The man with more nicknames than plate appearances has a flair for the dramatic. In 2011 he’ll have a chance to get more opportunities than just pinch-hit and favorable match-ups. I don’t want to go on too long here, because I think it’s hard to know what to expect form DanJo. He hasn’t had a ton of plate appearances over his more recent career and I think that bears out in the various projection systems.
You’ll notice that a couple more have been added as RotoChamp is now available at FanGraphs to go with the Bill James, Marcel, and Fans projections. CAIRO and ZIPS are freely available projections, while not free, THT’s Forecasts have been some of my favorite and Baseball HQ is great for more of a fantasy focus.
You can see that the range is quite large from -0.7 to 3.2 WAR as none of the systems have a great feel for players that haven’t been everyday players over the last few years. More data is always better, so I think we can put more stock in the average row than any single projection. Carlos Pena had a triple slash in 2010 of .196/.325/.407 and a wOBA/WAR of .326/1.0. With that in mind, I think everyone would love to see that average projected triple slash and wOBA. The WAR seems a bit low, but that’s at average defense and less than a full season of plate appearances. I actually like that projection as I think the Rays will not be afraid to play match-ups and give other guys the opportunity to play at first and get Dan some rest.
Keep in mind that we haven’t seen Dan display wild platoon splits, but that was with the THT Forecast OBP/SLG/wOBA numbers which seem to be the most optimistic. What if we plug in the average numbers to get an idea of what his splits might look like (OBP/SLG/wOBA):
What I think this shows is that Dan should be a pretty good player against righties, but it’s a bit unrealistic to think that he’s going to be an every-day, 600 plate appearance type of player. Luckily, the Rays way allows the flexibility to let other guys get in there against the toughest lefties and we shouldn’t have much of a problem pinch-hitting for him late. Compared to the vacuum of good that was Carlos Pena last year, I think most fans would take this year’s version of The Great Pumpkin.
What do you think?