I've long admired the work Baseball Crank has done on EWSL - Established Win Shares Level. I think it's a great way to take a look at the upcoming year using Win Shares. The basic idea is to look at a players Win Shares from the past three years to determine their Established Level, and then project their performance for the next year based on their age.
He's been looking back at the last few years of data and working to update the model. Here's his three part series:
Part I: 2006 EWSL Wrapup By Team
Part II: EWSL Rookie Adjustments
Part II: Age and EWSL, 2004-06
The whole series is worth a read. For A's fans in particular, it's interesting to look at Part I. Huston Street, Antonio Perez and Rich Harden are listed as the "Worst" 2006 performers for the Athletics. They under-performed relative to their age-adjusted EWSL. Why? For Harden, it was clearly the injuries. For Huston Street, it was probably nagging injuries as well. As for Antonio Perez, I think EWSL simply over-estimated his value.
But regardless of those shortcomings, the A's ended up doing slightly better than the EWSL model predicted. Frank Thomas was undoubtedly a big part of that, but the A's played pretty well last year across the board. It's encouraging to think about what the A's might be able to do this year with a healthy Bobby Crosby and a healthy Rich Harden. There are certainly unanswered questions swirling around the A's (Piazza's production, for example), but as an A's fan, I can't help but be optimistic.