A look at how three major projection systems grade Murphy in 2009 and how it compares to my own outlook for the second-year player.

Earlier, I wrote about Daniel Murphy needing to play everyday, preferably at second base.  Unfortunately, nothing has changed since I wrote that indicating that the Mets are considering either option that I have put forward.

But I thought it would be a nice time to re-visit Murphy as now we have 2009 projections filtering in for us to digest.  I suggested that Murphy is an .850 OPS hitter and I think it’s worthwhile to see what the experts say.  Here is a look at three different projection systems and Murphy:

Bill James – .296/.371/.478 in 456 at-bats with 14 HR and 14 SB

Marcel – .293/.371/.455 in 242 at-bats with 6 HR and 3 SB

ZiPS – .273/.324/.422 in 517 at-bats with 15 HR and 11 SB

As you can see, these projections are all over the map, which is not surprising for a guy with limited major league experience and one who did not overwhelm in the minors.

The projection from Bill James is the most optimistic one and that has Murphy checking in with an 849 OPS.  I would like to think that if Murphy hit those numbers, the Mets would find more than 456 at-bats for him but given that they refuse to commit a full-time position to him, I am not optimistic on that point.

When looking at projections from multiple sources, it is fun to look at the projections that are significantly different.  And we have that in spades here with Murphy.

AVG – Two of the systems have him within a couple of points while ZiPS has him 20 points lower.  ZiPS is a system that uses a four-year weighted average and also uses a growth/decline curve.

OBP – Even more striking than the difference in AVG, ZiPS sees Murphy with only a .324 OBP which seems incredibly low.  In his most recent playing time, Murphy finished third in the Arizona Fall League with a .487 OBP.

SLG – There is no consensus among the three systems.  Perhaps this will be the statistic that determines how much Murphy plays this year.  If he can’t best the .422 mark projected by ZiPS then he really doesn’t deserve full-time status.

Playing time – Marcel shows him with the least amount of playing time but that’s not surprising.  Marcel is the simplest of the three projection systems and does not take into account young players breaking into the league.

*****

I’m not surprised that the projection systems are not matching my enthusiasm for Murphy.  By nature, projections are conservative.  I don’t think anything should be read into that.  But if we understand that, we can look at the projections and try to get a grip on where Murphy stands.  If ZiPS is the closest to being right then things are not so rosy.  But if Murphy comes closest to his Bill James projections then the Mets should be very happy with the production from their second-year player.

Advertisements