We move on to the outfield for the second round of community projections, and it's an area where we definitely need to see an improvement in terms of offensive production - from left- and center-field in particular. Even without adjusting for park factors, Arizona's OPS in those two positions ranked 14th in the league in left (.719 vs. NL avg. .781) and 15th in center (.672/.762). Largely thanks to Justin Upton, right was not an issue, with only the Phillies ahead of us (.857/781). But overall, the Diamondbacks could only come 11th in outfield OPS (.749/.775) What are the chances of that improving in 2010?
After the jump, we'll review the projections for the four expected mainstays there for Arizona and open the floor for your own projections. An following the disappointing turnout last round, it might be nice if more people than myself and Azreous threw some numbers into the ring this time...
We add a bonus set of projections this round, thanks to the Hardball Times. As well as incluing them in their printed publications, they are now offering online access to their numbers for $14.95. There's some enhancements above the free stats available, which justify the cost: the projections will be updated weekly so the numbers continue to be useful as the season unfolds. They also include more advanced stats such as WAR, and will be expanding shortly to cover baserunning and fielding metrics. They also have an "error range" for each player forecast, so you can see the likely range of possible outcomes, and six-year projections for each player. Here's a snippet of the table for Upton,
To be honest, those numbers look low - they project he's never going to reach the same level of production he had last season. Instead, his peak year is going to be 2012, and he'll decline after that, though is hardly going to be a liability. I suspect it's largely the lack of comparables that are the reason for the pessimism. The original numbers for 2010 had him hitting .257, which was just implausible, so I am glad to see they have been revised up a bit. They still tend lower than the other systems - as we'll see below, where I've added the Hardball Times numbers to those of the other projection systems, for today's four players, they project the worst OPS for three and are second-worst on the fourth. And with that, on we go...
Obvious rebound candidate, with Jackson apparently fully fit and recovered from the Valley Fever which robbed him of almost all effective playing time in 2009. The projections don't know about that and still trend cautious, compared to Jackson's combined 2007-08 line [.293/.373/.455], which would seem to me to about the production we should be anticipating. His power numbers will likely fall a little short of that, but assuming he is indeed 100% healthy, I see no reason the other numbers should not be there or thereabouts for CoJack. RBI totals may be a little lower, as he could be nearer the top of the order in 2010.
AZ SnakePit: .290/.370/440 = OPS .810, 12 HR, 55 RBI
Over at Fangraphs last week, Joe Pawlikowski gave three reasons to believe in Young this year: an improving walk-rate, better pitch selection and some historical precedent in the likes of Dean Palmer. We'll see: hopefully, it'll be September Chris we get, rather than the pop-up machine we saw before his time in Triple-A. I want to see him making more use of his speed, with bunt hits and stolen bases, but would also like to see that OBP rise. He did show a decent eye last year, and I hope that will continue to show itself in walks; if he smacks the ball out of the park more, rather than up on the infield, that would lead to him being pitched more cautiously.
AZ SnakePit: .235/.330/.430 = OPS .760, 19 HR, 70 RBI
Bill James is usually over-optimistic, but I've got to go with him here. It's the only one of the systems which reckons the 22-year old J-Up will be as good as or better than the 21-year old version, and I see little or no reason why that shouldn't be the case [reaches for large slab of oblique-shaped wood]. Barring unforeseen circumstance, he should have no problem matching or beating those numbers: bear in mind, he still hit 300 for the season, after batting .226 for the first three weeks. His line thereafter: .309/.372/.548. I'm largely going for a repeat of his 2009 numbers, but feel conservative in so doing.
AZ SnakePit: .300/.365/.540 = .905 OPS, 28 HR, 95 RBI
Parra may see his playing time reduced with the return of Jackson - 106 starts seems unlikely - but should still see his fair share of action, as the main backup at all three outfield positions. I do expect him to be carefully kept away from left-handed pitching, and that will help his numbers, since he showed little or no ability to deal with them in 2009, while hitting righties at an OPS over .800. However, I don't expect his phenomenal clutchiness (.337 with men in scoring position) to continue, and that will rein back his RBI numbers. And would it be too much to ask for him to walk more than about once every twenty PAs?
AZ SnakePit: .295/.330/.450 = OPS .780, 5 HR, 40 RBI