So Bill James's 2012 projections are up on fangraphs, so let's take a look at what he's predicting our 2012 AL Central Champion Royals to do.
Alex Gordon: 22 HR, 96 Runs, 81 RBI, 14 Steals, .276/.361/.467
Johnny Giavotella: 7 HR, 65 Runs, 60 RBI, 12 Steals, .295/.342/.419
Eric Hosmer: 23 HR, 86 Runs, 92 RBI, 14 Steals, .311/.362/.494
Billy Butler: 20 HR, 80 Runs, 96 RBI, 1 Steal, .301/.372/.477
Jeff Francoeur: 18 HR, 73 Runs, 87 RBI, 14 Steals, .269/.317/.432
Mike Moustakas: 18 HR, 68 Runs, 84 RBI, 3 Steals, .278/.323/.447
Salvador Perez: 8 HR, 42 Runs, 51 RBI, 0 Steals, .287/.317/.413
Lorenzo Cain: 10 HR, 73 Runs, 58 RBI, 22 Steals, .284/.337/.416
Alcides Escobar: 5 HR, 72 Runs, 49 RBI, 27 Steals, .267/.309/.360
Brayan Pena: 3 HR, 17 Runs, 20 RBI, 1 Steal, .275/.321/.388
Manuel Pina: No Stats
Chris Getz: 1 HR, 34 Runs, 22 RBI, 13 Steals, .262/.329/.316
Yamaico Navarro: No Stats
Mitch Maier: No Stats
Jarrod Dyson: No Stats
Just to sum up quickly the Royals are projected to score 706 runs here, not including the contributions of the bench players listed. Last season the Royals scored 730 runs, so I think it is safe to assume that Bill James is calling for similar offensive production from Kansas City in 2012.
James also predicts 136 home runs and 121 steals in 2012. Again this doesn't include the contributions of bench players. In 2011, the Royals knocked 129 homers while swiping 153 bases. Based off this James is predicting the Royals offense in 2012, to rely a little more off homers than manufacturing runs as they did in 2011.
What also stands out is the dips in production from Alex Gordon and Jeff Francouer. Gordon's dip isn't great and is likely the result of a deflation of his BABIP. Francouer's line seems to suggest him slipping back to pre-2012 form something that myself and many Royals' fans fear.
The final thing that excites me about these projections are the solid lines from most of the young players. Between Hosmer, Giavotella, Moustakas, Perez, and Cain I don't think there is one line that Royals fans would be disappointed with should they post similar numbers in 2012.
Luke Hochevar: 9-12, 189 IP, 4.33 ERA, 6.14 K/9, 2.90 BB/9, 1.05 HR/9
Jonathan Sanchez: 9-9, 159 IP, 3.79 ERA, 9.40 K/9, 5.09 BB/9, 0.91 HR/9
Felipe Paulino: 7-10, 157 IP, 4.59 ERA, 8.20 K/9, 3.84 BB/9, 0.82 HR/9
Danny Duffy: No Stats
Everett Teaford: 3-4, 64 IP, 3.94 ERA, 7.03 K/9, 2.95 BB/9, 1.13 HR/9
Sean O'Sullivan: 2-3, 37 IP, 4.86 ERA, 5.35 K/9, 2.92 BB/9, 1.22 HR/9
Vin Mazzaro: No Stats
Luis Mendoza: No Stats
Joakim Soria: 4-2, 52 IP, 2.77 ERA, 9.69 K/9, 2.42 BB/9, 0.69 HR/9
Greg Holland: 5-3, 68 IP, 3.04 ERA, 9.79 K/9, 3.84 BB/9, 0.66 HR/9
Aaron Crow: No Stats
Tim Collins: 4-3, 58 IP, 3.26 ERA, 10.55 K/9, 5.43 BB/9, 0.62 HR/9
Louis Coleman: 4-3, 62 IP, 2.95 ERA, 10.03 K/9, 3.39 BB/9, 0.89 HR/9
Blake Wood: 3-5, 73 IP, 4.68 ERA, 6.78 K/9, 3.82 BB/9, 0.74 HR/9
Kelvin Herrera: No Stats
Jeremy Jeffress: No Stats
Aaron Laffey: 2-3, 46 IP, 5.28 ERA, 5.09 K/9, 4.30 BB/9, 0.59 HR/9
Nathan Adcock: No Stats
I am disappointed that Danny Duffy's and Aaron Crow's lines haven't been posted yet. But one thing that I do find amusing is how strong Felipe Paulino's line is comparison with his era. Obviously Bill James expects hard luck Pauly (I kind of like that nickname) to continue his "if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all" routine in 2012.
The other couple of things that would thrill if they actually occurred are Teaford and Sanchez both posting sub 4 era's. I'd like to go ahead and declare myself a member of the Everett Teaford bandwagon should the Royals not acquire another starter this offseason. I believe that Teaford would be the best option in the bullpen to move to starter and I could see him being a solid piece in the rotation.
As far as the bullpen goes, it is nice to see James projecting Joakim Soria's HR/9 and ERA rates dipping back to his career norms. Hopefully this viewpoint is similar to the one possessed by the Red Sox front office and the Royals can deal Soria for a starter. (Fingers crossed, Clay Bucholz/not happening).
Outside of Crow, who we don't have projections for you also have to like the three headed hydra of Collins, Coleman, and Holland. If these three pitchers perform as James projects in addition to Crow getting back to first half form and Soria getting back to being the Soria of old, the Royals bullpen will be dominate in 2012.
Obviously these are just projections, and Bill James has a knack for being just a bit optimistic especially for hitters. But it is never too early to start daydreaming of next season and I at least was able to do that with this exercise. Here's hoping that every Royal can go above and beyond James's projections for 2012.