(Cover image courtesy of Star Tribune)
This past season was the second time I did my own full projections covering over 300 players. In total, that came out to approximately 225 hitters and 100 pitchers. I wanted to get an idea of the overall accuracy of my projections, which of course is difficult if I don’t compare them to other project systems. The problem is, I didn’t project enough players to accurately compare them to the major projection systems. What I did do, is run my projections against each player’s final statistics and calculate the z-Scores for each statistic. For hitters that’s Runs, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP, & Plate Appearances; for pitchers, it’s IP, W, K, ERA, and WHIP. I also eliminated any player that had under 300 PA or pitcher with less than 90 IP. For this article, I’ll only touch on the hitters. I’ll follow up with pitchers in a day or two.
The link to each projection spreadsheet is below. I've used conditional formatting for the Z-Scores where Dark RED is very poor accuracy (high Z-Score), white is an average projection, and dark green is very accurate. I'll highlight a few from both ends of the spectrum below, but make sure to take a look at the link to see the results of the rest of the projections. In the meantime, I've already started my projections for 2019 and plan on doing well over 400.
A few players I basically projected to a "T" were:
Andrelton Simmons (SS - LAA)
Simmons hit for a higher average than I projected thanks to yet another improvement in contact rate. Simmons rarely swings and misses, but he's more of a compiler than anything else. If Simmons hit my 612 PA, he may have gone 12-12 as I projected.
Nelson Cruz (DH - SEA)
Not surprising that I hit on Nelson Cruz. The elder statesman has been a model of consistency for the better part of the last decade. I projected a decrease in power and batting average due to natural age-progression, and that's exactly what happened. Going into 2019, Cruz will be 39, so it's difficult to project better than .250-34-90 this coming year as he hits free agency.
Eddie Rosario (OF - MIN)
Rosario had a nice breakout in 2017 at age-26, so naturally, he should continue to improve, right? Instead, he basically finished with the same results he had in 2017. My projection for plate appearances (592), home runs (24), and steals (8) all were a direct hit! I liked Rosario's value coming into 2018 but didn't expect a skills bump. For 2019, I see regression for Rosario due to a decrease in plate discipline and I'm staying away.
Rhys Hoskins (1B/OF - PHI)
Talk about projections that were all over the map for Hoskins. After bashing 18 homers in 50 games at the conclusion of 2017, I saw anything from mid/upper 20 homers to 40+ homers from Hoskins. There was also talk of a higher batting average given his elite plate skills. The problem was, he hits far too many fly balls and doesn't run well, limiting his BA upside. I had Hoskins at .256 which turned out to be HIGH and almost nailed his HR projection with 37 but he had 50 more PA than my projection. I'll be cautious with Rhys for 2019 and don't think he's a lock to be a top 50 player.
Jean Segura (SS - SEA)
Jean proved me wrong with a .300+ batting average, but everything else worked out pretty nice. Whether it seems like it or not, Jean is becoming more consistent but his upside is relatively limited at this point. Still, a solid player giving you speed which continues to decrease league-wide without complete lack of power. Segura should hold some value for 2019 as flashier players begin to move ahead of him.
Justin Upton (LAA - OF)
After blasting a career high in home runs and RBI in 2017, I figured Upton was due for some regression. Even getting to play a full season hitting behind Trout, Upton was a bit out over his skis in 2017. In addition to the HR/RBI regression, I knew that Upton could maintain another .280 batting average given his high-20s K rate. Going forward, Upton's speed s dwindling and he is looking more like a .250-28-90-7 guy which is useful but could be overvalued in drafts for 2019.
Now for the projections that were so far off, it's hard to fathom how I got there. I'll give it a shot though as I recap.
Carlos Correa (SS - HOU)
Injuries. It's not just that he missed time due to his injured back, he also recently had offseason surgery to repair a deviated septum. In other words, he couldn't breathe well. So, Correa went from hitting .315 in 2017 to a meager .239 in 2018. I think one thing I'm going to do with Correa's 2019 projection is to limit his plate appearances to around 550-575. I see a big bounce-back in average and power but the speed isn't coming back friends.
Javier Baez (2B/SS - CHC)
On the other end of the poor projection spectrum, we have Javy Baez. One of my bust picks finished second in NL MVP voting. Yikes. Well, I discussed Baez' awful plate discipline which he has embraced. I also factored in Manager Joe Maddon's decisions to move players around the field, in the lineup, etc. I figured Baez would see the bench during slumps and that Ian Happ would see more time at 2B. Whoops. The lesson for 2019, never bet heavily against power/speed talent.
Lewis Brinson (OF - MIA)
Speaking of players with the talent of power and speed... Well, I figured the move to Miami would allow Brinson to play every day now that there was no roster crunch like there was in Milwaukee. It turns out, that if you hit .199 with an OBP that's below Giancarlo's weight, you don't get to play every day. My projections weren't even that optimistic, Brinson is just straight BAD.
Logan Morrison (1B - MIN)
Logan Morrison was in the spotlight less than his great-uncle Jim. (That's a Doors reference for those of you who aren't 60 years old). Not much to say here. I knew that the 36 bombs he hit in 2017 wasn't for real but come on Lo-Mo! 15 homers and a .186 batting average?!? Who are you, Chris Davis? It's safe to keep Morrison out of my projections for 2019 and for everyone's sake, hopefully, he retires. Thanks for reading! I'll continue my 2019 projections riiiiiiiiight now!
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