Looking at Nats 2013 stat projections

Looking at Nats 2013 stat projections
January 3, 2013, 10:00 am
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Since the calendar has officially turned over and we're trying to stop looking back and start looking forward with more regularity, this seems like a good time to take a gander at a couple of stat projections for the 2013 Nationals.

Two of the more noteworthy folks who produce annual projections are Bill James (the grandfather of sabermetrics) and Dan Szymborski (who created the ZiPS projections that are now featured on Fangraphs.com).Both utilize a player's performance over several past seasons, plus historical trends, to project how his numbers will look the following season.

They're by no means perfect -- last winter, James projected Ian Desmond to hit .268 with a .394 slugging percentage; he wound up hitting .292 and slugging .511 -- but they're a fun baseline to begin imagining how certain players will face in the upcoming season.

So let's take a look at what James and Szymborski say about members of the Nationals' lineup and bench for 2013. We'll look at the pitching staff in a future blog post...

BRYCE HARPER         PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         597  22  59  .270  .340  .477

2013 James          659  24  65  .272  .347  .476

2013 ZiPS           641  26  70  .274  .346  .486

COMMENT: Both projections seem awfully conservative for a player just about everybody in baseball expects to make a huge leap at age 20.

RYAN ZIMMERMAN       PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         641  25  95  .282  .346  .478

2013 James          659  25  93  .287  .359  .486

2013 ZiPS           607  23  87  .280  .348  .471

COMMENT: At this point in his career, we know what Zimmerman is going to produce. The only question is how many games he plays.

IAN DESMOND          PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         547  25  73  .292  .335  .511

2013 James          595  18  68  .279  .326  .445

2013 ZiPS           611  18  70  .269  .312  .432

COMMENT: Obviously, there's some skepticism about Desmond's ability to pick up where he left off last season, though neither projects him to revert all the way back to his 2011 numbers.

ADAM LaROCHE         PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         647  33 100  .271  .343  .510

2013 James          592  26  87  .256  .334  .471

2013 ZiPS           478  19  72  .249  .322  .445

COMMENT: It's probably correct to assume some regression from LaRoche in his age-33 season, but does anyone honestly believe he'll only hit .249 with 19 homers as ZiPS suggests?

MICHAEL MORSE        PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         430  18  62  .291  .321  .470

2013 James          515  23  80  .295  .342  .501

2013 ZiPS           481  21  73  .272  .320  .467

COMMENT: If he can stay healthy, there's every reason to believe Morse will put up numbers that match or exceed James' projection.

JAYSON WERTH         PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         344   5  31  .300  .387  .440

2013 James          636  20  74  .267  .367  .440

2013 ZiPS           501  15  53  .253  .345  .422

COMMENT: James projects Werth to produce pretty close to his career norms; ZiPS says he'll more closely resemble the disappointing 2011 version.

DANNY ESPINOSA       PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         658  17  56  .247  .315  .402

2013 James          602  21  66  .253  .327  .434

2013 ZiPS           653  20  66  .235  .308  .403

COMMENT: The Nationals hope Espinosa can make the kind of strides in his third big-league season that Desmond did in his. James and ZiPS see more of the same in 2013.

DENARD SPAN          PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         668   4  41  .283  .342  .395

2013 James          593   5  50  .281  .350  .379

2013 ZiPS           568   4  42  .273  .330  .380

COMMENT: Neither projection deviates much from Span's 2012 numbers, but James thinks he'll perform slightly better than ZiPS does.

KURT SUZUKI          PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         442   6  43  .235  .276  .328

2013 James          424   8  47  .247  .306  .360

2013 ZiPS           509  12  63  .263  .308  .400

COMMENT: Suzuki finished the season strong. ZiPS seems to think that was the sign of an upward trend; James seems to think it was a mere blip.

WILSON RAMOS         PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual          96   3  10  .265  .354  .398

2013 James          446  13  50  .269  .324  .426

2013 ZiPS           311   9  34  .260  .314  .411

COMMENT: Both projection methods believe Ramos can make a full recovery from a torn ACL and produce like he did as a rookie. The question is how much playing time he'll get.

ROGER BERNADINA      PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         261   5  25  .291  .372  .405

2013 James          348   8  32  .272  .343  .408

2013 ZiPS           369   9  31  .248  .317  .385

COMMENT: Bernadina figures to be the first guy off the bench if a starting outfielder gets hurt. These projections suggest he's still best off when he doesn't play on a daily basis.

TYLER MOORE          PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         171  10  29  .263  .327  .513

2013 James          250  13  47  .259  .315  .491

2013 ZiPS           479  20  71  .233  .280  .433

COMMENT: Moore would put up some big power numbers if he played regularly, but his batting average and OBP would probably suffer for it.

STEVE LOMBARDOZZI    PA  HR RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG

2012 Actual         416   3  27  .273  .317  .354

2013 James          348   4  28  .293  .339  .399

2013 ZiPS           584   5  42  .267  .316  .372

COMMENT: As is the case with Moore, the projections suggest Lombardozzi wouldn't be as productive as an everyday player at this early stage of his career.