The Bench
2012 Slash Line*: .235/.286/.347
2013 Projection: .250/.310/.380

2012 WAR: -0.2
2012 WAR/600 PA: -0.1
2013 Best Guess WAR/600 PA: 1.0
Projected Difference: +1.1/600 PA

*The 2012 bench for the purposes of the above calculations was: Chris Heisey, Scott Rolen, Xavier Paul, Miguel Cairo, Wilson Valdez, Mike Costanzo, Henry Rodriguez, Didi Gregorius, Willie Harris, and Denis Phipps. Rolen is included because Frazier, the projected starter at 3rd shared 3rd base duties with him last year.

Projecting a bench is a tough task because, really, you are projecting several players over small sample sizes and hoping that you’re wrong in different directions so that it all balances out in the end. For our purposes, I’m considering the bench to consist of Chris Heisey, Xavier Paul, Jason Donald, and Jack Hannahan (we already dealt with Devin Mesoraco the other day). If that turns out not to be the case, well, that’s why I have an update post scheduled.

Paul and Heisey are returning pieces. With Heisey we pretty well know what to expect. Paul doesn’t have quite as much of a track record, but everything suggests he should be a good left-handed hitter off the bench. The two should work well together as co-fourth outfielders depending on who’s pitching.

What we all really care about is the upgrade from Cairo and Valdez to Donald and Hannahan. Both players had down years last year, and combined, they were worth -0.3 wins. Cairo and Valdez combined to be worth -2.1 wins. Yes, it really was that bad. Of course, the best part is that neither Donald nor Hannahan should be expected to play that poorly this year. All of the projection systems see them as solid infield back ups.

Overall, you can take it to the bank that the bench will improve. However, do keep in mind that it’s unlikely to be just these four. Other players will come and go and they will probably drag the numbers down a bit. Still, this is a solid bench. Much better than it was last year.

Redleg Nation Season Preview Schedule

Joey Votto – 2/27
Brandon Phillips – 3/1
Todd Frazier – 3/4
Zack Cozart – 3/6
Ryan Ludwick – 3/8
Shin-Soo Choo – 3/11
Jay Bruce – 3/13
Ryan Hanigan & Devin Mesoraco – 3/15
Bench – 3/18
Johnny Cueto & Mat Latos – 3/20
Aroldis Chapman & Mike Leake – 3/22
Homer Bailey & Bronson Arroyo – 3/25
Bullpen – 3/27
Updates & Preview Wrap-Up – 3/29