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April 10, 2001

Fun With Wilton

NL Rookies

by Joe Sheehan

AL Rookies

Baseball Prospectus 2001 contains Wilton projections for more than 800 hitters. Now that the season is underway, let's take a look at Wilton's book projections for the rookie position players who made their NL teams' rosters.

Later this 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.

(Just to clarify: this only covers position players who are in BP 2001. Not-in-book player comments will be on the site this week.)

In the National League, there were many fewer rookies on the first-week rosters than we saw in the AL:

                  Age    TM    AB    BA   OBP   SLG    EqA
Wes Helms          25   ATL   340  .265  .307  .426   .246
Rod Barajas        25   ARZ   405  .244  .283  .390   .223
Augie Ojeda        26   CHC   429  .247  .316  .345   .228
Julio Zuleta       25   CHC   385  .270  .315  .447   .252

Julio Zuleta wasn't on the Opening Day roster, but was recalled when Ron Coomer went on the DL. The only thing Coomer does that Zuleta can't do as well or better is play third base, and Coomer doesn't really do that well enough to make himself valuable. Zuleta deserves the platoon job at first base.

                  Age    TM    AB    BA   OBP   SLG    EqA
Hiram Bocachica    25    LA   444  .255  .316  .403   .248
Timoniel Perez     24   NYM   321  .321  .377  .461   .291
Gary Bennett       29   PHI   299  .268  .342  .441   .261

Gary Bennett is probably one of the better backup catchers in the league, but because he backs up a similar, but far superior, player in Mike Lieberthal, will be restricted to a Keith Osik two-starts-a-month role. He'd look nice behind a guy like Darrin Fletcher.

                  Age    TM    AB    BA   OBP   SLG    EqA
Jimmy Rollins      22   PHI   529  .268  .330  .405   .248
Jack Wilson        23   PIT   416  .272  .322  .365   .235

Interesting...both Pennsylvania teams are going with rookies at shortstop, the Phillies with a Rookie-of-the-Year favorite and the Pirates with a glove whiz who stole the job in March. Wilton doesn't put too much ground between them, and Jack Wilson's glove is reputed to be worth the minimal difference in the two players' projected performances.

                  Age    TM    AB    BA   OBP   SLG    EqA
Albert Pujols      21   STL   281  .302  .344  .488   .274

Beware Wilton projections based on a minimum of data. Albert Pujols has one season of professional baseball on his resume--a damn good one, mind you--and that's type of player with whom the system has the most trouble. Then again, if Tony LaRussa can limit Pujols to starts against left-handers in Coors Field....

                  Age    TM    AB    BA   OBP   SLG    EqA
Santiago Perez     25    SD   434  .242  .296  .359   .236
Pedro Feliz        24    SF   440  .241  .279  .414   .235

How To Make Russ Davis Seem Palatable.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Contact him by clicking here.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

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