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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

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Premium Article Overthinking It: Parsi... (02/04)
<< Previous Column
Baseball Prospectus Ne... (12/19)
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BP Experts Prospect Mo... (02/05)

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