2005 Jays: Optimistic and Pessimistic Projections

Wednesday, March 16 2005 @ 05:26 PM EST

Contributed by: Dave Till

I've always thought that predicting an individual player's performance was next to impossible: there are just too many factors to consider, one of which is just plain luck. But, just for fun, I thought I'd make two predictions for each Blue Jay hitter and starting pitcher likely to make the team in 2005. The first prediction will be wildly optimistic, the second wildly pessimistic.

Let's start with the hitting, and let's get the gloomy stuff out of the way first. Here is the pessimistic forecast for the Blue Jays' offense in 2005. I tried to get the games to add up, but I didn't try too hard, as this is not a serious forecasting exercise.

Player        G  AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI  AVG SB CS  BB  SO
Hinske      154 558  57 122 19  2 11  47 .219  8 12  49 116
Hudson      111 406  49  99 20  4  7  33 .244  6 10  31  89
Adams       128 434  40  89 13  3  6  37 .204  3  5  30  51
Koskie      110 396  52  93 22  2 13  58 .234  5  7  44  99
Catalanotto  63 210  35  54 15  1  1  24 .257  1  1  16  37
Wells       131 529  72 138 32  2 19  64 .260 11 15  47  89
Rios        106 374  42  98 21  5  2  25 .261 12  7  27  96
Hillenbrand 139 468  52 123 20  2 12  49 .263  3  4  13  61
Johnson     149 540  59 139 19  2  7  48 .258  4  4  24 101
Gross        72 179  17  37  5  0  3  16 .209  2  2  24  34
Zaun        110 305  27  67 14  1  4  37 .220  2  0  26  50
Quiroz       67 224  19  47  7  0  4  22 .211  0  1  13  64
McDonald     92 261  25  51  8  1  1  13 .196  1  2  10  49

I came up with these numbers by assuming that absolutely everybody takes a step back from last season. Koskie, Hudson, and Cat suffer major injuries, and the replacements are not able to step in to do the job. Zaun's numbers were obtained by adding his two seasons with Houston together.

Now, let's move to the sunny side of the street:

Player        G  AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI  AVG SB CS  BB  SO
Hinske      151 566  99 158 38  2 24  84 .279 13  1  77 138
Hudson      158 601 108 175 36  9 16  80 .292 21  7  60 103
Adams       157 572  86 175 22  7 12  71 .306 17  6  48  62
Koskie      153 562 100 155 37  2 26 103 .276 19  7  68 118
Catalanotto 133 463  77 153 31  5 11  54 .330 15  5  39  55
Wells       162 684 126 225 51  7 37 123 .329 31  9  60  82
Rios        143 504  73 150 32  9 13  77 .298 27  6  47  94
Hillenbrand 148 562  86 174 36  3 15  80 .310  2  0  24  49
Johnson      71 217  44  64 12  2  6  31 .294  8  2  16  40
Zaun        110 352  51  99 29  0  9  49 .280  0  2  54  64
Quiroz       67 237  30  63 14  0  8  34 .267  0  0  21  48
McDonald     71 101  11  25  9  1  1  10 .250  3  1   9  26

Ahh, that's much nicer. I came up with these numbers using the following methods:

Note that, in the best case scenario, Gross doesn't play at all. This isn't knocking Gross who, in this scenario, is hitting over .300 with power and speed for Syracuse. He just can't crack this lineup. Also notice that McDonald usually sees action as a defensive replacement, and Johnson is strictly the fourth outfielder.

If you add up the totals, the pessimist Jays score a total of 546 runs, which is 152 runs worse than the worst team in 2004 (Seattle). The optimist Jays, on the other hand, score 891 runs, which is roughly comparable to the 2004 Yankees, and about thirty runs worse than the 2004 Red Sox. (The 2004 Jays scored 719 runs.) With this many runs scored, the team would be projected to win 86 games even with a pitching staff as porous as that of the 2004 Jays.

I should emphasize that, while these optimistic projections are extremely rosy, they're not ludicrous. Each of the players shown is capable of producing these numbers; some already have. It's just very unlikely that all of them will produce at this level.

Now, let's move on to the pitching. First, the worst case scenario. It's pretty ugly. People with sensitive constitutions are requested to avert their eyes.

Pitcher        G GS    IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO   ERA
Halladay      21 21 133.0 140  66  62  39  95  4.20
Lilly         33 33 191.0 221 119 111  96 151  5.82
Bush          33 33 189.0 222 110 104  54 107  4.89
Towers        32 32 163.0 215 118 108  40  77  5.92
Chacin        20 14  93.0 137  72  66  44  37  6.42
Batista       51  2  81.0 106  54  49  51  44  5.45
Suspects         27 134.0 172  91  85  71  77  5.71
Relievers           474.0 527 277 261 203 343  4.96

I got these numbers as follows:

You will note that all of the innings pitched projections are round numbers. That's because I am lazy and didn't want to type 177.3333333333 into my calculator. You have your character flaws, I have mine. However, the innings do add up to a total of 162 * 9, and the starts add up to 162. So there.

Okay, now to the good side of the force:

Pitcher        G GS    IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO   ERA
Halladay      36 36 266.0 253 107  96  32 204  3.25
Lilly         33 33 209.0 182  88  82  78 178  3.54
Bush          33 33 211.0 195  87  80  46 134  3.44
Towers        33 33 179.0 197  93  86  37  82  4.34
Chacin        27 27 166.0 157  87  81  60 112  4.40
Batista       70  0  83.0  68  19  16  34  87  1.71
Relievers           344.0 344 140 131 149 247  3.42

Again, these numbers are optimistic, but not ludicrous:

Totalling these stats, the pessimist Jays allow a whopping 907 runs, and the optimist Jays allow only 621 runs.

To summarize: the worst-case Jays score 546 runs and allow 907, and the best-case Jays score 891 runs and allow 621. If you run Pythagorean projections of these numbers, the Bad Jays wind up with a record of 45-117, which is Tigeriffic. The Good Jays, on the other hand, go 107-55, kicking butt and taking names all the way to the World Series. So that's my prediction: the Jays will win between 45 and 107 games. You can hold me to that.

So what can we conclude from all of this? Not much, but I'll try:

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