Using the Bill James Projections to look at the latest Phillies' center field options

PBR - Let's hit the reset button. 

Three of the Phillies' top-five center field candidates have signed elsewhere and the two remaining players, Michael Bourn and Josh Hamilton, command major financial and year commitments that outstretch the Phillies' comfort zone.

In addition to Bourn and Hamilton, the club is linked with at least two clubs for potential trades; one being Arizona for Justin Upton and the other being the New York Yankees for Curtis Granderson.

Focusing on just these four candidates, I used the Lineup Analysis tool from Baseball Musings to see exactly how each player would contribute to the Phillies' offense.  

The Lineup Analysis tool allows you to input the OBP and SLG of an entire starting nine while providing a list of the 20 best and 20 worst lineups given that set of players. The tool also forecasts how many runs a team would likely score using a given lineup and batting order.

To keep things interesting I used the Bill James 2013 projections for OBP and SLG. 


No surprise really that the lineup with Hamilton projects to score more runs than any other variation. Yes, Carlos Ruiz would never bat in the top spot, but based purely off his offensive numbers (remember, this is a computer model) the model indicates he's the Phillies' best option for the top of the lineup (this is worthy of another article at another time).

The Fowler lineup places second, but James' projections are based on him playing at Coors Field and not Citizens Bank Park so I'd expect a drop in production and a lesser number than 4.20 runs per game.

Bourn appears to be the least potent addition to the lineup,falling to the back of an order estimated to produce 4.1 runs a game.

Nothing scientific and nothing definitive, but certainly some food for thought as the center field saga drags on.

- Patrick Gordon is the editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review. Contact him at pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com or @Philabaseball on Twitter.

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