Last week MGL released his Marcel projections for the 2011 season and I thought I’d take a minute to figure out the Cardinals’ projected WAR based on those projections.  Back at Play a Hard Nine, Steve did something similar to this for RAA based on the ZIPS projections but I thought I’d add defense, playing time, and replacement level to figure out the players’ projected WAR for the upcoming season.

As stated, I’ll be using the Marcel projections for offense and the .323 league average wOBA from 2010.  For defense, I’ll use Steve’s defensive projections for the most part.  Unfortunately, (or possibly, thankfully, if we’re concerned about the effect that seeing them would have on children and the mentally unstable) there are no defensive projections for Lance Berkman in the OF so I’m going to estimate him at minus 10 runs per 150 games.  Hopefully, it’ll be no worse than that.   Ryan Theriot is projected at minus 0.6 runs per 150 at 2B.  Since he’ll spend 2011 at (gulp!) shortstop instead, I’ll deduct the 5 run positional difference between shortstop and 2B for him so he’s projected by me at minus 5.6 runs at SS.  Steve didn’t project catchers so, for Yadi, I’m going to go with the 6 runs above average that Total Zone had him with in 2010.

So, here we go:

wOBA RAA Fielding Rep. Pos. Total WAR
Albert Pujols .414 49.1 3.8 21.0 -10.6 63.3 6.3
Matt Holliday .382 31.0 3.8 20.6 -6.1 49.3 4.9
Lance Berkman .360 16.0 -10.0 17.0 -5.0 18.0 1.8
Colby Rasmus .343 9.0 1.4 17.3 1.2 28.9 2.9
David Freese .334 3.2 0.5 10.0 1.3 15.0 1.5
Ryan Theriot .304 -9.7 -5.6 19.5 5.5 9.7 1.0
Yadier Molina .317 -2.7 6.0 17.2 9.6 30.1 3.0
Skip Schumaker .318 -2.3 -8.8 17.5 1.3 7.7 0.8
Allen Craig .319 -0.9 -3.5 9.0 -2.6 2.0 0.2
Nick Punto .296 -9.1 9.5 12.6 1.5 14.5 1.4
Jon Jay .342 6.0 -0.5 11.0 -2.0 14.5 1.4
Total 25.2

There are a few things of note here.  First, many of these seem a little low.  Albert’s only had 1 year with a lower WAR than last year’s 7.3.  I find 6.3 a little hard to stomach.  Similarly, Holliday was at 6.9 last year and hasn’t been below 5.6 since 2007.  I’d also expect Rasmus (3.5 WAR in 2010) to be a little higher in 2011.  Craig’s also seems really low (though Marcel isn’t very good for young players).  On the other hand, many of the other projections seem about right.  It’s possible that Berkman and Theriot might be a little higher and if Freese can get more than 338 PAs, he’ll likely finish closer to 2 or 2.5 WAR.  Yadi’s, however, seems pretty close.  I’d imagine that Schumaker’s and Pinto’s are pretty close as well.  It’s noteworthy that Pinto’s WAR is nearly double Schumaker’s projected WAR in about 2/3 of the PAs.  Jay’s is too high as well for the same reason that Craig’s is too low.

It’s also notable that Craig’s and Jay’s combined WAR is about the same as Berkman’s.  I would think if you gave Berkman’s PAs to Jay and Craig, their WAR would be very close to his over a full season.  In other words, Berkman-Craig-Jay isn’t likely to be materially better than Craig-Jay would be with additional PAs for each.

All that said, the total (25.2 WAR) is higher than last year’s position player WAR of 22.5.  That surprised me.  To be sure, there will be other players – Tyler Greene, Gerald Laird, possibly Jim Edmonds and a few others who might get called up or signed mid-season – but I would imagine that their WAR would be right around 0 for the season.

Chuck Brownson

Though he grew up in Texas, Chuck inherited his Cardinal fan-dom from his father, a life-long Cards' fan. Still a Texas resident, Chuck teaches government and economics when bored by baseball's offseason. He is the proud father of a daughter and a son.

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2 Responses to “Cards WAR by Marcel projections”

  1. Good stuff Chuck. I need to add to the projections page that it is def/150 games, so that may pull the WAR down/up for the bench guys if you used the numbers straight up.

    Hopefully Colby will have another half win than listed based on playing time alone.

  2. I suspected as much re: the defensive projections but didn’t want to assume. That would probably give Rasmus and Craig an extra couple of runs but take away 2-3 from Punto. It’s liable to be a wash in the end. I’m still pretty surprised that with these low projections for the major guys, we end up with nearly 3 more WAR than we finished with last year.

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