Monday, November 19, 2007

2008 Pitcher Projections

Pitcher Projections

I'm not very happy with them, but here it goes anyway. I've projected just about everyone who faced at least 100 batters in a full season league last year, with at least one Japanese player, and a few guys who were hurt last year.

They were reasonably accurate last year, by accurate meaning maybe 1/10th of a percent more accurate than other projections or so (see my October archives for comparisons to other systems). I'm projecting a lot more this year, last year I just did major leaguers and top prospects. Under the theory that it takes me as much time to select "top prospects" than to just do everyone, I projected everyone.

That's where the problem comes in. I don't think numerical estimations are the best way to evaluate minor league pitchers, even if they are complete, holistic, and objective. The conversion factors are just brutal, especially for the low minors. There are a lot of pitchers with so-so stuff that can get people out in the minors, but get killed in the majors. Even after regressing the samples for convertion factors to the mean, there are very few pitchers who put up pretty MLE's. Perhaps that is correct (If they're so good, they should be in the majors, not putting up MLE's in the first place). But I think you're far better off buying a copy of Baseball America's prospect handbook than taking these numbers too seriously for minor leaguers.

For major leaguers, I'm much more confidant, as confidant as you can be in projecting such a fluky, oft-injured creature like an MLB pitcher. Their batted ball stats (grounder, fly, pop, and liner) feature prominently in the projection, for minors they do not - I could look up one pitcher on minorleaguesplits.com, but I'm not looking up 1800 of them.

So what's the value of the minor league projections? If you are into detailed sims that include the minors then this should be a treasure mine for you. It can give you a rough idea of how your team's organizational depth stacks up. It might even be a reasonable estimation of how the pitcher will perform now, but I don't think the system has any clue how a pitcher will develop. If Nick Adenhart's projection is for a high 5's ERA, don't take it to say he can't pitch. Just that he's probably not ready yet, after a mediocre K/W rate in a pitcher's park in AA ball. If Red Sox fans think Clay Buchholtz is going to do better than a 4.46 ERA, they are probably right. Its just the limitations of the system.

24 Comments:

At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of the minor league projections look overly optimistic. For instance, how on earth does Josh Wilkie get such a good line?

 
At 7:07 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

I don't even know who he is, but the projected ERA is over 5, in an extreme pitchers park in the NL as a reliever.

That's well below replacement level.

 
At 10:38 AM, Anonymous HarryAbles said...

I had everyone sorted by SO/BFP, and I saw Francisco Rodriguez of LAA near the bottom. Figured it was a data error - nope, there's just two of them.

Great work!

 
At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a quick note...
while playing with your '08 projections, I saw that Josh Hancock is still included. Not that it's a huge deal, but you might want to drop him.

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

Yeah, I'll do that when I update. I don't have any idea how Hancock will pitch in that field in Iowa. (Where if you build it, they will come.)

 
At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AROM,

Can you post these in CSV or something? I'm using Open Office and can't get it into the spreadsheet. Thanks,

Darren

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger SG said...

Projecting pitchers stinks. I've been messing around with my own projections, seems like we agree on Kennedy and Hughes, but CHONE likes Chamberlain a lot more than CAIRO does. Great stuff anyway.

 
At 4:22 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

I saw the Cairo system - good stuff.

 
At 4:23 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

Darren, its in CSV. Sorry but I don't know much about open office. If you save it to disk and open with excel you should be fine.

 
At 9:23 AM, Anonymous boness said...

Minor issue - there are two projections for Dan Kolb

 
At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Chone said...

Yeah. There are two Dan Kolb's.

Also two Jose Reyes', two Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod and contact-Rod, BIP-Rod?)

Two Drew Andersons, there's a lessor Carlos Lee...All this stuff is the hardest part of projections - matching up the correct stat line to the player ID.

 
At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting to compare projection systems. It seems that CHONE weights the most recent season more heavily than say ZiPS. Also interesting is that ERA seems to have more variation between systems than other stats.

 
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