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Projecting Craig Counsell

Continuing our tour of the Brewers monthly MINER projections...let's look at Craig Counsell.  For more on MINERs and what the hell I'm talking about, read the Projecting JJ Hardy article.

(The site gets more traffic on weekdays, so I'm putting a bench guy on a lazy Friday afternoon.)

Since Craig has had a long career, I'm not going to bother with monthly projections back more than a decade.  Instead, here's an end-of-season projection for Craig going back to 1995:

Month AVG OBP SLG OPS
199509 0.256 0.318 0.358 0.677
199609 0.258 0.328 0.361 0.689
199709 0.268 0.335 0.380 0.717
199809 0.271 0.347 0.393 0.745
199909 0.267 0.343 0.382 0.730
200009 0.257 0.330 0.366 0.701
200109 0.233 0.314 0.330 0.648
200209 0.212 0.290 0.281 0.571
200309 0.218 0.298 0.289 0.586
200409 0.231 0.312 0.301 0.615
200509 0.240 0.324 0.325 0.650
200609 0.246 0.327 0.336 0.664
200709 0.241 0.325 0.332 0.657
200809 0.236 0.328 0.327 0.653

I'm not quite sure why MINER would've been so bearish on Craig in 2002-03, since his numbers the previous few years weren't notably bad.  Regardless of why that is, it's clear that Counsell has settled in at a very predictable skill level.

Let's take a closer look at the last three years:

Month AVG OBP SLG OPS
200604 0.248 0.332 0.340 0.672
200605 0.250 0.330 0.339 0.669
200606 0.248 0.326 0.337 0.663
200607 0.249 0.328 0.339 0.667
200608 0.248 0.327 0.337 0.664
200609 0.246 0.327 0.336 0.664
200704 0.246 0.326 0.341 0.667
200705 0.244 0.327 0.336 0.664
200706 0.245 0.328 0.339 0.666
200707 0.245 0.330 0.339 0.668
200708 0.242 0.326 0.334 0.660
200709 0.241 0.325 0.332 0.657
200804 0.241 0.322 0.337 0.658
200805 0.237 0.321 0.333 0.653
200806 0.239 0.323 0.336 0.658
200807 0.238 0.323 0.333 0.654
200808 0.238 0.323 0.330 0.651
200809 0.236 0.328 0.327 0.653

Unfortunately, CC's days of threatening the elusive 340 slugging mark are behind him.  Still, it's remarkable just how consistent that OBP is.  Patience is most likely the skill that sticks around the longest, so given Craig has kept taking his walks through age 38, I wouldn't worry that he's going to stop doing so right through age 39.

I'll admit, this isn't nearly as interesting when you're looking at a steady veteran rather than a streaky youngster like JJ or Corey.  These numbers do make the point that while Craig has gotten predictably less powerful as he ages, he's still the same player we signed a couple of years ago.

The average big-league shortstop OPS's about 740; I'd guess that average big-league shortstop who can really defend his position (i.e., the field without Hanley) is more like 700.  Craig isn't in that territory, but 650 + great defense at every infield position is a lot better than what many teams will get from their bench.

Is that worth $3.4MM?  I don't know, but I suspect we're going to find out first-hand.