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Revisiting the projections

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With all the discussion about the ineffectiveness of our offense, I thought that today would be a good time to take a look back at the preseason projections for our players and see which ones are truly underperforming. There seems to be a lot of expectations that many of our hitters will play better as the season goes along. I hope that’s true. Perhaps the projections will tell us whether or not we can expect more from certain players over the next 97 or so games.

I’ve taken the ZIPS, the Chone, and the PECOTA preseason projections for each of the Cards’ position players (except LaRue) and averaged their wOBA. I had to estimate PECOTA’s wOBA based on its other numbers. I, then, figured out the projected wRAA based on each player’s current number of PAs to compare it to their actual wRAA. Run diff. is the run differential between the actual numbers and the projected numbers. A positive run differential means that the player has outperformed his projections and a negative run differential means he has underperformed his projections. To the numbers:

Proj. wOBA PA Proj. wRAA Act. wOBA Act. wRAA Run diff.
Ankiel .348 161 2.20 .314 -2.1 -4.30
Barden .291 112 -3.97 .298 -2.9 1.07
Duncan .354 230 4.39 .331 0.2 -4.19
K. Greene .322 123 -1.10 .266 -6.5 -5.40
T. Greene .276 75 -3.68 .317 -0.8 2.88
Ludwick .365 180 5.13 .318 -1.7 -6.83
Molina .314 230 -3.53 .335 1.1 4.63
Pujols .446 282 28.03 .460 30.5 2.47
Rasmus .326 211 -1.15 .344 2.5 3.65
Ryan .296 143 -4.45 .325 -0.5 3.95
Schumaker .327 235 -1.03 .317 -2.4 -1.37
Stavinoha .300 66 -1.85 .263 -3.7 -1.85
Thurston .312 183 -3.24 .313 -2.5 0.74

According to the numbers – Barden, Tyler Greene, Molina, Pujols, Rasmus, Ryan, and Thurston have outperformed their projections. Molina, Ryan, and Rasmus have all outperformed them by more than 3 runs. Unfortunately, only one of those guys would be considered a vital component to our offense. Most of our most important offensive players – the leadoff hitter and the other middle of the order hitters – have underperformed their projections. I have also, of course, left out Troy Glaus who, if healthy, should have been between 5 and 8 wRAA so far this season. In addition to Glaus’ injury, Ludwick and K. Greene have really hurt the team so far.

All told, the current players’ wRAA is minus 4.55, meaning that our offense has underperformed its projections by about 4.5 runs so far this season. In other words, poor performance – rather than poor players – has cost the team about half a win offensively to this point in the season. The point is that I don’t expect to get a lot more from the offense at least until Glaus returns, assuming he plays well when he does return. We should get some more from Ludwick and Ankiel but I’m not expecting Duncan to turn into a 25-30 homer guy and I think we’re deluding ourselves if we expect Khalil Greene to turn into a productive offensive player. We can hope, but I’d say that anything positive we get from K. Greene has to be considered gravy.

Hopefully, Rasmus and Ryan can continue to play well and hopefully Molina continues to outperform his projections. We can talk about making trades all we want, but if Ludwick doesn’t come around, we’re going to be in a heap of trouble. We shouldn’t expect Ankiel’s ability to get on base to increase materially but we can hope for some more homers. He has just 4 – fewer than Duncan. In fact, it’s fewer than Molina has.

Should we expect a lot more from Skip Schumaker? The projections tell us no. Maybe a little, but not a lot. Duncan? I haven’t seen any indication that he’s going to hit for a lot more power, Monday night’s homer notwithstanding. I don’t see any indication that the Khalil Greene experiment is going to work out. I hope for his sake that it does b/c his mental health is more important than the couple of wins he might provide the Cards’ team. It comes down to needing more from Ludwick and Ankiel and hoping that Glaus returns healthy and productive and that Duncan’s power returns. The first two games against the Tigers have been a pretty good start.