Blue Jays: 2016 Baseball Musings Projection


The Baseball Musings model and Steamer project the Jays to score fewer runs in 2016.  But is that a problem?

Some years ago, the Baseball Musings website developed a model which would project the total runs a team would score based on the OBP and SLG of the nine batters in the regular order.  In true sabre-geek fashion, I find it interesting/amusing to check in with the model each offseason to see what it projects for the upcoming year.

2015 projection

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The model is of course only as good as the estimates that go into it.  So, as a test, I took the actual stats of the 2015 Blue Jays and put them into the model to see how accurate its projection would be.  The model requires a single standard lineup – it does not allow for mid-season trades or injuries – so for the sake of this test I assumed an “average” lineup of Reyes – Donaldson – Bautista – Encarnacion – Martin – Colabello – Pillar – Goins – Revere.  Note that I put Ben Revere last, as he only had limited time with the Jays so I don’t want to overweight him.

Using this lineup, and actual 2015 stats, the model projects the Jays to earn 5.476 runs per game, or 887 runs for the season as a whole.  Actual production?  891 runs.  Not bad!

2016 projection

Which brings us to 2016.

The table below summarizes the latest Steamer projections and my best guesstimate of the “average” Jays batting order in 2016.

Baseball Musings
Baseball Musings /

I assume that Tulo plays leadoff in more games than Saunders or Travis, and that Travis plays more games at 2B than Goins.  Note that Steamer is notoriously conservative  – in particular, their slugging percentage projections are lower than 2015 actuals for every Jay other than Tulo and Pillar, and lower than 2014 actuals for Saunders.

Using these figures in the Musings model yields a projected run total of 833, 58 runs less than the Jays earned in 2015.

Is this decline a problem?  Well in 2015 a team with 833 runs would have been second only to the 891 run Blue Jays.  An 833-run team would have led the majors in 2014 and 2012, and been second to the BoSox in 2013.  So still easily good enough to make the Jays one of the top offensive teams in 2016.

The bottom line

It is unlikely that the 2016 Blue Jays can match or exceed the outworldly 891 runs scored in the 2015 regular season.  But even if the Steamer/Musing projections are correct, they should still be one of the top offensive teams in baseball.  With even average pitching, they should very much be contenders for the playoffs and beyond.