PLAYING TIME PROJECTIONS ARE A FOOLS ERRAND
So why do them ? Well, the team goes into the season with a planned usage for all the players on the roster. Everyone knows there will be injuries and for the most part they are unpredictable. There may be certain players you go into the season with a plan to give them more regular rest, (cough....AJ Pollock), and you can account for that somewhat in your playing time projections. Players that have a history of missing games due to misc. aches, pains , and sprains can be accounted for as well. What you can't account for is what players will have a more serious injury that may cause extended DL time. Those types of injuries can greatly disrupt a team , depending on where and when they come. But you can't predict them.
Nonetheless I still project playing time, because I want to know what it will look like if the team's plan goes off without too much injury disruption. It also helps give a clearer picture into the likely scenarios if there IS and injury. I will run this again after the season starts and we see how the team opens the season. However if you think I have something wrong, try to convince me in the comments section. Never easy to do...haha...but if you are successful, I will edit and make changes. So with those caveats out of the way, here we go.
1.) How many left handed starters will the Diamondbacks face:
Typically the number of left handed starters the team faces in any given season ranges between 40-45. However there are more than usual left hand starters in the NL West. 9 of 20 projected top 5 are LHSP . However the vast majority of "depth starters" i.e. 6th, 7th, 8th starters are RHSP. I project 35% of starts in NL West will come against LHSP. Against the rest of the league, 25%. The final number is 48 G vs. LHSP, so 114 vs. RHSP
2.) 1st Table:
I list out each player on the 40 Man roster except Domingo Leyba. (I think he waits another year, although a good year might earn him a September callup). I don't include non roster players. It's highly likely a non roster player gets playing time, most likely at the expense of a currently listed player. But it probably won't have a major impact unless it is a mid season pickup that plays often. There are columns for games started for each position vs both L and R
3.) 2nd Table:
I summarize there the GS vs. L/R and ttl GS, and add in PH appearances and "SubPA". It should be noted that sometimes a player enters a game he didn't start as a defensive replacement, but ends up getting a PA. This actually happens about 150 times a year. Last year the team had 251 PH appearances, and 153 "SubPA", ttl 403. So I'm just estimating 400 PA for that.
4.) OPS Projections:
I input the Depth Chart OPS projections from Fangraphs, which now combined Steamer and ZIPS. I made a few minor "upgrades" for players that I project to get a significantly higher percentage of "platoon advantage" PA's than they typically get. But I didn't make big adjustments. Original projections Here. Feel free to compare and call me out if you think I'm being too big a homer. ;)
The PT projections I ended up with have some significant differences from FG, but I'm confident I'm closer to reality than they are simply on the basis of familiarity (obsession?) with the team. The Position player projection comes out to .776 OPS. If they can maximize the L/R platoons properly they can get to that number. That is .5 points better than last year.
5.) See player notes below the tables
|Player||TTl GS||GS v L||GS v R||PH||SubPA||Ttl PA||TTL G||Proj OPS|
AJ Pollock : I show him starting 120 games. I wish it were more. And if it is, that will be a huge boost for the team. I have him starting against most lefties, and taking his days off vs righties , with Dyson getting many of those starts too.
Paul Goldschmidt : Not much to say here. Expect him to play every day and be healthy. But he'll get a day off a month and maybe have a few days he's dinged up.
Jake Lamb : I have him giving up 21 of the 48 starts vs LHSP. He'll be mostly an every day player again, but unless he has a sudden improvement vs. LHP overall, they'll surely look to sit him against the toughest ones or ones he doesn't match up well with. Other than the obvious guys, like Kershaw, groundball lefties are the toughest on Jake.
Steven Souza : Every day player, seldom sitting vs. a lefty. Due to roster construction, (Dyson) his days off will most come vs. righties.
Ketel Marte : will be the starting 2b, but get plenty of reps at SS too, mostly against RHP. The team will probably look to rest him against Lefties a bit more as despite being switch hitter, his splits indicate better vs. RHP. However pretty decent last year vs. lefties, so he could be in the middle of changing the script if he continues to develop and get better.
David Peralta : While he's been better against lefties the last two years, he still has a fairly significant L/R split with 83 wRC+ vs. LHP and 104 vs RHP. The combination of that split and his propensity to miss time wtih various minor injuries have me limiting his projected PT a little, but still qualifying for the batting time. The one problem the D Backs face is if Tomas is not on the roster, they don't really have a lot of right hand options to spell Peralta vs. Lefties. I have a handful of LF starts vs. LHSP going to Owings and some to Tomas, and some others sprinkled around.
Nick Ahmed : I have him starting vs most lefties, and sitting more against righties than a typical "starter" would sit, but still enough starts here to be considered the starter. I think the increased percentage of PA vs. lefties helps his batting line.
Alex Avila : He has an extreme platoon split. He will sit against most lefties. He will start against most righties except for when Greinke starts of course.
Chris Owings : Your jack of all trades. I have him starting 78 games, and against almost every lefty, taking turns filling in for Marte and Lamb mostly, and also a little for Peralta and a few turns at SS when the inevitable bumps and bruises occur to the other infielders.
Jarrod Dyson : Will get most of his playing time in CF vs RHP, and a dozen starts each in LF & RF. He will seldom start vs. LHSP unless somebody is hurt.
Jeff Mathis : Starts all of Greinke's starts . Looking at his age and average Games started the last 4 years, this may be an optimistic projection. If he is hurt for any length of time, then you simply spread the PT among the other 3 catchers on the roster.
Yasmany Tomas : I believe he starts the year in Reno, but makes his way back to the roster as some point. He will get most of his limited playing time vs. LH Pitching. It should be noted he is a career 3 for 31 Pinch Hitter with 14 K's. So projecting him to get 28 PH appearances is pretty optimistic. He'll need to have much better consistent at bats before Torey will trust him in key situations in late innings.
Daniel Descalso : His playing time should not exceed this projection if everyone is healthy. But he could be one of the bigger beneficiaries if there are injuries, much like last year.
Chris Herrmann : Barring injury, I can't project him for more PT than this either
The balance 6 guys are just listed there to fill out the table, as they all, (or similar level players) will get at least a little playing time. Of these 6, the one guy that might surprise us is Walker if he can play a respectable LF, he could end up on the roster to spell Peralta vs. lefties. That would come at Tomas' expense most likely.