James predicts big numbers for Big Papi

November, 4, 2010
11/04/10
11:07
AM ET
Bill James, the legendary statistical analyst and Red Sox consultant (did you see his cameo on “The Simpsons,” where he says, “I made baseball as much fun as doing your taxes?’’), pretty much hit the mark with David Ortiz last November when he predicted Big Papi’s performance in the 2010 Bill James Handbook. Ortiz hit .270 with 32 home runs, 102 RBIs and a .529 slugging percentage; James had projected .264, 29, 99 and a .519 slugging percentage.

So with the Sox deciding Thursday to exercise the $12.5 million option on Ortiz’s contract for 2011, what is James projecting for Ortiz next season?

Well, the 2011 handbook is fresh off the presses, and here’s the Ortiz forecast:

.261, 33 HR, 91 RBIs, .366 .OBP, .509 .SGP, .875 .OPS.

James projects a higher .OPS for just one Sox player, Kevin Youkilis (.906). That includes free agents Adrian Beltre (.812) and Victor Martinez (.841). Assuming James doesn’t give an entirely different set of numbers to the ballclub than he releases for public consumption, that would seem to offer a compelling argument for the Sox to keep Ortiz.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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