Over the next two or three weeks, I plan on posting one of these for most members of the Brewers. I might also throw in some interesting free agents and trade targets once we get into the offseason.
For background on these projections, read the intro to the JJ Hardy article. In short: These are projections using data up to and including each month in the player's major league career.
Corey's an interesting case. 2007 was a real breakthrough season, and he tempted us into thinking he was a superstar in the making. In a bizarre tale of two halves, he ended up below league-average offensively, with a 268/300/459 line. As you might expect, the second half--especially September--knocks down his projection, but not as much our gut might suggest.
Here are the numbers:
This is really pretty amazing if you think about it. After Hart put up a 900ish OPS in 2007, his projection was 790. After a serious letdown over the last few months, his projection is...789.
Part of the explanation is simple--that 2007 projection took into account some weaker seasons; the 2008 projection still counts the 2007 season, if not as much.
But from the perspective of MINER, there's a glaring spot of luck in Corey's 2007 season--his overall BABIP was a reasonable .321, but his BABIP on groundballs was over .300. League average is down in the low 200s, and while it's possible to outperform that, it's not typical. Generally, if you hit groundballs, most of them will be fielded, so matter how hard you hit them.
In other words, MINER saw Corey's 2007 season and wasn't completely sold. If you knock Corey's 2007 BABIP down to the .295 range where it probably belonged, his OPS probably loses 50 or 60 points, just adjusting for luck. That still leaves '07 as a good season, but instead of a 900 OPS falling to a 760 OPS, it's 840 to 760, which makes more sense.
Just as we saw with JJ yesterday, there are a lot of bumps in the road, but we're looking at a very similar player to the guy we went into the season with. We just overestimated what we had. (I'm as guilty of this as anybody.)
League average in right field was a 787 OPS this year, so we've got ourselves a super-average guy at that position who probably still has a good shot at beating that out.
I wouldn't bet on another All-Star appearance, though.