April 25, 2013

Numbers Don’t Lie, They Stretch the Truth

Small sample sizes be damned; let’s quantify some numbers. Below are estimates (based on the highly suspect math of yours truly) for a few players’ full season stats based on their current paces. Some are impossibly good, some frighteningly bad. Let’s start with the good.

Justin Upton

HR: 82

RBI: 120

R: 135

TB: 458

So he’s on track to rack up triple digit RBIs for the first time in his career and crush Barry Bonds’ homerun record in the process. And the RBI projection would be higher if the batters ahead of Upton in the lineup could get on base more often. More than half of his league-leading 11 homeruns are solo shots. These numbers are practically a fantasy, but even if reduced by twenty-five percent across the board to account for a rut or three along the way they would be top-tier stats.

Evan Gattis

HR: 56

RBI: 121

R: 75

TB: 328

These numbers are assuming Gattis plays 150 games at his current pace, which obviously will not happen. McCann will be back soon and Gattis will see much less playing time in the role of backup catcher/pinch hitter/emergency first basemen. Still, those would be pretty amazing numbers for a rookie, accounting for more homeruns and RBIs than any single player on the 2012 Braves. Gattis has only played in sixteen games, so there is a very limited amount of information for opposing coaches and pitchers to comb through for weaknesses. Before long pitchers will figure out his approach, his soft spots. Whether or not Gattis can have a successful career in the MLB depends on his ability to make adjustments when necessary.

Jayson Heyward

HR: 18

RBI: 44

R: 70

TB: 132

Ouch. One hundred and fifty games is realistic for Heyward (he played 158 in 2012). But how grueling would it be to watch Heyward continue to hit .121? Here’s another scary one: based on the same formula, he’d accrue a total of 62 hits. As reference, he earned 158 hits last season, averaging one per game. So far in 2013 he’s averaging fewer than one per two games. Sigh. If only we could point to an injury… or an appendix! Tear out that ungrateful, freeloading organ! Maybe a brief stint on the DL is just what J-Hey needs to recover to full strength, refocus, and find his groove. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and vestigial parts in check.

Paul Maholm

W: 23

SO: 193

BB: 62

IP: 204

Whoa. Cy Young, anyone? Paul lost for the first time in his last start, but only on three runs allowed and four hits, which is good enough for the W on many nights. He’s only had two double-digit win seasons in his eight-year career, with 13 in 2012 being his best, so a 20 win season would be significantly better than his norm. It doesn’t hurt that he’s enjoyed a healthy serving of run support.

Craig Kimbrel

SV: 56

SO: 84

BB: 14

R: 0

Still concerned by that shaky spring? The Craig Machine has been his same old dominant self (yesterday’s game and Justin Upton’s defense not withstanding). If he continues at this pace he will rack up more saves this season than either of his previous two seasons and strike fear in the hearts of batters around the globe.

Julio Teheran

W: 7

SO: 105

ER: 98

IP: 184

Some of us are losing patience with Teheran. He’s been the buzz of the farm system for years now, but all that supposed potential has amounted to unimpressive results on the mound, at least during the regular season. How long are the Braves willing to wait for him to develop? I don’t expect this to be a breakout season for Julio, but it would be great to at least see him make some real progress. A sub five ERA would be nice, and is a .500 record too much to ask for? I hope not.

Feel free to badger me on twitter @ThomasMDuncan.



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