Friday, February 14, 2014

The Review's projections for the Phillies 2014 starting lineup

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
February 14, 2014, 1:00 p.m.
@Philabaseball

Creating baseball projections is never easy, yet it seems more projection systems are made available every year. 

Sure, the top projection models like ZiPS and Steamer are great, but no system is perfect and every projection is based somewhat on instinct and insight.

This year, for the first time ever, the Philadelphia Baseball Review is jumping into the fray and releasing our own projections for the 2014 Phillies. 

To create our projections I used a combination of various methods and statistical formulas.  Over the next few days we will release projections for portions of the roster. 

Today, we'll focus on the projected everyday starting lineup.

The first chart below shows last year's offensive statistics for the players I project to be in the Phillies lineup come opening day. The second chart provides the Review's projections for each of these players in 2014.



The first thing you should notice between the two graphs is the increase in games played in our projections compared to actual statistics from a year ago. The fact is, no one can predict injuries. I went ahead and assumed players in the starting lineup would not miss significant time because of major injury.

Ben Revere and Ryan Howard benefit the most from this assumption, though I do believe Howard will take some nights off to rest his knees. Cody Asche is another that benefits in the games played category because he's likely breaking camp with the club.

I don't see Marlon Byrd repeating his 2013 campaign with 24 homers, primarily because his 16.4% HR/FB ratio is an anomaly when you look at the rest of his career. His career HR/FB ratio is 9.3% and I project him to put up a number near 11.5% at Citizens Bank Park, equating to a 15 homer season. 

Byrd's BABIP last year was also significantly higher than his career average (.353 in '13 vs. .325 for his career), so I can easily see his batting average tumble a bit, thus hurting his number of extra base hits. 

The projection totals for runs scored and RBIs are significantly higher than last year's actual totals, but that's because the projections are assuming everyone remains somewhat healthy. For comparison, the games played total from 2013 equals 887, whereas the games played total for 2014 based on our projections is 1083.

Delving deeper, the actual runs scored per games played in 2013 was 2.23 (887/397). With just the starting lineup, the Review projects the runs scored per games played ratio in 2014 to be 2.23 (1083/485).  

In short, I don't expect there to be much difference with the offensive output of this year's Phillies starting lineup in comparison to last year's.

Over the next few days I'll be releasing projections for the bench, starting rotation, and bullpen, with all of the projections culminating in a full preview feature of the 2014 season.

Here's your chance to let me know your thoughts on the above projections. Do you see something different?  If so, comment below and have your voice heard.

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news blog in Philadelphia, providing newscoverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia-region.

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