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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2008 ZiPS Projections - Boston Red Sox

This might not come as a great shock considering the Red Sox just won the World Series for the 2nd time this decade, but ZiPS sees the Red Sox as the best team in the AL.  Well, technically, I haven’t done the Orioles yet, but I’m taking a wild guess that the Orioles aren’t going to look better than the Sox on e-paper.

No real suprises here.  It’s a deep team.  While they obviously don’t have spare better-than-average 1B, DH or LF/RF backups stashed away, nobody really does, and the team is very deep everywhere else.  The amount of minor leaguers that project to be non-terrible at up-the-middle positions is downright staggering and I’m not even counting guys like Lars Anderson who should pop up in the 2009 projections.


Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
David Ortiz*        dh 32 .297 .400 .593 153 573 111 170 38 0 44 138 97 121 1 0
Manny Ramirez         lf 36 .278 .381 .493 123 442 75 123 26 0 23 98 71 98 0 1
AVERAGE 1B——————- 1b——.290 .367 .489—————————————————————
Kevin Youkilis       1b 29 .286 .388 .444 134 475 79 136 35 2 12 69 71 100 3 2
AVERAGE LF——————- lf——.289 .358 .469—————————————————————
AVERAGE RF——————- rf——.288 .355 .471—————————————————————
AVERAGE 3B——————- 3b——.285 .352 .462—————————————————————
Dustin Pedroia       2b 24 .292 .359 .431 150 548 75 160 44 1 10 62 51 43 3 1
Jacoby Ellsbury*      cf 24 .297 .349 .392 134 549 87 163 34 3 4 58 37 72 43 6
AVERAGE CF——————- cf——.283 .345 .436—————————————————————
J.D. Drew*          rf 32 .259 .362 .412 104 352 59 91 22 1 10 60 56 77 1 2
AVERAGE 2B——————- 2b——.287 .346 .427—————————————————————
Chris Carter*        1b 25 .278 .339 .438 143 553 56 154 33 2 17 78 50 71 4 2
Jason Varitek#        c   36 .249 .350 .408 112 385 50 96 20 1 13 63 56 102 2 1
Eric Hinske*        rf 30 .248 .335 .437 104 286 44 71 20 2 10 41 35 82 3 1
Mike Lowell         3b 34 .272 .333 .429 150 552 70 150 40 1 15 64 50 63 1 0
AVERAGE SS——————- ss——.285 .339 .418—————————————————————
Brandon Moss*        rf 24 .264 .334 .424 152 550 58 145 51 2 11 72 56 147 4 4
Coco Crisp#          cf 28 .271 .333 .410 138 527 82 143 33 5 10 65 48 79 22 5
Jon Van Every*        cf 28 .253 .322 .448 118 384 37 97 27 3 14 53 36 147 6 6
Jeff Bailey         1b 29 .247 .334 .399 103 348 37 86 22 2 9 50 38 85 3 3
Jed Lowrie#          ss 24 .253 .326 .406 136 522 54 132 47 6 7 58 55 96 3 3
Julio Lugo           ss 32 .267 .335 .382 142 539 77 144 35 3 7 62 52 96 29 8
AVERAGE C———————- c——.270 .329 .414—————————————————————
Tony Granadillo#      2b 23 .259 .322 .389 132 506 72 131 38 2 8 54 37 84 2 1
Keith Ginter         3b 32 .235 .326 .381 90 315 32 74 20 1 8 48 36 59 2 0
Josh Reddick*        rf 21 .266 .305 .433 112 448 43 119 20 2 17 60 24 68 6 7
George Kottaras*      c   25 .243 .316 .389 112 375 35 91 34 0 7 43 39 101 1 1
Bobby Kielty#        lf 31 .255 .325 .362 75 235 30 60 13 0 4 34 24 56 0 0
Bobby Scales#        2b 30 .248 .318 .381 126 423 45 105 26 3 8 49 40 107 9 3
Doug Mirabelli       c   37 .246 .318 .355 88 276 35 68 15 0 5 36 29 65 1 0
John Barnes         sp 32 .270 .310 .382 89 296 32 80 18 0 5 32 16 26 3 3
Junior Spivey         2b 33 .231 .327 .354 58 195 24 45 12 0 4 22 25 52 6 3
Joey Thurston*        2b 28 .264 .316 .377 124 435 51 115 28 3 5 48 27 57 10 10
Gil Velazquez         ss 28 .256 .306 .334 101 293 39 75 16 2 1 27 19 57 3 1
Dusty Brown         c   25 .235 .282 .371 96 345 33 81 24 1 7 39 21 87 1 0
Alex Cora*          2b 32 .241 .311 .330 80 203 27 49 8 2 2 21 13 23 4 2
Chad Spann           3b 24 .235 .289 .364 123 439 37 103 28 1 9 45 30 128 1 4
Andrew Pinckney#      3b 26 .230 .277 .375 122 456 46 105 32 2 10 52 26 111 3 5
Joe McEwing         2b 35 .245 .289 .338 89 302 28 74 17 1 3 31 15 59 5 4
John Otness         c   26 .244 .281 .326 95 344 29 84 20 1 2 29 13 42 1 1
Royce Clayton         ss 38 .236 .286 .311 94 305 32 72 20 0 1 28 20 70 5 2
Kevin Cash           c   30 .188 .266 .307 73 218 19 41 11 0 5 22 21 69 0 1
Argenis Diaz         ss 21 .225 .275 .299 113 479 50 108 28 2 1 34 29 121 5 8

* - Bats Left
# = Switch-Hitter

Name           CThr 1b 2b 3b ss lf cf rf
Ortiz*            Pr            
Ramirez                   Pr    
Youkilis           Av   Av        
Pedroia             Av   Fr      
Drew*                    Av Fr Av
Ellsbury*                  Vg Av Vg
Carter*            Fr            
Varitek#        Fr                
Hinske*            Av   Pr   Pr   Pr
Lowell                 Vg        
Moss*                    Av Pr Av
Crisp#                    Vg Vg  
Van Every*                  Av Fr Av
Bailey             Av       Av    
Lowrie#              Av Av Av      
Lugo               Av Av Av      
Granadillo#          Av Fr Fr      
Ginter             Av Fr Av        
Reddick*                    Fr Av
Kottaras*      Av                
Kielty#                    Fr Pr Vg
Scales#              Fr Fr Pr Fr   Fr
Mirabelli       Pr                
Barnes                     Av   Fr
Spivey               Fr     Fr Pr  
Thurston*            Av     Vg Fr  
Velazquez           Vg Fr Vg Fr Av    
Brown         Av                
Cora*              Vg   Av      
Spann             Av   Av        
Pinckney#              Av        
McEwing             Fr Fr Pr Av    
Otness         Fr   Av            
Clayton                 Av      
Cash           Vg                
Diaz                   Vg  

Player Spotlight - Dustin Pedroia
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ DR
Optimistic (15%)  .314 .388 .481 156 570 92 179 49 2 14 90 61 37 7 0 122   7
Mean         .292 .359 .431 150 548 76 160 44 1 10 62 51 43 3 1 102   3  
Pessimistic (15%) .266 .324 .362 131 478 55 127 31 0 5 52 39 43 1 2   76 -1

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Ron Hunt, Billy Herman, Newt Hoenikker

Player Spotlight - Jacoby Ellsbury
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ DR
Optimistic (15%)  .327 .386 .451 151 618 116 202 44 6 7 83 50 71 60 5 115   8  
Mean         .297 .349 .392 134 549 87 163 34 3 4 58 37 72 43 6   91   5
Pessimistic (15%) .276 .317 .348 115 471 63 130 26 1 2 46 25 72 30 6   71   1

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Richie Ashburn, Vada Pinson

Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Jon Papelbon         27   1.57   5   0 61   0   63.0   41   11   4   15   87
Hideki Okajima*        32   3.09   4   1 63   0   64.0   56   22   7   18   65
Josh Beckett         28   3.77 16   9 30 30   191.0 181   80 21   54 172
Manny Delcarmen       26   3.77   4   2 63   0   74.0   69   31   5   36   68
Mike Timlin           42   3.78   4   3 68   0   69.0   72   29   6   19   40
Daisuke Matsuzaka       27   3.95 15 10 29 28   196.0 189   86 22   60 177
Lee Gronkiewicz       29   4.07   4   3 55   1   73.0   74   33 11   15   57
Javier Lopez*        30   4.19   3   2 72   0   58.0   60   27   3   27   36
Brendan Donnelly       36   4.20   3   3 48   0   45.0   45   21   5   16   36
Curt Schilling         41   4.25 11 10 28 28   178.0 191   84 24   26 146
Bryan Corey           34   4.32   6   4 60   0   73.0   75   35   8   26   55
LEAGUEA AVERAGE RELIEVER——- 4.42———————————————————————-
Craig Breslow*        27   4.44   4   3 55   0   77.0   79   38   8   33   58
Clay Buchholz         23   4.47   9   8 28 27   135.0 134   67 20   53 120
Kyle Snyder           30   4.50   3   3 57   0   66.0   70   33   7   23   48
Tim Wakefield         41   4.62 13 13 30 30   185.0 192   95 26   65 117
Justin Masterson       23   4.68   7   7 22 16   102.0 115   53 11   34   51
Julian Tavarez         35   4.71   6   6 53 12   109.0 121   57 11   41   64
LEAGUE AVERAGE STARTER———- 4.81———————————————————————-
Jon Lester*          24   4.93   8   8 30 29   148.0 158   81 18   75 100
Craig Hansen         24   5.03   5   3 49   2   68.0   72   38   5   42   45
Devern Hansack         30   5.31   7   9 27 20   127.0 143   75 23   45   84
Michael Bowden         21   5.50   7   9 27 27   131.0 151   80 22   52   80
Mike Burns           29   5.53   3   5 42   8   83.0   99   51 14   24   44
Michael Tejera*        31   5.65   5   7 33 14   110.0 129   69 17   45   52
Jon Switzer*          28   5.87   2   4 44   5   69.0   76   45   7   27   37
David Pauley         25   6.02   5   8 26 26   151.0 186 101 28   53   75
Abe Alvarez*          25   6.02   5 10 26 21   121.0 146   81 22   50   61
Edgar Martinez         26   6.05   2   5 47   0   64.0   74   43 14   30   43
Kyle Jackson         25   6.81   3   9 46   0   74.0   81   56 15   66   62
Daniel Haigwood*      24   7.29   2   7 22 21   100.0 117   81 23   84   73
John Barnes           32   8.14   3   9 19 16   84.0 100   76 17 105   47

* - Throws Left

Player Spotlight - Josh Beckett
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Optimistic (15%)  3.08 21   7 33 33 216 186   74 20   51 200   152
Mean           3.77 16   9 30 30 191 181   80 21   54 172   124
Pessimistic (15%)  4.65 10 10 24 24 151 157   78 21   52 125   101

Top Near-Age Comps:  Bill Monboquette, Jack McDowell

Player Spotlight - Daisuke Matsuzaka
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Optimistic (15%)  3.28 18   9 32 31 222 196   81 21   58 208   143
Mean           3.95 15 10 29 28 196 189   86 22   60 177   119
Pessimistic (15%)  4.91 10 11 24 23 154 164   84 22   57 129   96  

Top Near-Age Comps:  Andy Benes, Bill Singer

Disclaimer:  ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. 
Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors -
many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2008. 
ZiPS is projecting equivalent production - a .240 ZiPS projection may end up
being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example.  Whether or not a player will play
is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting
the future.

Players are listed with their most recent teams unless Dan has made a mistake. 
This is very possible as a lot of minor-league signings are generally unreported in
the offseason. 

ZiPS is projecting based on the AL having a 4.49 ERA and the NL having a 4.40 ERA.

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Dan Szymborski Posted: January 15, 2008 at 02:53 AM | 161 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Page 2 of 2 pages  < 1 2
   101. pancakehead Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:14 AM (#2669214)
The new projections are much more reasonable. Thank you.
   102. pancakehead Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:24 AM (#2669226)
Youk can bat .300 this year though, seriously. He hit .288 last year in a division with Halladay, Bedard, Wang, and Mussina. He is only getting better.
   103. pancakehead Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:27 AM (#2669228)
Hehe. Joke's on you, pancake.

The 1.200 isn't his BA, you goofball, it's his OBP!


giggle giggle

Jokes on you, Kevin.

You can't have an OBP more than 1.00 either goofball.
   104. villageidiom Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:28 AM (#2669230)
Youkilis won't be summoned to Olympus. He makes his offseason home there; he's lived there ever since his birth, when he detached from a growth on Zeus' large, bearded chin.
   105. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:28 AM (#2669231)
Lowell: 330/420/600
Pedroia: 377/450/400
Ortiz: 368/520/900, 74 HR, 235 RBI
Manny: 336/510/700, QUADRILLION POINT SIX FEAR FACTOR
Ellsbury: 408/470/525
Youkilis: 1.200/1.600/SUMMONED TO OLYMPUS


Dan, I do not think the value you have for Manny's fear factor is high enough; in fact, I think it is ridiculously low, and just goes to show your bias. Opposing managers thought of walking Manny in 94.6% of his plate appearances with the bases loaded. The only hitter who ever had a higher OMTOWWBL figure is Jim Rice, from 1975-1986. And that was a twelve-year period of unquestioned dominance.
   106. Marcel Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:29 AM (#2669234)
Yes, Youk *can* bat better than .300. Nobody is denying that. The question is, why would you project him to do it when he never has before? You said that the only thing that kept him from doing it this year was slumps. Guess what? Same thing happened in '06. Started out hitting really well and then tailed off in the last two months of the season. At this point it's starting to look like it may be a trend.
   107. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: January 16, 2008 at 02:04 AM (#2669267)
Youkilis had those slumps because for unknown reasons baseballs kept making unwanted physical contact with his body. He does have a large target area though.

And no, he won't be summoned to Olympus, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was summoned to the Wall of Tears to quell all the whining in this thread.
   108. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2008 at 02:22 AM (#2669294)
Lowell: 330/420/600

Way too low. With his new ability to hit singles, I expect Lowell to break Ichiro's hits record and quite possibly hit 400.

I mean, c'mon Dan, once she put on a Red Sox uniform, your aunt could hit 330 even without the penis.

With, she'd be ... Mike Lowell.

Player Spotlight - Auntie Szym (np)
Name   AVG   OBP   SLG   G  AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI  BB   K SB CS  OPS+ DR
Optimistic (15%)  .406  .475  .644 156 570 132 231 67  0 23 112  61  37  7  0  144   7  
Mean  .330  .382  .443 150 548  76 178 44  1 10  62  51  43  3  1  106   3 
Pessimistic (15%) .330  .382  .443 150 548  76 178 44  1 10  62  51  43  3  1  106   3 

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Devine, J Edgar Hoover, Renee Richards, Sly Stallone


That didn't format right did it .... ragglesnaggleragglesnagglegrrr
   109. John DiFool2 Posted: January 16, 2008 at 02:39 AM (#2669315)
kwarren posted:

Personally, I think Kevin is pretty bang-on with his projections. Very knowlegeable guy. People should listen.


Hmm first initial of "k". Your nickname wouldn't be "Stinky" or "Smelly" would it?
   110. John DiFool2 Posted: January 16, 2008 at 02:42 AM (#2669319)
[rrr no edit button]

MTA: Dan, don't take any of our ranting too seriously. We all want to believe that our heroes will all have career years, guess it's just part of being a baseball fan, and Red Sox fan in particular, after all the genuine heroics of 2004 and 2007, and I'm no exception. Some of the numbers seem a bit underwhelming, but reasonable with some perspective.
   111. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2008 at 02:45 AM (#2669322)
His OPS, year by year, starting in 2000: 818, 788, 817, 880, 870, 662, 814, 879.

His being Lowell's.

Park effects are masking some of Lowell's decline though. If we neutralize to a 750 run environment in a neutral park (the best choice B-R gives me for today's game), those numbers are 823/800/842/886/895/697/803/862. Now that does give him even more seasons over 800, but he's had 2 of his 3 worst seasons recently. And that 879 in 2007 goes from a near career-high to a more reasonable (but still good) level of performance. He was a stud in Fla (esp 02-04) ... he's a talented old fart in Boston.

Still, 762 is pessimistic -- Marcel puts a projection at about 811 and even with an age penalty that might be 780 before boosting for Fenway. Of course the question is whether that pessimism is warranted or not and for everyone except maybe Dan, we don't know yet.

Dan, can you give us a sense of how much weight is given to the comps and the degree to which incorporating comps seems to improve the projections? Probably a pain, but can you run a few pre-comps ZiPS and post-comps ZiPS on some players? I ask because, though I share ZiPS' pessimism on Lowell, the comps really seem to be dragging Lowell and Manny down (and I've seen this with some other players in that age range). Is this happening to pretty much all players of that age -- i.e. you think the comps give you a more accurate "general" age effect -- or is it highly dependent on the specific comps?

Don't expect you to answer those in any detail, just what's your sense of this.

Or point me to the FAQ.
   112. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2008 at 02:57 AM (#2669328)
More fun with Lowell's neutralized stats.

The questions come down to -- were the singles lucky? and has there been/will there be a big power drop? The neutralized stats have squat to say about the first question, but the second is potentially interesting:

ISOs neutralized to 750 runs, neutral park:

206, 166, 200, 253, 218, 133, 190, 172

So the last 3 years have been 3 of his 4 worst. 2007 was worse than 2006, a 10% drop. That's not enough to establish a trend but if he loses another 10% that puts him at 155 (which would be boosted by Fenway but not hugely). ZiPS projects him to a 157 ISO. Pessimistic but in the ballpark -- another 10 points of ISO only gives him about 2 points of OPS+ and amounts to, what, 2 HR.

Sorry, folks get touchy about "lucky." Is that level of hitting singles likely to be repeated?

The power drop might just be unlucky of course!
   113. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:02 AM (#2669335)
Dan, can you give us a sense of how much weight is given to the comps and the degree to which incorporating comps seems to improve the projections? Probably a pain, but can you run a few pre-comps ZiPS and post-comps ZiPS on some players? I ask because, though I share ZiPS' pessimism on Lowell, the comps really seem to be dragging Lowell and Manny down (and I've seen this with some other players in that age range). Is this happening to pretty much all players of that age -- i.e. you think the comps give you a more accurate "general" age effect -- or is it highly dependent on the specific comps?


Actually, pre-comp ZiPS had more severe aging curves for mid-30s players. Aging curves by player type has helped keep star mid-30s players from having ugly projections in general.

It's worth noting that some of the "disappointment" here, with the exception of Lowell, is park-factor related. Fenway had much higher park factors across the board than it had for years, so ZiPS is naturally projecting lower park factors than were visible to the observer in 2007.
   114. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: January 16, 2008 at 03:43 AM (#2669353)
Btw, how does Mike TImlin still to project to "not suck"?
   115. villageidiom Posted: January 16, 2008 at 04:54 AM (#2669381)
Timlin's "suck mode" consists of trying to pitch through an injury, then going on the DL, then pitching like crap a handful of times when he returns. Aside from that month, he'll be fine.
   116. greenback calls it soccer Posted: January 16, 2008 at 04:58 AM (#2669383)
Has Tony Granadillo landed somewhere yet?
   117. 1k5v3L Posted: January 16, 2008 at 05:02 AM (#2669386)
See Dan, we Dbacks fans will be a lot nicer to you when the Dbacks projections are out--and I know they'll make the Dbacks look like low A hitters compared to the Red Sox lineup...

If there is God, the Red Sox hitters will suck a dry bone next year and the team will finish 3rd in the AL East.
   118. 1k5v3L Posted: January 16, 2008 at 05:03 AM (#2669387)
128: My question too. I heard he wanted insane amounts of money to sign a minor league deal.
   119. Josh Posted: January 16, 2008 at 05:56 AM (#2669405)
He resigned with the Red Sox.
   120. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 16, 2008 at 06:28 AM (#2669419)
Btw, how does Mike TImlin still to project to "not suck"?
Mike Timlin's ERA+ with the Red Sox: 131, 118, 202, 109, 139

He projects to not suck because he has yet to suck, for any of his five seasons with the Sox.
   121. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2008 at 07:47 AM (#2669441)
He projects to not suck because he has yet to suck, for any of his five seasons with the Sox.

Tell that to Mike Lowell! :-)

Actually, pre-comp ZiPS had more severe aging curves for mid-30s players. Aging curves by player type has helped keep star mid-30s players from having ugly projections in general.

Hmmm... but you are projecting a drop for Lowell of, I think, about 7% in OPS vs. a straight projection which would be pretty substantial for a "typical" drop suggesting that even really good players (850 OPS) go to kinda sucky (740 OPS) in 2 years to useless in one more year. Two points: you didn't say Lowell was typical and, of course, lots of players in this age group have gone from really good to useless in 2-3 years.

But ... pre-comps, the age adjustment presumably was estimated as the average across all players. You're saying with comps that the top players don't decline as fast as the old projections (depending on player type) ... which means that other groups have to be declining faster than the old projections. Granted, given the latter group is probably larger than the first (though not as much as we might intuitively think given you have to be pretty good to make it to 30), those comp-based declines for the "sucky" group probably aren't that much larger than pre-comps.

So now I'm asking if Lowell is projected to decline more than the typical 34 y.o? And is there anything particular about Manny that would have him decline more than we might think an elite hitter would? (who are Manny's comps anyway ... or is that answered above somewhere?)
   122. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 16, 2008 at 08:11 AM (#2669446)

So now I'm asking if Lowell is projected to decline more than the typical 34 y.o?


Yes. Remember the BABIP issues in there, too, which is in addition to the decline. ZiPS doesn't see Lowell's 2007 as a "real" 377/501 year, so it's declining Lowell from a lower point.

So now I'm asking if Lowell is projected to decline more than the typical 34 y.o? And is there anything particular about Manny that would have him decline more than we might think an elite hitter would? (who are Manny's comps anyway ... or is that answered above somewhere?)

Manny's 15 best comps (remember, these are recent year comps, not entire careers!):

Frank Howard
Sid Gordon
Gene Woodling
Indian Bob Johnson
Minnie Minoso
Ken Singleton
Lonnie Smith
Frank Robinson
Moises Alou
Sammmy Sosa
Al Kaline
Jeff Bagwell
Monte Irvin
Joe Adcock
Roy Sievers
   123. RollingWave Posted: January 16, 2008 at 12:33 PM (#2669465)
Here's a question Dan, do you run these projections to predict win / loss records ? I can tell this is a awsome team but i can't really tell if it's better than the Yankees in general. in which at least projection wise clearly out hit the Red Sox by a mile.
   124. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:44 PM (#2669471)
I'm adding these questions to the FAQ, hopefully they address a few things:

A couple more questions/answers I'm adding.

Q: ZOMG! ZiPS are so pessimistic! Why do you hate America?

A: ZiPS is historically in the middle-of-the-pack on the positive/negative spectrum. In the most reason season, according to BP's Nate Silver, the group of projected hitters with 250 PA collectively had an OPS of .777 in real-life and ZiPS projected that group to have a .783. The group of projected pitchers with 50 IP combined had a 4.27 ERA in real-life and ZiPS projected that group to have a 4.33 ERA.

Q: Does this mean that the average ZiPS projection was off by only 6 points of OPS and .06 points of ERA?

A: No, it's just measuring if ZiPS has a tendency to be to pessimistic or optimistic. When you take into account the part of the discrepancy explained by the fact that overall offense was slightly higher than ZiPS projected, ZiPS overall was too optimistic on batters by 4 points of OPS and 0.04 runs per game too pessimistic on pitchers in 2007. If my standard error for pitcher projections was really 0.04 runs per game, I'd be wealthy enough to have mountains of blow that I could snort off Google shares of stock.

Q: What about the variances? Maybe ZiPS had wilder swings than other systems?

A: Again according to Nate, for 2007, ZiPS was 4th of the 8 projection systems in pitcher projection variance and tied for 4th of 8 in hitter projection variance, suggesting that ZiPS is smack-dab in the middle for the variance of the individual projections.
   125. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 16, 2008 at 01:55 PM (#2669472)
Here's a question Dan, do you run these projections to predict win / loss records ?

That's not really the primary purpose, but it's interesting. I don't run win/losses from ZiPS per se, but SG over at the replacement level runs 1000 seasons of DMB with each projection system before the start of the season, which I consider to be the "official" ZiPS win projections.

I can tell this is a awsome team but i can't really tell if it's better than the Yankees in general. in which at least projection wise clearly out hit the Red Sox by a mile.

The Yankees do have better projections for their starting lineup, but one has to remember that a pretty good chunk of a team's plate appearances will be taken by players that aren't considered one of the starting nine. For both hitting and pitching, the Red Sox are better equipped to handle unfortunate happenings than pretty much any team in baseball.
   126. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2008 at 04:40 PM (#2669562)
I am assuming that you would think that if Ortiz had missed 20 or 30 games in the past couple of seasons, it would be "about time" for him to play a complete season. Gotta love that logic.


KWarren-

Actually, the logic is that Ortiz is a heavy guy that runs pretty hard on the base paths and (as you apparently don't follow baseball), struggled with knee problems last year and had surgery soon after the season ended. So it's a matter of when, not if, he starts to miss some time, and I just think this year might be the year. I hope not, though.

Never seen you post before, but way to bring the obnoxious! Keep up the good work.
   127. Valentine Posted: January 16, 2008 at 06:08 PM (#2669677)
He hit .288 last year in a division with Halladay, Bedard, Wang, and Mussina. He is only getting better.

Remember that Youkilis was older than most rookies. Imagine he'll probably peak between the ages of 32-35. The Red Sox had better lock him up long term before his price skyrockets!
   128. Valentine Posted: January 16, 2008 at 06:13 PM (#2669688)
Dan, here's a simple projection system to keep everybody happy.

(1) Calculate career BA, the average of the past three seasons, and the previous season line. Take the maximum of these three and use it as your baseline. Repeat for OBP and SLG.

(2) Subtract 0.010 from each result for players over the age of 40, since they've clearly peaked. Add 0.020 for anybody under the age of 30, since they are still improving.

(3) Add an extra 0.030 for players from major markets, since their fans are the biggest whiners.

Or you could just keep doing what you have been, trying to get the numbers RIGHT. I'm hoping that ZiPS is overly pessimistic on JD Drew, but I can see where it is coming from...
   129. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2008 at 07:08 PM (#2669753)
Q: ZOMG! ZiPS are so pessimistic! Why do you hate America?

A: ZiPS is historically in the middle-of-the-pack on the positive/negative spectrum.


So you're saying all the projection systems hate America.
   130. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2008 at 07:10 PM (#2669758)
Dan, here's a simple projection system to keep everybody happy.

Or, simpler, just relabel the optimistic/mean/pessimistic lines to: "if you like this player"/"if you don't care about this player"/"if you hate this player"
   131. pancakehead Posted: January 16, 2008 at 10:29 PM (#2669950)
Dan, do you really expect Abe Alveraz to come up for the Sox and lose 10 games, or is that in the minors?
   132. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 16, 2008 at 10:38 PM (#2669956)
Dan, do you really expect Abe Alveraz to come up for the Sox and lose 10 games, or is that in the minors?

Assuming you aren't trolling, I'll just copy what is stated *right below the projections themselves*


Disclaimer: ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance.
Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors -
many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2008.
ZiPS is projecting equivalent production - a .240 ZiPS projection may end up
being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example. Whether or not a player will play
is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting
the future.
   133. 1k5v3L Posted: January 16, 2008 at 10:46 PM (#2669964)
Dan, long time fan of your work.

Are you saying that the Red Sox will bring up Lars Anderson, Ryan Kalish and Brandon Moss, watch each of them post OPS of .850 or higher in 400+ at bats per, then trade Manny in August for Johan Santana, Joe Nathan and Frankie Liriano--and still lose the AL East by 5 games? Don't you think that's really a very pessimistic view of the Red Sox future? Why don't you check your prejudices at the door?
   134. Darren Posted: January 17, 2008 at 02:11 AM (#2670130)
Looks like JD Drew the short straw. Har har har. I'm guessing that the reason that he comes out so badly is because guys who get hurt as often as he does probably tend to not have much of a body left at age 32. Drew seems to be in reasonably good health so maybe he'll be better. If he's not, that's one hell of a terrible contract.

I like the look of Lester and Buchholz. In fact, all the pitchers look pretty decent. Even that Papelbon guy and his straight fastball! :)
   135. Valentine Posted: January 17, 2008 at 03:02 AM (#2670140)
Even that Papelbon guy and his straight fastball! :)

I hear his third pitch still needs some work. Does he have any options left? Maybe we can send him back to Pawtucket for some seasoning?
   136. tfbg9 Posted: January 17, 2008 at 03:10 AM (#2670146)
He hit .288 last year in a division with Halladay, Bedard, Wang, and Mussina. He is only getting better.


If think he was hitting like crazy into May, until everybody kinda decided to just start hitting him with pitches, since he seems to be pretty easy to both dislike and nail with the ball, AFAICT.
   137. Mister High Standards Posted: January 17, 2008 at 03:15 AM (#2670152)
Even that Papelbon guy and his straight fastball! :)


glad i was wrong about that one.
   138. tfbg9 Posted: January 17, 2008 at 03:17 AM (#2670155)
Even that Papelbon guy and his straight fastball!


Crackitty Jones, with the worst TV watching observation-based evaluation in the proud history of BTF. Breathtakingly wrong. Neville Chamberlain territory. Unmatched in horrible forecasting of a young pitcher.
   139. Darren Posted: January 17, 2008 at 03:17 AM (#2670156)
When the Red Sox were trying to re-sign Lowell, I was fond of saying that I thought he had really learned to go the other way in 2007 and had turned a corner. Then the other day I looked back at something from 2006 where I was saying the same thing about him. Apparently he's been pretty good at it for a while and it doesn't explain his big surge in 07.

Coming into 07 I had him pegged for something like 340/440. Given his great year in 07 and being a year older, I'd give him something around that for 08 as well, maybe a hair better.

Dan, if you're not sick people questioning your projections, I'm curious how you arrived at the poor rating for Ortiz at 1B (not that I'm disagreeing, there just seems to be very little data on it). Also, I'd like to know about the fair rating for Carter at 1B. Thanks.
   140. tfbg9 Posted: January 17, 2008 at 03:19 AM (#2670157)
I like the look of Lester and Buchholz.


Yeah might be fun year for us, if that moron Tito can handle these kids. :)
   141. Darren Posted: January 17, 2008 at 03:19 AM (#2670160)
Was it just Crackity? I remember a lot of people saying it. I don't bring it up as a gotcha, just for laughs.
   142. tfbg9 Posted: January 17, 2008 at 03:24 AM (#2670163)
Crackity was the guy who harped on the "straight" heater, in a game thread, IIRC, all bitter after his once great frachise dropped another to their dormats of by-gone years.
   143. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 17, 2008 at 03:47 AM (#2670173)
Dan, if you're not sick people questioning your projections, I'm curious how you arrived at the poor rating for Ortiz at 1B (not that I'm disagreeing, there just seems to be very little data on it). Also, I'd like to know about the fair rating for Carter at 1B. Thanks.

This issue is mostly related to the DMB disk. Looking at SG's historical LWZR data (I only started doing a spreadsheet of my own after Dial's big writeup-tweaking in 2004), Ortiz used to be -10/162 G at best.

I try to keep a general policy on rating players, mainly for use of the DMB disk. When a player doesn't play a harder position much, I'll generally ding him one fielding level each year starting the second year and increase the error rate slightly. If a player doesn't play a position at all, I'll generally ding him one fielding level a year immediately and also increase the error rate slightly. Now, if the position that the player isn't playing at all is an easier position, I won't ding it farther than his rating at the tougher position, though I still up the error total slightly.

A lot of this is practical and backed up with some amazingly dull research I did some time ago on fielder aging. Fielder aging is kinda boring - it's a simple slight uptick until the mid 20s and then a pretty steady, straight line down. Sort of like standing on the top of a sliding board and tossing a ball gently up so that it lands and goes down the slide.

Just a quick example. There are some things that need to be done for the sake of a disk that is used to play a game.

Crisp played 138 games in left in 2005. He hasn't played a single game in left since. At the time, I had him as EX in left for 2006. And had him as EX/AV for 2006, speculating he'd be average in center based on his play in left. My policy wasn't as fully formed last year, so I moved him to EX/PR for 2007. But what I would have done last year if I could do it again would be rate him VG/FR for LF/CF. And after an amazing 2007, I pushed his CF up to VG, which would keep the LF dropping, making the ratings VG/VG.

If I'm just doing a straight projection for defense, I don't have to bother with a leftfield projection for Crisp. But since I'm doing a game disk, I have to make extra decisions that A) enable real-life usage but B) avoid fantasy-life loopholes. It's realistic that if Manny had a horrible injury, Crisp would see some time in left. It would also be realistic, if, Mike Bordick had been injured terribly, the Orioles would have considered moving Ripken back to short temporarily.

However, I also need to avoid situations in which I do projections for, say, the 1999 Indians and someone decides to play the game and bench Fryman and move a much-bulkier Thome back to third and play Sexson at first. Or move Josh Phelps back to catcher. Same goes with pitching. I did that projection for Papelbon as a reliever. Theoretically, he could start. But I don't want to give people a disk where, without changing anything, people could throw Papelbon on the mound and watch him go 26-3, 1.57.

The DMB disk isn't just an afterthought - I really try to give people a player set that they can actually play games and play different scenarios with.
   144. Darren Posted: January 17, 2008 at 04:00 AM (#2670179)
Good stuff. Thanks Dan.

I see the logic behind your OF ratings, but I don't think I agree with some of it. Don't good CFers almost always make great LF? Why would Coco go from being an EX LF to being only VG at the same time he went from being a PR CF to being a VG one? Wouldn't it make more sense to leave him as EX in LF.

And that's not just for Coco either. It seems that for the vast majority of players, they tend to play all of the OF positions about equally after a brief adjustment. An EX LF usually becomes a VG CF; a VG RF usually becomes an AV CF (the change relating to the competition they're being judged against rather than a change in skills). Arm, of course, tips the scales in some cases, but not by all that much.

Have you found that there are guys who have shown over reasonable size samples to be able to say, be a better CF than LF? If so, is it prevalent?
   145. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 17, 2008 at 06:02 AM (#2670212)
I see the logic behind your OF ratings, but I don't think I agree with some of it. Don't good CFers almost always make great LF? Why would Coco go from being an EX LF to being only VG at the same time he went from being a PR CF to being a VG one? Wouldn't it make more sense to leave him as EX in LF.

I'm extremely stingy with EX ratings. I've given out 4 EX ratings in LF and I'm too conservative to give another EX rating to a guy who hasn't played the position for 2 seasons. I've only given out 15 *total* EX ratings and 20% of them are Endy Chavez.
   146. alskor Posted: January 17, 2008 at 08:00 AM (#2670247)
Manny's 15 best comps (remember, these are recent year comps, not entire careers!):

Frank Howard
Sid Gordon
Gene Woodling
Indian Bob Johnson
Minnie Minoso
Ken Singleton
...


I think you mean "Native American Bob Johnson," Dan. Tisk, tisk.
   147. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 18, 2008 at 04:45 PM (#2671170)
I am disappointed that nobody picked up the Cat's Cradle reference. If you can't find my references, you guys are doomed when Repoz is involved!
   148. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 18, 2008 at 05:17 PM (#2671193)
It was kind of buried, Dan - I didn't even see it. If he'd been a Red Sox, I'd follow with a call to Berraism.
   149. xeifrank Posted: January 20, 2008 at 06:27 AM (#2672301)
Dan,
Please update your team ZIPS links within the team ZIPS page. Rockies, Indians, Reds and White Sox have no links.
Thanks. This is a big help.
vr, Xei
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