view without paying. PECOTA's generally not that much different than what's here.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/09/2008 10:09 AM  

    • Oh. Right. You even said as much in the original post (". . . can all be found at fangraphs"). Apologies for the pre-coffee comment.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/09/2008 10:20 AM  

    • One of the things that makes baseball interesting is that a player's season can vary significantly from his past seasons, for no reason anyone can possibly anticipate.

      What about Dmitri? Maybe he will have another fantastic year, but Chris's projections for him seem about right. But how to explain this $10 million signing over two years (plus an option) in view of his age, his weight and his defense?

      It is especially strange given that first basement can be found. It is not like they are SS, catchers or pitchers. Moreover, signing an aging player runs counter to the philosophy of stockpiling younger players who can grow into the position.

      The only thing I can figure is that this was never a baseball decision, a Kasten/Bowden move, but a Lerner move. The signing was designed to demonstrate to fans that the organization is trying to field an interesting product--without spending the tens of millions other clubs spend on FAs.

      Any ideas on this?

      By Blogger EdDC, at 3/09/2008 10:38 AM  

    • I think that that's part of it. They wanted to make a statement by rewarding a fan favorite.

      But I also think they signed him, never expecting NJ to be healthy. DY is NJ's insurance policy.

      And I really do think they valued his leadership role.

      The big point is that $10 million over two years is not going to impact the team's bottom line. They'll still make their money, and it's not like they were going to dip into the FA market this season.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/09/2008 10:41 AM  

    • Re the Dmitri discussion, it's interesting to see how even in a situation where the Lerners spend $10M some people will still try to spin that into a "the Lerners are cheap" position...

      By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 3/09/2008 11:55 AM  

    • Just to clarify, I don't think the Lerners are cheap. They, Kasten and Bowden are building for the future exactly in a way that makes the most sense. It is interesting that the Os are seeing this and trying to build like the Nats.

      The Lerners will only be cheap if they have a chance down the road to get the one or two players needed to get the championship and then they don't do it. But I think they will. Kasten is president because he thinks the Lerners will do so too and has got thier commitment.

      I am just trying to understand the Dmitri decision from a baseball standpoint. It just seems out of synch. I can get to it from a marketing standpoint. But maybe he will have another great year and we will see then.

      By Blogger EdDC, at 3/09/2008 12:22 PM  

    • Guzman hit 2 HRs today. Wooo! Guzmania!

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/09/2008 4:28 PM  

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