Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand
Sunday, November 04, 2012
Nate Silver, Cosh, Tango, PECOTA, Marcel the Monkey!...It’s almost like the golden days of Primer! Backlasher, RossCW come on down!
The whole world is suddenly talking about election pundit Nate Silver, and as a longtime heckler of Silver I find myself at a bit of a loss. These days, Silver is saying all the right things about statistical methodology and epistemological humility; he has written what looks like a very solid popular book about statistical forecasting; he has copped to being somewhat uncomfortable with his status as an all-seeing political guru, which tends to defuse efforts to make a nickname like “Mr. Overrated” stick; and he has, by challenging a blowhard to a cash bet, also damaged one of my major criticisms of his probabilistic presidential-election forecasts. That last move even earned Silver some prissy, ill-founded criticism from the public editor of the New York Times, which could hardly be better calculated to make me appreciate the man more.
...For most players in most years, Silver’s PECOTA worked pretty well. But the world of baseball research, like the world of political psephology, does have its cranky internet termites. They pointed out that PECOTA seemed to blunder when presented with unique players who lack historical comparators, particularly singles-hitting Japanese weirdo Ichiro Suzuki. More importantly, PECOTA produced reasonable predictions, but they were only marginally better than those generated by extremely simple models anyone could build. The baseball analyst known as “Tom Tango” (a mystery man I once profiled for Maclean’s, if you can call it a profile) created a baseline for projection systems that he named the “Marcels” after the monkey on the TV show Friends—the idea being that you must beat the Marcels, year-in and year-out, to prove you actually know more than a monkey. PECOTA didn’t offer much of an upgrade on the Marcels—sometimes none at all.
PECOTA came under added scrutiny in 2009, when it offered an outrageously high forecast—one that was derided immediately, even as people waited in fear and curiosity to see if it would pan out—for Baltimore Orioles rookie catcher Matt Wieters. Wieters did have a decent first year, but he has not, as PECOTA implied he would, rolled over the American League like the Kwantung Army sweeping Manchuria. By the time of the Wieters Affair, Silver had departed Baseball Prospectus for psephological godhood, ultimately leaving his proprietary model behind in the hands of a friendly skeptic, Colin Wyers, who was hired by BPro. In a series of 2010 posts by Wyers and others called “Reintroducing PECOTA”—though it could reasonably have been entitled “Why We Have To Bulldoze This Pigsty And Rebuild It From Scratch”—one can read between the lines.
for his generous support.
You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.
: Ned Yost Is The Worst Manager, Except For All The Other Managers
(7 - 9:26am, Sep 16)
: OT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(2522 - 9:25am, Sep 16)Last:
Rickey!'s people were colonized by wankersNewsblog
: Papelbon blows lead, gets ejected for crotch-grabbing at fans
(64 - 9:22am, Sep 16)
: A’s lose Triple-A Sacramento affiliate
(21 - 9:19am, Sep 16)
Last: JE (Jason)Newsblog
: Bowman: A year’s worth of struggles leads reason to wonder what changes are in store for the Braves
(23 - 9:16am, Sep 16)
: Heyman: Mariners have decided not to retain the ice-cream buying scout
(6 - 9:11am, Sep 16)
Last: The PequodNewsblog
: Steven Matz, other top minor league Mets to be honored at Citi Field on Monday
(8 - 9:06am, Sep 16)
: Sports Bog: Fans Switch From Skins to Nats
(64 - 8:50am, Sep 16)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)Newsblog
: Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-16-2014
(4 - 8:43am, Sep 16)
: Calcaterra: Derek Jeter got a bucket of crabs and a captain’s hat from the Orioles
(13 - 8:30am, Sep 16)
: Fraley: Millions in lost revenue from ticket sales will impact Rangers payroll | Dallas Morning News
(61 - 8:25am, Sep 16)
: Dave Kreiger: New Baseball Hall of Fame voting rules
(36 - 3:16am, Sep 16)
: OT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(813 - 12:15am, Sep 16)Last:
Win Big Stein's MoneyNewsblog
: OMNICHATTER 9-15-2014
(78 - 11:46pm, Sep 15)
: OT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(219 - 10:43pm, Sep 15)Last: