Kalish scores big in James' forecast

November, 4, 2010
11/04/10
11:54
AM ET
I guess we should throw in the disclaimer that this is not intended to be an exact science. If so, Bill James would not have predicted 13 home runs for Jose Bautista, instead of the 54 he hit. (As James archly notes, no one else saw that coming for Bautista, either).

But James has a pretty good track record when it comes to predicting the performance of newcomers, asserting that if you extrapolate properly, you can predict bog-league performance based on minor-league numbers. He nailed Braves’ heralded rookie Jason Heyward, for example, as well as Rays’ infielder Reid Brignac.

So Sox fans should be enthused to hear that James sees Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish as a ready-for-prime-time player in 2011, according to the 2011 Bill James Handbook. Here’s his projection for Kalish, based on the assumption that he’ll get regular playing time: .271 average, .340 on-base percentage, 20 home runs, 82 RBIs, .452 slugging percentage, .791 .OPS.

The Kalish projections compare favorably to Carl Crawford, who with Jayson Werth are the top free-agent outfielders on the market: .300, .350, 14 home runs, 42 stolen bases, .453 slugging percentage, .803 .OPS.

Werth’s projected line: .275, .375, 28 home runs, 91 RBIs, .493 slugging percentage, .868 .OPS.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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