I just got through perusing the Bill James 2010 projections that have been posted on the Fangraphs player pages. Some have suggested that James' projections are fairly optimistic...that may be true generally, but it doesn't seem to be the case with his projections for the 2010 A's position players. Even so, there seems to be a few reasons for optimism next season, if you're a believer in James' method of evaluation. Here are some of the highlights:
Barton - .254/.357/.405/.762 with 5 homers
I think Barton could very easily beat this projection, but not by leaps and bounds. I think his BA and OBP will be a little higher than this and I think he'll also post a higher slugging %. I'm guessing that he'll be more like .270/.370/.420 with about 12 homers. He won't ever be an All Star, but he'll be a decent contributor, playing good defense at 1st and approaching an .800 OPS.
Sweeney - .290/.351/.403/.754 with 8 homers.
I think this is about right for Sweeney. The power just isn't there at this point in his career, and he'll be 25 next season, so if it doesn't come soon, it might never come...like Barton, if he continues to play fine defense, he'll be a positive contributor regardless.
Rajai - .284/.339/.379/.718 with 50 STEALS!
This projection seems about right as well. James has Rajai slipping down to a more-normal-but-still-high .330 BABIP, probably due to his speed. With his defense and speed, I think we'll all be pretty happy if Rajai can put that triple-slash line together next season.
Hairston - .271/.325/.478/.803 with 20 homers.
James projects Hairston to bounce back in a big way. That type of line is definitely what I expected Hairston to do when he first got here. If he can stay healthy, I think he's plenty capable of putting this line together.
Cust - .253/.385/.464/.849 with 25 homers
James loves Cust for some reason. I think this projection is considerably over-optimistic. I think Jack will get-base at about a .380 clip, but with only slug for like .440. I'm projecting more of a .240/.380/.440 line with 25 homers, which is still a nice bounce-back year for him.
Suzuki - .275/.334/.412/.746 with 13 homers
Just about right for Kurt, in my opinion.
Pennington - .251/.338/.338/.676 with 2 homers and 13 steals
Whenever someone posts identical OBP/Slugging percentages, that person is either a Nick Johnson or Bobby Abreu type of on-base machine, or is a Bobby Crosby-ian type of punchless offensive player. I believe Pennington is much closer to being the latter...man, I really wish Beane could have swooped in and grabbed JJ Hardy...I hope Pennington can play pretty damn good defense, because that slugging percentage totally depresses me.
According to James, the A's pitching staff will be pretty damn awesome, with the exception of Cahill:
Braden - 3.94 FIP
Anderson - 3.63 FIP
Gio - 4.61 FIP
Mazzaro - 3.88 FIP
Cahill - 5.12 FIP
Eveland - 4.26 FIP
Kilby - 3.33 FIP
Bailey - 3.62 FIP
Breslow - 3.68 FIP
Devine - 2.89 FIP
Ziggy - 3.48 FIP
Wuertz - 3.31 FIP
Blevins - 3.07
GRay - 3.70 FIP
OVerall, it seems like James is projecting the A's to have a pretty deep and talented pitching staff and a mediocre offense buoyed up by a few bounce back years from some vets and a few league-average performances around the diamond, with a major speed attack via Rajai and little power. As long as the team plays strong defense next season, I'd be mostly happy if these projections came true and if Beane can add some sort of league average+ hitter at 3rd (Glaus?) and some sort of veteran better-than-average starter...I'm thinking that if all of that came to be, the 2010 A's could by like the 2009 Mariners, but a bit better offensively and a little worse defensively. That should at least position the A's to be a .500 at least, which would be a very welcome change...