The Red Sox's new multi-million dollar position players in 2015, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, were unequivocally awful last year. This is known, and there's no reason to spend more time on it. Given their poor performances but recent history of good performances, the rebound narrative surrounds the two players.
Here are the projections for each player (Steamer, ZiPS, Marcel):
There is a fair amount of disagreement on Hanley's OBP and SLG, and Steamer sees Sandoval performing better than the other two. However, the results all kind of come out the same - Ramirez is expected to be 15 to 20 percent above average, while Sandoval might hover around average. Both would be about 25 percent improvements.
In a post for Royals Review, I decided to examine Omar Infante in the same way as I'm examining Ramirez and Sandoval here. All three players performed poorly overall in 2015 and are expected to bounce back. In order to gauge what a rebound season for Infante might look like, I flipped the normal weighting projections give seasonal performance. Instead of giving the most recent seasons higher weight, I gave seasons further back in time higher weight.
In the case of Infante, this meant I weighted his 2013 season the highest and his 2015 season the lowest. The goal of this exercise was to determine what a rebound season would look like given an expectation that performance prior to 2015 was more representative of true talent.
You can find the methods in that article at Royals Review, but I'll summarize them here. I used the step-by-step instructions here to calculate an approximation of a "reverse" Marcel projection given the 5/4/3 weighting to 2013/2014/2015, respectively.
In order to determine what a rebound season from Ramirez and Sandoval might look like, I applied the same methods. The results are below:
.277 / .339 / .460
.264 / .321 / .402
You can certainly argue with the methods. Please do. This is not meant to be an exact science; it is meant to give a close approximation of a rebound in which better seasons are given more weight.
Comparing those numbers with the actual projections, something interesting appears. Steamer's projections see better performance all around from both players. ZiPS sees a much higher OBP for Ramirez but lower SLG. ZiPS sees a little bit lower OBP for Sandoval but otherwise is not much different. Finally, the Marcels for Ramirez and Sandoval see a slightly lower OBP.
Sometimes averaging projections together gives a better estimate of performance. Here are the averages for the three projections for each player:
.278 / .346 / .462
.269 / .320 / .415
The real projections averaged together predict better performance for each player than a rudimentary calculation purposely rigged to produce a more favorable outcome. With Infante, I saw a much better improvement with the rigged projection compared to the Steamer, ZiPS, and Marcel projections.
The projection systems really do not buy into the awful performances of Sandoval and Ramirez in 2015.