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community projection results: yadier molina

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before i get to the results of the yadi projection, here are a couple of interesting reads:

  • SB Nation's philadelphia site, the Good Phight, has some interesting thoughts about the two principals in the stl-toronto challenge trade:
    [Rolen's] gushing delight at playing for St. Louis--or, as he called it, "Heaven"--has long grated on Phillies diehardsl there's more than a little schadenfreude to be enjoyed from the fact that Rolen's relationship with Tony LaRussa went so far south that he's willing to brave the artificial turf of Toronto just to get away.

    But it's the other guy in the trade whom I'm thinking about. Troy Glaus isn't the defender Rolen is, but his right-handed power has produced 95 home runs in the last three seasons even as a series of nagging injuries kept Glaus on the sidelines for 70 games over that span. (Yes, he was involved in steroid allegations--but that was during his Angels tenure, which ended in 2004. He's clean now.) Glaus has a reasonable contract--he's owed $24 million for the next two years.

    Why weren't the Phillies in on him? it's frustrating to see a legit 30-homer solution like Glaus change uniforms without any indication the Phils so much as nibbled.

  • joe posnanski was in st louis this week for the st louis baseball writers' dinner and wrote up a long, disjointed, fun-fact-packed review. for a quick sampling, here's a gem from bob gibson:
    At the event, Jay Randolph asked Gibson about pitchers today not going the distance, and Gibson said something great for a former player. He said, "Pitchers get a bad rap, but it's just that the game has changed. I used to get tired in the seventh inning, too. And the manager would come to the mound and ask me if I wanted to come out. Then I would look over at the bullpen and see who was warming up. Then I would say, `No, I'm going to stay in.'"
    gibson rocks.
when i solicited the projections on yadi tuesday, i completely screwed up. i should have asked for at-bats, homers, rbi, and the 3 rate stats (ie avg / obp / slg). instead i asked for counting stats (ie hits and walks), which are less intuitive. worst of all (as fourstick pointed out in the very first comment in the thread), i didn't ask for a projection for doubles, making it impossible to project slugging pct. (this is what happens when you write a post at 5 a.m. in a hotel room while drinking that freeze-dried coffee brewed on the little in-room coffee maker . . . . ) nothing to be done about it now. as a proxy, i simply applied yadi's career rate for doubles (1 per 21 at-bats) to our aggregate projection; not a very scientific solution, but then it's not a very scientific exercise. here are our projections:
05-07 avg 385 32 95 19 0 7 46 28 .246 .302 .348
2007 353 30 97 15 0 6 40 34 .275 .340 .368
VEB 2008 proj 417 42 114 21 0 9 54 42 .272 .345 .388

we are projecting new career highs in hits, homers, rbis, on-base, and slugging; a stretch, perhaps, but given molina's age and the strides he made last year it's not unrealistic to forecast some modest improvement. some of the other projectors are doing it:

VEB 417 42 114 21 0 9 54 42 .272 .345 .388
CHONE 390 46 103 20 1 8 46 35 .264 .331 .382
marcel 398 38 103 21 1 8 50 33 .259 .321 .377
b james 369 32 93 18 0 7 45 31 .252 .317 .358
ZIPS 404 34 99 21 0 7 51 33 .245 .307 .349

we're bullisher on molina than all the name-brand systems, which is rarely the case. but ultimately, the difference among these projections simply comes down to batting average: the name-branders think molina's .275 average last year was a random blip and he's due to regress, while the VEB community thinks it represents sustainable improvement in ability --- ie, he's made himself into a true .275 hitter. but there's a strong consensus that yadi can be expected to improve his power significantly and sustain his (much-improved) 2007 walk rate:

2007 figures .093 .09
VEB .116 .09
CHONE .118 .08
marcel .118 .08
b james .116 .08
ZIPS .104 .07

ultimately, the judgment of his season may come down to whether or not a given 5 or 10 batted balls happen to find holes; that may be the difference between a disappointing .250 / .320 / .360 line and a gratifying .275 / .345 / .390 line.

the quintessential projector was DiscoJer:

VEB 417 42 114 21 0 9 54 42 .272 .345 .388
DiscoJer 415 35 113 21 0 9 52 40 .272 .342 .387