Here are our preseason projections for Ryan Doumit, along with the actual results:
Among individual users, everyone predicted Doumit would hit between .260 and .280, so no one got that close to what actually happened.
ZiPS was slightly closer in terms of Doumit's overall OPS, but the community did a better job capturing Doumit's power and generally okay plate discipline. The real difference between both the community and ZiPS projections and what actually happened has to do with Doumit's batting average, which was much lower than either anticipated. More playing time would have wiped out much of that difference.
Speaking of which, there were several community projections in which people expressed doubt that certain players would play much or at all. Given Doumit's injury history and the fact that it wasn't even certain the Pirates wouldn't play Humberto Cota instead, it's surprising this wasn't one of them. Doumit missed much of the year with hamstring problems. When he finally got healthy, Ronny Paulino had taken his job behind the plate, and Doumit had to settle for scraps of playing time, mostly at first base.
Paulino's hold on the job was strengthened by the perception that he's better than Doumit or Cota at working with pitchers. No such ability exists, however, and Paulino's defense is not strong. The Pirates are still probably right to consider Paulino their starting catcher in the future, but only because Doumit just can't stay healthy.
Paulino had a fine season in 2006, but, even more than Freddy Sanchez, too much of his value came from his batting average. Paulino hits for almost no power right now and he doesn't draw many walks. While he'll probably continue to hit for a high average, he probably won't hit .310 next year. Also, Paulino is a very big, slow player in addition to being a catcher, so he may peak earlier than most players do. I have doubts about Paulino being a long-term solution, so I think I'd keep Neil Walker at catcher as long as I possibly could and hope he can become the Bucs' starter there.
In any case, though, we should be thankful that Paulino stepped in and saved us from 450 at bats of Cota this year. Given that Doumit wasn't healthy, 2006 could have been a much worse year for Pirates catchers.