Are the expert predictions right on these three Cardinals players?

What should we make of the expert predictions?

St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers
St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages
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Willson Contreras

LAST THREE YEARS

YEAR

HR

R

RBI

AVG

OBP

SLG

2021

21

61

57

.237

.340

.438

2022

22

65

55

.243

.349

.466

2023

20

55

67

.264

.358

.467

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

2024

HR

R

RBI

AVE

OBP

SLG

FG

19

60

65

.244

.338

.432

STEAMER

21

65

67

.252

.343

.454

ZIPS

16

52

57

.236

.333

.411

FORECAST USING THE TRENDS OF THE LAST THREE YEARS.

TREND

HR

R

RBI

AVE

OBP

SLG

2024

20

54

53

.275

.370

.486

Called strikes over the last three years are 16%, 12.8%, and 14.5%. His career average is 14.6. Swing at pitches outside the strike zone was 30%, 36%, and 35%, which is in line with his 34% rate. 

Contact percentages totaled 67.8, 71.6, and 73.0. The Swinging Strike percentage was 14.5%, 14.4%, and 13%. He is still getting around on the ball with a pull rate of 41%, 44%, and 38%. 

XwOBA - .346 in 2021, .364 in 2022 and .375 last year. That trend would mean he should be somewhere near .390 this year. .320 is average. 

WRC+ - 2021 was 111, 2022 was 132, and last year was 127. A statistical forecast of 140 is the result if you calculate using those numbers. FanGraphs is predicting 113, Steamer is 119 and ZIPS predicts 107.

Summary

This is the most head-scratching prediction of the three Cardinals. His average has been climbing for three years and yet they predict a 12% to 28% decrease, not a 12% increase. They predict a 15% to 25% drop in OBP even though this statistic has also been rising each year. The forecast shows more of a 12% increase. His SLUG is the same. 

Contreras is seeing the ball better than ever and is laying off pitches outside the zone. He is making contact better each year. He is pulling the ball at a consistent rate. 

With a higher slug, OBP, and average, I would expect his numbers to be much higher than what the experts are giving him credit for. 

CONCLUSION: EXPERTS’ PROJECTION IS WAY TOO LOW

Summary

Confusion. How someone like FanGraphs can pick the Cardinals to win 12 more games and finish first in the division and yet have two of their top players finish the season with lower stats than the year before makes little sense. 

I still think baseball can be a simple sport. Pete Rose and Willie Keeler were right. “See the Ball, Hit the Ball.”, and “Hit ‘em where they ain’t.” I used stats that would concentrate on those two things to predict what seasons these three Cardinals will have. 

I concluded Goldschmidt will be about the same hitter as last year. Arenado should have a better year than the experts predict and Contreras should be much better than last year, not worse.  

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