The Miami Marlins got a big RBI hit from Michael Morse last night, but that (rightfully) will not silence some detractors of the Marlins' free agent first baseman and his early-season struggles. Morse is batting just .224/.289/.329 (.280 wOBA) with two homers and not a whole lot more. After Jarrod Saltalamacchia was quickly designated for assignment due in part to his terrible early-season start, some Marlins fans are ready to jump the transaction bandwagon and send a few other underperformers away in favor of younger talent.
We talked about this earlier in the week regarding Mike Redmond: April is too early to tell about anyone, managers or players. The month of April is not predictive for any individual player or team as a whole, even if it does still count towards the season. Thus, making a drastic switch in the lineup, if you are not certain that a player is better than another, making a move is a risky proposition. This early in the year, it is impossible to be certain about anyone.
The Marlins probably made a decent move with upside by replacing Saltalamacchia with J.T. Realmuto; FanGraphs projects Realmuto to be worth 1.4 wins in 445 plate appearances, which was about even with Saltalamacchia at the start of the year. But what about Morse, Justin Bour, and other players who are underperforming and overperforming right now for the team? Let's play a little over/under, with $1000 in fictional money on the line and even 1-to-1 odds. We will post a player's current batting line and ZiPS rest-of-season (RoS) projection (which include the latest 2015 performances in their updated projections) and ask you, the readers, to make a prediction about those players.
With $1000 in fictional money to bet on one bet, whom and what would you pick? We'll look back at the end of the year and tally the choices for each of our readers. Do you have confidence that you can beat the projections based on what you have seen thus far? Can you provide a better guess for a batting line than the projections? Let's find out!
Note: Each player should get at least 200 plate appearances from here on out to make this count. It seems unfair for us to make guesses if the player does not get a chance to play.
|Morse, 2015 season||PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||wOBA||wRC+|
Your challenge is to guess whether Morse will hit better or worse than his projection for the rest of the year. That means his current line does not count into what we are tracking; we are trying to measure what we think he will do for the rest of the season, as we already know what he already did. We will measure it by wOBA or wRC+ (essentially the same, as these players are all playing on the same team).
To get a sense of what a .326 wOBA is, other players with similar numbers last year included Yoenis Cespedes (.260/.301/.450, .326 wOBA), Nick Markakis (.276/.342/.386, .325 wOBA), and Jacoby Ellsbury (.271/.328/.419, .327 wOBA).
Over or under on a .326 wOBA for Mike Morse?
|Bour, 2015 season||PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||wOBA||wRC+|
Bour has 89 total plate appearances in the majors, just about as many as Morse has all season. This, combined with Bour's age relative to Morse and Morse's strikeout-heavy ways have convinced some fans that Bour is definitely the better player.
Other players with a .307 wOBA from last season included Alcides Escobar (.285/.317/.377, .307 wOBA), Miguel Montero, (.249/.329/.370, .307 wOBA), and Nick Castellanos (.259/.306/.394, .307 wOBA).
Over or under on a .307 wOBA for Justin Bour?
|Gordon, 2015 season||PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||wOBA||wRC+|
Gordon's extended hot streak this month actually bumped his ZiPS projections a good deal; essentially, they are expecting him to hit as well as he did last season, when he batted .289/.329/.378 (.312 wOBA) overall. Other projection systems are less rosy, as ZiPS seems to have the highest expectations. Can Gordon match up to last season's highs?
Other players who hit to a .312 wOBA last year include Gordon himself, Billy Butler (.271/.323/.379, .311 wOBA), and Desmond Jennings (.244/.319/.378, .313 wOBA).
Over or under a .312 wOBA for Gordon?
|Realmuto, 2015 season||PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||wOBA||wRC+|
Realmuto has not impressed just yet in limited playing time, but he has a nice pedigree and has done well for a season and change now in the minors after two unimpressive campaigns at the plate. His expectations at the plate are actually lower than the man whom he is replacing, Saltalamacchia (.228/.305/.396, .309 wOBA). Is Realmuto better than what the projections are giving him credit for?
Other players with a similar wOBA last year include Billy Hamilton (.250/.295/.355, .287 wOBA), Jay Bruce (.217/.281/.373, .288 wOBA), and Chris Johnson (.263/.292/.361, .289 wOBA).
Over or under a .286 wOBA for Realmuto?
We could play this game forever, but I'll use just these three examples. Based on what you have seen and these updated projections, what bet would you make? Which player do you think you have a handle on, and can you approximate a batting line? Put your fake money where your internet mouth is, Marlins fans!