OK, this year was all about evaluation. We'll even buy that, as a short-term premise. In fact, we thought we'd do a little evaluation ourselves, and check out the 2009 ZiPS and Chones projections against what happened in real life.
Today we're gonna compare position players; tomorrow and Sunday, the pitchers, just to see if the players performed as expected.
The players are listed by at-bats, and the stats are (AB, AVG HR/RBI)
Andrew McCutchen (433 AB, .286, 12/54) ZiPS (556 AB, .261 9/43) Chones (499 AB, .261 9/52)
Came along a little later than expected, and did considerably better than his Minor League numbers would indicate. He da bomb.
Garrett Jones (314 AB, .293 21/44) ZiPS (480 AB, .254 17/64) Chones (506 AB, .259 20/83)
Hit more, showed much better than expected power, but was a little light on RBIs. He needs to get those RISP at-bats to pay off.
Jason Jaramillo (206 AB, .252 3/26) ZiPS (408 AB, .240, 6/33) Chones (429 AB, .256 7/49)
Outplayed his ZiPS projections and was equal to his Chones projection.
Robby Diaz (129 AB, .279 1/19) ZiPS (333 AB, .267 2/26) Chones (401 AB, .279 3/48)
Easily exceeded his ZiPS projections and showed much more production than assumed by Chones; he and Jaramillo may wear out Doumit's welcome.
Andy LaRoche (524 AB, .258/12/64) ZiPS (427 AB, .232/12/50) Chones (403 AB, .256 13/59)
Better average, little less power than ZiPS, less power and production than Chones projection, but pretty much in the ballpark according to both. His numbers shot up thanks to big push at the end. Maybe the two hole is his natural slot.
Delwyn Young (354 AB, .266 7/43) ZiPS (385 AB, .249 9/45) Chones (427 AB, .262 13/60)
Fairly equivalent production. Probably worn down by never-ending infield practice; could be a work in progress or may end up best suited as super-sub.
Lastings Milledge (PIT - 220 AB, .291 4/20; COM - 244 AB, .279, 4/21) ZiPS (471 AB, .280, 18/60) Chones (455 AB, .279 13/57)
Average on target, but his production was nowhere near projections, which weren't overwhelming to begin with. Milledge has to pump up the power and production. Maybe the lost months to the finger injury cost him; he did show some power in September, though he still wasn't all that clutch (.231 RISP).
Ramon Vazquez (204 AB, .230 1/16) ZiPS (268 AB, .250 4/22) Chones (339 AB, .251 6/35)
He played as advertised, with a little less pop than expected.
Ronny Cedeno (PIT - 155 AB, .258 5/21; COM - 341 AB, .208 10/38) ZiPS (340 AB, .265 7/41) Chones (360 AB, .267 6/36)
Pretty spot on with Cedeno, at least in Pittsburgh after being hitless in in Seattle.
Brandon Moss (385 AB, .236, 7/41) ZiPS (471 AB, .251 12/57) Chones (476 AB, .267 13/68)
Less productive in every category, especially the long ball.
Ryan Doumit (280 AB, .250 10/38) ZiPS (363 AB, .287 12/55) Chones (384 AB, .281 14/60)
Neither system has him playing much, yet he still managed to miss more time than they projected. Down in all indicators except homers, although a wrist injury is said to sap a hitter for a season. Good September might find him to be a tradeable item during the winter months.
Steve Pearce (165 AB, .206, 4/16) ZiPS (474 AB, .245 15/67) Chones (481 AB, .266 17/79)
Given a few weeks to audition, he still fell short and well below his projections. Never came close to the muscle expected of him.
Players under 100 ABs: Luis Cruz (.214; ZiPS .232, Chones .247); Brian Bixler (.227; ZiPS .247, Chones .245); and Neil Walker (.191; ZiPS .235, Chones .247). Not much expected, and less produced.
The point? The point is that the Pirate evaluators pumped the upside of these guys, and as young as they are, there may be better days ahead for them.
But according to ZiPS and Chones, cold-blooded projection systems with no dogs in the race, as many starters overachieved - McCutchen and Jones - as underachieved - Moss and Doumit. So the Pirates got what could be reasonably expected from this bunch.
So if this is the team they plan to take into 2010, expect the same attack, at least until Pedro and maybe Jose join up in the summer.
(Disclaimer: Guys with little prior major league time will be subject to bigger swings in their projections - computers are only human - and that may be the saving grace for these pups.)