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Opening Day Countdown: Jonathan Villar's 36 stolen bases

We're a minuscule 36 days from real baseball! And that just so happens to be where I have the over/under on the number of bases Jonathan Villar will steal. It's totally scientific, just don't ask me to show my work.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

When David Stearns brought in the former shortstop of the future from his former organization, there wasn't a clear path to playing time for him except perhaps at third base. But with Jean Segura traded, Jonathan Villar is now the obvious opening day shortstop for the Brewers. This will be his first real chance at a full time job at the major league level. As such, we cannot be certain what to expect. But that's not going to stop me from making wild guesses!

Here are what three of the major projection systems have to say about Villar:

Steamer 288 239 301 364 6 18
ZiPS 496 240 303 374 10 33
PECOTA 470 240 300 370 9 33

As you can see the three projection systems are pretty much in agreement on what we can expect from the 25 year old infielder. Steamer is coming in low on plate appearances, but we can see it agrees on the rate stats and the counting stats would probably be pretty close if the plate appearances were increased.

Overall that's not a great offensive slash line. But I can't help myself from thinking he could be able to beat that projection. His career slash line at the major league level is a bit better: 658 PA, 266/322/374. And last season--which he split between MLB and AAA--saw him do even better than that at the major league level: 128 PA, 284/339/414.

So I'm going to do the wildly irresponsible thing and say I think he's going to beat his projections. I'll take that career slash line instead. I think the home run projection is probably pretty spot on. But I'm going to set the SB over/under at 36. And that's totally for scientific reasons and not because I couldn't think of anything else to tie in with today's countdown. Nope, it's definitely not that.

Seriously though, it's kind of surprising to me that Stearns was able to get Villar for so cheap. He's reasonably young, didn't have a bad season, and was always regarded as a talented individual. I want to believe there's still a chance he can figure things out. And the chance that he could become a solid average second baseman capable of hitting 9-12 home runs and stealing 40+ bases has me salivating.