BaseballProjection.com released their 2010 CHONE projections for hitters over the weekend. You can check out the Pirates’ projections here. Since I’ve already done a longer post on the Bill James projections and I’m planning on doing another one when more of these come out over the winter, I won’t harp too much on guys like McCutchen, Milledge, LaRoche, or Jones. I will point out that Jeff Clement’s projection is a nice reminder that the guy is in the system and can hit. Honestly, I’d rather see him at first base and Jones in right field to start the season if Alvarez is a few months away. That’d be better than more of the Steve Pearce/Brandon Moss platoon, at least for me. Then again, Pearce has a pretty strong projection, which is a reminder to take these with a grain of salt (that, or be more positive about Steve Pearce, but I’m going with the salt).
It’s also notable that career minor leaguer Brian Myrow has the best offensive projection on the team. He’s 32 and put up decent OPSes the last few years with Indianapolis, Charlotte, and Portland (the Padres’ PCL team). He’s also been in and out of Triple-A since 2004, which is not promising, and I have no idea if he’s still in the organization. While it’s probably a pipe dream to hope that he’s the next Garrett Jones, it does not speak well for the offense that he’s projected to be the best hitter.
The other projection I want to point out, as the title suggests, is Ronny Cedeno’s. Like so many other guys on the team, it’s ugly. His triple slash line is .260/.306/.391 with 16 doubles, three triples, and eight homers. That’s bad. We know Cedeno’s not great with the bat, but after his five homer “explosion” after the trade, we all kind of adjusted our expectations upwards and did a collective, “Hey, if he stays healthy he could at least be a Jack Wilson analogue for a year or two.” This is incredibly optimistic. Check out Wilson’s projection with Seattle. His line is worse, but in the AL in a pitcher’s park, the R150 (which is linear weights runs per 150 games, normalized for a neutral park) is an identical -18 to Cedeno.
As much as we all liked Cedeno’s defense with the Pirates after the trade, UZR didn’t agree with that assessment at all and over almost 300 games, he’s rated out as a negative defensive player. The Pirates were still right to trade Wilson and I think it’s unlikely he would’ve re-signed here even if Huntington made him an offer equal to the 2-year/$10 million one he signed with Seattle. As placeholders go, Cedeno’s likely to be almost the definition of “replacement value.” That probably makes him better than Bixler or Cruz, but thinking that he’s an acceptable replacement for Wilson or that having him for 150 games is better than having Wilson for 100 and Bixler/Cruz for 150 is probably a little misguided.