Charting Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA

Last week I wrote about Baseball Prospectus’ 2012 PECOTA projections.  There was some great feedback from everyone, including Lee’s line which suggested that PECOTA isn’t so much projection for a specific player, but rather a projection for a similar player based on that player’s past performance and comparables.  (Lee runs Tiger Tales and his Beyond Batting Average is a great read for anyone trying to understand sabermetrics).   In light of this, what I wanted to do is take a little closer look at some of BPs 2012 projections, and discuss the accuracy of their 2011 projections for a few players. As Lee suggested, this may give us an idea on whether a regression or improvement is coming.

PECOTA projects quite a of information, but for consistency’s and brevity’s sake, I’m going to focus on OPS and WARP for hitters, and ERA and WARP for pitchers.  If there are other stats which you would like to compare for a player, let me know and I’ll pull them up.  Pitchers then Hitters, in no particular order.

Verlander – projected: 3.32 ERA, 5.5 WARP; actual: 2.40, 5.8.  BP projected a 3.05 ERA and 4.2 WARP for 2012, which would be his lowest WARP by a full run in the last 4 years.  I realize that Verlander’s 2011 was historic, but a full win less seems a bit extreme.

Scherzer – projected: 3.61 ERA, 3.6 WARP; actual: 4.43, 1.0.  I think that Scherzer falls nicely into the “due for a bounceback” bucket.

Valverde – projected: 3.37 ERA, 0.8 WARP; actual: 2.24, .7.  I don’t get why stud relievers have such low WARPs.  Valverde is currently at the top of my list of guys I’d like to share a beer or 10 with.

Porcello – projected: 4.40 ERA, 2.3 WARP; actual: 4.75, 1.1.  I think that everyone outside of Detroit still sees Porcello as a #2 starter.  I think that most of us think that this may be his last year to show it.

Cabrera – projected: .948 OPS, 4.2 WARP; actual: 1.034, 6.5.  I don’t know why anyone (including computers) bids low on Cabs.

Inge – projected: .694 OPS, 1.5 WARP; actual: .548 OPS, .1.  What I wouldn’t have given for a .694 OPS.

Jackson – projected: .704 OPS, 0.2 WARP; actual .681, 2.0.  PECOTA foretold doomsday for AJax mostly because of his outrageous 2010 BABIP of .396.  Well, he still had a .340 average on balls in play for 2011, so I don’t see that going away anytime soon.

Avila – projected: .720 OPS, 0.9 WARP; actual: .895/6.5.  I don’t know if PECOTA was more wrong about any player in 2011, definitely not any other player on the Tigers.  Avila’s tremendous season was buoyed by a .366 BABIP, so a return to normal there will probably lead to a regression in 2012 (PECOTA says .790/3.2).

Boesch – projected: .726 OPS, -0.1 WARP; actual: .799, 2.2.  Boesch’s 2011 projections were largely based on his atrocious 2nd half of 2010.  His improved eye coupled with a healthy season would give me hope that he could easily surpass the .765/1.4 2012 projections.

Fielder – projected: .922 OPS, 3.9 WARP; actual: .981, 5.3.  Fielder has a disappointing 2010 relative to 2009, which helps to explain why BP was aiming a little lower in 2011, but his 2012 projected (.952/5.5) is inline with a superstar who is 28.

Who do you guys see as over/under performing based on last year’s stats?


Winding Down 2011

Hello all – hopefully everyone is having a great holiday season and your bowl picks are hitting at better than 55%.  Not too much today, just a few notes in case you missed them over the past week or so.  (and thanks to a tip from Billfer I think we got a workaround on the rotator)

– Carlos Quentin is headed to San Diego.

– JV will be the cover boy for MLB 2k12 – check out the image here.

– For those of us who thought the Tigers would be content to hand Turner the 5th starter slot, we were wrong.  To begin, (for some reason,) the Braves may covet Delmon Young, and the Tigers are trying to leverage that into Jair Jurrjens.  Further, the Tigers are in hot pursuit of Matt Garza according to multiple sources.  (stay tuned on this story)

– Jackson (32), Avila (18) and Porcello (37) made Keith Law’s very narrow and very un-newsworthy list of top 50 players 25 and under (you need insider).

– Great post on Fangraphs yesterday discussing the FA pitchers who signed 1 year deals before spring training last year, and compared their seasons.

Happy New Year everyone!


2011 Winter Meetings

Your Winter Meetings thread.  I’ll update when I can, but I figure we’ll let the comments take care of the breaking news.

Here’s what we already know – Jose Reyes is taking his talents to South Beach.  Did you know that they are the “Miami Marlins” now?  Isn’t that Jamie Foxx’s team in Any Given Sunday? Rumor is that Buehrle could be next.  It’s about time for the Marlins to buy another WS.  Hey, whatever works.  Though I’m not sure if anyone can afford Reyes, Buehrle and Pujols.

Uhhhh, no thanks.

ESPN free agent tracker here.




40-Man Roster Cont’d

Sorry for cutting Wednesday’s post short but Turkey day plans were calling. In any event, to continue the discussion on the Tigers recent roster move, here’s some information on the remaining three prospects added to the 40-man roster:

Tyler Stohr (RHP)

The 25 year-old reliever spent 2011 in Lakeland and Erie. His ERA jumped from 3.25 to 4.21 following his promotion, but he has shown rapid improvement at each level he’s  visited thus far. At Lakeland, Stohr walked 8 and struck out 23 over 31.1 IP. In Erie, his ratio of BB’s and K’s per nine rose (17 BB, 27 K, 25.2 IP). It looks like he’s going to work the back end of games as he finished 12 out of 20 appearances in Erie. Watch for Stohr to make the jump from Erie to Toledo next year.

Avisail Garcia (OF)

The 20-year-old right-handed hitter spent 2011 at the high-A level. Over 129 games he hit .264, stole 14 bases, drove in 56, and scored 53 runs. He hit 11 homers, slugged .389, and posted an OBP of .297. Obviously, he has room to improve; however, he hit A-level pitching at a .281 clip and was able to draw more walks. He is an athletic outfielder who has a decent ceiling but needs to work on his patience and hitting. At such a young age, he has time to develop.

Hernan Perez (SS)

Perez is also a 20-year-old right-handed hitter. As some of you may remember, he was one of the players I was able to interview at West Michigan towards the end of their season. Perez is a class act with the right make-up to be successful. He plays very much like a young Robinson Canoe (keep your hopes down, I’m not saying he’s there, or close) in the sense that he’s athletic, moves gracefully, and can generate good bat speed. After spending a couple years with a BA in the .220’s, Perez jumped his average to .258 last year, and over .300 during the first half. He also drew more walks (38) and developed some power (8 HR). Like Garcia, Perez is young and has time to develop over the next couple seasons. My guess is that his recent spike in performance caught the attention of DD and co.


40-Man Roster Prospects

Last week the Tigers set their 40-man rosters in order to protect players from the Rule 5 draft. In addition to the big league club and high-level minor leaguers, the roster includes 5 prospects whose names I mentioned many times throughout last season: Casey Crosby, Matt Hoffman, Tyler Stohr, Avisail Garcia, and Hernan Perez. In this fist-part post, I’ll examine the potential of two of the five.

Casey Crosby (LHP)

In 25 starts at Erie, Crosby went 9-7 with a 4.10 ERA. He tossed 131.2 innings while striking out 121, walking 77, and allowing a .253 average against. Crosby’s numbers seem relatively pedestrian. The most significant aspect of his stat line is that he was able to throw all year without being shut down due to injury. Crosby underwent Tommy John surgery in 2008 and missed most of 2010 with persistent elbow pain. Crosby has a live arm with a mid 90’s fastball from the left side. He has the stuff to be a top ½ of the rotation pitcher but needs to master his control issues. If his arm holds up through 2012, Crosby will be competing for a starting spot in 2013.

Matt Hoffman (LHP)

The 23-year-old lefty appeared in 49 games for Toledo as a middle-reliever. Over 62.1 IP, Hoffman K’ed 46, walked 23, and was hit at a .253 clip. His ERA at AAA was a respectable 3.18. Hoffman is an intriguing prospect because he has shown steady improvement each year and hasn’t hit his ceiling yet. The best way to statistically evaluate this improvement is to look at his tremendous year-to-year improvement in ERA at the same levels: in 2008 he finished the year at West Michigan with a 4.60 ERA. He started 2009 there and posted a 1.12 ERA before being promoted to Lakeland. He finished the year at Lakeland with a 6.79 ERA. The next year, 2010, he produced an impressive 1.59 ERA before being promoted to Erie and then Toledo.  Hoffman produced solid numbers in the AFL: 3 1/3 innings giving up just one hit and no runs or walks. Hoffman should blossom into a quality middle-reliever (think Bobby Seay, but good at baseball) sometime in 2013.

Justin Verlander for (edit: IS) MVP

Vote is coming out today at 2pm, and will have live coverage beginning at 1:30pm eastern.

Rob Neyer would vote Jacob Ellsbury #1 and JV 5th.  (When did Neyer move to SBNation from  When did SBNation become a legitimate sports news source?)

Buster Olney writes that JV will get the most first place votes in a year with several deserving candidates, but ultimately will lose because of not enough electoral votes.

The local guys (Detroit News, Freep) seem to think that the pitcher vs. batter philosophical debate will ultimately cost JV the award.

I remain hopeful…



JV won with 13 out of 28 first place votes, and 280 points overall.  Ellsbury had 242 points, and Batista was third with 231.  Granderson and Cabby rounded out the top 5.

Hot Stove Talk, Part 2 (and other stuff)

Catching up on a few notes:

– Looks like Gerald Laird may be bringing the party back to the Big D.

– The Tigers are in talks with the Braves about Martin Prado.  Ian Casselberry did a great write up on why Prado would be a tremendous fit a few weeks ago here.  Prado is coming off of a down here, but in ’07, ’08, and ’09, his OPS+ figures were 121, 117, 119, respectively.  In 2009 he finished 9th in NL MVP voting.  Now, Prado is most attractive as a 2B, but note that he didn’t play any games at 2B last year, and statistically, he’s a better LFer than 2B.  Considering the dearth of fielders at both positions, I think we can find room for him somewhere.

– A few from the web which I don’t think carry much weight are Jose Reyes and Cole Hamels.  Reyes is likely going to see 9 figures in his next contract, and Hamels would require trading away Jacob Turner, and paying Hamels $14M before he demands $20M+ in 2013 as a FA.

– 40 man list is due tonight.  Casey Crosby will be #35, I’m certain.  After that, the Tigers will have to make a decision on Brandon Douglas, Cody Satterwhite, Matt Hoffman, Jay Voss, Tyler Stohr, Ben Guez and my player of the pregame for Game #17 in 2014 – Gustavo Nunez.

Spring Training anyone? (schedule)

Awards Talk

There’s gonna be more in the coming days, but JV was named the Players Choice Player of the Year for 2011.  Besides having the most confusing name, this award is the top award bestowed by an all player vote, and produced for the MLB Network during a slow content period.

It’s not the Cy Young or MVP, but it is setting a nice precedent.

In case you missed it, Alex Avila won his first ever Silver Slugger award, while Cabby got edged out by Adrian Gonzalez, despite the fact that Cabby had a higher slugging percentage, more runs, more doubles, more HR, higher BA, higher OPS, more walks, less strikeouts, etc.  Basically, Cabrera had an edge in every category that defines “slugger.”  Gonzalez did have 12 more RBIs, but it helps when you have Jacob Ellsbury and his 119 runs ahead of you.  Some guy posited that maybe the players and coaches (who vote on Silver Slugger awards) didn’t like Cabrera’s offseason activities.  This guy was so outraged that he used a curse word (a no-no on DTW) and some fancy sabermetric stats to show how ridiculous choosing Gonzales over Cabrera really was.

The Tigers came up empty in the gold glove department.

AL Cy Young will be announced Nov 18th, MVP on Nov 22nd.



World Series Game 7 Thread

Last’s night’s game was so incredible and had enough talking points to fill 19 hours of sports-talk time, which is exactly what is happening right now in the Metroplex.  I’d be curious to get everyone’s thoughts.

I really don’t want to see the Cards win another one.

2011: Thank You Tigers

(special thanks to Samara from Roar of the Tigers for allowing us to use her image.  Check out her brilliant work here.)

Please add yours…

Thank you Alex Avila for your perseverance.

Thank you Jim Leyland for your class and an abundance of next-morning-talking-material decisions.

Thank you Dave Dombrowski for Delmon Young, Wilson Betemit and Doug Fister.

Thank you Brandon Inge for remaining faithful to your work effort and this team.  I think you may have a few new (old) fans.

Thank you Jose Valverde for keeping things interesting on the field and immediately after the last out.

Thank you Miguel Cabrera for showing us that a kid at heart can be the best player on the field.

Thank you Justin Verlander for your determination and resolve.

Thank you Ramon Santiago for being Ramon Santiago.

Thank you Don Kelly for your ALDS magic.

Thank you Nick D for the Minor League Updates.  Great work.

Thank you Dan Dickerson and Jim Price for being my best friends all summer, even if I do all the listening.

Thank you Tigers for another glorious summer of baseball.  I don’t know what I’d do without you.

Thank you billfer for letting Coleman and I have some fun with DTW, and thank you everyone for stopping by.  Plenty of off-season talk coming up.

Game 2011 Playoffs.11: Tigers at Rangers

So it all comes down to this.  Tonight is either the last game–and the last game post–of the season,  or it’s the catapult into a deciding game 7 with our best postseason pitcher on the mound I like our chances to take this thing if we can make it to game 7, where the Rangers really don’t want to be facing the preternaturally calm Doug Fister.  They really don’t.

Whatever happens, the Tigers have managed to overcome a lot this postseason, and have pitched quite well against arguably the two best offensive teams in baseball.  The Tigers have given up a total of 16 regular inning runs in 5 games (we’ll set aside the 11th inning runs for the moment), or 3.2 per game, to a team that averaged 5.3 in the regular season.

That being said, the odds are stacked against us tonight.  We are in Arlington, where Texas loves to hit.  AccuScore gives Texas a huge advantage (64%)…the ESPN fan poll likes us even less (Texas at 72% chance to win).  And yet…

Alex Avila has this figured out.  You see, there is Max Scherzer, who is a very analytical, calm pitcher.  And then there is Mad Max.  Avila says, it’s time for Mad Max.

And–as we have known all along–it’s all about the eyes.  The analytical Max pitches with his blue eye, the intense Max with his brown eye.  Says Avila:  “He gets all jacked up and ready to go.  He gets this look in his blue eye, then his brown eye starts twitching, and it doesn’t even matter what pitch I call.  It seems like he comes out throwing great.”  Let’s hope tonight the eyes have it.

Again tonight, the way the game begins will be crucial. In his first run through against the Rangers, Max Bondermanned the first inning, then made it until the 6th without giving up a base runner.  Holland only lasted 3 innings, before being Raburned right out of the game.  On the other hand, he should certainly be rested for tonight.

In case Max goes all blue-eye tonight, warming up in the bullpen will be Rick Porcello.  Kid Rick has never come out of the bullpen yet in his fledgling career.  I’m guessing Ol’ Smokey ain’t expecting him to tonight either.

Random note of interest:  according to a DKnobler tweet, Craig Monroe is in the stands tonight wearing a Tiger shirt.  So we’ve got the C-Mo going for us.

Player of the Pre-Game:  Brandon Inge

Inge? Seriously?  Yes.  When Inge does hit, it is against lefties.  And I just have a feeling.  And besides I need something dramatic here for prediction parity with Kevin.

Today’s Naturally Cycling Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Ryan Raburn, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. Delmon Young, LF
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Brandon Inge, 3B
  9. Ramon Santiago, 2B


Game 2011.Playoffs.10: Rangers at Tigers

The Rangers have out bullpenned, out run, and out fielded the Tigers through 4 games of this series.  But that’s through 4, and this is a 7 game series.  There’s a reason for that.

None of the Tigers losses have been lopsided (tack on runs excluded), and they have had distinct opportunities to win each of those games in the late/extra innings.  They just haven’t had that hero.  But that doesn’t prohibit a hero from stepping up tonight.

Candidate #1: Justin Verlander.  At best, Verlander has been below average this post-season, at worst, he’s been…bad.  Heavy words for the 2011 AL  CY Young Winner (and perhaps MVP).  But I think we can all agree that his postseason 1.38 WHIP and 5.54 ERA is unusual, and unsustainable.  Verlander has twice been victimized by rain shortened starts, but JV would be the last guy to use that as an excuse.  JV was a strong 16-3 following a Tigers loss this season and I’ve got a feeling that he gets to a fast 17-3 tonight.

Candidate #2: Justin Verlander.  This has been the best season by a pitcher in decades, he’s just not going to go out like that, especially not fresh from the shorter fight last time out.

Candidate #3: Alex Avila.  Alex knows this may be his last chance in front of the home crowd.

Here’s my honest prediction.  The Tigers sure win this one walking away.  They have been just a hit or two away from taking each game that they lost, and I think that all of those IOUs get cashed in soon.  Verlander gives the pen the rest they need (in case you missed it, Leyland said that Benoit and Valverde were not avail tonight, and we all know that Leyland doesn’t alter from what’s written on the back of his Marlboro carton) and we get setup for 6 & 7 in Arlington.  We’ll worry about those starting Saturday morning.  The one potential wrench is the rain.  From what I can tell, it’s not currently raining at CoPa, but it could during the game.  If we were to get into another lengthy delay, the Bad Brad may get the call.  On the other side of the field, larger than life Ron Washington said that his bullpen is at “full strength.”

Quick Notes:
– Last night was Valverde’s 2nd 3+ out appearance of the season.  The first was on Monday.
– If the series goes to 7 games and Cabrera gets a hit in each game, he’ll set the all time streak to begin a career in the LCS.

1. Jackson CF
2. Raburn RF
3. Cabrera 1B
4. Martinez DH
5. Young LF
6. Peralta SS
7. Inge 3B
8. Avila C
9. Santiago 2B

L e t’s G o T i g e r s.