Looking to 2011: The enigmatic Chris Johnson

Although the availability of Bill James' projections on FanGraphs seems to have generated little excitement here at a TCB, projections season always excites me. Whether I wholly disagree with them, agree wholeheartedly, or somewhere in between, it's always nice to sit down and pour over them.

This year I am especially excited to obsess over one player's projections: Chris Johnson. He of the .387 BABIP/26.7 K%, and 4.1% BB% scares me. Our efforts to make sense of the discrepancy between what Mr. Johnson's various peripherial stats suggest about his 2011 performance hasn't elucidated much in terms of a consensus. But projections serve as means to evaluate what the various algorithms make of our unanswered questions.

And now we have a our first projection to salviate over. Bill James' projection system sees the following for Chris Johnson: .287/.320/.466 triple-slash, .342 wOBA, and .338 BABIP. There is obviously more, but I'll leave it as simple as that.

My initial thoughts are that I would be very, very happy if this is what Johnson procduces in 2011. My next thought is that Bill James is usually bull-ish, so Johnson is probably due for a steeper decline. I then come to a comfortable middle ground where I believe that Johnson's average will plummet, but that even though he probably won't hit above .265, his line-drive swing will provide substantial gap power. Hopefully, though, Mike Barnett will find a way to instill some plate discipline in Johnson that might offset his likely decline in OBP fueled by a decline in BABIP.

There is nowhere to go but up from a 4.1 BB%...right?

My favorite part of projection season is not my stream of conscious analysis of the projections. My favorite part comes from hearing everyone's reaction to what the various systems see. Our collective knowledge and observation often provide greater than the projections which start the discussion; that's why TCB has done a community projection project the last two offseasons.  So, let's start the projection season off with the enigmatic Chris Johnson: Vote and Discuss.

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