02 March 2009

Fun with PECOTAs, Pipeline Edition, Part I

Chances are if you're an avid Royals fan you've probably read a breakdown of the team's PECOTA projections issued by the site Baseball Prospectus (a great site by the way, with a more than affordable subscription price). But as I do operate a predominantly Royals-based blog, I figured it wouldn't hurt to throw out each player's 50th percentile projection (the most likely projected numbers), choose the over or under and make some comments, so here goes....


Miguel Olivo .240 BA/.274 OBP/.420 SLG, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 10 BB/68 K with average to slightly sub-par defense
* Wow, what a sparkling line to start with. I'm already feeling the system's love. Maybe I just started with the wrong position....I'd say Olivo exceeds the power and RBI numbers projected, although I do have a sinking feeling the OBP projection is likely right-on. Overall, I take the over. 60th percentile projection of .250/.284/.422, 10 HR, 40 RBI sounds more like it, but I'd go with like 13 HR, 49 RBI. How's that for a projection? But maybe it's just the hope that John Buck will be a more minor part of the team's gameplan this season. The system does give him a 42 percent chance of improving from '08. He also seemed to like hitting at the K, which has to count for something, right?

Buck .227/.298/.383, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 23 BB/64 K with slightly worse defense than Olivo
* This looks about right, although I'd look for a lower OBP from Buck. It does have him getting 55 percent of the playing time compared to 37 percent for Olivo, which I bet also doesn't hold true. I say around a .285 OBP, 5 HR.

Brayan Pena .258/.307/.354, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 21 BB/38 K with defense way worse than Buck
* I say if Brayan gets a shot he exceeds this, maybe hits his 60th percentile of .263/.313/.364. He doesn't walk but he doesn't strike out much, either. LET HIM PLAY! He can't do worse than Buck, surely.

PECOTA also did projections for not-ready-for-prime-time players Cs Cody Clark, Jeff Howell, and Kiel Thibault as well as Matt Tupman, who played himself out of much future chance last year at Omaha, and journeyman John Suomi, who will fill out the Omaha or NWA roster.


Mike Jacobs .254/.313/.449, 17 HR, 65 RBI, 33 BB/87 K with craptastic first base defense
* I'd say only 17 HR from Jacobs would be a disappointment for anybody who supported Dayton Moore's move to bring him in. I'd think those people would be expecting at least his 60th percentile numbers of .261/.322/.469 with HR numbers closer to his 75th percentile projection of 23 with 77 RBI. Even his 90th percentile projection gives him only 28 HR. Of course, that would be a pretty high total for KC in recent history. I say his BA and OBP projections from the 50 percent projection hold up with 23 HR, 70 RBI. His top comparable player is '96 Tino Martinez, so that's promising, right? Tino wasn't a bad hitter. Unfortunately #2 is Ken Harvey. Not really -- it's '88 Greg Walker.

Billy Butler .290/.351/.456, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 41 BB/63 K -- PECOTA lists Butler as a DH and doesn't even give him a defensive rating although he was subpar by their 2007 standards.
* I'd love if Billy posted this line, and I think he's got the talent to exceed it this season. I'll take the over and shoot for a line of .303/.361/.465, 17 HR, 68 RBI. Top comp is the '74 model of Dave Winfield, so I like. #2 is '07 Prince Fielder, which I'd also take. PECOTA's biggest hit with me thus far!

Ryan Shealy .215/.288/.374, 14 HR, 52 RBI, 35 BB/112 K with Butler level D at first
* PECOTA kinda brutalizes Shealy here, but I guess the system doesn't think he can replicate his last season outburst in '08. I'd say his 75th percentile projection of .236/.313/.425 with 18 HR and 64 RBI would be more in his reach, but this is a make or break time for Shealy in KC. He might not even be a Royal in a month. Maybe at worst the Royals can turn him into a couple mid level prospects??? Top comp is the immortal '05 Bucky Jacobsen of Seattle. Like I said, PECOTA looks down upon Shealy.

KILA Ka'aihue .226/.325/.377, 14 HR, 57 RBI, 62 BB/95 K with more pisspoor defense at first.
* It's nicer to Kila than Shealy, but still seems unconvinced '08 wasn't a flash in the pan. Ka-ah-i-hoo-ee could be the Aviles of '08 if given a chance. Everybody would love it if he came up and hit his 90th percentile projection of .263/.368/.450, 20, 74. At least I would. #5 in his comps is the '01 David Ortiz. What's Hawaiian for Big Papi? Let's go Kila!

Dark Horse Alert.....J.R. House .248/.308/.385, 9 HR, 50 RBI with, hey!, good defense at first.
* Those numbers won't make House an MLB player...instead more of a AAA dark horse. His 90th percentile numbers of .283/.345/.456, 14, 64, sure would, tho. I think he has a hard time getting inside from outside looking in at this point, tho. If he screws up Mr. Michael Stodolka's playing time at Omaha, tho, I'm not gonna like it. But all good experiments must come to an end, so whatever happens happens.

The 'Dolk (not an official nickname, I just call him that in my head) also got his own PECOTA projection again and.....it wasn't favorable. .608 OPS, but average D. Ah, for Mike to have a breakout season. Also, apparently no Hosmer projection as yet. WAIT, I spoke too soon, they have him under DH. They have him at .243/.305/.379, 11, 62 with 45 BB/162 K. That's some nice production for somebody with 15 pro plate appearances. Top comp is '02 Joe Mauer, nice, #2 is '02 Adrian Gonzalez, which I'd also take. I bet by the time he gets to the pros he's hitting better than that projection. #3 is '81 Darryl Strawberry, so keep Hosmer away from the nose candy. I know -- a Strawberry-cocaine joke. You're stunned.


Alberrrrrrto Callassssspo .267/.330/.355, 2 HR, 28 RBI, smack dab average D
* I'd take these numbers from Alberto at the keystone. slap him in the #8, 9 slot, wherever and call it good. #2 comp is the '93 Omar Vizquel, but unfortunately I don't think they're referring to the glove.

Willie Bloomquist .246/.321/.292, 0 HR, 12 RBI, subpar defense but they've got him as a CF.
* PECOTA has the feeling Bloomquist's OBP is returning to the norm. I have a hard time disagreeing. Millions well spent.

Esteban German .253/.325/.340, 2 HR, 19 RBI, bad D
* I'd rather have this than Bloomquist as the backup 2B, but Bloomquist does have the edge in being more versatile defensively. German could be another ex-Royal within the month of March. (NOTE: I wrote this on Feb. 27...he gets DFA'd the next day. So he got cut within the month of February, I was so close.) These numbers look about right.

That's about the breadth and depth of the 2B in the organization, at least those given any shrift from BP. Johnny Giavotella did get a PECOTA projection this year and actually looked favorable through the system's eyes....50th percent projection was .252/.307/.371, 7 HR, 49 RBI. Not that that's good, but better than what I expected for his projection. Top comp is the '90 Chuck Knoblauch, so take that for what you will. Also note, I'm keeping Teahen with the OF for now. He has to earn it for me to lump him in with the second basemen.


Alex Gordon .259/.343/.461, 21 HR, 78 RBI, 59 BB/122 K, slightly subpar, basically average D at third.
* Royals fans are dreaming of his 90th percentile projection of .287/.376/.533, 30, 99, but Alex's '09 will likely be closer to this 50th percentile projection. I say he outdoes it to the tune of .270/.350/.480 with similar HR and RBI totals. They have him down for 35 doubles and I think maybe this is the year he gets past 40. Just a feeling.

Mike Moustakas .236/.295/.389, 14 HR, 64 RBI, 41 BB/111 K, OK D
* In the absence of any other major-league ready 3B in the organization, I threw Moustakas' projection on here, which shows, basically, that he isn't major league ready, altho it's promising PECOTA seems to think Moose could hit 14 HR in KC this season if given the chance. I'm content to let him try to rake his way to AA.

And that's about all the prospects at the hot corner for the organization. Mario Lisson has a paltry projection -- his top comp is the '98 Mendy Lopez. Yeesh. Minor league FA pickup Corey Smith is probably NWA material, and the most disappointing minor-league offseason story, now-suspended former 2nd rounder Jason Taylor, has promise but issues too. He'll miss the first 50 games of 2009. His top comps, while weak, are the '06 Sean Rodriguez, who is a promising Angels prospect, and the '04 David Wright, who I don't need to introduce. The question is if he can avoid hassles of one sort or another to make it to KC eventually. Jury is still out on that question.


Mike Aviles .265/.306/.403, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 26 BB/68 K with decent D at short
* Wow, an underwhelming projection for Mike at least as far as rate stats go. I expect closer to his 75th percentile projection of .282/.324/.438, 14, 65 and even that isn't a great year. I think PECOTA is expecting Aviles to be a flash in the pan. They give him a 49 percent chance at improving but his 50th percentile projection is a drop off from last season. Funny-peculiar...#2 comp is Pat Meares, which isn't exactly a fawning move. #1 is '58 Frank Malzone. Looks like Aviles still has people to prove wrong.

Tony Pena Jr. (just for kicks) .231/.261/.303, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 7 BB/37 K, roughly average D at short
* So Aviles is gonna go down, but TPJ is gonna put up these numbers? These are like TPJ on 'roids. I don't see it. Lasik surgery or no.

And that's the lineup at short. Promising and deep.......no. Aviles needs to keep it up, as Moore did nada to shore up the position this offseason. Luis Hernandez got a TPJ-like projection and is another Braves castoff, which Moore collects like baseball cards. Kyle Martin also got a horrible projection but I think could be a sleeper prospect this season, wherever he lands in the organization.


David DeJesus .275/.339/.395, 7 HR, 48 RBI, 40 BB/67 K, solid defense even tho they have him in center
* Yet another projection that signals a dropoff in stats similar to DeJesus' '07. I think it's kinda harsh. Surely if healthy he can hit his 60th percentile projection of .282/.347/.409, 8, 52. PECOTA dislikes the Royals. I bet it's a Yankee fan.

Shane Costa .256/.306/.378, 6 HR, 36 RBI, 22 BB/50 K, roughly average D
* His projection isn't that far from DeJesus, which I think is crap. I don't know why KC is keeping Costa around. There's little to no chance he gets a shot in Kansas City. He hit for a .904 OPS in '07 in Omaha and was rewarded with 109 KC plate appearances, albeit under Buddy Bell and the fact he hit for a .558 OPS in those chances. Just throw him in in a deal and call it done. Don't torture us with AAAA Costa anymore. EDIT: I did forget he's out of options, so his time with KC is probably short-lived at this point.

I'll throw Chris Lubanski in here. They give him a projection of .233/.301/.397, 12, 52, 40 BB/119 K. I bet he'd strike out more than 119 times in 462 PAs in MLB. He might take Costa's place as the bounce from AAA to KC guy this year, that's if Costa goes elsewhere. His .306 OBP last year in Omaha is right in Moore's wheelhouse. Almost Bloomquistastic! #2 comp is the '93 Jeromy Burnitz, tho, so maybe there's some glimmer of hope for Lubanski yet...of course #1 is '85 Al Chambers (who?), so maybe not. Where that comp comes from I have no idea.


Covelli "Coco" Crisp .265/.328/.381, 6 HR, 36 RBI, 32 BB/58 K, 15 SB, solid D in center
* Not much love for Coco either. #1 comp, altho kinda weak, is '97 Chuck Carr....really? I'd say Coco has been waaaaaaay better than I remember Chuck Carr being. I call at least the 60th percentile #s of .269/.333/.389, 6, 37 for Coco. Even that would be a dropoff from recent years. He can almost surely get to his 75th percentile #s of .275/.340/.401, 7, 38, right? I mean, c'mon...he's getting to play full-time again, with not much competition in the spot, no pressure in KC. If he's healthy, he outperforms that projection easily, I say.

Mitch Maier .235/.284/.362, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 22 BB/68 K, decent D
* Wait, I say Maier may trump Lubanski as the best candidate for the Costa Express. Can't say I'm a big Mitch Maier believer. I wish him the best, tho. This may be about right for his projection, tho. I say 60th percentile #s of .242/.292/.376, 7, 40, are about his peak this year. One of his top comps, like Costa, is Bubba Crosby, so I rest my case.

We're full of minors CF projections this year. Jose Duarte has a subpar AA debut in '08 and is rewarded with a crappy PECOTA projection, not surprisingly. The top guy on his comps I can remember is #10 Ruben Escalera, so he also has some proving to do. Tommy Murphy, another Costa Express candidate, gets an underwhelming .594 OPS projection and comps in the Maier-Costa territory. Brazilian Paulo Orlando isn't quite ready for the big time as his projection shows. He's at AA anyway this season, most likely. Adrian Ortiz, a Pipeline favorite, gets a .607 OPS projection with subpar D. His top comp is the '99 Alex Sanchez. I believe in the new AO. AO2, if you will. Derrick Robinson gets a .583 OPS projection with, like Ortiz, unfavorable defense. First comp I remember is '90 Milt Cuyler, which isn't a complement. Robinson has much work to do with the bat to get anywhere near KC or any other MLB field other than buying a front-row ticket.


Jose Guillen .269/.310/.425, 13 HR, 66 RBI, 22 BB/84 K, subpar D
* Jose gets a predicted upswing in BA and OBP but drop in SLG. I'd say these numbers don't keep Jose from hearing the boo-birds in KC again this season, maybe charging into the crowd and screaming in somebody's face. Everybody would love to see him hit his 90th percentile of .297/.343/.485, 20, 89, except opposing pitchers. I bet his '09 is closer to his 50th percentile projection, tho. I say .275/.320/.440, 17 HR, 75 RBI, which is pretty much his 60th percentile projection. And most would likely be disappointed with that. He has almost an equal chance of collapsing (33%) as improving (39%) under PECOTA in '09.

Mark Teahen .260/.328/.401, 10 HR, 54 RBI, 43 BB/103 K, subpar D
* I know Teahen seems like a decent guy, and God knows I hoped he would rake when the Royals swapped Beltran for him and Buck, but he hasn't. He's been more of a disappointment than a success story. I'd truthfully like to see Moore trade him for a need like a catcher than see him in a Royals uni all year. And I'd wish him well wherever he went. Other than St. Louis. Damn, I hate the Cardinals. Anyway, I'm not sad Coco Crisp has kinda helped push Teahen out of the outfield. This projection seems likely, with more K's, tho. Maybe a slighly lower BA.

The rest of the RF fodder includes Joe Dickerson, who gets a crappy projection and isn't high on any of the experts' prospect lists. He's been consistently solid, however. I'm not ready to give up on him yet. He's only 22 and he should hit AA this season.

I think that wraps up the positional players. I'll try to hit the pitchers soon, including new pickup Juan Cruz.

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