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:
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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.
The top and the bottom of the powerhouse division can build from within, leaving the AL East's middle class in an precarious spot.
This is the fifth of six-part preview of the impending off-season. I had been holding off on the two divisions involving World Series combatants until the games had concluded, but with the Series' hasty conclusion on Sunday--and Scott Boras' equally quick declaration that it's A-Rod Huntin' Season--now is the time to cover the AL East, where all five teams will have some very interesting decisions to make.
The first in a six-part series on the challenges and possible courses of action in each division, leading off with the AL Central's five teams.
This is the first of a six-part preview of the impending offseason, which I'll cycle through relatively quickly over the course of the next couple of weeks. While it might seem sacrilege to write about the Hot Stove League at a time when the 21 most important games of the baseball season remain to be played, I hope it will be of some interest to the 87 percent of you whose teams have now been knocked out of playoff contention. From everything we've been hearing, winter madness is going to start early this year, with a series of key decision points revolving around Alex Rodriguez and some of the other biggest names in the sport.
A look at the greatest comebacks in pennant race history. Has there been a recent addition to the list?
I've had kind of a lucky year. The PECOTA projection I made in the offseason that gained the most notoriety is that the White Sox would finish 72-90; that turned out to be their actual finish. After that, the next most controversial projection was that Dustin Pedroia was going to have a very good year; now he looks like a shoo-in for the Rookie of the Year Award. And in a July article for Sports Illustrated, we noted that the Secret Sauce predicted that the Red Sox would meet the Cubs in the World Series, an outcome that now looks entirely possible (though incrementally less so after the Cubs' loss last night).
Which teams blew the best possible shots at making the postseason, and where do the ill-fated teams on this year's NL slate stand to land?
Today's article represents an update of Clay Davenport's piece from two years ago that described the biggest collapses in playoff chase history (spoiler alert!), as defined by the teams that had the highest percentage chance to reach the playoffs at some point during the regular season who then failed to do so. I have a comprehensive set of playoff odds reports that Clay prepared for us in connection with It Ain't Over, and was therefore able to identify a couple of races that Clay had missed during his spot-checking. In addition, I will be looking all the way back to the start of the season, rather than limiting things to August 1st as Clay did; it's surprisingly easy for teams to establish a stranglehold on a playoff spot relatively early in the season in the Wild Card era, and if they're a bit less dramatic as narratives go, those collapses still deserve discussion. In addition, Clay has made some improvements to his methodology since the time his article was originally published, so all of that goodness is incorporated herein.