Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Midseason PECOTA report....part 2...the pitchers.

If you've come this far, you know what I'm doing here, so enough with the explanations, let's get down with it.

Will be comparing ERA/FRA/K per 9 innings/and BB per 9 innings, with other things cherry picked if I find them interesting or valid.

Starting with:

Johnny Cueto:

Projection: 3.42/3.71/7.3/2.3
Currently:  2.03/3.53/8.8/2.2

Beating the projection in every category! He's been great. Now let's keep him healthy for the stretch. That strikeout rate is also a career high. I expect the ERA to creep up a bit, and probably wind up with a 2.60 or so by the end of the year....and that's quite ok. He's never been a big strikeout guy but that 8.8 k/9 is 15th among all pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched. A .220 BABIP is a little eye opening, but that's why I expect the ERA to tick up a bit, because I doubt he'll carry a .220 BABIP straight through.

Homer Bailey:

Projection: 3.62/3.94/7.9/2.4
Currently:  4.21/4.43/8.0/2.9

That ERA has been trending down for a while, and I think it'll wind up in the high 3s. That K rate is right on and the walk rate is close, half a walk per 9 isn't THAT much. He's gotten hurt by a .312 BABIP in a year where the league average is .299. Just dropping that down to average would help trememdously. He's typically around .290 in most seasons, so there's your discrepancy, when it seems like he should have better numbers than he does.

Mike Leake:

Projection: 4.16/4.52/6.3/2.0
Currently:  3.54/4.48/6.9/1.9

They nailed the FRA and the Walk rate. That strikeout rate is very surprising, and a career high, and by quite a bit. That is leading to his best season to date. I think this is pretty much his ceiling. I just don't think he has ACE stuff. He's a good midrotation guy and that's all, and that's ok. Gotta have those guys.

Alfredo Simon: (note...preseason PECOTA projected him as a reliever, because, shit, that's what he was supposed to be)

Projection: 4.22/4.59/7.3/2.9
Currently:  2.70/4.59/5.8/2.2

As I've written about before..I just don't think you can be a successful starter long term in today's game without striking out at least 6 batters per 9 innings. 5.8 is right there at the tipping point. I still feel like I'm waiting for the house of cards to collapse every time Simon pitches, but credit where it's due...he's pitched his nuts off so far.

Mat Latos:

Projection: 3.16/3.44/8.3/2.3
Currently:  2.79/4.90/5.4/1.6

Don't really know if you can draw anything from this...since it's only 39 innings of work. That strikeout rate is alarming..but coming back into form after an injury can take some time. He's not walking many, so that's mitigated some of the damage of a dangerously low K rate.

Tony Cingrani:

Projection:  3.81/4.14/9.7/3.3
Currently:    4.55/5.45/8.7/5.0

Very disappointing, and now injured at Louisville. I think his future may be in the bullpen. That secondary stuff just isn't coming along, and without it, teams figured out that he only had a fastball, and yes, it's hard to pick it up out of his hand, but if you see it enough they could hit it. And they did. Hard.

I'm only going to hit some of the bullpen guys and sum up the ones I miss at the end.

Aroldis Chapman:

Projection: 2.31/2.51/13.6/4.0
Currently:  2.20/2.50/18.0/3.1

18 strikeouts per 9! Fuck that..that's video game numbers.

Jonathan Broxton:

Projection: 3.17/3.45/10.1/3.1
Currently:  1.12/3.55/6.3/3.0

That's usually not enough strikeouts for a reliever. His ERA should probably be up there in the high 2s or low 3s based on his performance, because a .163 BABIP is oh so unsustainable.

Sam LeCure:

Projection: 3.49/3.79/8.4/3.1
Currently:  3.48/3.75/8.0/3.7

Other than a tick more walks, he is who we thought he was.

Logan Ondrusek

Projection:  3.72/4.05/7.1/3.2
Currently:    4.31/4.53/8.3/3.7

More strikeouts than before. (or projected, but also more walks too) He's very frustrating, because sometimes he looks like a world beater and times he looks like he should be throwing batting practice.

Manny Parra: (Lance Schenkel's favorite pitcher, lol)

Projection:  3.91/4.25/8.8/3.9
Currently:   3.96/4.88/9.7/4.3

I don't have much else to say. He was bad in Milwaukee, good last year, and mediocre now, which is what you would have expected.

JJ Hoover:

Projection:  3.73/4.05/8.8/3.5
Currently:   4.95/4.87/10.6/4.7

Still walking too many guys. The strikeout rate is nice, but the walk rate will need to come down if Hoover is going to keep his spot long term.

Sean Marshall, Jumbo Diaz, Nick Christiani, Curtis Partch, Carlos Contreras, and Trevor Bell have either been too injured or not been in the majors long enough to really analyse anything. I really like Contreras and Diaz's stuff though. There's something there, although I think the club might want Contreras to continue starting in the minors for his development.


Friday, July 4, 2014

The 2014 mid season batting PECOTA report and some other stupid Reds rambling.

I know. I know. It's not really mid season, because the Reds have played 84 games, so I'm three games late. Bite me. :)

For an explanation of PECOTA and some of the other terminology talked about in this post, please refer to last year's similar posts if you need some education. I haven't made that many posts because I'm a lazy sow, so they shouldn't be that hard to find. I will be referencing Baseball Prospectus' "True Average," or TAv, at times, and you can find the explanation for that RIGHT HERE. TAv is on the batting average scale, which means that, just like the batting average you grew up seeing, .300 is good, .260 is average or so, and .200 is bad. I find that it's a good stat to introduce to "newbies" of sabermetrics because it doesn't require a lot of thought like some other advanced stats. Everybody knows what a .300 hitter or .250 hitter is.

Here goes.

Starting with the catchers...damn, Devin Mesoraco has been frigging awesome so far, hasn't he?

Was projected for:

.242/.305/.394 with 14 HR and a .253 TAv. He's blowing that away. He currently sits:
.314/.380/.645 with 14 HR and a .388 TAv. Holy shit. He's already at his preseason projection for home runs, and let's not forget he was hurt early, twice. He only has 192 plate appearances. (For reference, Frazier leads the team in plate appearances with 354.) Basically, over a full season pace he'd be on pace to hit over 40 bombs, and nobody thought he was capable of that. I don't expect him to repeat this in the second half, and he doesn't have to to still be really good. Among players with at least 100 plate appearances, a .388 TAv leads all of baseball. For comparison, Giancarlo Stanton is at .364 and Mike Trout is at .362 in second and third. So, yeah, I don't think Devin is a better hitter than those two guys, but I'm excited about his future.

Branyan Pena has been pretty much what he's been his whole career, which is a serviceable backup. He's a nice player to have around, but he is what he is.

On to the much maligned Mr. Votto. We know the guy's not healthy. We can see it.  That quad is bothering him, and credit goes to him for managing to be fairly decent. But he's not having a typical awesome sauce Joey Votto year, and I don't expect him to be back to his regular self until next season after an off season of rest and rehab.

Was projected for:

.298/.412/.512 with a .331 TAv and a 5.7 WARP. Currently at:
.259/.398/.415 with a .313 TAv and 1.9 WARP, so on pace for 3.8 WARP, roughly.

That's a good season for most players, but Joey Votto isn't most players. It's a testament to just how much of a bad motherfucker that guy is that he's putting up OK numbers when he's obviously struggling with that leg.

Brandon Phillips....still good on defense. Offensively, meh. Not a huge fan of his production or his approach. Remember that post I made where I talked about how swinging more and making less contact isn't a great idea? Well, he's largely regressed back to his career norms, as I predicted might happen back in April. He still swings at too many bad pitches, but he always has. As he ages and his skill declines he won't be able to get away with that as much, and I'm not sure he's capable of completely changing his approach at the plate at his age. Old dog and new tricks and all that.  Oddly enough, looking at the pitch values on Fangraphs, he's been doing most of his damage on fastballs, and getting hurt on curves and changeups. Last year, is was the other way around. I don't really know what to make of that.

Projection:
.264/.311/.404 with a .261 TAv. Currently at:
.266/.297/.394 with a .259 TAv.

That PECOTA system is pretty good sometimes, right? That's damn close, and it was last year too.

Zack Cozart. I touched on him in a previous post this season. (The 23 games post) and my opinion hasn't changed, although I will give him credit for being really really really good on defense this year. If your shortstop isn't going to hit, at least he needs to field well, and he is. Being that SS is the most important position on D, that's the one position that I don't get that upset about if a guy isn't hitting but he's contributing on D.

Projection:
.254/.289/.393 with 14 HR. Currently at:
.230/.277/.305 with 2 HR.

Where'd the power go? At least before when he was offensively challenged he'd occasionally crack a homer or two, and that's no longer happening. His .214 TAv is tied for 23rd worst in all of baseball among all players with at least 100 plate appearances. His TAv projection was .246. Since his on base projection is close to his real OBP, I'd say that the lack of power is really hurting his TAv.

Todd Frazier is having a pretty damn good year. Man, with all the injuries and Votto's struggles, also injury related, where would this team be without Flava Fraz and Rocco? In the toilet, that's where. I think he should be in the All Star Game, and I hope he makes it. He won't get the fan vote, but hopefully he'll get in as a reserve because he deserves it. I never would have thought Todd Frazier would be in an All Star Game. I've always thought he was good, but not that good. So far this year I've been wrong.

Projection:
.243/.311/.428 with a .270 TAv and 19 HR. Currently at:
.289/.356/.503 with a .321 TAv and 17 HR. (only two more to meet his full season projection!)

Yeah, so PECOTA missed on this one, and I think everyone else did too. If you had asked me before the season started what Frazier's season would look like, I'd probably give you numbers pretty close to what PECOTA spit out. Hey, it's not perfect because these are human beings and a computer program (which is what PECOTA basically is) isn't always going to catch every breakout season.

Ryan Ludwick has been pretty much what you would expect. Projected for a .260 TAv and he's at .275. He's been ok. I have nothing more to add.

Oh, Billy Billy Billy.

This kid's a revelation isn't he? We all knew he could run, but the bat's been a major surprise (and honestly, I think he may be a little bit over his head right now. I thought he would hit fairly well eventually, but not this soon. I guess I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Let's hope it doesn't.) Even if the bat does slump, his ELITE defense (and I'm not exaggerating, Fangraphs has his defensive metrics as the best centerfielder in the game, and I know that small samples of defensive data is often unreliable, but it passes the eye test too) means he will always be contributing value no matter what.

Projection:
.244/.296/.332 with 71 steals and 15 caught stealing. .235 TAv. Currently at:
.279/.309/.400 with 35 steals and 12 caught stealing. .266 TAv.

Need to not get caught stealing as much. But, with that defensive value and baserunning, if he could bump that TAv up a tick, to say, .280-.285ish, and improve his SB rate, then we are looking at a potential All Star caliber MVP candidate type of a guy. I'm pretty excited to see how his career turns out. If the bat plays he's a superstar, if not he's Willy Taveras. Could go either way but I'm leaning towards "he's not Taveras." Thankfully. That guy blew a dick. (.210 TAv with the Reds in 2009. Yech. Good riddance. Although apparently Willy is still playing in the Mexican League, and doing pretty well for himself, on a team with former Royal Angel Berroa. Good for him.)

Jay Bruce has had a hard year to analyze. That damn injury bug again. He wasn't playing well before the knee surgery, but it was reported that his knee had been a little wonky for some time, so who knows how that effected his performance early on. He had a really good June at .300/.351/.540 so it seems like he's back on track, but his full line isn't going to look that great right now because of the bad start/injury.

Projection:
.250/.325/.468 with a .283 TAv and 29 HR. Currently at:
.234/.321/.402 with a .269 TAv and 7 HR. (only on pace for 14, roughly. I expect him to wind up hitting 20-22 by the end of the year. For the record, I'm using the preseason PECOTA projections, but they revise those projections during the season as well, as guys miss time and guys under or over perform, sometimes those factors go into it, and they are projecting Bruce for 13 HR between now and the end of the season, which would put him at exactly 20, and I promise I just looked that up right when I said 20-22, not before, so me and the computer agree almost exactly here. Spooky.)

That's all for position players. I will do another post in the coming days where I will talk about the pitching side of things.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Simon Says.....

This post was inspired by some posts on Facebook by some Reds-lovin friends of mine. I won't name names, but you know who you are.

I read a comment the other day that stated that Alfredo Simon should stay in the rotation when Latos is ready to pitch. I don't agree with this, and I'll tell you why. First off, he hasn't pitched over 115 innings in a season in his career in the majors, and hasn't pitched anything close to what a typical starting pitcher would throw since 2004, in high-A ball. I don't think that it would be a good idea to then ask a guy to throw 200 innings when he threw 87 last year and 61 the previous year. That would most likely lead to arm injury or fatigue induced ineffectiveness.

Secondly, and here's where I bust out the advanced stats, his FIP is currently 4.54 (For a primer on FIP, go HERE, YO. ) Now, seeing as how his ERA is currently 2.31, you can see how that might not be sustainable. (if you took the time to read the link I provided....I'm not supposed to do everything here, am I?)

So, I got curious. I wanted to see if there were any cases where a player had outperformed his FIP to such a degree over a full season of starting pitching. I'm going to show my work here. I went to the Baseball Reference Play Index, (a fantastic tool well worth the 30 bucks a year I pay for it) and did a query. I searched for players with a FIP greater than or equal to 4.54, and sorted by the lowest ERA. I made it so that only pitchers who started 80% of greater of their appearances showed up, to eliminate relievers, and made it so that only pitchers who pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title were listed, to eliminate guys who only started a small number of games. I left this current season in only to show where Simon was listed in comparison. You can find that result of that query right here. Pretty crazy, right? As you can see, Simon is outperforming his FIP by the BEST IN THE HISTORY OF THE FUCKING GAME. Obviously there's going to be some correction there. So, I deduce that the best thing to do would be to stick him back in the bullpen, where let's face it, we need a little help anyway,  (Ondrusek fucking blows) before he turns back into a pumpkin. So there's that.

P.S. I also got curious about what would happen if I lowered the FIP in that Play Index search to 4.00, and you can see those results here. Not much changed.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pitching and defense.

Looking at the defensive metrics at Prospectus, I see that the Reds currently have the highest defensive efficiency in all of baseball, and the second highest (behind Oakland) PADE (Park Adjusted Defensive Efficiency). Last season they were also second, also behind Oakland, and the year before that they were 11th, then 6th, then 10th, so pretty high since 2010.  Also interesting that Oakland and Cincinnati are two teams that have been contending pretty much every season of the last several, despite not having very many big time bats in their lineup. Run prevention is half the game, and if you can keep the other team from scoring a lot of runs, you will always have a chance to win, even with a reduced offensive profile.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

23 games in the books....time for me to ramble on.

I hate April. Baseball statistics in April are a bitch. That said, I think there are a few things that we've either learned, or can analyze somewhat. I'll try to hit on some of the hot button issues going on in Reds Land up to this point.

What's the deal with JJ Hoover?

Well, he started out pretty crappy last season as well, although this run is lasting a bit longer than it did last year. The main problem is walks. He's currently walking 24.2% of batters faced. That will go down. I'm very confident of that. If it doesn't he'll be pumping gas. That's second in all of baseball among people with more than 5 innings pitched. And that's another issue. It's 5 innings! 5 1/3 to be exact. (for future reference, I am going to refer to thirds of innings as 5.1, or 5.2 going forward, although it's not mathematically correct, it's easier to read and type) Think about it. If a starting pitcher has 5 bad innings, it's one start. For a reliever, that's a lost month. That's part of the reason relief pitchers are so volatile from year to year. A guy may just have a hot or cold streak that lasts a whole season because he may only pitch 60 innings in one year, but for a starter that same workload is a quarter of a season. Makes it hard to tell if a guy is actually pitching to his true skill level or just on a run of good or bad luck. (Phil Norton in 2003 says hi, and for the record, that guy sucked, I don't care how good he was for a month in 2003) But anyway, if Hoover can stop walking guys he'll be fine. His stuff is still there. The strikeout rate is a little lower than career rates, but still very good, and usually if guys just lose their stuff the strikeout rate will drop. If he doesn't stop walking guys he'll be driving down 71 to meet some new AAA teammates, but I think past success will give him a bit of a leash.

What about Homer Bailey? What the fuck man?

It's frustrating. I know. 7 Home runs in 5 starts? The good news is that this isn't going to continue. That's pretty much a guarantee. Homer's HR/FB ratio is currently 29.2% (Meaning that that percent of fly balls hit off of him are leaving the yard) That's unsustainably high, and part of the problem with looking too closely at April small sample size numbers. For some context, league average is around 11%, and the HIGHEST OF ALL TIME (at least since Retrosheet, and Baseball Info Solutions starting tracking it, which only goes back 11 or 12 years I think) is Odalis Perez in 2003 with 19.7%. (By the way, our own Mike Leake's 2012 season is 13th worst all time) So, unless you think that Homer is going to break the record by 10%, be safe in saying that that number is going to regress. Is that Homer's only issue right now? Well, pretty much. His walk rate is a little elevated, but his strikeout rate is actually at a career high right now. When some more of those fly balls start finding gloves instead of grandstands, he'll probably be gangbusters.

In case you want to see that list of HR/FB all time worst season ratios, you can find that HERE.

Zack Cozart really sucks ass, right?

Pretty much. But even he's not this bad. As I type this, he's sitting at .147/.179/.240. He's actually striking out slightly less than his career numbers...problem is, his walk rate has cratered. His BABIP is an unsustainably low .151. He's put 66 balls in play and only has 10 hits. If you normalize that to his career line, (or as close to it as I can mathmatically get), just adding singles, no extra base hits, which you can't assume that they would all be singles but I'm being conservative here, that would raise his line to .250/.270/.347. That's not great, at all, but being that his career line is .246/.280/.384 that's pretty close. I'd expect that slugging percentage to rise a bit. Just changing one of those added hits to an extra base hit would put it right on target, I'd say.

Devin Mesoraco is going to fall to earth, right?

Well no shit sherlock. He's not fucking Ted Williams.

What about DatDudeBP?

I'm a little concerned, quite frankly. Here's why. Look at the following screenshot and look at the columns I circled. I know it's early, but it's not a good trend.
Why is this happening? Well, he's swinging more than he ever has. He's currently swinging at a baffling 43% of pitches OUTSIDE of the strikezone. (He's also swinging slightly more at pitches IN the strikezone. He's swinging more overall) Pitchers know they can get him out right now without challenging him because he will chase. I know it's early and this could change, mind you, but his career number is only 34%, which still isn't that great, but Brandon has always been a bit of a free swinger. Unfortunately, his contact rate is down from 79% to 72%. Swinging more and making less contact is not a good recipe for success, obviously.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Preseason projections revisited--Part 2-pitchers.

Here's the pitcher segment of the PECOTA projections compared with the current numbers.

Once again....I will be using the ERA/FRA/WARP for these numbers. No win/loss records. That is largely team dependent based on run support and other factors and we want to judge these performances based on how the pitcher pitched.

ERA-If you're reading this, you know what that is.

FRA explanation from Baseball Prospectus:

Fair Run Average differs from FIP in a few ways. While FIP is concerned only with what a pitcher is believed to control-typically strikeouts, walks, and home runs, though Prospectus includes hit batsmen in our FIP calculation-Fair Run Average takes things a step further. Pitchers receive credit for good sequencing, thus rewarding pitchers who seem to work out of jams more often than usual. Fair Run Average also considers batted ball distribution, base-out state, and team defensive quality (as measured by Fielding Runs Above Average).

So, without further ado...let's get on it.

Homer Bailey-

Projection: 4.10 ERA/4.46 FRA/2.2 WARP
Actual-      3.77/2.86/3.36/2.8 WARP

Bailey is having his best season, but it's peculiar as well. His underlying advanced stats actually say he's one of the best pitchers in baseball, but for some reason his ERA is higher than it should be. His BABIP is .310, so higher than normal, which means he's been a little hit-unlucky, but not extremely so. By WARP he's actually been the 4th best pitcher in baseball this year, behind only Wainwright, Harvey, and Kershaw. Among pitchers with 100 or more innings pitched, he's 7th in FRA. Basically, he's pitched better than his "traditional" stats indicate, so that makes him a candidate for a big finish to the year if he can continue his current trends. Also, his K/9 innings has jumped up quite a bit from his career averages. It is up to 9.1 this year, which is elite for a starter, and up from 7.3 last season and 7.2 the season before. This is likely due to the fact that oddly, his fastball velocity has went up. For the most part, pitchers lose velocity slowly as they age until it tends to level out in their late 20s or early 30s. A lot of guys throw harder in the minors when they are very young than they do when they mature enough as a pitcher to actually make it to the majors. According to Fangraphs, Bailey is throwing harder this year than he has since 2009, and he sucked in 2009 because he didn't know where it was going. His average fastball velocity in 2013 is 93.9, which is way up from 2012's 92.4 and 2011's 92.2. He did have a shoulder injury in 2011 and 2010, so maybe he's just healthy now and he always had the extra power to the fastball, but it's strange, because for most guys once you lose a mph or two you don't get it back, ever.

Mat Latos-

Proj-3.27/3.55/4.5
Act-3.39/3.35/2.4

Pretty close. I don't think Latos gets enough credit from a lot of fans. He's fucking good. According to WARP Latos is currently the 13th best pitcher in baseball this year. The Reds have two of the top 13, and  the only other team that can say that is Detroit, which has 3, Verlander, Sanchez, and Scherzer. How funny is it that in a "down year" for Justin Verlander he's 11th in MLB in WARP? Fuck that guy's good.

Mike Leake-

Proj-4.37/4.75/1.6
Act-2.73/4.46/0.9

Man, that ERA sticks out like a sore thumb, doesn't it? A guy who only strikes out 5.5 batters per 9 innings should not have an ERA that low. Fueled by a .271 BABIP in part, but the most striking thing to me is the fact that he's not getting killed by the home runs as much this year. His HR/9 is down from 1.3 the past two seasons to 1 flat this year. That doesn't sound like much, but it does help in the long run, but if that BABIP regressed to the mean Mike Leake could be in for a little regression the last two months. He's having the best year of his young career, but he hasn't pitched as well as the ERA would indicate. He allows more baserunners than either Bailey or Latos but less runs, and that just isn't sustainable. He's had ladyluck on his side. I'm not saying the guy sucks or anything, but he's largely a league average pitcher overperforming his true ability, and baseball is full of statistical anomalys like this. Remember Jack Armstrong? That guy sucked, but he pitched well enough for 3 months once to actually start the damn All Star Game. Good for the Reds Mike Leake is better than Jack Armstrong ever was, but let's not get too jazzed over that pretty ERA, because that's not who Leake is.

Bronson Arroyo-note that these numbers don't include the 7/27 game vs. LA. BP hasn't updated their stats for tonight's games yet. 

Proj-4.32/4.70/1.8
Act-3.19/4.79/0.3

In all statistical theories, there are always outliers. Guys who consistently buck the trend of what the advanced stats say. Bronson Arroyo almost always outperforms his underlying advanced numbers for whatever reason. He has his whole career, so his projections are always going to be low, because the system just doesn't factor in guys like him, and there are very few in baseball who can actually sustain "cheating the system" so to speak. Arroyo doesn't strike out enough guys, and he gives up too many home runs. But for whatever reason it works. For Mike Leake, he doesn't have a track record of things like that. Bronson does. If Mike Leake can have an Arroyoish career he will have done quite well. Note, however, that his FRA projection is almost dead on the money. An average BABIP is right around .300. Guys will have some seasons higher, and some seasons lower, but for the most part players tend to have their career BABIP around that level. Arroyo has only had an average or higher BABIP twice in his entire career, which suggests that he is one of the few guys who have consistent control over whether or not balls in play are hits or outs. For more on the BABIP thing (it's called the DIPS theory) read Voros McCracken's groundbreaking article from 2001. I'll link to it here for the newbs who don't have a clue what I'm talking about. It's kind of a must read and a theory that you must grasp if you want to get into sabermetrics, even a little bit. If you think it's a bunch of mularkey then sabermetrics probably aren't for you.

The McCracken article



I'm skipping Johnny Cueto because of injury, and skipping Tony Cingrani due to the fact that there wasn't much to project on him. PECOTA did a projection, but it was based on him spending most of the season in the minors, which isn't happening. He is exceeding his projection that they put out there, largely due to a sky high 10.1 K/9. If he could avoid the walks (3.7 BB/9) he could be a killer. Home run rate is a little too high as well. 

I was going to do a few bullpen guys, but I've been working on this thing for 2 hours, and nobody reads this stuff anyway, so the hell with it. 






Thursday, July 18, 2013

Preseason projections revisited.

From Wikipedia:

PECOTA, an acronym for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, is a sabermetric system for forecasting Major League Baseball player performance. The word is abackronym based on the name of journeyman major league player Bill Pecota, who with a lifetime batting average of .249 is perhaps representative of the typical PECOTA entry. PECOTA was developed by Nate Silver in 2002-2003 and introduced to the public in the book Baseball Prospectus 2003.[1] Baseball Prospectus (BP) has owned PECOTA since 2003; Silver managed PECOTA from 2003 to 2009. He was responsible for the PECOTA projections for the 2003—2009 baseball seasons. Beginning in Spring 2009, BP assumed responsibility for producing the annual forecasts. The first baseball season for which Silver played no role in producing the PECOTA projections was 2010.[2]
One of several widely publicized statistical systems of forecasts of player performance, PECOTA player forecasts are marketed by BP as a fantasy baseball product. Since 2003, annual PECOTA forecasts have been published both in the Baseball Prospectus annual books and, in more detailed form, on the BaseballProspectus.com subscription-based website.[3] PECOTA also inspired some analogous projection systems for other professional sports: KUBIAK for the National Football League, SCHOENE[4] for the National Basketball Association, and VUKOTA[5] for the National Hockey League.
PECOTA forecasts a player's performance in all of the major categories used in typical fantasy baseball games; it also forecasts production in advanced sabermetric categories developed by Baseball Prospectus (e.g., VORP and EqA). In addition, PECOTA forecasts several summary diagnostics such as breakout rates, improve rates, and attrition rates, as well as the market values of the players. The logic and methodology underlying PECOTA have been described in several publications, but the detailed formulas are proprietary and have not been shared with the baseball research community.


Now that you know all this....I'm going to revisit the preseason PECOTA projections for several key Reds players and compare the results and see if certain players are going to overachieve, underachieve, or pretty much match their projections.

I will be using the standard "slash" stats (avg/on base/slugging), WARP (wins over replacement player) and certain other cherry picked numbers such as HR. I am not factoring in RBI as RBI is a team dependent statistic based on where you are batting, who is ahead of you, etc. I will also not be looking at pitcher W/L record, but for pitchers I will be looking at ERA, FIP (fielding independent pitching), and WARP. 

Please note-defense and baserunning is also figured in WARP for offensive players.

Joey Votto-projection- .300/.401/.532, 29 HR, 6.0 WARP
Votto at the break-      .318/.434/.506, 15 HR 4.3 WARP

On base is ahead of projections, slugging is slightly down, mostly due to a lack of doubles, HR is slightly below pace but a hot streak could flip that quickly. Joey Votto continues to be one of the best players in baseball, despite what the talking heads in the Cincinnati media would want you to believe. 

Shin-Soo Choo-projection-.276/.368/.462, 21 HR, 19 steals,6 caught stealing, 4.0 WARP
At the break-                     .287/.425/.468, 13 HR, 11 steals, 6 caught stealing, 3.8 WARP

Choo has greatly exceeded expectations, mostly due to his high on base percentage. He could basically be a crappy player the rest of the year and meet his WARP projection. He's been pretty bad defensively, being 4 runs below average, which is almost 0.5 WARP. He's gotten half those runs back with baserunning, and it could be better if not for the 6 caught stealing already. 

Jay Bruce-projection-.255/.326/.481, 28 HR, 2.9 WARP
                                .277/.325/.507, 19 HR, 2.7 WARP

I don't have much to add to this. Bruce has consistently been an above average player but not a superstar, and that is what he continues to be. If he could turn that on base percentage into the .350 or .360 range he would probably be an MVP candidate, but that's probably not going to happen at this point. He's 26 now, he is who he is, and he's pretty good.

Brandon Phillips-projection-.266/.314/.425, 20 HR, 2.4 WARP
                                           .266/.320/.413, 12 HR, 1.6 WARP

Projections are pretty much right on the fucking money.

Some more guys...but I don't want to type all this out:

Todd Frazier is right in his projection ranges, except for slugging and HR. He's been quite good defensively as well. 
Everyone's favorite whipping boy, Zack Cozart, has been a little bit under projection, but not super under. He's not that good of a player at his best, so I don't know what people are expecting. He's a slightly less than average shortstop (because there aren't that many great shortstops right now) and as Dennis Green would say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWmQbk5h86w
Ryan Hanigan has been bloody awful, and way below projections, but I wonder if injuries are playing a part, or if he's just gotten old. Same thing with Chris Heisey, although he's not old.

I'll do pitchers on my next post. 

 Is anybody even reading these things? Leave a comment if you like this stuff I'm writing. Even if no one is reading it I find it fun to look this stuff up and analyse it, so I'll keep doing it regardless.