Feb
07

PECOTA likes the Yanks

By

Last week, Baseball Prospectus unveiled that basic PECOTA projections for the 2008 season. For the uninitiated among us, PECOTA is a computer projection system that calculates the likelihood of how a player will perform in a season based on his past performance by comparing him to similar players. Got it? Good.

Anyway, when the Weighted Means spreadsheet hits, it’s always fun to page through to see how the computer predicts the season to turn out. Since I know you’re all dying to find out, Melky projects to around .283/.342/.404. No further comment, your honor.

Saving any of us the trouble of doing the number-crunching, Paul, one of the Red Sox fans, at Yanksfan vs. Soxfan, figured out how PECOTA projects the Yanks, and Yankee fans should be guardedly happy. When all is said and done, an ideal, computerized PECOTA world, the final AL East standings look like this:

Yankees 103-59
Red Sox 101-61

And that was before Curt Schilling’s injury came down.

But of course, baseball teams don’t play computer-simulated games. They play the games on the field, and besides the fact that two 100-win teams in one division is rather unlikely, a perfectly simulated PECOTA season is rather unlikely too.

This should, however, give despairing Yankee fans reason to hope. Too many critics look at the Red Sox’s October and forget that what happened in the six months prior. They saw a team comeback from a 3-1 ALCS deficit to win seven straight and a second World Championship in four years. But the Red Sox were no sure lock at the end of September when the Yanks had cut their division lead to two.

Now PECOTA likes the Yanks, and we do too. There should always be hope, projections aside.

Categories : Analysis

24 Comments»

  1. CB says:

    Given the number of rookies/ first year players the yankees will be counting on to fill major roles. I think you have to take the PECOTA projections for the team very cautiously.

    I know BP tries to adjust their predictions for players with limited major league track records but its a very uncertain process. Statistical models really aren’t very good for that type of qualitative change in competition/ performance.

    Nonetheless, it’s good to hear how highly the team could perform.

  2. Ivan says:

    I personally feel the Red Sox are the best team in baseball right now but I do feel they are a tad bit overrated this year.

    Especially from guys who write these reports saying that without Santana the Yankees have no shot of beating the sox which is ridiculous. How The Sox are this team that is just too good.

    Again, I am not dissing the sox but the yankees did beat em last year in head to head match up in the second half, and I personally feel that the last team the sox want to face last year in the postseason was us. But hey I will admit they are the team to beat right now.

  3. Mike R. says:

    If Pecota projects the Yankees winning 103 games with a .283/.342/.404 line for Melky imagine how many games we’ll win when he hits .310/.375/.500! We’re a shoe in for first in our division. :D

  4. Drew says:

    Projections are fun and all, but if you look at the breakdown of the stats, I don’t see how the projection has all starters totaling a record around 51-46 [not to mention Wang having rather horrible stats], and then says that team will win over 100 games. Where did the other 52 wins come from?

    One thing i can understand thats simple, is this team is roughly the same as last years with a few exceptions:

    the offense should be a bit weaker due to A-rod and posada coming back toward career averages and some decline in the older guy which can be offset by Cano, Melky and maybe Duncan showing that his minor league peripherals weren’t a fluke last year.

    The pitching should be better. Rotation will be more stable, and the young guns should be able to put up league average stats which combined w/ 6ish runs a game produces wins. I the pen is a question mark, but with so many arms around i bet it does a lot better than people think.

    In the end that means this team will be roughly as good as last years team, take into account their horrible luck w/ 1 run games and i can see 100 wins.

  5. Drew says:

    The sox are definitely not the “perfect team”. Their pen was a fluke last year, and will come back to average, Schilling is done which means that Tavarez gets ~150 innings and for their offense to do anything Ortiz has to be healthy, Manny has to healthy, Drew and Lugo also have to improve which are all big question marks.

  6. dan says:

    Before dismissing these projections, as some stat haters do, one should note that PECOTA projected the White Sox 2007 record to be 72-90. Needless to say, their record in 2007 was exactly 72-90.

  7. David says:

    The Yanks will lose production from Po and A-Rod, but Matsui, Damon, Abreu should all have far better years than they did. Cano is likely to improve as well.

    • steve (different one) says:

      also, the Yankees have a MUCH better bench than they did in the first half of 2007.

      you are replacing Cairo with Betemit, Nieves with Molina, Phelps with Ensberg, etc.

      i think Ensberg could wind up being a huge pickup. if his shoulder is healthy, he has a lot of power.

      • Mike R. says:

        In addition last years starting First Baseman was Doug Man-K-vich. I think we should get a bit more production from that position this year as well.

  8. Old Ranger says:

    Projections are nice…
    They are like a change-up, looks good but you can’t count on hitting it.
    I would love the Yanks to end with over 100 wins. It is doable, if things fall into place favorably.
    I am so glad to get Chinese New year over with, you ever want to see food…..!
    Vietnamese people cook all day…of course there were like, 100 people at the family house. Sorry to say, I can’t eat their food…to old. But the Ladies, Wow! Guess I am the dirty old white man of the family. Who cares, it was fun to see every one. So…Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Oh, Yanks too. 27/08.

  9. dan says:

    I just read his actual post….

    He’s using Pinto’s line-up generator, which uses only starters and no bench. So it obviously will skew the playing time of everyone. Just wait until the actual PECOTA team projections come out.

  10. Stephen says:

    I feel like saying that rumors of the Yankees demise have been greatly exagerated.
    Look at the team that the Yanks have going right now compared to the team they had going into Spring Training last season. The lineups are for all practical purposes identical. (I don’t think that the loss of Josh Phelps will cripple their chances this season.) Many people worry about the lack of experience in the rotation, and believe me I think those complaints are, in many ways, valid. But compare this staff to last year’s when Kei Igawa and Carl Pavano were holding up the back end of the rotation. It’s hard to imagine that any of the Big 3 will be any kind of downgrade from those two. I certainly don’t see any way that last year’s pre-Joba bullpen was any better than this year’s.
    Now compare this team with the Red Sox, who, according to their media coverage, are the second coming of the Big Red Machine. I think that most people would recognize that the Yanks have the deeper line-up. If you look position-by-position, Boston is only more productive, in my judgement, at 1B, LF, and DH. The much vaunted Boston rotation is far from a sure bet, especially now that Schilling is done for. A lot of people seem ready to put Beckett right up there with Santana in that upper echelon of great starting pitchers. Personally I would like to see him put together more than one very good, injury-free year before we can even think about that. The rest of the staff (Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Bucholz, and Lester) is made up of a guy who has yet to prove he can be more than an above average Major League pitcher, an solid but aging number three guy, and two inexperienced kids. Could someone please explain to me exactly how that rotation is so infinitely more dominant than the back of the Yankees’ staff. Seriously, am I just missing something.
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the Yanks are assured a playoff spot, or that they should necessarily be the favorites. But the general consensus, which has the Sox taking the division in a walk seems to be way off base. I really never would have thought that a team featuring A-Rod and Jeter would come into Spring Training flying under the radar.

  11. Rich says:

    I never realized that Melky had become such a lightening rod.

  12. tmcm650 says:

    How does the Yanks’ plan to limit the trinity’s innings affect this projection? Who gets the extra innings? PECOTA aside, the limited media coverage of the idea of a 6 man rotation seems to convey that neither Joe nor Cash are interested in the idea. What are the cons of a modified 6-man rotation where the old warhorses stick to a 5 day schedule but the young guns go every fifth day (if the calendar math even works to do that)? Sorry if those questions are answered in the linked discussions, I’m behind a firewall that won’t let me see those discussions.

  13. Bo says:

    Who ever said anything about a Yankee demise?

    I think people here, fans and objective writers are genuinely optimistic about the Yanks chances in ’08 and really excited about the Yanks farm system and future.

    This isn’t an aging team in decline.

    Give the Sox credit. They deserve the front runner status.

  14. Bo says:

    The closer we get to spring training the more I think they’re going to put Joba in the pen.

  15. Old Goat says:

    The two game difference between the RS and the Yankees will be from Yankee wins of Joba and Hughes vs. Beckett and Dice K. ;)

  16. Jeff says:

    My (simple) predictions:

    Damon .290/10 HR
    Jeter .310/10 HR
    Abreu .273/12 HR
    Rodriguez .306/47 HR
    Matsui .275/22 HR
    Posada .272/20 HR
    Cano .338/18 HR
    Giambi .252/18 HR
    Cabrera .270/ 8 HR

    I see the major problem of having to split the DH between Giambi and Matsui… wish Damond could man center and get Melk on the bench. But the reality is we need the defense.

  17. I now get scared when ever something or someone picks the Yankees to be the best. Always seems that getting picked to be the best is a curse now, or at least has been for the last 8 years.

    http://aroundthemajors.blogspot.com/

  18. Mrs. Peterson-Kekich says:

    I don’t know what Pecota says, but the Hardball Times has an excerpt from their season preview book for the Red Sox, which projects Ellsbury at .274/.327/.355, i.e., well below the projection for Melky.

    • Ben K. says:

      Without getting into any sort of old argument, just because Ellsbury is predicted to do worse doesn’t make Melky’s projected .746 OPS any good.

  19. Mike D says:

    I’m kind of surprised that most experts seem to be picking the Red Sox over the Yankees in the East. If I remember correctly, after their horrid start, didn’t the Yankees play .670 baseball June through September, coming back from 14 games out to just two? Once the Yankees rotation stabalized, they were the best team in the league. There’s a better chance it will be the Red Sox fighting for the Wild Card come this September. The Yankees will take first place.

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