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February 13, 2014

Skewed Left

Fun with 2014 PECOTA Comparables

by Zachary Levine


As a non-fantasy player going on eight years clean, and also as a non-baseball team employee, I might not be the precise target audience for our PECOTA projection system.

Still, PECOTA Day continues to be one of my favorite days of the year, and I think the player comps are a huge part of the reason why. Comparisons are a dangerous thing in baseball. They can be too binding and too racial. They can set too high an expectation—the draft day comps on television are particularly laughable. They can cloud judgment.

So I enjoy seeing if the data—the comparisons based on similarity and used to project how current players will perform going forward—might be more revealing. I look for the funniest ones, the scariest ones, and the ones where I’d never thought of the two players in the same sentence, but hey, maybe that makes some sense.

Not as an exact match. There is the usual disclaimer with all of my favorite 2014 PECOTA comps, that these are not exact talent matches, just the closest pairings of statistical, biographical, and positional pasts. And they might just tell us something about their futures.

Nelson Cruz, no. 1 comp: Juan Gonzalez
Let’s just say this one probably isn’t going in the binder at the free agent pitch sessions.

Gonzalez, another defensively challenged, offensively overrated Rangers outfielder, hit free agency in advance of his 32-year-old season and immediately cratered. That was two years after Gonzalez rejected that famous $140 million extension offer from the Tigers, and the Rangers got him back for two years and $24 million. He would average 0.3 WARP in his remaining four seasons.

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Related Content:  PECOTA,  Comparables

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Catchin... (02/13)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Skewed Left: The Truth... (02/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Skewed Left: What it M... (02/27)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (02/13)

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