Last fall in this space, I presented a series of projections of the kind of season Twins firstbaseman Joe Mauer would have, based on the Brock5 calculations of Bill James, the godfather of SABR, the Society of American Baseball Research. Or, as the get-off-my-lawn crowd in baseball would say, “the stat freaks.”
It’s a fairly old tool as these things go, but it’s still a good barometer of where a career is headed. The projection of career length is based on the theory that a player must maintain a certain level of performance to keep from losing his job to another player. Mauer’s performance declined in 2013, but so — as the New York Times points out today — did most other hitters.
How did it do with Mauer? So-so on the statistics, but the bottom line was dead on. He would be an average baseball player who missed games.
The spreadsheet predicted Mauer would hit .307, with 9 home runs, 32 doubles, 61 RBI, 76 walks, 62 runs scored in 138 games.
His final actual statistics: He hit .277 with 4 home runs, 27 doubles, 55 RBI, 60 walks, 60 runs scored in 120 games.
I’ve seen BROCK5 projections that were better, but that’s pretty close.
What’s ahead? More of the same. Let’s recalculate the prediction for future years by adding Mauer’s numbers from this just-completed season.
Voila! Or “read ’em and weep.”
The most meaningful part of the prediction is that Mauer’s career will end two years sooner than last year’s prediction had indicated. He’ll only play four more seasons as a full time player, it predicts.
His batting-title days are over, and he won’t hit home runs. In short, the Joe Mauer of the future is — at best — the Joe Mauer of the present.
It’s possible that had he not had his concussion, he’d be a different player. But the calculation doesn’t indicate that. It predicted several years ago — before the concussion — that Mauer would pretty much be the player he is at this stage of his career.