Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

print article archives RSS

Projections Review - Hitters

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


This is the first of three projection review columns, with the first two examining the hitters. Basically, I'll present my preseason top 10 from each position, plus other notable projections, with comments for some of the players.

 

Players are listed along with their preseason dollar values in AL- or NL-only leagues. If some of the listings seem off (a player at $20 being ranked behind someone at $19), it's an AL-NL thing.

 

Catchers

 

1. Buster Posey - Giants - $29

Projection: .311/.387/.513, 22 HR, 74 R, 87 RBI, 0 SB in 505 AB

2013 stats: .294/.371/.450, 15 HR, 61 R, 72 RBI, 2 SB in 520 AB

 

.325/.395/.536 with 13 HR and 56 RBI through the break, .244/.333/.310 with 2 HR and 16 RBI afterwards. Posey will be back in the top spot here again next season, but there's always that increased risk when drafting a catcher early.

 

2. Joe Mauer - Twins - $25

Projection: .317/.410/.434, 9 HR, 83 R, 69 RBI, 4 SB in 523 AB

2013 stats: .324/.404/.476, 11 HR, 62 R, 47 RBI, 0 SB in 445 AB

 

3. Victor Martinez - Tigers - $24

Projection: .290/.346/.461, 20 HR, 70 R, 92 RBI, 0 SB in 544 AB

2013 stats: .301/.355/.430, 14 HR, 68 R, 83 RBI, 0 SB in 605 AB

 

4. Matt Wieters - Orioles - $23

Projection: .276/.350/.483, 26 HR, 74 R, 87 RBI, 1 SB in 518 AB

2013 stats: .235/.287/.417, 22 HR, 59 R, 79 RBI, 2 SB in 523 AB

 

Wieters' BABIP has gone from .356 as a rookie to .287 to .276 to .274 to .247 this year. Only Darwin Barney and Dan Uggla had lower marks in 2013. I still don't see why he can't hit .270-.280 one of these years, but he sure is getting frustrating. A sharp drop in his walk rate left him with just a .287 OBP this year.

 

5. Carlos Santana - Indians - $21

Projection: .270/.376/.472, 23 HR, 76 R, 81 RBI, 4 SB in 504 AB

2013 stats: .268/.377/.455, 20 HR, 75 R, 74 RBI, 3 SB in 541 AB

 

6. Salvador Perez - Royals - $18

Projection: .305/.339/.461, 15 HR, 61 R, 69 RBI, 1 SB in 492 AB

2013 stats: .292/.323/.433, 13 HR, 48 R, 79 RBI, 0 SB in 496 AB

 

7. Mike Napoli - Red Sox - $18

Projection: .259/.356/.471, 24 HR, 69 R, 86 RBI, 2 SB in 456 AB

2013 stats: .259/.360/.482, 23 HR, 79 R, 92 RBI, 1 SB in 498 AB

 

I love catchers who don't catch, and this year gave us two big-time targets. While the real catchers were accumulating their bumps and bruises, Napoli hit .259/.389/.546 after the break and Martinez came in at .361/.413/.500. Unfortunately, next year is looking a bit dry in the catchers-who-don't-catch department. Martinez won't qualify initially, though he might later. Mauer? Probably not.

 

8. Yadier Molina - Cardinals - $19

Projection: .294/.352/.444, 16 HR, 58 R, 72 RBI, 5 SB in 491 AB

2013 stats: .319/.359/.477, 12 HR, 68 R, 80 RBI, 3 SB in 505 AB

 

9. Jesus Montero - Mariners - $15

Projection: .276/.330/.458, 20 HR, 63 R, 70 RBI, 0 SB in 493 AB

2013 stats: .208/.264/.327, 3 HR, 6 R, 9 RBI, 0 SB in 101 AB

 

Yeah, that was a bad call. Montero is going to qualify as one of those catchers who don't catch, but he's going to be doing it in Triple-A for a while before he gets another chance.

 

10. Wilin Rosario - Rockies - $15

Projection: .263/.303/.488, 23 HR, 57 R, 73 RBI, 3 SB in 422 AB

2013 stats: .292/.315/.486, 21 HR, 63 R, 79 RBI, 4 SB in 449 AB

 

Rosario's K:BB ratio went from 4:1 as a rookie (99/25) to 7:1 as a sophomore (109/15), but he hit .292 anyway. I can't imagine he'll take another step forward as bad as his plate discipline is, but he is one of those guys with the ability to drive pitches out of the strike zone.

 

Others

 

11. Miguel Montero - Diamondbacks - $15

Projection: .269/.355/.447, 18 HR, 63 R, 72 RBI, 1 SB in 476 AB

2013 stats: .230/.318/.344, 11 HR, 44 R, 42 RBI, 0 SB in 413 AB

 

12. J.P. Arencibia - Blue Jays - $10

Projection: .242/.293/.472, 24 HR, 59 R, 72 RBI, 0 SB in 434 AB

2013 stats: .194/.227/.365, 21 HR, 45 R, 55 RBI, 0 SB in 474 AB

 

Rosario's 7:1 K/BB ratio was still better than Arencibia's 8:1 (148/18). Arencibia has always had his problems, and he seems to have no drive to get better. The Blue Jays should move on this winter.

 

13. Brian McCann - Braves - $10

Projection: .260/.344/.442, 17 HR, 46 R, 61 RBI, 2 SB in 389 AB

2013 stats: .256/.336/.461, 20 HR, 43 R, 57 RBI, 0 SB in 356 AB

 

16. Jonathan Lucroy - Brewers - $9

Projection: .275/.328/.427, 13 HR, 48 R, 55 RBI, 4 SB in 426 AB

2013 stats: .280/.340/.455, 18 HR, 59 R, 82 RBI, 9 SB in 521 AB

 

17. Ryan Doumit - Twins - $7

Projection: .265/.321/.439, 15 HR, 49 R, 56 RBI, 0 SB in 415 AB

2013 stats: .247/.314/.396, 14 HR, 49 R, 55 RBI, 1 SB in 485 AB

 

23. Jason Castro - Astros - $4

Projection: .251/.330/.387, 11 HR, 47 R, 48 RBI, 1 SB in 406 AB

2013 stats: .276/.350/.485, 18 HR, 63 R, 56 RBI, 2 SB in 435 AB

 

Castro's emergence might have been the most promising development in Houston's 2013 season. Yadier Molina was the only player to catch 100 games and post a higher OPS, and he topped Castro by only the slimmest of margins (.836 to .835).

 

44. Evan Gattis - Braves - $1

Projection: .258/.322/.444, 6 HR, 18 R, 20 RBI, 0 SB in 151 AB

2013 stats: .243/.291/.480, 21 HR, 44 R, 65 RBI, 0 SB in 354 AB

 

Gattis already had his six homers by April 23.

 

 

First Basemen

 

1. Albert Pujols - Angels - $34

Projection: .302/.373/.547, 36 HR, 105 R, 114 RBI, 9 SB in 612 AB

2013 stats: .258/.330/.437, 17 HR, 49 R, 64 RBI, 1 SB in 391 AB

 

It can't be easy playing on one leg. I think we'll see a bounce-back season from Pujols next year, but it'd be folly to project a .300 average again.

 

2. Joey Votto - Reds - $32

Projection: .315/.433/.541, 29 HR, 98 R, 104 RBI, 7 SB in 562 AB

2013 stats: .305/.435/.491, 24 HR, 101 R, 73 RBI, 6 SB in 581 AB

 

It was probably a mistake to project Votto to drive in 100 runs. In the two seasons in which he's actually hit that mark, he batted .369 and .383 with RISP. For one thing, it's harder to drive in runs batting third than hitting fourth. For another, it's pretty much impossible to drive in 100 runs with Zack Cozart batting second (although, to be fair, the plan was for Brandon Phillips to hit second until Ryan Ludwick got hurt on Opening Day). With Dusty Baker gone, it'll be interesting to see what happens next. Ideally, the Reds would hire a manager who thinks batting Votto second and Jay Bruce fourth would be a good idea.

 

3. Adrian Gonzalez - Dodgers - $30

Projection: .305/.389/.521, 32 HR, 98 R, 111 RBI, 0 SB in 603 AB

2013 stats: .293/.342/.461, 22 HR, 69 R, 100 RBI, 1 SB in 583 AB

 

4. Prince Fielder - Tigers - $26

Projection: .290/.397/.528, 33 HR, 89 R, 114 RBI, 1 SB in 568 AB

2013 stats: .279/.362/.457, 25 HR, 82 R, 106 RBI, 1 SB in 624 AB


5. Edwin Encarnacion - Blue Jays - $24

Projection: .275/.354/.531, 37 HR, 88 R, 105 RBI, 7 SB in 556 AB

2013 stats: .272/.370/.534, 36 HR, 90 R, 104 RBI, 7 SB in 530 AB

 

The fact that Encarnacion was limited to three games in the final three weeks did wonders for my projection.

 

6. Billy Butler - Royals - $24

Projection: .310/.381/.513, 26 HR, 80 R, 101 RBI, 1 SB in 596 AB

2013 stats: .289/.374/.412, 15 HR, 62 R, 82 RBI, 0 SB in 582 AB

 

From 29 homers at age 26 to 15 at age 27. Maybe 2012 was the bigger fluke, and he simply hits too many grounders to become a consistent 25-30 homer guy. The career-high walk rate also didn't help his fantasy value; it's not like he tends to come around to score after getting to first base.

 

7. Freddie Freeman - Braves - $23

Projection: .288/.358/.496, 27 HR, 87 R, 102 RBI, 3 SB in 579 AB

2013 stats: .319/.396/.501, 23 HR, 89 R, 109 RBI, 1 SB in 551 AB

 

8. Paul Goldschmidt - Diamondbacks - $23

Projection: .271/.349/.494, 27 HR, 86 R, 95 RBI, 13 SB in 557 AB

2013 stats: .302/.401/.552, 36 HR, 103 R, 125 RBI, 15 SB in 602 AB

 

I would have given Goldschmidt a better run and RBI projection had the Diamondbacks not started off batting him fifth behind Miguel Montero, but I didn't see him hitting .300 with his strikeout rate. Of course, he improved that along with everything else, going from striking out in 30 percent of his plate appearances in 2011 to 22 percent in 2012 to 20 percent this season.

 

9. Allen Craig - Cardinals - $23

Projection: .295/.349/.507, 25 HR, 82 R, 95 RBI, 3 SB in 533 AB

2013 stats: .315/.373/.457, 13 HR, 71 R, 97 RBI, 2 SB in 508 AB

 

10. Ike Davis - Mets - $20

Projection: .263/.350/.500, 33 HR, 88 R, 105 RBI, 1 SB in 562 AB

2013 stats: .205/.326/.334, 9 HR, 37 R, 33 RBI, 4 SB in 317 AB

 

Davis hit .286/.449/.505 in 105 at-bats after returning from the minors, but it's unclear whether that's going to buy him another year as the Mets' first baseman. Someone will take the chance if the Mets don't want him.

 

Others

 

11. Anthony Rizzo - Cubs - $18

Projection: .279/.350/.475, 26 HR, 86 R, 90 RBI, 5 SB in 566 AB

2013 stats: .233/.323/.419, 23 HR, 71 R, 80 RBI, 6 SB in 606 AB

 

Rizzo fanned in a modest 18 percent of his plate appearances last year, yet hit just .233 anyway, thanks to a .258 BABIP. I expect that he'll bounce back to hit in the .270-.280 range next season.

 

12. Eric Hosmer - Royals - $17

Projection: .287/.357/.448, 19 HR, 80 R, 81 RBI, 12 SB in 585 AB

2013 stats: .302/.353/.448, 17 HR, 86 R, 79 RBI, 11 SB in 623 AB

 

A really nice season depressed by playing for the Royals. If Hosmer hit like that while batting second and third for a good offense, he could have amassed 190-200 runs+RBI, instead of 165.

 

1 DH. David Ortiz - Red Sox - $16

Projection: .284/.380/.515, 24 HR, 75 R, 85 RBI, 0 SB in 464 AB

2013 stats: .309/.395/.564, 30 HR, 84 R, 103 RBI, 4 SB in 518 AB

 

16. Paul Konerko - White Sox - $16

Projection: .283/.368/.474, 26 HR, 67 R, 90 RBI, 0 SB in 530 AB

2013 stats: .244/.313/.355, 12 HR, 41 R, 54 RBI, 0 SB in 467 AB

 

Konerko defied the odds year after year, only to lose it all at once at age 37. He hit .312, .300 and .298 his three previous seasons.

 

17. Kendrys Morales - Mariners - $15

Projection: .284/.337/.482, 24 HR, 71 R 83 RBI, 1 SB in 531 AB

2013 stats: .277/.336/.449, 23 HR, 64 R, 80 RBI, 0 SB in 602 AB

 

47 OF. Chris Davis - Orioles - $12

Projection: .251/.308/.470, 29 HR, 75 R, 88 RBI, 2 SB in 530 AB

2013 stats: .286/.370/.634, 53 HR, 103 R, 138 RBI, 4 SB in 584 AB

 

Davis was listed with the outfielders this spring, but I stuck him here now in order to avoid the "where is he?" questions.

This was definitely a low confidence projection going in, as Davis's projections have always been. Davis is obviously a much more complete hitter now; not only did he add the 20 homers, but he doubled his walk and doubles totals from 2012. I'll project the average to tumble a bit in 2014, maybe back to .270 or so, but 40-45 homers seems realistic.

 

19. Brandon Belt - Giants - $12

Projection: .267/.355/.467, 20 HR, 67 R, 79 RBI, 11 SB in 501 AB

2013 stats: .289/.360/.481, 17 HR, 76 R, 67 RBI, 5 SB in 509 AB

 

26. Adam Lind - Blue Jays - $7

Projection: .266/.324/.451, 20 HR, 61 R, 70 RBI, 1 SB in 470 AB

2013 stats: .288/.357/.497, 23 HR, 67 R, 67 RBI, 1 SB in 465 AB

 

27. Adam Dunn - White Sox - $6

Projection: .211/.335/.449, 32 HR, 67 R, 80 RBI, 1 SB in 483 AB

2013 stats: .219/.320/.442, 34 HR, 60 R, 86 RBI, 1 SB in 525 AB

 

Not counting his homers, Dunn was on base 164 times last year and scored a total of 26 times. Now, the guy is slow, but that demonstrates just how bad Konerko, Dayan Viciedo and Jeff Keppinger were behind him.

 

29. Brandon Moss - Pirates - $5

Projection: .239/.313/.447, 23 HR, 58 R, 67 RBI, 3 SB in 436 AB

2013 stats: .256/.337/.522, 30 HR, 73 R, 87 RBI, 4 SB in 446 AB

 

36. James Loney - Rays - $1

Projection: .257/.312/.360, 4 HR, 26 R, 28 RBI, 2 SB in 261 AB

2013 stats: .299/.348/.430, 13 HR, 54 R, 75 RBI, 3 SB in 549 AB

 

I thought Loney would lose his job. He didn't, obviously. That said, he was a better player for the Rays than he was for fantasy purposes.

 

38. Gaby Sanchez - Pirates - $1

Projection: .272/.348/.420, 7 HR, 31 R, 35 RBI, 1 SB in 257 AB

2013 stats: .254/.361/.402, 7 HR, 29 R, 36 RBI, 1 SB in 264 AB

 

 


continue story »
12
Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of RotoWorld.com and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter at matthewpouliot.
Email :Matthew Pouliot



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Braxton Miller NFL projection

    Braxton Miller NFL projection
  •  
    Levitan: Cameron vs. Witten

    Levitan: Cameron vs. Witten
  •  
    Levitan: Gerhart vs. Morris?

    Levitan: Gerhart vs. Morris?
  •  
    Levitan: Romo vs. Brady?

    Levitan: Romo vs. Brady?
  •  
    Levitan: Murray or Foster?

    Levitan: Murray or Foster?
  •  
    Levitan: Stacy or Ellington?

    Levitan: Stacy or Ellington?
  •  
    Levitan: A.J. Green or Dez?

    Levitan: A.J. Green or Dez?
  •  
    Levitan: Draft Ball or Bell?

    Levitan: Draft Ball or Bell?