I didn’t want to do it but I did. Running a PECOTA for Reds’ Rule 5 pick Josh Hamilton was going to be a RPITA — look that one up on Google. But, it now looks like there’s an even-money chance that he’ll break camp with the big club, so we needed to have something in place.
The trouble is that PECOTA uses data from the past three seasons (2004, 2005, and 2006). And Hamilton hasn’t played baseball in the past three seasons. Well, that isn’t quite true: he got a handful of at bats in what amounted to a rehab assignment in the New York-Penn League last year. But that isn’t very much to work with.
So what I did instead was to run a PECOTA based on Hamilton’s last three good years worth of data — 2000, 2001, and 2002. I took the 2004 projection from that retro PECOTA and plugged it in as his actual 2004 stats. And I left 2005 and 2006 blank, to indicate that Hamilton has missed a ton of development time.
Here’s what we came up with:
BA OBP SLG PA R 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS EqA VORP
.254 .306 .409 330 38 15 1 10 39 21 68 5 1 .243 1.3
That’s pretty close to what I’d have come up with if I were trying to do this subjectively. Then again, I have done this subjectively. For example, I decided to treat Hamilton’s 2006 as a lost year rather than give him “credit” for his playing time in the New York-Penn, where his performance was so bad that it weighs down his projection even given the small sample size. That’s a perfectly reasonable assumption — Hamilton’s circumstances are almost unprecedented — but it’s still a subjective one.
So take this projection with a grain of salt. Or maybe even an entire Morton plant. But just for fun, Hamilton’s 75th percentile projection is .274/.328/.452, and his 90th percentile projection is .292/.347/.491.
I’ll say this much: I’d rather have him in camp than Sammy Sosa.