2021 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 (minor league numbers on bottom).

The 2020 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 2020 season (majors only) separated from the rest 1) to highlight it and 2) to more easily come back to it for comparison purposes.


2020

40 PA - .111/.200/.250/.450

2 doubles, 0 triples, 1 homer

5 runs, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 0 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)

385 PA - .255/.337/.453/.791

17 doubles, 3 triples, 15 homers

54 runs, 56 RBI, 13 SB, 7 CS


Lane Thomas definitely has this type of potential in him. However, this would essentially be Thomas being better than he was throughout his time in the minors. His last two seasons (one full, one partial) there were both .812 OPS seasons, so this would be right on par with the best of his time in the minors - now that did happen at the highest level of the minors, so I see no reason why this couldn't be an outcome.


One other non-Lane Thomas specific note here: Why in the world do the Cardinals have all this speed and all this good baserunning ability without the ability to steal bases both quite often and at a huge success rate? If Thomas is getting 13 steals, he needs to get caught 3-4 times or less, not 7.

THE BAD

(worst case)

318 PA - .209/.281/.371/.652

12 doubles, 2 triples, 10 homers

37 runs, 38 RBI, 9 SB, 6 CS


Again with the stolen base rate! Ugh. Also, this seems to be the way it's gone for Cardinals outfielders hasn't it? As they gain more opportunities they fail more lately?


THE CERUTTI

(my system projection)

350 PA - .232/.310/.412/.722

14 doubles, 3 triples, 12 homers

45 runs, 46 RBI, 11 SB, 7 CS

I really don't know what to expect from Lane Thomas. Honestly, I think it's going to be his year to be Tyler O'Neill of 2018-2019 and get 150ish plate appearances if he's lucky because Shildt doesn't like to play match ups or platoons. It'll be sporadic, so Thomas will either be THE BAD or he'll hit for an .850 OPS and everyone will clamor for him until he gets hurt again and can't play "right when he was about to be given a shot" no?


Link back to all of my projections.