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Friday, January 19, 2007


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Great post Paul. I'll try to dive in later on when I'm a little more awake, but for now, those Pedroia projections look GREAT. And a little more than optimistic, I think. Although I've been anticipating lesser numbers all offseason.

Fantastic and fascinating stuff, Paul. I don't give much weight to projections, especially for pitching, but it's still fun to look at. And dream.

Either way, it's very hard to see the Red Sox being as unlucky as they were in 2006 all over again. Although I'm of the mildly paranoid camp, so I won't rule it out either. [Shudder]

interesting stuff paul....thanks for taking the time to put it tiny brain tends to try to boil things down to their simplest form...for example, forget all the number crunching models, do we expect beckett to have a better year, yep...and so on...sometimes our guts are more accurate...just curious, all of the individual numbers are fun to look over, but it doesn't give me the most important detail: who's gonna win the ws?...

I not just saying this 'cause I'm a Yankee fan, but those Pedroia projections seem a tad optimistic, don't you think?

To me those Pedroia numbers are not to be expected. I think any of us SFs would be happy if the kid hit .265, with an OBP just shy or touching .350.

A couple things about Pedroia.

I agree those numbers are best-case scenario, and really the numbers I'd expect out of him come his second or third year in the bigs. That said, the fact that both metrics project those optimistic numbers, and the fact is certainly interesting. They're not projecting something wildly unrealistic (20 HR or anything). But yes, it's certainly a ROY-caliber season if those predictions were to come true, and it seems a bit tenuous to go predicting ROY-caliber seasons for players not named Matsuzaka.

The numbers for DP aren't far off from what I have also. I have less HR's (8) and less RBI's (54) but basically right on base.

Uggh I certainly hope not as a Yankees fan.

I'm sure that if the pieces fall where they are projected to, both the Red Sox and the Yankees are going to be tough to keep under 90 wins.

I'd say 90 wins would be a disappointment from the Yankee roster... and I think the same is probably true of the Sox.

Great post, Paul - that must have taken quite a chunk of time to get together.

It actually took less than I thought. I started it last night, just figuring I'd get started and finish it up over the weekend, but I ended up being done by bedtime. The longest was the pitchers because the projections didn't include ratios beyond ERA or earned runs. Had to do all the math for those myself :-P

Thanks for the compliments, all. It was a lot of fun to do. I've had a request to do a Yankee one as well. I'll see what I can do. Since we've established PECOTA as the better system, I might just use them. Unless any YFs here want to take it on...

I'd say 90 wins would be a disappointment from the Yankee roster.

Yes, but pitching is where the truth lies.

I think this is a brilliant post, Paul. Thanks for the work. I would note that the projections are based on the production of the starting lineups and ideal roster over the course of 162 games, and the truth is that some large percentage of that production will actually filled by backups/replacements of lesser value.

Of course this is true, but there's only so far you can go before your eyes start bleeding.

Ignore that pervious comment. I'm wrong. But I do wonder how the performance of the rest of the roster will affect things.

You can't just round 1.83 up to 2 when using the pythagorean therum. Done correctly, the result is 93 wins, which is much more realistic.

I dont know Robb, I just did it with 1.83 and I got 103, which seems more correct as such a small change in exponent shouldnt have that much of an effect.

If I had any kind of a decent calculator, I would have done it with the 1.83. The Pythagorean theorum (in baseball of course) was originally done to the power of two, and the1.83 later was determined to be slightly more accurate. If the power of two was missing by 12 wins per team, the theorum would never have gotten off the ground. So I'm comfortable with the slightly more inaccurate 105-win season, using those numbers. I don't think the Sox will do that well anyhow, but it's fun to see.

105 wins is a great team that also has some luck. It's rather unlikely. It just doesn't happen all that often.

Theoretically, I bet both the Yanks and Sox are ~100 win teams, provided health. But odds are neither will be entirely healthy and this will result in mid-90s win totals. I do expect it to be close.

The Braves/Pirrsburgh deal is done. I wonder if the Braves are going to deal him or keep him as a set up guy to Wickman.

Rob, also off the top of my head I can't think of many seasons when two teams won over 100 games while playing in the same division.

i saw this linked via Baseball Musings; a couple of comments. i like this general approach --- i have done the very same thing over at my blog to evaluate the cardinals, and it's a good model. but i think you could improve the accuracy of your outcome if you made a couple of changes.

first, your analysis of the offense assumes that the starting 9 players will play all 162 games for the red sox and take all the at-bats. obviously that's not going to happen; bench players are going to take at least 20 percent of the at-bats, and that will bring the overall run-scoring output down.

likewise, this analysis assumes the sox's 10 or 11 best pitchers will throw every single inning; again, not a realistic premise. replacement players will throw 10 percent or so of the innings, and probably will be less effective than the guys you've based your projection on. that's going to drive the runs allowed upward.

just taking a wild-ass guess, with a more realistic distribution of playing time the sox might end up at, say, 900 runs scored and 750 runs allowed. that would still project to 96 wins, which is very optimistic.

I like projections when talking about players, but these season projections for the team scare the shit out of me.

Knocking on wood...

I for one am expecting big things from Pedroia in 2007 :)

Paul, good work. It seems like you are assuming that only the Sox top players see the field. Were PAs given to the bench and mop up relievers?

Hey EGG, no. I recognized that when I did the analysis, but as I mentioned before, it's something to where I chose between ease of analysis and making my head hurt. I chose the lazy way out. Presumably, of course, you hope that the Sox do not need their bench players that often. The player they'd likely use the most, considering the injury risks of their starters, would be Wily Mo Pena, whose projections IIRC (I'm at work, stats are at home) are still pretty good. Offensively, Pena and Eric Hinske remain good options who would not have significant effects on the RS portion of the equation over a combined 600-700 plate appearances or so.

As far as pitching, I chose the pitchers who were likely in my eyes to pitch the majority of the relief innings. That the Sox have no closer, and the fact that neither projection system accounts for any Sox reliever being a closer, is to my mind a bigger drag on the pitching side of the projection than the potential replacements. There's just no way to account for that because the projections aren't there -- because the closer is not there. In any case, if the starters are as good as projected, the Sox bullpen will be given far less of a chance to significantly affect Runs Allowed than it had in 2006. Bullpens are a crapshoot; there's simply no way to say with certainty which pitchers will be the most used and effective by season's end, or which pitchers will even be used by season's end. I imagine using this method to project a W-L record will run up against the same problem with every pitching staff in the league.

This is a very interesting exercise, and I would love to see a Yankee version as well. To the person above who noted keeping things simple though, I am always leary (spelling? leery?) of statistics in general given there are lies, damn lies, and then statistics in order of accuracy; especially when it comes to projections. If these regularly held true I would not keep coming in last in my fantasy league. My questions for the Sox are the same as for the Yankees...pitching. Why is it safe to assume Wang will regress but Beckett will rebound? Why was a Randy Johnson in his forties off of back surgery destined for a 7.00 ERA but Schilling certain to bounce back at his age? Wakefield is not younger, but Mussina is most likely to add another run to his ERA...Pettite (who as a Yankee fan I personally feel will spend his season in the trainer's room) is working with a busted wing but Papelbon with shoulder issues in short relief will have no issues as a starter...alright, well you might have me there. And big a mystery as any can't miss prospect, no different than a Phil Hughes. And you could absolutely blow up the Yankee staff with the holes they have and assert the same concerns...

I guess my point is...when will it be April 1st, and these guys just start playing...sigh, when does the NCAA tournament start???

Thanks - I must have missed that caveat. EGG reading comp ability - below average.

One other factor is reliever leverage - not all relief innings are equal, but that discussion should be a college thesis.

Lunch break too?

Holy mother of god we need the season to start soon or some people here are going to lose their minds.

Jrirish - I think people say that Wang will regress while Beckett will do better because they believe in some sort of "regression to the mean", in which Wang got lucky and Beckett got unlucky. It's a logically fallacy at worst, and irrelevent at best - for all we know, Beckett might keep getting unlucky.

In any case, ya, April can't come early enough!

By the way, also, it's really hard for Beckett to have another year of 5 ERA, just like it's probably really hard for RJ to have another year of 5 ERA (had he stayed in NY anyhow) - they just have too much skill. Now, whether you consider Beckett a 4.5 ERA pitcher or a 3.0 ERA pitcher is another story..

No matter how good your pitching staff is, a horrible bullpen will turn those 4-1 gems into 5-4 heartbreakers more often than you'd think. When you're running a 7.00 ERA J.C. Romero out in the 7th inning, nothing is safe. That is why these projections, I think, don't account enough for the wretched bullpen the Sox seem to be set with.

Perhaps, Andrew, but the projections do have Romero with an ERA significantly less than 7. I'm not sure I want a reliever out there with an ERA above 4, but that appears to be an unrealistic hope... *sigh*

I know, I was exaggerating. But when you have all your relievers with ERAs above 4...well yeah, you don't want that in any kind of lead. When a dominant pitcher comes out of a game, and a bad reliever comes in, teams can pull off miracles. I'm sure we Yanks and Sox fans both know that all too well.

Paul, a great post. This is Peter N on a sorta white Friday morning. And I linked this so very good piece in my latest Friday post. I hope that's OK!! Have a great weekend. 27 days until pitchers and catchers report! And soon after that, we'll have a closer????? Thanks!

Thanks, Peter.

Let me add one thing I thought of this morning about the 105 wins. It's gotten a lot of press, but the other projected win total is 99 -- the number of wins arrived at by adding the additional runs scored and prevented based on the PECOTA projections and dividing by 10 (1 win = roughly 10 runs). This accounts for the biggest flaw, which is not taking into account plate appearances by presumably worse bench players and replacement pitchers/relievers. The Sox used plenty of those last season and wound up with 86 wins based on the starting lineup, rotation and top relievers. Just by changing the lineup, rotation and top relievers for the projections, you add 13 wins to the 86 -- a total that already accounts for those second- and third-tier players.

Hope that clears things up.

Trot inks a deal with Indians to apply a subtle amount of pressure to the Red Sox to hurry up with this Drew fiasco.
The link is on BDD.

Brad, a curse on your house for even mentioning Steve Scum Bag Silva's evil god awful stie/blog crapfest on this site.

i love this rivalry

Hey Paul,

Great fun post. Now that the Pats are done and the C's are outof playoff contention time to look forward to the Sox.

I follow BoSox prospects on this well done site: When you look at Pedroia, he tends to struggle a bit initially as he has gone up a level, but then really produced the next year. Hopefully, that trend continues and he reaches those projected numbers.

Personally, while I think the Sox starting pitching has some questions to answer, they are potentially the best starting 5 (plus Lester in reserve) in the majors. Now about that bullpen...

P.S. Where is Hansen in the bullpen discussion? I was hoping he would get the chance to win the closers role in Spring Training.

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