Looking Back at Pre-Season Projections
Part of the fun going into every season are the projections. There are quite a few systems out there, including Steamer, Oliver, Marcel, and my personal favorite, ZiPS. ZiPS didn’t paint a very rosy picture of the Phillies’ offense, projecting only Chase Utley Domonic Brown, and Carlos Ruiz to cross the .330 mark in terms of weighted on-base average. For the sake of comparison, the average wOBA across the National League for non-pitchers was .318.
This table compares the pre-season ZiPS projections and the actual results going by wOBA:
And a bar graph to illustrate it better (click to enlarge):
(I forgot to include a legend in the graph. Consider it a 3 AM oversight. Blue = ZiPS; Red = actual results.)
- Darin Ruf was one of the players ZiPS missed most on, as it didn’t see him drawing as many walks and hitting for as much power as he did. It projected a 7.6 percent walk rate and .165 ISO, but Ruf finished at 11.3 percent and .211, respectively. Ruf certainly performed better than a lot of people — yours truly included — expected, though many of us are just as skeptical about him going forward.
- Cesar Hernandez has performed better than ZiPS expected in a small sample of playing time. A lot of his success has come on a .368 batting average on balls in play, 38 points better than what was projected. Particularly towards the latter half of September, Hernandez started to square balls up well, hitting some line drives as well as using his speed to reach base, so he may be able to maintain a high BABIP as a Major Leaguer.
- Domonic Brown was, perhaps, the most interesting player on the roster this year. He had a great May, hitting 12 home runs but walking zero times. He cooled off in June as pitchers adapted their approach to him, resulting in 12 walks. All told, he had a season pretty much in line with ZiPS projections but with slightly more power than expected (.222 to .196 ISO).
- Ryan Howard‘s plate discipline headed in the wrong direction and he hit for even less power than usual — a career-low, in fact. It will be interesting to see how much leash the Phillies give Howard before throwing up their hands and cutting into his playing time by playing Ruf at first against lefties (even though Ruf, for some reason, had a reverse platoon split in 2013).
- ZiPS was able to correctly identify Kevin Frandsen‘s 2012 performance as a complete fluke. It very nearly pegged his wOBA on the money. Frandsen’s .366 BABIP last year fell to .244 this year.
- As mentioned here during the year, Jimmy Rollins had his power completely disappear. ZiPS projected a .162 ISO, but he finished at .097.
- Carlos Ruiz, too, had a power loss. His .100 ISO was 49 below his projection. Additionally, ZiPS expected a nine percent walk rate, but Ruiz finished just above five percent.