This is the first of my series of player predictions and statistical projections for the 2012 season. They’re based on a secret, scientific, proprietary mathematical formula that I will reveal at the end of the year. After coming up with my own projections, I went back and checked those of FanGraphs. In many cases, we were almost in lockstep. In others, there was a great disparity. At the end of the season, I’ll compare my projections with FanGraphs’, and we’ll see whose projections were closest to reality.
Also, in the interest of brevity, I will only include “glamour stats.” Besides, it’s hard to calculate everyone’s xFIP when you have a full-time job.
Without further ado, here’s Josh Thole.
Josh Thole, C
Perhaps more than any other Met, Josh Thole has the most to prove in 2012. The Mets are prepared to lean heavily on him this year, hoping that he’ll be the productive hitter and solid catcher they envisioned. He’ll have to be, since doesn’t have the safety net of a veteran backup anymore, with the departure of Ronny Paulino.
Thole hit over .300 twice in the minor leagues, leading many to predict the same of him in the majors. However, he’s struggled with consistency since his call up in 2010. Last Spring, he tore up the Grapefruit League to the tune of a .375 batting average with 3 home runs. When the regular season started, he tried to pull the ball more and hit for power, which robbed him of his ability to make consistent contact.
After shortening his swing in June, he hit .292 the rest of the way to finish with a .268 batting average.
The real concern for Thole comes when he is behind the plate. He led the NL with 16 passed balls. In fairness, 11 of those came while catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. He did have the third best fielding percentage among NL catchers, however (.997).
If he stays within himself, he should be fine at the plate, but the real improvement needs to occur when he is behind it.
Projection: .291, 6 HR, 53 RBI
FanGraphs: .276, 5 HR, 60 RBI