We are less than 100 days away from Spring Training, so Mets and Yankees fans should be rejoicing everywhere. However, as is with every year, statistical projections are made for player’s offensive and defensive output well in advanced.
Can we just stop to take a look at how futile this is by looking at some Yankees and Mets players?
2019 vs 2020 Projections for Yankees Sluggers
Big things were expected of Miguel Andujar and Giancarlo Stanton in 2019. But, we all have eyes, we saw what happened. Both got hurt early, and both played next to no time during the regular season. For Andujar, it was his surgically repaired labrum in his right shoulder. For Stanton, it was a plethora of injuries. Let’s look at some of the projected offensive numbers for Miguel Andujar in 2019:
610 plate appearances, .283 batting average, 25 home runs, 85 RBI’s.
And now for 2020:
285 plate appearances, .279 batting average, 12 home runs, 40 RBI’s.
Who in their right mind predicted that Andujar was going to suffer from season-ending surgery in the FIRST SERIES of 2019? No one? Thought so. So who’s to say that Gio Urshela won’t suffer a similar injury, paving way for Andujar to fulfill those 2019 projections?
Now let’s look at Stanton’s 2019 projections:
560 plate appearances, .265 batting average, 42 home runs, 105 RBI’s.
Now, Stanton in 2020:
307 plat appearances, .266 batting average, 19 home runs, 48 RBI’s.
What is the absolute point in drawing up projections for the year after an injury? Especially when players haven’t even reported to Spring Training yet?
And Now the Mets
It’s equally convoluted for pitching as it is for hitting. Here are some projections for Syndergaard in 2019:
196 innings pitched 12 – 9 record, 3.50 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 200 strikeouts.
Not too far off the mark for where he ended up. His 2020 projections are:
174 innings pitched, 10-7 record, 4.03 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 179 strikeouts.
Why the spike in ERA, and drop in innings pitched and strikeouts? What has he shown to indicate that will happen in 2020? Are we predicting he’s going to get hurt when there was 0 prediction Andujar and Stanton would in 2019?
Things were even worse for Steven Matz in 2019:
He was projected to be below or right at .500, he finished above .500. He was projected to have less than 150 strikeouts (average), he had over 150 in 2018 and repeated the feat in 2019. Hell, one projection predicted he wouldn’t even post a record. The rest was pretty spot on for where he finished.
Projections Take the Human Element Out of Baseball
Analytical number crunching of baseball players is fine, but they are more than just numbers and equations. They’re people. Who’s to say that Thor or Matz won’t be better than Jacob deGrom next year? deGrom is going to be 32 next season and has pitched over 600 innings in the last 3 seasons. Why is he projected to give up only 19 HR’s next year? He’s going to not be as effective as he was the last 2 seasons because… HE’S A LITTLE BIT OLDER AND THERE WILL BE MORE SCOUTING DONE ON HIM!
After never hitting above .235 in a single season, Urshela is projected to hit .283 next year. What if Andujar wins his job back in Spring Training and is the opening day starter? And what if Urshela tears the labrum in his throwing shoulder, mimicking what happened to Andujar in 2019?
For the love of Pete, we all love playing MLB’s The Show, but even Madden gets wrong how good a football team is going to do each season, how well the stars of the league perform that season, and even who wins the Super Bowl. Just let the grown men play the game as the humans they are, not the AI programs we treat them as.