Mets 2019 projections: Wilson Ramos

One can make the argument that Wilson Ramos was the Mets’ third choice as catcher. There was a couple of tons of virtual ink spilled on the pursuit of J.T. Realmuto and there was also the 4/$60 contract offer to Yasmani Grandal. In a perfect world, you could understand why the Mets operated the way they did. But for me, if Ramos was willing to sign this contract five days after the World Series ended, that should have been their direction from the get go. Call catcher solved and move on.

Likely, Ramos’ price was probably noticeably higher in early November. But he and his camp read the tea leaves and figured out this was as good as it was going to get. Is it a good deal for Ramos? Not sure if anyone can say for sure. But it certainly feels like a good deal for the Mets, assuming Ramos can play in the neighborhood of 250 games the next two seasons.

And there’s the rub. Ramos made his MLB debut in 2010 and only four times in his career has he played more than 90 games in a season. As a catcher, no one expects him to play 150 games a year. But it would be nice if he regularly hit 130. He’s reached that total just once – 131 games in 2016 – and has topped 115 games only one other time.

Last year, splitting time with the Rays and the Phillies, Ramos played in 111 games and put up a 130 OPS+ which is a great mark for a catcher. For a comparison, Realmuto put up a 139 OPS+ and Grandal registered a 120 mark last season. Of course, Grandal played in 140 games and Realmuto, after missing the first three weeks of the season, ended up playing in 120 games.

So, the two big related questions are if Ramos can play in more games and if he can, will his offensive production keep pace? Let’s check in with what the computer models think. We finally have the ZiPS forecasts available, so we have a nice group of projections to pour over:

ATC – 420 PA, .273/.326/.441, 15 HR, 59 RBIs
Marcel – 430 PA, .282/.332/.457, 16 HR, 63 RBIs
Steamer – 415 PA, .261/.312/.439, 16 HR, 56 RBIs
THE BAT – 381 PA, .264/.315/.438, 15 HR, 48 RBIs
ZiPS – 420 PA, .259/.302/.419, 15 HR, 63 RBIs

The most interesting thing about these forecasts is that Marcel has the most bullish one of the group. Marcel is the most basic of the projection systems. It “uses 3 years of MLB data, with the most recent data weighted heavier. It regresses towards the mean. And it has an age factor.” Other systems incorporate many more variables and in Ramos’ case – all of those additional variables are dragging down his numbers.

In particular, the contrast between Marcel and ZiPS seems big. While they have very similar PA numbers, Marcel sees 23 additional points in AVG, 30 in OBP and 38 in SLG. The biggest difference between Marcel and the other projection systems is in playing time, with Marcel projecting around a dozen more games played than THE BAT.

Michael Conforto spent most of 2018 batting third, fourth or fifth and he finished with 153 games and 638 PA, for an average of nearly 4.2 PA per game. Assuming Ramos has a similar number of PA per game, none of the computer models see him playing 125 games. Marcel’s PA totals would have him around 102 games.

That seems too pessimistic to me. Here’s my completely biased forecast:

495 PA, .260/.309/.440, 16 HR, 70 RBIs

My expectation is that the club’s desire to play Travis d’Arnaud more than a typical backup catcher will be the biggest thing holding down Ramos’ playing time, rather than injuries. Ramos has been extremely consistent with his ISO the last three seasons and my forecast has him again in that tight range of what he’s done recently. He’s been much more unpredictable in his OBP and my guess here is that he ends up on the lower side of what he’s done recently.

You’ll have more credibility in the future if you chime in now with what you think Ramos will do this year. Next week, Steven Matz goes under the forecast microscope.

11 comments for “Mets 2019 projections: Wilson Ramos

  1. Steevy
    February 7, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    I would not be shocked if both catchers miss significant time with injury.In Tda in particular I have no confidence.

  2. DaMetsman in Washington State
    February 7, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Quality post that highlights a plethora of interesting stats and projections. That being said, and based on Ramos’ 2018 production, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a two-catcher system breaking down to 108+/- games for #1 and 54+/- games for #2. In this era of no doubleheaders and basically one team day off every 10 days or so, what’s the problem with a decent backup catcher starting every third game? He stays sharper and the #1 guy stays fresher, which could be consequential for any #1 over 30 years-of-age. In the olden days of the 50s, 60s and 70s, teams carried three catchers and there was far more substitution behind the dish. The winning Yankee teams of the early 1960s found plenty of playing time for Berra, Howard and Blanchard, any of whom could have doubled as a DH in today’s game. Berra was even utilized in LF and Blanchard at corner OF and 1B for some extra ABs. But in today’s game, generally more specialized, and with only two rostered receivers, the backup often rots on the pine and may only get in a couple of games a week and start just once. This overworks the #1 and never allows #2 to get in a real groove offensively and defensively. With Ramos and d’Arnaud prone to injury, this may help to keep them both healthy and fresh. Pairing Mesoraco with Nido at Syracuse creates a little more depth. Good chance d’Arnaud may start the season in a rehab in Port St. Lucie and then Syracuse, so signing Mesoraco may be more fortuitous than meets the eye. By the time Travis gets to CitiField, he may be in a very good groove. No matter what, the Mets are better and deeper behind the dish going into spring training than they have been in many years. Any doubt?

    • February 7, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      Someone, probably Bill James, pointed out awhile ago that throughout baseball history, we’ve asked catchers to do more and more and pitchers to do less and less.

  3. footballhead
    February 7, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    I’ll just have to be contrarian here and pick Ramos as having more down time due to injuries then d’Arnaud but between the two of them, we’ll end up with more offense then last year (I know, not saying much with that statement….offense couldn’t be worse). 30 homers, 85 ribbies, .265 avg from the two of them (total).

  4. DaMetsman in Washington State
    February 7, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Very few fans understand just how difficult catching is. It is much more challenging now due to having almost twice as many teams & players than in 1960, and far more pitchers to handle. Some teams went with as few as 8-9 arms and starters went complete games much of the time. Today’s catcher has to be prepared to handle five hurlers a game and all that goes with it. This is physically and mentally draining. The Bill James quote is spot on.

  5. Rick
    February 7, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    And again…. Had we gotten Realmuto, we wouldn’t need to have these discussions but….! No worries, the Philles got him so I go back to the BVW comment, come get us! Oh, they will. We signed Mesoraco today. He’s far better than TDA any day of the week. I would have been much happier with Realmuto/Mesoraco or Grandal tandem but we have our team and we can only hope for the best now. They say we’re an 89 win team. I’m thinking 71 wins. I can see lots of long term DL stints for most of these players. And here’s the real question. What happens if Thor or any of the other pitchers go on the DL?

    • February 7, 2019 at 9:50 pm

      Realmuto wasn’t worth Nimmo or Rosario or Conforto

    • February 8, 2019 at 1:14 am

      Hey Rick! Your sentiments can be said for just about every team in the NL. How many teams have that kind of depth? The Dodgers? And….

  6. February 8, 2019 at 1:10 am

    With the assumption that TDA is on the opening roster maybe the idea of Ramos not having to play 130 games is better? Knowing that the teams expects him to play 110-120 games and he can produce his average yearly numbers would definitely be a boost in the C position. With that in mind here goes.
    PA 440
    Avg .285
    OBP 330
    HR’S 17
    RBI’S 70

    If the Mets value the C position at 12 million dollars it’s interesting to see that TDA salary is just about half of Ramos’

  7. NYM6986
    February 8, 2019 at 7:33 am

    Ramos’ bat aside, we expect him to throw runners out which also means less attempts to steal if he does so. That will save runs from being scored. It would be a big help if some of our hurlers, namely Thor, could be a bit quicker to the plate to help decrease opposing teams running game. Would the Mets have won in 2015 if every single or walk by the Royals wasn’t an automatic pass to second base? It’s possible.
    Meseroco was a great pick up and it’s likely he will see some time behind the dish. Jake loved throwing to him and we all know how that turned out. Mets catching situation is vastly improved and we need to focus on their ability to call a good game, frame pitches and hold runners close. I see 30 HR and 75 RBI from our catching staff but will accept less with a strong defensive approach. Not sure if we win 85 or 95 games but with our starting staff we should be deep into most games and with our added bats give those starters breathing room to make a mistake. How can you not be psyched for the season to start??

  8. Remember1969
    February 8, 2019 at 9:52 am

    I agree with several points already made, namely Brian’s opinion that the need/want to play TDA more will limit some PAs by Ramos, followed by DaMetsMan’s thought of the 108/54 game breakdown of #1 and #2 catchers. Both those thoughts make a lot of sense, so in sticking with that thought in trying to keep their catching tandem as healthy as possible, I will put the following thoughts out for Ramos, the #1 guy:

    the line: 460 PA, .298/.339/.484, 19 HR, 68 RBIs

    The numbers behind it:
    Games Started at Catcher: 108

    Plate appearances in GS: 108 * 4 = 432 (arbitrarily chose 4, that is probably a shade low, depending where he hits in the lineup)

    Plate appearances as PH: 28 (Probably high, dependent on how many catchers they carry. .)

    Total Plate appearances = 460
    Walks = 28
    Total At Bats (assume no HBP and 2 Sac Flies) = 430
    Total Hits = 128
    BA = .298
    Doubles = 21
    Homers = 19
    I’ll give him the obligatory triple as well
    That gives him a Slugging % = .484
    OBP = .339
    OPS = .823
    RBI: 68

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