2011 Community Projections Review: Mike Napoli

When Mike Napoli was acquired for Frankie Francisco most Rangers fans thought he'd be a part time player who would catch a bit (and with his defensive reputation the smaller the bit the better), play first a bit and DH a bit.  He was clearly a guy with a decent bat, but was more well known for being one of the best mashers in baseball against left handed pitching.  Napoli had also only had over 500 PA once in his career due to a combination of injury history and splitting time with Jeff Mathis in LA.  The projections reflected this with a decent .837 OPS and a moderate 395 PA.

LSB Average 395 .270 .345 .492 .837 16.42%
ZiPS 419 .254 .341 .505 .847 16.91%
Snark (Marcel) 498 .253 .330 .467 .797 20.97%
2011 Results 432 .320 .414 .631 1.045 0.00%


However, instead of being decent, Napoli's 2011 season was unbelievably awesome.  He didn't quite have enough PA to have a qualifying season due missing almost a month to injury and his early usage, but if he had his numbers would have been near the top of the leader boards.  His .320 / .414 / .631 slash line would have been 5th, 3rd and 1st in the AL respectively.  Napoli's 1.045 OPS and 178 wRC+ would have only trailed Jose Bautista as well.  For historical perspective, that 178 wRC+ was the second best offensive performance [relative to the rest of the league] in the history of the Texas Rangers franchise after Josh Hamilton's 2010 year where he had a 180 wRC+.

Interestingly enough, both his 13.4% walk rate and .312 ISO were not career highs... but his .344 BABIP was 23 points higher than his previous high and was only the second time he's ever surpassed .300 in that measure.  Also his strikeout rate plummeted to 19.7%, well below his career numbers that were over 25% coming into the season.  By Runs Created (RC) he outperformed his projections by 60%, easily highest among the projected position players.

Using a Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) approach [lower is better] the top and bottom individual projections have John08Patriot at the top of the projections and Bigfan16 at the bottom.

Everyone's rankings can be found in this Google Spreadsheet and the top and bottom 5 shake out as:

 Top 5
1. John08Patriot 400 .285 .370 .550 .920 10.63%
2. Rossome 431 .289 .364 .499 .863 13.01%
3. Conjunction 350 .290 .370 .550 .920 13.47%
4. Philar 400 .285 .365 .502 .867 13.53%
5. erudy 435 .275 .365 .495 .860 14.17%
 Bottom 5
72. Brother_jd 340 .259 .329 .450 .779 22.70%
73. badradiorules 425 .247 .289 .443 .732 24.10%
74. MikeEl 300 .245 .305 .445 .750 27.59%
75. Gay For Feliz 320 .246 .287 .435 .722 27.90%
76. Bigfan16 170 .212 .268 .410 .678 42.68%
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