2020 Projection Series - Lane Thomas


Please check out the Projections Primer, to see how I come about getting these projections.


Prior to getting started, I want to take a look at the last three years of Lane Thomas' career and his total career numbers, showing the statistics that I utilize in my projections.

Lane Thomas' MAJOR league stats

Lane Thomas' MINOR league stats

The 2019 season is our most recent sample size and professional sports are often reduced to a "what have you done for me lately" business. Here is his 2019 season (majors only) separated from the rest 1) to highlight it and 2) to more easily come back to it for comparison purposes.


2019

44 PA - .316/.409/.684/1.093

0 doubles, 1 triples, 4 homers

6 runs, 12 RBI, 1 SB, 1 CS


This year, I plan to incorporate a couple of (I hope) interesting items to go along with the mean (average) projection. I am going to be adding in "THE GOOD" (an everything goes right)" projection and "THE BAD” (an everything went wrong)" projection prior to giving THE CERUTTI (my actual projection). THE GOOD is basically if a player is 10% better in a few of the listed categories while THE BAD is basically if a player is 10% worse in a few of the listed categories - based on THE CERUTTI projection, which is my 50th percentile-type projection that gets made every year by other projection services like STEAMER or ZiPS.

THE GOOD

(best case)

413 PA - .261/.340/.452/.791

17 doubles, 4 triples, 15 homers

57 runs, 60 RBI, 15 SB, 9 CS


Thomas’ numbers this year dwarfed these, yet I would be pleasantly surprised with these numbers here from Thomas in 2020. I’d want him to play more than that if he put up these!


THE BAD

(worst case)

341 PA - .213/.283/.338/.621

9 doubles, 2 triples, 8 homers

38 runs, 41 RBI, 10 SB, 7 CS


I do not think that Thomas is the player he was in 2017 - which is about what this would translate to at the major league level. You can see by looking at his lower minors stats that this is a very real possibility, however unlikely.


THE CERUTTI

(my system projection)

375 PA - .237/.312/.411/.723

14 doubles, 4 triples, 12 homers

47 runs, 50 RBI, 12 SB, 9 CS

Lane Thomas had a heck of a 44 plate appearances in the majors last year. How he wasn’t used more has to be a reason to have voted against the Manager of the Year, Mike Shildt. Thankfully, Shildt did enough to earn those honors anyway. Lane Thomas hit .316/.409/.684/1.093 with a triple and 4 homers in just 44 PA. Lane Thomas has also had matching .812 OPSes in the last two seasons in the minors. In 2019, that was completely at AAA. In 2018, over ⅔ of his plate appearances were at the AA level with the rest coming at AAA.


In his last 1,001 plate appearances over AA, AAA, and the majors, Thomas has combined for 41 doubles, 9 triples, and 42 homers. That said, Thomas has another 1,200 PA in the minors that suggest he may not quite be the player he has been lately. In fact, in 2017, playing only High A ball, Thomas only had a .693 OPS in just over half a season. It was over halfway through that season in which he was traded to the Cardinals from the Blue Jays for international draft bonus money. It is due to those other seasons of well below average hitting that lead my projections to this strange and dismal place.


It is potentially fair to say that my system "hasn't caught up" to Thomas' new-found game yet.


Link back to all of my projections.