2023 Projection Showdown — THE BAT X vs Steamer RBI Forecasts, Part 2, A Review

Yesterday, I reviewed the hitters that THE BAT X was most bullish on for RBI compared to Steamer. Let’s now flip over to Steamer’s RBI favorites.

Steamer RBI Favorites
Name THE BAT X 650 PA RBI Projection* Steamer 650 PA RBI Projection* Actual 650 PA RBI Closer System
Vinnie Pasquantino 77.3 95.5 65.0 THE BAT X
Jake McCarthy 59.1 76.2 33.3 THE BAT X
Eloy Jiménez 85.1 101.9 85.1 THE BAT X
Jose Siri 64.1 80.4 100.0 Steamer
Nolan Arenado 83.7 99.2 98.8 Steamer
Seiya Suzuki 75.3 89.4 82.5 Steamer
*Projections as of Feb 19

It’s a tie! Funny enough, THE BAT X actually proved closer on the top three Steamer favorites, but then the latter took home the gold in the remaining three. Let’s find out what happened.

A shoulder injury that required surgery ended up ending Vinnie Pasquantino prematurely, as he recorded just 260 PAs. Over that time, he disappointed with the bat, posting just a .327 wOBA, despite an increased .190 ISO compared to a .155 mark during his 2022 debut. However, his BABIP plunged to just .250, so the fewer hits most certainly resulted in his weak RBI output while hitting in the middle of the order. His xwOBA suggested that he suffered from some bad fortune, but you never know how a hitter’s performance is going to be affected by shoulder surgery. I’m a huge fan of his skill set, but will be cautious after the serious injury.

Ughhh, Jake McCarthy was one of many hitters that combined to ensure my local league’s hitting would be a massive disappointment. It’s really hard to manage just a 33 RBI pace over 650 PAs, especially when your PAs don’t all come from the leadoff spot (that slot has the fewest RBI opps on average). McCarthy was brutal offensively, posting just a .289 wOBA, as his BABIP fell and his power disappeared. Given his stolen base prowess, I would be willing to give him another chance given his strong Triple-A performance after his demotion, but I doubt he opens the season with a starting job. He’s a good name to remember in deeper leagues, though, if he does end up with everyday at-bats again.

Eloy Jiménez just can’t seem to shake the injury bug. Amazingly, THE BAT X absolutely nailed the RBI forecast here, as Jiménez’s wOBA plummeted, thanks to his lowest career HR/FB rate and ISO. It’s interesting that he actually posted the lowest strikeout rate of his career as well, which continues the trend of improving strikeout rates each season. When looking at his ultimate home run potential, the problem here is a low FB%. His career high is just 33.9% and that was posted during his rookie campaign in 2019. He’s been just below 30% twice and stuck in the low-30% range the last two years. There’s no reason that a guy with no speed should be hitting ground balls at 50%+ rate. I’m betting that one of these years, he stays healthy and also bumps his FB% up en route to a career season that includes 40 home runs, as he’s clearly got the power potential and the improving strikeout rate is exciting.

Jose Siri with the 100 RBI pace! Who woulda thunk it? He nearly doubled his RBI total from 2022 in just marginally more PAs. The how is clear – his power exploded. His HR/FB rate surged to 26.6%, resulting in an ISO spike to .272. He never showed that kind of home run power in the minors, but it was supported by strong maxEV and Barrel% marks. All that extra power failed to result in many more hits falling in and is OBP was actually a point below last year, but the power itself was enough to make him an RBI monster while he was in the lineup. Unfortunately, he still strikes out far too often, rarely walks, and is on a team that hates settling on an everyday lineup, so he’s not exactly a 2024 target for his power and speed combo.

Steamer nearly nailed Nolan Arenado’s RBI pace, which is bizarre considering his wOBA plunged from 2022, as his strikeout rate jumped to its highest mark since 2018 and ISO fell below .200 for just the third time in his career. It paid to have a number of strong OBP guys in front of him, especially those without elite power that was clearing the bases themselves.

Steamer just baaaaaaaarely ended up closer on Seiya Suzuki’s RBI pace, as we had to go out to the decimals to crown a winner. At some point during the middle of the season, Suzuki began to lose playing time, but then picked it up over the final two months of the season by posting wOBA marks over .400. After all the ups and downs, he ended up finishing pretty close the projections. I really like this skill set. His single digit SwStk% suggests strikeout rate improvement potential, while his elite 114.6 MPH maxEV suggests HR/FB rate upside.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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