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Saturday, February 16, 2008

PECOTA projected standings (BPro)

We’ve kept this a little under the radar, but the first version of the PECOTA projected standings are fired up and ready to go.

For the most part, these numbers conform pretty well to conventional wisdom. In the American League, you have five teams fighting for the four playoff slots, and it looks like the Tigers and Indians — whom we have dead-even at 89-73 — will fight the most compelling battle, as both the Red Sox and Yankees are just a hair ahead of them. And there’s really not anyone who’s all that close to breaking into that hegemony, although the Devil Rays — who we’re showing one game over .500 — could make things interesting if their young pitching pulls together. PECOTA’s also not buying the Mariners as contenders; we simply don’t think they’re going to score enough runs. And yes, that does reflect the Erik Bedard trade, even though he’s still listed with the Orioles on the depth charts until we put together our next run of the PECOTAs over the weekend.

As last year, the National League looks to be the more competitive one, with seven teams bunched together between 82 and 89 wins. PECOTA also seems to recognize that there’s been some net swing of talent toward the NL for the first time in ages — we still have the AL netting out a few more wins in interleague play, but nothing like the big discrepancies we saw in 2006 and 2007. Part of the reason why, actually, might be that you have more teams in the AL than in the NL that seem ready to cut their losses and punt on the season. The A’s, Orioles and Twins have all done this more or less explicitly. And the Mets really might be the best team in baseball, regardless of what league they happen to play in.

As to the Mets comment, PECOTA has the Mets tied with the Yankees for the best record in baseball (96-66) but has the Mets with the fewest runs allowed.  It seems that PECOTA also sees the Yankees overtaking the Sox on the strength of improved pitching.

TheUFactor Posted: February 16, 2008 at 06:12 AM | 93 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: projections

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   1. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: February 16, 2008 at 08:14 AM (#2692416)
That's not surprising, if the season had been a week longer, the Yankees might have won the AL East last year.
   2. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 16, 2008 at 08:49 AM (#2692417)
If the Yankees had gotten out of Cleveland, they were very likely to have beaten Boston in the ALCS. Thanks to the animal kingdom and Chien-Ming's crap-out, we'll never know.
   3. TakeandRake Posted: February 16, 2008 at 08:57 AM (#2692418)
Hmmmm, that AL West sure does look tough.
   4. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: February 16, 2008 at 09:32 AM (#2692420)
That's not surprising, if the season had been a week longer, the Yankees might have won the AL East last year.


If the Yankees hadn't sucked for about 3 months, they would have won the AL East last year. Hey, this is fun! Let's construct all kinds of what-if scenarios!

If the Yankees played in my local rec softball league, they would be world champions!
   5. villageidiom Posted: February 16, 2008 at 12:44 PM (#2692436)
So let's see. The Indians kick the crap out of the Yankees. Then the Red Sox kick the crap out of the Indians.

To be fair, it's really hard to describe the winner in a 7-game series as having kicked the crap out of their opponent. They absolutely rocked in the games they won (avg. margin of victory: 8 runs), but they hardly dominated the series.

In both of their series, the Indians went up 3 games to 1; fortunately for Boston their series with Cleveland was longer.

Your point remains, however: the Yankees being "very likely" to beat Boston in a best-of-7 is dubious, given their #1 starter couldn't advance them past a best-of-5. I think GB's point is that, had Wang been pitching like he had otherwise in 2007, they would've been hard to beat. I still think that's overreaching, but at least it's closer to plausible.
   6. KronicFatigue Posted: February 16, 2008 at 01:52 PM (#2692441)
--If the Yankees hadn't sucked for about 3 months, they would have won the AL East last year. Hey, this is fun! Let's construct all kinds of what-if scenarios!--

Except the "Yankees" literally looked much differently than the "Yankees" of the 2nd half. Lots of addition by subtraction, the kids, etc.
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 16, 2008 at 02:07 PM (#2692445)
This thread is awesome.

-Last year we lost, but only because of (a) the rules of baseball or (b) the actual events that happened in the baseball season. And seriously, who counts those?

-If either (a) or (b) had not been the case, I can project victory within the parallel universe that exists in my brain.

And used in support of belief in a pre-season projection! I thought my sweetest moment internet Sox fandom was when I was told this offseason that in five years, oh, I'll be sorry then. But this thread comes close.
   8. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 02:40 PM (#2692456)
I'm kind of surprised that they project the Twins to have the 2nd worst offense in baseball. Adam Everett and whomever they run out there in CF seem like pretty large negatives to overcome but with Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Delmon, Lamb, Harris and Kubel/Monroe all figuring to be average or above average they should have at least an average offense I thought.
   9. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 16, 2008 at 02:49 PM (#2692459)
Except the "Yankees" literally looked much differently than the "Yankees" of the 2nd half. Lots of addition by subtraction, the kids, etc.

Interesting point.

(looks it up).

Doesn't bear out, though.

Last year, the Yanks actually had a worse ERA in the second half than in the first half. Their rise came on the strength of their bats last year. Eight men played in at least 65 games in the first half for them in 2007 (no one else appeared in more than 42 games in that portion of the season). Those same eight guys all played 59 or more games in the second half, and no one else on the team played in more than 39 games. Short version -- they did it with the same stinking players that caused the offensive resurrection. In case anyone's curious, here's the difference in first & second half OPSs (from biggest improvement to biggest decline):

Abreau +212
Cano +205
Posada +160
Damon +131
Matsui +74
Cabrera +4
A-Roa -17
Jeter -67

The only position that saw a shift in personal was first base. Doug M. had a 671 OPS in the first half, and Andy Phillips posted a 674 in the second half. No big difference there. The only other notable hitter, Giambi, went from 816 to 752.

Among their starting pitchers - they did (eventually) replace Igawa with Hughes, so that was a nice change. Then again, Igawa only had 9 starters & Hughes 11. Pettitte got better while Clemens, Mussina, and Wang all had worse second half ERAs. Joba Chamerlain came up huge in the second half obviously and Riveria pitched better, but the bullpen was a bigger problem for them in the second half, with Bruney and Rameriz averaging an ERA around 9.00 in about 40 games.
   10. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:01 PM (#2692465)
Wow. Sox fans are awful defensive about a team that won the World Series. You can enjoy it too, guys, you don't have to defend them from all comers.

Anyway, PECOTA or not, I'm picking Boston to win the AL East. I also see the Tigers running away with the Central, I'm increasingly underwhelmed with Cleveland. And look at that Seattle projection! Boy, Bedard was a great trade.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:12 PM (#2692470)
Wow. Sox fans are awful defensive about a team that won the World Series. You can enjoy it too, guys, you don't have to defend them from all comers.
I am enjoying it!

I love watching Yankee fans make ludicrous arguments, waving away the actual events of the season, claiming in essence that they were only stopped by luck- it's tremendous entertainment.
   12. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:13 PM (#2692471)
Ooops, I mean 4th worst offense for the Twins. I didnt even see the Mariners and Giants scoring less than 700 runs.
   13. Valentine Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:16 PM (#2692473)
Why are we debating last year? The Red Sox won the division. The Red Sox won the World Series. The Yankees gambled on Wang, on short rest, and they lost. Them's the breaks.

Looking at the projections for 2008, I have to agree with PECOTA. If Joba Chamberlain is better than Beckett and all six of the Yankees starters (including Mussina) are better than both Lester and Wakefield, then the Yankees will be hard to beat. I happen to think those projections are a little optimistic, but for now will let Yankees fans bask in the glory of their 2008 World Championship Title.
   14. SG Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:17 PM (#2692476)
ZiPS seems to like the Yankees too. I think any Yankee projections have huge error bars this season because Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy's projections are based on just one year of data and we really don't know how good they will be.

The defense should be better with Damon as the primary LF and Melky in CF. Jeter stinks, but if he's healthy he should be projected to bounce back to the -10 area instead of the -25 he was last season, Cano figures to be a plus defender, and I'd figure Rodriguez will be around average.

The Yankee offense is still probably the best in the league, even with expected regression by Posada and Rodriguez. Cano and Melky figure to be a little better, Abreu and Damon may bounce back some, and they have bench depth that they haven't had since the late 90s with Ensberg/Betemit/Giambi assuming Matsui is the primary DH.

Losing Schilling hurts the Sox pitching by around 10-20 runs on paper, but every projection I've seen for Buchholz is pretty conservative as far as innings pitched and his expected ERA (around 4.5). Odds are he improved last season and his 2005 and 2006 MLEs are bringing his projection down slightly. Josh Beckett also projects worse than last year, although I think he likely made tangible changes that will carry forward.

My early Diamond Mind simulations are pretty mixed:

<u>chone</u>
Bos: 92-70
Nyy: 92-70

<u>hardball times:</u>
Bos: 97-65
Nyy: 93-69

<u>zips:</u>
Bos: 91-71
Nyy: 97-65

<u>cairo:</u>
Bos: 94-68
Nyy: 94-68

This is probably going to be a good test season in the AL East for the different projection systems and how they handle their MLEs because I think that's where a lot of the differences come in.

Gun to my head, I'd probably pick Boston but I can see the case for the Yankees being better.
   15. Valentine Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:19 PM (#2692478)
RB, I don't think the Red Sox have a significant advantage (if any at all). Both teams should IMHO finish in the 93-95 win range. When projections are THAT close, the actual result is a tossup.

I disagree that the Tigers will run away. Once they start playing games, reality (and everybody else) will hit their pitching staff hard.

Seattle was a pretender last year, and their team is a year older. Bedard doesn't do enough to reverse that slide. Wonder how Bill Bavasi will respond?
   16. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:21 PM (#2692481)
Hey the A's are going to win 78 games! That means I'm going to be happy for at least 78 days this year.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:26 PM (#2692485)
Both teams should IMHO finish in the 93-95 win range. When projections are THAT close, the actual result is a tossup.
I'm just using your post as a jumping-off point for a larger thing, sorry...

The two teams, based only on certain context-independent regressed statistical measures "should" finish in the 93-95 win range. The actual talent of these teams is much more likely to be measured by their final performance than by our projections. The difference between the outcome and the projection is much more a function of very real things that these particular regression measures did not or could not account for. How the two teams "should" finish is mostly unknown to us.

I agree that SG's work shows that we can't make meaningful overall distinctions between the quality of the Red Sox and the Yankees based on certain context-independent regressed statistical measures.
   18. SG Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:32 PM (#2692486)
The difference between the outcome and the projection is much more a function of very real things that these particular regression measures did not or could not account for.

One thing that is going to hurt both teams is that the AL East looks to have four true talent .500+ teams for the first time in, I don't know, ever? Tampa and Toronto both project to have a positive run differential and that is going to impact both the Yanks and Boston pretty heavily. Baltimore may not win 60 games this year.

I don't get the Detroit love from the mainstream. Granted, Cabrera is a huge offensive upgrade on Inge, but it's also a possible 30 run defensive downgrade. If Dontrelle Willis pitches as projected he's not really a big difference-maker, although he certainly has the talent to do better than that.
   19. Fargo Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:52 PM (#2692494)
I agree with you, SG, about Detroit. Under PECOTA projections, they will drop some 40 RS, no doubt as Ordonez, Guillen, and possibly Granderson all regress from last year. They should pick up some from Cabrera, but IRod is sagging badly both on offense and offense. A lot of the PECOTA prediction depends on a substantial decline in RA in 2008 from 2007, and that's a pretty shaky projection absent some breakout performance of Dontrelle or someone else. Though he's no great shakes, Renteria should be a much better SS than Guillen was last year and that should provide some defensive improvement overall. And keeping a Guillen bat at 1B, even if he declines somewhat in performance, will be a net offensive upgrade in the combined 1B-SS positions over last year.
   20. rfloh Posted: February 16, 2008 at 03:57 PM (#2692496)
And look at that Seattle projection! Boy, Bedard was a great trade.


PECOTA is, as it does every year, projecting Ichiro to suck: 17 VORP, 304-346-384, 730 OPS. His lowest OPS in MLB is 786. Career average, 816.

It is also projecting Johjima to suck: 10 VORP, 274-319-395, 714 OPD. Lowest OPS in MLB 755, career average 769.
   21. jwb Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:04 PM (#2692498)
Hey the A's are going to win 78 games! That means I'm going to be happy for at least 78 days this year.
Well, you know, unless some of these are doubleheader sweeps. Then the grey pigeon of depression may be visiting your windowsill 290 times or so this year.
   22. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:13 PM (#2692503)
So let's see. The Indians kick the crap out of the Yankees. Then the Red Sox kick the crap out of the Indians.

But if the Yankees had faced Boston, they would have beaten them.

Yeah, that makes sense.


Yanks won 10 out of 18 in the season series. And I don't want to hear any "iffin", Yanks obviously could have taken it to the Sox.

Not really, but you're just such a tool that I feel like making the same kind of stupid arguments you do.

I don't get the Detroit love from the mainstream. Granted, Cabrera is a huge offensive upgrade on Inge, but it's also a possible 30 run defensive downgrade.

I'm pretty sure the mainstream is ignoring/not aware of the extreme potential downgrade.

I would have picked the Sox before Schilling went down. But after that and the Pinto article about Buchholz being Jim Palmer II, I'm picking the Yanks.
   23. Valentine Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:17 PM (#2692504)
The actual talent of these teams is much more likely to be measured by their final performance than by our projections.

Hi Matt,

I'd caution you against placing too much faith in measuring talent by final performance. The standard deviation over a 162-event binomial distribution is roughly 6 wins. As much of the discrepancy between "final performance" and "pre-season expectations" is driven by random events as is due to uncertainties or inaccuracies in the projections themselves.
   24. Valentine Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:23 PM (#2692505)
Yanks obviously could have taken it to the Sox.

Of course! They could have swept the Indians, too, as they did in the regular season.

Didn't happen that way...
   25. Bug Selig Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:27 PM (#2692508)
I don't get the Detroit love from the mainstream. Granted, Cabrera is a huge offensive upgrade on Inge, but it's also a possible 30 run defensive downgrade.


The secret is that they made a big deal when everyone had erect nips over the Santana Sweepstakes. So it became "THE DEAL!" (TM)

Can someone explain to me why the Tigers shouldn't just leave Inge alone and let Cabrera stand in left and get fat? If Jacque Jones is the answer, you're asking the wrong question.
   26. Gaelan Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:28 PM (#2692510)
Which begs the question: "if" the Red Sox could do that to Sabathia and Carmona, then why couldn't the vaunted Yankee offense? And if the Red Sox could do that to CC and Fausto, then I'd hate to think what they would have done to Wang.


"Begs the question" doesn't mean raises the question. You "beg the question" when your answer is contained within your premise, or more generally when your answer contains a dubious premise so that your answer doesn't really answer the question. In any event, regardless of conventional usage, to use it in the sense of "raises" or "leads to" the question is wrong.
   27. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:30 PM (#2692512)
A Jacque Jones/Marcus Thames platoon should work out pretty well. And I'm sure there will plenty of time for Inge as I don't see anyone besides Granderson and Cabrera being real good bets to play a full season.
   28. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:32 PM (#2692513)
Didn't happen that way...

Yeah, I wasn't serious and said as much in the post, just responding to kevin.
   29. Boots Day Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:35 PM (#2692515)
Yanks obviously could have taken it to the Sox.

And then the Rockies would have swept the Yankees, like they did in the regular season.

So Wang and a bunch of bugs are the reason Colorado doesn't have a World Series title.
   30. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:39 PM (#2692520)
Is that your MO, just respond period, no matter how foolish the response is?

I talk to you like a five year old because that's about the age level where your "points" might actually be appropriate.

Everyone else, I take time to think about what I'm saying and support my comments as best I can. You proved long ago that its pointless to waste that much effort on conversations with you.
   31. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:43 PM (#2692522)
Then don't. You're just wasting bandwidth anyway with your complete fanboy responses.

Oh yeah, I'm saving that.
   32. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 16, 2008 at 04:59 PM (#2692534)
Smile, Red Sox fans, smile. Flags fly forever. I was merely noting some other "actual events that occurred during the baseball season," namely the "what-if scenario" that the Yankees came to dominate the Red Sox in 2007. In April, Boston was 5-1 versus New York; after that, Boston was 3-9. You know what happened overall to the Yankees in April. You know what happened overall to the Red Sox in September. Hey, the Colorado Rockies were 10-16 in April; if they hadn't stunk early, they might have accomplished something in October.

In 2007, Josh Beckett had a 1.80 ERA against Cleveland, 1.38 against the Angels, and 4.39 against the Yankees. Curt Schilling was 0-3 with a 5.51 ERA in 5 starts vs. New York; he was 3-0 in the 2007 postseason. Three of Boston's wins came against Scott Proctor and Jeff Karstens, who were not on the Yankee postseason roster. Two of Jonathan Papelbon's 3 losses came against the Yankees. Boston battered Mariano Rivera twice in April; after that, he made eight further appearances against the Sox with a 1.12 ERA, and twice as many strikeouts as hits. Boston put a hurting on Joba Chamberlain, though, handing him his only earned run of 2007 off an Eric Hinske HR. Hinske had two at-bats in the postseason.

If the Yankees hadn't sucked for about 3 months, they would have won the AL East last year.

That's just as true as the fact that the Yankees beat the Red Sox anyway, despite their sucky start. The momentum of the season was no "if." I was in Boston last September, and the communal panic over a title that was supposed to have been a coronation was hilarious.

I thought my sweetest moment internet Sox fandom was when I was told this offseason that in five years, oh, I'll be sorry then. But this thread comes close.... I love watching Yankee fans make ludicrous arguments, waving away the actual events of the season, claiming in essence that they were only stopped by luck- it's tremendous entertainment.

No, I'm "claiming in essence" that Boston's path to the championship was smoothed by the good luck of not facing New York again. (And I'd have thought that anybody's sweetest internet fandom moment would involve, you know, their team winning World Series. Maybe that's just me iffin'.)

What happened, happened. And what was likely to happen, didn't. Be happy, Nation, you ducked a bullet.
   33. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 16, 2008 at 05:17 PM (#2692539)
Hey, the Colorado Rockies were 10-16 in April; if they hadn't stunk early, they might have accomplished something in October.

???????? They won the NL pennant. That's certainly something.


Er, yes. One might even say it belies the "they sucked early, so there!" premise.
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 16, 2008 at 05:21 PM (#2692541)
In 2007, Josh Beckett had a 1.80 ERA against Cleveland, 1.38 against the Angels, and 4.39 against the Yankees. Curt Schilling was 0-3 with a 5.51 ERA in 5 starts vs. New York; he was 3-0 in the 2007 postseason. Three of Boston's wins came against Scott Proctor and Jeff Karstens, who were not on the Yankee postseason roster. Two of Jonathan Papelbon's 3 losses came against the Yankees. Boston battered Mariano Rivera twice in April; after that, he made eight further appearances against the Sox with a 1.12 ERA, and twice as many strikeouts as hits. Boston put a hurting on Joba Chamberlain, though, handing him his only earned run of 2007 off an Eric Hinske HR. Hinske had two at-bats in the postseason.
The Yankees outscored the Indians 49-17 in the regular season. If baseball were a game in which head-to-head statistics mattered, I'd care. Baseball, in fact, is a game in which there are two competitions, the pennant race and the playoffs, and the Red Sox won those while the Yankees lost. The invention of new competitions is cute, maybe a little sad, but irrelevant.
   35. Darren Posted: February 16, 2008 at 05:25 PM (#2692543)
Is #38 comedy?
   36. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 16, 2008 at 05:31 PM (#2692545)
the Yankees beat the Red Sox anyway, despite their sucky start.
His name means pennant, yet he knows not what pennant means. irony scrumtilescent!
   37. Mister High Standards Posted: February 16, 2008 at 05:32 PM (#2692546)
What happened, happened. And what was likely to happen, didn't. Be happy, Nation, you ducked a bullet.


You're right; the Red Sox were fortunate to win the World Series. Any team is fortunate to win the World Series. However, when the end result is ALSO the result that was most likely then I have a hard time saying they were lucky or ducked a bullet.

You can slice, the data anyway you like, but the Red Sox won the division, won the most games in baseball, and had the best run differential while using the last 3-4 weeks of the regular season to prepare for the playoffs rather than focusing on maximizing win-loss record. Not to mention, had two legendary post season hero’s in the starting rotation, and of course the Greatest Hero in American history batting third.

If they didn't win the World Series, they wouldn't have been unlikely only because upsets happen over 3 rounds of the baseball playoffs more often than the favorite wins. But saying in retrospect the Red Sox weren't favorites is revisionism.

I'd caution you against placing too much faith in measuring talent by final performance.


This of course is patently ridiculous, and neo-sabr poppycock. While true, in the strictest sense, Matt wasn’t trying to measure “talent” he was talking about measuring performance. Talent, is only relevant for projecting performance, once you have performance, which is what the regular season measures your guesstimates on talent, are only useful for guesstimating next seasons performance. The best team is not the team you think has the best talent going into the season. It’s the team that performs the best. You are what you are, not what you were expected to be at the start of the season.
   38. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 16, 2008 at 05:39 PM (#2692550)
While true, in the strictest sense, Matt wasn’t trying to measure “talent” he was talking about measuring performance.
This is, at least, what I meant. Thanks.

I said "talent" in the original post, but that was a misstatement. I try not to use the term "true talent" because it's a chimera, a singular noun that obfuscates the multiformity and diversity of the object of study. I was responding to the notion that a certain type of measurement implied what "should" happen in the regular season, and my point was that it tells us no such thing, precisely because it is a partial measurement taken by presuming the singular existence of a "true talent". Projections are useful, and i quite enjoy them and I'm glad about all the work that goes into them, but we need to recognize what they are and what they aren't.
   39. Gaelan Posted: February 16, 2008 at 05:43 PM (#2692553)
I try not to use the term "true talent" because it's a chimera, a singular noun that obfuscates the multiformity and diversity of the object of study.


Matt's having a good day.

This is also worthy of repetition.

-Last year we lost, but only because of (a) the rules of baseball or (b) the actual events that happened in the baseball season. And seriously, who counts those?

-If either (a) or (b) had not been the case, I can project victory within the parallel universe that exists in my brain.


Good stuff.
   40. philly Posted: February 16, 2008 at 05:53 PM (#2692559)
Excellent post, MCoA. I really with people would get away with claiming that they can measure "true talent". Every time I see that phrase I replace it with "true performance" and I'm much happier for it. It certainly works in this case as it would be foolish to claim that pre-season projections based on a theoretical "true performance" was better than actual regular season performance.

Well done measure of "true performance" can be indirect evidence of "true talent", but they are not measures of "true talent". Arguably, over large samples "true performance" and "true talent" should converge, but alas as the samples get large enough to make the "true performance" measures meaningful you must also confront the reality that "true talent" is ever dynamic and changing. That's the beauty of baseball.

This may seem like silly semantics, but the, imo, incorrect decision to call context neutral statistical measures "true talent" is a real missed opportunity. Statheads should stick to "true performance" and observational scouts should stick to "true talent" and the sabre holy grail should be the interface of "true performance" and "true talent".
   41. Snowboy Posted: February 16, 2008 at 06:05 PM (#2692563)
Pecota likes the DBacks. Last year they were low-scoring team, and outperformed their pythag by quite a bit. NOw pecota predicts they will win the division by scoring 100 more runs than '07, where will that production come from?
   42. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 16, 2008 at 06:21 PM (#2692568)
Is #38 comedy?

It's neither dead serious, nor a flight of fancy. Merely a statistical record suggesting that had the Sox-Yankees 2007 competition been a three-act play, rather than two, New York was perfectly positioned to justify the Boston fanbase's September flop sweat. The Red Sox fell behind 3-1 to Cleveland before beating them 3-0; both of those results were real, too.

the Yankees beat the Red Sox anyway, despite their sucky start.
His name means pennant, yet he knows not what pennant means. irony scrumtilescent!


Regular season only, chief. As in the entirety of the post? (And I thought you were fixated on context.)
   43. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: February 16, 2008 at 06:26 PM (#2692569)
The D-BAcks have a lot of young players entering the early part of their primes, who are likely to have better years than last. Add Haren to an already strong rotation (and maybe even the Big Unit), and I can see the jump.

I would imagine the Yanks are one of the harder teams to project this season because of the young pitching. I can't imagine that they won't have to rely on a lot of replacement-level innings from pitchers not named Kennedy, Hughes or Joba, given innings limits, so I'm not as sanguine about their 2008 as PECOTA is. But as a Yanks fan, projections like this do present a decent argument for why they decided not to go for Santana.
   44. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 16, 2008 at 06:30 PM (#2692573)
Regular season only, chief.
Um, scoreboard?

As I said, you can make up competitions, and play out counter-factual competitions in your head all you want. In the actual competitions that happened and that count, that have always counted, in baseball, the Yankees did not beat the Red Sox.
   45. John DiFool2 Posted: February 16, 2008 at 06:42 PM (#2692579)
Looking back is boring and pointless, and off-topic as well.

Looking ahead, I'd probably take the under on the Yankees' projections above (and, to be fair, on the Sox too, strictly as a betting man). Yeah they've somehow managed in general to avoid the ravages of age, and deserve credit for that, but if they keep sticking with the same veteran core year after year age must catch up with them sooner or later. Maybe not in '08, maybe they'll stay ahead of the aging curve in '09, but the odds get shorter with each passing year. A catastrophic drop is not out of the question. The same applies to the Sox to a slightly lesser extent of course. The Rays certainly could break up the duopoly this year.
   46. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 16, 2008 at 06:43 PM (#2692580)
Um, scoreboard?
As I said, you can make up competitions, and play out counter-factual competitions in your head all you want. In the actual competitions that happened and that count, that have always counted, in baseball, the Yankees did not beat the Red Sox.


Isn't "count the ringzzz" supposed to be a punchline, not a premise? The topic of the post(s) was head-to-head Boston vs. Yankees. Not Boston vs. Yankees vs. Toronto vs. Detroit vs. Minnesota vs. Texas vs. Oakland vs. So Forth. Boston was 8-10 against New York in the 2007 regular season, and only performed that well because of the Yankees' April woes. Is this a controversial theory from La-La Land?

I'm not disputing the on-field events that actually occurred in our reality, or the surpassing value thereof. I bow to the ants. You're throwing down trump cards in a game I'm not playing.

2007 ALCS: Boston vs. New York, in Imaginary Yankee Stadium That Never Was and the Fenway Park of Your Most Outlandish Fantasies. Who wins?

Answer: we'll never know. Betting line: oh, you know.
   47. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 16, 2008 at 06:46 PM (#2692582)
I do agree that counter-factual suppositions about non-events are pointless and pathetic. And they never shoulda taken out Willoughby.
   48. Keith Law Posted: February 16, 2008 at 06:48 PM (#2692583)
Speaking as someone regularly accused of hating the Red Sox and the Yankees, I can at least say that I would have picked Boston to win a seven-game series against the Yankees in October and to do so in under seven games. I didn't see the two teams as that close in talent. Again, just the opinion of someone who hates every team in baseball.
   49. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:02 PM (#2692590)
I clicked on the link and didn't get anywhere near all the details that you guys have referred to--did I miss something, or am I the only one cheap enough not to have a BPro subscription?

And as for the Mets winning 96, the under, please.
   50. Honkie Kong Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:07 PM (#2692593)
Oh no, another pissing contest between these 2 teams. The only good thing is that it is a harbinger of real baseball games!

I will take the under on Detroit.
   51. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:17 PM (#2692598)
I didn't see the two teams as that close in talent.

Well, that's a pretty ridiculous, unsupportable opinion.
   52. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:24 PM (#2692603)
"Begs the question" doesn't mean raises the question. You "beg the question" when your answer is contained within your premise, or more generally when your answer contains a dubious premise so that your answer doesn't really answer the question. In any event, regardless of conventional usage, to use it in the sense of "raises" or "leads to" the question is wrong.

Up with such nonsense you shall not put!
   53. Danny Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#2692604)
Pecota likes the DBacks. Last year they were low-scoring team, and outperformed their pythag by quite a bit. NOw pecota predicts they will win the division by scoring 100 more runs than '07, where will that production come from?


PECOTA's projecting a few huge jumps in offense from young D-Backs:

Young: .237/.295/.467 --> .274/.352/.523
Drew: .238/.313/.370 --> .270/.340/.463
Upton: .221/.283/.364 --> .271/.349/.471
   54. Danny Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:32 PM (#2692606)
They're projecting Ryan Sweeney to play full time, with Denorfia only getting about 35% of a full season. Hope that's wrong.

On the other hand, I'd be thrilled with 17 starts from Harden, especially if they come before August.
   55. Sam M. Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:42 PM (#2692612)
And as for the Mets winning 96, the under, please.

I'd probably take the under, too, but IMHO the Mets actually have the best chance in baseball to ring the 95+ win bell. The Yankees and Red Sox have each other to contend with, and while both the Phillies and Braves are good, the overall competitiveness of the NL East isn't as strong as the AL East. The Mets have the deepest rotation in baseball, period, and while there's a very good chance they won't get 140 starts out of Santana, Pedro, Maine, Perez, and El Duque, it's also possible they might. If that happens, then the Mets win total will get to the mid-90s, unless their line-up is just decimated by injuries (always possible, I guess).

Man, has this thread been ridiculously backward looking for a projection thread.
   56. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:45 PM (#2692615)
That's what you get for looking over your shoulder at the old thread to date. Post #66 is gonna be AWESOME!
   57. Keith Law Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:45 PM (#2692617)
Well, that's a pretty ridiculous, unsupportable opinion.

And that's a pretty ridiculous reaction. If you don't get what I'm saying, ask.

Given what we know about run prevention playing at least a slightly larger role in the postseason than it does in the regular season, the Red Sox' advantage in that department (120 runs in the regular season) takes on a greater importance. Then consider the rotation the Yankees were likely to roll out in a seven-game series - potentially one without Roger, with Mussina and a not-fully-healthy Hughes both taking starts and one of them making two starts. (I'd wager they would not have reactivated Kennedy after the layoff.) The Yanks' bullpen was down to two effective pitchers. They were a good regular-season team, but not well-situated to win a playoff series, especially not against an offense similar to their own.
   58. Keith Law Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:46 PM (#2692618)
Jeez, I hope I lived up to the lead-in I just got...
   59. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 07:48 PM (#2692620)
“To Jimmy Rollins: We are the team to beat. Without Santana, we felt as a team we had a chance to win,” Beltran said. “With him, I have no doubt. We’ve got what it takes.”

Carlos Beltran...
   60. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 16, 2008 at 08:00 PM (#2692628)
Well, you know, unless some of these are doubleheader sweeps. Then the grey pigeon of depression may be visiting your windowsill 290 times or so this year.

You're not a motivational speaker, are you?
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 08:06 PM (#2692636)
I didn't see the two teams as that close in talent.

Keith, I think you phrased that badly. Your second post, that the Yankees pitchers were hurt and run scoring makes slightly more difference in the playoffs, makes sense. But, the teams were clearly close in talent, as the actual, and Pythag records suggest. The Sox were a little better, no doubt, but "not close", I don't think so.
   62. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 16, 2008 at 08:06 PM (#2692637)
They were a good regular-season team, but not well-situated to win a playoff series, especially not against an offense similar to their own.

IMO, That's different than saying the talent level of the teams isn't close. My apologies for my tone.
   63. Boriole Forester Posted: February 16, 2008 at 08:07 PM (#2692638)
This Yankees vs. Red Sox thread brought to you by ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
   64. resultsDisoriented Posted: February 16, 2008 at 08:41 PM (#2692653)
The difference between the outcome and the projection is much more a function of very real things that these particular regression measures did not or could not account for.

I recommend you read this. Unless this is what you meant by 'very real things'.
   65. villageidiom Posted: February 16, 2008 at 09:04 PM (#2692671)
Boston was 8-10 against New York in the 2007 regular season, and only performed that well because of the Yankees' April woes. Is this a controversial theory from La-La Land?

I don't see why you'd throw out the Yankees' April as irrelevant, when it was better (in RS/G and RA/G) than the October you're trying to project away.

Yankees' April: 5.70 RS/G, 5.43 RA/G
Yankees' May-Sep: 6.02 RS/G, 4.69 RA/G
Yankees' October: 4.00 RS/G, 6.00 RA/G

So, yeah, Boston was dominated by New York last year in all those games, except the ones in which they didn't. And if the Yankees had played completely differently in October than they actually did, they would have PWN3D the Sox. Unless, in this alternate universe, the Red Sox would've lost to the Angels in the first round. Nah, no amount of hallucinogens could have produced the image of the Angels beating the Red Sox.*

Ultimately it doesn't matter, because your non-April Yankees would've lost in the WS to the non-September Mets. Or are the Yankees the only team for which we get to ignore a month's futility?

*This is clearly not true. But it feels true.
   66. Swedish Chef Posted: February 16, 2008 at 09:10 PM (#2692681)
In a division you have team that has 94-win talent and another that has 96-win talent, what are the probabilities for the order of those two teams after a 162 game season?

57,35% The talented team is on top
37,8% The hopeless losers are on top
4,4% It's a tie

Looking for deep meaning in small variations in baseball is about as rewarding as watching static on your TV.
   67. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 09:31 PM (#2692698)
“To Jimmy Rollins: We are the team to beat. Without Santana, we felt as a team we had a chance to win,” Beltran said. “With him, I have no doubt. We’ve got what it takes.”

Carlos Beltran...


I'm a Mets fan, but if C Belt did indeed say that, he's getting ahead of himself. Until dethroned, last year's division champs are the team to beat.

...37,8% The hopeless losers are on top...


Cold, but tasty, Chef. Cold, but tasty.
   68. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 16, 2008 at 09:34 PM (#2692701)
“To Jimmy Rollins: We are the team to beat. Without Santana, we felt as a team we had a chance to win,” Beltran said. “With him, I have no doubt. We’ve got what it takes.”

Carlos Beltran...


I agree with Pecota WRT the prediction that the Braves will be better than the Phillies. They need to replace Rowand's 2007 season when he was a force offensively. Their 3rd and 4th starters are Moyer (45 years old, 92 ERA+ in 2007) and Kyle Kendrick (3.64 k/9). Their 5th starter is either Eaton or Benson as of right now.

That back of the rotation isn't good enough right now. The Mets should be more worried about the Braves.
   69. Sam M. Posted: February 16, 2008 at 09:37 PM (#2692702)
I'm a Mets fan, but if C Belt did indeed say that, he's getting ahead of himself. Until dethroned, last year's division champs are the team to beat.

Jimmy Rollins didn't seem to think so last spring. I hardly think the Phillies, of all teams, are in any position to get on the "Why don't they respect the defending division champs" high horse.

That said, I personally agree with David Wright's approach: don't talk until you win. But if the Mets do win, I'd then direct an awful lot of words at Mr. Rollins.
   70. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 09:50 PM (#2692710)
And as for the Mets winning 96, the under, please.

I'd probably take the under, too, but IMHO the Mets actually have the best chance in baseball to ring the 95+ win bell.


Good point, Sam. They don't need a lot of luck to get to 95+, do they? Rather, it seems to me more like most of the following have to go reasonably right: Alou plays 80 games, Delgado improves a little, Ollie and Maine repeat, El Duque pitches 100 innings, Pedro is himself for 130 innings, Castillo doesn't do the 2bman age30+ swan dive, the 6th and 7th starters don't do Lima impressions....

Doesn't feel to me like this list is fraught with unwarranted optimism.
   71. Sam M. Posted: February 16, 2008 at 09:56 PM (#2692714)
This characterization of Beltran's comment comes off a lot more playful than arrogant:

After meeting with the press on the Mets bench, Beltran got up, walked toward the clubhouse and said with a smile, "tell Jimmy Rollins that we're the team to beat."

Something tells me the first PA when Santana faces Rollins is going to be fun.
   72. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: February 16, 2008 at 10:11 PM (#2692720)
For the first since 2000, I think the Mets have a chance to win the World Series and back then, I wasn't even that convinced. I mean, Agbayani, Timo and Payton is a cuel joke compared to our OF this year. God, imagine how good the 2006 Mets would be if instead of Schneider we had Mike Piazza (circa 2000), and instead of Castillo we had Fonzie (circa 2000)?
   73. Rally Posted: February 16, 2008 at 10:13 PM (#2692721)
- Still loves Brandon Wood. Says his defense is solid at either SS or 3B and will hit like Troy Glaus.


Thanks. Now I've got to clean up the spooge from my keyboard.

Seriously, I'd be happy with .240/20 HR along with league average SS defense.
   74. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: February 17, 2008 at 02:21 AM (#2692863)
This thread's like BTF's version of meatloaf, you get the traditional Red Sox-Yankees pi$$ing match early and finish it off with a mellow Mets hijack towards the end. It's so reliable and comforting to know some things in the universe will never change.
   75. Win one for Agrippa (haplo53) Posted: February 17, 2008 at 03:30 AM (#2692878)
This characterization of Beltran's comment comes off a lot more playful than arrogant


Either way, it's always nice to be reminded that Beltran has a pulse.
   76. shoewizard Posted: February 17, 2008 at 05:10 PM (#2693043)
Pecota likes the DBacks. Last year they were low-scoring team, and outperformed their pythag by quite a bit. NOw pecota predicts they will win the division by scoring 100 more runs than '07, where will that production come from?




PECOTA's projecting a few huge jumps in offense from young D-Backs:

Young: .237/.295/.467 --> .274/.352/.523
Drew: .238/.313/.370 --> .270/.340/.463
Upton: .221/.283/.364 --> .271/.349/.471


Last year the D backs had a team OPS of .716 and scored 4.12 R/G before the ASB.(90 Games) After the ASB, they had a team OPS of .755 and scored 4.74 R/G (72 games)

Eric Byrnes slumped very badly in August and September, and Hudson and Tracy were hurt. With the exception of Tony Clark, almost all of that improvement came from young players.

Conor Jackson, Chris Young and Chris Snyder had very large jumps in their post ASB OPS. After having a terrible June and July, Mark Reynolds was huge in August and September. Drew had his best month of the year in September, and had an excellent post season. Considering their age, minor league track records, and second half performance, regression to the mean for the young D Backs hitters means getting A LOT more production for an entire season than they did last year.
   77. shoewizard Posted: February 17, 2008 at 05:19 PM (#2693047)
Something I noticed with the Pecota Depth Charts, which they claim were updated February 15th, is that they still have Tony Clark on the D Backs, and Luis Gonzalez on the Dodgers. While those guys are not going to influence the total wins and losses too much, I wonder how many other blatant errors there are in the Depth Charts/Playing time projections? Did anyone notice any other similar mistakes?
   78. Chris Needham Posted: February 17, 2008 at 06:01 PM (#2693057)
I didn't notice anything players being wrong, but with the Nats, there were a few head scratchers.

The most blatant example is them penciling in John Lannan to lead the team in innings with an ERA over 6. I don't doubt that Lannan could end up there, but I DO doubt that they'll give him 140 innings if he does!

There were a few other PT quibbles I had at the margins that probably add up to a win or two at the margins.
   79. Boots Day Posted: February 17, 2008 at 06:21 PM (#2693065)
Last year the D backs had a team OPS of .716 and scored 4.12 R/G before the ASB.(90 Games) After the ASB, they had a team OPS of .755 and scored 4.74 R/G (72 games)

Last year the Rockies had a team OPS of .773 and scored 4.86 R/G before the ASB. After the ASB, they had a team OPS of .812 and scored 5.76 R/G.

It's funny to read all these predictions of why Arizona is going to be so much better next year, when there doesn't seem to be a single soul who thinks the Rockies have any chance to even repeat what they did last year. The Rockies have a shortstop who is 19 months younger than Arizona's shortstop and who raised his OPS 100 points in the second half last year - but no one's going around talking about how he has a chance to be a lot better this year. No one is excited about the fact that they have a 26-year-old centerfielder and a 25-year-old catcher who could improve a lot this year. No one is excited about the fact that only one of their regulars will be over 30 this year.

Then you get to the pitchers: This team has a 24-year-old starter who had a 112 ERA+ last year and a 22-year-old starter who had a 140 ERA+ last year in partial seasons, but no one is excited about the possibilities of having those guys in the rotation all year. No one is talking about their lights-out 25-year-old closer as a potential superstar.

But that's OK. That's why they play the games.
   80. shoewizard Posted: February 17, 2008 at 07:19 PM (#2693085)
Well, clearly SOMEBODY is excited. ;-)

Boots...if you will please take note, MY comments were not posted in a manner to suggest that the D Backs are a lock and the Rockies are an afterthought. I am simply rebutting the ill informed posts that insist the D Backs offense will suck in 2007 and that they are nothing but a fluke team doomed to regress to 2007's pythag.

Now as for why almost all the projection systems have the D backs being a better overall team than the Rockies ON PAPER, you should take that up with the people running the projections and the sims, and try to figure out why that is. Like you said, Thats why they play the games. The Rockies won the same amount of games as the D backs last year and kicked their buts in the NLCS. But the D backs added Dan Haren, and face it, thats a pretty big deal.

I don't know anyone who knows anything that doesn't think the NL West is going to be a 4 team dog fight, and that there is no clear cut favorite. But some of these people are paid to make predictions, and so they may as well predict the team(s) that are coming out ahead in the sims and projections. I've seen D Backs, Dodgers, and Padres come out on top in various sims, but I haven't seen the Rockies there yet. I think that is mainly because despite having the best ERA in the NL over the second half last year, the pitching projections are not all that great. I'm not quite sure why that is though.
   81. Fargo Posted: February 17, 2008 at 07:58 PM (#2693108)
Re PECOTA depth charts, keep watching because there will be updates if last year is any precedent. Sometimes they are updating playing time based on roster changes, sometimes on injury and other information. In general they are updating the PECOTA estimates based on changes in rosters, batting order, and playing time projections.

They don't make all of those changes simultaneously. I notice, for example that they have Sean Casey 5% PT as 1B on Tigers roster. This doesn't affect the overall projected RS and RA by any significant degree. These gradually get updated as we move into and through Spring training. So the 2-15-08 update doesn't necessarily incorporate every known lineup change up to that date, it just tells you the date of the latest complete update of the PECOTA depth charts. And if you download the weighted mean spreadsheets each time a new one comes on-line, you'll see the extent of the changes that have been incorporated into the depth charts.

When you compare the PECOTAs in the annual book with those on the website (and there will be 4 or 5 revisions of the latter by opening day), the two will differ because the latter is periodically updating for line-up changes, right up to opening day.

What's set at this time, and has been for at least a couple of months, is the "methodology" for the PECOTA's. But the depth charts are changing, and so, therefore, are batting-order and playing-time dependent PECOTA estimates.

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