I enjoy looking at the projections for the upcoming season when they're released. Sometimes I enjoy it more than others. If the Cubs are going to be good I'm excited. When they aren't, not so much. This is one of those years.
Despite that, Berselius and I have posted projections for the Cubs going back to 2007 so we'll do it again for 2013. Because we have to.
The Bill James projections are usually the first to come out. They're published in his annual and that usually comes out in early November (Nov. 1 this year).
People have a tendency to say the Bill James projections are overly optimistic, but that's not necessarily true. Everything is relative so a .340 wOBA in a league projected to have a .450 wOBA is pretty damn bad. Obviously nobody would project a league to have a .450 wOBA. The point is that without knowing the average we can't know how optimistic a projection system is for various players.
It's no surprise to anyone that Rizzo is projected to hit better than any Cub. What is a little surprising is how much better he's projected to hit than everyone else. What's most surprising here is that the Cubs 4th best hitter is Brett Jacikson. Despite the strikeouts last year, Jackson was actually passable as an MLB hitter. He wasn't good, but he wasn't terrible either. Luis Valbuena is projected to be a significantly better hitter than Josh Vitters, but that also is not surprising. Stewart is too, but I'm much more pessimistic about him based on what he's done the last couple years.
I included anyone who was on the Cubs last season. Volstad is gone and so are some of the others.
Bill James does not like James Russell. He sees him as slightly better than he did a year ago, but still terrible. That seems odd to me, but he's been consistent. Something in his system doesn't like Russell.