One of my favorite story lines entering the 2011 season was the Against All Odds narrative for Mitch Moreland. I have a soft spot for players who have some success despite limited tools and expectations. Moreland joined the 2010 Rangers in late July and provided decent production for the final months of the regular season with an .833 OPS. He followed up with a strong post season that included a memorable home run in the 2010 World Series providing the key runs in the Texas Rangers only win of that series.
The combination of Moreland's limited pedigree and limited Major League experience competed with the strong emotional context of when and where Moreland had his small sample of success and an encouraging approach at the plate. The projections were quite varied and provided the third highest standard deviation for Runs Created (RC) among the eleven position players projected. The composite projections settled into an expectation of consistent playing time at 446.8 PA with an .800 OPS that would have been a bit higher than the 2010 AL average OPS for first basemen of .788.
Mitch Moreland started the year very strong with a .905 OPS in April and an .873 OPS in May, but followed that with below average months for the rest of the year and an exceptionally poor September with a .434 OPS. His final OPS of .733 was dead last in the American League among qualifying first basemen. In his year end press conference, Jon Daniels revealed that Moreland played much of the second half of the season with right wrist tendinitis, giving a possible explanation to some of Mitch's struggles in the last four months of the season.
Moreland ended up with more appearances than the composite projections with 512 PA, offsetting the significantly lower slash line for only a 3% reduction in the projected RC. Ultimately Moreland's well below average production at a key offensive position has Rangers fans speculating on possible solutions at first base for the 2012 season.
Using a Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) approach [lower is better] the top and bottom individual projections have ab03 at the top of the projections and TagDon'tTweet at the bottom. Everyone's rankings can be found in this Google Spreadsheet and the top and bottom 5 shake out as:
| Top 5 ||PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||OPS||RMSE|
| Bottom 5 ||PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||OPS||RMSE|
|112. James Welch
|115. slc ranger