As was done in days of yore, dm and I are rolling out projection posts going into the season. We're not doing anything too complicated – just doing some simple averaging of the systems out there with some tweaks of our own if we see them. There will be inherent flaws in this – each system presumably makes different less than obvious assumptions, whether in terms of playing time, league environments, time spent at various positions, etc. But it's good enough to get an idea of what the systems expect and spark some conversation. The players' 2015 numbers are also included at the top of the table for reference.
This is the other easy position to figure out, playing time wise. Sadly we aren't likely to see much of Kris Bryant, outfielder this year.
|Kris Bryant||2015 Stats||650||154||31||5||26||77||199||13||4||.275||.369||.488||.371||7.1||7.1||6.5|
What more can you say about Bryant at this point? The projection systems are projecting him to improve on last year's offensive numbers. The lower WAR total is basically just due to less playing time, as well as reasonable regression of defensive/baserunning value. If Bryant's PAs are reduced more due to rest than to injuries, which seems to be one of the Cubs big talking points going into the season, those numbers could see an even bigger bump.
When I first started putting this post together, I figured the Fowler signing knocked Sczcur's chance of making the roster to next to nothing and locked in La Stella. Now I am not so sure. He hasn't seemed 100% this spring and Kawasaki is seemingly proving to be a hit in the clubhouse as well as on the field. But let's leave it as La Stella for now, as I still think he's the best option. Baez could get some starts here as well.
|Tommy La Stella||2015 Stats||75||18||6||0||1||5||7||2||0||.269||.324||.403||.317||0.0||-0.1||0.2|
|Tommy La Stella||ZiPS||343||82||17||2||4||29||36||4||1||.267||.333||.375||.313||-3||***||1|
|Tommy La Stella||PECOTA||262||63||13||1||4||25||31||2||1||.269||.342||.380||.326||-0.9||-0.4||0.7|
|Tommy La Stella||CAIRO||347||80||17||1||4||32||42||4||1||.259||.332||.361||.309||***||***||1.1|
|Tommy La Stella||Steamer||181||45||9||1||2||16||19||2||1||.277||.343||.380||.318||-0.9||-0.4||0.3|
|Tommy La Stella||Average||283||68||14||1||4||26||32||3||1||.268||.338||.374||.317||-1.6||-0.4||0.8|
|Javier Baez||2015 Stats||80||22||6||0||1||4||24||1||2||.289||.325||.408||.315||2.6||0.3||0.5|
One other name to watch is Jeimer Candelario, who has been ???????????????? for the past year, posting a .386 wOBA following his promotion to AAA, slugging over .600 in the AFL, and now opening lots of eyes in the Cactus league. If the Cubs do need to get an upgrade somewhere at the trade deadline, I wouldn't be surprised if he is the centerpiece of a deal given that he's just slightly blocked at the big league level right now. But if he keeps this up and, DeRosa forbid, something were to happen to Rizzo or Bryant in the second half of the season I wouldn't be surprised to see him getting a good chunk of playing time.
Baez and La Stella probably won't get much playing time at 3B, but let's call it 10% of the starts, which translates to about 75 PAs. Leaving Bryant's where it is and prorating their numbers, this results in the Amalgamated Third Base Projected WAR of 5.5 WAR.
- First base: 4.4 WAR
- Third base: 5.5 WAR