How Did I Do On My Projections In 2021?

The 2021 St. Louis Cardinals season has come to a close and that means that I get to check in on how my projections did on both the hitters side and the pitchers side of things for this season.

I’ll talk about hitters first. The order is simply starting with the players that received the most plate appearances and going through anyone that received at least 125 plate appearances - all the way down through Justin Williams. I did not project either Lars Nootbaar (124 PA) or Jose Rondon (90 PA). Any other position players not listed did not even get as many plate appearances as Adam Wainwright.

Tommy Edman

2021 Actual

691 plate appearances


91 runs, 56 RBI

41 doubles, 3 triples, 11 homers

30 SB, 5 CS

2021 Projection

600 plate appearances


87 runs, 58 RBI

25 doubles, 7 triples, 13 homers

22 SB, 5 CS

Really the only place that Tommy Edman exceeded my expectations was in hitting doubles and stolen bases. In everything else, he was below what I had expected him to be, in some places quite a bit. Overall a semi-disappointing year from him, to me. As a leadoff hitter, you just have to get on base more than a .308 clip. This is fine if you like his defense at 2nd base and you just allow him to hit 8th or 9th in a lineup that ended up as good as the Cardinals’ lineup ended.

As far as my projection goes, I give this a miss. I was too high on Edman.

Paul Goldschmidt

2021 Actual

679 plate appearances


102 runs, 99 RBI

36 doubles, 2 triples, 31 homers

12 SB, 0 CS

2021 Projection

650 plate appearances


91 runs, 83 RBI

30 doubles, 2 triples, 29 homers

5 SB, 2 CS

Goldschmidt lived up to the hype and more this year. He showed that he could accomplish at Busch Stadium what he needed to in order to truly be that middle of the order bat that absolutely excels at any ball park. He’s living up to the contract. Let’s hope this continues another couple of seasons at least!

As far as my projection goes, I’ll call this a direct hit!

Nolan Arenado

2021 Actual

653 plate appearances


81 runs, 105 RBI

34 doubles, 3 triples, 34 homers

2 SB, 0 CS

2021 Projection

650 plate appearances


94 runs, 106 RBI

33 doubles, 2 triples, 35 homers

2 SB, 2 CS

Arenado lived up to the hype as it pertains to his slugging potential. His ISO was nearly exactly what I projected it to be, despite the move from Coors to Busch. That amazes me. What I didn’t expect was his batting average to fall of by 40 points from what was expected and his OBP to fall off 51 points from what was expected. That’s huge. He went from an all around superstar at the plate to a slugger with a glove. That’s not BAD. That’s also not GOOD - compared to expectations!

As far as my projections go, I’ll call this one a very small failure on my part as he dropped in average and on base (and thus runs scored and slugging percentage) but was fine on extra bases and isolated power (and thus RBI).

Dylan Carlson

2021 Actual

619 plate appearances


79 runs, 65 RBI

31 doubles, 4 triples, 18 homers

2 SB, 1 CS

2021 Projection

600 plate appearances


79 runs, 66 RBI

27 doubles, 8 triples, 19 homers

13 SB, 7 CS

Dylan Carlson hit 34 points better and OBP’d 30 points better than what I expected. This directly led to a slugging percentage 29 points higher than I expected. He also ran a bit less than I expected. This was such a successful campaign for the rookie. It wasn’t looking great for the longest time, but it really came together for him in chunks.

As far as my projections go, I’m going to give myself a very small failure on my part on this one, with this being the opposite of Arenado’s. My projections didn’t give Carlson enough credit for his ability to find a way on - despite getting his Isolated Power and his PA, runs, RBI almost exactly correct.

Tyler O’Neill

2021 Actual

537 plate appearances


89 runs, 80 RBI

26 doubles, 2 triples, 34 homers

15 SB, 4 CS

2021 Projection

450 plate appearances


69 runs, 67 RBI

15 doubles, 1 triple, 26 homers

7 SB, 1 CS

Tyler O’Neill lived up to his nickname of TON this year. He was a TON for opposition pitchers to deal with and far exceeded anything I thought he was doing in 2021 after his 2019-20 campaigns. He’s basically been (this year) what we all hoped he would be in a full season when given a chance. He was finally given that chance.

As far as my projections go, this was a massive failure on my projections part, especially considering that even my “THE GOOD” projection (.264/.335/.520/.855)was well shy of these totals.

Yadier Molina

2021 Actual

473 plate appearances


45 runs, 66 RBI

19 doubles, 0 triples, 11 homers

3 SB, 0 CS

2021 Projection

475 plate appearances


46 runs, 61 RBI

19 doubles, 0 triples, 13 homers

4 SB, 1 CS

Yadi had a bit worse season at the plate than I thought, but not horrendously. He had trouble getting on base (via hit or walk) compared to what I thought but basically did what I thought from a power standpoint. He was better at driving in runs than I thought, however, due to hitting well situationally.

As far as my projections go, this was RIGHT ON.

Paul DeJong

2021 Actual

402 plate appearances


44 runs, 45 RBI

10 doubles, 1 triples, 19 homers

4 SB, 1 CS

2021 Projection

550 plate appearances


74 runs, 71 RBI

26 doubles, 1 triple, 21 homers

5 SB, 3 CS

So, what to say here? I feel like next year is the year my system finally sours on Paul DeJong. This was an abysmal season at the plate offensively for him. Yes, he was nearly a 20 homer guy in ⅔ of a season...but that’s all he was. He was relegated, rightfully, to a bench role - even in the playoffs. I’m not saying a bounce back can’t happen - look at TON’s 2020-21 jump.

As far as my projections go, this was a huge miss in the bad direction for DeJong.

Harrison Bader

2021 Actual

401 plate appearances


45 runs, 50 RBI

21 doubles, 1 triple, 16 homers

9 SB, 4 CS

2021 Projection

450 plate appearances


68 runs, 45 RBI

19 doubles, 3 triples, 15 homers

14 SB, 4 CS

So my projection for Bader is fairly close, but I got there in the wrong way. Bader really changed his hitting profile a bit this year. That threw me for a loop a bit. His isolated slugging was slightly higher than I thought it would be, but his 30 points higher batting average really is what jumped his slugging. He actually got on base less than I thought he would given his batting average, as he sacrificed seeing pitches and walking for hitting the pitches he could quite well. I like that transformation as it helped his average and his slugging. It didn’t completely discount his OBP either.

As far as my projection goes, I give it a fairly close - but for the wrong reasons.

Edmundo Sosa

2021 Actual

326 plate appearances


39 runs, 27 RBI

8 doubles, 4 triples, 6 homers

4 SB, 4 CS

2021 Projection

150 plate appearances


19 runs, 15 RBI

6 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers

1 SB, 1 CS

So my projection for Sosa was much like my projection for Bader. He was happier to swing away (or get hit by way too many pitches), giving him a slugging about what I thought but an AVG higher than I thought - in his case leading to a bit higher OBP with all those HBP. He also got over twice as many plate appearances as I projected - partly because he hit fairly well, partly because he showed out with the glove at short, and mostly because DeJong failed miserably at the plate.

As far as projections go, I’ll give myself a pass on this one as his hike in average came with the hike in playing time.

Matt Carpenter

2021 Actual

249 plate appearances


18 runs, 21 RBI

11 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers

2 SB, 0 CS

2021 Projection

250 plate appearances


34 runs, 28 RBI

12 doubles, 1 triple, 9 homers

2 SB, 0 CS