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The Bill James Handbook 2009 - Projections For The Washington Nationals' Hitters In '09.

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The amazon.com page for the Bill James Handbook 2009 from ACTA Publications(no relation to DC's skipper), promises:

• Exclusive! Fielding Bible Awards

• New Relief Pitching

• Manufactured Runs Analysis

• Young Talent Inventory

• Manager's Record

• Baserunning Analysis

• Career data for every 2008 major leaguer (and a few bonus

players) with more statistical categories than any other book

• Pitcher Projections

• Hitter Projections

• Team Efficiency Summary

• Player Win Shares

I was granted access to the "Hitter Projections" from the soon-to-be published 2009 edition of the Bill James Handbook so I decided to take a look at what the Nationals who seem most likely to be on Washington's Opening Day roster are predicted to do next season based upon statistical analysis by Mr. James, who is described in his wikipedia.org profile as:

"...a baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics. His approach, which he termed sabermetrics in reference to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), scientifically analyzes and studies baseball, often through the use of statistical data..."

I'm not going to attempt to define sabermetrics since it's easily googleable, (and I don't think I could), but needless to say, some complex algorithm beyond my comprehension has produced the following statistical projections for your '09 Washington Nationals:

Player Age G AB H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
Ryan Zimmerman 24 145 576 167 22 87 .290 .351 .484
Cristian Guzman 31 137 496 145 7 45 .292 .329 .407
Anderson Hernandez 26 81 149 37 1 18 .248 .291 .322
Emilio Bonifacio 24 132 453 123 1 30 .272 .318 .347
Ronnie Bellliard 34 129 433 116 11 53 .268 .330 .416
Nick Johnson 30 69 198 53 8 31 .268 .413 .465
Dmitri Young 35 108 366 104 12 48 .284 .355 .445
Alberto Gonzalez 26 45 132 34 2 14 .258 .315 .379
Jesus Flores 24 135 436 109 12 81 .250 .304 .397
Elijah Dukes 25 81 284 72 13 44 .254 .363 .461
Lastings Milledge 24 138 494 139 15 67 .281 .347 .439
Austin Kearns 29 117 384 100 14 57 .260 .359 .435
Wily Mo Pena 27 98 310 79 13 42 .255 .310 .432
Willie Harris 31 119 306 78 7 28 .255 .341 .382

NOTES...

The first thing I notice are the #'s for Elijah Dukes, whose limited MLB history resulted in a half season's worth of projected production, so, (imaging that the numbers hold up over a full campaign), Dukes might be expected to hit .259 with 26 HR's and 80+ RBI's in 2009...Whether in center, left or right, that would be a good result for Dukes in his second season in DC.

I hope Lastings Milledge can bump that 15 HR total closer to 25, but a .280 AVG and the extra RBI's ten more home runs might bring would be a huge boost to the Nationals' offense.

.260 AVG, 14 HR's and 57 RBI's. A baseball-reference.com 162 Game Average of 22 HR's and 86 RBI's...If you didn't know who this player was, would you say that these numbers warranted a $8 million dollar salary this season? Maybe the Nationals can trade one more outfielder to NY...Mets or Yankees, I don't care, and I like Austin Kearns, but that's not a good return on a substantial investment...Surprise us all Kearns I'll happily eat cro...Uh?...How about, "...I'll happily eat my words?"...(ed. note - "Have fun in Ft. Worth, kid!")

.290 AVG, 22 HR's and 87 RBI's from Ryan Zimmerman? That's about what i'd expect, let's just hope that RBI total creeps closer toward triple digits.

The Battle For Second Base!

- Ronnie Belliard - (129 G), .268 AVG, 11 HR's, 53 RBI's, .330 OBP, .416 SLG

- Emilio Bonifacio - (132 G) .272 AVG, 1 HR, 30 RBI's, .318 OBP, .347 SLG.

- Anderson Hernandez - (81 G), .248 AVG, 1 HR, 18 RBI's, .291 OBP, .322 SLG.

(ed. note - "I'll bring back the 2nd Base Poll and see if the projections change the voting.")

Just looking at DY and Nick Johnson's ages (35 & 30, respectively) makes me think that the Nationals had better go out and get a solid young (i.e. "cheap") first baseman who can man the position in their inevitable absences. (Can Kory Casto do the job?)

Cristian Guzman - 145 hits, 7 HR's, 45 RBI's, .292 AVG, .329 OBP, .407 SLG, where exactly do you see Guzman batting next season? If Bonifacio or Hernandez ends up in the lineup, it seems likely either of the two would be batting in the leadoff spot...So, Is Guzman wasted batting second? Do you move him back to the seven or eight spot?

??? What do you see in the numbers? Anyone I missed that you want the #'s on? Any free agents you want #'s on? Up next: The Pitcher Projections.