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April 4, 2001
Fun With Wilton
Baseball Prospectus 2001 contains Wilton projections for more than 800 hitters. Last week at ESPN.com, we took a look at what Wilton projected for the major categories, noting that the system projects a Triple Crown for Alex Rodriguez and an RBI record for Todd Helton.
Now that Opening Day rosters have been set, let's take a look at Wilton's book projections for the rookies who made their teams' rosters, starting with the AL. Next week at BP.com, we'll have a look at all the players who missed the cut for BP 2001 and still made Opening Day rosters.
In the American League:
Age TM AB BA OBP SLG EqA David Eckstein 26 ANA 439 .237 .326 .321 .227 Shawn Wooten 28 ANA 391 .238 .289 .363 .219 Jay Gibbons 24 BAL 440 .293 .360 .480 .285Jay Gibbons is a Rule 5 pick who made the Orioles' roster. He's a hitter without much defensive value, but he's a hell of a hitter. He's a sleeper Rookie of the Year candidate who needs a trade, preferably of Delino DeShields, to get him at-bats.
Age TM AB BA OBP SLG EqA Mike Kinkade 28 BAL 306 .248 .309 .373 .235 Josh Paul 26 CHW 226 .235 .285 .327 .204 Julio Ramirez 23 CHW 412 .235 .286 .350 .216 John McDonald 26 CLE 330 .255 .305 .309 .205 Javier Cardona 25 DET 301 .249 .298 .412 .240 Jermaine Clark 24 DET 431 .262 .351 .350 .252 Brandon Inge 24 DET 370 .227 .278 .357 .215The loss of Mitch Meluskey sets up an interesting situation in Detroit, where the Tigers open the season using two catchers with a combined 40 major-league at-bats coming into the season. Javier Cardona is the more advanced player, while Brandon Inge is the better long-term prospect. Neither will make Randy Smith feel better about losing Meluskey, not this year, anyway.
The other Tiger rookie is Rule 5 second baseman Jermaine Clark. The Tigers are committed to Damion Easley for the next few years, so getting Clark ABs will be a problem. He could force his way into the third-base picture if Dean Palmer's shoulder continues to restrict him to DH.
Age TM AB BA OBP SLG EqA Dee Brown 23 KC 490 .265 .336 .439 .259 Luis Rivas 21 MIN 497 .266 .314 .374 .229 Brian Buchanan 27 MIN 365 .238 .296 .386 .226 Michael Coleman 25 NY 305 .266 .323 .492 .266 (Cincinnati) D'Angelo Jimenez 23 NY 276 .268 .346 .280 .253 Scott Seabol 26 NY 428 .238 .290 .390 .230 Jose Ortiz 24 OAK 429 .275 .331 .420 .260Jose Ortiz is the second-best position-player candidate for Rookie of the Year (to Ichiro Suzuki), because opportunity means as much as ability in that fight. As you can see, he doesn't project as a star this year, although his peak should be quite impressive.
Age TM AB BA OBP SLG EqA Anthony Sanders 27 SEA 389 .231 .383 .353 .220 Ichiro Suzuki 27 SEA 455 .312 .368 .459 .287That's exactly what the Mariners could use, but just based on early appearances, Suzuki doesn't seem real likely to slug .459. He may have a large first-half/second-half split as he adjusts to baseball on this side of the Pacific.
Age TM AB BA OBP SLG EqA Bo Porter 28 TEX 444 .241 .341 .367 .240 Ryan Freel 25 TOR 285 .256 .331 .393 .250Prospect turned utility player Ryan Freel is almost certainly the Blue Jays' best option at second base. Incumbent Homer Bush projects to a .235 EqA, and none of the organization's middle-infield prospects is ready to make the jump to the majors yet.
We'll check out the NL's rookie projections later this week.
Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Contact him by clicking here.