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projections III: rolen

if you missed the discussion of 3bmen down through cardinal history in valatan's diary, i urge you to check it out. my travels kept me from it until this morning -- outstanding tales about old-timers ken boyer and arnie latham, with a south park ref'nce or two thrown in at no extra charge.

we had several requests for a community projection of the cardinals' current third-baseman, scott rolen, so why don't we get that underway now. since he joined the cardinals in mid-2002, rolen has stayed on the field through the entire postseason just once, in 2004 -- and the cardinals went to the series that year. scottie played a direct role in getting them through the nlcs that year, jacking go-ahead homers in games 2 and 7; conversely, the absence of his rbi bat was a major reason they got beat in 2002 and 2005. he'll be 31 this year and is coming off the worst of several injuries in his career. the cardinals have placed an enormous wager this season on his full recovery; if he comes back diminished, there's no larry walker or reggie sanders to help pick up the slack. thinking long-term, the stakes are even higher; rolen's contract runs another five years at $12m per and includes a full no-trade clause, so if his lead shoulder can no longer generate the bat speed necessary to produce a .500 slugging avg . . . . well let's just not think about it.

same rules as per usual -- just go from your gut; do not consult statistically modeled projections like ZIPS or PECOTA. i also recommend that you avoid looking at previous commenters' projections, which could very well sway you unconsciously; post your own numbers first and then go back and scroll through the other forecasts to see how yours stacks up. i had been tempted to make playing time a variable in this projection, in light of rolen's injury history, but after looking at his stats i don't think such is warranted; in the 8 seasons prior to last year rolen played 140+ games six times and never had fewer than 499 plate appearances. so his main health question heading into this year isn't whether he can stay on the field; it's whether he'll come back as the same player. let's set his playing time at 550 at-bats / 650 plate appearances; provide firm numbers (no ranges) in the following categories:

  • batting average
  • on-base pct
  • slugging
  • homers
  • rbi
  • runs scored

rolen's baseball reference page, including 10 most similar hitters
his davenport translations at baseball prospectus
his three-year splits at espn

and here are scottie's statistics for the last four years:

avg obp slg hr rbi r
2002 .266 .357 .503 31 110 89
2003 .286 .382 .528 28 104 98
2004 .314 .409 .598 34 124 109
2005 .235 .323 .383 5 28 28

i'll keep the thread open until tomorrow morning and then post the results. we got nearly 50 entries for edmonds and more than 50 for mulder; i'm hoping for roughly the same here. results tomorrow.