Are we getting too hyped about Vlad Jr. around here? I mean, he’s only a kid, right? There’s no way he’s going to come in and immediately put up All-Star numbers just like that, right? WRONG. According to a FanGraphs predictions model, we are absolutely in the right when it comes to getting hyped about our favourite Large Adult Son.
So, according to Steamer… Wait, what is Steamer? It’s one of the most trusted prediction models featured on FanGraphs.
Steamer projected Miguel Cabrera would have a .407 wOBA in 2015. What that means is that Steamer, based on everything it knew about Cabrera’s history and the way players typically age, we should have expected a .407 wOBA. Steamer knew that Cabrera had a “down” year in 2014, but it also knows he had a great 2013 and that hitters of his caliber usually age in a certain way. It’s all built in. You don’t just care how a guy did last year or how he did in his career, you care about the entire body of work and the underlying factors that are driving it. Cabrera finished with a .413 wOBA in 2015.
So, yeah, per Steamer, Vlad is going to slash a .306/.368/.511 line with 22 homers in his rookie seasons. It figures Vlad will be worth 4.7 wins above replacement, which is good for 15th among position players. This is also taking into consideration Vlad playing in only 138 games as the Blue Jays will keep him in Triple-A to start the season in order to gain another control year. The list of players Steamer is predicting won’t be as good as Vlad next year include… Jose Altuve, Xander Bogaerts, Freddie Freeman, J.D. Martinez, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, and many, many others.
Some more interesting stuff…
- Josh Donaldson, who inked a one-year show-me deal with the Braves, is projected to be worth 4.2 wins above replacement. I know the Jays really just wanted to move on here, but it seems the one-year QO for Donaldson would have been worth the risk. Regardless, I’d be happy to see him enjoy a rebound season.
- Steamer is a firm believer of some kind of Troy Tulowitzki comeback season. The model is predicting Tulo will be worth 1.3 wins over the course of 83 games. Like with Donaldson, I’d love to see him pull that off, but I just can’t see him staying on the field for half a season.
- Vlad, obviously, is projected to have the highest WAR on the Blue Jays. Coming in second is none other than Danny Jansen at 2.2. Lourdes Gurriel comes in at third, tied with Randal Grichuk at 2.1, and Kevin Pillar and Justin Smoak come in at fourth and fifth respectively.