Ease up there, Hemingway, we're talking about pitchers, and whether we're missing a few from the last couple of decades.
When we see the level of offense go up or down in baseball-and it has been down dramatically this season-we tend to attribute it to everything other than the players themselves. In any given downturn, it's the bats, or the baseballs, or the ballparks, or the drugs that the players are injecting themselves with. Or all of those things. But what if it isn't all about context? What if, when offense is up, it literally does mean that there aren't very many good pitchers?
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The list of top keystone prospects includes a mix of young players to watch and older players who fell out of favor.
When we last ran an installment of the PECOTA Takes on Prospects series, gas prices were nearing $4.00 a gallon, the Democratic primary looked like it would never end, and the stock market was more jittery than Will Carroll on his fourteenth cup of coffee. All right, so perhaps not all that much has changed. But let's get back on track by tackling second basemen.
Has the guessing game over who used what when gone too far?
Every time I do a chat aroud this time of year, when small sample sizes encourage people to leap to conclusions, I get a couple of questions like these (names have been changed to protect those who have lost their innocence):
After a quick bit of aging, the Astros' shortstop might not lose much to Father Time now, but the clock's ticking.
My first thought after I learned that Miguel Tejada was two years older than his listed birth date was that I wasn't really all that surprised by the news. My second thought was that he just threw away his shot at the Hall of Fame. One of these two thoughts is valid; the other is a little out of place. Let's take care of the obvious part first. Below is a comparison of Miguel Tejada's original PECOTA forecast with a new one that we've generated by aging him exactly two years and leaving everything else alone:
Which players might struggle to match their PECOTA projections this year?
It's actually much more difficult to come up with an 'anti-' list than a 'pro-' list. Not only do I really feel like I have to bet against my own system, but it seems like I'm picking on individual players and teams. If it makes you feel any better, two of the eleven names you see below play prominent roles on one or another of my fantasy teams.
Who might most outperform their PECOTAs? Plus projected standings and the top three storylines of the new season.
Spring has a way of creeping up on you in the Midwest, and it crept up on me this year without my ever getting an article out on the PECOTA projected standings. So, rather than try and pretend that that I didn't see what happened over the first couple days of the season-I will point out that my three favorite teams (the Tigers, White Sox, and Cubs) are a collective 0-6-I'm instead going to focus things at the player level, and give you a list of 11 guys that I expect to outperform their PECOTA forecasts this year. Tomorrow, we'll do the equally fun part of this list: those guys that I expect to underachieve PECOTA.
With some new features, PECOTA's better-prepared than ever to tell you where Matt Wieters ranks among promising backstops.
I've kept you all waiting so long for the PECOTA Takes on Prospects series that I'm going to eschew any lengthy philosophical discussions. Instead, let me quickly tick off the new features that should make these rankings more accurate-or at least less inaccurate-than ever before:
Explaining the new charts and graphics you'll find spattered across the new generation of player cards.
One of the trickier elements of forecasting the performance of baseball players is resolving the ambiguities between playing time and performance. Only a small handful of players-established stars in the prime of their careers with unblemished injury track records-are essentially guaranteed an everyday presence in their lineups. In drafting our fantasy depth charts and reviewing both PECOTA and each player's bill of health, we felt comfortable assigning a full 95 percent contingent of playing time to just 12 position players: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Grady Sizemore, Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Albert Pujols, and Matt Holliday. Similarly, only 17 pitchers were assigned at least 200 innings. For most everyone else, the contingencies of injury, benching, or being forced into a time-share or platoon arrangement is a constant threat.
To catch the young D'backs for the division, the other contending teams--including the defending NL champs--will have to shift team-building philosophies.
This is the last of a six-part preview of the impending offseason. Once I hit the 'submit' button and send this article to Christina, my column output is likely to be sporadic over the next several weeks as I tend to BP2K8 and PECOTA. I'll still be pitching in on Unfiltered in the meantime, and we'll have plenty of coverage for you as the stove turns from lukewarm to white hot.