I noticed yesterday on Fangraphs that they had published the 2013 Cubs Oliver Projections. Actually, they'd posted all the teams in their projections section, but I was interested in the Cubs. Here they are.
Junior Lake with 3.2 WAR? A .314 wOBA? 3rd highest WAR among position players? That's not even the strangest projection. Not even close.
That honor just might go to the .308 wOBA for Jorge Soler who hasn't played a game above low A. He didn't even play that many games in A ball.
2.1 WAR for Christian Villanueva and it's not even primarily from his defense? 2.8 WAR for Luis Valbuena?
I understand that the playing time for some of these players is way higher than they'll actually get, but even the rate stats are silly. So is the WAR.
That's the 2008 Cubs and those are the only players who had more than 0.7 fWAR.
I realize this isn't really an apples to apples comparison. The Oliver projections include more than 1 player at the same position (Castro-Lake, Valbuena-Villianueva, etc), but you get the point. Even the best offensive Cubs team I've seen in my life is barely better than the 2013 Cubs Oliver projections.
My first thought was that maybe they had everyone projected to be way better than they really are. That doesn't seem to be the case. Starlin Castro is projected by Oliver to have the 10th best WAR among position players. He's tied with Robinson Cano at 5.4. Joey Votto is only at 5.7 WAR.
The Reds' Billy Hamilton has just over 200 plate appearances above A ball. He's projected to be worth 4.4 WAR. I can buy the +20 runs fielding and baserunning for him that Oliver is projecting if he was to play a full season, but I don't buy he's going to be among the league leaders in WAR in his first season without a full season above A ball.
This isn't the first time I've wondered what the hell was wrong with the Oliver projections. Last year, early on, they had the Cubs winning 82 games in the 2012 season.
You can compare the 2013 Cubs Oliver projections to their Steamer projections.