Next up in our community WAR project is set-up ace Joe Smith. Remember, put your best guess at his year-end WAR total in the subject line.
2016 Composite Projections
Smith had another fine year in the Angels' pen, reliably holding leads and putting out fires. While his raw stats were slightly worse than those of closer Huston Street, his superb ground-ball ratio gives him an edge in WAR with the FIP-pimps over at Fangraphs. That ground-ball rate might explain his BAbip jump to .321, well above his career average of .273 and the highest total since his rookie season in 2007.
So his 3.58 ERA last season should simply be dismissed as poor luck, right? Unfortunately, not entirely. His first season with the Angels was nothing short of excellent, posting a 1.81 ERA and 0.804 WHIP across a career-best 74.2 innings. He also allowed only 1.8 walks per nine innings, well below his typical rate. 2015 saw him return to his career norms, which were good enough for him to land his three-year deal in the first place but not enough to look at him as the potential closer we thought we had prior to the Huston Street acquisition.
We can expect his peripherals to remain solid. Will the presence of Andrelton Simmons help turn some of those ground balls that leaked through last year into outs? Over his nine big league seasons his WAR totals have ranged anywhere from 2.5 to -0.2. Where do you think he ends up this year? Put your best guess in the subject line!