Things are getting interesting, so let's talk about the odds.
Chipper Jones is not a .400 hitter. However, that doesn’t mean that he won’t hit .400. What we have on our hands is a classic case of the irresistible force against the immovable object. On the one hand, it’s exceptionally unlikely that a player who has hit .310 over a 15-year major league career suddenly woke up one morning at 35 years old and became a .400 hitter. Jones is seeing the ball exceptionally well, and apart from frequent problems with injury, he has aged relatively gracefully. He’s also undoubtedly squeezed a few lucky hits in between the shortstop and the second baseman, and had a few Texas Leaguers drop in.
The early returns on PECOTA's projecting last season's big-bonus draft choices.
This was the first year that we attempted to run PECOTA forecasts for players with no professional playing time whatsoever. It was a decision born out of necessity: because of all the brinkmanship in the signing bonus negotiation period last year, a large number of elite draft picks either did not start their seasons until August, or didn't play professionally at all.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Projecting the value of the best-hitting pitchers, as well as the worst.
In the six years that I've generated PECOTA forecasts, I've never bothered to run hitting projections for pitchers. In fact, I've regarded pitcher hitting as something of a nuisance; I specifically screen out any pitchers so that they won't be selected as comparable players. This isn't an aesthetic judgment by any means-watching pitchers try (and fail) to hit is one of my favorite pastimes. But since even the pitchers who make 35 starts a year won't usually get more than 80 or 90 plate appearances, I've generally figured that it wasn't quite worth the trouble.
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?
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.