I like to have some fun with these when they come out. For instance, here's what PECOTA thinks the home-run leaderboards will look like at the end of the year:
National League American League Albert Pujols, 39 Alex Rodriguez, 36 Jim Thome, 36 Manny Ramirez, 33 Adam Dunn, 35 Mark Teixeira, 33 Jim Edmonds, 31 Eric Chavez, 32 Andruw Jones, 30 Alfonso Soriano, 32 David Ortiz, 32As you can see, PECOTA projects no one in MLB to reach 40 home runs this year. Where is Barry Bonds, you ask? PECOTA has a unique Bonds projection, figuring him to be the best player in baseball--posting a VORP of 88.1--while not qualifying for the batting title. This is reasonable, because 40-year-olds usually see their playing time diminish, but may be a tad pessimistic when it comes to Bonds, who would have to suffer a major injury to not qualify for rate stats' titles. Bonds is projected to lead MLB in batting average, OBP and slugging average if he can get to 502 plate appearances.
Bonds' full projection:
AB H 2B 3B HR BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG VORP Defense 330 112 24 1 29 135 43 2 0 .339 .532 .687 88.1 112-LF -3
Behind Bonds on the list of the best players in baseball are Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerrero and Alex Rodriguez. PECOTA loves Pujols like I love chocolate: he sits just behind Bonds with a projected VORP of 83.7, and no one else is within 20 points of VORP. Put a different way, PECOTA expects Bonds and Pujols to be two wins better than everyone else in baseball. That's dominance.
The projected VORP leaderboards:
National League American League Barry Bonds, 88.1 Vladimir Guerrero, 60.4 Albert Pujols, 83.7 Alex Rodriguez, 60.3 Bobby Abreu, 54.8 Manny Ramirez, 55.5 Jim Edmonds, 54.0 Miguel Tejada, 50.6 Todd Helton, 52.7 Gary Sheffield, 49.9Of course, any projection system will probably conclude that Barry Bonds is good and that Guerrero and Rodriguez are the class of the American League. One of the best features of PECOTA is that it tags players with "Breakout" scores, expressed as a percentage. From the BP statistical glossary:
Breakout Rate is the percent chance that a hitter's EQR/PA or a pitcher's PERA will improve by at least 20% relative to the weighted average of his EQR/PA in his three previous seasons of performance. High breakout rates are indicative of upside risk.Some of the most notable breakout figures in this year's projections belong to PECOTA favorites--and teammates--Adam Dunn and Wily Mo Pena. PECOTA sees Dunn improving on last year's performance, jumping to .270/.395/.562 with 35 home runs. Pena, whose '04 projection was one of the biggest wins for the system, is pegged at .281/.351/.528, with 21 home runs in just 340 at-bats.
Breakout rates measure change relative to a player's previously-established level of performance. For this reason, a high Breakout score can create a falsely optimistic picture for a player who has a very poor performance record. It is far easier for a player with a baseline of 40 EQR per season to improve upon that figure by 20% than it is for a player with a baseline of 100 EQR per season; as a result, his Breakout score is likely to be higher.
Other high-breakout players include Jonny Gomes (.265/.366/.491, 272 AB), Troy Glaus (.281/.391/.579, 345 AB) and Hee Seop Choi (.258/.374/.493, 329 AB). PECOTA's playing-time projections are very conservative; it's likely that if Gomes and Choi play this well, they would play more than indicated. Glaus' projection, of course, is held down by his recent injury-shortened seasons.
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