It’s generally accepted that when you sign a high-ticket free agent to a multi-year deal that the last part of the contract rarely pays off. In other words, you pay at the end for production at the front. But what happens when the production at the front is underwhelming? That’s the situation the Mets find themselves with Curtis Granderson.
Optimists point to Carlos Beltran, who had a rough first year with the Mets but who rebounded to become one of the few $100 million free agents to be worth their contract. But Beltran was 28 in his first year with the Mets while Granderson was 33 last year. The optimists also hope that being reunited with former Yankees batting coach Kevin Long will help turn back the clock for Granderson.
Meanwhile, the pessimists point out to his 1.0 fWAR last year, which FanGraphs pegged as being worth $5.3 million, compared to the $13 million he actually received. They’ll also bring up his dreadful April and equally horrific August. In those two months, Granderson amassed 224 PA where he hit like Daisuke Matsuzaka. Why expect him to be better at age 34?
So, are we optimists or pessimists? Here’s how we think he’ll do:
It appears we’re optimistic. In all, 12 of us think he’ll exceed last year’s .714 OPS while only two of us think he’ll slip even further. Julian McCarthy sees an .815 OPS while Matt Netter envisions 31 HR. Yet Doug Parker sees a ho-hum .705 OPS and Dan Kolton sees a dropoff to just 8 HR.
Here’s our group projection:
Overall, we see a slight increase in average and a larger, although not massive, increase in slugging. Our .275 BABIP is also a jump from his 2014 output but a good bit away from his lifetime .300 mark in the category. It’s an improvement over last year but is it worth $16 million?
Now, let’s see how our projection stacks up against those currently available on FanGraphs:
All three of us see a similar year from Granderson. Our projection, outside of playing time, is almost identical to ZiPS. PA is the only area where the three groups disagree. We expect much more playing time for Granderson, even with the low average.
Check back Saturday for our next entry in the projection series.