Thursday, January 22, 2009

Community Projections: Brian Roberts

There are no shortage of Brian Roberts trade rumors (as well as contract talk) but for now he's set to be an Oriole in 2009.

After his career year in '05 (.314/.387/.515, 18 HR) and down-year in '06 (.286/.347/.410), Roberts has been pretty consistent the last couple years (.290/.377/.432 & .296/.378/.450).

Over at FanGraphs they have Roberts being worth 4.9 WAR in both '07 and '08, with extra offense in the latter being made up for by better defense in the former.

For now, I have Brian projected at:

PA H 2B 3B HR BB BA OBP SLG wOBA WAR
625 158 40 5 9 69 .285 .365 .425 .358 3.9

That's a pretty big drop-off (a whole Win), but it still makes Roberts worth $19.4 M next year.

On a related note, there are reports of Roberts rejecting a contract extension from the O's in the neighborhood of 3 years, $30 M. That seems reasonable in this market (it may be more than Orlando Hudson ends up getting by something like 1 year and $12 M), but it's probably not near what Brian will be worth.

For that to be a fair contract, he would have to hit something like the following:

Year PA H 2B 3B HR BB BA OBP SLG wOBA WAR
2010 600 152 38 4 7 57 .281 .350 .405 .343 2.7
2011 575 144 35 3 5 48 .274 .336 .381 .326 1.7
2012 550 136 32 2 3 42 .269 .325 .358 .311 0.7
2013 525 130 28 1 2 32 .265 .310 .338 .297 0.0

I added 2013 just to show that such a progression would leave him as a replacement level player by then (if not below). The WAR values assumes gradually worsening baserunning and defense.

Taking inflation into account, for 2010-2012 given that kind of decline, Brian Roberts would be worth the 3/30 deal he was offered. He'd be a below average player in 2011, but he'd still have some value. By 2012 he's at around Cesar Izturis levels of production (more bat, less glove).

Now I think it's fairly likely that Roberts will age better than that, even if not by much. In the past I said that the team should probably trade him, but that was based on the assumption that Brian would want a 4/60 type deal - if he's amenable to 3/33 or 3/36 (maybe with a team option) then that might be OK.

3/36 would require something like:

Year PA H 2B 3B HR BB BA OBP SLG wOBA WAR
2010 600 152 38 4 7 61 .283 .357 .408 .348 3.0
2011 575 145 37 3 5 53 .279 .346 .391 .335 2.1
2012 550 139 34 2 4 43 .275 .333 .374 .320 1.2

That doesn't seem unreasonable, but I guess Roberto Alomar probably looked like a fine investment after his .336/.415/.541 season at the age of 33. That was followed with .266/.331/.376 and a couple more even worse seasons before he was out of baseball.

How good will Brian Roberts be next year, and how long will his above-average production last?

2 comments:

math_geek said...

That's a tough one. My heart says he'll be great forever, but my brain knows better. My brain also wonders if he'd get a production boost in a contract year. He seems to work hard anyway though. You pretty much stuck with his CHONE projections, except you gave him slightly fewer walks per attempt. I don't think he's going to draw fewer walks just because he's older, and he actually did slightly better at drawing walks in 2007. It's nitpicking, but I'd bump his OBP by .005 to .010

math_geek said...

Oh, also, his defense should be better if only due to having a competent shortstop for the first time in forever. Unless defensive statistics already manage to isolate that.