After that negative column by Phil about the awful financial state of the franchise we need some good news so I'll try to deliver.
Many people use many projection systems. I stick with two, the Baseball Forecaster From Ron Shandler and the Pecota system from Baseball Prospectus. Between the two of them I usually get a good idea of what my expectations should be for the year in question. Most of the time I use these projection systems for my roto leagues and they must be doing something right because I'm humbly very good. This is not to say that I take what they say and take it to the bank but I do look at the process. Baseball HQ doesn't just average out the counting numbers, they look at the peripherals that created the counting numbers, they understand hit percentages, park factors, and many other peripheral stats that help make up the counting numbers.
So what does that have to do with the Dodgers? Well I received my forecaster last week and while these are just projections we should like what they say.
1. We love our outfield, well let me tell you, they love our outfield.
Excellent growth season was fully supported by BPIs. BA has now exceeded xBA 4 years in a row. Power surge supported by rise in FB and HR/FB rates. Extending the 2nd half... UP: 35 HR, 120 RBI
A breakout w/full skill support. And he did it despite deep struggles vs. LHers and on road (.238 BA, .389 Slg). PX trend and FB spike say there's more power on the horizon. UP: 40 HR, if he masters LHers.
Before 50-game suspension, his BPI's were otherworldly. After he returned, BPIs reverted to his typical worldly level. From here, it becomes a yearly battle between skill versus age, health and motivation.
Okay we know the outfield was golden. Also remember that HQ only puts those little "UP" details in if they really think that player has a chance for that breakout. So now let us wander down to the infield. James Loney and his future is debated endlessly here. Eric just finished a story this week about how James has to start delivering on the promise he showed in 2006 and 2007. His PX (power index) had dropped from 132 to 117 to 91 to 70 but HQ see's some glimmers of hope.
Carbon-copy production masks some skills growth: a few more BBs, ct% trending upward. With minor recovery in h% and PX, there's a career year lurking: UP: .325, 20 HR
The actual projection is no great shakes but even if you discount the UP they are expecting an increase in the slug% from .399 to .439 (40 points).
Even 2nd base is not as dismal as I'd expected. Like many of us who looked deeper at the DeWitt season in 2009 they found that he suffered from some tough luck.
2-4-.204 in 49 AB at LA Eye provides strong foundation. What if h% was bad luck (30% in minors career)? Then he deserves a chance to recapture other skills. At age 25, has time to do so.
The projected slug% is still low but if the worse that DeWitt can do is put up a .710 OPS it will have to do. As least he's not making several million for that kind of production like Jamey Carroll will be doing. No good news here.
Consistently high LD% has helped him maintain elevated h%. xBA, ct% trending in wrong direction, though, and at age 36, SX is likely gone for good. Singles hitters with no legs have no value.
Now remember when they say "no value" they mean roto wise. Carroll has plenty of value for a bench player in MLB. His projections are nearly identical as DeWitt's except in the slug% where his .313 is about as bad as you can get. He dang well better be able to field.
Rafy Furcal looks to get a little bump back.
Easy to see now that small-sample 2008 was a fluke. 2009 was a repeat of 2007, when SX was just average (and SB variance was all in the opps). 2H provides hope that 2005-2006 can return, but SBO trend points to tired legs.
Most of the improvement is in the expected bump in his slug%.
I expected Casey Blake to get hammered in the projections given his age and health but surprisingly he's holding steady.
Hamstring problems wore him down in 2nd half. Previously healthy, so a winter's rest should fix that. Doesn't usually outperform xBA this much, so expect some BA correction. Skills are aging gently so far.
Finally we come to Russell Martin the focus of much consternation. I have to give HQ some props, they told me in the winter of 2008 that Martin did not have the peripherals to back up the power he showed in 2007. I told them they were full of hooey but they were right. Things like this are why I pay attention to HQ.
Wait, isn't he supposed to be peaking? XB hits in '09 were half of '07 totals, so both size & duration of power outage are worrisome. As a heavily used CA, are double-digit SB next? At least 2H gives a bit of hope.
The news is not exactly good here. He is expected to bounce a little but his projections still leave him woefully short of his Golden God era.
Good thing we have a great outfield. A lot does ride on James Loney moving up his game a level. I'll do the pitching tomorrow.