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Verdict: Very-Goodwick

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The projections for Ryan X-Wick—sixty on the nose—are in, and despite my minimal Excel literacy I've managed to get the official VEB Community Projection spit out. If I had to pick one way to illustrate how our projections went, I think I would borrow the old Rob Neyer conceit of Player A and Player B. Consider these two parallel universe Ken Phelps all-stars, Ludwick A and Ludwick B: 

AB H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG OPS
A 385 107 16 78 .278 .344 .496 .840
B 456 125 26 85 .274 .347 .522 .869

Ludwick B is Ludwick's ZiPS projection. Ludwick A is the absolute lowest projection we got. By OPS, interestingly enough, ZiPS is almost exactly equidistant between our low projection and the final average.  

Obviously we are more optimistic about Ludwick's future than the "machine" projections—in aggregate, I guess, we saw something in the 2008 Ludwick that we're certain is real, even though it isn't contained within his recent numbers up to that point. 

Here's the pertinent table. High OPS honors go to Cards Fan in Chitown; low OPS was courtesy jd is legend, who was surprisingly the only participant to dip below a .500 slugging percentage. 

AB H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG OPS
HIGH OPS 543 169 43 121 .311 .402 .569 .971
LOW OPS 385 107 16 78 .278 .344 .496 .840
HIGHS 595 174 44 123 .311 .402 .600 .971
2008 538 161 37 113 .299 .375 .591 .966
ZiPS 456 125 26 85 .274 .347 .522 .869
VEB 518 148 31 101 .285 .360 .537 .897

Interesting, useless fact: in terms of OPS, and the way that OPS is divided, the most similar hitter since 2000 might be the 2001 version of our very own Troy Glaus. Of course, he did it a lot differently; that year Glaus hit .250/.367/.531, with 41 home runs and 107 walks. A less Three True Outcomes-y season is Carlos Lee 2006; that year El Caballo hit .300/.355/.540 between Milwaukee and Texas. 

That's the kind of player that congregates around the .900 OPS mark, stars-but-not- superstars. I don't think anybody would mind if Ryan Ludwick, who basically cost the Cardinals airfare to Spring Training back in 2007, were just a star.

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At the P-D they've put together a bloggy roundtable discussing the Cardinals' place in the late-bloomer free agent market. Surprisingly—to me, at least—three of the four writers, none of them Derrick Goold, think a starter is more important than a reliever; apparently Mozeliak wasn't alone on that side of the ledger.

The longer things drag along the more likely it seems that the Cardinals are destined to end up with Joe Strauss's pick, Jon Garland, who fits the depth-pitcher profile the Cardinals are after almost disturbingly well, the notable exception being that he might not be a very good pitcher any more. Unless he's a Duncan Project, which would mean he isn't the Big Free Agent Move the DeWallet contingent wants, and the Cardinals are convinced he'll do better than he has in the last two years, he combines Joel Pineiro's marginal talent and nosediving strikeout rate with Jeff Suppan's durability. That's better than the AAA option when Carpenter or somebody else goes down, but it's not much better.

Another travel day for me; more substantial posts to resume soon.