Archive for Fan Projection Targets

FAN Projection Targets: Five Rookie-Eligible Pitchers

Last week, FanGraphs CEO and founder David Appelman announced that the ballots for the 2014 FAN Projections are now available for the tender ministrations of this site’s readership. With a view to ensuring that all notable players are addressed sufficiently — and also to producing content while managing editor Dave Cameron is away this week on a pleasure vacation — the present author is highlighting certain players who are lacking in ballots.

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FAN Projection Targets: Five Rookie-Eligible Batters

Last week, FanGraphs CEO and founder David Appelman announced that the ballots for the 2014 FAN Projections are now available for the tender ministrations of this site’s readership. With a view to ensuring that all notable players are addressed sufficiently — and also to producing content while managing editor Dave Cameron is away this week on a pleasure vacation — the present author is highlighting certain players who are lacking in ballots.

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FAN Projection Targets: Five Cuban Emigrants

Last week, FanGraphs CEO and founder David Appelman announced that the ballots for the 2014 FAN Projections are now available for the tender ministrations of this site’s readership. With a view to ensuring that all notable players are addressed sufficiently — and also to producing content while managing editor Dave Cameron is away this week on a pleasure vacation — the present author is highlighting certain players who are lacking in ballots.

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FAN Projection Targets: Five Players Returning from Injury

Last week, FanGraphs CEO and founder David Appelman announced that the ballots for the 2014 FAN Projections are now available for the tender ministrations of this site’s readership. With a view to ensuring that all notable players are addressed sufficiently — and also to producing content while managing editor Dave Cameron is away this week on a pleasure vacation — the present author is highlighting certain players who are lacking in ballots.

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FAN Projection Targets: Some Very Compelling Starters

Last week, FanGraphs CEO and founder David Appelman announced that the ballots for the 2014 FAN Projections are now available for the tender ministrations of this site’s readership. With a view to ensuring that all notable players are addressed sufficiently — and also to producing content while managing editor Dave Cameron is away this week on a pleasure vacation — the present author is highlighting certain players who are lacking in ballots.

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FAN Projections: Some Other Third Basemen

Recently I was reflecting on just how historically stacked third base seems to have been in the 1970s. Brooks Robinson and Ron Santo were nearing the end of their careers, but still had some good years left. George Brett and Mike Schmidt were famously taken back-to-back in the 1971 draft (that’s right, any team in baseball — including the Royals and Phillies, could have had them both) and while both initially struggled, well, do I even need to finish that thought? Graig Nettles, Darrell Evans, and Buddy Bell were all active and all have at least somewhat compelling Hall of Fame cases. And that is without getting into other third basemen who had excellent careers like Sal Bando and Ron Cey.

The position is not nearly as stacked these days, but there are obviously a number of excellent players, from the big guns in the New York and Boston to the young superstars in Tampa Bay and Washington to underrated guys in Cincinnati and Texas. But those sorts of players will probably get plenty of Fan Projections. Today, I want to take a look at less-scrutinized, but still interesting, third base situations that deserve your input — those of the Orioles, White Sox, and Angels.

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FAN Projection Targets: AL West Second Basemen

Wendy and Matt have already covered the NL West and AL Central, so let’s continue to show that we here at FanGraphs are not subject to East Coast bias and look at the other set of second baseman on the left coast: the AL West. Due to the presence of the A’s and Mariners, the AL West does not generally project as a strong offensive division, but second base is the exception with two All-Stars, a potential star, and the younger brother of an All-Star second baseman. Let us know how you think these players will perform next year.

Texas has the most well established player in the division in Ian Kinsler, a player with a strong walk rate and excellent power for his position. Last season, he posted the 4th highest WAR total in the American League on the strength of a .370 wOBA. Pretty impressive considering his .243 BABIP was 39 points below his career average. The big factor was that he eclipsed 650 plate appearances for the first time in his career. No one has ever doubted Kinsler’s talent level – for his career he has posted 4.64 WAR per 650 plate appearances – just his durability. This is the big question going into 2012, along with whether he can maintain his power while simultaneously raising his BABIP. It may be a coincidence, but the two seasons in which he has posted an ISO above .220, he has had BABIP’s of .241 and .243. All of his other seasons have resulted in ISO’s below .200, and BABIP’s ranging from .279 to .334. Read the rest of this entry »


FAN Projection Targets: NL West Second Basemen

There are some crazy-good ballplayers who ply their trade at second base. There’s Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Chase Utley, Howie Kendrick, Brandon Phillips, Robinson Cano, and Ben Zobrist. There are other good — if not crazy-good — second basemen, like Rickie Weeks and Danny Espinosa. None of these good-to-crazy-good second basemen plays for a team in the National League West.

Which raises two interesting questions:

  • Who will play second base in the National League West in 2012?
  • How do you think they’ll perform?

In other words, it’s time to get in your 2012 Fan Projections for NL West second basemen.

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FAN Projection Targets: Sophomore Relievers

Fan Projection Target season is upon us, a time for FanGraphs readers to show those computers what’s what and out-project them using only intuitive genius. In past seasons, relievers have sometimes suffered from a relative lack of ballots, and while I am not sure this is true of all the relievers mentioned below, it might be a good place to start getting into projecting bullpens. How will some notable 2011 rookie relievers fare in 2011?

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FAN Projection Targets: Catchers in the News

As site founder and iron-fisted ruler David Appelman noted this morning, the beginning of December heralds the arrival of FAN Projection ballots to the site.

It also heralds the arrival of posts like this one, in which we, the authors of FanGraphs, attempt to coerce you, the readership, into casting votes for two or three select players.

Today, we look at three catchers whose fates are linked: Ramon Hernandez, Chris Iannetta, and Devin Mesoraco.

The 35-year-old Hernandez signed a two-year, $6.5 million contract with the Rockies on Wednesday after three years with the Cincinnati Reds.

Hernandez’ arrival in Denver was made possible by the departure of Iannetta, whom the Rockies sent to the Angels — also on Wednesday — in exchange for right-hander Tyler Chatwood.

Hernandez was made redundant in Cincinnati by the development of the 23-year-old catching prospect Mesoraco. Mesoraco made only 53 plate appearances with the major-league club in 2011, but is more than likely to assume starting duties in 2012.

Click here to enter projections for the catching triumvirate.


FanGraphs Power Rankings – 5/2/11

Welcome to the latest feature here at FanGraphs – our take on the Power Rankings that nearly every website in existence publishes, only with our own little twist.

In an effort to make this quantitative (that’s what we do around here, after all), we’re combining objective measures of 2011 performance with some subjective wisdom from our FanGraphs crowd. To this end, we’ve created a weighted system based on three factors — a WAR-based 2011 winning percentage (essentially, WAR/G shown as a winning percentage, or WAR% for short); the preseason Fan’s Standings determined from readership input ( which we’ll call FAN% for short); and the number of games each team has played. The two winning percentages are combined to create TOTAL%, on which the Power Rankings are based.

A team’s WAR% is given weighting equal to the percentage of 2011 season that the team has played. Right now, teams fall in the 15-18% range, as they have played between 26 and 29 games. As the season progresses — and we learn more about each team’s true level of talent — the WAR% will receive a greater weight with the FAN% receiving less weight. This system essentially acts as a built-in regression for current performance so that we don’t overreact to small samples of data, but it also allows for how teams have done to influence our evaluations of their abilities.

We think that our system can avoid doing crazy things like anointing the Indians the third-best team in baseball (where they score this week in WAR%), when the crowd initially thought Cleveland would be the 27th best team in the game. We’ll still acknowledge that the Indians’ performance has improved over the team’s expected performance going forward.

Our week will be Monday through Sunday, so expect each new installment on Monday afternoon. As always, we want to know what you think, so be sure to let us know in the comments.

1. New York Yankees: WAR% – .682 (2), FAN% – .580 (2), TOTAL% – .596
Despite quietly getting off to a great start — thanks to some unlikely contributions — those covering the Yankees still want you to think that the sky is falling.

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Groundballs, Flyballs, and Freeps: Low-K Starters

What is the one “thing” we associate with pitchers? For me, and I imagine for many others, it is strikeouts. Preventing runs or getting outs are more accurate general descriptions of the pitcher’s primary task. But when I think of good pitchers, the first thing I think of is strikeouts. As we know, however, there are many pitchers who succeed without getting many strikeouts. Let’s take a look at some of 2010’s relatively successful starting pitchers with low strikeout rates, and see how they might fare in 2011.

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Second Base Central

Second basemen tend to be overlooked. Chase Utley‘s relatively low profile despite arguably being the best non-Pujols position player in baseball for the past half-decade is just one glaring example. Maybe it’s because it isn’t a star-studded position in general, because the defensive standouts at shortstop get more attenion, or because of the superior hitters on the infield corners. What this means for FanGraphs is that the number Fan Projections for second basemen tend to be relatively low, especially for the players on the lower end of expectations. So let’s take a look at some second base candidates from the teams of the (equally overlooked) American League Central and see how you think they will do in 2010.

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Some Other Rays

How’s this for a hackneyed-and-obvious opening: the Tampa Bay Rays aren’t going to sneak up an anyone anymore. Two division titles in three years, arguably the best front office in baseball, a 25-year old third baseman who is already one of the best players in baseball, and a farm system that continues to be one of the best around will do that. Despite their budget issues and the depature of Carl Crawford for divisional rival Boston, Tampa Bay isn’t packing it in for 2011, as exemplified the impressively affordable acquisitions of Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. But it can’t all be about Evan Longoria, Damon (I hear he’s always wanted to be a Ray!), Manny, Jeremy Hellickson, and the rest. There are some less-frequently-discussed Rays who are going to have to produce in 2011 if Tampa Bay is going to make another run at the playoffs. How well (and how much) do you think these players will play in 2011?

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More Than Longoria

Since his debut in 2008, Evan Longoria has been one of the most valuable players in baseball according to Wins Above Replacement. Even scarier: Evan Longoria is only 25. But the main reason he’s most likely going to be at the top of Trade Value Leaderboard again this season is his ridiculous contract. The contract has been discussed many times, so I’ll just list the years and payouts of his contract as reported at Cot’s (in millions of dollars): 2008: $0.5, 2009: $0.55, 2010: $0.95, 2011: $2, 2012: $4.5, 2013: $6, 2014: $7.5 club option ($3 buyout), 2015: $11M club option, 2016: $11.5M club option.

There is no need to repeat how incredible the contract is for the team, the circumstances under which it was signed, or the effect it might have had on agent malpractice insurance premiums. It is generally understood that when pre-arbitration players get “locked up,” the contracts are almost always favorable to the team. Such players will be paid far less than less-talented, older players on the free agent market. However, for a different perspective on how much value this contract gives Longoria, let’s take a look at some of the lesser free agents of 2011 who will be getting paid more than Longoria in the coming season, while giving readers a chance to weigh in on how they are likely to perform.

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Projecting Joel Pineiro’s 2011 Season

It has been a long road back for Joel Pineiro. After producing two excellent seasons for the Mariners in 2002 and 2003 he began a swift decline. It started with an elbow injury in 2004 and continued through 2008. During that time he had pitched for three teams, though his last destination, St. Louis, appeared the most attractive. That’s where he worked under the tutelage of pitching coach Dave Duncan. A year and a half after acquiring Pineiro from the Red Sox, the Cardinals found they had struck gold. He pitched 214 innings in 2009 and finished with a 3.49 ERA.

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Fan Projection Targets: Ground-Ball Pitchers

The 2011 Fan Projections are proceeding apace, but there are plenty of players who need more ballots cast. Today I’d like to highlight some of the starting pitchers who had the highest ground-ball rates of 2011 for your predictive attention.

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Fan Projection Targets: New Strikeout Wizards

As I stated in my piece on Craig Kimbrel earlier this week, I’m a big fan of high-strikeout pitchers. Much like Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen, John Axford, and Chris Sale burst onto the Major League scene as strikeout wizards last season.

Kenley Jansen struck out 41 and walked 15 in 25 relief innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. He posted a 1.82 FIP, but that was largely based on the fact that he didn’t allow a single home run. High walk rates and high strikeout rates are nothing new for Jansen. In his three minor league stints, he struck out at least 14 per nine innings, and in two of them he walked at least five hitters per nine innings. The question isn’t so much if he can continue to strike batters out as much as if he can weather the inevitable home runs he will allow, particularly if his 34% ground ball rate continues.

John Axford led all NL rookies in saves last year as he took over for the corpse of Trevor Hoffman. He struck out 76 batters in 58 innings at the Major League level, which doesn’t put him at Carlos Marmol levels but does rank 11th among all pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched. Strikeouts were never a problem for Axford in either the Yankees system or with the Brewers; in every stint in which he wasn’t used as a starter, Axford struck out at least 10 batters per nine innings. Whereas with Jansen the issues were with the home run, Axford will have to avoid the walk to remain successful in 2011: he walked at least 5 batters per nine innings in all but one stint (only 4 appearances) in the minor leagues.

Chris Sale has all of 32.1 professional innings to his name, with 23.1 of them coming at the MLB level with the Chicago White Sox last season. Sale struck out 32 batters in those 23.1 innings to go along with 19 in his 10.1 minor league innings. Sale posted a 2.74 FIP, but unlike the other pitchers on this list he has so little experience that he’s still a big mystery. Further, the possibility remains that Sale will move from the bullpen to the starting rotation, which will probably put a damper on those big strikeout numbers.

What do you think? Click here to enter your projections for Kenley Jansen, John Axford, and Chris Sale.


Fan Projections: Getting to Second Base

A quick glance at the 2010 WAR leaders at second base proves just how difficult it can be to project baseball players over a given season. Now that FanGraphs has launched their Fan Projection pages for the upcoming season, you can put your knowledge to the test against those pesky computer projections. As fans, it’s your duty to stop the inevitable machine uprising by proving humans are superior to their machine counterparts. Today, we will look at four second basemen that ended up in unfamiliar places on the WAR leader boards last season.
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Fan Projection Targets: Jackson, Kemp, Markakis

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right, it is time for the hardcore fans who visit this site to show they can do better than some dumb computer program and project what players will do in 2011. The projection targets offered for your consideration this afternoon are three outfielders facing different sorts of questions going into the next season: the Tigers’ Austin Jackson, the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, and the Orioles’ Nick Markakis.

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