Saturday, April 07, 2007

The James gang

Since we got an email box full of feedback regarding our recent look at the Bill James Handbook's projections for the 2007 Red Sox, I figured we should revisit the the numbers James and the Baseball Info Solutions wizards projected for last year's Sox, and find out just how accurate they ultimately were.

One more thing: If you liked our take on this year's Handbook, check out my pal Dave D'Onofrio's James/Sox breakdown in the Concord Monitor. He did it first, starting the tradition before the 2006 season, and he does it better.

Okay, let's break it down . . .

Jason Varitek

Projected: .266 average, 20 homers, 75 RBIs in 492 at-bats.
Actual: .238-12-55 in 355 at-bats.
Comment: Injuries played a part, but they always do in the inevitable and rapid decline of a 30-something catcher.

Kevin Youkilis
Projected: .278-14-68 in 500 at-bats.
Actual: .279-13-72 in 569 at-bats.
Comment: Bingo.

Julio Lugo
Projected: .286-9-61, 28 steals in 597 at-bats.
Actual: .278-12-37 in 435 at-bats.
Comment: How did he drive in just 37 runs? That's an Enzo Hernandez-like ratio.

Mike Lowell
Projected: .269-16-72 in 465 at-bats.
Actual: .284-20-80 in 573 at-bats.
Comment: And I think we'd all be thrilled - and maybe a little surprised - if Lowell matches his '06 comeback numbers.

Manny Ramirez
Projected: .305-45-141 in 587 at-bats.
Actual: .321-35-102 in 449 at-bats.
Comment: It appears the sabermetric dudes are yet to come up with a variable that accounts for a hitter's unexpected late-summer vacation.

Coco Crisp
Projected: .296-13-64 in 557 at-bats.
Actual: .264-8-36 in 413 at-bats.
Comment: His inaugural Boston season was sidetracked by a broken finger, and we're still yet to see the player who was so dynamic in '04-'05 for Cleveland.

J.D. Drew
Projected: .295-25-70 in 444 at-bats.
Actual: .283-20-100 in 494 at-bats.
Comment: I'm curious why James projected 25 homers but just 70 RBIs.

David Ortiz
Projected: .289-40-132 in 589 at-bats.
Actual: .287-54-139 in 558 at-bats.
Comment: The lesson, as always: Underestimate Big Papi's power at your own risk.

Wily Mo Pena
Projected: .259-21-57 in 340 at-bats.
Actual: .301-11-42 in 276 at-bats.
Comment: The ultimate baseball tease: If he can hit .301 while whiffing in one-third of his at-bats, what might he do if he ever learns to make consistent contact?

Doug Mirabelli
Projected: .244-6-20 in 135 at-bats.
Actual: .193-6-25 in 161 at-bats.
Comment: Projections were based on him playing for the Padres. How I wish they still were.

Curt Schilling
Projected: 14 wins, 7 losses, 3.31 ERA, 193 strikeouts in 190 innings.
Actual: 15-7, 3.97, 183 Ks in 204 innings.
Comment: All in all, a fairly accurate prediction of his comeback season.

Josh Beckett
Projected: 14-8, 3.42, 192 Ks in 194 innings, 17 homers allowed.
Actual: 16-11, 5.01, 158 Ks in 204 innings, 36 homers allowed.
Comment: Who would have predicted he'd allow more home runs than Manny would hit?

Julian Tavarez
Projected: 4.18 ERA in 61 innings.
Actual: 4.47 ERA in 98.6 innings.
Comment: His stats would have been worse, but he pitched well in September garbage time.

Tim Wakefield
Projected: 14-13, 4.11, 241 innings, 173 Ks.
Actual: 7-11, 4.63, 140 innings, 90 Ks.
Comment: Oddly, the projections anticipated career highs in innings pitched and strikeouts for the then-39 year old.

Jonathan Papelbon
No projection, because, dude, you just can't foresee sheer awesomeness!

Brendan Donnelly
Projected: 3.14 ERA in 62 innings.
Actual: 3.94 ERA in 64 innings.
Comment: And he'd have met his projections, darn it, had those meddling kids not caught him scuffing the ball the year before.

Mike Timlin
Projected: 3.63 ERA in 74 innings.
Actual: 4.36 ERA in 64 innings.
Comment: The former Mr. Reliable was never right in season's second half.

J.C. Romero
Projected: 4.25 ERA in 54 innings.
Actual: 6.70 ERA in 48.3 innings.
Comment: The 28/31 BB/K ratio was nearly as ghastly as the ERA.

Kyle Snyder
Projected: 4.87 ERA in 39 innings.
Actual: 6.02 ERA in 58.3 innings.
Comment: Am I wrong to think he wasn't nearly as ineffective as the numbers suggest?

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