Mike's first set of suggested prices for players in auctions this year.
Welcome to the first installment of Baseball Prospectus’ 2015 bid prices for “standard” Rotisserie-style formats.
In the tables below, you will find my recommended bid limits for AL-only, NL-only, and mixed leagues. For AL and NL-only, the presumed settings are 12 teams, $260 budgets per team, 14 hitters, and nine pitchers. For mixed leagues, we have switched from 12 teams to 15 teams this year for our bid lists; otherwise, the parameters are the same as they are for the mono leagues. Additionally, Baseball Prospectus will also be rolling out draft rankings in straight list form in the near future for mixed leaguers. The bids are not predictions of what these players will do, but rather suggested prices. While most of what I expect these players to do is based on projected statistics and values, other factors play a role in the bid prices. These factors include:
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Mike shares and explains his picks from the recent experts draft.
As they like to say in high society, let’s dispense with the damn pleasantries. This is Bret Sayre and my second year in LABR mixed, what an honor it is to be invited, this is a tough draft room of experts, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. If you’re reading a fantasy article at Baseball Prospectus you know what LABR is. Let’s dive right in.
Last year, Bret and I finished 14th out of 15 teams. Some of this was due to an unfortunate, never-ending run of pitching injuries and some of this was due to a series of Hail Mary passes we started throwing in June, with the mindset that it is better to shoot for first than hit the ball down the middle of the fairway, play for seventh or eighth, and mix your sports metaphors. These are also excuses, which I hate almost as much as I hate losing.
Part two in a two-part series comparing the PFM's performance to those of owners in experts leagues.
Last week, I took a look at how Baseball Prospectus’s PFM did against the CBS, LABR, and Tout Wars expert leagues. Today, I will shift over to the pitchers.
Last week, I concluded that the expert leagues pay too much for the top hitters while the PFM pays too much for the guys at the bottom of the pile. I thought that if you are going to redistribute your money, the best way to do this would be to redistribute it toward the middle, not at the top. I was amazed at how reliable the PFM was at “predicting” the earnings curve for hitters and wondered if the same thing would apply for the pitchers.
Part one in a two-part series comparing the PFM's performance to those of owners in experts leagues.
Sometimes in these pieces, I delve into a long explanation of what I’m going to write and what I’m going to set out to prove. That’s not going to happen today. I’ve got a lot of tables to produce and a tight deadline so I’m just going to dive right into it. Today’s goal is to take a look at the PFM, take a look at expert prices, and determine whether or not I should be using the PFM more as a tool to devise my bid limits or if perhaps I should chuck my bid limits entirely. How’s that for a attention grabbing lead?
Baseball Prospectus fantasy writers get asked about PECOTAa lot. Some subscribers don’t understand why they should bother with my bid limits when the PFM serves the same purpose as my bid limits but with a more mathematical bent. Others find my bid limits interesting but think that the PFM should be featured more as we approach Draft Day.
Welcome to PECOTA day, sponsored by DraftKings. Premium subscribers can now download the 2015 Weighted Means Spreadsheet under the Fantasy tab at the top of this page, or by clicking "manage your profile." Player pages have been updated with these projections, as have team depth charts (with projected standings) and the fantasy team tracker. Allow us to expand on a few details that might be helpful to you.
Why Does PECOTA Hate My Team?
Every year, fantasy owners and fans of teams ask this question, “Why Does PECOTA Hate My Team?” Last year, Deadspin compiled five dozen “(maybe) surprising player projections.” This season, there’s already been a Lineup Card with eight such surprising projections and Sam Miller did some Pebble Hunting to reveal some of the “winners” in the PECOTA pitching projections. This all raises the question of why Baseball Prospectus would keep publishing surprising projections. Shouldn’t these things be getting better with time, as the system is refined and there’s more data?
It would be disingenuous to suggest that projections never miss the mark. Sometimes by a lot. In fact, last season alone, 39 of the 362 position players for which Baseball Prospectus had projected 100 or more plate appearances actually amassed 100 or more plate appearances with very unexpected (to PECOTA) hitting performances. We looked at these players’ WARP-per-600 plate appearances, with FRAA removed (yes, FRAA is important, but it’s projected differently and is—sometimes—much more out of the player’s control than batting stats). Using this metric, 39 players missed by 3.0 or more WARP-per-600. It could almost have been called, “Craig’s List”, as Mr. Allen Craig was the no. 9 culprit with a WARP-per-600 difference of 4.6 … and as those who saw him play for Boston can attest, he was making a strong run to top this list. PECOTA had projected 1.8 WARP-sans-FRAA in 426 PA (March 22nd projections), and he ended up with -1.7 WARP-sans-FRAA in 505 PA. But Dan Uggla took the top honors, falling 5.7 WARP-per-600 short of projections. Steve Pearce was no. 3 and represented the top over-performer, bettering his WARP-per-600 projection by 5.4.
The above examples come from the most stable group of players—batters who were projected to play and who did play. Yet, some of the most surprising projections entering the 2014 season ended up being close to perfect. For example, people who saw A.J. Burnett pitch in 2013 thought PECOTA needed glasses, as it projected Burnett to have one of the 10 largest declines in 2014. It projected his ERA to be 4.24, which, considering the drop in leaguewide offense in 2014, would have been adjusted to 4.14. His FIP in 2014? 4.14. Projections for Bryce Harper and B.J. Upton, tabbed as “(maybe) surprising” in the Deadspin article, proved prescient.. Remember the reaction when Chris Davis had a .289 TAv projection (again March 22)? That number ended up being optimistic (he posted a .271), even though when he was coming off a .358 TAv season virtually everyone thought PECOTA hated the guy.
Seriously, though, PECOTA doesn’t hate any player or anyone’s team. There are no biases in it based on anything but historical track records. For completeness, it should be noted that results such as the examples herein are not just “shrugged off” – both accurate and inaccurate results are processed. So, while some projections are going to be surprising, it’s important to keep in mind that all-in-all, the results have been very accurate over the years (thank you, Nate Silver!).
Everyone who follows baseball at all has probably dabbled in the Baseball Prospectus Team Tracker—the most powerful tool of its kind available. For a reminder of some of the various things Team Tracker can do, both on the Team Tracker pages and elsewhere on the site, please refer back to Feature Focus articles on Team Tracker, Basics and Team Tracker, Advanced. The primary reason it’s being mentioned here is that 2015 PECOTA forecasts are now available. Shown is an actual portion of the Team Tracker page for the hitters on my Scoresheet team. (A team which was much better last season than it had any right to be. I had the second-best record among 24 teams entering the final week of the season and then, um, moving on… ) It can be seen that even for a 24-team league, hard times are likely ahead in 2015, based on PECOTA projections. The excerpt from my Team Tracker display is truncated on the right side as a reminder that there are many other stats which can be selected for the reports—allowing them to be tailored to each owner’s needs.