Sunday, April 3, 2016

2016 Bill James Projections: David Ortiz

Source
2011 projection: 151 games, .261 BA, .366 OBP, .509 SLG, 33 HR, 112 RBI
2011: 146 games, .309 BA, .398 OBP, .554 SLG, 29 HR, 96 RBI
2012 projection: 150 games, .277 BA, .378 OBP, .517 SLG, 30 HR, 104 RBI
2012: 90 games, .318 BA, .415 OBP, .611 SLG, 23 HR, 60 RBI
2013 projection: 147 games, .283 BA, .386 OBP, .533 SLG, 32 HR, 103 RBI
2013: 137 games, .309 BA, .395 OBP, .564 SLG, 30 HR, 103 RBI
2014 projection: 146 games, .287 BA, .384 OBP, .531 SLG, 30 HR, 98 RBI
2014: 142 games, .263 BA, .355 OBP, .517 SLG, 35 HR, 104 RBI
2015 projection: 144 games, .275 BA, .371 OBP, .517 SLG, 32 HR, 102 RBI
2015: 146 games, .273 BA, .360 OBP, .553 SLG, 37 HR, 108 RBI
2016 projection: 142 games, .262 BA, .358 OBP, .488 SLG, 28 HR, 93 RBI

I started a draft of this post on December 29th of last year, but I haven't been able to bring myself to finish. This is the last projections post I will ever make for David Ortiz, as we're about to embark upon his final season in Major League Baseball.

By all accounts, between the tribute ceremonies and never ending parade of gifts, Ortiz is in for his typical fantastic season at the plate. Bill James and his team project Ortiz to come close to another 30 HR, 100 RBI season - not bad for the elder statesman of the league.

I much prefer this ending to an alternative where Ortiz overstays his productive years - how many incredible players have we watched decline before our very eyes? That being said, any ending to the storied career of Big Papi is far too soon. 

We were lucky enough to watch history being made by a living legend, year in and year out. That all stops in 2016 - but here's hoping the end doesn't come until deep into the postseason. The greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history deserves to do his thing one more time on the game's brightest stage.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

2016 Bill James Projections: Craig Kimbrel

Source
2010: 4-0, 21 games, 1 save, 20.2 IP, 0.44 ERA, 16 BB, 40 SO
2011 projection: 5-2, 63 games, 25 saves, 63 IP, 2.57 ERA, 47 BB, 100 SO
2011: 4-3, 79 games, 46 saves, 77 IP, 2.10 ERA, 32 BB, 127 SO
2012 projection: 6-3, 74 games, 44 saves, 74 IP, 1.95 ERA, 39 BB, 121 SO
2012: 3-1, 63 games, 42 saves, 62.2 IP, 1.01 ERA, 14 BB, 116 SO
2013 projection: 5-2, 64 games, 39 saves, 65 IP, 1.38 ERA, 22 BB, 109 SO
2013: 4-3, 68 games, 50 saves, 67 IP, 1.21 ERA, 20 BB, 98 SO
2014 projection: 6-2, 50 saves, 72 games, 74 IP, 1.34 ERA, 22 BB, 120 SO
2014: 0-3, 63 games, 47 saves, 61.2 IP, 1.61 ERA, 26 BB, 95 SO
2015 projection: 5-2, 65 games,  56 saves, 64 IP, 1.55 ERA, 23 BB, 102 SO
2015: 4-2, 61 games, 39 saves, 59.1 IP, 2.58 ERA, 22 BB, 87 SO
2016 projection: 5-2, 67 games, 45 saves, 66 IP, 1.77 ERA, 25 BB, 103 SO

The Criag Kimbrel trade was the very first big story for the Sox in an offseason full of them. When we found out that Kimbrel would be coming to Boston, we didn't yet know that 2016 would be David Ortiz's final season, or that he would soon be joined by David Price.

After the news broke regarding regarding the domestic violence investigation swirling around Aroldis Chapman, we learned that the Red Sox had previously been debating the merits of the two closers, ultimately abandoning their pursuit of Chapman when the domestic violence allegations came to light during a background check.

And so the front office traded a better prospect package to get Kimbrel, complete with more years of team control and a lack of criminal and league investigations.

So what will the Red Sox really be getting with Craig Kimbrel? Youth, for one thing. Former closer Koji Uehara will be 40 years old this season, and Kimbrel is twelve years his junior. While youth doesn't automatically equal health, Kimbrel has consistently been able to stay on the field and perform at a high level.

As far as the jump from National League to American League, Kimbrel has already gone on record saying he's looking forward to the challenge. While Bill James and his team calculated Kimbrel's 2016 projections before the trade, they're likely to give us a reasonable look at his production, and those numbers look pretty good.

Assuming Kimbrel gets a fair number of save opportunities, it looks like he'll turn out to be a wise investment.

Monday, March 21, 2016

2016 Bill James Projections: Pablo Sandoval

Source
2011: 117 games, .315 BA, .357 OBP, .552 SLG, 23 HR, 70 RBI
2012 projection: 144 games, .311 BA, .363 OBP, .525 SLG, 24 HR, 86 RBI
2012: 108 games, .283 BA, .342 OBP, .447 SLG, 12 HR, 63 RBI
2013 projection: 150 games, .298 BA, .356 OBP, .498 SLG, 22 HR, 88 RBI
2013: 141 games, .278 BA, .341 OBP, .417 SLG, 14 HR, 79 RBI
2014 projection: 140 games, .292 BA, .354 OBP, .466 SLG, 18 HR, 81 RBI
2014: 157 games, .279 BA, .324 OBP, .415 SLG, 16 HR, 73 RBI
2015 projection: 151 games, .287 BA, .344 OBP, .447 SLG, 18 HR, 82 RBI
2015: 126 games, .245 BA, .292 OBP, .366 SLG, 10 HR, 47 RBI
2016 projection: 147 games, .275 BA, .328 OBP, .424 SLG, 15 HR, 72 RBI

Here we are, two weeks from Opening Day(!), and there's a serious discussion over who's going to start at third base for the Red Sox. Pablo Sandoval will be paid $17.6 million in 2016, and he's in serious danger of losing his starting spot to Travis Shaw, a 25-year-old making just above the league minimum. 

The Red Sox would gladly swallow Panda's salary if it meant actually getting some production out of the third base spot - but do they have to dump Sandoval and replace him with Shaw to do it?

Last season wasn't up to Sandoval's usual standard offensively, but it was his abysmal defense that really hurt the team. Panda has never been a regular season powerhouse - his real strength has always come in October, but as the Red Sox learned, none of that matters when you're out of contention by July.

Bill James and his team project Sandoval to bounce back to his normal production at the plate in 2016, which is to say just about league average, perhaps a smidge higher or lower depending on which category you look at. But it looks like the Red Sox might not be waiting around to see if Sandoval can get himself back up to average - offensively or defensively.

Travis Shaw is having a tremendous spring, and while Sandoval's March production has been promising, the Red Sox are committed to putting the best possible starting squad on the field. That may or may not include Pablo Sandoval.