As you will see, the Bill James projections are very optimistic, but I think that it can still give us a good idea about where the team will be in 2011, offensively.
I used the 2011 Bill James Projections as listed on Fangraphs, this “wOBA to WAR Conversion Chart," and scaled the RAR to the projected number of plate appearances. I did this for every position player that had a projection. I also assumed league-average defense (no way was I going to make up UZR/TZ projections).
- First, the projections still have room for ~1200 PA to be spread around, pretty much the equivalent to 2 full-time players. Most notably there is room for more 1B and C PA’s.
- Second, I highly doubt we will have a team-average .355 wOBA, which could also call every other value into question. But I think that the overestimate in wOBA and RAR/700 is more than canceled out by the remaining 1200 PA’s, leaving the total WAR about the same (Honestly I’m not positive, so could someone clarify if that’s an accurate claim?).
- Third, this reinforces the obvious: 2B is a hole. The combined projection for 2B WAR is at bench-level. Dan Uggla vs. everyone else would have been worth 3+ wins.
- Fourth, this only really matters if you have faith in a CDI/Helton bounceback like Bill James does. They are projected at a combined 4 wins better than last year, which is clearly a huge difference. If they are really poor again, there goes half of the projected improvement.
- Fifth, the other half of the improvement comes from Dex and Stewart. They are projected at a combined 3.7 wins better than last year. They both have shown flashes of putting it together, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the case.
It seems as though an optimal distribution of PA’s would be to:
- (Obviously) max out Tulo + CarGo PA’s
- Give Stewart 3B
- Give Fowler CF
- Either platoon Smith and Spilly or just give it to Smith (if he can re-learn how to hit lefties)
- Hit 2B 9th every time
- Get a C/1B to use up the extra PA’s
Overall, I figure that our offense will be MUCH improved by simply letting our young guys improve. 27.9 offensive WAR would be great.