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February 11, 2013

Baseball Prospectus News

Now Arriving: PECOTA, Depth Charts, and the PFM

by Colin Wyers and Rob McQuown

Welcome to the initial launch of this year’s PECOTA forecasts. We hope you find them enlightening, useful, and predictive.

Let’s start with the business aspects of things. In order to access the PECOTA forecasts, you need to be a 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 extensive prospect coverage, R.J. Anderson’s Transaction Analysis, in-depth analysis from the likes of Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller, and more, and the latest in baseball research from the likes of Russell Carleton and myself. If you feel you can pass on that, we offer our lower-priced Fantasy subscription, which give you full access to the PECOTA products and all fantasy-focused articles on the site.

We’ll also take this opportunity to remind you that the forecasts are a privilege of your subscription, and for your personal use. If you want to tell your friends not to worry about Roy Halladay because his forecast looks much better than his 2012, go for it. But please do not distribute copies of the PECOTA spreadsheet (or the Depth Charts, or the output of the Player Forecast Manager).

Now, to the fun stuff. As always, we’ll remind you that we’re weathermen, not soothsayers—we provide probabilities and best guesses, not tea leaves and the throwing of bones. We absolutely promise that we hold no ill will toward your team just because its forecasts aren’t as rosy as your hopes; we certainly will take no action against your favorite players to force them to perform more in lines with their projections if they seem to be exceeding them.

Our playing time estimates are based on the input of our staff, headed up by Jason Martinez of MLBDepthCharts. Keep in mind that most pitchers and catchers still haven’t reported to camp, and some key free agents, like Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse, haven’t even signed yet. So we will be updating these playing time estimates frequently as teams make roster moves and we see how rosters shape up in spring training. These aren’t etched in stone.

Right now, we’re rolling out the following:

Over the next week or so, we will continue to roll out additional parts of the PECOTA product offering:

  • The preseason version of the Playoff Odds Report,
  • PECOTA projections for the Team Audit pages,
  • The Scoresheet Draft Aid,
  • And the full PECOTA cards, including 10-year forecasts, percentiles, and more.

As always, we haven’t left PECOTA alone between seasons. A full list of changes would be rather long and frankly a little tedious, but one of the things we’re happiest about is greater usage of the 2013 MLB schedule in coming up with these forecasts, particularly the park adjustments (in the past, projections were based on teams’ park factors from the previous season). That’s especially important for a team like the Houston Astros, which has seen its road park mix change drastically as it moves to the American League.

This is always an exciting time of year for us at Baseball Prospectus, partly because it’s the culmination of a winter’s worth of work, and partly because like you, we’re devoted baseball fans who know that PECOTA’s release is a sign that baseball season is just around the corner. From all of us to all of you, thank you so much for your continued support. And now, instead of staring out the window and waiting for spring, you can stare at Excel instead. I hope it makes the waiting a little more bearable for you; I know it does for me.

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 "2013 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 available during the spring as rosters shape up, and you can always check back here to see if a new version has been released.

Colin Wyers is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Colin's other articles. You can contact Colin by clicking 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,  Projections

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Premium Article Arbitration Showdown: ... (02/11)
<< Previous Column
Baseball Prospectus Ne... (09/27)
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