Hitter Rankings with Bill James Projections

Just a few days ago, the Bill James Handbook Projections were added to each of the player pages. Today, I will look at the top projected fantasy hitters going into the 2013 season.

A few items to keep in mind.

1. The projections are provided to FanGraphs by Baseball Info Solutions. Our agreement with them states that the data is only to be on each player’s page and not in one location. If you want the complete data, it can be bought from BIS. Don’t ask for a full list, it can’t be given out.

2. For the rankings, I used Zack Sander’s ranking system to rate the players against all players. I ignored position rarity for today’s rankings.

3. I completed 3 rankings. The first ranking used the 5 values (AVG, HR, RBI, Runs, SB) as the Bill James Projections reported them with no adjustments. The second list, I adjusted all the numbers to 600 PAs and rounded to the nearest integer for ease of reading. Finally, the third list, I used my work from last season that predicts Run and RBI numbers as if the player hit at an average lineup position on an average team. Yes, some player on better teams will have better numbers, but this ranking helps to isolate true player talent.

4. Bill James projections are normally overly optimistic when it comes to setting a player’s talent level. Compare them to other projections as they become available.

Ranking 1: Non-adjusted rankings

Rank Name Position PA HR AVG RBI R SB
1 Mike Trout OF 679 30 0.325 87 122 53
2 Ryan Braun OF 668 36 0.314 112 108 24
3 Miguel Cabrera 1B/3B 682 38 0.331 126 107 3
4 Albert Pujols 1B 690 38 0.305 117 105 9
5 Matt Kemp OF 660 31 0.298 101 103 21
6 Carlos Gonzalez OF 622 26 0.298 96 98 20
7 Prince Fielder 1B 689 37 0.299 114 95 1
8 Josh Hamilton OF 630 35 0.289 114 96 7
9 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 650 27 0.283 109 105 15
10 Giancarlo Stanton OF 584 43 0.284 103 88 6
11 Yoenis Cespedes OF 622 28 0.297 98 84 18
12 Joey Votto 1B 676 27 0.312 97 93 8
13 Jacoby Ellsbury OF 668 15 0.294 67 100 37
14 Justin Upton OF 655 25 0.289 86 106 19
15 David Wright 3B 665 21 0.302 100 94 16
16 Andrew McCutchen OF 675 24 0.286 81 101 22
17 Troy Tulowitzki SS 616 28 0.298 96 94 9
18 Robinson Cano 2B 678 27 0.306 99 100 3
19 Matt Holliday OF 650 27 0.301 101 95 6
20 Anthony Rizzo 1B 659 33 0.283 109 86 7

Ranking 2: Everyone adjusted to 600 PA

Rank Name Position HR AVG RBI R SB
1 Mike Trout OF 27 0.325 77 108 47
2 Ryan Braun OF 32 0.314 101 97 22
3 Miguel Cabrera 1B/3B 33 0.331 111 94 3
4 Giancarlo Stanton OF 44 0.284 106 90 6
5 Albert Pujols 1B 33 0.305 102 91 8
6 Matt Kemp OF 28 0.298 92 94 19
7 Josh Hamilton OF 33 0.289 109 91 7
8 Carlos Gonzalez OF 25 0.298 93 95 19
9 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 25 0.283 101 97 14
10 Troy Tulowitzki SS 27 0.298 94 92 9
11 Allen Craig 1B/OF 27 0.301 105 88 3
12 Yoenis Cespedes OF 27 0.297 95 81 17
13 Chris Davis 1B 34 0.286 100 86 3
14 Prince Fielder 1B 32 0.299 99 83 1
15 Justin Upton OF 23 0.289 79 97 17
16 Mike Olt 1B/3B 30 0.269 114 84 7
17 Buster Posey C 24 0.324 98 79 1
18 Will Middlebrooks 3B 31 0.277 105 80 12
19 Matt Holliday OF 25 0.301 93 88 6
20 Starling Marte OF 16 0.297 70 89 34

Ranking 3: Runs and RBI Normalized

Rank Name Position HR AVG RBI R SB
1 Mike Trout OF 27 0.325 91 91 47
2 Miguel Cabrera 1B/3B 33 0.331 97 97 3
3 Ryan Braun OF 32 0.314 90 90 22
4 Giancarlo Stanton OF 44 0.284 93 93 6
5 Albert Pujols 1B 33 0.305 93 93 8
6 Prince Fielder 1B 32 0.299 94 94 1
7 Joey Votto 1B 24 0.312 93 93 7
8 Buster Posey C 24 0.324 90 90 1
9 Matt Kemp OF 28 0.298 85 85 19
10 Josh Hamilton OF 33 0.289 86 86 7
11 Yoenis Cespedes OF 27 0.297 83 83 17
12 Troy Tulowitzki SS 27 0.298 86 86 9
13 Jose Bautista 3B/OF 36 0.259 89 89 7
14 David Ortiz DH 31 0.283 89 89 0
15 Carlos Gonzalez OF 25 0.298 83 83 19
16 Matt Holliday OF 25 0.301 86 86 6
17 David Wright 3B 19 0.302 84 84 14
18 Chris Davis 1B 34 0.286 84 84 3
19 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 25 0.283 84 84 14
20 Allen Craig 1B/OF 27 0.301 83 83 3

Notes:

1. Mike Trout projects to be the clear #1. The elite number of SB to go with the HR and AVG projects him to be the league’s best player.

2. The projections love Paul Goldschmidt. He looks to be Ryan Braun lite. The issue is that his Run and RBI seem a bit inflated in the non-adjusted table. He drops from 9th to 19th when the Runs and RBI are normalized.

3. When players are adjusted to 600 PA, a few names stick out. Chris Davis is projected to set career highs in HRs and AVG. Newcomers, Mike Olt and Will Middlebrooks are both going to hit 30 HRs. Starling Marte is going to be near a .300 AVG with 34 steals. The projections seem extremely optimistic for these unestablished players.

4. The normalized list is a ranking I would expect to see as it gets closer to draft/auction day. Huge jump for Joey Votto compared to the other two lists.

Most of the top hitters are the same as the past few years, but a few new names are included. On Wednesday, I will look at how the top starters and relievers rank with these projections.




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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

28 Responses to “Hitter Rankings with Bill James Projections”

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  1. csawce says:

    after what has gone on this offseason, still no EE and Joey Bats?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jeff Zimmerman says:

      BJ doesn’t like the Blue Jays players for high Runs and RBI totals. Joey Bats makes the final list and EE was #23 on the final one also.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. The Emperor says:

    So, am I reading this right? Paul Goldscmidt is a first round pick next year?

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    • The Emperor says:

      *According to Bill James that is.

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    • jcxy says:

      Does anyone know the expected number of times that a “regular” player should see a LH pitcher as a percent of his total AB? As a (happy) Goldschmidt owner this year, he always seemed to be facing some crappy Colorado lefty, especially late in the season.

      Goldschmidt’s L/R splits:
      vs L: 172 AB .343/.423/.645
      vs R: 342 AB .257/.326/.412
      (33% of ABs vs LHP)

      For comparison, two other NL power righties in the top 15:
      Braun:
      vs L: 146 AB .363/.435/.774
      vs R: 452 AB .305/.377/.538
      24% of AB vs lefties

      Stanton:
      vs L: 116 AB .302/.369/.655
      vs R: 333 AB .285/.358/.592
      26% OF AB vs lefties

      If you “correct” Goldschmidt’s line to facing lefties only 25% of his ABs, in the same number of AB, this is what it would be:
      514 AB: .278/.350/.470 (.820 OPS) (vs actual .286/.359/.490 …849 OPS)

      The potential issue, obviously, is that if he sees fewer lefty AB as a percentage of his total, any gain from accrued experience, age, growth, etc might be neutralized by his mediocre performance vs righties. Of course, maybe this is an artifact of the NL West and his Interleague schedule and this can continue??

      +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. pete2286 says:

    Taking Mike Olt in the first round. Might try to trade up for Starling Marte in the second.

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  4. josh613403 says:

    Shocked that joey bats is not in the top 20 of any of the three lists. A bit of a joke to be serious

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  5. Patrick says:

    Giancarlo Stanton- 44 Hrs and 52 Rbi’s

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  6. Dustin says:

    Maybe I’m slow, but how were the normalized R/RBI numbers calculated?

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  7. NBH says:

    Wheels are off the Longoria bandwagon

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    • jcxy says:

      wow, and his projection is pretty good, too:
      .273 92 r 33 hr 112 rbi

      yes please! i’ll gladly stomach the PT risk for that kind of third round value.

      .

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  8. Wobatus says:

    These projections always contain some hinky ones. Chris Davis: James projects him to triple slash .286/.340/.532. That’s a higher BA or OBA than he has ever had in a single season, and the slugging is higher than all but his half season as a rookie in 2008. Career line is .258/.310/.466.

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  9. jjeziora says:

    Joey Bats will slug higher than .529 surely in 2013. Encarnacion’s numbers are more fair considering having significantly less body of work hitting as well as he did last year, but still a little low I think. Especially with the additions to the lineup, RBI’s will be higher for both…

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  10. Train says:

    So I should keep Cespedes at $10 over Joey at $20?

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  11. HOLLA(R) says:

    I see that Chris Davis is the new Chris Davis.

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  12. Jackovt says:

    Everybody has to take these predictions with a grain of salt, though Mr. James is probably a completely honest man. He is also currently employed with the Red Sox.

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  13. TangoAlphaLima says:

    Granted, it’s ridiculously early in the season, with only the first week in the books, but Bill James’ predictions on Chris Davis and Will Middlebrooks are looking pretty decent.

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