FanPost

The March of WAR: Batting

The first big (and fun) chunk of projecting 2009 is offense.  How well do we think our boys will be smacking it this season?  As a starting point, I've got excerpts from two projections of player offense, plus 2008's performance.  Take a look and give me your judgement on whether the numbers look high, low, or about right.  Stats and comments after the jump!

Two of the big systems for projecting player perfomance are Marcels (which is a simple projection of historical performance that weights recent seasons more heavily) and CHONE (which is, uh, more complicated).  Here are the projections for the people we've identified as our main players, along with what they did last year: # of plate appearances, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging.

This is CHONE:

			PA	AVG	OBP	SLG
Alberto Gonzales 241 0.263 0.315 0.397
Anderson Hernandez 568 0.251 0.301 0.343
Austin Kearns 571 0.252 0.350 0.413
Cristian Guzman 508 0.287 0.331 0.407
Dmitri Young 441 0.273 0.347 0.429
Elijah Dukes 466 0.263 0.373 0.462
Jesus Flores 387 0.235 0.292 0.377
Josh Willingham 514 0.263 0.362 0.458
Kory Casto 498 0.243 0.331 0.386
Lastings Milledge 505 0.279 0.350 0.435
Luke Montz 459 0.219 0.292 0.358
Nick Johnson 519 0.275 0.420 0.477
Ron Belliard 504 0.272 0.331 0.419
Ryan Langerhans 351 0.243 0.350 0.379
Ryan Zimmerman 569 0.296 0.364 0.488
Wil Nieves 344 0.251 0.297 0.350
Willie Harris 380 0.254 0.345 0.386

CHONE is the most sophisticated model I've looked at.  Its projections assume a neutral ballpark and league (neither hitter-friendly nor pitcher-friendly).  This will skew the data a little bit, but the single season of data on Nats park says that it's close to neutral. I like CHONE because it say NJ will last almost the whole season! Yay!  It's forecasting everyone will be durable except Dukes and Flores. CHONE says Hammer, Zimmy, Dukes and NJ will be tearing it up in 2009. Lasto and AK won't be bad, but Flores might disappoint.

This is Marcels:

			rely?	PA	AVG	OBP	SLG
Alberto Gonzales 0.34 258 0.264 0.329 0.398
Anderson Hernandez 0.36 246 0.270 0.333 0.396
Austin Kearns 0.84 446 0.253 0.341 0.402
Cristian Guzman 0.76 525 0.304 0.345 0.439
Dmitri Young 0.74 341 0.282 0.352 0.436
Elijah Dukes 0.68 389 0.255 0.362 0.453
Jesus Flores 0.67 382 0.262 0.319 0.412
Josh Willingham 0.84 468 0.262 0.355 0.453
Kory Casto 0.49 297 0.233 0.303 0.353
Lastings Milledge 0.78 514 0.274 0.339 0.418
Luke Montz 0.1 213 0.261 0.338 0.420
Nick Johnson 0.69 274 0.266 0.394 0.464
Ron Belliard 0.83 424 0.274 0.333 0.420
Ryan Langerhans 0.7 294 0.225 0.327 0.372
Ryan Zimmerman 0.86 505 0.282 0.345 0.456
Wil Nieves 0.51 305 0.247 0.298 0.364
Willie Harris 0.76 451 0.256 0.337 0.397

Marcels (named after Marcel the Monkey from "Friends" as dig/boast about its simplicity) is more-or-less a straight historical projection.  That first column labeled "rely?" is a rough measure of how good the projection is (closer to 1.0 = more reliable). Notice that most of the younger players have low numbers here, because they have less data to look at.  Marcels says that NJ is going to break by the AS star game--boo!  It also has Zimmy, Dukes, and Hammer doing well and figures Jesus will do a good bit better than CHONE says.  AK and Lasto are looking at "meh" seasons.

And this is the actual batting data from 2008:

Player			PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS+
Alberto Gonzalez 54 0.347 0.407 0.531 144
Anderson Hernandez 91 0.333 0.407 0.383 109
Austin Kearns 357 0.217 0.311 0.316 65
Cristian Guzman 611 0.316 0.345 0.440 104
Dmitri Young 180 0.280 0.394 0.400 109
Elijah Dukes 334 0.264 0.386 0.478 125
Jesus Flores 324 0.256 0.296 0.402 81
Josh Willingham 415 0.254 0.364 0.470 118
Kory Casto 182 0.215 0.297 0.313 60
Lastings Milledge 582 0.268 0.330 0.402 91
Luke Montz 26 0.143 0.308 0.286 57
Nick Johnson 147 0.220 0.415 0.431 123
Ron Belliard 336 0.287 0.372 0.473 120
Ryan Langerhans 137 0.234 0.380 0.396 104
Ryan Zimmerman 466 0.283 0.333 0.442 101
Wil Nieves 191 0.261 0.309 0.341 70
Willie Harris 421 0.251 0.344 0.417 98


There are a lot of players there with few PA (remember all the injuries?) and some crappy hitting lines (I'm looking at you, Austin Kearns!).  Dukes and Willingham showed some flashes with the bat (between injuries) though CHONE and Marcels have them penciled in to fall back a bit.  Marcels figures Guz will repeat last year's mad batting tear, although CHONE says he'll regress (Never! LASIK FTW!).  On the bright side, both systems project Zimmy, Lasto, and AK to improve their 2008 numbers (although in AK's case, he could hardly have been worse, and he and Lasto will only improve up to roughly league-average).

Anyhow, faced with this wall o' numbers, what do you think?  Where do you think the numbers are high or low? Who'll have a good season, who'll have a bad one?  Who'll get hurt?

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