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February 4, 2014

Baseball Prospectus News

Reintroducing PECOTA, the Depth Charts, PFM, and DraftAid

by Rob McQuown

Pitchers and catchers have yet to report to spring training, and the Seahawks are still celebrating, but the PECOTA projections are here, earlier than usual.

(We interrupt this announcement to bring you the direct link to this year's PECOTA weighted-means spreadsheet.)

In order to access the PECOTA forecasts, you need to be a Premium (or soon-to-be-available Super-Premium) subscriber to Baseball Prospectus. Monthly subscribers will have access to certain PECOTA features but will not have access to downloads like the PECOTA spreadsheets. The best value we offer is a yearly subscription, which not only gives you access to the full PECOTA product offering, but also unrestricted access to our website's extensive baseball coverage.

In the 11 years since the first "Introducing PECOTA" article in Baseball Prospectus 2003, PECOTA has proven to be one of the best predictive systems in the industry. The current edition was the brainchild of Colin Wyers, who was hired by the Houston Astros as this winter's work took place. Colin's core concept of having the batter-pitcher matchup quantification center around batter TAv and pitcher Fair RA remained untouched, and the annual weights that Colin explained in detail back in 2012 remain intact. Without his work, PECOTA wouldn't have been possible this season, and Baseball Prospectus' loss is the Astros' gain.

This does not mean that innovation and improvement have stopped—several improvements took place, with the most visible example being that minor-league players will now appear in the comparables lists, though only if they subsequently went on to have major-league careers.

Our playing time estimates are based on the input of the Baseball Prospectus staff and coordinated by Tim Collins. Keep in mind that these aren't etched in stone: pitchers and catchers still haven’t reported to camp, and some key free agents still haven’t signed. We will be updating these playing time estimates frequently as teams make moves and we see how rosters shape up in advance of Opening Day.

One other note: players who aren't projected to play in 2014 have hypothetical projections that can be seen atop the player cards, with fictional playing time numbers. This fiction is based on actual playing time from past seasons (with MLB playing time much more highly weighted) or a minimum of 250 PA for hitters or about 33 IP or more for pitchers, depending on role. As an example, here's Matt Harvey, who had 59 and 178 MLB IP the past two seasons, respectively (and a lot more MiLB IP in 2012):

Of course, we don't think Harvey will actually pitch nearly 150 innings in 2014. We know he's hurt, which is why the Mets Depth Chart doesn't include him. This is a "what if" scenario that should give an idea of what he could have accomplished (in even more innings) if he'd been healthy.

Right now, we’re rolling out the following:

Click the "Feature Focus" links below for an explanation/walkthrough of each BP product

Between now and the start of the season, we will roll out additional parts of the PECOTA product:

  • The preseason version of the Playoff Odds Report
  • Additional PECOTA player card content: PECOTA percentiles
  • Additional PECOTA player card content: 10-year forecasts (not available in 2013)
  • Additional PECOTA player card content: UPSIDE ratings (not available in recent years)
  • PECOTA projections for the Team Audit pages

Downloading PECOTA:
Quick notes for first-time subscribers: Once you subscribe, the PECOTA spreadsheet will be available to you at any time as a Digital Download. To access your Digital Downloads, click on "manage your profile":

Then, on that page, simply locate the item entitled "2014 PECOTA Spreadsheet Digital Download." You can look for the green highlighting, which we use to differentiate downloads that have been recently updated:

New versions of the spreadsheet will be released during the spring as rosters shape up, and you can always check your profile page to see if a new version has been released.

Customer service FAQ on downloading the spreadsheet:
  • The downloadable PECOTA Weighted Means spreadsheet has three tabs at the bottom (labeled "Release Notes", "Hitters", "Pitchers"). If you're not able to view the tabs in your spreadsheet, please see help here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/where-are-my-worksheet-tabs-HA010278741.aspx
  • To download the PECOTA Weighted Means spreadsheet, the BP site will require you to enter your CASE-sensitive username and password. If you need password assistance, please contact Customer Service, http://www.baseballprospectus.com/contact.php (changing the response our spam question to "no").
  • If you change your password, it may take up to 20 minutes for the PECOTA server to recognize your new password and allow the download of the PECOTA Weighted Means spreadsheet.
*Update* Ben Lindbergh's quick tour through the 2014 PECOTAs can be found here.

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

Related Content:  PECOTA

94 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

bscheidt

It's Christmas in February! I feel like I am five years old and waiting for my parents to give me the go ahead to come downstairs and see what has been left for me (maybe a bit of an exaggeration but conveys the excitement well). I think I may be late for work today! Thanks guys.

Feb 04, 2014 04:45 AM
rating: 2
 
mwball75

The link on the very front page is to the old spreadsheet.

Feb 04, 2014 04:49 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Fixed.

Feb 04, 2014 05:33 AM
 
mwball75

Awesome, I won't get anything done today now.

Feb 04, 2014 05:37 AM
rating: 8
 
nicholj

Thanks. Please keep your promise to update the playing time projections. IMHO, the stale playing time projections are the biggest weakness of PFM, BP's fantasy content and probably the whole site. I had hoped that the addition of Jason Martinez last year would have improved things but alas that thorn remained. BP would gain a real edge over the other baseball projection sites if you could update the PT projections once daily starting in mid-March. Fantasy players would be able to immediately evaluate the impact of the change and gain a real advantage. For me, that would be worth a super-premium subscription fee.

Feb 04, 2014 05:26 AM
rating: 9
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

We will do our best to update the depth charts as often as possible and much more frequently than last year. I don't want to set the expectations of once daily, but we will be staying on top of them. Tim Collins has been doing a fantastic job in that regard.

Feb 04, 2014 06:16 AM
 
evo34

Agreed. Fangraphs really raised the bar last year in terms of near-daily updates to playing time projections. Hopefully BP can follow suit and provide another source of updated PT projections.

Feb 04, 2014 14:18 PM
rating: 1
 
jrbdmb

Case in point: with the news that Kris Medlen may require TJ, I would expect his playing time to be lowered considerably.

I had not seen an update on him yet, which is OK since this is new info, but the problem is I can't find evidence of *any* updates to FPM since it's release. A running list of updates would be very helpful.

Mar 13, 2014 08:57 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

The dates for latest update of batters or pitchers for a given team are listed on the Depth Charts page, and PFM draws from exactly the same data used by the Depth Charts.

Mar 13, 2014 09:14 AM
 
Bucsin07

Thank you all for this!

One question: in the spreadsheet, why do the hitters have VORP and WARP, but the pitchers only have WARP? On the depth charts, you show pitchers' VORP, but where can I find that projection for pitchers not shown there?

Feb 04, 2014 05:45 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Good question. For players with Depth Chart entries, pitcher VORP is on the PFM (http://pfm14.baseballprospectus.com/pfm/), which has CSV and TSV download capabilities. That won't cover all the pitchers on the spreadsheet, but it's a start. We'll take the request for pitcher VORP being added to the spreadsheet on advisement for possible future editions. Sorry that doesn't help right away.

Feb 04, 2014 05:55 AM
 
Bucsin07

Thanks so much! Wasn't pitcher VORP on previous spreadsheets? It seems so from what I've saved over the years. I hope there's a way to bring it back! Appreciate all you do.

Feb 04, 2014 06:53 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

It seems like it should have been, but I checked 2012 and 2013 editions before responding, and it wasn't on those.

Feb 04, 2014 06:56 AM
 
deadballfan

It was all of them prior to that.

Mar 02, 2014 22:49 PM
rating: 0
 
teddywolvesevelt

How has PECOTA stacked up against some of the other projections out there, like Zips, Marcel, Steamer, Oliver?

Feb 04, 2014 06:03 AM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Harry Pavlidis
BP staff

We have an article in the works on this very subject.

Feb 04, 2014 06:44 AM
 
teddywolvesevelt

Great!

Feb 04, 2014 07:35 AM
rating: 0
 
Chomsky
(103)

Great, I've been waiting several years for such an article.

Feb 04, 2014 08:34 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Harry Pavlidis
BP staff

what we have planned is analysis of roughly six metrics for hitting and pitching -- basically the five roto categories (we figure that's a common use for PECOTA, planning a draft or dynasty roster) and wOBA for an all-in-one metric.

We're calculating things like mean average error (weighted and unweighted), RMSE, correlation on common projections to compare the systems.

We have some other ideas already, but if folks have things they'd like to see us measure/compare we're happy to hear your suggestions.

Feb 04, 2014 08:56 AM
 
evo34

Please analyze rate projections (e.g., HR/PA) as well as playing time projections for each source. I would would consider both types of projections to require skill, but unless they are separated, it is very difficult to tell if the source was good at just PT or just stat rates, or perhaps both.

Feb 04, 2014 14:32 PM
rating: 2
 
evo34

Something like this might be an interesting way to score each stat category performance:

http://www.fantasypros.com/about/faq/accuracy-methodology/

Feb 04, 2014 21:10 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Harry Pavlidis
BP staff

great idea! Thanks for sharing that

Feb 04, 2014 21:12 PM
 
evo34

Here are some other analyses on the topic:

http://razzball.com/category/testing-projections-player-raters/

Feb 04, 2014 14:40 PM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Harry Pavlidis
BP staff

thanks!

Feb 04, 2014 21:13 PM
 
Guancous

In a parallel universe, Kila Ka'aihue is plugging away towards 1000 career RBI.

Feb 04, 2014 06:25 AM
rating: 9
 
bhalpern

He annually battles OBP machine Daric Barton in the all-star vote.

Feb 04, 2014 08:02 AM
rating: 2
 
ddufourlogger

I feel Bob Hamelin must also be mentioned here, for some reason.

Feb 06, 2014 10:18 AM
rating: 0
 
piraino

Are the team level projections (2014 standings) available somewhere on the website?

Feb 04, 2014 07:00 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

The main Depth Charts page has them: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/

Feb 04, 2014 07:01 AM
 
kaestner

Can you provide any insight as to why PECOTA (and other projection systems) seem to lean conservative? PECOTA projects only one team to finish with more than 89 wins, whereas the amount of teams to do so in the last 5 years is: 11, 9, 9, 9, 7.

Feb 04, 2014 08:42 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

I realize this is an overly simplified answer, but the reason is based on the way randomness works.

Take an example of rolling 30 fair dice: If a predictive system was to figure out the expected value of each die, it would be an impossible 3.5. So, none could be said to have an expected result of "6". Yet, of those 30 dice, one could expect 5 to come up with a result of "6".

For the projected standings here, what you're seeing is the result of the expected wins based on the expected runs scored and allowed. And we're fairly confident that if the 2014 season was replayed a million times, given the playing time estimates we use here, that the win totals of those million times would average out to about what we have here. But each one of those million times is very likely to have individual team results that are much higher or much lower than the expected values.

Feb 04, 2014 09:37 AM
 
BurrRutledge

Is it possible for the team projections to utilize such a Monte Carlo system in addition to the average? Is that how the preseason playoff odds are compiled?

Alternatively, re-running and publishing the team results based on 40%, weighted mean, and 90% player projections, as an approximation of expected results?

Feb 06, 2014 08:05 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Yes, that's how Playoff Odds are calculated.

Doing something based on percentiles is an interesting suggestion, and we'll consider some form of adding variance into the projections-based standings, as you are proposing here. I'm sorry that it's probably not going to happen this offseason, but it definitely is a suggestion we'll consider seriously for some future product offering.

Feb 06, 2014 09:16 AM
 
Guancous

Thank you for all your hard work. The PFM projects zero net saves for everyone. Please let us know when that will be updated.

Feb 04, 2014 07:06 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Looking into issues with BS and NetSV now. Thanks for the heads-up.

Feb 04, 2014 07:11 AM
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Should be all fixed now.

Feb 04, 2014 07:25 AM
 
John Geer
(44)

Holy crap, Chris Davis is projected to fall off the face of the earth. And a .330 BABIP but a .259/.324/.481?

Feb 04, 2014 07:35 AM
rating: 2
 
Johnson Magic

I'll take the over.

Feb 04, 2014 13:24 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Just put up an article about some projections of interest here.

Feb 04, 2014 07:37 AM
 
John Geer
(44)

"I’m a believer in Davis, so this decline seems somewhat harsh, but even he’s not projected to be bad. Other than Gomez (another player I like), all of the decliners here are still projected to be well above average. They’re just in line for regression from some pretty steep peaks."

Whew. Deep breaths. It's gonna be okay.

Feb 04, 2014 07:39 AM
rating: 1
 
bhalpern

Some regression, sure I can see that. But this projection brings him up short of his rate and counting stats for 2012 when he played only 139 games. If he was older I might see an argument for that. But for a player entering his age 28 season it seems extremely conservative.

Feb 04, 2014 08:12 AM
rating: 0
 
Schere

PECOTA never fully believes the breakout season. The projection looks a lot more like his career averages than his career season.

Feb 04, 2014 14:39 PM
rating: 1
 
brooklyn55

Rob, much thanks for including the MLB #s. A great help.
jdm

Feb 04, 2014 08:30 AM
rating: 1
 
NightmareRec0n

I'm going to be the good guy here and let you know the spreadsheet is available under the monthly subscription instead of just the yearly.

Feb 04, 2014 08:57 AM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

Thank you. Really appreciate that.

Feb 04, 2014 09:46 AM
 
NightmareRec0n

Not a problem. You guys work really hard on this and I appreciate that.

Feb 04, 2014 13:22 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member BP Customer Service
BP staff

Thank you. Please look for an email from Customer Service.

Feb 04, 2014 09:47 AM
 
doog7642

PFM does a weird thing for me; when I used my saved league settings and filter to a single position, it instead kicks me back to the default PFM page. Is there something I can do about this?

Feb 04, 2014 09:19 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

You are not doing anything wrong, and I'm working on this, hopefully will have it fixed today.

Feb 04, 2014 09:37 AM
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

This should be fixed now.

Feb 04, 2014 10:26 AM
 
doog7642

Thank you both for the prompt reply and the prompt fix. It's good.

Feb 04, 2014 10:32 AM
rating: 0
 
mathboy23

I feel like I knew the answer to this, but can't recall and my searching of BP hasn't turned up the answer? Are Pecota projections park-neutral? Or would a player's Pecota projection change if they were traded?

Feb 04, 2014 11:07 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

TAv is park-neutral, the "normal" stats (HR, RBI, AVG, OBP, SLG, etc) are adjusted for the park. So yes, his PECOTA would change.

Feb 04, 2014 11:17 AM
 
mathboy23

Thanks Rob. That's what I had in my head. I appreciate it.

Feb 04, 2014 11:19 AM
rating: 0
 
mathboy23

Free agency starts in my Diamond Mind Baseball league today. Spent a good part of the morning working the Pecota projections into my FA spreadsheet. I've been a worthless employee all day!

Feb 04, 2014 11:21 AM
rating: 1
 
Karl T

Great service for the scoresheet players getting all of the info to us so early this year, thanks! Also looking forward to the 10-year projections and upside, thanks for bringing those back.

Feb 04, 2014 11:28 AM
rating: 1
 
bobbygrace

To pick up on a theme in today's Effectively Wild, here's the top of the BRR leaderboard:

10. Adam Eaton - 4.2
9. Elvis Andrus - 4.4
T-7. Desmond Jennings and Jacoby Ellsbury - 4.5
T-5. Brett Gardner and Ian Kinsler - 4.7
4. Jonathan Villar - 5
3. Ben Revere - 5.9
2. Michael Bourn - 6.1
1. Billy Hamilton - 10.8

Feb 04, 2014 11:28 AM
rating: 1
 
wwfwwf

Pretty stunning that the Dodgers are projected to be 9 games better than EVERY other team in baseball

Feb 04, 2014 11:56 AM
rating: 1
 
pathard

I don't seem to be able to get the Pecota forecast into my Team Tracker team. Is anyone else having that problem? if so how do I fix it?

Feb 04, 2014 12:07 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

You clicked on the radio button by "Forecasts" and clicked the "View Stats" button?

Feb 04, 2014 12:26 PM
 
pathard

I did. Some problem with my selection?

Feb 06, 2014 12:40 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

I reset the statistics selected for your teams - feel free to go into the statistics selection page and change them to what you'd like, but you had some stats in there that have been discontinued.

Feb 06, 2014 13:02 PM
 
evo34

How about adding 2014 projected stats to each block of stats on the page (e.g., Standard Stats, Advanced Stats)? I am not talking about percentiles or 10 years, but rather presenting the 2014 stats in line with the players career stats for easy visual comparison.

Feb 04, 2014 14:48 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Good idea. It's now in the queue for consideration. Can't promise anything quickly, but we're definitely in agreement that some things can be improved on the player cards stats displays!

Feb 04, 2014 16:39 PM
 
randolph3030

In the Mariners' Depth Chart, Ackley is projected to bat 8th and 9th. I think it just puts the player who will have the plurality of PAs at that spot, but it seems weird to me that the projected "lineup" is impossible*.

*barring an Effectively Wild listener email-esque change to the rules.

Feb 04, 2014 16:36 PM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Yes, as you think, it's just listing the guy with the most PA in bold. Agreed that it's inconvenient that the "lineup" of bold names doesn't really exist, but expect that to get ironed out as we approach the season start date.

Feb 04, 2014 16:42 PM
 
BP staff member Tim Collins
BP staff

Indeed-- this is a function of (sometimes) players appearing frequently at multiple lineup positions, but also those lineup positions (ie the Mariners' 8/9 spots) being a bit muddled at the moment.

Rest assured that as the season approaches, and playing time becomes more clear, situations like that will be ironed out.

Feb 05, 2014 05:38 AM
 
evo34

Any chance you can make the Team Tracker stat tables sortable?

Feb 04, 2014 20:14 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Good suggestion, we've been considering how to make the TT reports better, and this is definitely on the list.

For past-season stats, you can sort by using the Team Tracker capabilities on the sortable reports, though that doesn't help for Forecasts, obviously.

Feb 06, 2014 09:11 AM
 
brooksp

I think it would be nice to get a somewhat in-depth discussion of how best to use PFM. For instance, I'm in a league with lots of bench spots. Should I ask it to value based on the whole roster, or just the starters? And how reliable is the SGP setting? That sort of stuff.

Feb 05, 2014 08:27 AM
rating: 6
 
TonyinAsia-Pacific

Seemingly, there's a significant benefit to being able to steal third-base; and it's a rare trait when a player can do so regularly. Billy Hamilton is that rarity and I assume Pecota has his 15+ steals of third calculated into the values?

Feb 06, 2014 07:43 AM
rating: 0
 
schlicht

In going over the PECOTA forecasts I discovered an interesting aberration, namely ALL NL relievers are projected to win more games than they lose.

Our league uses Wins - Losses as part of its stats ensemble, and because relievers all are better than average in this category, they float to the top of the projected pitcher performances.

Using the Depth Chart page, Arizona's starters are projected to win 51 games and lose 66. Their relievers Win 28 games and lose 19.

Why is PECOTA conservative for starters but thinks all relievers are net winners?

Feb 07, 2014 10:44 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Thanks for the heads-up. I'm investigating this as top priority now - the wins and losses projections are definitely supposed to be realistic, and there are numerous checks in place to insure this happens.

Feb 07, 2014 11:00 AM
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

The online (depth charts, PFM, etc) is now updated with corrected values, expect a new spreadsheet (version 3) to be available tonight.

Feb 07, 2014 13:41 PM
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

A new weighted-means spreadsheet has been uploaded. Enjoy!

Feb 08, 2014 07:34 AM
 
David Oliver

First time subscriber and I just can't figure out the discrepancies with PFM. The 1st baseman tier rankings have Chris Davis as a 5 star 1B with a value of $39.45. Just hitting "submit" on PFM without changing any parameters, and he is the 16th 1B and a $9 player. I change some settings to match my league and he is a dollar player.

Is it user error? If not, what product should I be relying on?

Feb 09, 2014 11:40 AM
rating: 0
 
David Oliver

I see now dollar values are from last year's PFM on the tier rankings. Regardless, I'm still worried that I'm using PFM wrong.

Feb 09, 2014 12:21 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

I don't think you were doing anything wrong. That link you were using was bad, and it's been changed to redirect to the correct location now, so everything should work fine.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Feb 09, 2014 13:03 PM
 
David Oliver

Thanks; unfortunately still showing as a $9 player. Guess PECOTA just strongly disagrees with Mike G.

Feb 09, 2014 15:00 PM
rating: 0
 
rosborne
(339)

I know you mentioned above that depth charts would be updated on a regular basis. There were some roster changes over the last few days, but I don't think the depth charts have been updated. Any news on when charts will be updated or is this still the best projection you have?

Thanks

Feb 11, 2014 06:31 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Tim Collins
BP staff

You can expect updates every few days based on transactions. Last update was done on Friday the 7th-- next batch of updates soon.

Feb 11, 2014 08:41 AM
 
johnkorean

Does PECOTA project Holds? I can't find them in the weighted means spreadsheet, and my fantasy league uses them. Thanks.

Feb 11, 2014 12:32 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Holds projections can be found in the Player Forecast Manager (PFM).

Feb 11, 2014 14:06 PM
 
BP staff member Matt Sussman
BP staff

David Ross first comp: Jason Varitek

Feb 13, 2014 12:42 PM
 
OtisDay

Where can I view the comps for a player?

Feb 16, 2014 00:00 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

In the right-most column on the PECOTA spreadsheet.

Feb 16, 2014 04:01 AM
 
Nathan

Are they also going to be available on e player cards?

Feb 23, 2014 11:48 AM
rating: 1
 
CaptainCrunch

Miguel Gonzalez (bpid 101994, mlbid 646057) is listed twice in the pitchers list of pecota_2014_02_08_18339.

Feb 16, 2014 07:04 AM
rating: 0
 
russell

Back in the day, the player cards had pecota 10%, 25%, 75%, and 90% projections. I really miss that. Is there a reason y'all removed them?

Feb 16, 2014 12:05 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Percentiles will be published soon.

Feb 16, 2014 12:07 PM
 
russell

Fantastic, thanks!

Feb 16, 2014 13:21 PM
rating: 0
 
evo34

When are long-term projections due out? Opening Day is creeping up.

Mar 08, 2014 01:45 AM
rating: 0
 
marcadimus

Everytime I click on the Petcoa link it says forbidden? Any one know why? I pay my membership every month.

Mar 16, 2014 13:44 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

The PECOTA spreadsheet is accessible only to Premium and Super Premium subscribers.

Mar 16, 2014 14:23 PM
 
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