Mets360 2013 projections: Mike Baxter

Our final player to project is Mike Baxter. The local boy who made good, Baxter earned a permanent spot in Mets lore last year by running into a fence full speed to protect Johan Santana’s no-hitter. But the reality is that before he got injured, Baxter was having a terrific season. He had done such a terrific job as a pinch-hitter that he was growing into a bigger role on the club.

While he regressed somewhat with more playing when he returned from his DL stint, Baxter still finished the year with a .778 OPS last year, enough to earn him a platoon role in right field for the 2013 season. Here’s how we see Baxter performing this year:

Baxter Projection PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBIs HBP
Hangley 432 .286 .321 .402 12 46 9
Joura 420 .278 .371 .430 5 34 9
Koehler 200 .255 .360 .420 3 15 5
Mcwilliam 180 .255 .340 .410 4 16 4
Omalley 344 .260 .340 .398 5 37 6
Parker 150 .230 .340 .400 2 20 3
Rogan 310 .260 .355 .420 7 35 7
Rogers 510 .265 .360 .415 10 65 7
Stack 301 .272 .366 .420 7 39 6
Vasile 350 .265 .350 .390 5 40 7
Walendin 245 .270 .353 .395 3 23 3

Baxter finished 2012 with a .365 OBP, thanks to drawing a bunch of walks and getting hit by a pitch five times in 211 PA. The franchise record for getting hit by a pitch in a single season is 13, held by John Olerud and Ron Hunt, who both finished with 630 and 600 PA, respectively. It’ll be interesting to see if Baxter continues to get plunked by pitches this season. In a somewhat counter intuitive measure, drawing HBP is a repeatable skill. Hunt is the franchise leader with 41 in his four-year tenure with the Mets.

Anyway, here’s what the group as a whole thinks Baxter will do in 2013:

Our projections are all over the map, with no consensus on either playing time or production while he’s in the lineup. Charlie Hangley sees good things from Baxter, predicting 12 HR and 46 RBIs. On the opposite side of the spectrum Doug Parker shows up with his bucket of ice water and forecasts just 2 HR in 150 PA.

Here’s what the other projection systems available on FanGraphs predict for Baxter this year:

Baxter Projection PA AVG OBP SLG HR RBIs HBP
Bill James 183 .276 .362 .405 3 20  
Mets360 313 .265 .350 .410 6 34 6
Oliver 384 .259 .336 .426 11 45 6
Steamer 339 .251 .330 .389 7 34 4
ZiPS 360 .248 .331 .384 6 34 6

There was no HBP forecast by James for Baxter.

This wraps up our batting projection series. However, we have one last thing to share. Each of us added which batter that we did not project that we expect to accumulate the most PA. Here’s an additional batter we see playing a key role for the 2013 club:

Hangley – Marlon Byrd, 497 PA
Joura – Matt Den Dekker – 315 PA
Koehler – Collin Cowgill, 400 PA
Mcwilliam – Byrd, 370 PA
OMalley – Jordany Valdespin, 230 PA
Parker – Justin Turner, 300 PA
Rogan – Byrd, 325 PA
Rogers – Cowgill, 390 PA
Stack – Cowgill, 499 PA
Vasile – Byrd, 275
Walendin – Byrd, 595

This wraps up our projection series for 2013. At the end of the year we will revisit these to see how we did on all of the players.

2 comments for “Mets360 2013 projections: Mike Baxter

  1. Metsense
    March 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

    NL Avg: 23 HR, 78 RBI, .768 OPS

    Baxter: 3 HR , 17 RBI, .778 OPS (+12 OPS) 5.0 UZR
    Mike Baxter is the best option on the roster for RF but he profiles as a fourth OF and because of his contact a good PH. Maybe he is a sleeper but extended playing time has exposed him. Byrd seems to have won at least a platoon spot this Spring and a spot on the roster.
    It has been a very frustrating winter in regards to the OF. The Mets counting on Duda is very risky. Sandy did a nice job picking up Cowgill and Byrd but in reality shouldn’t these type of players be competing for backup roles on a team?
    The consensus seems to be giving Baxter about 50 AB’s too many. Byrd Cowgill and Valdespin will end up with as many or more AB’s as Baxter this year.
    It will be interesting to look at this next November (after the Mets win the World Series) and see how us “experts” (clairvoyants) did. A very nice feature Brian.

  2. Scott Mets Fan
    March 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve agreed with your projections so far, but Baxter, if given too many PA’s will not hit those projected numbers.
    Baxter is great PH and an excellent fielding corner OF, but that’s it. He’s not a platoon player, as he showed last year by hitting slightly over 220 as a regular in over 40 games. His ability to get on base is overrated and he has no power.
    He reminds me of Turner and definitely has a spot on the team, but if used in the right role
    Spot start him, use him as a PH and defensive replacement and he’ll produce like he did last year.
    Give the majority of AB’s to Valdespin, Byrd and Cowgil.

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