With the opening of the 2011 Fan Projection ballots I thought it would be interesting to look back at the 2010 Fan Projections. The ballots ask fans to identify their favorite team; this allows us to see how differently players are projected by fans of their team than by the fan community as a whole.
Here I will look at this question for the position players (I will look at pitchers in my next post) who had at least 10 ballots by fans of their team. This left 206 position players. I assumed that players would be projected more optimistically by fans of their team than by other fans, and this was the case. On average players were projected half a win higher by fans of their team, with 1.5 runs coming from higher fielding projections and 3.5 runs coming from higher batting projections. Of the 206 players, only 34 were projected worse by fans of their team.
The difference ranged from 1.5 wins for Colby Rasmus (4.6 WAR by Cardinals fans and 3.1 WAR by everyone else) to -1.3 wins for Mark Teahen (0.5 WAR by White Sox fans, compared to 1.8 WAR by everyone else). In Teahen’s case this might have been because he was traded during the middle of the balloting process and we are counting some White Sox fan’s ballots submitted while he was still a Royal.
Here are those 206 players plotted by their projected WAR by fans of their team and by everyone else. The red line shows were these two projections are equal, those above and to the left of the line have a higher projection by fans of their team, and those below and to the right have a lower projection by fans of their team. I labeled some of the extreme points.
Generally there is broad agreement between the two groups, with most players falling in a one-win band above the red line. That is to say, although the fans of a player’s team are more optimistic, there is broad agreement between the two groups. Interestingly, below-average players (less than two WAR) were the most likely to be projected worse by fans of their teams, with just four average-ish players, Magglio Ordonez, Alberto Callaspo, Ryan Theriot and Jason Bartlett, and just one star, Matt Holliday, projected worse by fans of their teams.
So it looks like fans are generally half-a-win more optimistic about players on their favorite team, but this optimism wanes for below-average players. I will check out the pitchers later this week, until then why not project some of the players in this article?
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