An important thing to do in the aftermath of a season is to take stock of how our prior beliefs lined up with expectations and how our expectations have changed as a result of one season of baseball. In other words, how smart were we before the season and what did we learn?
To take a peak at this, we’re going to look at the Steamer Projection system’s preseason (2014) projections for the Tigers hitters and their very early preseason projections for 2015. Let’s see who beat their projection, how the team did as a whole, and who we expect to get better or worse for next year.
A couple of notes are important up front. First, Steamer didn’t project every single person who got an at bat in 2014 and they haven’t projected everyone who will get one in 2015. If a player isn’t here, it’s because they don’t check one of the necessary boxes. First, let’s start with the 2014 preseason wOBA and actual 2014 wOBA of each projected player. And also the difference for easy comparisons:
|Player||Proj 2014 wOBA||2014 wOBA||Diff|
Anyone with a .000 didn’t get a projection or didn’t play. You’ll notice that of the players who actually receive real playing time, JD Martinez and Victor Martinez were the only major over-performers. Rajai Davis came in next at +.011. A good portion of the club undershot their projections with Kinsler, Jackson, Avila, and Cabrera doing so by the largest amount.
However, this is a slightly confusing set of results. JD Martinez’s huge success outweighs a number of small under-performances. Instead of looking at each player individually, we’re now going to take the projected wOBA of each player who actually got a real number of PA (50) and their actual wOBA, all weighted by their PA. This isn’t quite team wOBA, because we’re dropping people who didn’t get a projection, but we’re going to assume that Steamer can’t really forecast playing time and instead we’re going to say, “if we told Steamer the playing time, what would it have projected the wOBA be?”
Of the 15 players in the sample, the pro-rated team wOBA projection was .330. The actual combined wOBA of those 15 players? .331. The Tigers hit exactly as well as the projections thought they would, even if some players did better and some did worse than our expectations. This isn’t very different from what I found during the month of August when I looked at the same thing.
Alright, so we’ve seen the Tigers’ individual comparisons to our preseason expectations and how the team did on the whole. Now let’s look ahead for a moment.
I’m going to show each player’s 2014 preseason projection and their 2015 preseason projection. You can think of the difference as how much better we think this player is as a result of their 2014 season. These are only players who have a 2014 and a 2015 projection as a Tiger.
|Player||Proj 2014 wOBA||Proj 2015 wOBA||Diff|
Both Martinezes are looking great as the projection system believes that they did both improve during the 2014 season, even if it wasn’t completely sustainable. The kids (Carrera, Perez, Suarezm Castellanos, Iglesias) all get a little bump as their growing into their skills, but no one is making a huge leap. Hunter is expected to lose a little more with the bat, Cabrera will too. Although Cabrera has a very high talent level, so we still expect him to perform better than he did in 2014. Both Kinsler and Avila took a bit of a slide, but both are also expected to be a touch better than their 2014 numbers.
All in all, the team performed as expected at the plate in 2014 once you factor out who missed time due to injury. Some did better and some did worse, but it was the overall outcome you would have expected. Going into 2015, the boost from the Martinezes should counter act any declines elsewhere, but that’s assuming Victor is back and they figure out RF.