Introduction to LGT Community Projections
Over the next three weeks, I'll be asking you your opinions on how selected Indians will do this season. I'll be giving mine as well, so don't worry, I have the potential to look equally foolish at the end of the season.
The format will initially be fairly crude until I figure out a better way of compiling your projections. For now I'll simply re-type your projections into a spreadsheet, from which I'll track the results during the season. If this takes off, I might be more fancy, perhaps using an automated way of tracking your responses. Afterwards, I'll total and average everything, giving a true community projection, as well as presenting the individual projections for your future amusement.
The projection numbers will be fairly crude as well, using simple counting stats and simple rate stats. My aim is not to have you going to your calculators and formulas to come up with wins over replacement value, but to use basic stats as jumping-off point to discuss how an Indians player will do this season.
Here's the hitting stats I'd like to project this year:
Plate Appearances. These are At-Bats plus Walks plus Hit By Pitch + Sacrifice Hits. In other words, how many times a player walks to the plate in a season. Usually an everyday starter will have 600-650 Plate Appearances in a season, with a league leader sometimes approaching 700 or just a bit more. For reference, Cal Ripken, Jr.'s career high in Plate Appearances was 726. The Indians as a team made 6195 Plate Appearances in 2012, so keep that in mind when you do these projections.
Doubles. A measure of power combined with some speed. The slowest plodders can get a double if they hit the ball to the wall, though faster players can get doubles based on balls in the gap that are fielded before that.Alex Gordon led the AL in doubles in 2012 with 51, and Shin-Soo Choo led the Indians with 43.
Stolen Bases and Stolen Base Percentage. The ultimate measure of speed and quickness. Mike Trout led the league with 49 steals a year ago (with a 91% success rate), and Jason Kipnis led the Indians with 31 and an 82% success rate. I'd also like to include a stolen base success rate; for instance, if you think a player will steal 20 bases and be successful 75% of the time, the projection would look like this:
SB 20 (75%)
Batting Average. The percentage of time a player gets on base via a hit. Miguel Cabrera led the AL with a .330 average, and Michael Brantley led the Indians with a .283 average.
On-Base Percentage. The percentage of time a player gets on base via a hit, walk, or hit by pitch. Joe Mauer led the AL with a .416 OBP, while Shin-Soo Choo led the Indians with .373 OBP.
Slugging Percentage. A sort of weighted average of base hits, where a single is worth one point, doubles two points, triples three points, and home runs four points. This weighted average is divided by At Bats. Miguel Cabrera led the AL in 2012 with a .606 Slugging Percentage, while Shin-Soo Choo led the Indians with a .441 percentage.
I'll cover the pitching projections once I get to them.
I'd like to do at least all the starting position players, the rotation, and the main relievers. That should take us up to Opening Day; if there's more time and interest, I can certainly add some of the reserve players and others on the 40-man roster.
LGT Community Projection: Drew Stubbs
First up on the list is Drew Stubbs. As he's new, it makes sense to give you some background.
Stubbs was very highly-touted prospect out of the University of Texas, and was drafted 8th overall by the Reds in 2006*. He was rated the best college athlete of the draft by Baseball America; he had loads of tools, including a good arm, outstanding speed, and good defensive instincts. All of which have translated from college to the minors to the majors.
Stubbs made Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list in 2007 (#88) and 2008 (#100). In 2008 he started in the Florida State League (Advanced A), was promoted to the Southern League (AA) and ended his season the International League (AAA). He didn't really dominated at any of those stops, but at the same time he wasn't overwhelmed. So by the end of the 2008 season he was on the cusp of the majors; this is hopefully how Tyler Naquin, another highly-drafted college outfielder from Texas, develops, with him being on the cusp of the majors the end of this season.
Anyway, after 472 rather pedestrian Plate Appearances in Louisville in 2009, the Reds called him up in August, and he made his major-league debut at the age of 24. The Reds had a genuine need in center field, for LGFT Wily Taveras was hitting .240/.275/.285. So even though Stubbs wasn't exactly dominating AAA, he seemed a much better option than what was at the major-league level. Stubbs hit .267/.323/.439 over the remainder of the season, and that was more than adequate for a good center fielder. In 2010, his first full season, he hit 22 homers and stole 30, topping the 100 OPS+ mark for the first and (so far) only time. In 2010 Stubbs was a 2.8 win player even with the holes in his swing.
But those holes either got wider in 2011 or else word had got around the National League as to what those holes were, for Stubbs' bat fell off dramatically that year, and even more so in 2012. Drew was still in the lineup because he was a good defender, but he gave the Reds zero on offense, and ended that season with a -0.2 WAR; in other words, he was a replacement-level player who was starting to get expensive.
So it came as no surprise that Stubbs was included in the Choo/Bauer trade this past winter. The Reds, having apparently tired of having a bad offense/good defense combination in center, were willing to try a good offense/bad defense and so they acquired Choo to play center and sent Stubbs to Cleveland. Initially the thought was that he'd stay in center in Cleveland, but after the Indians acquired Michael Bourn, Stubbs was quickly shifted to right.
I think it's a given that Stubbs is going to play an excellent right field, and will cause havoc on the bases when he happens to get on base. For Stubbs is half a excellent player; his bat hasn't allowed him to take advantage of his speed. The Indians have been trying to get him to simplify his hitting stroke, replacing his leg kick timing mechanism (seen below) with a toe tap.
|162 Game Avg.||162||668||144||20||4||20||37||9||58||196||.241||.312||.386||.698||86|
So will the change of hitting mechanics combined with a change of scenery and a chnage in position result in turnaround season for Stubbs?
Here's what ZiPS predicts for Stubbs in 2013, using the stats mentioned in the introduction:
That translates into a 1.6 WAR, which using Fangraphs' scale means a Replacement-Level player. Because of Stubbs' service time (4+ years), a season close to what ZiPS is predicting will mean that the Indians will likely non-tender him at the end of this year.
Here's what Cairo projects Stubbs to do:
Slightly better than ZiPS, but not by much. In this case as well, Stubbs would likely be a non-tender candidate.
Now it's your turn: what do you see Drew Stubbs doing this year? Will be turn his career around, or will he be an NRI in someon's camp next year?
Here's my projection:
I think Stubbs will be a useful player, but he'll present the Indians with a difficult decision when it comes time to tender him a contract.
Now it's your turn: what do you see Drew Stubbs doing this year? Will he turn his career around, or will he be an NRI in someon's camp next year?