Were 2018 Stat Projections Correct? – Jay Bruce

Every spring I collect several projections sources and average them together to do a meta-projection. Last year I pulled projections from Baseball Prospectus, ZiPS, Steamer, ESPN, and Baseball Reference.

Jay Bruce came to the Mets last year as a major free agent signing, despite not making sense. The Mets just traded him the season before and then resigned him even though they needed a center fielder and Bruce is an extreme-corner outfielder. Then the Mets couldn’t get their first base situation right, so Bruce saw time there. But how did he do against computer projections?

2018 Average Projection: 557 PA, 521 AB, 119.5 H, 29.4 HR, .243/.313/.477
2018 Actual: 361 PA, 319 AB, 71 H, 9 HR, .223/.310/.370

Jay Bruce was battling injuries for most of last season, thus leading to a decrease in ABs but even with that his numbers took a massive slide, more so than the computers projected. The computers saw a drop (you can see that here), but he ended up hitting 20 points below average and fell over 100 points in slugging (although is OBP was strangely accurate).

Jay Bruce had a great year in 2017, he hit 36 homers, 29 for the Mets. It just wasn’t his year last year. We wish him the best!

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Were 2018 Stat Projections Correct? – Travis d’Arnaud

Every spring I collect several projections sources and average them together to do a meta-projection. Last year I pulled projections from Baseball Prospectus, ZiPS, Steamer, ESPN, and Baseball Reference.

I debated about writing this article. Travis d’Arnaud only had 16 plate appearances last season, so even if his slash numbers were the same as the average predicted line, it would statistically insignificant. By the Mets trading Plawecki and keeping d’Arnaud (for now) they are signaling that see Travis as member of their 2019 roster. We are also going to do a 2019 preview series later in the winter / early spring so the data in this article was going to be collected anyway.

Besides, it costs nothing to write an article, half asleep at 5:14 in the morning, so why not.

2018 Average Projection: 404 PA, 334 AB, 86 H, 14 HR, .245/.311/.433
2018 Actual: 16 PA, 15 AB, 3 H, 1 HR, .200/.250/.400

You can see the break down of projections here.

Travis is a career .245/.306/.406 hitter. My key take away from his projectile line last year was computer programs saw him getting on base slightly more and showing more power. With very little playing time last year, and a reduced role on the field, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the year that more programs start to see Travis put up lines worse than his career line. This is what we’ll be looking for as we get ready for 2019 preview articles.

There’s also the chance that Travis can be traded. If he can cross the albatross of injuries he’s endured, he has quite a bit of pop and can still be a special player in a position where there aren’t many special players. Maybe a team wants to roll the dice on that. Maybe the Mets want a more veteran presence as a back up backstop. Time will tell.

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Were 2018 Stat Projections Correct? – Brandon Nimmo

Every spring I collect several projections sources and average them together to do a meta-projection. Last year I pulled projections from Baseball Prospectus, ZiPS, Steamer, ESPN, and Baseball Reference.

When we wrote the projection article last year, Brandon Nimmo was just emerging as being saved in trade talks. For a chunk of time in January (before the Frazier signing), it looked like the Mets were going to deal Nimmo for to the Pirates for Harrison. When the season started, the Mets struggled to find Nimmo playing time in the outfield consistently (this was before the Cespedes injury and the Bruce at first experiment). Then Nimmo messed around and almost had an All-Star year:

2018 Average Projection: 427 PA, 250 AB, 70 H, 8 HR, .246/.339/.380
2018 Actual: 535 PA, 433 AB, 114 H, 17 HR, .263/.404/.484

(The difference between his PA and AB in the projections is due to some programs that previewed PAs seeing a lot more playing time than those which only project ABs)

Here’s what the projections got right: Nimmo was going to get on base a lot more times by walking than getting hits.

That’s where the being right stops. Nimmo hit for average nearly 20 points higher than projected, got on base over 50 points higher than projected and slugged more than 100 points than projected. Nimmo had a ridiculous year making him a key player for 2019 (and reason why Mets fans were complaining about possible Realmuto trades that involved him).

There was one program though that projected Nimmo out correctly for everything except playing time: Baseball Reference. They saw Nimmo hitting .264/.356/.421, his best slash line compared to all other programs. Next year they having him hitting .262/.380/.447.

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Were 2018 Stat Projections Correct? – Dominic Smith

Every spring I collect several projections sources and average them together to do a meta-projection. Last year I pulled projections from Baseball Prospectus, ZiPS, Steamer, ESPN, and Baseball Reference.

At the start of the season, the Mets made things really difficult for Dominic Smith. They brought in Gonzalez (that was a fun month) and suggested that Bruce could play first. Eventually Dominic got his time to shine in Queens, but never really ran with it, but also the Mets kept trying out other people at first. It didn’t help that Alonso off in the minors was having a career year.

But was Dominic’s short time up in the majors as bad as we collectively remember it? Was it accurate compared to projections?

2018 Average Projections: 234 AB, .251/.308/.419
2018 Actual: 143 AB, .224/.255/.420

Normally I give PA’s, H’s and HR’s also but two computer programs had Smith playing a full season while the rest of them didn’t so the numbers didn’t make sense to include. You can see the individual projections here.

Smith wasn’t given a fair chance last year, but he was given a chance and performed below expectations (although better than his rookie year of .198/.262/.393). ESPN was the closest, predicting a .242/.292/.379 and Baseball Prospectus was the closest at slugging predicting it at .423.

I’m not sure what’s in the future for Dominic. The Mets have Frazier/Lowerie/JD Davis who can all play first base and then eventually, if not immediately, the Mets will have Alonso. Smith doesn’t really slot in any where else. If the Mets keep him, he probably opens the season as the back up first basemen in Syracuse. There’s a high chance he get’s traded though.

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Were 2018 Stat Projections Correct? – Jose Reyes

Every spring I collect several projections sources and average them together to do a meta-projection. Last year I pulled projections from Baseball Prospectus, ZiPS, Steamer, ESPN, and Baseball Reference.

The way the Jose Reyes signing went down should have told us a lot about how his season would go. He broke the story by posting on social meeting a picture of Citi Field with an emoji that made it seem like some news was going to break. And then he signed a 1 year deal. It wasn’t telegraphed heavily by beat reports before hand outside “we think this is going to eventually happen because the Mets are the only team that want Reyes.”

Reyes was going to be a bench role player. He ended up demanding more playing time, which blocked McNeil for months as he had to wait for Cabrera to be traded. It messed with Rosario’s playing time and almost completely blocked Guillorme.

2018 Average Projected: 438 PA, 306 AB, 85 H, 9.3 HR, .253/.312/.403
2018 Actual: 251 PA, 228 AB, 43 H, 4 HR, .189/.260/.320

No one particular projection program was close on Jose Reyes. Steamer saw the least amount of playing time at 271 PA’s and had him hitting a .249/.309/.388, also the lowest of the group for slash lines (MLB.com had him at a .307 OBP). You can see the projections here.

Every projection program saw Jose Reyes performing at or better than his 2017 line (.246/.315/.413). Obviously Jose Reyes had a significant drop off in performance. He got pulled from the game early on and that will probably, hopefully, be the last time we see him in a Mets uniform.

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Were 2018 Stat Projections Correct? – Kevin Plawecki

Every spring I collect several projections sources and average them together to do a meta-projection. Last year I pulled projections from Baseball Prospectus, ZiPS, Steamer, ESPN, and Baseball Reference.

Originally, this article was going to just review Plawecki’s 2018, and then speculate how the Mets would balance d’Arnaud, Plawecki and Ramos next year. But, the Mets traded Kevin Plawecki to the Indians last week and now this feels more like a good bye, thanks for the memories letter.

Personally, I feel that last year was the first year that the idea for Plawecki was more of a straight platoon than as a back up catcher, the idea of d’Arnaud always being a healthy option was fading.

2018 Average Projected: 248 PA, 217 AB, 55 H, 5.6 HR, .248/.320/.373
2018 Actual: 277 PA, 238 AB, 50 H, 7 HR, .210/.315/.370

Plawecki performed pretty much inline with his projections. He got slightly more playing time, got on base slightly less, but it was pretty close. You can see his individual projections here.

Plawecki came up back when we were all obsessed with d’Arnaud, but as a prospect and college player, Plawecki was a hitting machine. Never for that much power, he just got on base. It just never materialized at the same rate at the major league level. Plawecki was a league average catcher that posted an 88 DRC+ last year. He gave a lot to the Mets and I’m sad to see him go. There was also no way the Mets could carry three catchers on their roster.

Happy trails Plawecki! Enjoy Cleveland!

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Were 2018 Stat Projections Correct? – Juan Lagares

Every spring I collect several projections sources and average them together to do a meta-projection. Last year I pulled projections from Baseball Prospectus, ZiPS, Steamer, ESPN, and Baseball Reference.

Going into last season, the Mets did not have a true center fielder that could play both serviceable defense and handle a bat. The hope was that Juan Lagares, going through a new off-season hitting routine, would be able to step into that spot. Juan Lagares also struggles to stay healthy and that was on full-display last year as Lagares landed on the DL for the rest of the season around May.

2018 Average Projection: 318 PA, 280 AB, .252/.294/.363
2018 Actual: 64 PA, 59 AB, .339/.375/.390
(Individual source projections here)

So Lagares had a tremendous 64 plate appearance stretch last year that makes him look really good against projections. Right now, Lagares playing time is up in the air. Until Cespedes comes back, it looks like he will split time with Broxton as they both spend time with Nimmo, Conforto and McNeil. It is also not entirely certain that Lagares doesn’t get traded because the Mets have Broxton now. Who knows.

Juan has shown flashes of brilliance in spurts of playing time between injuries. Is this season that he’s finally healthy?

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Were 2018 Stat Projections Correct? – Amed Rosario

Every spring I collect several projections sources and average them together to do a meta-projection. Last year I pulled projections from Baseball Prospectus, ZiPS, Steamer, ESPN, and Baseball Reference.

Amed Rosario‘s season last year is an interesting one. For a considerable portion of the season he struggled at the plate. Towards the end of the season, he started to put things together and pull his numbers closer to his average projection line.

2018 Average Projection: 490 PA, 464 AB, 123.8 H, 9.3 HR, .260/.301/.380
2018 Actual: 592 PA, 554 AB, 142 H, 9 HR, .256/.295/.381
2018 Last 42 Games: 186 PA, 177 AB, 53 H, 4 HR, .299/.328/.435

On August 16th, Rosario played both games of a double header and went 7-11 and that kicked off this late push where he started to really swing the bat better (before that day he’s hitting .236/.280/.355 and on his way to a really bad season, especially compared to his projected numbers). While the projections were a little lofty on him, he performed well (especially because of that late push).

The two closest projections where ZiPS and Steamer (which were also two of the projections closest to getting is playing time right as well, the average of which is weighed down from Baseball Reference who saw him playing half the season)

Rosario kicked off the off-season by playing with the MLB Stars team in Japan. He was highly touted for so long, his numbers almost paint a failed prospect due to the New York hype machine and the expectation that every rookie who is highly touted breaks in hitting .300 or 45 homers. Rosario anchored the defense last year, showed that his hitting talents are there.

In 2017 he hit around .240 and projections saw him hit the following year around .260, which he just about did. I’m curious to see what projections expect from him in the upcoming season.

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Were 2018 Stat Projections Correct? – Noah Syndergaard

Every spring I collect several projections sources and average them together to do a meta-projection. Last year I pulled projections from Baseball Prospectus, ZiPS, Steamer, ESPN, and Baseball Reference. Coming into last year, the Mets chances relied on both deGrom and Noah Syndergaard pitching like the aces they could be. deGrom turned out a historic season. Syndergaard pitched a very good season. But how did it compare to projections?

2018 Average Projection: 151 IP, 2.96 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 1.122 WHIP, 10.4 K/9
2018 Actual: 154 IP, 3.03 ERA, 2.80 FIP, 1.212 WHIP, 9.0 K/9

So Syndergaard performed slightly, just slightly, worse than his projections. I would actually call this as an accurate prediction, only being 3.0 innings off his actual total, .07 runs off his actual ERA.

If we dive into individual projections, the story is a little different. Steamer ends up being the closest with an ERA only .07 runs off, and an FIP only .05 runs off. After that every other projection was much lower than his actual line with the exception of one, Baseball Reference, who was much higher (3.29 ERA). This averaged together made a line close to his average.

I’m not sure what this means for next year (Baseball Reference is projecting an ERA of 3.21, an increase from last year’s actual line and only a slight decrease of their projection last year). I’m curious to see how the whole suite of projections handle Syndergaard two years after his injury filled 2017.

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Were 2018 Stat Projections Correct? – Jacob deGrom

Every spring I collect several projections sources and average them together to do a meta-projection. Last year I pulled projections from Baseball Prospectus, ZiPS, Steamer, ESPN, and Baseball Reference. The computers last year were so wrong about Jacob deGrom.

Jacob ended the 2017 season with a 3.53 ERA, up half a run from 3.04 in 2016 which was up half a run from 2015. Computers took a less bullish prediction on 2018, seeing him perform slightly better:

2018 Average Projection: 189 IP, 3.39 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 1.166 WHIP, 9.88 K/9
2018 Actual: 217 IP, 1.70 ERA, 1.99 FIP, 0.912 WHIP, 11.2 K/9

Jacob had a historic season. I forgot how his ERA increased from 2015 to 2016, and then again from 2016 to 2017, so I can’t blame computer programs for not coming close. deGrom was just so dominate last year. When you look at each computer projection program, the lowest projected ERA was 3.31 from ESPN.

The first projection I’ve seen for next year is not low-balling deGrom. Baseball Reference sees him posting a 2.76 ERA with a 1.090 WHIP over the same 189 innings that all the projections last year averaged him pitching. While 2.76 is a drastic increase, it would still be close to a repeat, Cy-Young season.

Out of all of the players we look at this month, I don’t think any will outperform their projections quite like Jacob deGrom.

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