The weakest and most debatable positions in terms of playing time are up next on the Community Projections menu. I'm limiting your options to a combination of Yuniesky Betancourt and Craig Counsell at shortstop and Carlos Gomez and Chris Dickerson in center field. There are other possibilities, and your percent playing time allocation doesn't need to add up to 100. We'll figure out what to do with the rest of the time left after everyone decides how much they think the two most likely candidates will play.
ZiPS: .266/.292/.392 (For the Royals, in the AL, so feel free to bump that up just a little bit)
2009: .245/.274/.351 (Between Mariners and Royals, AL)
2010: .259/.288/.405 (Royals, AL)
That, of course, is not pretty. My thoughts on Betancourt are well-known and not very optimistic. OBP is by far the most important component in hitting value, and Betancourt is not very good at getting on base. At 29, he should be in his prime but people have projecting a breakout for Yuni since about 2006, and he's been on a downward trend since. If he's carefully protected from righty pitchers we might see slightly better production just due to the platoon advantage.
Every year, you think "is this the year he really collapses?" My guess is as good as anybody else's as this point. Counsell's production certainly dropped from something of a career year back in 2009, which everyone should have expected. But he also got only about half the plate appearances in '10 as he did in '09. Some players perform better with regular at-bats, some perform better when well-rested. It's tough to know what that balance is with Counsell, because his chief skill, plate discipline, is one that ages very well. But then again, he's now 40. I've been told he's a surprisingly ripped guy for his stature. I think I'd expect something closer or above the ZiPS Projection than his 2009 line.
Two things surprised me in looking at Gomez's line. First, his line last year was actually solid improvement over his performance in the previous season. Second, last year's production matched almost exactly his 2008, which I think many of us saw as a baseline of acceptable production for him last year. He's still only 25, and while I'm not going to go and project breakout for him or anything, I think he's in line to improve his production a bit more this year, especially considering he'll be facing all the lefties and probably only some of the righties.
2010: .206/.250/.268 (106 Plate Appearances)
The Dickerson/Gomez situation reminds me a bit of the Jody Gerut/Tony Gwynn Jr. debate, even though the players in question are on the same team this time instead of being trade for one another. Dickerson had great runs in limited opportunities with the Reds in '08 and '09. There's no real baseline for what to expect from him, and I could really see him excelling if the platoon advantage is worked properly. He's not in Gomez's league as a defender, but then again who is. If properly leveraged I think Dickerson could easily top his ZiPS projection.
The form is once again below the jump. I'm really having fun with the 97 templates to choose from this year, compared to only 3 last year.