February is a pretty useless month, sports-wise. One of its few highlights is the annual release of PECOTA , Baseball Prospectus’s projection system. A lot of projection systems just tell you that a player’s future will look like his past, with some age adjustment and regression toward league average thrown in there. While PECOTA has plenty of that thrown in there, it also attempts forecast breakouts and collapses. The player comps are often a lot of fun too. It may not be any more accurate than the typical free projection system, but I think that it has a little more guts and ambition than some of them.
Because it’s behind a pay wall, I don’t want to list every projection for each Giant. Instead let’s just talk about a few of the interesting ones, and compare them with Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS (another favorite, and a free one at that). We’ll start with the players where PECOTA and ZiPS majorly disagree.
Both systems see Huff going backwards in 2011. But the ZiPS version is still a good player. PECOTA sees a batting average nosedive that turns him into Fred Lewis, first baseman.
This one isn’t really unexpected. ZiPS is out on a limb predicting Peguero to be ready to be a major league contributor right now. PECOTA, like most of us, has a single eyebrow raised.
Turning to the pitchers, here are the three that I don’t really quite know what to expect from.
Across the board, PECOTA is more pessimistic than ZiPS about these guys. PECOTA thinks that Sanchez is one of those low BABIP pitchers (which makes sense), just not as low as he was last year (which also makes sense). It likes Affeldt for an elite groundball rate, just not elite pitching. Meanwhile, Javier Lopez gave the Giants what may rank as the 20 or so best innings he’s ever thrown. Both systems are justifiably skeptical that he’ll keep that up.
I’ve saved the good news for last, though.
Add in a solid line from Buster Posey and the algorithms are pretty much saying that the Giants have a young, cost controlled middle of the order that should be making Dodger-fans sad and angry for years to come.
Other PECOTA tidbits:
- Highest Probability of Collapse, Position Player: Miguel Tejada
- Highest Probability of Collapse, Pitcher: Jonathan Sanchez
- Highest Probability of Breakout, Position Player: Darren Ford
- Highest Probability of Breakout, Pitcher: Brian Wilson (you’ve got me)
- Surprise Minor Leaguer Projected to be Good Already: Ryan Verdugo