Friday, January 29, 2010

PECOTA or Peyote?

What are these guys smoking? Eighty-two wins for our Scats? Clearly, Clay Davenport's abacus is broken. It's almost 1 am, and I'm fading, but I gotta look closer at this in the am and figure out what they could possibly be expecting.

Update: Looking closer at the PECOTA projections, there are a few things that are so far off the mark that I really am expecting them to post a set of corrections, which they do every year when they first put out PECOTA anyway.

First, my wins above replacement projection have the Nationals at a 74-win team. But you have to think of that like a bell-curve of likely outcomes with 74-wins at the top. There's probably a 2-3% chance that randomness and luck would allow a team with 74-win ability to win 82. But then again there's an equal chance that such a team would win 66.

Nevermind that part. The key question here is what's the most likely outcome, assuming no changes to the current roster. There's just no way one can defend the idea that this team has 82-win ability.

Why? Same as last year: pitching and defense. They're projecting 23 starts and a 4.03 ERA for J.D. Martin. Eighteen starts each for Garrett Mock and Scott Olsen with a 4.28 and 4.37 ERA, respectively. They have what can only be considered best case scenarios for Lannan, Marquis, Capps, and Bruney. Not all those things will work out, and all the plan Bs are 100-loss caliber players.

The hitting might be good enough to win 82 games, although it wasn't last year, when they scored an average of 4.38 runs per game, compared to an NL average of 4.43. Will it be better? Maybe, but I think most people are expecting too much of Nyjer Morgan, Ryan Zimmerman, Josh Willingham, Jesus Flores, and Ian Desmond.

I think Ryan Zimmerman is smart to express confidence that the team won't lose 100. They could even win 70 or 75. That's not crazy to root for. But there's no chance 82 wins is the mid-point projection for this team. None.

13 comments:

Harper said...

It's not that crazy. I just finished my look at the Nats pitching. Based on runs scored I have then at 76-77 wins. And that's without Hudson.

They were a 66 win team last year who if they did nothing more than put the same basic team out there would probalby pop up to around 70 as the bullpen normalized.

Still 82? I bet they have some Desmond and Strasburg love going on.

Brandon said...

http://www.nooooooooooooooo.com/

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

Pecota is one of those new fangled saber whatever things. As an OLD baseball fan, I wait for the newspaper season pre-views to get a slant on the oncomeing season. This just means they will be better than last year. By how many games? Go to the park and find out (maybe you will see Teddy win)!!

Harper said...

Just saw their RS/RA numbers. Where are they getting those extra 60 runs from for the offense? Do they have Hudson on the team? I just don't see that.

The pitching is a bit optimistic, but it has to be (it really can't factor in the inevitable injuries and that's where the Nats get killed because their depth sucks). That hitting though...

flippin said...

Oh come on, the cool-aid tastes sooo good. Live a little.

Will said...

I canceled my subscription to Baseball Prospectus years ago, after they stopped writing about statistical analysis and began writing quirky, pseudo-intelligent articles.

BP hasn't updated their metrics since around 2008, and have been relying on the work long ago departed guys, like Nate Silver, produced. Just look at their defensive metrics. There's been much discussion about how inaccurate and useless they are. It's very well known to the BP staff, but they're either too stubborn or lazy to update to more accurate defensive metrics readily available to the public.

BP is the DVD of the world. In its heyday it was groundbreaking, but it has become obsolete with the release of Blu-Ray. Some people may still be buying DVDs but that doesn't mean it isn't a vastly inferior product.

Go check out Hardball Times, Fangraphs or any other of the multitude of better sabremetric websites.
Better yet, they're all free.

Will said...

Also, PECOTA predicted the Nats would win something like 78 games last year. If that doesn't cause you to question the merits of PECOTA, I don't know what will.

Basil said...

Will, BPro's brought in new blood (while poaching some of the guys from other sites), and a revamped defensive system is apparently in the works.

These projections seem on the whole pretty crazy, and one of their dudes has more or less said on Primer that there are some unresolved bugs.

I used to set a default prediction of 75 wins for the Nats, because I'm lazy and 75-87 sounded not too good and not too bad. That might be optimistic for this season, but it's attainable.

Steven said...

I'm not sure BP has declined so much as it used to be the only game in town, and now they're suffering by comparison to the cumulative wide range of analysis available on BtB, The Book, Fangraphs, etc, etc. Still, I wouldn't cancel.

Anonymous said...

The worst part of this is that PECOTA projects Logan Kensing to pitch 60 innings and Ron Villone to pitch 50 innings for the Nats. No way that happens. If you look at their numbers for the offensive players, They are bullish on most of them. So if they update the bullpen ratings, and were a little more optimistic about the hitters, PECOTA would say the Nats are a playoff team when in reality they are not.

Anonymous said...

I know this is random, but it does relate to our long term future.....what are your thoughts on bryce harper? will he be any good in the MLB? what kind of player would he end up being? i hope he ends up as good as he's hyped to be, that could really give us a chance at 82 wins

Rob B said...

Even without looking at numbers I feel like this team isn't going to be that much better next year. Most of our additions are guys who have had good seasons at some point, but now they're not much more than just a name.
I'd love to know what the VORP is of these guys we've been picking up.

The Rural Juror said...

also, those standings have every team within like 15-20 wins of each other. there are no great teams and there are no awful teams. that's not how things work.