Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pie in the Sky Part Deux: CHONE Projections Update

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Back in the dead of January (which was seemingly ages ago), CHONE released their projections for the 2010 season. Considering the monstrous seasons that Aaron Hill and Adam Lind had in 2009, it wasn't very shocking to see they were projected to have big contributions this year.

Now I don't know if I was being ambitious or if I was just plain bored, but I decided to put all the Blue Jays positional players WAR projections into a pie graph. There were no huge surprises in the projections, so all seemed to be in check.

Fast forward seven months later and things have shifted significantly when it comes to the wins above replacement stats for specific position players on the Blue Jays.

Just as a recap, here are what the WAR projections looked like for the Jays positional players back in January.


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And below are the WAR values in pie chart form going by Fangraphs data up until August 16th of this season.


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Not surprisingly, Jose Bautista is leading the club with a 4.2 WAR. Vernon Wells is a close second at 3.0, almost double of what he was projected. Following that, the ghost of Alex Gonzalez still looms with his 2.5 WAR and John Buck is performing slightly above expectations at 1.9 WAR.

Now here's where things get interesting. For all the Hatorade showers Lyle Overbay receives on a weekly basis, he quietly puts up a 1.2 WAR which is just slightly below the 1.6 WAR he was projected at. Over the course of his tenure with the Blue Jays, Overbay has averaged to be worth about 1.62 wins above replacement.

Next we move on to another fan favourite, Edwin Encarnacion. Aside from being one of the highest paid number nine hitters and baseball, EE has also managed to prove his worth in the form of 1.1 WAR. I guess his offense is slightly above average which is enough to offset what at times seems like horrible defense.

As we travel further and further down the wheel, this is where it transforms into the walk of shame. Fred Lewis and Yunel Escobar have been pleasant surprises, but that lime green colour of Aaron Hill's WAR stands out like a sore thumb.

Of all the players in the lineup, Hill was projected the highest at 3.5 wins above replacement level. 0.9 is a far cry from almost one year ago.

And you might notice that Adam Lind is off the pie chart completely. Despite my knack for forgetting things, Lind is absent from the pie because his WAR is at -0.1. Since he doesn't have any real redeeming qualities when it comes to fielding, Lind must rely on a hat bat to have a positive wins above replacement level.

Like most fans, I was expecting the Young Guns (Hill, Lind and Snider) to contribute most of the offense this season. Fortunately, where some have disappointed, others have stepped up to the plate and picked up the slack.

Without career years from Jose Bautista, John Buck, and Alex Gonzalez, one can only fathom where the Toronto Blue Jays would be at this point in the season.

I pray that things will even out a little more across the board in the coming seasons because there's nothing worse than having the players with the highest WAR values on your team walking at the end of the season as free agents.

5 comments:

  1. Great post; glad you went back and brought up the projections. It just proved that baseball prognostication is a fool's game.

    Lind is showing signs that he's coming around. Hill? He disgusts me right now. Completely lost at the plate, and not making any strides. This season is an utter write-off, and I will likely spend the majority of the off-season worrying about him. There were calls last year, near the end of the campaign, to trade him, in the blogosphere. I poo-poo'd those calls. Perhaps I was wrong. Time will tell.

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  2. This is interesting. Lind has a great year in his first full season, and now we expect it to be his baseline. JBau has a career year in the middle of his career, and many think its an aberration, should be traded, etc. Fools game indeed.

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  3. eyebleaf, I have much more faith in Lind right now than I do Hill. If we write off the first half, they have both improved, but Lind is way ahead. Hill has been .276/.309/.474 since the All-Star break. Lind on the other hand: .301/.368/.540 since July 16th.

    Mike, it seems like it's a total crapshoot. I think most folks expected Wells to bounce back, but nobody anticipated Bautista/Buck/Gonzalez to have career years.

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  4. I think you're right about Wells vs. Bautista/Guck/Gonzalez. I've been having difficulty recently figuring out what "regressing to the mean" means, especially for a player like Lind. His second half has been a nice progression to the mean, I suppose.

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  5. Mike, to be honest I'm not even entirely sure what "regressing to the mean" means. I think it's something along the lines of "things will even out over a few seasons".

    With Adam Lind for example, it's probably better to take a sample size of 3 full seasons and then judge what he's capable of. His first full season (2009) was spectacular, this year isn't so great, and hopefully next year will be a little better. Average it out, and I'm sure Lind is about a 1.5-2 WAR player.

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