PBR - One of the joys of the offseason is the fanfare that surrounds the various projection releases. These numbers offer a first glimmer of how players and teams are expected to look in the upcoming season.

The Bill James projections were posted on Frangraphs a few days ago and that's what we are looking at in this post.

For those that don't know, Bill James is often considered the father of sabermetrics. He's created such statistics as Runs Created and the Pythagorean Winning Percentage. His projections are released yearly in the The Bill James Handbook.

Fans and writers that examine the various projection releases often contend the James system is overly optimistic and I tend to agree. His figures are routinely higher when compared to the CHONE, ZiPS and Marcels projection figures. The cause behind his often inflated numbers is correlated to league averages and relativity - he assumes everyone will be available for 162 games and the projections are based on what a player can do if given the opportunity for maximum playing time. The James system uses the same formula for projections, so everyone usually has higher than likely statistics.

Once the other projection packages are released we'll do a comparison and see what the consensus truly is. For now, I've included the James projections for key offensive players that are likely to return with the Phillies next season. Darin Ruf was not included in James' projections, so that's why you don't see him here.

I'll examine the pitchers in a later post.
The Review: The first thing I noticed with these projections was the expected return of Ryan Howard's bat. He missed a portion of last season recovering from his ankle injury, but he hit just .219 and put together an OBP of just .295. James expects Howard to return to his 2011 form.

Similarly, James sees Chase Utley putting up his best offensive numbers since 2010, including 122 appearances which would be the most he's played in since 2009.

I also was shocked to see such high expectations put on Domonic Brown. He's never hit more than five homers with the Phillies, yet James projects 17 next season with a significant increase in his slash line (.274/.347/.445 vs. .235/.316/.396).

James projects a bit of a drop for Carlos Ruiz, dropping his 2013 numbers closer to his career average. 

What do you think of with the projections?  Do you see Howard and Utley putting together such strong seasons? What about Brown and his projected breakout campaign or Ruiz and his slide back to career averages?

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

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