While we wait for Tanaka to make a decision between choosing the Yankees today, or choosing the Yankees tomorrow, I took a look at how our offense performed relative to the league at each prediction. I then looked at who was projected to get the bulk of the starts at each position, and compared their Steamer projection to last year's averages.
These are the averages from last year. Here's the primary starter last year as of season's end last year, and their slash lines:
|2013 P AVG||BA||OBP||SLG||wOBA||difference|
Now, that doesn't tell the whole story. Soriano played a lot more often than Lake did, and it also ignores the backups for each position. To get a slightly clearer picture (only slightly clearer because FanGraphs can not sort by actual starts at each position – instead, it puts the FULL stats of anyone who played appreciably at any position), here's the slash by position, instead:
That means that the average wOBA, team-wide, was 7 points lower than the major league average. This doesn't exactly match to the actual difference of 10 points between the league wOBA (.314) and the Cubs' wOBA (.304), but it'll work for my purposes.
Next, I took the Steamer projections for the same 8 players (sadly, the team did not make literally a single upgrade to the offense this offseason so far).
As you can see, Steamer is relatively optimistic essentially across the board. There are minor regressions from Lake, Sweeney, Schierholtz, and Castillo, but Steamer (and most projections) are very bullish on Castro's ability to bounce back, and it foresees similar leaps forward from Rizzo and Barney. I will say that if Barney doesn't take those leaps, he'll be replaced, and essentially anyone who replaces him will provide the .285 wOBA he's projected to hit (and probably a bit more).
All told, these projections would have us at 6 points above average, offensively. I'm definitely not buying that, especially because we were only supposed to be 7 point below last year and we were actually 10. We also will undoubtedly lose some of these starters to injury and/or ineffectiveness. On the whole, though, I think the makeup of our team is ideal for some natural improvement. As constituted, the team has a chance to be average offensively, and I'd confidently peg them as just a whisper or two below.