Next up in our projection series is a look at catchers. The Mets figure to open the year with John Buck as their starting catcher but few, if any, believe he’ll be the everyday catcher by September. While every projection is based in part by how much playing time you believe the individual will amass, it seems even more pertinent with Buck. So, today’s projection will actually be two players – Buck and Travis d’Arnaud.
Last year, d’Arnaud was having a tremendous season for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate before coming down with a season-ending knee injury. Unquestionably, he is the catcher of the future. The big question is if the future starts in April, September or someplace in between. Here’s what we think will happen with the catchers for the Mets this year, starting with Buck:
Only two writers see Buck amassing 400 PA, although six see him posting an OPS over .700 for the year. Remember that all Mets catchers combined to notch a .567 OPS a year ago. So, let’s now take a look at our forecast for d’Arnaud:
Only one writer predicted a sub-.700 OPS for d’Arnaud and even that one predicted a healthy .187 ISO for the young backstop. It seems safe to say that we are giddy about the prospects for d’Arnaud right off the bat. It will be interesting to see the reception for him if he struggles when he gets his first taste of MLB pitching.
Here’s what the group thinks Buck and d’Arnaud will do in 2013:
The graphic above features d’Arnaud on the left and Buck on the right. After the terrible offensive production from all catchers for the Mets last year, it would be terrific if these two combined for the 19 HR and 84 RBIs that we project for them. In 2012 the Mets received 5 HR and 48 RBIs from their catchers.
Finally, let’s close with a table comparing the Mets360 numbers to those of the projection systems available from FanGraphs:
The thing that jumps out immediately is that the Mets360 forecasts allocated playing time based on a realistic basis, while the projection systems did not take this into account. We have the two combined for 590 PA while the next closest is Steamer with 761 combined PA. That’s okay – it’s not really the job of systematic forecasts to predict playing time.
Another interesting thing is how similar our forecast is for Buck compared to the one by Oliver. Actually all of the forecasts are extremely similar for Buck. As for d’Arnaud, we project him to have a higher batting average but the isolated OBP and SLG marks are extremely close. Finally, there was no James projection for d’Arnaud.
Check back Thursday for our next entry in this series.