Number crunchers predict "second-year" slumps by breakout players John Mayberry Jr., Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes and Vance Worley. We start by measuring the expectations for Mayberry and Bastardo in Part 1, and attempt to put these projections in the proper context.
Most of the credible advanced projections have now been published, including Baseball Prospectus' terrific annual and Bill James' Baseball Information Solutions kit, numbers freely accessible through FanGraphs' player profile pages. It's no surprise these data houses haven't gone "all-in" on the Phillies' sophomores. When you think about it, they basically all had career years, posting better numbers over a full season in the Majors than they did at any point in the minors. It doesn't compute.
Individually, Mayberry, whose .513 slugging percentage was significantly better than his career average, calculates as the "tweener" he's mostly been throughout his career. James, who is attacking this purely on past data, sees only 159 plate appearances in Mayberry's 2012 future, which everyone knows is too low given the situation in left field and first base, in addition to a .257/.313/.439 diminished slash line. Prospectus' PECOTA system is even less optimistic (.249/.310/.451), but challenge the numbers in their synopsis by saying "it would be a mistake to write off the very real improvements … he tweaked his batting stance, and the results should stick."
Bastardo might be the toughest read of the four. He appeared in far more games than at any point in career and fell off a cliff in September (11.05 ERA, 2.18 WHIP, .310 BAA). Charlie Manuel blamed a shaken psyche, others might simply point toward fatigue and the rising workload of a young player. PECOTA sees a regression and numbers along the lines of a B-list bullpen lefty. James has him pegged for a still-solid 9.96 K/9 and a reduced walk rate of 3.86 K/BB, numbers good enough to stay in the back-end of the Phillies' bullpen.
Honestly, nobody knows what to expect, which is precisely why the Phillies signed veteran safety net Chad Qualls, and it's why Laynce Nix, Juan Pierre and host of others will jockey with Mayberry in camp.
Stutes and Worley are on deck for part 2.