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how did our projections do?

last year, i ran a series of posts looking at CHONE and FANS projections for our position players and pitchers, respectively, and those of other teams. based on those, i judged our team to be among the best in the league, up there with one of the teams playing tonight - the phillies.

what happened?

let's take a look at the original numbers and what actually happened this season.

"actual WAR" presented is from Fangraphs.


matt holliday - projected: 4.9 WAR; actual: 6.9 WAR.

part of that is holliday's excellent/lucky defensive numbers, but he also had a great offensive season. really, his defensive numbers got him about 4 runs above his recent numbers; his offensive numbers were better than any but his shoulda-been MVP season in 2007.

jaime garcia - projected: 0.7 WAR; actual: 3.2 WAR

a big miss here, which it's fair to attribute to the extreme difficulty of projecting rookies, especially ones coming off TJ surgery.

adam wainwright - projected: 5.4 WAR; actual: 6.1 WAR

a miss of 7 runs hardly counts as a miss, but we need something to point to up here. adam had a great season.

dead on

albert pujols - projected: 7.2 WAR; actual: 7.3 WAR

if you look at albert's numbers and holliday's numbers, you can see how the regression to the mean inherent in these projections pulls the projections of elite players down. albert had not had a 7.2 WAR season since 2001, yet that was his projection. the projection systems will never believe superstars are quite as awesome as they are. so a down year for pujols ends up hitting the bullseye in the projection.

colby rasmus - projected: 3.4 WAR; actual: 3.5 WAR

i love these numbers and i hope they keep going up. note that rasmus got this value even counting a horrible, and likely inaccurate, defensive valuation.

weirdly dead on

ryan ludwick - projected: 2.0; actual: 2.4 WAR

this counts as weirdly dead on, because the 2.4 WAR came from only a partial season with the cardinals. of course, the bottom fell out of his performance after the trade, leaving him at 2.1 WAR on the season, given his below replacement value with the padres.

david freese - projected: 1.8 WAR; actual: 1.5

again, weirdly accurate, since he only played 60-odd games with the cardinals.

down years

chris carpenter -  projected: 4.7 WAR; actual: 3.7

i don't really feel at all disappointed with carp's season, but it's interesting that he ended up underperforming his projection by a full win. briefly checking his stats, his K rate has fallen below 7 k/9 in 2009 and 2010, after being over in 2004-06. his walk rate climbed above 2 for the first full season since 2002. not sure that either represents any kind of trend.

yadier molina - projected: 3.5 WAR; actual: 2.6

yadi clearly had an off year with the bat, but it set him back less than a win.

brad penny - projected: 2.1 WAR; actual: 1.1

obviously, we lost brad to injury early on. surprisingly, he made up half his projected value in NINE starts. that injury was such a heartbreaker.


brendan ryan - projected: 2.7 WAR; actual: 1.0

boog had a tough year with the bat. bounce back, brendan.

skip schumaker - projected: 1.6 WAR; actual: -0.2

oh, that hurts to look at, even. terrible, terrible season. 

kyle lohse - projected: 2.2 WAR; actual: 0.7

i admit that there's an injury lurking behind these numbers. still, contrast these numbers with penny's; lohse actually started 18 games. he was out for 40% of the season, but he wasn't very good when he was there. also, i find it a little disturbing that lohse was projected to outperform penny, even by a run. granted, penny was coming off injury, but still.

felipe lopez - projected: 2.4 WAR; actual: 0.1

lopez crops up in the bench section of the post cited at the top. 2.4 was his projection over a full year. apparently he hurt his knee or something at the end of the season.

pleasant surprises

jon jay - no projection; actual: 1.1 WAR

while i didn't include a projection for jay over  a full season in the preseason post, i seem to recall that chone gave him something on the order of 1.1 to 1.5 WAR as a projection.

jake westbrook - no projection; actual: 1.3 WAR

westbrook was a breath of fresh air at the end of a season otherwise going in the toilet.

awful surprises

pedro feliz - no projection: actual: -0.5 WAR

in two months, this guy posted a half a win below replacement value. we batted him fifth, more than once.