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Rays vs Their Projections: Infielders (Part one)

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How did the Rays infielders perform against their ZiPS projections?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays infield situation may look pretty different in 2016 with Asdrubal Cabrera likely moving on to a different team in search of a big payday, meanwhile James Loney may be dealt somewhere else as he becomes more expensive. As well as the emergence of Logan Forsythe and Richie Shaffer, may make several other players expendable. So, let's take a look at how this year's team performed against their projections.

James Loney

Following a decent second year with Tampa, Loney put up one of the worst offense season for a first baseman in Rays history, even if the numbers don't quite look so bad. His defense at first was greatly missed as spent at least a third of the season injured, as endured a couple of separate stints on the DL for various reasons.

Loney saw his power numbers plummet this season, as he wasn't able to line balls to the gaps as he had the previous two years. In some cases, he should have had doubles, but his slow speed prevented that. His speed proved to be a nuisance this season, as it made it harder for the team to score when he reached base, considering that most hitters in the line-up might actually catch up to him on an extra base hit.

Games PA AVG OBP SLG HR K% BB% WAR
ZiPS 152 584 .275 .322 .373 9 12.5% 6.5% 1.1
Actual 104 388 .280 .322 .357 4 8.8% 5.9% -1.3

2016 Situation: James Loney will be entering his fourth year with the Rays next season. He'll be entering a contract year, after the Rays signed him for $21 million over three seasons back during the 2013-2014 offseason following a breakout campaign. He's set to make 9.67 million in 2016, making him the second highest paid player on the team.

Allan Dykstra

Dykstra was added strictly for depth in the off-season and the move paid off somewhat when Loney went down in the first week of the season. Dykstra was presented with the opportunity to make his major league debut. He played in 13 games early in the season, and even hit a clutch homer, but that's the only memorable thing he did. Sloppy defensive play, and lack of production at the plate led to him quickly being sent back to Triple-A after James Loney was healthy.

He would be officially released by the team in June after spending a couple of months in Durham.He quickly signed in the Independent Leagues with the famed Sugarland Skeeters, and that's where he finished the season.


Games
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
HR
K%
BB%
WAR
ZiPS
109 423 .193
.312
.328
11
35.7%
13.5%
0.0
Actual 13 38 .129 .289 .226 1 31.6% 15.8% -0.3

2016 Situation: May stay with Sugarland, but if an opportunity arises with a team, he could find himself back in affiliated ball.

Marc Krauss

James Loney's second injury of the season pretty much forced the Rays into finding a player who filed the position with the major league experience that wouldn't cost much. So, Krauss was brought in and did what was expected, which was be awful at the plate and be able to scoop a ball at first. He did have the traditional, new player big hit with the team at least before being dealt to Detroit.

ZiPS expected him to be awful, and he was worse than that, finishing the season with worse results in every category.

Games PA AVG OBP SLG HR K% BB% WAR
ZiPS 455 122 .201 .284 .336 11 29.5% 9.9% -0.7
Actual 27 81 .141 .173 .256 2 38.3% 3.8% -1.1

2016 Situation: Unsure of his current situation, may find his way back to affiliated ball but after the way the season went, his career may be over.

Jake Elmore

Another depth signing that proved to be fruitful as Elmore served in all facets of the game for the Rays, even stepping in to pitch at one point this season. Not expected to do much as the plate, Elmore served his role as a reserve infielder who could play potentially any position on the diamond. The Rays tried him out at first base, but the results were disastrous, nonetheless, Elmore is a nice depth piece to have stashed in Triple-A.

Elmore fell below the projections set out for him, which weren't really that high in the first place. Elmore had an initial string of success, like the homer that can be seen above, but he fell off a cliff and it resulted him being sent down to Durham.


Games
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
HR
K%
BB%
WAR
ZiPS
109 433 .232
.305
.299
2
16.6%
9.0%
0.6
Actual
51 158 .206 .263 .284 2 15.8% 7.6% -1.0

2016 Situation: More than likely will be with a different organization as a minor league free agent, although the Rays could potentially bring him back for depfh

Nick Franklin

Franklin triumphantly declared entering spring training that he'd win the starting short stop job. He didn't, but was in line for the starting second baseman job, then he strained his oblique and missed the first month of the season. Once he returned, he was used sparingly and struggled with his limited plate time and eventually earned a demotion to Durham. He returned in September, but was again sparingly used.

ZiPS didn't have high hopes for Franklin, but he didn't even come close to matching the numbers laid out for him. Don't know how much of that has to do with his oblique bothering him throughout the season, but it doesn't provide much confidence heading into 2016.

Games PA AVG OBP SLG HR K% BB% WAR
ZiPS 135 565 .243 .305 .357 11 23.7% 9.0% 2.0
Actual 44 109 .158 .213 .307 3 33.9% 6.4% -0.8

2016 Situation: Not sure what to make of Franklin, as he hasn't really impressed in the short stints he's spent at the major league level and there are several prospects who are sure to be knocking on the door next season. As it stands now, he's in position to battle for a bench spot, and possibly the starting shortstop job while he'll be paid the league minimum.

Logan Forsythe

The best surprise of 2015 was Logan Forsythe as he emerged as the every day second baseman early in the season. Throughout the season, he proved to be the most consistent offensive player in the line-up. He also was able to provide excellent defense at second as well.

He is the fist player on this list so far to exceed the projections set out for hi, and he did it mightily. Hopefully this will not be a fluke year for Forsythe and he can continue to produce at this level in the foreseeable future.


Games
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
HR
K%
BB%
WAR
ZiPS
105 357 .224
.301
.341
7
23.0%
8.7%
0.6
Actual
153
615
.281
.359
.444
17
18.0%
8.9%
4.1

2016 Situation: Following his impressive breakout year, Forsythe is an extension candidate for the team, or possibly even a trade chip considering the Rays depth in the middle-infield. If he is still with Tampa Bay, he is a lock for the starting second base job and will go through his second arbitration, and is almost certainly due for a raise.