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Welcome to PECOTA day, sponsored by DraftKings. Premium subscribers can now download the 2015 Weighted Means Spreadsheet under the Fantasy tab at the top of this page, or by clicking "manage your profile." Player pages have been updated with these projections, as have team depth charts (with projected standings) and the fantasy team tracker. Allow us to expand on a few details that might be helpful to you.

Why Does PECOTA Hate My Team?

Every year, fantasy owners and fans of teams ask this question, “Why Does PECOTA Hate My Team?” Last year, Deadspin compiled five dozen “(maybe) surprising player projections.” This season, there’s already been a Lineup Card with eight such surprising projections and Sam Miller did some Pebble Hunting to reveal some of the “winners” in the PECOTA pitching projections. This all raises the question of why Baseball Prospectus would keep publishing surprising projections. Shouldn’t these things be getting better with time, as the system is refined and there’s more data?

It would be disingenuous to suggest that projections never miss the mark. Sometimes by a lot. In fact, last season alone, 39 of the 362 position players for which Baseball Prospectus had projected 100 or more plate appearances actually amassed 100 or more plate appearances with very unexpected (to PECOTA) hitting performances. We looked at these players’ WARP-per-600 plate appearances, with FRAA removed (yes, FRAA is important, but it’s projected differently and is—sometimes—much more out of the player’s control than batting stats). Using this metric, 39 players missed by 3.0 or more WARP-per-600. It could almost have been called, “Craig’s List”, as Mr. Allen Craig was the no. 9 culprit with a WARP-per-600 difference of 4.6 … and as those who saw him play for Boston can attest, he was making a strong run to top this list. PECOTA had projected 1.8 WARP-sans-FRAA in 426 PA (March 22nd projections), and he ended up with -1.7 WARP-sans-FRAA in 505 PA. But Dan Uggla took the top honors, falling 5.7 WARP-per-600 short of projections. Steve Pearce was no. 3 and represented the top over-performer, bettering his WARP-per-600 projection by 5.4.

The above examples come from the most stable group of players—batters who were projected to play and who did play. Yet, some of the most surprising projections entering the 2014 season ended up being close to perfect. For example, people who saw A.J. Burnett pitch in 2013 thought PECOTA needed glasses, as it projected Burnett to have one of the 10 largest declines in 2014. It projected his ERA to be 4.24, which, considering the drop in leaguewide offense in 2014, would have been adjusted to 4.14. His FIP in 2014? 4.14. Projections for Bryce Harper and B.J. Upton, tabbed as “(maybe) surprising” in the Deadspin article, proved prescient.. Remember the reaction when Chris Davis had a .289 TAv projection (again March 22)? That number ended up being optimistic (he posted a .271), even though when he was coming off a .358 TAv season virtually everyone thought PECOTA hated the guy.

Seriously, though, PECOTA doesn’t hate any player or anyone’s team. There are no biases in it based on anything but historical track records. For completeness, it should be noted that results such as the examples herein are not just “shrugged off” – both accurate and inaccurate results are processed. So, while some projections are going to be surprising, it’s important to keep in mind that all-in-all, the results have been very accurate over the years (thank you, Nate Silver!).

Using Team Tracker

Everyone who follows baseball at all has probably dabbled in the Baseball Prospectus Team Tracker—the most powerful tool of its kind available. For a reminder of some of the various things Team Tracker can do, both on the Team Tracker pages and elsewhere on the site, please refer back to Feature Focus articles on Team Tracker, Basics and Team Tracker, Advanced. The primary reason it’s being mentioned here is that 2015 PECOTA forecasts are now available. Shown is an actual portion of the Team Tracker page for the hitters on my Scoresheet team. (A team which was much better last season than it had any right to be. I had the second-best record among 24 teams entering the final week of the season and then, um, moving on… ) It can be seen that even for a 24-team league, hard times are likely ahead in 2015, based on PECOTA projections. The excerpt from my Team Tracker display is truncated on the right side as a reminder that there are many other stats which can be selected for the reports—allowing them to be tailored to each owner’s needs.

Without rehashing the content of the two articles above, many fantasy owners also like the email feature of Team Tracker—where an owner gets an email (optional) whenever a Baseball Prospectus author writes about a player on his team.

Using Scoresheet Draft Aid

Help for the above squad isn’t exactly coming in the draft—at least until people make cuts—as can be seen from the Draft Aid page for the league. Draft Aid offers some great features for Scoresheet owners to review the talent available in their league (note: where the article discusses available prospects, that will become available after the top 101 prospect list is published, not before). And, as a convenient tie-in, there’s a Team Tracker function to load Scoresheet teams so the stats (real and projected) of players already on teams can be seen as well.

Rob McQuown

Using Player Forecast Manager, And the Rest of our Fantasy Coverage

I know, I know. It is weird to be reading an introduction to something that kicked off three weeks ago on January 5th. However, this introduction is written not only for our current subscribers—thank you once again for your continued support—but also for anyone new coming on board this year for the first time.

Past subscribers are already familiar with several of the weekly features that have already graced the pages of the fantasy section of Baseball Prospectus in 2015, including the following:

· State of the Position: A broad overview of every position on the diamond from a fantasy perspective, with a look at both the present and the future of each position.

· Players to Target/Avoid: An argument for or against adding a player to your fantasy team in 2015. This feature is being presented as a deeper dive this year, with fewer players per article but more detailed arguments for each player.

· Top 50 Dynasty Players: A look at the Top 50 players by position for dynasty league players (expanded from 40 players in 2014).

· Tier Rankings: A breakdown of players by position into “star” rankings for mixed leagues.

· Infographic: Mauricio Rubio’s look at where a player’s production came from and how last year’s bid, last year’s price, and this year’s bid compare in an eye popping series of graphs.

· Get to Know (Position) Prospects: Prospects position by position, some who will help your teams in 2014, and other long term names to know in keeper and dynasty leagues.

· Tale of the Tape: A detailed comparison of two closely ranked players at a position that runs through each player’s strengths and weaknesses.

· TTO Scoresheet: Our breakdown for Scoresheet players, moved up to January this year from last year’s start in March.

This is already a healthy chunk of information to digest, but our readers asked for more and—as they might say during a pitch meeting in a Mad Men episode—we listened! New features in the fantasy section this year include:

· The Quinton: Jeff Quinton applies his excellent take on organizational thinking and reasoning to fantasy baseball, breaking down draft/auction perceptions and challenging the way fantasy owners think.

· Tale of the Tape, Dynasty Edition: The same positional comparison in Tale of the Tape with a focus on dynasty leagues.

· Only League Previews: Play in an only league? Take the deep dive with two separate articles a week by position for AL-only and NL-only.

· The Adjuster: Play in an OBP league? Wilson Karaman takes a look at the players whose prices/draft slots will go up or down in this format.

· Fantasy Profile: 1-2 profiles a week of a specific player and his fantasy prospects for 2015.

And of course, with all of this you get the Player Forecast Manager (or—as it is more popularly known—the PFM) and the Team Tracker. Put simply, the PFM translates Baseball Prospectus’s renowned PECOTA projections into draft rankings or auction values for your league. My bid limits for mixed, AL-only, and NL-only leagues will be available next month for the third year running, but if your league is an extremely custom league—or if you simply don’t trust the human element that my bids provide—then the PFM is for you (I do strongly urge you to read this tutorial before diving in).

Another feature available to our subscribers is the Team Tracker. Do you want to see how your fantasy team projects out through the rest of the season? The Team Tracker merges PECOTA projections with your team’s statistics year to date and puts together a valid baseline for the season. The team tracker is customizable for nearly every category, and can be used to track not just your team but every team in your league. A detailed tutorial can be found here.

Baseball Prospectus has always been the place to go for top notch baseball coverage. Now, it’s also the place to go for top shelf fantasy baseball coverage as well. This may sound like the tagline to the kind of jingoistic marketing campaign that irritates me to my very core, but you are not going to find a website that offers more fantasy coverage across all formats on a weekly basis than BP. And this doesn’t even include the mock draft and mock auction analysis, bid limits for auction leagues, and LABR and Tout Wars expert league coverage and analysis that will once again grace this website in 2015. If you are a returning customer, thank you once again for your continued patronage. If you are a new subscriber, thank you for joining us. You will not be disappointed. —Mike Gianella

Thank you for reading

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Muboshgu
1/28
WOO PECOTA! My draft prep can now begin in earnest.
bmmillsy
1/28
Steven Souza, oh my! Any thoughts on this projection? 25-25 season with reasonable average. That's quite a monster expectation. Also found the play time projection interesting. No platoon expectation?
lyricalkiller
1/28
I mentioned Souza in a thing I wrote last week, thusly: "If the category on Family Feud was “PECOTA’s Unrequited Love Interests,” the survey would quite likely say “old-for-their-league minor-league sluggers.” It’s certainly too soon to say Souza is only that, and PECOTA isn’t alone on seeing value where scouts generally haven't: As Dave Cameron noted when the Rays acquired Souza, he is a projections darling, so maybe PECOTA was just slow to catch up--especially considering that last year was his third in a row slugging at least .550 in the minors with a good batting average. Anyway, .350/.432/.590 in non-PCL Triple-A will do some things to a computer’s brain, even if it’s hard for us to believe Souza will outhit Victor Martinez, Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson as PECOTA projects." The playing time, of course, is easier to embrace if you buy the performance projection. We're constantly updating our depth charts, though, so consider the playing time part of the projection somewhat fluid.
bmmillsy
1/28
Sorry. I clicked around the provided links and CTRL+F'ed him before asking, but apparently missed this. Thanks!
BBlackwell
1/28
Are multi-year projections going to be released later, or am I just looking in the wrong place?
lyricalkiller
1/28
Those and percentiles generally come later in the spring; we're ahead of schedule this year, but they're still a little ways off.
markpadden
1/30
Is there an actual schedule?
bobellis75
1/28
I don't see Yasmany Tomas in the Scoresheet Aid?
mcquown
1/29
Got him added, and alerted the guys at Scoresheet so his MLBAM ID will soon appear on their player list. So much for being able to stealth-draft him in the BP Kings league!
bobellis75
1/29
Awesome thanks! Noticed he was on there when crunching some numbers last night.
drpjlang
1/28
Just getting this: Directory access is forbidden.
kathywoolner
1/29
We'll contact you about access. If anyone has difficulty, please contact Customer Service at CS@baseballprospectus.com. Thanks.
drpjlang
1/29
Sorted. Thank you.
boards
1/28
I was curious about the youngest players projected and found this: all 18, 19, and 20 year old hitters are projected for 250 PA. I assume this is some type of default for players the system projects to have o% chance of MLB time?
lyricalkiller
1/28
Correct
boards
1/29
Thanks, Sam. That makes sense to me.
morro089
1/28
PECOTA has Lester at 2.2 WARP (reasonable), but Steamer has him at 3.5 WAR. I'm not sure what other projections are released, but that's a difference of "Hey, we paid market value" and "This went downhill quickly". I didn't think there would be that much variance in his outcomes. You should just release the percentiles now, I don't want to wait. Better question, does PECOTA (or WARP) scale pitcher value differently than projection systems? PECOTA finds about an even amount of pitchers and hitters above average but hitters escalate in value much more quickly. Does PECOTA (or BP in general) have a history of this? If you "scale" pitcher value as much as hitter value then Lester has a 3.8 WARP. Lastly, holy wow, a projected 97 wins for the Dodgers.
rawagman
1/28
Why is my directory access forbidden?
mcquown
1/28
Should be fine now.
paulcl
1/28
Wow, PECOTA hates the Royals' rotation: -0.3 WARP total. It looks like replacement level ERA for a starter in Kauffman in front of the Royals' defence is about 4.4, and maybe 4.5 with neutral park and defence - does that sound about right?
joalryan
1/29
Why do hitter projections show in Team Tracker but not pitchers?
mcquown
1/29
Thanks for using Team Tracker! Sorry for the troubles, you had a legacy stat in your report which we hadn't cleared out. I removed it just now so your pitcher projections should be showing. Please send me a message via http://www.baseballprospectus.com/contact.php if you're still having difficulties.
jj0501
1/29
Jean Segura (4.2) & Ruben Tejada (4.0) were pretty shocking especially with less than glowing descriptions of their outlook.
hannibal76
1/29
(When) will UPSIDE be ready?
Grizpin
1/29
Yes, I have the same question!...?
mcquown
1/29
We are expecting to release 10-year projections (including UPSIDE) and percentiles earlier than the March 12 date we released them in 2014. No firm date has been set yet, however.
hannibal76
1/29
Okay, thanks, Rob.
markpadden
1/30
Not sure I follow. According to Sam Miller, you guys have not changed a thing in your algorithm from last year to this year, all data has been available since last November, and yet no firm date has been set for this season? What's taking all the time?
marshaja
1/29
How does PECOTA estimate playing time? I feel this is generally off more than the slash lines most years. For example, if Kris Bryant and Kyle Hendricks hit their PECOTA stats, they will be getting considerably more playing time than estimated barring injury. Is their low projection just based off the fact they saw little (or none in Bryant's case) MLB time last year?
swarmee
1/29
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/index.php?tm=CHN Bryant is expected currently to play 30% of the time at 3B (195 PAs). When the depth chart gets updated, the playing time adjusts, and the plate appearances follow.
swarmee
1/29
Er, 199. Olt oddly has 195 PAs from the same 30% playing time at 3B; maybe they expect batting order changes and Bryant to move up in the order.
mcquown
1/29
Thanks for your feedback! Answering multiple questions about playing time all at once (hopefully): First, the depth charts are done manually. The process involved between one (almost always two) and four of our staff experts reviewing the great initial work of Tim Collins and working with him to predict the "rest of season" playing time for each player, each position, and each lineup slot on each team. as you may imagine, doing this before all the free agents have signed and before spring training starts is going to still be a very imprecise effort. If you have comments on playing time about which you feel strongly, please use the Contact Us form (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/contact.php) and select "Depth Charts". All input will be considered seriously. An aside to the above... for players who don't appear in the depth charts, the spreadsheet uses estimated playing time based on the past two seasons (minimum 250 PA). swarmee points out one aspect of playing time that really helps make fantasy valuations accurate... lineup position as well as predicted team offensive level are used to determine the plate appearances of batters. Olt's 30% projected time at 3B is 15/15 between lineup slots #5 and #8, while Bryant's 30% all comes in slot #6. This accounts for the slight difference in plate appearances. And 30% on a different team - yet the same lineup slot - would likewise result in slight differences.
elsrbueno
1/29
We manually assign playing time using information we've collected, historical trends, and future predictions. Specific to Kris Bryant, it's an open question whether he'll break camp with the team, latest indications have been that he won't. If information becomes available that he may be in for more playing time, we can (and will) adjust that prediction.
boatman44
1/29
Love this stuff as much as I love my bed teddy, but am a little flummoxed as to why Lindor does not get an at bat on the Indians page , surely his time will come this season, or does PECOTA think Ramirez will hold him back another year ?
TeamPineTar
1/29
I can't even get the Team Tracker to Add a Team. Can anyone help?
mcquown
1/29
I just tried a couple things and realized that it won't allow for apostrophes in a team name - could that be the problem you're having?
TeamPineTar
1/29
Yes, Rob, Thanks!! I guess Satchel's Harem must transform into Da Satch Bitches...or something :)
pathard
1/29
I have never been able to import projection stats into my existing team. Regular season? No problem. What is wrong with me?
mcquown
1/30
Please use Contact Us, as I'm unclear on what it is exactly that you are attempting to do, or how it's failing. I don't see anything wrong with the way your team is configured in Team Tracker. Perhaps trying to create another team to see if projection stats are appearing will work for starters? Else drop me a line via Contact Us, and I'll help with it until it's working.
jlebeck66
2/05
What is the projected league average(s) for PECOTA? Does PECOTA predict to a static average, or does it predict different run environments each year?
mcquown
2/05
It predicts different run environments each year, based on the recent past seasons.