2011 Orioles Projections: Vlad Guerrero

The initial team projections are posted here. A more thorough walkthrough of how I put the individual ones together is in the Matt Wieters post here. The components I’m looking for are playing time (plate appearances), batting line (BA/OBP/SLG), and fielding.

Rounding out the starting position players is DH Vlad Guerrero. Later this week and next week will be the bench (all in one) and the pitching staff (one or starters/relievers). and then we can put the whole team together.

Playing Time:

Vlad missed a fair chunk of time in 2009, but otherwise he’s been good for 600+ plate appearances every season. He is a year older though, and I can see him getting some rest here and there – so I’m going with 550 PA.

Batting:

Vlad’s walk rate has always been pretty dependant on getting intentionally walked (over 34% of his career walks have been intentional), but as his bad has slowed in recent years pitchers seem to have become less scared of going after him – and his walk rate has fallen to only around 5%.  I don’t see any reason to reverse that trend.

His strike-out rates have remained low, but that’s more due to his propensity to swing at anything with 10 feet of the plate (thus ending at bats quickly) as opposed to exceptional contact rates (which was down to a touch below average in 2010 actually). Vlad’s K’ed in over 14% of his at bats in two of the last three seasons though, so a small bump from his career 12.2% to 13% is what I’ve got for this year.

Guerrero’s power bounced back some after a drop in 2009, and even a decline in home run per flyball rate to 13.5% would leave him above average in that area. Despite not being a flyball hitter, that would have Vlad hitting 22 home runs in 2011.

Vlad’s BABIPs have fallen from the .320+ range to a weighted average of just .304 over the last three years. Further decline to .300 would leave him about average, resulting in 130 non-home run hits; 24 doubles and 1 triple.

So now we’ve got all the components. 152 hits in 523 at bats is a .291 batting average. Add 28 walks (and 5 HBP) for a .336 on-base percentage. Slugging would be .467.

A .291/.336/.467 line would make Guerrero around 7 runs above average with the bat in 2011. That’s not terrible, but certainly not great for a guy whose only job is to hit.

Fielding:

I hope the Orioles confiscated any glove that Vlad might have brought with him. He shouldn’t ever touch the outfield grass during a game.

WAR:

Adding it up, Guerrero would be at about 1.1 Wins Above Replacement in 2011. That isn’t worth the money he’ll be paid and it isn’t what one thinks of when it comes to a (potential) future Hall of Famer. And it’s all because of (a) his pedestrian OBP despite a very good batting average and (b) the high bar one needs to clear to be valuable as a DH.

Let me know how you think Vlad Guerrero will do next year here.


Stats: BB% & K%, FB%, HR/FB%, BABIP, wRAA, UZR, DRS, Total Zone, FSR, WAR