After using PECOTA-generated roto values at the recent Tout Wars National League draft, Nate Silver runs the numbers to produce values for the AL. Hint: as in the NL, pay the premium for studs. And do everything you can to get Pedro.
I love prediction season. Right now, every sports media outlet in the country is running endless NCAA brackets, bracket-picking advice, and studies of past bracket upset patterns–and while I’ll take it, I’m still scouring baseball pages to see what writer was foolish enough to put his name to the fortunes of only 30 teams, predicting the outcome of the 2003 baseball season. We do it every year here at Prospectus, and getting my predictions is like trying to get me out of the bar before I’ve finished my beer.
PEORIA, AZ–If President Bush truly intends to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, he might want to start with what I’m looking at right now. It is a golden brown, sugar covered, cream-loaded agent of evil; a Twinkie covered in batter, skewered on a stick, and tossed into the fry vat like a corn dog. If I had met this when I was six or seven years old, Jerry Springer would be lifting me out of my bed with a crane. Next to the Twinkie on the grease-soaked paper plate are the smart bombs of the deep-fry arsenal, the Oreos. Together, they are the talk of the concourse on this sunny day at the Peoria Sports Complex, moments prior to the Padres game against Milwaukee.
Joe Sheehan begins his divisional previews series with a stroll through the AL West. Will Erubiel Durazo stay healthy long enough to push the A’s offense to the top of the league? Can Chan Ho Park and company ratchet up last year’s miserable pitching staff? Will the Angels’ put-everything-in-play hitting approach bring the Rally Monkey back for another October engagement? And can Mike Cameron break out and give the M’s offense a badly-needed lift?
Sheldon Ocker shares tidbits on the Indians’ third base job and spars with Will Carroll over pitch counts, St. Louis may soon need Dane Iorg to plug its outfield holes, Kaz Sasaki enjoys self-flagellation, and Will reminds Kevin Brown supporters not to get their hopes up.
Monday, the Blue Jays announced that they’d signed both Eric Hinske and
Vernon Wells to five-year deals in the neighborhood of $15 million. The
deals take both players through their arbitration seasons, while not buying
out any years of free agency. More importantly, the deals tie each player to
the Jays through their probable peak; Hinske is under contract through age 29,
Wells through age 28.
My first reaction to the deals was positive. Hinske should be a good player
through the life of the deal, although he lacks the potential of, say, Eric
Chavez or Hank Blalock. Hinske’s defense improved enough during last
season to scotch the idea of moving him off of third base, which leaves just
his performance against left-handers (.202/.293/.339) as a major flaw in his
game. Wells has a higher upside and considerably more defensive value than
Hinske does, although his lousy OBP means that he hasn’t been as good a player
The media gets A-Rod’s injury right, aces that may not make it out for Opening Day, Grudzielanek’s injury reduces the Cubs’ 2B job to a dogfight between Hill, Martinez, and Bump Wills, and Will Carroll’s bizarre love for Wily Mo Pena lives on.
There are certain occupations where mentioning the elephant in the room that everyone knows about but no one acknowledges can be hazardous to your continued livelihood. You can’t find a single politician, for example, who thinks that Social Security is viable long term without significant benefit cuts or tax increases. And yet, because Joe Sheehan’s assessment of Americans is, by and large, too charitable–and because we’ve all embraced the tragedy of the commons with such zeal–no elected official in their right mind will come out in favor of cutting Social Security benefits or dramatically raising taxes.
So, instead of trying to solve the problem in advance, we’ll wait until there’s a crisis and do a half-assed job of fixing it down the road, when the problem’s particularly acute, and the group that will take it in the shorts when that happens will be the group that’s either demographically or electorally challenged. It’s the way we do things. We don’t often mention the elephant in the room, even though its presence is patently obvious.
Last Saturday, Oakland A’s owner Steve Schott flashed a spotlight on the elephant in the room.
The PECOTA system acknowledges that there is a wide range of variance intrinsic to any set of forecasts. What’s more, there’s no reason to expect that this variance will be unrelated to the team that a player toils for. On the contrary, there are myriad anecdotal examples of entire teams who routinely fall toward the top or the bottom of their forecast range. Under Dusty Baker, the Giants have consistently gotten more production than would reasonably be expected from a set of thirtysomethings. Under Leo Mazzone, the Braves have consistently turned waiver wire fodder into good or even great bullpen arms.
Indeed, it’s possible to conjure up an argument like that for just about every team, and some of the time, you won’t even be BSing. Translating player projections into team forecasts is an exercise that caters mostly to the left side of the brain; you’re sure to see some more creative solutions in the coming days as we publish the BP author forecasts, crazed opium dreams like the Cubs taking the pennant. I have myself deviated from the HAL 9000 version in quite a number of cases. Nevertheless, we’ve never had anything quite like PECOTA before, and it’s worth seeing what it has to say.
Mark Quinn, Bruce Chen and Rob Bell still dishing out torment, Benny Agbayani peddling his Hawaiian Punch to the wrong team, Dan O’Dowd shopping Helton for an impulse control device to be named later, and the Dodgers messing with the wrong Alvarez.