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PROGNATSTICATIONS: Nick Johnson

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Larceny's my game, dog. Cuz I'm straight-up thievin' a gimmick from our buddies at Camden Chat.

(And if you don't consider Orioles fans to be friends, then just remember I'm stealing something from them!)

Over there, they call the feature Community Projection. I'm sure I can do lamer---how about ProgNatstications? It's lame, alright. Air clap!

Here's what I want to do: attempt to predict the production (based on likely playing time) of each prospective Nat, pitcher and position player alike. My purposes here are many:

  1. to get a Wisdom of the Crowdsish idea of how we, the huddled, snarking masses, regard our Nats;
  2. to field a pick-the-best-projection contest (with the winner getting a free subscription to Federal Baseball---FREE!; and
  3. hopefully related to the first two points, to have a little fun.
Might as well start somewhere, right? What about we do the infield first, then the outfield, then the catcher(s), then the pitchers? Or what about we just do it randomly?

Whatever method we'll employ, we're starting with Nick the Stick, because I've already got his photo uploaded in the ever-lovable Scoop platform. Without further ado---

As an initial matter, I'm going to post Nick's stats from the past four seasons. That seems a reasonable sample---and, to continue with the stealing theme, that's what Camden Chat does, too:

YR  AB  AVG  OBP  SLG  R  HR RBI
'02 378 .243 .347 .402   56 15  58
'03 324 .284 .422 .472   60 14  47
'04 251 .251 .358 .398   35  7   33
'05 453 .289 .408 .479   66 15  74

I'd like the full line filled out, as above; however, for purposes of our little contest, we'll probably just factor the closest combination of playing time and OPS.

A couple of concluding notes:

  1. Be realistic. Primarily, this means to take RFK Stadium into account. Don't say, "Alfonzo Sorryino's gonna hit 40 hommers!!!111!!!!" unless you truly believe he'll go deep 40 times, playing half his games in RFK. Similarly, given that RFK suppresses batting average, too, don't project Nick Johnson as the National League batting champion (or OBP champion) without taking the park into account.
  2. Try your best to project playing time. Chances are Jamey Carroll, Damian Jackson, or Marlon Anderson (or Robert Fick or maybe Daryle Ward or any other backup second baseman or toolsy outfielder) won't reach 300, 400, or 500 at-bats. But, if Vidro's hurt or Soriano's traded, one or more of them stand to play more than an "ideal" projection would entail. Similarly, take injury history into account when projecting playing time. Needless to say, 550 at-bats for Vidro or Johnson is a best-case scenario, but maybe not a good bet.
  3. For our purposes, assume these guys play (or sit) out the season with the Nats. In other words, project injuries but don't project trades. Thus, while the chances of a trade might indirectly influence projections (see No. 2 above), they should not directly influence them with respect to specific players (e.g., don't project on what date Soriano or Johnson would be traded). If a player is traded, we'll freeze his rate stats at the moment of the deal and make all playing time projections proportional to when the deal was made (e.g., a 500 at-bat projection would be accurate if the player were traded 60% of the way into the season, at which point he has 300 at-bats).
Anyway, what do you say? Let's give it a shot. Post your projections in the comments section, if you will. I'll start with mine there.