sometimes the community-projection exercise yields some fascinating results. take the junior spivey projection. we got 31 projections, and they were all over the map -- wide variations in playing time and effectiveness. but tally them all up and pro-rate them for 500 at bats, and damned if we VEBbers didn't almost nail junior spivey's career averages:
kinda mind-meldy, no? i thought so. and it's not as if we had a bunch of conservative, down-the-middle projections; the batting average forecasts ranged from .250 to .290, the obps from .320 to .370, and the slugging averages from .400 to .470. one respondent handicapped spivey's rbi total at 30; another put it at 80. the low number in runs scored was 38, the high 92. but somehow all our pixels aligned to create an extremely faithful portrait of this player; a neat trick. if we could do that reliably there'd prob'y be work for us somewhere in vegas.
here are the actual numbers (ie not indexed to 500 ab) -- ours, along with the PECOTA and ZIPS projections:
as almost always happens, we're right in step with ZIPS and more optimistic than PECOTA. but we overshot both in the most important category: at-bats. are we guilty of wishful thinking in that regard? well, put it this way: three-fourths of us projected spivey to get at least 400 at-bats, a standard he has reached but once in his big-league career and (as noted yesterday) only 3 times in 10 professional seasons, major and minor combined. then again, we've seen 2bmen like spivey thrive in st louis before. look no further than fernando vina, who like spivey joined the cardinals on the eve of his age 31 season after a series of injury-plagued years. he'd missed at least half his team's games in two of the previous four summers. but upon joining the cardinals he exceeded 480 at-bats three years in a row (2000-2002) and strung together his two best back-to-back seasons as a hitter (2000-2001). so at least there's a precedent -- not necessarily a governing one, but one that lends some basis in reality to our projection.
but suppose spivey indeed does check in at ~300 at-bats: who draws the rest of the duty at 2b? my guess is (ugh) aaron miles. he's not a good player, but la russa's a sucker for the type -- switch-hitter, high average, has a little speed and a good glove, knows his fundamentals. most important, he's the club's only lh-hitting option at 2b. tony carries players like him fairly routinely; think marlon anderson in 2004, miguel cairo before that, mike gallego and lance blankenship back in the oakland days. while luna and cruz are both better players than miles, one of them's got to serve as the backup shortstop -- and tony's not likely to use his only backup ss extensively as a starting 2b, which means he would need to carry both cruz and luna in addition to spivey. three right-handed-hitting middle infielders? wouldn't make sense, and it's not tony's way. i think the bench will be j-rod, miles, cruz, taguchi, and bennett; when spivey sits, miles will start at 2b. to reiterate: i'm not endorsing that idea; i don't think it's a very good idea at all. but i think that's how it is going to play out.
the other possibility is that somebody joins the mix during spring training. the red sox have a glut of middle infielders -- tony graffanino, willie harris, and alex cora all vying to back up the starting tandem of alex gonzalez and mark loretta. the team will likely only take two backups north with the team. i've had a crush on harris for a while, and i'm not alone; the cardinals showed some interest in him this winter when he first hit the market (the white sox nontendered him in december) but backed off after the spivey signing, thinking harris would get a guaranteed deal in the range of $1m per. instead the red sox picked him up on a minor-league contract. he's in camp as a non-roster invitee. harris hits left-handed, is very good with the glove, and can play the outfield; he'd only be due $600K if he makes a big-league roster. it was the sox, you may recall, who sent womack to the cards late in spring training of 2004 . . . . . as i noted way back when, harris is basically tony womack with better on-base ability and a better glove. he also (per the same post) hits right-handed pitchers pretty well.
hard to imagine that with all these 2bmen on the roster, we still may need some help at the position. it has been that kind of off-season.
if anybody can supply spivey's projections per bill james or ron shandler, please post them in a comment.
Update [2006-2-17 9:24:17 by lboros]: thanks cmat for the bill james numbers. i'd take those from spivey any day.
Update [2006-2-17 13:23:3 by lboros]: and thank you frank for providing the ron shandler numbers. they are nearly as optimistic as ours; see the chart.