Community Projections vs. Reality, Round One: The Infield

Way back in March, there was a little community game on Camden Chat where we invited our site members to post their statistical predictions about specific Orioles players for the 2011 season. The season has come and gone, and so has the postseason that the O's just barely missed. It's also not quite hot stove season yet since there's no GM or president of baseball operations to stoke the fire. This is a good time to see how the community projections lived up to reality.

Back in the first Camdencast, Andrew and I talked about how it seemed like the community, collectively, was seriously high on orange Kool-Aid. With everything said and done, let's find out just how high.

These were the aggregate Camden Chat preseason predictions from all participating members for the infield:

G AB 2B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Matt Wieters - 474 28 20 57 93 3 2 0.284 0.357 0.444
Derrek Lee 143 535 32 24 71 119 2 2 0.281 0.364 0.472
Brian Roberts 142 557 42 10 71 95 28 8 0.287 0.361 0.431
J.J. Hardy 136 507 26 17 47 83 4 2 0.277 0.334 0.436
Mark Reynolds 150 542 27 36 77 196 13 5 0.248 0.340

0.505

And now for the cruelest dream, reality:

G AB 2B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Matt Wieters 139 500 28 22 48 84 1 0 0.262 0.328 0.450
Derrek Lee 85 334 15 12 25 83 2 1 0.246 0.302 0.404
Brian Roberts 39 163 7 3 12 21 6 1 0.221 0.273 0.331
J.J. Hardy 129 527 27 30 31 92 0 0 0.269 0.310 0.491
Mark Reynolds 155 534 27 37 75 196 6 4 0.221 0.323 0.483

 Some of that kind of makes you want to cry a little bit. Let's look at each position in greater detail.

Catcher, Matt Wieters:

G AB 2B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Predicted - 474 28 20 57 93 3 2 0.284 0.357 0.444
Reality 139 500 28 22 48 84 1 0 0.262 0.328 0.450
Prediction - Reality - -26 0 -2 9 9 2 2 0.022 0.029 -0.006

The Wieters we saw strongly resembles the Wieters we collectively thought we were going to get. In terms of doubles and home run power, we got almost exactly what we picked. We thought he would get more hits than he did, and if he'd walked nine more times, that would have been worth 16 points of OBP. We guessed an OPS of .801 and he delivered a .778. An optimist would point out that he had a strong August and September and that may be closer to his true talent level than we have seen before, so across the full season next year it may be even better.

First Base, Derrek Lee:

G AB 2B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Predicted 143 535 24 24 71 119 2 2 0.281 0.364 0.472
Reality 85 334 15 12 25 83 2 1 0.246 0.302 0.404

We predicted 60% more at-bats for Lee than he actually got for the Orioles. He played less for us due to the deadline trade to the Pirates. If Lee's numbers stayed at a constant pace he would have gotten 24 doubles for the Orioles, and 19 home runs. In that sense, we weren't far off, but you can see where the problem arose in walks and strikeouts: he walked much less and struck out slightly more. We guessed an OPS of .836 and got an OPS of .706, so we were off by 130 points.

Second Base, Brian Roberts:

I'm not even going to compare what we guessed against reality because it'd be way too depressing. We all have to come to grips with the possibility that we may never see Roberts play another game, and if he does, that he will never perform close to the level of the spark plug player we came to love.

Shortstop, J.J. Hardy:

G AB 2B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Predicted 136 507 26 17 47 83 4 2 0.277 0.334 0.436
Reality 129 527 27 30 31 92 0 0 0.269 0.310 0.491
Prediction - Reality 7 -20 -1 -13 16 -9 4 2 0.008 0.024 -0.055

When the O's traded for JJ, we heard about the injury potential, and we predicted he'd miss maybe 18 games due to injury. He was on the DL from April 10 to May 8 and missed 25 games in that time. We were close. He ended up with more ABs than we thought, perhaps because he walked less than we thought, and struck out more. Chicks dig the long ball, though, and we'll take 30 bombs and solid play in the field any time. JJ begins a 3 year/$22.25M extension next season. We'll take an .801 OPS for that price, although if he wants to walk some more and keep hitting bombs, that would be great too.

Third Base, Mark Reynolds:

G AB 2B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Predicted 150 542 27 36 77 196 13 5 0.248 0.340 0.505
Reality 155 534 27 37 75 196 6 4 0.221 0.323 0.483
Prediction - Reality -5 8 0 -1 2 0 7 1 0.027 0.017 0.022

The line from G through to K is a thing of beauty for the aggregate wisdom of the prognosticators. We thought we were getting a pretty durable Three True Outcomes kind of player, and he played in almost every game, hit bombs, walked and struck out almost exactly in accordance with our collective imagination. Pat yourselves on the back for this one, CC. I don't know what was up with guessing 13 stolen bases, and sure, we were a bit optimistic on his batting slash line, predicting an OPS of .845 when he delivered a .806. This is who Mark Reynolds is, though, and we seemed to know this even before we ever saw him play in a regular season game. Hopefully next year he won't be listed at third base.

Outfield/DH and rotation posts to come, probably, provided that I don't drown in apathy after the LaCava news that came out last night as I was writing this post.

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