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Real Life vs Projections: Results

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How the Royals are performing against their pre-season projections

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe the funnest time for a nerd in the offseason is when preseason projections come out. FanGraphs does an excellent job of not only posting projections, but breaking them down team by team, and perhaps most importantly, keeping record of the projections.

There also exists the added value of rest of season (RoS) projections that gives us a quantitative look at what we can perhaps see a player doing for the rest of the season built on a baseline of what they have done and what they were projected to do.

For today's exercise, we'll simply compare the pre-season projections and the current production.

My projection system of choice is ZiPS built by the one and only Dan Szy-mb-ors-ki. I breakup his name because he has a Google alert set to notify him whenever his name is posted and perhaps even said. He likely also has "ZiPs" and "projections" keyed together for an alert as well. Like Rumpelstiltskin, he will appear if you say his full name and maybe even appear behind you in a mirror if you saw it three times with the lights off.

Hitters:

ZiPS Projections:

Name G PA HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA Fld WAR
Salvador Perez 132 517 13 67 0 .287 .320 .431 .327 8.1 3.9
Alex Gordon 155 691 19 73 11 .267 .339 .432 .337 9.6 3.6
Eric Hosmer 156 657 20 77 14 .296 .353 .459 .353 -1.6 2.7
Mike Moustakas 147 598 18 62 4 .255 .305 .416 .315 3.0 2.3
Billy Butler 156 653 19 85 1 .288 .363 .442 .349 0.0 2.0
Omar Infante 138 559 8 46 7 .279 .309 .387 .305 2.4 1.7
Lorenzo Cain 119 477 7 49 15 .252 .307 .367 .298 5.4 1.6
Norichika Aoki 148 638 5 41 17 .279 .336 .362 .312 5.3 1.5
Alcides Escobar 156 625 5 51 23 .259 .291 .346 .280 2.6 1.4
Josh Willingham 114 478 20 66 2 .233 .343 .431 .341 -5.6 1.4
Jarrod Dyson 111 377 2 22 36 .240 .300 .317 .276 4.0 1.0
Raul Ibanez 114 424 20 59 1 .241 .300 .451 .326 0.0 0.8
Christian Colon 121 529 7 42 11 .256 .303 .335 .284 2.9 0.7

2014 Results:

Name G PA HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA Fld WAR
Alex Gordon 137 568 19 66 10 .274 .354 .450 .354 22.3 6.0
Lorenzo Cain 115 427 4 43 24 .295 .333 .403 .323 12.1 3.5
Salvador Perez 131 532 16 63 1 .265 .297 .415 .312 5.2 3.2
Jarrod Dyson 104 266 1 23 33 .283 .338 .342 .306 16.4 3.1
Alcides Escobar 143 536 2 44 28 .276 .309 .368 .299 5.7 3.1
Norichika Aoki 113 468 1 36 15 .265 .331 .334 .302 4.9 1.4
Omar Infante 116 501 6 59 8 .254 .290 .346 .281 -0.7 0.6
Mike Moustakas 121 435 15 51 0 .207 .265 .370 .281 2.3 0.8
Christian Colon 20 47 0 4 2 .302 .348 .442 .347 0.9 0.4
Billy Butler 139 558 9 59 0 .268 .321 .377 .308 0.0 -0.4
Eric Hosmer 111 471 6 48 4 .267 .312 .380 .304 -0.2 -0.3
Raul Ibanez 85 273 5 26 3 .169 .260 .289 .252 -0.2 -1.0
Josh Willingham 85 339 14 40 2 .220 .348 .415 .339 0.5 0.9

Gordon has been basically one and a half times as good as he was projected to be. Both hitting and fielding better than expected. Obviously defensive figures are hard to not only predict but also track, and we can see a large variance here.

Perez has settled in near his projection on both the offensive and defensive side per wOBA and FLD.

Moose has been 30 basis points worse than his expected wOBA and has been worth much less than his projected value.

Dyson has been three times better than expected while Escobar has been worth twice as much.

Raul Ibanez continues to defy logic that he should no longer be employed. Not because he's doing better than we thought, but the exact opposite. He's been horrible and shouldn't be on a playoff contender for anything other than stretching out players during warm ups or working as a translator.

We're all aware of the disappointment Hosmer has been, but if you believe in patterns then he's due to be better next year given his positive WAR, then negative, then positive, now negative WAR pattern.

Butler has seen a 40 point drop off from his projected OBP.

Pitchers:

ZiPS Projections:

Name ERA IP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR
James Shields 3.61 212.0 8.24 2.50 3.51 4.1
Wade Davis 4.55 140.1 7.57 3.46 4.13 1.7
Greg Holland 2.34 69.3 12.99 3.38 2.23 1.6
Yordano Ventura 4.20 137.1 7.47 3.74 4.15 1.5
Kelvin Herrera 3.27 79.2 10.50 2.94 3.11 1.3
Danny Duffy 4.12 94.0 8.62 4.50 4.01 1.2
Jeremy Guthrie 4.55 166.0 5.20 2.60 4.61 1.0
Jason Vargas 4.71 191.0 5.80 2.36 4.84 1.0
Aaron Crow 3.77 57.1 9.27 3.77 3.66 0.4
Jason Frasor 3.83 44.2 9.46 3.83 3.74 0.4
Francisley Bueno 4.83 63.1 5.55 3.84 4.72 -0.3

2014 Results:

Name ERA IP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR
James Shields 3.23 200.1 7.01 1.80 3.69 3.1
Jason Vargas 3.14 169.0 5.96 1.81 3.64 2.8
Wade Davis 0.71 63.1 13.36 2.98 1.29 2.7
Danny Duffy 2.42 141.1 6.88 3.18 4.41 2.4
Yordano Ventura 3.25 158.0 7.63 3.47 3.69 2.3
Greg Holland 1.60 56.1 12.78 2.88 2.17 2.0
Kelvin Herrera 1.34 60.1 7.76 3.43 2.69 1.2
Jeremy Guthrie 4.54 182.1 5.63 2.22 4.39 1.2
Jason Frasor 2.98 42.1 8.72 3.61 3.45 0.4
Francisley Bueno 4.45 30.1 5.64 1.78 3.84 0.0
Aaron Crow 3.71 53.1 5.23 3.38 5.28 -0.8

Shields has been worse than projected but the rest of the rotation/pen has picked up his slack and more so.

Vargas is more than a full run better than his FIP was predicted and in turn has been almost three times as more valuable.

Davis was projected to be marginally better than Holland, but has been half a win better (still a slight amount). Of course ZiPS had Davis starting 23 games, but as a reliever he's been much better.

Guthrie has been marginally better than projected while Crow has been worse.

There's still another 20 something games left and while these values are expected to change drastically, there can still be some minor swings if someone gets hot or cold.

Overall, the team has been better than expected as you can imagine. Gordon has gone from very good player to elite, while Cain and Dyson have been surprises.

On the pitching side Shields has disappointing, but as noted others have been better than expected.