Once again, the folks at Acta Sports, publishers of The Bill James Handbook 2010, have given the SB Nation writers who are interested access to the "Hitter Projections" from the soon-to-be published (on Nov. 1, 2009) 2010 edition of Mr. James' Handbook, which is referred to in a testimonial quote by ESPN.com's Peter Gammons on the Acta Sports site as, "The prize of our winter hibernation." For anyone who doesn't know, Bill James is described on his wikipedia page 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..."
Mr. James' bio on the Acta Sports page simply adds that Mr. James:
"...has been writing about baseball and compiling reference books about baseball since 1975. He is currently the Senior Baseball Operations Advisor for the Boston Red Sox."
After the jump, we'll look at the '09 Projections, '09 Stats and 2010 Projections for the Washington Nationals' outfielders...Josh Willingham in left, Nyjer Morgan in center...and...Elijah Dukes in right? Are there any other real options for the Nationals in 2010? See what the three are projected to do next season AFTER THE JUMP...
The Bill James Handbook 2010 Hitter Projections For The Washington Nationals' OF...
LF Josh Willingham:
Nyjer Morgan - CF:
Elijah Dukes - RF:
• Willie Harris:
- 2009 Stats - 137 G, 323 AB's, 76 H, 6 2B, 7 HR's, 27 RBI's, .235 AVG, .364 OBP, .393 SLG.
- 2010 Projections - 110 G, 264 AB's, 65 H, 13 2B, 5 HR's, 22 RBI's, .248 AVG, .348 OBP, .367 SLG.
• Justin Maxwell:
- 2009 Stats - 40 G, 89 AB's, 22 H, 4 2B, 4 HR's, 9 RBI's, .247 AVG, .343 OBP, .449 SLG.
- 2010 Projections - 69 G, 203 AB's, 47 H, 6 2B, 7 HR's, 23 RBI's, .232 AVG, .328 OBP, .384 SLG.
• Notes on the #'s, ?'s Raised:
-- Is anyone predicting a different starting OF? Can Roger Bernadina, whose stats were not projected, stay healthy? I can't think of any outfielders in the Nationals' system who are going to make the jump next year? Austin Kearns is almost certainly gone. Can the Nationals compete in the National League with Hammer, Nyjer Morgan and Dukes left to right, or should DC add an OF to the winter shopping list?
-- A .302 hitting, 52 SB, .352 OBP leadoff hitter? Is Nyjer Morgan the man in CF in DC in 20-10? It seemed for a while last season that the Nationals' center field situation was finally solved, but for a player who's never played more than the 120 games he played in 2008, is a 153 game played projection a reasonable expectation? Or a bit generous? If he lives up those #'s, DC's top-o'-the-order-troubles might finally be over...just get that OBP up a bit Morgan? And remember, you don't have to steal every ti---ah, forget it, Run Morgan Run!!!
-- When pre-Trade Deadline talk kept bringing up Josh Willingham's name last July, DC GM Mike Rizzo told Washington Post writer Chico Harlan, as quoted in an article entitled, "Rizzo Has No Plans For A July Firesale", that trading Willingham was not in the team's plans:
"'Why would you want to dump Willingham? We control him for two years, he's  years old, and he's a good hitter,' Rizzo said. 'I still think it's a young team. Willingham and Zim, those are guys in their primes or entering their primes. Including Dunn.'"
Are you confident that Willingham, who has a history of back issues, will make it through two more seasons? I've only heard positives about Willingham out of Mike Rizzo, are you assuming he's penciled in in left on Opening Day 2010?
-- Is there any chance of Elijah Dukes getting a full season in right field? He played a combined 129 between the Minors and DC last season, and his combined #'s, .254 AVG, 28 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR's, 68 RBI's, are maybe less than you'd like in terms of power, but far better than I see any other outfielder in the Nationals' system producing in 2010...Any doubt in your mind that Dukes will start the season in right?
-- Maxwell, Harris and Bernadina off the bench? Are Maxwell and Bernadina wasted as part-time players? Do either of them have any trade value? It would seem to me they're probably considered a bit more valuable/impressive by DC fans who've seen their best stretches, as opposed to other teams, who look at their total production?