Projecting the 2013 Cubs: Bill James

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).

Position players

Hitter AB 2B 3B HR BB SO Avg OBP Slg wOBA
Anthony Rizzo 604 40 1 33 55 126 0.283 0.346 0.517 0.368
Bryan LaHair 314 20 0 14 32 89 0.268 0.335 0.465 0.347
Starlin Castro 629 35 10 12 38 86 0.304 0.346 0.448 0.345
Brett Jackson 302 16 4 11 39 111 0.242 0.328 0.430 0.333
Alfonso Soriano 530 32 1 27 40 142 0.245 0.304 0.462 0.326
Ian Stewart 143 7 1 6 16 37 0.238 0.327 0.427 0.324
Luis Valbuena 261 16 1 7 29 54 0.253 0.330 0.402 0.323
David DeJesus 489 26 4 9 52 86 0.264 0.345 0.389 0.322
Welington Castillo 333 18 0 13 30 85 0.252 0.316 0.423 0.322
Steve Clevenger 226 16 1 3 19 31 0.265 0.322 0.385 0.314
Josh Vitters 487 31 1 15 28 89 0.251 0.293 0.411 0.305
Darwin Barney 555 28 3 5 31 59 0.268 0.311 0.357 0.296
Tony Campana 152 5 1 0 10 32 0.276 0.321 0.322 0.292

 

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.

Pitchers

Pitcher IP H HR BB SO HBP ERA FIP
Shawn Campe 75 80 6 21 50 4 3.96 3.91
Jeff Samardzija 193 177 21 63 169 6 3.78 3.94
Matt Garza 198 186 22 62 171 7 3.68 3.96
Carlos Marmol 62 43 4 46 80 6 3.63 3.97
Alberto Cabrera 43 48 4 21 40 2 5.02 4.15
Travis Wood 196 191 22 66 159 9 3.90 4.18
Rafael Dolis 32 33 2 17 23 1 4.50 4.26
Manny Corpas 59 61 6 19 40 4 4.12 4.34
Chris Rusin 76 81 8 25 50 4 4.38 4.40
Justin Germano 119 125 16 24 80 8 4.01 4.41
Michael Bowden 60 55 7 27 50 1 3.90 4.45
Chris Volstad 155 171 18 53 99 4 4.59 4.54
Brooks Raley 56 65 7 20 37 2 4.98 4.68
Jason Berken 45 54 6 15 31 2 5.20 4.69
James Russell 67 74 11 19 49 2 4.84 4.81

 

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.

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