Per Marc’s earlier comment, I ran a 2007 PECOTA for Sammy Sosa, assuming that he’s a Texas Ranger. This wasn’t included in the first batch of forecasts that we posted last night, but we’ll get it included in the next one.
You might want to cover your eyes.
PA R 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS BA OBP SLG VORP
137 14 5 0 5 18 13 31 0 0 .219 .293 .385 -4.0
There’s little reason to believe that Sosa is better than a replacement-level alternative at this point; in fact, PECOTA thinks he’s quite a bit worse than replacement level. I understand the counter-argument: let’s bring him up to training camp and see what happens. What can be the harm in that? The harm is not if Sosa looks bad in spring training, but if he looks good — it ain’t hard to look good in March against Grapefruit League pitching. Then, he winds up taking away at bats from Jason Botts or someone similar in what’s looking like a very winnable division. Steroids or no, 38-year-old hitters don’t see their OPS decline for five years in a row, take a year off, and find the magic elixir of Minnie Minoso.
On a related note, I’ve gotten quite a few reader inquiries about who gets a PECOTA forecast and who doesn’t. At this stage, we’ve run a PECOTA for every player that gets a full-length comment in BP 2007, with the exception of players with no professional track record (late signs from the 2006 draft and so forth). I’ve also cross-checked the PECOTA lists against Kevin Goldstein’s prospect lists, so we should have very comprehensive coverage of anyone with two-and-a-half tools and a heartbeat. The guys we tend to be missing are guys are fringe veterans that will creep their way onto rosters as the season nears — guys like Sammy Sosa. These players will be added as needed as we launch our depth charts in February.