Here are our guesses about Jack Wilson's performance, and what actually happened.
Ding ding ding ding ding! We were a little bit closer than ZiPS, but really, both ZiPS and the community nailed this one. WTM guessed that Jack would hit .270/.315/.370 - it doesn't get much closer than that. Actually, that may turn out to be the closest projection all year. Chucksbucs, Bolton and C.P. from N.J. all got extremely close, and so did several others.
I guess this could be some sort of groupthink on our part, but I prefer to believe that what this tells us is that Wilson is very much a known commodity as a hitter. His .686 OPS this year, extremely close to what the community and ZiPS both predicted, is well below average for a shortstop - only five teams had OPSes at shortstop lower than that, and the team OPSes include backups, injury fill-ins, and so on. Among qualifying shortstops, Wilson ranked 17th out of 21 in OPS. About the only bright side to Wilson's season was that he brought his on-base percentage up a little, and because of that and the fact that he missed 20 games, he didn't finish in the top ten in the NL in outs for the first time since 2003.
Wilson just can't hit. We thought he couldn't hit going into the season, and then he went out and proved it. There may have been some uncertainty about it in late 2005 - because his 2004 season was still pretty close in the rearview, and because we thought some of his struggles in 2005 were related to a pretty miserable appendectomy - but now there can be little doubt.
Now consider that his defense took a dive this year, and that we're paying him $20 million for the next three years. It scares me. A lot.
This was not a good season from Wilson, and we may not have seen the worst of him yet. BB-Ref's new comparables list for Wilson now contains Dave Concepcion and B.J. Surhoff, who hit better when they got older, so Wilson may age gracefully. But with Rafael Ramriez, Royce Clayton and Rick Burleson as the top three and with the strain that middle infield defense puts on players' bodies, the odds are against Wilson. (Scarily, BB-ref also sees a lot of similarities between Wilson and Cristian Guzman, who in 2004 got a $16 million contract from the Nationals that now isn't looking too great, to put it mildly.) If Wilson still has any cache left over from his 2004 All-Star year, now would be a great time to trade him.
I think I'll do Jason Bay tomorrow, just to break up all this gloom and doom.