Bill James’ 2012 projections: Jays position players


Last week, Fangraphs posted 2012 Bill James Handbook Projections. Here’s a look at James’ projections for the Blue Jays position players:

Jose Bautista: G 157/ .262/.385/.525 /wOBA .383 / 38 HR/ 108 RBI

Lets start with the Jays MVP, who James thinks will have a third straight stellar season. Unfortunately, James believes Bautista’s 2012 will be significantly less productive than his ’11 or his ’10 campaigns. Overall, I think the projected rate stats are way too low. We are talking about MLB’s reigning wOBA leader and I don’t think there is any reason to believe he will drop 58 percentage points in that category. James’ projected SLG% for example, is nearly 100 point lower than his .608 in ’11 and .617 in ’10. BJ’s projected OBP for Bautista is also a whopping 62 points lower than the rate at which he reached base last season.

My guess is that Bautista rate stats fall in between BJ’s projections and his actual ’11 performance.

Yunel Escobar: G 146/ .284/.364/.396/ wOBA .335/ 10 HR/ 51 RBI

Escobar was excellent in 2011, finishing fourth in wOBA and seventh in WAR amongst shortstops according to fangraphs. James expects Escobar to continue to be a near-elite shortstop next year, with numbers that closely resemble his career averages.

The only problem I have with BJ’s projections is the SLG%, which he projects will be just under his career norm (.401). Last year Escobar slugged .413, and his career high in the category is .436 (’09). I don’t see any reason why Escobar’s power shouldn’t continue to develop in ’12. By all accounts Escobar is an extremely strong guy who does have 44 HR in his five year career. I think 15 jacks is more likely in 2012.

Brett Lawrie: G 153/ .284/.337/.495/ wOBA .361/ 22 HR/ 75 RBI

I absolutely love the look of BJ’s projections for BL. A .361 wOBA for a 22 year old would be really special.

What makes me really encouraged by these numbers is the fact that James’ methodology is typically hard on young players. Because it is so rare for 22 year olds to put up such solid stats in the big leagues, a player has to be seriously good to receive those kind of projections from BJ.

Adam Lind: G 144/.268/. 322/ .474/ wOBA .341/ 27 HR/ 94 RBI

I was pleasantly surprised by Adam Lind’s projected stats, as I have become increasingly pessimistic about Lind’s future. I think I have every right to be, after watching the DH/first basemen put up wOBA’s of .309 and .315 over the last two seasons. It just has not been good enough for everyday playing time, let alone the clean up spot.

If James’ is close with the .341 wOBA projection, I will be thrilled. We know he’s capable of it (career wOBA .335/ 09 .394), it’s just a matter of Lind re-figuring out how to lay off of pitches outside of the zone.

Colby Rasmus: G 137/ .255/ .334/ .446/ wOBA .341/ 19 HR/ 56 RBI

A .446 wOBA is solid for a centre fielder with a good glove. But I expect more from Colby Rasmus.

I really don’t get the negativity from so many Jays fans in the blogosphere on Rasmus. The kid was a consensus top 10 prospect in all of baseball just a few years ago, and as a 23-4 year old in 2010 he put up a .276/.361/.498 line with 23 HR. He had a rough season in ’11, particularly during his injury riddled 35 game stint with the Jays, but I expect him to get back to his ’10 form next year.

J.P. Arencibia: G 129/ .231/.281/.457/ wOBA .317/ 24 HR/ 73 RBI

James doesn’t think J.P is going to progress much with the bat next season.He predicts slight raises in each primary rate stat, for a 8 point jump in his wOBA. We’ve all heard of the sophomore slump, but I don’t buy it. I don’t think he’ll ever get on base at a reasonable rate, but he’s got light tower power, and for a catcher, thats really all he needs to be effective.

Edwin Encarnacion: G 115/ .266/. 341/ .462/ wOBA .346/ 16 HR/ 53 RBI

James thinks EE is going to basically match his output from last year. He sees slight raises in both slugging and on base percentage, but he thinks he’ll play in 20 less games. I understand it, as EE has been banged up quite a bit over the course of his career. But I just don’t think there’s really much reason to project it now. EE is slated to be the everyday DH as it stands now, and we know he won’t have to worry about hurting himself while pretending to be a third baseman. I think James is too low on EE’s power, which I believe will culminate in 30+ bombs next year.

Eric Thames: .G 111/ .279/ .333/ .489/ wOBA .353/ 14 HR/ 52 RBI

James thinks Thames’ offense is going to improve significantly in 2012 (’11 wOBA .333/ ’12 .353). The main reason for the spike in production he predicts is power: SLG% ’11 .456, ’12 .489, ISO ’11 .193, ’12 .210. James also expects Thames to raise his OBP by 20 points.

If Eric Thames puts up the rate stats projected by BJ next season I’d be happy. It’s going to hinge on his ability to hit big league lefty’s, as his .209/.242/.395 line isn’t going to cut it. It’ll also depend on whether or not he wins the starting left field job. I’m still pulling for the higher-ceiling of Snider to win out next season, as a wOBA of .353 really isn’t all that productive when you can barely field one of the easiest positions on the diamond to fill.

Travis Snider: G 77/ .271/ .329/ .452/ wOBA .340/ 8 HR/ 33 RBI

Forget the homer and rbi totals- as there’s a huge variable there- the rate stats look… ok. Much better than what Snider put up with the big club last year, anyway. The big question I think, is where is the power? Snider hit really well in the really hitter friendly PCL last year. But he only managed 4 HR in 61 games for an ISO of .153 and a SLG% .480. For a guy with an ISO of .208 in 82 games at age 22 in MLB, it just doesn’t compute. Again, I’m really pulling for “vintage”-(the dream power hitting prospect many of us envisioned) Snider to remerge and snatch the job in left.

Rajai Davis: G 115/ .266/ .313/ .363/ wOBA .303/ 3 HR/ 31 RBI

Well, that would be unfortunate- although James does see him stealing 37 bases.

Barring major injury, Davis’ role is probably going to be very limited (115 games looks high). Although a.303 wOBA really wouldn’t even be good enough for the 4th outfield job.

Mark Teahen: G 69/ .258/ .333/ .384/ wOBA .312/ 3 HR/ 18 RBI

We had to take Teahen’s $5.5 million dollar contract for 2012 in order to bring in Colby Rasmus. I can’t imagine that AA actually wanted him, and I pray that Farrell won’t have to play him.

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Tags: Adam Lind Brett Lawrie Colby Rasmus Edwin Encarnacion Eric Thames J.P. Arencibia Jose Bautista Mark Teahen Rajai Davis Travis Snider Yunel Escobar

  • scottdenbak

    what about jays pitchers and potential free agent pickups

  • scottdenbak

    what about jays pitchers and potential free agent pickups

  • ace frehley

    I love Bill James, but he bases too much on average performance which is weighted with number of AB’s, injury effects etc. He probably is accurate on overall team performance but he’ll underestimate the stars and overestimate the weaker players in my opinion. He’s saving his real info for his bosses in Beantown.

  • scottbarber

    @scottdenbak Pitchers and potential free agents are coming up later this week.

  • ace frehley

    I love Bill James, but he bases too much on average performance which is weighted with number of AB’s, injury effects etc. He probably is accurate on overall team performance but he’ll underestimate the stars and overestimate the weaker players in my opinion. He’s saving his real info for his bosses in Beantown.

  • scottbarber

    @scottdenbak Pitchers and potential free agents are coming up later this week.

  • Mylegacy1

    As Mylegacy sees it (I had to change from Mylegacy to Mylegacy1 here for reasons that only your freakin’ sign in bs understands -’cause I sure don’t) -

    Bautista: I would be over the moon if Jose hits as BJ’s thinks he will. I fear that the second half Jose is closer to what we’ll get going forward than the first half one.

    Escobar: I agree 100% with you – the guy is getting bigger, stronger, slower and I suspect his power may be up by quite a lot this year. Too often he has a little man’s swing. If the guy was batting 6th, and not so worried about getting on base to start the game, I predict he’d easily be over 20 homers.

    Lawrie: Sigh. When Lawrie bats if I have a mouthful of pizza – I don’t even chew until the at bat is finished. Bautista, Delgado, Olerud, Alomar and now Brett – guys I just LOVE to watch with the timber in their hands.

    Lind: Just how much did his wrist injury effect him? How long before it was disclosed was it actually a factor? He could still be Da’ Man…maybe. My continuing concern with Lind is that when asked why things are going good or bad – he basically shakes his head and say’s (to paraphrase) “Dammed if I know.” It bothers me that he doesn’t know what is out, or in for that matter, synch.

    Rasmus: I’m gonna get yelled at…but…I think the kid is just thick and I’m not talking about his body. He acts moody and petulant – more or less like we we told Escobar was – except we could turn Esc around – I seriously doubt we can change Colby. Pity. The good news is Gose or Marisnick will save us from his pouts in the not too distant future.

    JP: JP needs to put all aspects of his game together if he’s to hold of d’Arnaud. That means he needs to grow defensively – and I think he will – and he needs to get his power up to somewhere near what he’s capable of – and I think he will. Look for 30+ dingers, lowish average, lowish OBP. If he ever hits over 265, with his power – look out!

    EE: 16 homers – pshaw. 30 or bust!

    Eric Snider and Travis Thames (the Garth Mulliniks of this era): I think Thames had a pretty good debutant season. I think there is more there and many others think. I also think there is more to Snider than what we’ve seen. Unlikely both are still with us by the all-star break. I supect that Eric Thames wins this battle. At least until on the kids comes up and sends him to Coventry.

    Davis: Late inning LF defensive replacement and pinch runner – good in those roles. If he gets into more it’ll be because a regular got hurt or is being rested.

    Teahen: For a guy who is really pretty awful – he could be worse. I’d be over the moon delighted if other players forced the Jays to eat his 5 big ones.

  • Mylegacy1

    As Mylegacy sees it (I had to change from Mylegacy to Mylegacy1 here for reasons that only your freakin’ sign in bs understands -’cause I sure don’t) -

    Bautista: I would be over the moon if Jose hits as BJ’s thinks he will. I fear that the second half Jose is closer to what we’ll get going forward than the first half one.

    Escobar: I agree 100% with you – the guy is getting bigger, stronger, slower and I suspect his power may be up by quite a lot this year. Too often he has a little man’s swing. If the guy was batting 6th, and not so worried about getting on base to start the game, I predict he’d easily be over 20 homers.

    Lawrie: Sigh. When Lawrie bats if I have a mouthful of pizza – I don’t even chew until the at bat is finished. Bautista, Delgado, Olerud, Alomar and now Brett – guys I just LOVE to watch with the timber in their hands.

    Lind: Just how much did his wrist injury effect him? How long before it was disclosed was it actually a factor? He could still be Da’ Man…maybe. My continuing concern with Lind is that when asked why things are going good or bad – he basically shakes his head and say’s (to paraphrase) “Dammed if I know.” It bothers me that he doesn’t know what is out, or in for that matter, synch.

    Rasmus: I’m gonna get yelled at…but…I think the kid is just thick and I’m not talking about his body. He acts moody and petulant – more or less like we we told Escobar was – except we could turn Esc around – I seriously doubt we can change Colby. Pity. The good news is Gose or Marisnick will save us from his pouts in the not too distant future.

    JP: JP needs to put all aspects of his game together if he’s to hold of d’Arnaud. That means he needs to grow defensively – and I think he will – and he needs to get his power up to somewhere near what he’s capable of – and I think he will. Look for 30+ dingers, lowish average, lowish OBP. If he ever hits over 265, with his power – look out!

    EE: 16 homers – pshaw. 30 or bust!

    Eric Snider and Travis Thames (the Garth Mulliniks of this era): I think Thames had a pretty good debutant season. I think there is more there and many others think. I also think there is more to Snider than what we’ve seen. Unlikely both are still with us by the all-star break. I supect that Eric Thames wins this battle. At least until on the kids comes up and sends him to Coventry.

    Davis: Late inning LF defensive replacement and pinch runner – good in those roles. If he gets into more it’ll be because a regular got hurt or is being rested.

    Teahen: For a guy who is really pretty awful – he could be worse. I’d be over the moon delighted if other players forced the Jays to eat his 5 big ones.

  • Eagles11

    1st LINEUP-Looking through the playoff contending teams lineups each team had 2-4 truly feared hitters. Look at the Cardinals even though they just snuck in to the playoffs they had, Pujols, Holliday,Berkman, the rangers on the other hand had Hamilton,Kinsler,Cruz,Napoli. Now we look at the Jays, we have Bautista and 2 potential deadly weapons in Lawrie and Arencibia, with that being said, the Jays still are 1 to 2 star bats away. If Lawrie and Arencibia turn out to be feared hitters next year, the Jays are still about 1 feared bat away from contending, just speaking of the lineup. With this being said it would seem that Jays will need to have 1-2 more feared hitters in their lineup come 2012. What positions can be filled with players like this, well LF,2B and DH. I know everyone will have their opinions but really is Thames/Snider really the fix in LF?i don’t think so. Is EE the best DH possible for the Jays? I don’t think so. Alot of risk for that position with EE, if AA wants to compete in 2012, EE really needs to step up and hit 30-35 HRs, or totally be replaced by a more reliable DH.

  • Eagles11

    Personally, would like to see the Jays upgrade in LF, be it through trade or FA signing, is Logan Morrison worth the risk, and holding Snider/Thames in the Minors and 1 on the bench, if Morrison comes through, Snider or Thames can be turned around as trade bait.If Morrison fails, hey the Jays just place Thames or Snider back in there. 2nd base would really like to see the Jays trade for Brandon Philliips or Orlando Hudson and Alex Gonzalez is now a free agent would he sign on to play 2nd base? The Jays were the ones to revitalize his career and worst case scenerio KJ accepts arbitration and KJ is back at 2nd base, he should produce between 25-30 homers in a full season with the Jays. Thoughts?

  • Eagles11

    2nd Rotation-The Jays have the Building Blocks to be a power house rotation, Romero,Morrow, are 2 stud starters. If anyone has anything negative to say about Morrow should take another look, this guy has only been a starter for 2 seasons and had 203 strikeouts this past season in 179 1/3 innings, he will be a beast next year. If the Jays can fill in their rotation with a front of the line starter, Darvish,Cain,Gio,Danks, any of these will be an upgrade to what they had last year.All of a sudden the Rotation consists of Romero, New addition, Morrow, Alveraz,Cecil/Drabek/McGowan (or another young starter) that is a Rotation that can contend for years to come. Whoever is out of the 5th man chase can be used as trade bait this offseason…further discuss this on bullpen thoughts. Thoughts?

  • Eagles11

    Bullpen-Looking at what the Jays have going into next season, the cupboard is pretty empty, Jansenn, Litsch, Perez, Villanueva,Carreno. . There are finds out there for the Jays. If the Jays can indeed find that lights out closer, everyone behind him is finally able to feel comforatable in their positions and that blown saves number falls off.I could go a step further and say to go with the lights out closer, resign Fransisco and place him as your 8th inning set up man, give him a defind role to start the season and he would feel that much more comfortable.That would push everyone back once again solidfying the Bullpen and all of a sudden the Jays have their bullpen as a strength not a weakness. Benefit of having Fransico back as set up man is that if the new closer gets hurt, he can step up and fill that void. Potential targets via trade would be, Bailey, Street, Joel Hanrahan, Sean Marshall and Joakim Soria. Now the leading candidates to trade would be Cecil, LH starting pitchers have a little higher value, too soon to give up on Drabek and McGown. so it would seem Cecil will be the leading candidate to be traded, he and a few other pieces will fetch a pretty good catch. Perfect world the Jays sign Broxton to be the set up man and Heath Bell as your closer. Now those 2 additions would be a shutdown bullpen.Thoughts??

  • Eagles11

    1st LINEUP-Looking through the playoff contending teams lineups each team had 2-4 truly feared hitters. Look at the Cardinals even though they just snuck in to the playoffs they had, Pujols, Holliday,Berkman, the rangers on the other hand had Hamilton,Kinsler,Cruz,Napoli. Now we look at the Jays, we have Bautista and 2 potential deadly weapons in Lawrie and Arencibia, with that being said, the Jays still are 1 to 2 star bats away. If Lawrie and Arencibia turn out to be feared hitters next year, the Jays are still about 1 feared bat away from contending, just speaking of the lineup. With this being said it would seem that Jays will need to have 1-2 more feared hitters in their lineup come 2012. What positions can be filled with players like this, well LF,2B and DH. I know everyone will have their opinions but really is Thames/Snider really the fix in LF?i don’t think so. Is EE the best DH possible for the Jays? I don’t think so. Alot of risk for that position with EE, if AA wants to compete in 2012, EE really needs to step up and hit 30-35 HRs, or totally be replaced by a more reliable DH.

  • Eagles11

    Personally, would like to see the Jays upgrade in LF, be it through trade or FA signing, is Logan Morrison worth the risk, and holding Snider/Thames in the Minors and 1 on the bench, if Morrison comes through, Snider or Thames can be turned around as trade bait.If Morrison fails, hey the Jays just place Thames or Snider back in there. 2nd base would really like to see the Jays trade for Brandon Philliips or Orlando Hudson and Alex Gonzalez is now a free agent would he sign on to play 2nd base? The Jays were the ones to revitalize his career and worst case scenerio KJ accepts arbitration and KJ is back at 2nd base, he should produce between 25-30 homers in a full season with the Jays. Thoughts?

  • Eagles11

    2nd Rotation-The Jays have the Building Blocks to be a power house rotation, Romero,Morrow, are 2 stud starters. If anyone has anything negative to say about Morrow should take another look, this guy has only been a starter for 2 seasons and had 203 strikeouts this past season in 179 1/3 innings, he will be a beast next year. If the Jays can fill in their rotation with a front of the line starter, Darvish,Cain,Gio,Danks, any of these will be an upgrade to what they had last year.All of a sudden the Rotation consists of Romero, New addition, Morrow, Alveraz,Cecil/Drabek/McGowan (or another young starter) that is a Rotation that can contend for years to come. Whoever is out of the 5th man chase can be used as trade bait this offseason…further discuss this on bullpen thoughts. Thoughts?

  • Eagles11

    Bullpen-Looking at what the Jays have going into next season, the cupboard is pretty empty, Jansenn, Litsch, Perez, Villanueva,Carreno. . There are finds out there for the Jays. If the Jays can indeed find that lights out closer, everyone behind him is finally able to feel comforatable in their positions and that blown saves number falls off.I could go a step further and say to go with the lights out closer, resign Fransisco and place him as your 8th inning set up man, give him a defind role to start the season and he would feel that much more comfortable.That would push everyone back once again solidfying the Bullpen and all of a sudden the Jays have their bullpen as a strength not a weakness. Benefit of having Fransico back as set up man is that if the new closer gets hurt, he can step up and fill that void. Potential targets via trade would be, Bailey, Street, Joel Hanrahan, Sean Marshall and Joakim Soria. Now the leading candidates to trade would be Cecil, LH starting pitchers have a little higher value, too soon to give up on Drabek and McGown. so it would seem Cecil will be the leading candidate to be traded, he and a few other pieces will fetch a pretty good catch. Perfect world the Jays sign Broxton to be the set up man and Heath Bell as your closer. Now those 2 additions would be a shutdown bullpen.Thoughts??

  • scottbarber

    @Eagles11 I don’t think it would be worth trading for Morrison- or any other left fielder. The Jays should see what they have in Snider and Thames- I really don’t think Morrison would be much of an upgrade, and they’d have to give up something decent to bring him in..

    I know Griffin and other Toronto sportswriters have been man crushing on Phillips- but he makes absolutely no sense for the Jays right now. He’s a free agent after the 2012 season, and would require a big package to acquire. Hudson’s skills are in decline, and Gonzalez was one of the worst hitters in baseball (.241/.270/.372) last year.

  • scottbarber

    @Eagles11 AA has said he’s looking for a starter- and the Jays are said to be “interested” in virtually every pitcher on the market- for what it’s worth. I have no idea what direction they’ll go in. If I was AA, I would probably stand pat and continue to wait for pitchers in the system to develop.

  • scottbarber

    @Eagles11 I think the Jays bullpen will be much stronger next year, just with the guys they already have alone.. I expect AA to do something similar to last year, and go with mid-tier relief FA’s. I also think Francisco will be coming back.

    As for Cecil, I don’t think he’ll be moved, yet. Why trade him when his value is so low?

  • scottbarber

    @Eagles11 I don’t think it would be worth trading for Morrison- or any other left fielder. The Jays should see what they have in Snider and Thames- I really don’t think Morrison would be much of an upgrade, and they’d have to give up something decent to bring him in..

    I know Griffin and other Toronto sportswriters have been man crushing on Phillips- but he makes absolutely no sense for the Jays right now. He’s a free agent after the 2012 season, and would require a big package to acquire. Hudson’s skills are in decline, and Gonzalez was one of the worst hitters in baseball (.241/.270/.372) last year.

  • scottbarber

    @Eagles11 AA has said he’s looking for a starter- and the Jays are said to be “interested” in virtually every pitcher on the market- for what it’s worth. I have no idea what direction they’ll go in. If I was AA, I would probably stand pat and continue to wait for pitchers in the system to develop.

  • scottbarber

    @Eagles11 I think the Jays bullpen will be much stronger next year, just with the guys they already have alone.. I expect AA to do something similar to last year, and go with mid-tier relief FA’s. I also think Francisco will be coming back.

    As for Cecil, I don’t think he’ll be moved, yet. Why trade him when his value is so low?

  • gnor

    @scottbarber@Eagles11

    Villanueva was one of our most effective pitchers last year, and I would not be surprised if he won a spot in the rotation. So you have:

    Starters:

    Romero, Morrow, Alvarez, Villanueva, McGowan

    Pen:

    Closer X, Janssen, Carreno, Perez, Litsch, Cecil, Drabek

    Doesn’t look too bad.

  • gnor

    @scottbarber@Eagles11

    Villanueva was one of our most effective pitchers last year, and I would not be surprised if he won a spot in the rotation. So you have:

    Starters:

    Romero, Morrow, Alvarez, Villanueva, McGowan

    Pen:

    Closer X, Janssen, Carreno, Perez, Litsch, Cecil, Drabek

    Doesn’t look too bad.

  • gnor

    James’ formulas can only predict what a player will do by looking at what he has done in the past. For instance, last year, he had Joey Bats hitting around .250 with 35 HR. There is no provision for a player climbing up the learning curve, hence the conservative outlook on young players. Let’s hope they all exceed BJ’s predictions!

  • gnor

    James’ formulas can only predict what a player will do by looking at what he has done in the past. For instance, last year, he had Joey Bats hitting around .250 with 35 HR. There is no provision for a player climbing up the learning curve, hence the conservative outlook on young players. Let’s hope they all exceed BJ’s predictions!

  • Mylegacy

    @Eagles11 I also think the bullpen will be much stronger in 2012 than many fear. We’ve EIGHT very solid in-house arms competing for the non-closer role: Janssen, Cecil, Litsch, Villanueva, Perez, Carreno, Mills and Beck. The first 6 are near shoo ins for the job.

  • Mylegacy

    @Eagles11 I also think the bullpen will be much stronger in 2012 than many fear. We’ve EIGHT very solid in-house arms competing for the non-closer role: Janssen, Cecil, Litsch, Villanueva, Perez, Carreno, Mills and Beck. The first 6 are near shoo ins for the job.

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