Fun with Bill James’ projections: Everything Else


Over the past few weeks I’ve been taking a lighthearted look at what sabermetric sage Bill James has projected for various parts of the Yanks’ squad, starting with the rotation. Next I jumped to the lineup, and then last week I sorted out the bullpen. Now it’s time to wrap up this little series of posts by tying up the loose ends.

The Yanks’ bench was pretty brutal last year, as injuries forced several guys into more playing time then designed. Jose Molina did his best as Jorge Posada‘s injury fill-in, and poor Wilson Betemit was ripped endlessly for being a two true outcomes bench player (extra base hit or strikeout). The latter was eventually jettisoned off in favor of the older but cheaper Cody Ransom, a career minor league journeyman who whacked a couple of meaningless longballs when the team was basically out of it.

Ransom and guys like Juan Miranda and Frankie Cervelli didn’t see enough big league action to earn themselves a projection, so we’re out of luck there. All we’ve got for now is Molina:

Jose Molina, C
: .232-.274-.333, 20 R, 12 2B, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 45-9 K/BB, .271 wOBP
Offense is definitely not Molina’s calling card. The middle Molina brother owns a career 61 OPS+, and actually underperformed it last year (51 OPS+). Luckily James sees a little bit of a “rebound” in Molina, who projects to raise his OPS back up over the .600 level. We love Hava Molina here at RAB, but the less he plays the better.

Cashman & Co. did bring a few guys in on minor league deals, namely Sergio Mitre and Kevin Cash. Again, Mitre didn’t see enough big league time last year to get a projection, so we’re stuck with just Cash:

Kevin Cash, C
: .204-.281-.320, 10 R, 6 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 31-10 K/BB, .272 wOBP
Yikes. Signed to backup Cervelli in Triple-A, Cash also doubles as the 2009 version of Chad Moeller. Projected to have a .601 OPS, that would be the second highest mark of Cash’s career, which represents a whole new level of suck. There’s really not much more you can say. With all do respect to Cash, who I’m sure is a great guy, I don’t want to see him near a Yanks’ uniform this year.

Okay, there’s one more guy we have to cover, and that’s the $180M man, Mark Teixeira. Tex agreed to terms with the Yanks the day after I posted the lineup projections, so I didn’t get a chance to include him in this … ahem … analysis. Here’s what James sees in store for the Yanks’ new first baseman:

Mark Teixeira, 1B
: .299-.397-.559, 102 R, 41 2B, 2 3B, 36 HR, 121 RBI, 110-89 K/BB, .412 wOBP
Ah, now that’s more like it. Tex is projected to have an extremely similar to season to A-Rod, with the only difference being a few less homers and few more doubles. After the team suffered through bouts of offensive incompetence last year, this should bring a smile to your face, even if it is just a projection. No more Jason Giambi platoon, no more Doug Mientkiewicz, no more Josh Phelps. This is your first baseman, Yankees fans.

Two weeks ago I noted that a lineup with Melky as the starting centerfielder would score about 5.774 runs per game, and with Gardner that would jump to 5.808 runs per game. If we assume Swisher plays center Tex takes Melky’s/Gardner’s spot in the lineup – giving you the best possible offensive lineup – the Yanks would average 6.072 runs per game, or ~984 runs over the course of a 162 game season. Wowza.

So I hope you enjoyed my little mini-series of posts about completely useless projections that should be used for nothing more than entertainment. Once the season is over I’ll come back and compare the actual results with these projections, which should be fun.

Categories : Analysis
  • Mike Pop

    This is your first baseman, Yankees fans.

    Amen. Finally a true 1b once again.

    • Ryan S.

      I’m still not done celebrating that fact.

    • Jake H

      Thank God. We get O and D

      • Mike Pop

        Something we have not had in years.

  • Tripp

    Not enough offense. Trade Nady and bring in Dunn to play left. Arod, Tex, and Dunn all with 40 homers.

    • Mike Pop

      You will never be satisfied

      • A.D.

        must have all-star at every position!!

        • Mike Pop

          We better deal for Grady soon

          • GG

            i wish, not happening no matter how you draw it up

            • Mike Pop

              Ya kind of a joke

    • GG

      Swisher has some power too ya know, maybe 30?

    • TheLastClown

      Eh. I’ve got no problems with Dunn, but the OBP he brings is being brought with Teix, and Swisher.

      I love the idea of having a revolving OF of Damon/Gardner/Swisher with Nady filling in to spell Damon & Swish. Nady/Damon/Swish could be played on CMW starts, with Gardy being a late inning pinch running weapon. This is a balanced offense.

      While Nady would, probably, bring the best return in a trading scenario, I don’t think even this return would justify trading him. In other words, the possible return < the possible upside Nady could bring. I’m tending toward the argument that 2008 *his first season w/ 500+ ABs* was Nady’s breakout year, as opposed to a career year fluke. If this take holds water, then we’ll get excellent production out of Nady as a 3.5 OF, and maybe he earns an extension to fill the gaping OF holes post-’09

      Plenty of offense.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      In my dreams, this is what happens. Boy do I love Adam Dunn. If he signs with the Nats, it’ll give me an excuse to go visit my cousin in Washington to watch him play.

      • Mike Pop


    • jim p

      Why do people seem to downgrade Nady so much?

      I admit I never paid attention to him until he became a Yankee, but he looks good at the plate, seems steady in the field…

      That and people writing off Matsui and Posada. Myself, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we don’t have Jorge for a season and we don’t go to the post-season that one time. Even if he goes back to a little below his typical years, most teams would want him. (Certainly Boston.) And Matsui seems to be one of the better clutch hitters, and seems to be in the top ten most years for OBP. Does a year or two of injuries mean he’s always going to be injured?

  • Tom Zig

    I don’t care if the longballs were meaningless, they were more than what Betemit could provide…ever

    • steve (different one)

      not sure what this means.

      Betemit had 27 XBH’s in 273 ABs as a Yankee. what else do you expect from a bench player?

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      “If we assume Swisher plays center Tex takes Melky’s/Gardner’s spot in the lineup – giving you the best possible offensive lineup – the Yanks would average 6.072 runs per game, or ~984 runs over the course of a 162 game season. Wowza.”

      Mike, I thought CashMoney/the club was ruling this possibility out (Swish in CF)? Any change in stance that you know of?

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Whoops, meant to post this solo, not in response to anything… my bad.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        No, it just seems like having Swish in CF would represent the best offensive lineup.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I agree. Cashman seems to have made the public statements, though, that they don’t plan on playing Swish there.

          FWIW, his career UZR/150’s are:
          LF: 6.3
          CF: -10.3
          RF: 14.2
          1B: -5.1

          … so they may have a point.

  • GG

    Is cody ransom going to be on the bench again?

    • Mike Pop

      I think he will be the utility guy unless we bring in a Willie Bloomquist or something. But in that case I think I would take Ransom. League minimum, good enough.

      • The Lodge

        Cairo is still available (again)…

        • Mike Pop

          Alex Cora !

  • Ryan S.

    This is in regards to the Bill James starting rotation projections …

    With the addition of Tex, would Bill James have altered the win projections for them? Or is offense of the team a pitcher is throwing for not at all taken into account when Bill James predicts their W-L record?

    • TheLastClown

      Not to mention the D. Teix makes CMW better, hell, he makes all of the pitching better.

  • steve (different one)

    i wouldn’t really say Betemit was “jettisoned” in favor of Ransom.

    Betemit was traded for Nick Swisher.

    it’s not like they released him b/c they preferred Ransom. it’s just that Ransom wasn’t going to bring back Swisher in a trade.

    sorry for the nitpicking…

    • Bo

      They sold high on Betemit because he’s fairly terrible.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        No, they sold high on Betemit because he’s not a starter, and Swisher is. Betemit is only terrible if you expect him to play an everyday role. As a bench player, he’s fine.

  • Ivan

    Tex projected #’s are similar to what Sheffield did in 04 and 05.

    • steve (different one)

      works for me.

      • Mike Pop

        But but but we didnt get Vlad

  • http://poormansanalyst.wordpress.com/ dan

    Wait wait wait… Cervelli’s going to start in AAA? Were his 73 AA at bats that impressive, or was that just meaningless speculation?

  • CB


    This was a nice series. Just one point if you’re thinking about doing this kind of thing in the future. Bill James projections aren’t that good. I know the accuracy of the projection wasn’t the point of this series and this isn’t a criticism. But in general James’ projections are moderately to wildly optimistic. He also isn’t very transparent about how he structures his model. His projections often tend to be out of step with what other models project suggest.

    Sean Smith has made his CHONE projections available now for all players and his model and work are generally very good. He’s also much more transparent than James and more cautious in his projections. This was CHONE’s forecast for Tex: 0.286 /0.381/0.521

    Nice work.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      YES! Someone else who uses CHONE! Woo! I was starting to think I was the only one.

      • CB

        CHONE projections are some of the most widely used in all of sabermetrics. They are used by tons of people.

        All projection systems make different assumptions and each has its advantages and limitations.

        Do you agree with how CHONE factors in team defense to assess individual pitcher performance? You may or may not. The more important thing is to know what the assumptions in the model are.

        • Mike Pop

          All this CHONE talk got me thinking bout Chone Figgins. He would be the ideal utility player and I have that posted down below.

    • http://asportsaddictneedsdivineintervention.blogspot.com/ E-ROC

      Where do you find CHONE projections?

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt


        hitters, pitchers, defense…it’s awesome.

        • http://asportsaddictneedsdivineintervention.blogspot.com/ E-ROC

          Thanx man.

      • CB

        Sorry should have posted the link. Appreciate Matt putting it in his comment.

        CHONE’s blog is also terrific. It’s oriented towards the Angels but has a lot of general baseball stuff on it:


  • A.D.

    No projections for Cervelli or Mitre… man Bill James is lazy!

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    “Mark Teixeira, 1B
    Projection: .299-.397-.559, 102 R, 41 2B, 2 3B, 36 HR, 121 RBI, 110-89 K/BB, .412 wOBP”

    Only two triples? GET IT IN GEAR, FATASS!!!!

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      No speed. No grit. Waste of money.

      But seriously, a .412 wOBA….mmm.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        He doesn’t even have a beard.

        What a pathetic loser pussy. Waste of 180M.

        • Mike Pop

          We outbid ourselves, baseball needs a salary cap !

  • kunaldo

    did anybody notice the most optimal lineup?


    Conventional wisdom would never allow it, but I’d be interested to see how it would work

    • Ryan S.

      That one makes me scratch my head. I too would indeed be very curious to see how it worked out.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        Well, look at it this way, the first four are all high OBP guys, the middle two are not, and the bottom three are. Nady and Cano provide good pop and with the other four in front of them, they’d drive in a ton. Then, Swish, Damon, and Jeter would all get on base a lot for the top of the order to bring them home. It could work.

        • Ryan S.

          I don’t think it takes into account base running at all though. Wouldn’t comparable OBP guys to Posada like Damon or Jeter be way better off leading off?

        • Mike Pop

          I would like to see something like that. Maybe switch Swish and Posada though.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          What you’re really looking at here, though, is Gardner vs. Nady as the third outfielder vs. the reserve. (I’ll leave Melky out of it for now, as I think Gardner’s finish to 2008 has moved him firmly past Melky, but I could be wrong).

          I wonder if the improved offense of Nady in the lineup over Gardner is truly worth the vastly superior defense of having Gardner in CF and Swisher in right. I’m not sure that it is.

          Gardner is a very, very good defender; probably the best defensive CF we’ve had since, oh, young Bernie (or better). The runs he saves by getting to balls in center that Swisher can’t could be significant, and Swisher’s a better RF than Nady is as well. A Damon-Gardner-Swisher OF is a good, good defensive outfield with lots of speed.

          I’d probably go with that until Gardner proves that he can’t hit big league pitching, which he may in fact be able to do.

          • Ryan S.

            Well this entire thing is just for shits and giggles – basically out of the current roster, what lineup configuration is projected to give us the most productive setup possible, everything else be damned!

            I totally agree that Gardner is needed as an everyday player considering (what should be) his great defensive value in CF though, and fortunately Cashman and Girardi seem to agree as well.

          • Mike Pop

            If Nady gets beat out and becomes the 4th outfielder, why not try to move him to LA for Chone Figgins. Both become FA’s after this year, I think both have around the same salary. Nady could play 1b for them and Figgins can be our 4th OF/super-utility player. CHONE’s prjoects for Chone (hehe) are not too bad. Hitting .279 with a 360 OBP and it has him at 35 SBs. I think its a trade that makes sense. Maybe it would have to be a bit expanded but if the Angels are truly commited to letting Wood and Rodriguez play and develop, it is a trade that makes sense, no?

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Why would they give us Figgins for Nady? They could just as easily play Figgins in the OF if they want another outfielder.

              Nady doesn’t do anything for them that Figgins can’t…

              • Mike Pop

                Higher SLG%, higher OPS, more HR’s. I was thinking they could play him at 1b. Would that not make more sense than Kendry Morales there? They have Sean Rodriguez and Brandon Wood who should be pretty good and does’nt Figgins play most of his games at 2nd and 3rd. This is all assuming Nady could play 1b adequately defensively. They have Vlad, Rivera, Hunter, Matthews JR, and Willits. Figgins isnt even listed as an outfielder on there depth chart on mlb.com. Now I’m not saying he wont play there, but they prefer him at 3b it seems. Plus they have Aybar and Itzturis for their infield. Why does this move make no sense at all ?

                Nady can be an upgrade over Morales and when the outfielders need rest or DH, they can put NAdy in one of the corners and let Morales play first. I know it is a long shot but it would be a better return than some AA players who have the potential to only be relievers right?

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Okay, that’s not a bad idea… you’re warming me up to it.

                • Mike Pop

                  I AM THE SMARTEST MAN ALIVE !—-Billy Madison

                  I have accomplished what no other man has, change tsjc’s opinion on something.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Oh, I change my opinion on things all the time. Like, for example, I was going to leave Joe Flacco in the starting lineup over Donovan McNabb, but after he bounced back, I switched gears and rode with my boy Donovan down the stretch, and it paid off for me.

                  In the form of a Fantasy Football Championship. Which I won. Easily.

                  Because I’m better than everyone else.

                  [ Fantasy Football Championship Bragging Rights Name Drop #8 of 1000 ]

                • Mike Pop


            • J-Gao

              It might take a bit more than Nady. But Figgins would be great.

              Chone Figgins or Martin Prado?

              Debate Points:
              1. Cost to acquire
              – Package centered around Nady, Prado would be easier to acquire
              2. Defense
              – Figgins more versatile – CF is a huge plus
              – Don’t no much about either’s infield ability, although I imagine it’d be good
              3. Offense
              – Figgins is obviously faster
              – Prado hit better last year .320/.377/.461 (228 AB) – career .307/.363/.432
              – Figgins had a relatively disappointing year .276/.367/.318 (453 AB) – career .290/.356/.387
              4. Team Control
              – Prado got 3 or 4 years left at low cost
              – Figgins is $4-5 million this year, contract up next year

              Who would you prefer when considering all 4 areas?

              • Mike Pop

                Figgins man. This guy fits great. I would try to sign him to a 2 or 3 year extension for around 5 per year.

                • Mike Pop

                  ….after we acquired him of course.

                • J-Gao

                  And what would you give up in a fair trade?

                  Nady + Kennedy for Figgins + prospect (Andrew Romine)?

                  Is that too much?

                  I don’t envision a straight up Nady for Figgins deal happening.

                • Mike Pop

                  I wouldnt throw in anything of crazy value at all. It is a decent deal for both teams one for one. No way I put in IPK or ROmine. I would throw in a pen arm or a just a bum in the low minors.

  • http://asportsaddictneedsdivineintervention.blogspot.com/ E-ROC

    Kevin Cash’s projection is Tyrone Hill and Sam Cassell ugly. Damn!

    • Mike Pop

      Hey E-Roc, Rex Ryan is as good as gone..

      Sorry for the off-topic, its my only one.

      • http://asportsaddictneedsdivineintervention.blogspot.com/ E-ROC

        Yeah, I’ll put a post about his possible hiring in my blog. I heard he opened his mouth after the Dolphin game which annoys me. Can we focus on the here and now instead of something that is months away?

        But yeah, he’s probably gone. We’ll just promote from within.

        • Mike Pop

          I agree, there was no need for him to say that now.

  • Shamus

    Wow… getting so excited, can’t wait for Tex Presser tomorrow and then soon enough, Spring Training!

    Just wanted to take a moment and say congrats to you guys at RAB. You are the only ones to hit the ball out of the park over at Lohud for Honest Abe’s Pinch Hitter series.

    Rebecca and the new one from Jeff are okay, but you guys rocked.

    Disturbing is the fact Pete let that No Talent Ass Clown Sam I Am write 500 ill-informed and severely misguided words the other day. His opinion is one thing, but he did zero research. ZERO!

    Just an FYI, I loved your piece. We over at IIH, IIF, IIc will be up to bat soon.

    Until then, I just bent Sam over a barrel and yelled BOHICA at It Is High… I’m making Sam I AM I Am Sam tee-shirts to sell at ST in the parking lot this year.

    Great job as always, RAB !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Mike Pop

      Is the Teix presser tomorrow, officially ?

      • Shamus

        Yeah, 1 pm

        • Mike Pop

          Nice. Can’t wait to see it. Hope Cashman says awesome again lol.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      If it makes you feel any better, Shamus, I totally crushed Sam I Am in the RAB Fantasy Football League, on my way to the Championship.

      I won it with metal, and brawn. That’s what kind of man I am. Sam was jsut a girl with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of mine. It’s science.

      [ Fantasy Football Championship Bragging Rights Name Drop #7 of 1000 ]

      • J-Gao

        You discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower.

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