Monday, February 08, 2010

2010 Red Sox Projections - CF

This is post eight in a series of posts previewing the 2010 Red Sox.

2009 vs. 2010 Red Sox - CF:
2009 - Jacoby Ellsbury
2010 - Mike Cameron

With 2009 CF Jacoby Ellsbury now playing left, center field in 2010 is going to be manned by Mike Cameron. Cameron is aging, but has, according to the various objective rankings, continued to be an excellent defensive center fielder. He hits for more power than Ellsbury but, like Adrian Beltre, does not have the on-base skills that the Red Sox would generally like to see.

And that difference could be offset by the defensive difference. Last year, FR had Cameron as 15 runs better than Ellsbury (4 vs. -11). UZR had Cameron as 28! runs better (10 vs. -18). [The number are not greatly consistent year-to-year. UZR likes Cameron better in each of the past two seasons, FR actually has Ellsbury better than Cameron in 2008.] In any event, Cameron remains, to the best of our ability to discern it, an excellent center fielder.

In this table, Mike Cameron is getting 85% of the CF at-bats, with Jacoby Ellsbury getting 10% and Bill Hall getting the last 5%.

Red Sox 2009 vs. 2010 - CF
Mike Cameron (marcel)5007112027321666125145124149.241.328.435.76372.64.56
Jacoby Ellsbury (marcel)589172015400850001.295.352.419.7729.25.24
Bill Hall (marcel)29361003200800000.229.293.387.6803.23.35
Mike Cameron (PECOTA)500691272722068552513996149.255.333.443.77773.34.67
Jacoby Ellsbury (PECOTA)5810173005500751001.294.353.429.7839.45.30
Bill Hall (PECOTA)29371014200800000.244.306.413.7193.53.80

2009 CF67799200271096651368970136617.295.347.405.752101.34.88
2010 CF (marcel)58784144313237669251621751410.246.329.431.76085.04.56
2010 CF (PECOTA)58783151323227863251551571410.259.334.440.77486.24.69

For the same reason that the at-bats difference understates the offensive decline in LF, it overstates the offensive decline in CF. Because the leadoff hitter is now playing left, the 2010 center fielders are not going to get as many at-bats as the 2009 center fielders did. Instead of the the 15-16 run decline that the projection systems see, we're more realistically looking at a 2-3 runs difference. Really, not much of an offensive decline at all.

2010 CF projection: Comparable offense, moderate defensive upgrade. Net upgrade

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