|©2013 Kayla Chadwick|
2012 projection: 131 games, .271 BA, .364 OBP, .537 SLG, 31 HR, 83 RBI
2012: 108 games, .227 BA, .343 OBP, .469 SLG, 24 HR, 56 RBI
2013 projection: 127 games, .248 BA, .350 OBP, .498 SLG, 29 HR, 75 RBI
2013: 139 games, .259 BA, .360 OBP, .482 SLG, 23 HR, 92 RBI
2014 projection: 137 games, .246 BA, .348 OBP, .471 SLG, 26 HR, 79 RBI
The projections Bill James and his team made for Mike Napoli through last season assumed he would be playing catcher for a sizable portion of the season - and until last offseason and the discovery of Napoli's avascular necrosis, that was accurate.
With the burden of squatting behind the plate for 60-70 games per season lifted, Napoli successfully exceeded expectations in terms of batting average and on-base percentage, and his power numbers remained pretty steady.
Though it an be a strain to watch Napoli come to the plate during his dry spells, it's 100% worth it when he inevitably heats up. Streaky players are frustrating at times, but Nap made up for it with his better than advertised defense at first base and wholehearted embrace of the Red Sox and Boston more generally.
I was thrilled when I heard that the Red Sox had signed Napoli to a two-year, $32 million dollar deal (I sent several text messages that just read "MIKE NAPOLI," and was able to identify my true friends based on those who didn't need further explanation). I can't wait to see Napoli - and the beard he's reportedly keeping - back next year.