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Astros season review: Matt Dominguez vs. the projections

Checking out how the young Houston third baseman did against his preseason projections.

Bob Levey

Hey, it's been too long since we've written about Matt Dominguez around here. Let's change that. Today, we've got a look back at how he stacked up against the projections and tomorrow, we'll look at which players in history his season most resembled.

Sounds fun, doesn't it?

In case you've missed the first couple of these reviews we've done, we're trying to look at how we viewed a player before the season, what they were projected to do and then see how they actually performed. That way, we can get an idea if the player overachieved, underachieved or did exactly what we expected.

What we said

CRPerry had the honors on our preseason predictions on Matty D, doing a great job of showing what he brought and what he needed to improve upon. Here's a sample:

While there is talk of Brett Wallace taking away some appearances at 3B in 2013, Dominguez looks to be the Astros' long-term answer at the position, at least until Rio Ruiz or Carlos Correa proves themselves in the minors and tries to claim the job. Dominguez will provide excellent defense with offensive production that could rate as above-average for a player hitting out of the eighth or ninth lineup spots. At only 23 years old, the Astros figure to give Dominguez, a former top prospect, plenty of opportunity to grow into an asset over the long-term. And all it cost them was half a season of Carlos Lee.

I wrote about Dominguez about eleventy-billion times this season and I came back to the same points: great defense, power, not much else.

What they predicted

Here's how Perry summed up Dominguez' projections overall:

In 2013, most predictors estimate that in over 500 plate appearances, Dominguez will hit around .245 / .297 / .392 with 15 homers, 55 runs scored, and 68 RBI. The Astros should be pleased with that kind of production out of their bottom lineup spots, especially if it comes with the kind of defense that Dominguez will surely provide.

That's nearly spot on, as ZiPS had him at .251/.296/.383 with 14 home runs, 27 doubles and 1.9 WAR.

What he did

In his first full season in the big leagues, Dominguez showed some of what he was projected to do. In 589 plate appearances, Dominguez hit 21 home runs with a line of .241/.286/.403 while totaling 1.0 fWAR.

You'll notice his batting line is nearly what he was projected to hit, with slight fluctuations in batting average and on-base percentage based on a lower-than-expected batting average on balls in play. His slugging percentage did increase, though and that's mainly because he hit more home runs than expected.

His defense, though, is where no one seems to be able to agree. His overall defensive numbers were bad, and that's why his WAR total took a hit. He's actually slightly below-average in defensive runs, which uses UZR as its evaluator.

However, our eyes tell a different story, even if they lie:


The eyes don't have to lie, because Defensive Runs Saved also says Dominguez had a pretty good season. Not the best in the American League at his position, but still pretty good. Clack does a good job of explaining this disparity for Dominguez here.

What does that mean? Well, give Dominguez more defensive credit and his season looks much better. He's providing great defense at a tough infield spot, he's hitting home runs and playing a ton at a young age. That's a valuable player. He didn't surprise much with the bat, as he hit basically what the projections expected him to hit.

However, if he can continue to provide pop and be one of the top three defensive players at his position in the AL? I'd say he slightly exceeded expectations last year for Houston.

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