The Good Projections: Hitters

Looking back on projections is never fun. Why? Because the majority of them are wrong! Every year, the “Bill James Handbook” dedicates a section to their new projections, but before one gets to that section, one gets to sift through a number of hits and misses from the season before. There are always terrific hits as well as some entertaining misses (how could one forget the .302/.352/.599, 40 HR 2009 projection for Chris Davis!). Such is the case for my own projections, though I feel that they have improved each year since I started writing about fantasy baseball late in 2008.

Below are some of the better of my 2011 projections. Keep in mind that, while I’m not showing the bad ones, I am openly admitting that there were more than a few!

Stats are shown as AVG/OBP/SLG, HR/SB, R/RBI

Ben Zobrist
Actual ’11: .269/.353/.469, 20/19, 99/91
Projected: .268/.362/.484, 17/20, 82/85

Billy Butler
Actual ’11: .291/.361/.461, 19/2, 74/95
Projected: .310/.373/.475, 18/0, 79/90
Prince Fielder
Actual ’11: .299/.415/.566, 38/1, 95/120
Projected: .282/.405/.553, 38/1, 98/105

James Loney
Actual ’11: .288/.339/.416, 12/4, 56/65
Projected: .284/.342/.400, 12/7, 70/86

Carlos Pena
Actual ’11: .225/.357/.462, 28/2, 72/80
Projected: .225/.350/.495, 32/3, 73/94

I feel that if Pena didn’t hurt his hand early in the season, he would have broken 30 home runs and perhaps crossed the 90 RBI mark.

Joey Votto
Actual ’11: .309/.416/.531, 29/8, 101/103
Projected: .302/.418/.588, 34/9, 98/108

Votto got pitched around more than I envisioned this season, which is the only reason he’s down a bit in the power numbers.

Robinson Cano
Actual ’11: .302/.349/.533, 28/8, 104/118
Projected: .312/.375/.528, 27/4, 103/100

Cano saw a significant drop in walk rate this season, which led to the sharp drop in OBP.

Alexi Casilla
Actual ’11: .260/.322/.368, 2/15, 52,21
Projected: .257/.311/.378, 2/18, 38/19

Chris Getz
Actual ’11: .255/.313/.287, 0/21, 50/26
Projected: .257/.311/.294, 0/12, 19/13

Getz received about 150 more at-bats than I had projected, due in large part to a disappointing season from Mike Aviles.

Dustin Pedroia
Actual ’11: .307/.387/.474, 21/26, 102/91
Projected: .300/.373/.477, 15/21, 112/76

Jacoby Ellsbury entrenched himself as the everyday leadoff hitter once again this season, allowing Pedroia to move around in the order a bit. He batted second, third or fourth for most of the season, leading to an extra boost in RBI. Though my projections were a bit light in those categories, I did suggest, on March 1st, that Pedroia could be headed for a career year.
Neil Walker
Actual ’11: .273/.334/.408, 12/9, 76/83
Projected: .276/.336/.432, 16/9, 70/68

Rickie Weeks
Actual ’11: .269/.350/.468, 20/9, 77/49
Projected: .262/.347/.453, 22/7, 88/74

Howie Kendrick
Actual ’11: .285/.338/.464, 18/14, 86/63
Projected: .295/.338/.435, 12/13, 69/72

Obviously, the power numbers shot up a tick for Kendrick in 2011, which threw this projection off in that department.

Maicer Iztruis
Actual ’11: .276/.344/.388, 5/9, 51/38
Projected: .281/.340/.378, 5/10, 56/36

Aramis Ramirez
Actual ’11: .306/.361/.510, 26/1, 80/93
Projected: .285/.352/.512, 28/0, 72/88

A-Ram batted .241/.294/.452 in 2010, so it was hard to imagine him hitting .300, especially since he would be turning 33 this season. So, while I did predict a bounce-back season, I actually underestimated just how big of a bounce-back it would be.

Mark Reynolds
Actual ’11: .221/.323/.483, 37/6, 84/86
Projected: .233/.332/.525, 40/10, 84/93

Brandon Wood
Actual ’11: .216/.270/.340, 7/0, 26/31
Projected: .214/.288/.402, 7/2, 26/21

Rod Barajas
Actual ’11: .230/.287/.430, 16/0, 29/47
Projected: .236/.282/.422, 15/0, 43/52

Carlos Ruiz
Actual ’11: .283/.371/.381, 6/1, 49/40
Projected: .274/.373/.433, 8/0, 42/46

I was off on the AVG by .009 points, but the drop in SLG really caught me off guard. Ruiz had slugged 420 or better in his prior two seasons.

Josh Thole
Actual ’11: .268/.345/.344, 3/0, 22/40
Projected: .266/.354/.370, 4/2, 34/39

Roger Bernadina
Actual ’11: .243/.301/.362, 7/17, 40/27
Projected: .244/.299/.369, 7/10, 41/29

Carlos Gonzalez
Actual ’11: .295/.363/.536, 26/20, 92/92
Projected: .293/.355/.546, 29/24, 98/105

Adam Jones
Actual ’11: .280/.319/.466, 25/12, 68/83
Projected: .279/.327/.453, 21/11, 80/74

Josh Hamilton
Actual ’11: .298/.346/.536, 25/8, 80/94
Projected: .308/.373/.524, 29/7, 91/97

Aside from the OBP, this projection was pretty darn close. If he had just five more hits on the season, he would have hit my projected .308 AVG. The coolest part of my projection? Hamilton had 487 at-bats this season, I projected 489.

Mike Stanton
Actual ’11: .262/.356/.537, 34/5, 79/87
Projected: .255/.330/.510, 34/5, 84/92

Well, I nailed the HR/SB numbers, but Stanton outperformed my expectations in terms of his plate discipline, showing significant improvement in his BB/K ratio.

B.J. Upton
Actual ’11: .243/.331/.429, 23/36, 82/81
Projected: .249/.328/.435, 20/43, 93/72

Justin Upton
Actual ’11: .289/.369/.529, 31/21, 105/88
Projected: .288/.360/.484, 28/22, 85/91

Will Venable
Actual ’11: .246/.310/.395, 9/26, 49/44
Projected: .239/.316/.412, 14/25, 62/55

Elvis Andrus
Actual ’11: .279/.347/.361, 5/37, 96/60
Projected: .270/.348/.322, 3/38, 94/43

Yuniesky Betancourt
Actual ’11: .252/.271/.381, 13/4, 51/68
Projected: .261/.292/.377, 10/2, 67/60

Alcides Escobar
Actual ’11: .254/.290/.343, 4/26, 69/46
Projected: .273/.318/.338, 4/27, 65/43

Alcides continues to show small improvements, but his plate discipline might make it hard to envision him ever hitting .290-.300. My projected AVG was the biggest miss here and may end up ultimately being his ceiling once (if) everything clicks.

Jimmy Rollins
Actual ’11: .268/.338/.399, 16/30, 87/63
Projected: .267/.327/.418, 17/32, 86/64

Troy Tulowitzki
Actual ’11: .302/.372/.544, 30/9, 81/105
Projected: .303/.374/.555, 30/14, 98/104

Yunel Escobar
Actual ’11: .290/.369./413, 11/3, 77/48
Projected: .291/.362/.414, 12/5, 68/63

Travis Hafner
Actual ’11: .280/.361/.449, 13/0, 41/57
Projected: .278/.370/.453, 15/0, 45/54