Projections Update: Individual Hitters

Brian Kersey

Last week, I took a look at the team-level projections for the A’s and how they have changed given the A’s latest winning ways. This week, I’m going to look at individual players and how they are performing relative to their ZIPS projections.

Those team projections I wrote about, at their core, are really pooled player projections. As a team, the A's offense has compiled 9.2 fWAR thus far (when taking into account defense and baserunning, two things the A's are about average at and above-average at, respectively). But how do those breakdown? Who is underperforming, and who is outperforming their beginning of season projections? Let's find out.

Below, I have made a table of the A's players who have had at least 50 PA this season from Fangraphs, and the preseason A's projections page. So, sorry Scott Sizemore, Andy Parrino, Michael Taylor, Daric Barton, and Luke Montz, but you guys don't qualify for this group.

Player

Current

ZiPS (Preseason)

ZIPS (Updated)

PA

WAR

wOBA

PA

WAR

wOBA

PA

WAR

wOBA

Josh Donaldson

270

2.9

.392

535

1.7

.297

609

4.4

.354

Coco Crisp

219

2.1

.373

462

2.2

.320

506

3.5

.349

Yoenis Cespedes

227

1.7

.338

625

3.2

.343

595

3.3

.340

Jed Lowrie*

263

1.2

.352

332

1.8

.331

505

2.2

.333

Seth Smith

204

0.8

.337

445

0.8

.314

478

1.1

.329

Brandon Moss

204

0.7

.326

532

1.3

.314

519

1.3

.326

John Jaso

167

0.7

.319

364

1.9

.336

392

1.4

.327

Derek Norris

167

0.4

.280

470

1.2

.290

441

0.9

.286

Josh Reddick

147

0.2

.266

614

2.1

.311

480

1.1

.294

Adam Rosales

121

0.2

.302

352

0.6

.280

324

0.3

.294

Eric Sogard

148

0.2

.288

464

0.8

.292

413

0.4

.291

Chris Young

167

-0.3

.263

525

2.3

.314

467

0.3

.290

Nate Freiman*

94

0.0

.322

604

-0.3

.292

406

-0.4

.298

*These preseason projections were taking into account variables associated with being on the Astros. Mentally adjust them to those two playing on the A's as you see fit

Now that we have all of the regulars (albeit a loose term on the A's), it's possible to see who is outperforming and underperforming. Most notably, the overperformers are Josh Donaldson, Coco Crisp, and Jed Lowrie. Donaldson has blown through his projection for 1.7 WAR and a .297 wOBA, and his updated projection has him at 4.4 WAR. Crisp himself, inexplicably, is hitting like he never has and is already at his 2.2 WAR projection essentially. As he slows down on defense, his hitting and baserunning seem to be replacing that value that he once had. Jed Lowrie is set to also exceed his projections, although that is mostly due to his relatively uninterrupted playing time. Lowrie's problem has always been staying on the field, and having (so far!) done so, he may be in for a career year.

Underperformers are Josh Reddick and Chris Young. Reddick's struggles may have had something to do with the wrist injury he sustained earlier that DLed him for several weeks, but no matter what he's packed away 147 PAs of 0.2 WAR baseball, coming almost entirely from defensive and baserunning value (data not shown here). That doesn't bode well for him meeting his preseason 2.1 WAR projection unless he goes on a hot streak later in the year. Chris Young is... well, who knows. Of course, he is in the throws of a difficult transition, not only from everyday play but also to the AL from the NL. That said, he's probably not this bad of a hitter and he himself may break out for a hot streak. Again, though, having banked 167 PAs of below-replacement level baseball, his preseason projection has taken almost a two win hit, from 2.3 WAR to 0.3 WAR.

Some other observations:

  • Despite Beane's best efforts, it appears the catching situation has is only somewhat improved over last year. That said, albeit with some of Jaso's PAs as a DH, Melvin has managed to get him and Norris an equal number of PAs, which is kind of an amazing statistical anomaly
  • Middle infield is still not good. As Nathaniel Stoltz pointed out on Friday, no one is really going to light up the world right now as far as AAA options go, but that contract of Nakajima isn't looking so hot. In case you were wondering, Cliff Pennington is his same old self in Arizona, on pace for a 0.7 WAR season, almost all of it derived from defensive and baserunning value.
  • ZIPS seems to have pegged Brandon Moss if he continues at this pace. Between him and Nate Freiman, 1B is also not looking so hot right now. I like Freiman has a project, but I still want Moss in the lineup most days considering his superior defense. I'm not ready to jettison Moss, or simply call Freiman the starter vs. RHPs, too.

Today, it'll be one large LHP vs. one large RHP. C.C. Sabathia takes on Bartolo Colon tonight at 7:05 as the A's take on the Yankees at the Coliseum. Baseballgirl will have your game thread!

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