Several Very Interesting Steamer Projections for 2020

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Not only are projection systems useful tools for the fantasy player, but they are also commonly used by baseball executives when trying to evaluate players across the majors with little information at hand. Some front offices have their own separate rating systems which use complex formulas and logarithms. Andrew Friedman of the Dodgers is believed to have one of the most extensive.

While I don’t view these systems as religions when it comes to predictions, I like to look at them to get an idea for what could happen the following season. The three biggest players in the projection game are Steamer, PECOTA and ZIPS, with Steamer being the most remarkably accurate of the three.

If the Steamer projections for 2020 are the least bit accurate, we’re bound to see some surprises next season. Of course, I immediately scan the rankings for players from the Dodgers to see how they stack up against the opposition.

Here’s a list of the top position players according to Steamer as provided by Fangraphs:

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Mike Trout has perennially been the king of WAR, and his projections for 2020 are no exception. Last season, Trout finished first in the MLB with an 8.6 WAR with Alex Bregman finishing a close second at 8.5. Tied for third place last year were Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich at 7.8.

I found it intriguing that there were only two Los Angeles players in the Top 25 rankings for 2020—Bellinger and Cory Seager. Two players the Dodgers are rumored to be pursuing on the free agent market—Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson—are projected to finish with 5.5 and 4.7 WARs, respectively. Rendon’s projection of 5.5 is two-tenths of a point higher than Bellinger’s 5.3.

According to these numbers, Bellinger is projected to produce a .286/.385/.582 slash line with 30 doubles, 41 long balls and 99 RBI in 150 games played. Seager’s projections reflect him hitting .278/.349/.478 with 40 doubles, 25 homers and 81 RBI over 147 games.

Francisco Lindor has been a potential trade target for the Dodgers this winter and sits ranked fourth in the MLB in terms of next year’s projections.

On the starting pitching side of things, both Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler appear in Steamers Top 10. Here’s a complete listing as found on Fangraphs:

pitchers

Interestingly, Stephen Strasburg, the 2019 World Series MVP is ranked 14th on the list. The next closest Dodger to Kershaw and Buehler is Kenta Maeda, who is way down the chart with a projected 2.0 WAR.

Obviously, it’s quite conceivable that pitchers like Dustin May, Julio Urias and/or Tony Gonsolin finish strongly among the starting pitching group for next year. However, based on the current makeup of the rotation of the Dodgers, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the front office pursuing an upgrade or two.

The Dodgers have already been linked to Gerrit Cole, who is projected to finish third in WAR next season, just behind Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.

 

40 thoughts on “Several Very Interesting Steamer Projections for 2020

    1. Keith. The answer to your question is “a mistake”. He might be listed on that stat sheet as a centerfielder. I didn’t go to look, but no way his 5.7 runs below average in right field. Not sure how the algorithm would have him below average in center either.

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    2. I think the negative is definitely a glitch. They figure the total based on Fielding Runs Above Average + positional adjustment, so I think the error comes in positional adjustment. I believe there needs to be a primary position entered, and when a player plays out of position from the previous year, it becomes lopsided as a negative. I worked Yelich’s numbers backwards, and he came up with a negative because he played right last year after playing mainly left the year before. The same goes for Bellinger after primarily being a first baseman. According to the calculations and explanations, this Def number really doesn’t have as much to do with the overall WAR as does the Fielding Runs Above Average. They could save a lot of headaches and confusion by simply listing the oWAR, dWAR, then the overall WAR, similar to how Baseball Reference does it. In reality, I think Bellinger’s defense was a huge part of why his WAR ended up being so high last year. According to BR, Bellinger’s oWAR was 6.6 and his dWAR was 2.0. The other thing that I noticed, too, is that Fangraphs calculates their WAR based on FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). I think it would be much easier if a lot of these sabermetric terms became standardized, especially in the way they calculate them. BR had Bellinger at a 9.0 overall WAR for 2019!

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      1. Thanks Dennis. That’s good information. And I agree with your analysis. That particular column needs to be ignored. Makes one wonder….. how many others are constructed without hueristic probation?

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  1. Yep. I’ve seen those numbers. Used them in here a few times. The bottom line for me is this – as is I believe our lineup can compete with any…. provided they remain healthy. Our staff has tremendous potential, but you can’t count on potential. Our bullpen needs help. Friedman has some things to do, but a major move, though it would be welcomed, isn’t necessary. We’ve got money to spend, and most of it will be spent, but I don’t see Friedman outbidding the Angels for Cole, and I doubt he will be willing to spend as heavily as it will require on Rendon when we already have the highest scoring offense in the league. On my whiteboard that leaves Strasburg, Ryu, Wheeler, Keuchel and maybe Donaldson. As for relievers I’ll defer.

    I trust Friedman will do something and when done there will widespread disappointment.

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      1. We have trade chips so if Friedman wants to trade for a reliever he can do it, although he might need to overpay by a little. I’m not talking an All Star closer but he should be able to get a good setup guy or two. I expect we might see a trade or two tomorrow before the 5:00 PM deadline for non-tenders. Not necessarily for relievers and not even necessarily by the Dodgers but there are a lot of guys on MLB rosters who are on the cusp and teams would rather trade them than just have to release them.

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    1. I’ve always considered myself as having a blend of both the old and new school philosophies. Unlike many of today’s saber junkies, I still value the importance of bunting, spraying the ball to all fields and the luxury of having a true leadoff hitter. I don’t have anything to support it, but I still feel that some of these new trends will start drifting backwards, specifically how teams use defensive shifts.

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    2. I’m with you on that Dennis. So much of the game I grew up playing and coaching has been sequestered to baseball history. You can read about it in old newspapers and books, but you can’t see it. Well, not in the big leagues. Little Leaguers do a better job with fundamentals. I haven’t seen any high school games in years so I have no idea if those kids can bunt, hit and run, and back up bases. But the Majors is now swing for the fences no matter the count or situation. I look forward to the first organization that reintroduces small ball, even if it’s only on occasion. I don’t remember the last time I saw a squeeze play in MLB.

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      1. The Dodgers pulled one off this year, I forget who the hitter was, but it worked. Have seen a couple other teams try to do it.

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  2. Wow, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Brewers are willing to listen on Hader. Controllable for 4 more years and still only 25. What would any of you give up to get him?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know you’ve been high on Sborz Dennis so I’m surprised to see that you’d give him up for a low level reliever like Hader. As far as Guerrero is concerned, I’d have to double-check MLB regs but I don’t think you can trade a guy who isn’t with you any longer. I’ll bet you’d even include your all-time favorite Daniel Hudson, even though we don’t have him any more either.

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  3. Hader is 25 and “shows no signs of letting up”. That’s the kind of guy we should target. It would take a lot, but what an addition.

    Another name in the news is Scott Alexander and his over 60% ground ball rate. If his surgery was successful, he will make the roster. We also have 23 year old Caleb Ferguson and is 113 Ks in 93.2 innings. If he gets it figured out he would make the pen better. He could be a starter too. What is the plan for him? And there is Kolarek and his 55 innings of 1.164 WHIP. It was under 1 with us. He’s not THAT good of course, but he got the job done and deserves an opportunity.

    With at least 7 starters already here, one or two of them will be bullpen pieces. Maybe Kelly and Jansen can put together steady, reliable years. It may not be as bad as it looked.

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    1. Boy, you woke up in an optimistic mood this morning. What did they put in your coffee?
      I seem to remember Kolarek’s splits were terrible and that’s a problem if you have to face a minimum of 3 batters next year.

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      1. Good point. His career numbers suck, but he actually showed improvement this year. Just make sure he’s facing lefties or the bottom of the order.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, a den of activity and optimism. I trade all three of those guys for Hader. Just kidding, but i would include Ferguson in a trade. Profar going to the Padres in a deal. So their infield will be Machado, Tatis, Profar and Hosmer. Not bad if Profar can get it going again. Leon traded to the Tribe from the Bosox. Charlie Culberson to be non tendered by the Braves. Things heating up a bit.

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  5. Moustakis to the Reds as a free agent…..guess he will play second for them because they have Suarez at 3rd, and Moose’s deal is for 4 years…..only player they have left from last winters trade with the Dodgers…….Kyle Farmer. Kemp, Wood and Puig all free agents now.

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    1. Not sure it’s a matter of wanting to trade him. They’re just saying that if someone makes them a crazy offer they would at least listen. He’s got four years of arbitration (a special provision for high achievers in the CBA) so by next year he could be earning more than they’re comfortable paying.

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  6. Barnes signs a guaranteed contract for slightly under his estimated arbitration amount. It looks as though AF has made his backup catcher choice official.
    Blake Treinen non-tendered by the A’s. They didn’t want to pay him the estimated 8 mil in arbitration and apparently no one else was willing to trade for him and take on that kind of salary. I would imagine that his agent will be fielding calls from 1/2 the teams in baseball this evening. Open bidding, and he can sign for any amount, basically a free agent.

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    1. It looks like the Dodgers did not non tender anyone. Kind of a surprise to me. There are a lot of interesting names out there. Not sure if OL AF goes after any though.

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      1. Olaf. That’s funny.

        Keeping everybody huh? I doubt it. There will be some exchanges but you can’t blame Olaf for not knee jerking. This group has been pretty successful over the last few years. Once Cole and Strasburg sign, other moves will fall into place.

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      2. They non tendered Garcia. Just read that on ESPN. Barnes got a new 1 year deal…Meetings begin Monday HOF committee makes announcement if anyone of the modern day candidates get elected.

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      3. I would have kept him also. Maybe this is a clue that AF has a few bullpen moves up his sleeve that he considers better options than Yimi. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Farhan or Logan White grab him.

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      4. Well the Dodgers thought the 1.1 million price tag to keep him was too much. Does open up a roster spot though. I really thought they would non tender Barnes.

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      5. He’s right down the middle
        Instead of side to side
        He’s just one too many cookies
        And over 5 FIP behind

        (Nod to Dylan)

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      1. I tend to think that was Bora’s call. He knows the Yanks are ready to spend cash big time. Bidding for Wheeler has reach 9 figures, that means 100 mil plus. Don’t think OLAF will go that high.

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      2. I haven’t seen any reports that Olaf (I guess this is becoming a permanent moniker) has even expressed interest in Wheeler. Actually I haven’t seen anything connecting him to Ryu either, but then we know he plays his cards close to the vest. Maybe it’s Cole/Strasburg or bust for Olaf. I hope not, because I really think we need one of those four guys.

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