Commentary

Playing the over-under game with Bill James' projections

Updated: January 28, 2011, 2:37 PM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

With spring training around the corner, we're busting out the Bill James Handbook to get the sabermetrician's projections for each player on the 2011 Boston Red Sox.

Below you'll find the Handbook's projections for each player, my analysis and prediction on whether they'll go over or under the number and a chance for you to do the same.

What did I base my predictions on? For position players, I selected OPS, which is a player's on-base plus slugging percentage, as the "over-under" tool because it is the best measure of a hitter's overall performance. I used ERA for pitchers because James is routinely on the low side when it comes to forecasting won-loss, and because ERA is a better barometer of individual performance than wins and losses, which is more of a team stat.

Position Players

Jacoby Ellsbury, OF

Projection:
.764 OPS, 59 SB
Edes: Making up for lost time. Over.

Carl Crawford, OF

Projection:
.803 OPS, 42 SB
Edes: Better company, better numbers. Over.

J.D. Drew,
OF

Projection:
.830 OPS, 22 HR
Edes: Slight bump up from last season. Under.

Adrian Gonzalez, 3B

Projection:
.890 OPS, 33 HR
Edes: Shoulder may cost him early. Under.

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

Projection:
.834 OPS, 17 HR
Edes: Steady diet of fastballs. Over.

Marco Scutaro, SS

Projection:
.713 OPS, 10 HR
Edes: Assuming he's healthy. Over.

Kevin Youkilis, 3B

Projection:
.906 OPS, 25 HR
Edes: MVP contender, again. Over.

David Ortiz,
DH

Projection:
.875 OPS, 33 HR
Edes: A little more slippage. Under.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Projection:
.745 OPS, 12 HR
Edes: Focus on D will take away from bat. Under.

Jason Varitek,
C

Projection:
.710 OPS, 9 HR
Edes: Sox would be happy if he comes close. Under.

Jed Lowrie,
SS

Projection:
.828 OPS, 17 HR
Edes: Lack of steady work will hurt. Under.

Mike Cameron, OF

Projection:
.752 OPS, 18 HR
Edes: Age, health, limited playing time hurts. Under.

Darnell McDonald, OF

Projection:
.744 OPS, 8 HR
Edes: Playing time biggest issue. Under.

Ryan Kalish,
OF

Projection:
.792 OPS, 20 HR
Edes: Biding time until 2012. Under.

Daniel Nava,
OF

Projection:
.807 OPS, 3 HR
Edes: No room on this roster. Under.

Starting pitchers

Jon Lester,
SP

Projection:
3.53 ERA, 14-9
Edes: On the cusp of greatness. Under.

Clay Buchholz, SP

Projection:
3.54 ERA, 13-9
Edes: Probably won't match 2.33 of '10. Under.

Josh Beckett, SP

Projection:
3.86 ERA, 10-9
Edes: Anything sub-4 will be a plus. Over.

John Lackey,
SP

Projection:
3.89 ERA, 13-12
Edes: Fact of life in AL East. Over.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP

Projection:
3.85 ERA, 10-9
Edes: Days of sub-4.00 ERA are done. Over.

Relief pitchers

Jonathan Papelbon, RP

Projection:
2.61 ERA, 41 saves
Edes: Last season an aberration. Under.

Bobby Jenks,
RP

Projection:
3.12 ERA, 32 saves
Edes: He'll thrive in closer audition. Under.

Tim Wakefield, SP/RP

Projection:
4.07 ERA, 6-6
Edes: No room in rotation for Wake. Over.


Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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