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.

Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson was the main piece the Yankees sent to Detroit as part of the trade that saw fan favorite Curtis Granderson depart Motor City. Jackson’s major league debut went well, as he displayed something between good (UZR) and great (DRS) defense while providing more offense (.333 wOBA, .293/.345/.400 with 27 steals) than some expected. A young player like Austin with a short major league track-record particularly calls for the opinions of informed fans: which defensive figure is closer to his true talent, or are they both off the rails? Was his .396 average on balls in play lucky, or is something like that figure repeatable for him given his speed? Will he develop more power, or will he be a speed-and-defense guy?

In 2009 Matt Kemp looked like he had finally become a star, and apparently started dating accordingly. His 2010 was notably low on awesomeness. He plummeted from his five win 2009 all the way down to a Francoeur-ian 0.4. While much of that was that he was merely average as a hitter in 2010, the more disturbing statistics were defensive: UZR saw him as moving from average-ish in previous seasons to more than two wins below average in 2010, and DRS wasn’t much more affirmative. Hopefully, we the fans can add some insight onto whether or not Kemp’s hitting skills have changed in a way that isn’t easily detected by stats (most of his peripherals stayed basically the same except for his BABIP, which was by far the lowest of his career), and also whether or not he can handle center field. Kemp will only be 26 to start the 2011 season.

Nick Markakis was one of the most valuable outfielders in baseball in 2008, impressing in all aspects of his game: hitting for average, getting on base, above-average power, good range, and a nice arm. He was rewarded with a big, fat contract extension. In the two seasons. In the two seasons since signing that contract, however, Markakis has been just barely better than average according to FanGraphs’ WAR. Offensively, his power has taken a dip, as has his walk rate. Both UZR and DRS record his defensive range as declining relative to average. Markakis isn’t the only young (he just turned 27 in November) Oriole to disappoint the last couple of seasons, but he is the one with the biggest contract — indeed, who thought it would be iffy whether or not he would barely be “earning” the money at this point? Not me. I’m guessing there are a variety of strong opinions on Markakis out there, so let’s see how they are reflected in the fan balloting.

Click here to enter your 2011 projections for Austin Jackson, Matt Kemp, and Nick Markakis.




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Matt Klaassen reads and writes obituaries in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can't get enough of him, follow him on Twitter.


8 Responses to “Fan Projection Targets: Jackson, Kemp, Markakis”

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  1. AA says:

    Kemp’s arm was heavily underrated by the metrics that had him as basically the best throwing outfielder in baseball for the past 2 years. Part of that was his own fault, as he got into a habit of backfooting throws, but most of it appeared due to factors beyond his control.

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  2. AndyS says:

    You guys have to change your interface a little. If I’m not logged in, I have to log in, and then everything I put in was deleted. If I haven’t submitted my team, I have to submit my team, and then everything I put in is deleted. I just had my entries deleted twice. I’m not doing it again, sorry.

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    • filihok says:

      What I’d really like to see changed:

      The ranges on the drop down menus. If I think a guy is going to have a 20% K rate, it’s a bit frustrating to have to pick from 15-19 and 20 – 24. Where’s the 18 – 22 button? A slider would be awesome.

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  3. pedroo18 says:

    I would guess that many analysts will label Jackson with a “sophomore slump” but in reality it will be a BABIP correction. I don’t think a player can rely on a 400 BABIP even one as fast as Jackson. 350 would seems high but believable, 400 I hope it’s possible for him but I would be very surprised to see it.

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  4. twoseamer says:

    Kemp needs to decide if he wants to be a star or just a guy. Either way he’ll earn more money than he likely can ever spend (bad habits not included). The same thing that applies to SS’s as far as getting thick and losing range also applies to OF’s. A guy like Kemp can gain 4lbs a year from age 21-28 and put on 30 lbs of weight, which is going to cost you range. Some may be muscle but again, if he wants to play CF he has to act accordingly. That being said, if I made big money and had the post game spread looking me in the eye every night I’d have to run 20 miles a day to keep the weight off. Just sayin.

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  5. napoleonjr says:

    I feel his sub .300 BA despite his .396 BABIP is a dead giveaway of his hitting capability. Unless he does some serious work on his plate discipline there is no way he can perform anywhere near his 2010 season performance.

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