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2017 Bill James Handbook Projections

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Published in the Bill James Handbook on November 1st of every year, Bill James and Baseball Info Solutions create player projections for the following Major League Baseball season. Let’s look at the projected 2017 leaderboards for home runs and batting average.

For 2017, the projected leaders in home runs are as follows:

Player Projected Home Runs
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs 42
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles 39
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins 39
Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners 38
Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays 38
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins 38
Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies 36
Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics 36
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers 36
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels 36
Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles 36

Kris Bryant is projected to hit the most home runs (42) during the 2017 season, topping his 2016 total (39) by three. Chris Davis and Giancarlo Stanton are expected to finish tied for second in home runs with 39 in 2017. Davis’s placement is no surprise, as he finished first in home runs for all of Major League Baseball for two of the previous four seasons. Stanton is expected to bounce back with 39 home runs after two sub-30 home run, injury-shortened seasons in 2015 and 2016.

Mark Trumbo led baseball with 47 home runs in 2016, and he is projected to tie for seventh in home runs for the 2017 season with 36. Four of the top 10 2016 finishers fall short of the projection leaderboard: Brian Dozier (30 projected HR), Chris Carter and Todd Frazier (both with 33 projected), and Robinson Cano (28 projected).

The projected leaders in batting average for 2017 are as follows:

Player Projected Batting Average
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros .319
Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox .317
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers .316
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels .313
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs .310
T.J. Rivera, New York Mets .309
Raimel Tapia, Colorado Rockies .309
DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies .308
Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox .307
Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates .307
Hyun Soo Kim, Baltimore Orioles .307
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers .307

MVP candidates Kris Bryant and Mike Trout are the only two players to appear on the leaderboard for both home runs and batting average. It is no surprise that Jose Altuve is on top of the batting average leaderboard. He has finished in the top 10 for the past three seasons, finishing first in the American League in 2016 and first in all of Major League Baseball in 2014.

The 2016 batting champion, DJ LeMahieu, is eighth overall in the 2017 projections. Last season's silver medalist in batting average, Daniel Murphy, falls short of the projected top 10 with a .302 average, 45 points lower than his 2016 batting average of .347. Five of the players in the top 10 for 2016 batting average appear on our projections leaderboard.

For more information on how we do projections, and some insight into the new projection system we are developing, there is an actuarial webinar that I presented called “Thinking Outside the Strike Zone: Predictive Analytics and Baseball” that can be found at the link below. There is a charge for the webinar.


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