Welcome to spring training, kids. Pitchers and catchers report today, and I thought that was as good a day as any to start my yearly predictions. Before we start, I have a few caveats. First, these are going to be a bit shorter than in years past and second, I’ll do my best to get through them all, but I can’t make promises. The reasons is that I have been working very hard on this. It’s the first novel I’ve gotten published and work is still happening on it. So, obviously, that takes most of my writing time right now. It’s why I haven’t been as present here as I often am.
Anyhow, here we go. Let’s start with the man who is first in my heart and yours. Joey Votto.
2013 Slash Line: .305/.435/.491
2014 Projection: .310/.440/.520
2013 WAR: 6.3 (average of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference)
2014 Best Guess WAR: 7.0
Projected Difference: 0.8 WAR
2014 Floor: 5.0
2014 Ceiling: 10.0
It happens every year, that there are a few players where I feel I see something that the projections don’t. This year, it’s happened with Votto. Basically, he said he wasn’t all the way back until around August. His numbers from Those last two months were a little better, but, and this is the key, his BABIP was down. BABIP (batting average on balls in play) fluctuates wildly, but over time, hitters can show the ability to maintain a certain BABIP. For Votto, it’s around .360. However during the last two months of 2013, it was around .330. What that means is that Votto actually was much better than we thoguht at the end of the year. He was just a little unlucky.
What it all adds up to is me predicting a solid power return from Votto. I actually think my prediction might be conservative, and I really won’t be surprised if Votto has the year he was having when he went down in 2012. If he does, this could be a fun year.