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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, January 31, 2009

2009 ZiPS Projections - Boston Red Sox

For my money, this is still the team to beat in baseball.  While the Red Sox can’t match Tampa’s massive stable of young pitching, the team is probably the deepest in baseball overall.

Some of the depth will be harder to keep around long-term as the players aren’t young and a lot of the pitchers, like Smoltz and Penny, are fliers on pitchers with injury concerns, but there aren’t many things that could happen that could really kill Boston’s chances in 2009.  Even Ortiz “going Hafner” is something the team could survive.  Not much else to say; this team is a known commodity and there really aren’t a lot of open questions.

As an aside, I’ve started a ZiPS Facebook Group for those that want to get raw projections quicker before the reports are ready for prime time here.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
CATCHERS
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ THR

AVERAGE
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
George Kottaras*      c   26 .256 .336 .417 131 465 62 119 33 0 14 62 55 117 1 1   93 Fr
Josh Bard#          c   31 .263 .342 .385 88 262 27 69 17 0 5 34 31 48 0 0   88 Pr

FAIR
Jason Varitek#        c   37 .231 .328 .382 123 411 44 95 18 1 14 52 54 114 1 2   82 Fr
Dusty Brown         c   26 .253 .317 .395 85 304 34 77 17 1 8 42 27 75 1 1   82 Fr

POOR
Mark Wagner         c   25 .235 .297 .374 103 388 41 91 27 0 9 49 32 72 1 1   72 Vg
Luis Exposito         c   22 .234 .258 .384 117 479 46 112 19 1 17 57 14 129 1 3   63 Av

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
FIRST BASEMEN
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

EXCELLENT
David Ortiz*        dh 33 .286 .395 .562 135 507 96 145 36 1 34 109 91 98 2 0 143 Pr

VERY GOOD
Kevin Youkilis       1b 30 .288 .383 .476 146 534 88 154 39 2 19 89 74 111 3 3 120 Av

FAIR
Chris Carter*        1b 26 .288 .343 .472 142 545 72 157 33 2 21 86 45 85 3 1 107 Pr
Jeff Bailey         1b 30 .269 .356 .448 131 458 68 123 27 2 17 65 54 106 4 3 106 Av

POOR
Mark Kotsay*        cf 33 .275 .332 .394 94 360 47 99 24 2 5 50 30 39 3 3   86 Av
Lars Anderson*        1b 21 .250 .319 .393 141 557 65 139 33 1 15 74 56 150 3 3   82 Fr
Keith Ginter         2b 33 .251 .328 .372 113 411 45 103 23 0 9 55 40 76 3 1   80 Av
Gil Velazquez         ss 29 .253 .298 .348 73 233 33 59 11 1 3 26 13 46 2 1   66 Vg

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
SECOND BASEMEN
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

EXCELLENT
Dustin Pedroia       2b 25 .307 .367 .467 147 584 101 179 45 2 15 90 51 47 12 1 113 Vg

FAIR
Jed Lowrie#          ss 25 .257 .337 .395 121 443 58 114 34 3 7 61 55 91 3 2   88 Av
Julio Lugo           ss 33 .266 .338 .391 111 399 54 106 24 1 8 42 41 79 21 6   84 Av

POOR
Keith Ginter         2b 33 .251 .328 .372 113 411 45 103 23 0 9 55 40 76 3 1   80 Fr
Nick Green           ss 30 .254 .299 .405 110 370 45 94 18 1 12 48 21 98 4 3   79 Fr
Ivan Ochoa#          ss 26 .262 .321 .346 100 324 45 85 14 2 3 26 23 68 11 7   72 Av
Gil Velazquez         ss 29 .253 .298 .348 73 233 33 59 11 1 3 26 13 46 2 1   66 Fr
Angel Sanchez         ss 25 .254 .300 .327 128 496 70 126 23 2 3 43 30 72 5 6   62 Vg
Yamaico Navarro       ss 21 .229 .267 .321 101 414 40 95 15 1 7 43 19 105 6 5   51 Av

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
THIRD BASEMEN
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

VERY GOOD
Kevin Youkilis       1b 30 .288 .383 .476 146 534 88 154 39 2 19 89 74 111 3 3 120 Av

AVERAGE
Mike Lowell         3b 35 .283 .345 .449 136 508 67 144 34 1 16 83 46 64 3 2 103 Vg
———————————————————————————————————————————————————

FAIR
Jed Lowrie#          ss 25 .257 .337 .395 121 443 58 114 34 3 7 61 55 91 3 2   88 Av

POOR
Julio Lugo           ss 33 .266 .338 .391 111 399 54 106 24 1 8 42 41 79 21 6   84 Av
Keith Ginter         2b 33 .251 .328 .372 113 411 45 103 23 0 9 55 40 76 3 1   80 Av
Nick Green           ss 30 .254 .299 .405 110 370 45 94 18 1 12 48 21 98 4 3   79 Fr
Gil Velazquez         ss 29 .253 .298 .348 73 233 33 59 11 1 3 26 13 46 2 1   66 Vg
Yamaico Navarro       ss 21 .229 .267 .321 101 414 40 95 15 1 7 43 19 105 6 5   51 Av

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
SHORTSTOPS
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

AVERAGE
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Jed Lowrie#          ss 25 .257 .337 .395 121 443 58 114 34 3 7 61 55 91 3 2   88 Av

FAIR
Julio Lugo           ss 33 .266 .338 .391 111 399 54 106 24 1 8 42 41 79 21 6   84 Av
Keith Ginter         2b 33 .251 .328 .372 113 411 45 103 23 0 9 55 40 76 3 1   80 Pr
Nick Green           ss 30 .254 .299 .405 110 370 45 94 18 1 12 48 21 98 4 3   79 Fr

POOR
Ivan Ochoa#          ss 26 .262 .321 .346 100 324 45 85 14 2 3 26 23 68 11 7   72 Av
Gil Velazquez         ss 29 .253 .298 .348 73 233 33 59 11 1 3 26 13 46 2 1   66 Fr
Angel Sanchez         ss 25 .254 .300 .327 128 496 70 126 23 2 3 43 30 72 5 6   62 Vg
Yamaico Navarro       ss 21 .229 .267 .321 101 414 40 95 15 1 7 43 19 105 6 5   51 Av
Argenis Diaz         ss 22 .226 .263 .290 104 403 38 91 16 2 2 32 20 98 3 6   43 Vg

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
CORNER OUTFIELDERS
————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+  LF RF

VERY GOOD
Jason Bay           lf 30 .278 .375 .510 154 590 115 164 38 3 31 124 89 154 9 1 125 Pr  
J.D. Drew*          rf 33 .277 .388 .474 102 346 65 96 23 3 13 57 62 72 2 1 121     Av

AVERAGE
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Chris Carter*        1b 26 .288 .343 .472 142 545 72 157 33 2 21 86 45 85 3 1 107 Pr  
Jeff Bailey         1b 30 .269 .356 .448 131 458 68 123 27 2 17 65 54 106 4 3 106 Fr Fr
Rocco Baldelli       cf 27 .277 .338 .482 40 141 22 39 9 1 6 22   9 32 3 1 108 Av Av

FAIR
Jacoby Ellsbury*      cf 25 .287 .345 .403 139 541 88 155 24 6 9 53 43 75 45 11   92 Vg Vg

POOR
Jon Van Every*        cf 29 .239 .319 .438 115 372 55 89 19 2 17 51 40 145 5 3   93 Av Av
Mark Kotsay*        cf 33 .275 .332 .394 94 360 47 99 24 2 5 50 30 39 3 3   86     Vg
Nick Green           ss 30 .254 .299 .405 110 370 45 94 18 1 12 48 21 98 4 3   79 Fr Fr
Josh Reddick*        rf 22 .248 .280 .397 118 471 54 117 16 3 16 63 21 92 10 4   72 Av Av
Gil Velazquez         ss 29 .253 .298 .348 73 233 33 59 11 1 3 26 13 46 2 1   66 Av  

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
CENTERFIELDERS
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

VERY GOOD
Rocco Baldelli       cf 27 .277 .338 .482 40 141 22 39 9 1 6 22   9 32 3 1 108 Av

AVERAGE
Jacoby Ellsbury*      cf 25 .287 .345 .403 139 541 88 155 24 6 9 53 43 75 45 11   92 Av
———————————————————————————————————————————————————

FAIR
Jon Van Every*        cf 29 .239 .319 .438 115 372 55 89 19 2 17 51 40 145 5 3   93 Fr
Mark Kotsay*        cf 33 .275 .332 .394 94 360 47 99 24 2 5 50 30 39 3 3   86 Fr

POOR
Nick Green           ss 30 .254 .299 .405 110 370 45 94 18 1 12 48 21 98 4 3   79 Pr
Josh Reddick*        rf 22 .248 .280 .397 118 471 54 117 16 3 16 63 21 92 10 4   72 Fr

* - Bats Left
# - Switch Hitter

—————————————————————————————————————————————
STARTERS
—————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K ERA+

TOP THIRD
John Smoltz           42   3.70   9   5 20 19   116.2 116   48 11   29 102 126
Daisuke Matsuzaka       28   3.79 14   9 30 30   178.0 157   75 17   87 176 124
Josh Beckett         29   3.97 14 10 29 29   183.2 178   81 22   45 171 118
Jon Lester*          25   4.09 10   7 27 27   156.1 159   71 13   63 109 114
Justin Masterson       24   4.15 10   8 39 22   138.2 138   64 13   55   85 113

MIDDLE THIRD
Clay Buchholz         24   4.48   8   8 28 27   136.2 140   68 15   50 111 104
Michael Bowden         22   4.49   9   8 24 23   122.1 132   61 14   35   72 104
Brad Penny           31   4.81   9 10 26 25   144.0 161   77 14   55   81   97
—————————————————————————————————————————————
Tim Wakefield         42   5.04 10 13 26 26   153.2 159   86 25   57 100   92
Devern Hansack         31   5.07   7   9 26 22   126.0 139   71 19   41   75   93
Enrique Gonzalez       26   5.11   7   8 33 20   130.1 145   74 14   58   74   92

BOTTOM THIRD
Paul Byrd           38   5.30   9 13 28 28   169.2 206 100 31   31   74   88
Charlie Zink         29   5.55   7 11 25 23   136.1 157   84 17   67   56   84
Felix Doubront*        21   5.70   7 12 22 22   101.0 121   64 17   33   47   82

—————————————————————————————————————————————
RELIEVERS
—————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K ERA+

TOP THIRD
Jon Papelbon         28   2.51   6   1 64   0   64.2   52   18   5   12   68 190
Takashi Saito         39   2.63   6   1 54   0   54.2   44   16   3   17   61 175
Hideki Okajima*        33   3.25   4   1 63   0   61.0   53   22   6   21   59 144
Manny Delcarmen       27   3.43   3   1 61   0   65.2   57   25   4   25   62 137

MIDDLE THIRD
Javier Lopez*        31   3.81   2   2 70   0   59.0   59   25   4   26   37 123
Ramon Ramirez         27   3.95   3   2 56   0   54.2   52   24   3   25   45 118
Daniel Bard           24   4.27   3   3 48   0   71.2   66   34   9   35   62 109
—————————————————————————————————————————————
Wes Littleton         26   4.42   4   4 58   0   75.1   75   37   8   31   48 106
Hunter Jones*        25   4.48   5   4 38   1   70.1   75   35   7   23   42 105
Randor Bierd         25   4.67   2   2 35   2   52.0   55   27   5   24   35   99

BOTTOM THIRD
Mike Timlin           43   5.01   3   4 55   0   55.2   62   31   8   18   30   94
Billy Traber*        29   5.08   4   4 38   9   78.0   89   44 10   24   42   93
Richard Lentz         24   5.60   3   4 40   0   62.2   62   39   9   52   52   84
Fernando Cabrera       27   5.74   2   2 37   0   47.0   48   30 10   29   48   81
Marcus McBeth         28   5.87   2   3 44   0   46.0   49   30 10   23   36   80

* - Throws Left
——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Jed Lowrie
            AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+
Projection     .257 .337 .395 121 443 58 114 34 3 7 61 55 91 3 2   88

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps:  Roy Smalley III, Kurt Stillwell, Mark Koenig

ODDIBE

Offense     %
Top Quintile   13
2nd Quintile   19
Mid Quintile   25
4th Quintile   24
Low Quintile   19

OPS+        %    OBP   %    3B     %    Hits   %
160+        1     .400+  1     10+    1     200+  0
140+        2     .375+  8     5+    26     150+  0
130+        3     .350+  31
120+        5     .325+  67     2B     %
110+        13     .300+  93     45+    10
100+        27               30+    70
90+        48
80+        70
60+        86

BA         %    SLG   %    HR     %    SB     %
.350+      0     .550+  2     50+    0     70+    0
.325+      1     .500+  3     40+    1     50+    0
.300+      4     .450+  9     30+    1     30+    0
.275+      23     .400+  45     20+    3     10+    9
.250+      63     .350+  89     10+    21

(Based on Projected PA)
——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Jacoby Ellsbury
            AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+
Projection     .287 .345 .403 139 541 88 155 24 6 9 53 43 75 45 11   92

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps:  Johnny Damon, Lance Johnson, Mel Almada

ODDIBE

Offense     %
Top Quintile   13
2nd Quintile   14
Mid Quintile   27
4th Quintile   26
Low Quintile   20

OPS+        %    OBP   %    3B     %    Hits   %
160+        0     .400+  2     10+    10     200+  0
140+        1     .375+  11     5+    58     150+  66
130+        3     .350+  41
120+        6     .325+  80     2B     %
110+        15     .300+  97     45+    1
100+        29               30+    18
90+        53
80+        77
60+        92

BA         %    SLG   %    HR     %    SB     %
.350+      0     .550+  1     50+    0     70+    4
.325+      5     .500+  4     40+    0     50+    36
.300+      27     .450+  12     30+    1     30+    89
.275+      70     .400+  42     20+    5     10+    100
.250+      96     .350+  91     10+    34

(Based on Projected PA)
——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Jon Lester
              ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Projection       4.09 10   7 27 27 156.1 159   71 13   63 109   114

Top Near-Age Comps:  Jerry Reuss, Randy Wolf, Britt Burns

ODDIBE

ERA   %
Top 1/3 30
Mid 1/3 63
Bot 1/3 7

ERA+  %    BB     %
>150   5     >26   0
>140   11     >35   0
>130   20     >43   3
>120   41     >52   18
>110   64     >61   49
>100   85     >70   78
>90   97
>80   100   HR     %
>70   100   >12   50
          >17   83
K/9   %    >23   97
>156   1     >28   99
>139   5
>122   19
>104   570+    100
.250+      96     .350+  91     10+    34

(Based on Projected IP)
——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Josh Beckett
              ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Projection       3.97 14 10 29 29 183.2 178   81 22   45 171   118

Top Near-Age Comps:  Ben Sheets, Aaron Harang, Curt Schilling

ODDIBE

ERA   %
Top 1/3 39
Mid 1/3 56
Bot 1/3 5

ERA+  %    BB     %
>150   7     >31   5
>140   15     >41   36
>130   29     >51   80
>120   49     >61   97
>110   74     >71   100
>100   90     >82   100
>90   98
>80   100   HR     %
>70   100   >14   11
          >20   44
K/9   %    >27   81
>184   26     >33   95
>163   62
>143   90
>123   99

(Based on Projected IP)
——————————————————————-

ODDIBE (Odds of Important Baseball Events)

OPS+ 140+

Ortiz     56
Bay     31
Carter   23

OBP .400+

Ortiz     44
Drew     37
Pedroia   29

SLG .550+

Ortiz     54
Bay     26
Carter   10

BA .325+

Pedroia   45
Ortiz     10
Youkilis   7

2B 45+

Pedroia   52
Youkilis   26
Bay     22

3B 10+

Ellsbury   10
Lowrie     1
Drew     1

HR 30+

Ortiz     64
Bay     53
Carter     8

SB 50+

Ellsbury   36

ERA+ 140+

Papelbon   91
Saito     84
Okajima   56

K/9 9+

Saito     69
Papelbon   58
Okajima   38

BB/9 1.5-

Papelbon   48
Byrd     42
Smoltz     6

HR/9 0.7-

Lopez     83
Saito     82
Delcarmen 73

All figures in % based on projection playing time - Min. 300 PA/50 IP for inclusion

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 2009. 
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 4.44 ERA and the NL having a 4.38 ERA.

Players that are expected to be out due to injury are still projected.  More information
is always better than less information and a computer isn’t what should be projecting
the injury status of, for example, a pitcher with Tommy John surgery.

Positional offense is ranked by RC/27 and divided into quintiles based on what the
most frequent starting players at each position did in 2006-2008.  Excellent is the top
quintile, Very Good the 2nd quintile and so on. 

ZiPS Frequently Asked Questions

 

ZiPS 2009 Archive

Rays

Rangers

Pirates

Phillies

Padres

Orioles

Nationals

Mets

Marlins

Mariners

Indians

Giants

Dodgers

Diamondbacks

Cubs

Cardinals

Brewers

Braves

Blue Jays

A’s

Astros

Angels

Dan Szymborski Posted: January 31, 2009 at 06:24 PM | 75 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Repoz Posted: January 31, 2009 at 06:43 PM (#3065021)
Smoltz!
   2. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 31, 2009 at 07:34 PM (#3065037)
If there's one constant plus with the Red Sox FO, it's that they always acquire tons of depth. That's an outstanding pitching staff.

Dan, does ZiPs account in anyway for Wakefield being a knuckleballer? I realize that a) his being a knuckleballer does not necessarily significantly reduce his chances of collapsing at this age and b) pitchers his age have so few comps anyway - I'm just curious more than anything. Thanks.
   3. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 31, 2009 at 07:41 PM (#3065042)
Catchers out-hit centerfielders as a group?
   4. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 31, 2009 at 07:43 PM (#3065043)
Catchers out-hit centerfielders as a group?

No. You're forgetting that Ellsbury's SB/CS isn't contained in OPS+. If he didn't have that 45/11, he'd be comfortably below-average.
   5. John DiFool2 Posted: January 31, 2009 at 07:44 PM (#3065045)
I'll take the over on:

Jed (why does Kottaras have 21 points of OPS on Jed when the former never has cleared 850 above A-ball, and Jed has twice?)
Ells (should hit around .300 this year now that's he figured out the league)
Beckett (see DIPS era)
Clay (tho not by much)
Pedroia (still think he's got some more developing to do, and his BA over the past two years is 10 points higher than the projection anyway)
Lester (ditto)
Papelbon (whose ERA last year only cleared 2.00 because of a poor final regular season outing)

Unders:

Kottaras (that does not mean he shouldn't be Tek's platoon buddy however, and he should still hit some)
Lowell (also in terms of playing time)
Bowden (if he gets a 50+ inning shot-gotta learn the hard way just like Clay did)
Dice-K (his kind of pitching style and the risks he takes can easily blow up on him in a hurry)
Lugo
Papi, tho I hate to say it
   6. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 31, 2009 at 07:50 PM (#3065048)
Dan, does ZiPs account in anyway for Wakefield being a knuckleballer? I realize that a) his being a knuckleballer does not necessarily significantly reduce his chances of collapsing at this age and b) pitchers his age have so few comps anyway - I'm just curious more than anything. Thanks.

Yes, there's a dummy variable for knuckleballer built in. As a non-knuckleballer, Wakefield drops to 5.33.

The rate of decline doesn't really get all that much higher in the 40s than the late 30s, it's mostly that a 42-year-old has more years of that decline than a 38-year-old.
   7. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 31, 2009 at 08:03 PM (#3065054)
My god, that's a lot of good pitchers.

I feel like it was in the BoSox ZiPS thread last year that there was a blowup in which the lateunlemented kevin asserted that it was ridiculous that ZiPS would project Ortiz to be worse in 2008 than he was in 2007, based on the evidence that "every full season has been better than the previous full season". As a non-participant, I thought it was pretty funny. I always had a non-engagement policy with kevin. I wish I'd told him what I thought of him just once before he bolted. Ah, well. The road not taken.
   8. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 31, 2009 at 08:13 PM (#3065060)
No. You're forgetting that Ellsbury's SB/CS isn't contained in OPS+. If he didn't have that 45/11, he'd be comfortably below-average.

Thanks, Dan. I (obviously) hadn't thought of that.
   9. alskor Posted: January 31, 2009 at 08:24 PM (#3065063)
I understand Drew is an injury risk, but 102 Games, 346 ABs...?
   10. Davo Dozier Posted: January 31, 2009 at 08:26 PM (#3065065)
Is Paul Byrd actually still on the team? I can't remember.
   11. RJ in TO Posted: January 31, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3065067)
I understand Drew is an injury risk, but 102 Games, 346 ABs...?


109 games last year, and he's not getting any younger. With all his injuries, including the herniated disc, would it really be that surprising if he dropped to that many games or less?
   12. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 31, 2009 at 08:41 PM (#3065071)
Byrd's apparently planning to sit out half the year. His last team was the Red Sox, so that's where he goes for now.

When the projection disk comes out in a couple of weeks, he'll be a free agent.
   13. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 31, 2009 at 08:52 PM (#3065076)
Did Pedroia's odds of hitting .325 go missing? Seems like he should easily have the highest chance on the team.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: January 31, 2009 at 09:12 PM (#3065081)
The only substantial risk is age/injury. The starting staff looks great ... but then there's a pretty good chance they get 0 innings from Penny/Smoltz or 100 really bad innings. A Lowell injury/collapse with an Ortiz injury/collapse would be fairly devastating I think. That would be bad luck but not unbelievably so.

Also, I'm in a geeky mood this morning but Lowrie/Lugo?

Lowrie 337/395 = 88 OPS+
Lugo 338/391 = 84 OPS+

2 equations, 2 unknowns and I get a LgSLG of 113 and a LgOBP of -210. Now that's one hell of a pitcher's park!

(Applying last year's LgSLG and LgOBP to those projections and I get 88.2 for Lowrie and 87.57 for Lugo)
   15. Darren Posted: January 31, 2009 at 09:22 PM (#3065084)
The weird thing about the Lowrie/Lugo thing is that they are almost identical and one is average and one is fair.
   16. Darren Posted: January 31, 2009 at 09:25 PM (#3065087)
Also, how is Youk an average hitter at both 3B and 1B?
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 31, 2009 at 09:44 PM (#3065105)
He's an average fielder and a very good hitter at both. I'm guessing that's just one of those things that happens when you tier it out - he just happens not to hit the cut-offs. Likewise with Lugo and Lowrie sitting right at the cutoff.

Projections look reasonable, and this team looks really freakin' good. Walt's absolutely right about the downside risk in Lowell and Papi, but there is also crazy good upside in the rotation.

I don't get how George Kottaras is projected to hit .256. He's hit .243 and .241 in AAA the last two years. I guess it must be some combination of age-related improvement and regression to the mean, but this seems to me to speak to the difficulties of projecting minor leaguers, who will differ qualitatively more widely than major leaguers do. I do not think George Kottaras is particularly comparable to the population of major league players in his ability to hit for average. I hope I'm wrong.
   18. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 31, 2009 at 09:55 PM (#3065108)
Actually, Vox, that wasn't Kevin, but pancakehead.
   19. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 31, 2009 at 10:00 PM (#3065111)
I didn't notice at the time, but Pedroia's listed as a 0% chance for everything under team.

Thanks for catching the OPS+ problem - I was calculating OPS+ on unrounded numbers and then presenting rounded numbers (for instance, the OPS+ is based on Lugo having 7.58 homers and Lowrie having 7.41 while the final SLG is based on Lugo having 8 homers and Lowrie 7).
   20. BKJohnny Posted: January 31, 2009 at 10:29 PM (#3065127)
I'm gonna rock the boat a bit.

Bostons pitching looks much less impressive according to these projections than than they seem to the naked eye. for example, if Dice K is the only starter in boston making 30 starts, it could be trouble. Yes, they do have pitching depth to spread the work around to, but theres a lot of innings left to pitch after the top 4 or 5 are done. and take a look at the ERA once you get past beckett and dice K. Buchholz is a nice player, but no star yet. penny is an unknown commodity, who could very well succeed, but I doubt he finishes much above average.

Honestly I hope these projections come true because I hate the sox, but I have to doubt it. I guess all I'm saying is that YOUR numbers don't match your outlook for this team, in my opinion. Not tryin to trash your system, just sayin
   21. Greg K Posted: January 31, 2009 at 10:32 PM (#3065128)
On the other hand the projection has 181 starts being made by pitcher better than league average.
That's pretty damn good.
   22. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 31, 2009 at 10:35 PM (#3065132)
He's an average fielder and a very good hitter at both. I'm guessing that's just one of those things that happens when you tier it out - he just happens not to hit the cut-offs. Likewise with Lugo and Lowrie sitting right at the cutoff.


Yup.

The ranked tiers are by offense. The last line shows the tier for defense.

I'm not a fan of mushing offense and defense into one comfy number in this context.

Based on starters in recent seasons, Youkilis is in the 77th percentile for 3B in offense (at the cusp of excellent) but in the 63rd percentile of starting 1B in offense.

Unfortunately, it's always hard to strike a balance between providing useful information and not providing confusing.
   23. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 31, 2009 at 10:39 PM (#3065133)

Bostons pitching looks much less impressive according to these projections than than they seem to the naked eye. for example, if Dice K is the only starter in boston making 30 starts, it could be trouble. Yes, they do have pitching depth to spread the work around to, but theres a lot of innings left to pitch after the top 4 or 5 are done. and take a look at the ERA once you get past beckett and dice K. Buchholz is a nice player, but no star yet. penny is an unknown commodity, who could very well succeed, but I doubt he finishes much above average.


Remember, though, ZiPS isn't really projecting usage and injuries other than past usage and age. Who plays how much isn't really a great question for a computer to answer. ZiPS can understand that J.D. Drew doesn't have a sterling record of health and is at an age where playing-time really starts to erode, but not specific "event" data.

I could probably make ZiPS playing-time a good deal more accurate with some human input, but I simply have philosophical objections to doing that.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: January 31, 2009 at 10:44 PM (#3065136)
take a look at the ERA once you get past beckett and dice K.

But that's exactly what makes them so strong. You go 11 starters deep before you start to hit replacement level -- and that's till the top end of replacement level. (Assuming Hansack and Gonzalez are still in the organization)

I'll trot it out again. The average team gets about 45 starts a year from a pitcher with an ERA+ of 85 or worse; about half of those come from a pitcher with an ERA+ of 75 or worse. 304 pitchers made at least one start last year.

Now, true, that stat is a bit misleading in that many of those pitchers were projected to be better than 85/75. But the fact that the Sox 6/7/8 starters (in terms of quality) are above-average starters is incredible.
   25. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 31, 2009 at 10:47 PM (#3065138)
I never would have guessed Chris Carter getting the third-highest odds of an OPS+ over 140, that's for sure.
   26. JB H Posted: January 31, 2009 at 11:12 PM (#3065148)
Pleasantly surprised that Bard projects to be a sorta useful part even though he's just one year away from being the worst pitcher ever
   27. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 31, 2009 at 11:21 PM (#3065154)
I didn't notice at the time, but Pedroia's listed as a 0% chance for everything under team.

Good catch, he has at least a 25% chance of doing everything.
   28. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 01, 2009 at 02:18 AM (#3065223)
Actually, Vox, that wasn't Kevin, but pancakehead.

My memory has failed me. I do believe pancakehead was the first person I ever put on ignore, though, probably right after that spat.

Anyway, in an attempt to add something constructive to the discussion, do we have any sense of whether Chris Carter will actually be able to play the outfield going forward? I seem to remember the whole LF experiment wasn't getting super-high marks last time I checked in on it.
   29. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: February 01, 2009 at 02:59 AM (#3065233)
Man, I wish "Y" wasn't so far back in the alphabet. I can't wait for the Yanks' ZiPS.
   30. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 01, 2009 at 03:35 AM (#3065239)
Dan - Does your system change the rate stats for Masterson if you figure him as a fulltime reliever? I think it is unlikely that he will function as a starter in 2009.
   31. PS is probably burning the candle from both ends Posted: February 01, 2009 at 04:47 AM (#3065258)
Dan published a spreadsheet to convert SP to RP and back, it does change the rate stats, and I assume he has that in ZiPS... you can download it here: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/oracle/discussion/start_relief_projection_toy_for_microsoft_excel/

Running it on Masterson, 4-3, 74 G, 0 GS, 79.7 IP, 73 H, 31 ER, 6 HR, 33 BB, 55 SO, 3.51 ERA
   32. alskor Posted: February 01, 2009 at 04:50 AM (#3065259)
109 games last year, and he's not getting any younger. With all his injuries, including the herniated disc, would it really be that surprising if he dropped to that many games or less?


Traditionally ZiPS hasnt really been that pessimistic with playing time, IIRC. For instance, Jeff Bailey's projection is 545 ABs. Chris Carter? 458 ABs. Even though we know these guys wont get those ABs, its usually fun to look at ZiPS and see what they could do over a full season. So if we're going to throw out actual projected ABs for Carter and Bailey why knock Drew down like that? It makes it a lot harder to eyeball what he would get if he had a full season. Typically, Im looking at ZiPS and trying to figure out how much I should discount a guy because I dont expect him to stay healthy. With Drew, its sort of the opposite. Not that I think its a lock he stays healthy...
   33. alskor Posted: February 01, 2009 at 05:00 AM (#3065261)
Man, I wish "Y" wasn't so far back in the alphabet. I can't wait for the Yanks' ZiPS.


If its anything like the Yankees PECOTA prepare for the board to go nuclear. PECOTA does not like the Yanks. Only Tex and ARod are projected for >.800 OPS. Cano and Jeter's projections are putrid. Cano: .284/.323/.419. Jeter: .288/.353/.383. Posada? .249/.336/.406!

I think way too little has been made of how mediocre the Yankee offense was last year. Fact is they desperately needed Teixeira.


Im still picking the Sox to win the East.
   34. Walt Davis Posted: February 01, 2009 at 05:55 AM (#3065277)
Posada? .249/.336/.406!

Well, that's reasonably in line with last year with the damage all coming to his BA with an improvement to his ISO relative to 2008. And I think that's still above-average for a C. I am surprised there's not more bounce back for Cano. On Jeter, obviously Pecota thinks last year's power drop was the start of a trend. Jeter with an ISO under 100 isn't all that useful.
   35. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: February 01, 2009 at 08:57 PM (#3065425)
On the other hand, the PECOTA pitching projections for the Yanks are very bullish, but yeah, the offensive numbers aren't great. Not that this is exactly revelatory, but it seems that the Yanks would be better served starting Swisher over Nady in right.
   36. jyjjy Posted: February 02, 2009 at 12:13 AM (#3065467)
Only Tex and ARod are projected for >.800 OPS.

Eh. I haven't looked at the projections but personally I'd project Damon, Matsui, Swisher, Nady and Cano at right around .800, some with a good chance to be significantly over.
To me they look to be average or above at every position outside of CF on offense.
   37. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: February 02, 2009 at 12:39 AM (#3065470)
CHONE has Tex, Cano, A-Rod, Matsui, and Swisher up over .800 with Posada just barely below. Of course of those six I think Tex and A-Rod are the only ones you can pretty much guarantee would be over .800. I'm really happy the Yankees signed Tex, because alskor is right, the Yankees needed him.
   38. jyjjy Posted: February 02, 2009 at 01:05 AM (#3065472)
Marcel projects every non-CF Yankee starter for a .790 OPS or higher except Damon(.779)
   39. Wes Parkers Mood (Mike Green) Posted: February 02, 2009 at 02:00 AM (#3065475)
One of Beckett's near-age comps is Schilling? Cool.

I agree with Dan that the Red Sox are the team to beat in the AL East, but the margins are small. It is likely that there will again be three teams in the AL East that are as good or better than anyone in the NL (World Series result notwithstanding).
   40. alskor Posted: February 02, 2009 at 02:20 AM (#3065476)
I'm really happy the Yankees signed Tex, because alskor is right, the Yankees needed him.


The Yankee offense was the problem that needed addressing. The pitching wasnt bad last year at all - though a lack of depth meant Ponson/replacement level guys got too many innings. Also, Mussina had a pretty incredible year that wasnt likely to be repeated (to say the least).

I agree with Dan that the Red Sox are the team to beat in the AL East, but the margins are small. It is likely that there will again be three teams in the AL East that are as good or better than anyone in the NL (World Series result notwithstanding).


Im completely on board with that analysis. Three very, very good teams - and no one is safely distant from anyone no matter which way you cut it.
   41. alskor Posted: February 02, 2009 at 02:25 AM (#3065478)
Basically, anyone who tells you that team "x" is a "lock to win the AL East" should immediately be ignored. Its impossible to pick any sort of clear favorite statistically from what Ive seen - never mind trying to eyeball it.
   42. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 02, 2009 at 02:28 AM (#3065479)
Odd. I was just poking around Smoltz's record as a starter, since Dan's projection seems a bit optimistic to me. I hadn't realized Smoltz doesn't have much of a peak at all. Mussina's peak is actually better than Smoltz's. Who knew?
   43. PS is probably burning the candle from both ends Posted: February 02, 2009 at 03:34 AM (#3065484)
Baltimore is a lock to win the AL East!
   44. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 02, 2009 at 04:18 AM (#3065490)
Concur. Even if a prediction for every player's ability is exactly correct, and even if every player then proceeds to perform at their exact performance level, just the random factor of injuries and trades keeps final standings from being all that predictable.
This would be true if the Yankees weren't involved.
   45. Elston Gunn Posted: February 02, 2009 at 04:25 AM (#3065493)
Basically, anyone who tells you that team "x" is a "lock to win the AL East" should immediately be ignored.


Umm, this is a total strawman. Who says that? Who says that of any division? Do you mean anyone that tells you team "x" is a clear favorite should be ignored?

I'll say that the Rays look a clear step behind the others based on projected performance, but they're also much more likely to see big breakouts and much less likely to see age related declines/injuries. Of course, all that young pitching has its dangers too. But basically, I agree, might as well pull it out of a hat. And they'll be the three best teams in baseball.
   46. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 02, 2009 at 04:49 AM (#3065498)
Odd. I was just poking around Smoltz's record as a starter, since Dan's projection seems a bit optimistic to me.

Arky, mind if I use this quote? You wouldn't believe how much grumbling I have to hear about "negative" projections!
   47. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 02, 2009 at 06:15 AM (#3065507)
Sure, Dan. It's tough for me to predict anything other than deck chairs and carpools for 42-year old ballplayers.
   48. plim Posted: February 02, 2009 at 03:31 PM (#3065552)
25. Biff, Red Sox Jinx Posted: January 31, 2009 at 04:47 PM (#3065138)

I never would have guessed Chris Carter getting the third-highest odds of an OPS+ over 140, that's for sure.


or 3rd highest in 30+ hr
   49. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 02, 2009 at 03:43 PM (#3065562)
PECOTA does not like the Yanks.

Where are the new PECOTA numbers? The cards don't seem to have been updated.
   50. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 02, 2009 at 03:59 PM (#3065571)
If you click on the "fantasy" tab at the top of the Baseball Prospectus home page it will bring you to a page that then allows you to click on "PECOTA Weighted Means Spreadsheet" that will download a zip file with the Excel file in it.
   51. Cowboy Popup Posted: February 02, 2009 at 04:06 PM (#3065577)
Thanks.
   52. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 02, 2009 at 04:19 PM (#3065583)
One of Beckett's near-age comps is Schilling? Cool.
Isn't that not really the good thingit appears to be? Young Schiiling was a good pitcher, but unless ZiPS is predicitng that Beckett will have the otherworldy and (relatively speaking) rare post-30 career that Schilling had, it seems as much as knock as a compliment.
   53. Famous Original Joe C Posted: February 02, 2009 at 05:57 PM (#3065685)
Isn't that not really the good thingit appears to be? Young Schiiling was a good pitcher, but unless ZiPS is predicitng that Beckett will have the otherworldy and (relatively speaking) rare post-30 career that Schilling had, it seems as much as knock as a compliment.

I wouldn't read any more into it than they both fit "Great K rate and K/BB ratio, average HR rate, gets hurt occasionally". I don't think they are meant to be predictive in any way.
   54. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: February 02, 2009 at 06:04 PM (#3065694)
Historically, what is the predictive power of ZIPS relative to PECOTA?

I'm seeing a few big differences between the two, just from looking at the Red Sox (Kottaras, Carter, Ortiz). Overall ZIPS is more optimistic than PECOTA across the board. Except for the Wieters projection (PECOTA has him as the Second Coming of Jesus Catcher).
   55. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 02, 2009 at 06:06 PM (#3065701)
As Joe says, you shouldn't look at these comps too specifically. I mainly put them in because it's interesting. In Beckett's case, Schilling only provides 10% more weight than the 25th-ranked comp (Don Newcombe).
   56. DKDC Posted: February 02, 2009 at 06:26 PM (#3065718)
I put together some quick and dirty PECOTA standings below.

For each team, I took the superVORP of the top 15 hitters, top 8 starters, and top 10 relievers and added up the totals, prorating down if there were excess PA's/IP. Total superVORP was 9800, which implies a replacement level team of 48 wins.

Below are the standings, and each team's superVORP rank in hitting, SP, and RPs.

This is obviously very crude, and the fact that the NL has 9 of the top 9 offenses is pretty odd, to say the least. SuperVORP is supposed to adjust for league difficulty.


TM    Wins    Hit Rank    Start Rank    BP Rank       
NYA          95     19    1    1       
BOS          94     10    2    2       
TBA          87     12    7    8       
TOR          79     30    3    7       
BAL          76     11    29    16       
                       
CLE          86     13    9    4       
MIN          80     20    21    3       
DET          78     21    17    14       
CHA          75     28    12    24       
KCA          73     29    14    23       
                       
LAA          81     18    10    26       
SEA          74     26    16    28       
OAK          74     25    22    19       
TEX          72     23    26    15       
                       
NYN          96     1    4    5       
ATL          89     3    8    12       
PHI          86     4    15    27       
WAS          80     7    18    30       
FLO          74     9    30    18       
                       
SLN          87     5    13    10       
MIL          87     2    23    6       
CHN          84     8    19    9       
CIN          81     14    11    25       
HOU          72     22    28    22       
PIT          69     24    27    29       
                       
ARI          85     17    5    11       
LAN          81     6    25    13       
COL          79     16    20    17       
SFN          78     27    6    21       
SDN          77     15    24    20 
   57. alskor Posted: February 02, 2009 at 06:56 PM (#3065740)
Umm, this is a total strawman. Who says that? Who says that of any division? Do you mean anyone that tells you team "x" is a clear favorite should be ignored?


Oh, its completely a strawman, but all in good fun. Yes, I did mean "clear favorite" basically.


I do think if you take a look around the blogosphere you'll see many people assuming the Yankees are easily in front of Tampa and Boston because of the big additions.
   58. hokieneer Posted: February 02, 2009 at 07:33 PM (#3065792)
I doubt the Braves finish as the 3rd best offense in baseball, or the NL for that matter. If they continue to run the same outfielders out there thay had in 08, it will be impossible for them to have an elite offense. Even with the likely regression of Dempster, the Cubs have better than the 19th best starting pitching.

Aside from Atlanta's absurd win total and offensive ranking, and the cubs pathetic pitching ranking, everything else is seems on par with my thoughts: CLE winning by 4-6 games, LAA being an average team but squeaking how a divisional title, ARI winning the west with just an average team, STL and MIl competing with the cubs in the central. I see the Mets winning the East, but I think that 96 win total is a little high, judging by the fact that a rank of 4 for SP is very bullish.
   59. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 03, 2009 at 09:30 PM (#3066834)
While projections are interesting, what would be more interesting would be a post mortem, an after the fact appraisal of the previous year's projections. Do any of you guys do this? I'd love to see one, one where it says Player A's projection was ABCDEFG, and his actual line was ABCDEFG.
   60. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 03, 2009 at 09:35 PM (#3066840)
While projections are interesting, what would be more interesting would be a post mortem, an after the fact appraisal of the previous year's projections. Do any of you guys do this? I'd love to see one, one where it says Player A's projection was ABCDEFG, and his actual line was ABCDEFG.

Tango did a look at the projection results (mathematical results of the dataset, not really just looking at individual players). While I do my own evaluations at the end of the year, I don't usually write about them, good or bad, simply because there's a conflict of interest for me there.
   61. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 03, 2009 at 09:38 PM (#3066845)
Explain the conflict of interest, please. I'm not being a wise ass. I'd like to see after the fact evaluations of these projections.
   62. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 03, 2009 at 09:39 PM (#3066846)
I mean, what are the value of these projections if they don't stand up to the scrutiny I'm suggesting? I know I'm probably not the first person to bring this up, so I apologize if you're repeating yourself.
   63. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 03, 2009 at 09:52 PM (#3066860)
At least let me bookmark this thread so I can do it myself next October.
   64. plim Posted: February 03, 2009 at 09:59 PM (#3066868)
wasn't there an evaluation of 5-7 projection systems and which one correlated best to actual performance?
   65. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 03, 2009 at 10:05 PM (#3066877)
Explain the conflict of interest, please. I'm not being a wise ass. I'd like to see after the fact evaluations of these projections.

Essentially, there are a lot of ways one can choose to do evaluate the results. Correlation, root-mean squared error, and so on. With playing time cutoffs and a myriad of other things, coupled with the fact that PECOTA, ZiPS, and CHONE are very close, can result in games with the results. While I know Smith and I'm acquainted with Silver, not everyone reading would have that trust level. A reader would have no particular reason to trust me. The natural human tendency is to believe things that make oneself look good, so even trying to be fair can still lead to being unfair.

Call it the Pepsi Challenge Paradox.

Tango looked at 2008:

http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/evaluating_the_2008_forecasting_systems/

Nate did 2007, but I don't have the link handy.

In all honesty, there's not a dime's worth of difference between projection systems in their mean projections, which is why Nate, Sean, and I, all present our projections in different ways with additional features attached.
   66. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: February 04, 2009 at 06:00 PM (#3067470)
Apparently the Red Sox just signed Brad Wilkerson to a minor league deal. I can't imagine his projections will be very pretty.
   67. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: February 05, 2009 at 05:22 PM (#3068297)

In all honesty, there's not a dime's worth of difference between projection systems in their mean projections, which is why Nate, Sean, and I, all present our projections in different ways with additional features attached.


Overall, I suspect that this is true. But, then, why is Nate's touted as "the most accurate" by BP? Does "tie for the most accurate" count?
   68. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 05, 2009 at 05:28 PM (#3068304)
Overall, I suspect that this is true. But, then, why is Nate's touted as "the most accurate" by BP? Does "tie for the most accurate" count?
Because I'm sure there is a legitmate way of looking at things whereby PECOTA is "the most accurate" and that's the one BPro uses for advertising purposes. Can't say I blame them.
   69. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 05, 2009 at 05:36 PM (#3068313)
Overall, I suspect that this is true. But, then, why is Nate's touted as "the most accurate" by BP? Does "tie for the most accurate" count?


A marketing guy I used to work with once explained to me that when you market a product you have to say "best" not "better." Apparently the difference (and this is stupid but is sounds like the type of legalese that would be out there) is that if you say "best" you can make the argument that your product is just as good as anyone else's, therefore everyone has the "best." However, if you say "better" you have to prove in some measurable fashion why your product is better than someone else's.

Long story short, "most accurate" is a legal way of marketing something that can't be proven otherwise. If they say "more accurate than CHONE" they better be prepared to prove it.
   70. Russ Posted: February 05, 2009 at 05:57 PM (#3068340)
The most highly projected Pirate starting pitcher (Maholm) would be 9th on this list between Penny and Wakefield. That is an insanely tremendous gap in talent between two (supposed) major league baseball teams.
   71. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: February 05, 2009 at 06:07 PM (#3068348)
Good points, RB & Jose. Are there attempts at empirical comparisions out there? Ones that are hopefully less marketing-driven?
   72. TomH Posted: February 09, 2009 at 02:21 PM (#3071739)
#71: and that is WITHOUT correcting for league talent differences, right? The true gap is even LARGER than zips gives here.
   73. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: February 16, 2009 at 06:54 AM (#3077959)
Dan, I presume you did not try to integrate minor league defensive equivalencies here, right? I ask, in part, after seeing JVE's relatively low ratings, which don't meet any treatment of his numbers I've seen (TotalZone, for example, suggests that he's above major league average in center which is not out of line with my limited viewings of him. He's really good.)

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