Baseball Prospectus has released its 2008 PECOTA Weighted Mean Projections (subscription required). Hey, I know that this forecasting thing is not everybody’s cup of tea–predictions are silly; reality is more interesting and will actually happen–but I’m a big fan of the Nostradamus shows that pop up every once in a while, and that lady on the Montel Williams Show is a national treasure. PECOTA is probably more reliable than dear unflappable Sylvia Browne, who would rather be burned alive than admit being wrong (that’s the best kind of psychic!). It’s one of the best baseball forecasting systems around, and it’s become my secret weapon during my fantasy baseball draft. I was the league champion this past season, and I dedicated my victory to Nate Silver.
So if you’re a Yankees fan, who are the first three players you check on the PECOTA list? Of course, it’s the Big Three, as in Joba, Hughes and IPK. I have to say I was a bit surprised by their projections. First off, PECOTA loves Joba Chamberlain. That’s not so surprising. He did look near unhittable during his first run through the majors. But of the Big Three, he is by far the biggest star (in 2008, at least) according to PECOTA. First there is the presence of Roger Clemens on his comparable players list. Then there is the predicted line: 145.7 innings, 162 k’s, 3.39 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 33.7 VORP. Wow. If he does that, I’ll be thrilled.
I was surprised more by the projections for the other two. My assumption, based on their relative prospects profiles, was that PECOTA would be more optimistic about Hughes than Kennedy in 2008. Actually, Kennedy projects to do slightly better than Hughes in 2008. Beyond that, I’d imagine PECOTA is more sanguine about The Franchise (does that nickname still apply?). Kennedy’s predicted line: 141 innings, 120 k’s, 1.40 WHIP, and 19.8 VORP. Hughes’s line: 152 innings, 129 k’s, 4.42 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 16.5 VORP. You have to think that their ages played a part in these projections. I’d be very happy with Kennedy’s numbers based on what I’ve read his ceiling is. But it seems PECOTA is anticipating a few bumps in the roads (albeit, not big bumps) for Hughes. One thing I did notice was they were more optimistic about him going into 2007 than they are now about his 2008 season. Still, it’s a decent line, especially when you consider his age.
I believe, as he did last year, Paul has plans to do projections for both the Sox and the Yanks based on the PECOTA numbers. I look forward to seeing them soon. Sorry to put the pressure on you, buddy:)