Oct
25

Jesus Montero and ZiPS

By

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

You might have seen this earlier, but Dan Szymborski posted his 2012 Yankees ZiPS Projections early Monday afternoon, the first team of the offseason. You can click the link and peruse all of the projections at your leisure, but I’m going to spend some time focusing on everyone’s favorite player, Jesus Montero. We’ll discuss the other guys at some point this offseason … eventually.

Following his big September debut (.328/.406/.590 and a .421 wOBA), the ZiPS system forecasts a .271/.333/.486 batting line with 37 doubles and 27 homers in 579 at-bats for Montero in 2012. At first glance, that might seen a bit disappointing because of the generally low AVG and the OBP, but it most definitely shouldn’t be. I said this on Twitter, but if Montero does that next season, he’ll probably win Rookie of the Year even if the majority of his at-bats come as a DH*. ZiPS isn’t being tricked by that big September either, the system called for almost exactly the same thing for 2011: a .276/.334/.503 line with 34 doubles and 28 homers in 539 at-bats.

* For comparison’s sake, Eric Hosmer hit .293/.334/.465 with 27 doubles and 19 homers in 523 at-bats this year, and he should finish either first or second in the voting.

I see Montero’s current situation as similar to Ivan Nova‘s after last season, at least to a certain extent. Nova wasn’t great in September 2010 but he showed enough to warrant a much longer looking 2011, which he got and in turn rewarded the Yankees. Montero made such a strong impression last month that the team has almost no choice but to play him full-time next season, it’s just a question of where. We’ve talked about the whole DH/backup catcher thing, but putting it into practice is much easier said than done. The ZiPS numbers don’t mean anything at the end of the day, but they’re a nice little reminder of just how much Montero can help the Yankees if given the chance.

Standard Disclaimer: Projections are not predictions. Dave Cameron put it best when he said “Projections are information about what we think we currently know, while predictions are speculation about things that we probably cannot know.”

Categories : Players

43 Comments»

  1. mbonzo says:

    That was probably the only projection from ZiPS that appears optimistic. The rest of the projections are bearish.

  2. Brian S. says:

    Wow those projections suck.

    • Brian S. says:

      Well some of them do. I think Robbie Canoe will out paddle that projected line. I also think Swisher will do better than what ZiPS thinks. I think it was overly generous with Mark Teixeira because the way he hits against right handed pitching I don’t see him maintaining a .359 OBP.

  3. Gonzo says:

    I always love the difference of the word “prediction” from the scientific community to the non-scientific community.

    That’s a good line. I hope he can better it.

  4. Jesse says:

    And this is why YCPB.

  5. Urban says:

    The Yankees generally do not look great in these projection schemes because they usually have a mature lineup, and these systems always project lower for players at their peak or slightly pass their peak. They’ve been “killing off” Mariano for a decade now! They were always off on Pettitte, Posada, and Jeter for most of their careers post their late 20s. Eventually they will be right on all of them, as they were on Jeter in 2010, but these schemes just don’t do a good job on projecting break-outs from young players, or for sustained excellence from aging players.

    They’re always so “meh.”

    • thenamestsam says:

      That’s because “meh” is generally a correct projection. If you cherry pick “notable” players, it’s always going to look like the projection systems were well off, because in order to become a notable player you have to consistently exceed expectations. If Jeter had started tailing off the way an average player does we’d remember his career completely differently.

      The same thing goes for young players. The projections are excellent on average, but the ones people always look at are the ones for players who did “break out”. The very definition of a “break-out” player is someone who exceeds expectations, no? You can predict a breakout, but you can’t project one by definition.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I’ve never done projections for MLB players and don’t know the math behind ZIPs, but I would assume it’s like other statistical projections… i.e. you are looking for the most likely outcome on what’s probably a bell-curve shaped distribution or close (both for each individual player’s outcomes next season, and a separate curve for all players performance vs. your projections). You’ll have standard deviation on both sides and you’ll have some wild outliers, but you’re trying to project the mean outcome for each player and trying to be right more than wrong for the players as a group. With investing they say that if you’re right 51% of the time you’ll be very rich, for example. I don’t know how often the average MLB projections are right, but if you can beat that you’re doing well.

  6. Mike says:

    Montero only had about a 30% FB rate in the minors. That’s going to kill a lot of his HR power. 27 might be his peak if he doesn’t improve that.

  7. Monteroisdinero says:

    So nice to have a great, homegrown bat on the rise, coming in. Very excited. I wonder, even in his short Sept. major league career, how many Yankees have hit 2 non-cheap, opposite field HR’s in one game? Can’t recall any off the top of my head.

    Watching Napoli crush it to right and right center and thinking of WS Posey in 2010 and WS Napoli in 2011 is making me feel even better about Jesus in 2012.

    • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

      I have always maintained that when the Yankees have won it all there was always a good hitting catcher on the team with rare exceptions. I am going to predict (not project) that Montero will hit ,300 or better, hit 30 HR or better and drive in over 100 depending on where he is placed in the batting order.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Did you have to go and make this thread about Montero? (kidding…)

    • David, Jr. says:

      They have developed the player. Now it is time to use him. If they worry about anything like what he hits in Spring Training, they are goofy.

  8. Johnny O says:

    >.800 OPS and 27 HRs by a 22 year old rookie who will probably hit no higher than 7th in the lineup all season??? Yes please.

  9. YANKZ1FAN says:

    If they are talking about Montero with 27-28hr and a .500 slg% based on his minor lg stats for 2012, what would be the prediction for Jorge Vazquez? Chato was lower in average, but in just nine more AAA games, Jorge had 14 more HR, 26 more rbi!!, and 50 points higher in Slg%. Based on Montero’s projections, yes, he would average a strikeout per game, but so what, Chato should be at .260, 38hr, and .540 slg%. Now that’s ROOKIE OF THE YEAR!!!! And he will do that if he ever got a chance!!! But I am sure somehow his projections will be lower, which is crazy!!

    • Ted Nelson says:

      His projections are shown. Just click on the link.

    • thenamestsam says:

      You know that he’s 30 and Montero is 22 right? I’m guessing that’s going to be a factor in projecting their future stats.

      • YANKZ1FAN says:

        What does age matter on what he would do next season? Yes, Montero is younger, but we are not doing a five year prediction on how much better Montero will be. It is for next year which means current ability!! Plus, Montero is not going to improve much when he is not playing in the winter. Chato will dominate in the winter again!! You are right though, Montero is going to only get better, and Jorge is in his prime right now. But that means you dont have to wait for results in his case. He is ready now. But, both are ready now!!!

  10. Ted Nelson says:

    Cano’s SLG is the only thing that sticks out to me as unrealistic at first glance. Guy has been at .520-.534-.533 the past three years and he’s projected to be at .506 his 29 year old season?

    The other ones I don’t particularly like I can understand with age and/or past performance.

  11. YANKZ1FAN says:

    Yes, I did look at the projections. Where I know Vazquez’s average would be much higher than .235, his projections are pretty good. All the projections look very low for everyone, but at second glance Jorge looks like a very productive ML hitter. Only Tex and Grandy have a better HR per ab ratio, not counting Andrew Jones which his projections are swayed due to the fact that it is mainly based on him against leftys. Chato hits leftys and rightys the same. Comparing Chato to everyone he is definately projected to be the most productive player to have on the bench as a corner INF. Chavez, Pena, Laird, Nunez, none compare to his production. And I know for a fact that if you give him 400 abs for the season he will hit more torward 30hr, and 100rbi. If you give him 500ab he will hit 40 and 120!!!! Give ‘El Destructor’ a chance!!

    • Mike K says:

      I saw Vazquez a lot in AAA. He’s Shelley Duncan, but without the fielding, baserunning, or ability to take walks. He can hit a baseball a long way, and that’s about it. 3 true outcome players who provide nothing else (e.g. Rob Deer) can still provide value for a time. Two true outcome, and one of them isn’t walks? There’s a reason the Yankees haven’t promoted him.

      • YANKZ1FAN says:

        Vazquez is a much better hitter than Duncan. Jorge hits and has insane power to all fields. Duncan ia a pure pull hitter. Everyone always says fielding, but he has worked very hard, and .993% this year at third and mostly first, with over 800 chances. Very much playable off the bench. And I dont know what you are talking about with Duncan and baserunning? Dont need to even defend that!! And yes, Jorge does not walk a lot…..Neither does Cano!! And Chato is projected with much more power than him……. PLUS!!! I am talking about who would be best off the bench!!!! You probably say Laird would be better….. Jorge had more walks than him, 30 to 17 in the same amount of ab’s!!!!! Oh yeah, and 16 more HR, 25 more RBI, 25 points higher in OBP, 94 higher SLG%!, a higher avg, and 120 points higher OPS!!!!! Your right, Jorge did not earn a callup in Sept over everyone that was called up!!! He sould have been the first one called up!! Let him show if he can produce or not. Not decided by you guys, who think you have all the answers as to how he would fail, who have no idea what he would do!!! Vazquez is perfect off the bench. And he has just as good a glove… First or Third!! Laird has better range, but Jorge has a much stronger arm. The only reason Chato is not in the Majors right now, let along last year, is a simple fact…The Yankees would rather pay a bunch of money for old players trying to stay in the big on the bench!! And it was stupid of the Yankees to not start him in New York last year,instead of paying Chavez over a million dollars for two home runs all year, and always hurt. Jorge was originally signed to start in New York in ’09 as a backup plan if the Yanks didnt get Teixeira. Any other team, he would have been up by now. Why hasnt he been in the Majors yet?….. Bad luck, and bad moves by the Yanks!!!

  12. YANKZ1FAN says:

    Chato is projected to have more HR’s in the same abs as AROD!!!! Now we’re talking!!

    • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

      If only he could learn to play the outfield. He could replace Jones and give Arod and Teix a respite now and then.

      • Monteroisdinero says:

        He could probably be a passable right fielder but I wouldn’t want him in left in YS. As a backup (inhouse) outfielder, only Golson and Dickerson can play all 3 positions well. Only talking defense here.

        See-I did get Golson in there!

  13. Tags says:

    Good article on the Lohud blog by Chad Jennings showing how in 2005 the projections for Mike Napoli was:

    Napoli has a polished, professional hitting approach and obvious power. He has natural loft in his swing and drives the ball well from center to the opposite field… The biggest question surrounding Napoli is whether he’ll be able to catch at higher levels. His catch-and-throw skills are adequate, but his flexibility and footwork are poor. He doesn’t move well behind the plate — or on the bases, for that matter — and several Cal League observers didn’t think he’d be able to serve as a backup catcher in the majors

    Sound like something we’ve heard? Almost as if it was written about Montero. And Jennings goes on to say that Napoli was never projected to be the hitter Montero is. So maybe Jesus can follow in Napoli’s path?

    • Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

      That just shows that scouts are not always right. Phil Rizzuto was rejected by the Dodgers and Giants because he was too small to play the game. Casey Stengel told him to get a shoeshine box. So you can see that those who know do not know it all.

  14. NHYankeesFan says:

    Im not sure how much I trust projections that have Mariano over a 3 ERA

  15. Chen Meng Wang says:

    Very late to the party here, but glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks these projections are selling very low on most of the line up. Robbie’s AVG/OBP will be higher
    I think Tex’s SLG will be slightly higher
    Grandy’s OBP will be higher
    A-Rod’s HR and SLG will be higher(if he stays healthy)
    Gardner’s AVG will be higher
    Jeter’s everything will be higher

    Honestly the only person I think they’re to high on is Jesus. I really really hope I’m wrong and I did love his swing but I’m going to remain a cautious optimist on him. if he hits .260/.320/.475 with 29+HRs in his rookie year I’d be estatic.

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