Thursday, January 3, 2013

Unzipped: Projecting the AL West

The ZIPS projections for the 2013 Astros season will be released later today, but instead of waiting for that, I decided to do a little projecting of my own.

Using I established a home run  rate, strike out rate, and hit rate for each of the starting 9 of the 5 clubs in the AL West. I used's depth chart to determine what players would be included. Using these numbers I projected what each player would do with a minimum number of major league at bats (486) if they started every game at that position. I did not include walks or obp because I was using the at bat stat for these projections and not plate appearances.

Instead of posting the actual numbers for each player, I decided to use the numbers to compare the overall output, in regards to these stats, by each team, giving a better idea of where the Astros could end up in relation to the rest of the AL West.

Disclaimer: These numbers are pulled from 2012 batting stats. Small sample size, potential FA signings, and pitching adjustments be damned.

Home Runs:
1. Houston Astros
2. LA Angels
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Texas Rangers
5. Seattle Mariners

Top 3 players home run rate:
1. Josh Hamilton - LA Angels 13.069 AB/HR
2. Chris Carter - Oakland Athletics 13.62 AB/HR
3. Justin Maxwell - Houston Astros 17.5 AB/HR

I found the biggest surprise to be the home run numbers. The Astros and the Angels were neck and neck in the total home run numbers.The Angels line up has more proven AB's while the Astros line up is a projection based on a smaller sample of AB's. So I figure Houston's players may experience greater periods of slumps than the Angels line up. Or maybe they will take some developmental strides and surprise some people. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Maxwell, Lowrie, and Dominguez project as the top 3 home run hitters on the Astros.

Strike Outs: (greatest to least)
1. Oakland Athletics
2. Houston Astros
3. Seattle Mariners
4. LA Angels
5. Texas Rangers

Top 3 K rates:
1. Mike Olt - Texas Rangers K/2.5 AB (very small sample size)
2. Carlos Pena - Houston Astros K/2.7 AB
3. Justin Maxwell - Houston Astros K/2.76 AB

Oakland barely edges Houston in strike out totals with Seattle not far behind. The Angels and Rangers show the most discipline at the plate and it's not very close.

Carlos Pena, Justin Maxwell, and Bret Wallace project to have the most strike outs for the Astros.

Batting Average:
1. LA Angels
2. Texas Rangers
3. Houston Astros
4. Seattle Mariners
5. Oakland Athletics

Top 3 Hit Rates:
1. Mike Trout - LA Angels Hit every 3.07 AB.
2. Adrian Beltre - Texas Rangers Hit every 3.11 AB.
3. Craig Gentry - Texas Rangers Hit every 3.27 AB.

Top Astro: Jose Altuve Hit every 3.44 AB

Jose Altuve, Matt Dominguez, and Jason Castro project to have to top 3 batting averages on the club..

The Rangers and Angels team batting average each projected about 25 points higher than Houston's team average, which projects about half as much of that over Seattle and Oakland.

So what can we take from this? Not a ton. This wasn't the most scientific method of projection and later today when Houston's ZIPS projections come out we can get a more precise estimate of how Houston's players will perform on an individual level. This was meant as more of sizing up the AL West in these categories to get a better idea of how Houston will compete in 2013.