Fawning over Marlins rookies

Beyond the Boxscore writer and friend of the Maniac Justin Inaz commented on how impressive Logan Morrison’s debut season has been so far. We discussed him a very small amount, wondering about Morrison’s power ceiling. Today, R.J. Anderson over at FanGraphs also made note of Morrison’s excellent play early this season.

This won’t be another article on just Morrison, but rather about the trio of excellent rookies the Marlins have brought up to the majors this season. Morrison, Mike Stanton, and Gaby Sanchez have each impressed this season, and the Marlins have to be excited about that. I’ve already spent a little bit of time talking about all three of these guys recently, but I’d like to take a quick look at what the three of them have produced win-wise this year and how many more wins we can expect in the next few years.

Producing big now

I don’t think anyone felt that the Marlins would get this much production out of the three rookies. Check out the CHONE wOBA and WAR/600 PA projections from the preseason for each player.

Player wOBA WAR/600 PA
Stanton .295 -0.7
Morrison .333 0.6
Sanchez .348 1.2

If the preseason projections had come true and the Marlins had played the three of them all season, CHONE would have projected 1.1 total WAR. Instead, with Stanton only posting 308 PA and Morrison only 181 PA, the Marlins got a whopping 5.6 WAR from the three effective rookies. Of course, Sanchez has lead the way, with 2.5 WAR so far this year, but Stanton and Morrison are essentially tied at 1.7 and 1.4 WAR respectively. Either way, all three players have made strides since their preseason projections, particularly on offense.

All three players are outperforming their preseason wOBA projections, with Stanton beating his projection by the largest amount. This shouldn’t surprise anyone of course, given how Stanton’s projection would have changed drastically after his mammoth Double-A performance from the beginning of 2010. Similarly, Morrison’s good 2010 start would have also bumped his projection up a bit. Sanchez has slightly outperformed his expectations, showing more power than the Marlins expected.

Guessing at the future

The Marlins are at this point far more concerned about the future rather than the past. The season is, for all intents and purposes, over. So how will these three excellent players play in the future? Marlin Maniac’s own John Herold did projections for each of these players in his preseason series ranking the team’s hitting prospects, and he mentioned that these projections served as sophomore year outlooks. Let’s review them.

Stanton 625 .247 .335 .497 .359 3.7
Morrison 625 .285 .379 .448 .367 2.6
Sanchez 625 .269 .359 .430 .350 2.0

Those projections do look quite similar to what we could expect. Sanchez’ increased power output this season is a good sign, but ZiPS still projects a .145 ISO going forward. Morrison’s AVG looks a little high, but John’s projection of a .324 BABIP is not entirely out of line. Let’s take a look at how the ZiPS rest-of-season projections stack up in comparison.

Stanton .226 .304 .419 .319 1.6
Morrison .267 .353 .400 .342 1.3
Sanchez .275 .346 .420 .342 1.6

These projections also look reasonable, but are a good deal worse than what John projected before the season started. Each player loses a little in between the two projections, with Sanchez dropping the least and Stanton the most. Of the three, I buy the updated Stanton projections the least. I already worked on an updated projection that had Mike Stanton at a .321 wOBA after his 2010 Double-A season and before his damn good major league season. An updated projection from last month had Stanton up to a wOBA around the league average, which would make Stanton a league average player next season.

Morrison is perhaps the most concerning of the three players. Right now, he has a gigantic and unsustainable .395 BABIP that is carrying his .408 wOBA right now, and that is sure to go down. Dropping down to either .324 (John’s number) or .314 (ZiPS’ number) seems more likely, and that would yield a lot less production, especially from either first base or left field. Sanchez’ projection via both systems seems fairly similar, and I would feel pretty confident in the Marlins getting almost two wins above replacement next year from him.

With Sanchez’ 2.0 WAR in tow, I figure the Marlins should get something in between the projections provided above for Morrison and Stanton. If we take the average (not the best method, I know) of both values for those two, the Marlins may be able to expect around 6.6 WAR from the three players in 2011. If we remain more optimistic about Stanton, pushing 7.0 WAR from the three would not surprise me, and should make all Marlins fans happy.

Tags: Gaby Sanchez Logan Morrison Miami Marlins Mike Stanton

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