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July 17, 2012

Overthinking It

PECOTA's First-Half Hits and Misses

by Ben Lindbergh

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Sometimes you’re not quite sure what your next column is going to be about, and then you get a pair of tweets like this:

And then you know exactly what your next column is going to be about.

Half of the fun of having a projection system is bragging about what went right. The other half is figuring out what went wrong. This article does a bit of both.

These are the position players and pitchers whose 2012 True Averages and Fair Run Averages PECOTA has come closest to and furthest away from predicting (minimum 200 plate appearances or 80 innings pitched). In keeping with BP tradition, each hit or miss is inexplicably accompanied by a haiku.

Batters

Hits

10. Will Venable

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.261

.263

-.002

.002

 

He can do it all
But can’t do it all that well
Check out away stats

9. Chris Davis

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.271

.272

-.001

.001


April was so kind
Might not be Quad-A after all!
All downhill from there

8. Jason Heyward

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.294

.293

.001

.001

 

Heyward back on track
Better power, baserunning
Best of all, not hurt

7. Andres Torres

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.258

.259

-.001

.001

 

Pagan and Torres
Similar before, but now
Pagan is better

6. Zack Cozart

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.247

.246

.001

.001

 

Cozart hasn’t hit
But whatever he does, he’s
Better than Janish

5. Jimmy Rollins                                                                      

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.245

.246

-.001

.001

 

Back in ’07
Rollins won the MVP
But he won’t this year

4. Derek Jeter

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.267

.266

.001

.000

 

Can’t hit right-handers
Can’t hit the ball in the air
Still above average!

3. Darwin Barney

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.244

.244

.000

.000

 

Best shape of his life
Twenty more pounds of muscle
Not a power threat

2. Miguel Montero

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.276

.276

.000

.000

 

With the extension
D-Backs sought more of the same
And they're getting it

1. Brett Lawrie

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.268

.268

.000

.000

 

More valuable
In 43 games last year
than 85 now

Misses

10. James Loney

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.219

.272

-.053

.053

 

We knew he was bad
But not that he was this bad
Hits like a catcher

9. Edwin Encarnacion

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.338

.284

.054

.054

 

Had him on my team
But stopped playing fantasy
A few years too soon

8. Kurt Suzuki

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.195

.257

-.062

.062

 

Game’s most-played catcher
Over the past five seasons
Maybe he’s tired

7. Austin Jackson

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.331

.266

.065

.065

 

Tigers MVP:
Not Verlander or Miggy
But Austin Jackson

6. Andrew McCutchen

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.368

.303

.065

.065

 

Only 25
He leads the world in WARP
It’s sort of scary

5. Melky Cabrera

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.335

.267

.068

.068

 

Maybe these are the
Saddest of possible words:
Sanchez to KC

4. Nick Hundley

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.181

.250

-.069

.069

 

Used to like Petco
Hitting .120 there now
Petco conquers all

3. Carlos Ruiz

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.350

.280

.070

.070

 

Most catchers can’t hit
And also play good defense
Ruiz can do both

2. Mark Trumbo

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.354

.284

.070

.070

 

Mark Trumbo’s home runs
Fly the farthest in baseball
So says HitTracker

1. Mike Trout

Actual TAv

Predicted TAv

Diff

Absolute Diff

.364

.289

.075

.075

 

No 20-year-old
Has won an MVP award
That might change this year

Pitchers

Hits

10. Edwin Jackson

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

4.52

4.43

.09

.09


This one was easy
Jackson’s stats have barely budged
As good as he gets?

9. Joe Blanton

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

4.38

4.46

-.08

.08

 

Most NL home runs
And league’s lowest walk rate means
Many solo shots

8. Justin Verlander

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

3.24

.316

.08

.08

 

Barring a bad half
Verlander will likely win
A second Cy Young

7. Phil Hughes

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

4.38

4.31

.07

.07

 

Some writers said that
Hughes was unpredictable
Not for PECOTA

6. Hiroki Kuroda

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

4.62

4.69

-.07

.07

 

Life’s three certainties:
Death, taxes, and Kuroda’s
Sub-4.00 ERA

5. Stephen Strasburg

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

2.80

2.87

-.07

.07

 

He does everything
Except surprise PECOTA
Hype was justified

4. Matt Moore

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

4.17

4.21

-.04

.04

 

Not every arm
Can mature quite as quickly
As Clayton Kershaw’s

3. Lucas Harrell

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

5.01

5.03

-.02

.02

 

Some scouts said Harrell
Was a good fit for the pen
Those scouts were not wrong

2. Jordan Zimmermann

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

3.83

3.84

-.01

.01

 

Zim could be an ace
If he didn’t share a team
With Stephen Strasburg

1. Jake Westbrook

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

4.72

4.72

.00

.00

 

Dave Duncan is gone
Which made everyone worry
But Westbrook abides

Misses

10. Hector Noesi

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

6.29

5.02

1.27

1.27

 

Pineda is out
But so far the Mariners
Are losing the trade

9. Clay Buchholz

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

5.87

4.49

1.38

1.38

 

The scary thing is
This would have looked even worse
A couple months back

8. Felix Doubront

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

4.47

5.90

-1.43

1.43

 

When pitchers are off
They’re worse than PECOTA thought
Except for Doubront

7. Jeremy Hellickson

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

5.30

3.86

1.44

1.44

 

PECOTA thinks more
of Hellickson’s strikeout rate
Than most people do

6. Tim Lincecum

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

4.45

3.10

1.45

1.45

 

PECOTA believed
In what Lincecum achieved
But it was deceived
 

5. Ricky Romero

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

6.34

4.86

1.48

1.48

 

Okay, so maybe
Romero isn’t as good
As he looked last year

4. Matt Garza

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

5.60

4.06

1.54

1.54

 

More of his fly balls
Have become home runs this year
Than all last season

3. Ervin Santana

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

6.38

4.39

1.99

1.99

 

When in Anaheim
Santana might seem to be
Better than he is

2. Mike Minor

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

6.52

4.53

1.99

1.99

 

The NL’s answer
To poor Ervin Santana
Is named Mike Minor

1. Ubaldo Jimenez

Actual FRA

Predicted FRA

Diff

Absolute Diff

6.09

3.98

2.11

2.11

 

Things were looking up
Until Ubaldo’s last start
Now they’re looking down


Thanks to Colin Wyers for research assistance.

Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

Related Content:  PECOTA,  Projections,  Statistics,  First Half,  TAv,  FRA,  Haiku

45 comments have been left for this article.

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