Saturday, February 02, 2008

You Say PECOTA, I Say PECATA

Baseball Prospectus released their PECOTA projections the other day. Although, yes, they fall under the category of "BS Projections", they are an interesting look, and give you a perspective on our players and their potential.

Essentially, PECOTA compares a player to every other player in baseball history and projects stats and performance based upon the subset of similar players. It factors in height/weight, performance, experience, age, ballpark, era of play and run environment and about a bazillion other things to find those comparable players. More background here, if you're bored.

Just a few notes from some of our favorites...

* Ryan Zimmerman checks in as the player with the most projected value, nearly 7 wins better than a AAA schlub. This is the (hope you're sitting down for this) 8th highest total in baseball; in other words, they're projecting him to be an MVP candidate, although 1-2 of those "wins" is because of his glove. His "upside" which is basically the measure of the chance of him going all bonkers and hitting a bazillion homers is the 6th highest in all of baseball.

* By the numbers, the Nick Johnson/Dmitri Young battle isn't much of a choice. They give NJ a 40-pt advantage on OBP and a 10-pt advantage in slugging. Throw in a 10-run advantage with the glove, and NJ's projected to be about 3 runs better over the course of a season. NJ's "upside" rating is the second highest on the team. DY's, likely because of his age and shape and near-career year last season, has one of the lowest among likely regulars.

* Church for Milledge is a wash. They're within points of each other on projected OBP and Slugging, and (as logically follows) their win values for the coming year. They give him a 48% chance of having a "breakout" season, basically his chance of wildly exceeding these expectations. His top two comparable players are Rondell White and Dwight Evans, both of which should make Nats fans happy.

* They project Paul Lo Duca to be Brian Schneider with 20 points of slugging. They project Jesus Flores to be Paul Lo Duca with 75 points of slugging. They project Johnny Estrada to be Paul Lo Duca minus 30 points of on-base. PLoD and Estrada have a 42-44% (respective) chances of "collapsing", which is just what it sounds like. PLoD's top comp is Joe Girardi, which fits. Apparently PECOTA takes into account each player's ability to take away seasons from a would-be Hall-of-Fame player.

* It has a healthy dose of realism with Justin Maxwell. How does a .238 average of a .305 OBP sound?

* The system expects a big rebound from Felipe Lopez. Even with the lousy defense, it believes he'll be one of the team's better players, roughly 2-3 wins better than an average player.

* 16 homers in 282 ABs from Wily Mo means 32 in 564, right? Doubling his stats across the board, makes him the team's second most valuable player. His top comps include Pete Incaviglia (not as bad as that sounds at first blush) and Andres Galarraga.

* It believes (as most reasonable people do) that Guzman's season last year was a fluke, giving him very little chance to improve much over his career numbers.

* If you plopped Chris Marrero in the majors, he'd slug .368.

* It LOVES LOVES LOVES Elijah Dukes (well, about as much as Milledge, I guess). His two top comps are Austin Kearns and Dwight Evans.

  • Pitching? OY!

    * Shawn Hill's the "Ace" with a 4.03 ERA. The next three most "valuable" pitchers are relievers, before you get to Bergmannnn and his 4.71. Then a few more relievers and John Patterson. Reliever, Redding, Chico, Buncha relievers, Hanrahan. On and on.

    * It projects Livan Hernandez to have about the same ERA as Matt Chico, but to give more innings. By projected (neutral park) ERA, Jeff Weaver (sub-5) would be our #2 pitcher. Kyle Lohse would sandwich between Bergmann and Patterson in the 3-spot. Kris Benson, #2. It hasn't seen the recent scouting reports on Bartolo Colon and loves him (4.6ish ERA). BH Kim, a #2. Stevie Trashcan's declining stuff translates to something around 6. Stay Away.

    These guys might be scrubs, but they're better than some of the scrubs we've got!

    * It thinks that Garret Mock is far too hittable, which was a common scout complaint about his performance in the minors. It really doesn't like many of our other pitchers, even John Lanna, likely because of their less-than impressive peripherals (K, BB, etc).

    * Have no fear. Texas is projected to have a worse "best" pitcher by VORP (value over replacement pitcher).

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