Key Mets Offensive Player Predictions for 2014 | Astromets Mind

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Key Mets Offensive Player Predictions for 2014

            I’ve written a few posts about the Mets and I am already getting into this ‘writing a blog’ idea. Expect a post or two about my current experience studying for actuary exams soon, but for now I am going to stick with the Mets. Specifically, I’m going to use the ‘method’ introduced when discussing Josh Satin in my previous post. This time, however, I am going to assign weights to players previous 3 seasons to determine the K/BB/XBH/HR-rates and BABIP used. This may not be the best way to predict BABIP, especially for the player data when players were on other teams, but I’m not ready to go into further BABIP predictions for this discussion, but I’ll look into these better methods for the future.
I am not specifically including triples in these predictions – unless a player has great speed, triples are usually doubles that are either favorably placed or take a lucky bounce – but I gave a compensatory boost to the doubles factor in the ISO calculation where appropriate, as determined by a players history of hitting triples, and included them in a players previous extra base hit rate. So, when I say I expect Wright to hit 36 doubles in 600 PA’s, I mean some combination of 36 doubles and triples, but mostly doubles (~ 32:4 2B:3B for Wright). I gave the same small boost to Murph and CY as I gave to Wright, and a slightly bigger boost to Granderson and EY. This should only be a small source of error for all players, but could be larger if someone has an unusually high number of triples. Extra base hit rate has been pretty consistent among those players with 3 years of major league data to use: change was 0-2% for all seasons except 2013 Ike Davis and 2011 EY. I’m also ignoring HBP, SF and SH, for the same reasons described in the Satin post.
To check my model, I set up an approximate wOBA calculation and used UZR and BSR data to create an fWAR calculation that was checked against actual fWAR data from 2011-13. I used the wOBA environment of 2013 for all relevant calculations, as this is the environment I planned to use for 2014 predictions; the season-to-season fluctuations in wOBA coefficients and scale are generally minor. The fWAR estimates of previous seasons were all within +/- 0.3 of their actual values, with an average error of +/-0.2; I feel this is acceptable considering actual fWAR values should actually just be rounded to the nearest whole number, not taken out to the tenths place. I will comment on an appropriate fWAR range given an average UZR/150 for the season, and 600 PA over 150 games played at their position.
I tried focusing on the most important Mets, and those with significant major league experience the past 3 seasons to work with, but there wasn’t a whole lot of appropriate data/player to work with for some of these guys, as I didn’t want to use a minor league equivalency. For Juan Lagares and Travis d’Arnaud, I made estimates (probably optimistic) of what to use. I didn’t include Wilmer Flores here, but I am in the middle of another piece about what offensive production he would need to provide given certain levels of poor defense at SS, and will get to him then.
            The Predictions:
Player – K%, BB%, 2B/600 PA, HR/600 PA, BABIP, AVG/OBP/SLG/wOBA
§  David Wright – 16.5 K%, 11.4 BB%, 36 2B, 21 HR, .340, .303/.382/.497/.383
Despite what Fred Wilpon said a few years ago, David Wright is a superstar – his 50 fWAR through his first ten seasons bests cross-town rival Derek Jeter’s 47 fWAR through his first ten seasons, and he was named #FaceOfMLB during Spring Training. Offensive production like this with his normal average-to-better defense should produce another 5.5-6.5 fWAR season for Dubz.

§  Curtis Granderson – 28.1, 11.1, 33, 22, .294, .230/.315/.435/.324
Tough guy to predict as he had a career year 2 years ago, took a step back in 2012, and was injured much of 2013. Still, he was hitting much better by September of last year, showing he still has some power in the tank. A K% lower than 25% would go a long way towards helping his overall production – an improvement from 28.1->25% is worth around 0.5 fWAR in my model. Also, making the move from CF to RF might help his UZR, but drops him about 9.25 runs per 150 games due to positional adjustments. As is, this model has him as a 2-3 fWAR player this year given slightly better than average defense. If he could replicate Marlon Byrd’s 2013 BABIP of .350, he would replicate Marlon Byrd’s overall 2013 value.

§  Daniel Murphy – 13.4, 4.6, 38, 10, .319, .286/.319/.411/.318
Not much to say about Murph - he’s been consistently this hitter the past two seasons. Unless he improves his defense – looks worse so far – or adds some HR power (he is approaching peak power years), he’ll be around 2.5-3.5 fWAR again.

§  Chris Young – 24.7, 9.8, 35, 20, .244, .205/.283/.386/.294
Not looking like he’ll be getting many chances at CF when he finally starts playing this season, and that will hurt his overall value, but he should still easily surpass the value of a $7 million dollar free agent contract. The thing I don’t like about this model is the BABIP predicted – seems unreasonably low, as do his previous seasons actual BABIP’s. This model predicts he could be a 1-2 fWAR player, though he is a candidate for a much larger increase – same thing about BABIP and 2013 Byrd applies to Young as applied to Granderson, and Marlon’s 2012 BABIP was .257.

§  Lucas Duda – 26, 13.5, 25, 22, .283, .229/.333/.406/.331
The Duda vs Davis saga needs to have an end soon. I personally think they can both fit on the same team (though it’d be easier with a DH), as one becomes a primary bench guy and the other half of a 1B platoon with Satin. Both would provide good offensive value off the bench, offering a nice combination of power and patience, and the Mets need offense off the bench more than defense first guys. Assuming he doesn’t get moved to the OF, this model of Duda would produce around 1.5-2.5 fWAR. He could produce a lot more value if his K% approaches his minor league rates (often <20%) or he displays the power his huge body clearly has at a new rate.

§  Ike Davis – 26, 14.1, 24, 19, .267, .213/.323/.367/.312
Ike Davis is another tough guy to peg down, understandable why the Mets would be hesitant to just give him up. If he can approach the hitter he was in 2011, the second half of 2012 or the second half of 2013, he’d be a rather valuable 1B for the Mets and back into the role of 1B of the future. However, considering he still appears to have some hitch in his swing (though it looks better in my opinion), has had two straight terrible starts to a season, and doesn’t even have the current 1B job, I wouldn’t expect much from Ike this year. If he hits like this, I don’t think the Mets would be using him for very long, as he’d be a replacement –to– +1 fWAR 1B. If he can approach the hitter he was in 2011, but with a probably more appropriate .285 BABIP, he could be a 3fWAR player – don’t hold your breath just yet though. However, the Duda/Davis winner for 1B should mostly just be facing right-handed pitchers this season, and they both have noticeable platoon splits. So, if used properly, either should provide more offensive production than credited with here.

§  Ruben Tejada – 11.5, 6.5, 31, 0, .254, .223/.274/.280/.250
He was so bad last year that it is pretty hard to imagine him as a useful offensive player again until I see it. He should be around replacement level unless he reverts to his offense performances of 2011-12, in which case he could be worth around +1 fWAR. I don’t expect him to be the SS for that long this season though.

§  Eric Young – 16.5, 7.7, 32, 4, .318, .266/.322/.356/.299
He’s been better than this at stretches during his career, but everyone has their hot streak. After his first 10 stellar games as a Met last season, his numbers approached his career averages, and he wasn’t as special as manager Terry Collins and his SB total made him seem. With this production, he should produce about 1-2 fWAR in LF. Assuming he can handle 2B, which he has looked capable doing in the limited time I’ve seen him there, he could get a ~+1 fWAR boost and reproduce Murph’s value with (this assumes) better defense at the keystone. If Terry Collins is going to be using Young everyday so he can leadoff, 2B is the best position for him in my opinion; however, he is currently behind Murph, at least, if not Flores too.

§  Juan Lagares – 20, 5, 36, 12, .252/.289/.391/.294
Lagares produced a defensive season for the ages (only slight exaggeration if you only include rookies and especially consider his arm) and held his own offensively when you consider he essentially skipped AAA in 2013, where he should have been working on his plate discipline and approach. I think we should expect to see a step forward offensively this season, though he may not be an average hitter for the season just yet. Still, with his excellent defense, 2.5-3.5 fWAR is well within reason.

§  Travis ∂’Arnaud – 20, 10, 25, 15, .330, .253/.328/.392/.317
The last player I will get into here has been at the center of much discussion since the season started, or, to some extent, since last season ended, as he hasn’t really hit. However, I feel there is no reason to panic just yet, consider how small the sample size is, especially for this season. He missed much of last season too, so he wasn’t exactly in mid-season form when he showed up for his September cup of coffee in 2013. Even with the pretty modest production presented and average defense, ∂’Arnaud should be capable of 2.5-3.5 fWAR. But don’t be surprised if his fWAR total is higher, as his defense reputation is strong, and he far outpaced those metrics in the minors.

            Combined, and not including the non-contributions of Davis and Tejada, this group of 8 should be worth 18.5-26.5 fWAR over 600 PA/player unless they can improve upon their most recent major league seasons. Given a replacement team wins 47.7 games a year, the Mets would be up to around 66-74 wins. This means that the Mets pitching staff would be responsible for the other 16-24 fWAR necessary to reach GM Sandy Alderson’s 90 win challenge. I could see how every player except Wright, and to a lesser extent Murph, have the potential to out-produce these predictions, but I think they give an overall good (although wide) estimate of the Mets offensive production, and it should outpace last seasons production of 18.1 fWAR. Even Wright could out produce my 6 fWAR estimate with another MVP performance. And this total doesn’t even include the bench or any production from SS.
I wanted to quickly discuss how good the pitching staff would have to be to reach the now famous 90 win challenge, as determined by team fWAR. First, I want to add 2 fWAR for a SS and 0.5 fWAR for the bench, so the offensive range becomes 21-29 fWAR. I think Tejada has April to show he can be the ~2 fWAR SS he was a couple of years ago, and either he performs or the Mets will bring someone else in. I will be posting a discussion of what Wilmer Flores would need to provide offensively to be a 3 fWAR/600 PA SS in the next few days, but there are other options like Drew and the trade route. I would also like to trim the range in half, making it 23-27, so it more accurately represents the predictions made (remember, my error with known UZR was within +/- 0.3 fWAR). That would leave the pitching staff responsible for 15-19 fWAR. Since 2010, 25/120 (21%) teams have reached 19 fWAR in a season, exactly half have reached 14.8 fWAR, and 35/120 (29%) have reached 17 fWAR. For comparison, only 21/120 (17.5%) offenses have reached 27 fWAR, 30 (25%) have reached 25 fWAR, and 40 (33%) reached 23 fWAR. So perhaps these offensive player fWAR estimates are too high, but I don’t feel any individual estimate is unreasonable. Regardless, the Mets pitching staff was projected to be their strength this season. Unfortunately, Mets pitching staffs have only produced 15+ fWAR in a season 3 times in a season since 2000, and not since 2005. Can this rotation be that good? I’d like to hope so, but I’m an eternal Mets optimist :).
  • 0Blogger Comment
  • Facebook Comment
  • Disqus Comment

Leave your comment

Post a Comment

comments powered by Disqus
submit to reddit