Yankees v. Red Sox, the Projections

At long last, we come to the head-to-head comparison between the Sox and Yanks. It's no surprise that the two systems that have figured out their projection-based standings both have the teams within two games of each other — PECOTA with the Sox up two, CHONE with the Yanks up one. 

Here are the PECOTA and CHONE projections for each significant player on each team, with some efforts to figure out what that means at the end.

CATCHER

Jason Varitek 2008
  • .220/.313/.359, 13 HR, 52 BB, 122 K, .222 GPA
Jose Molina 2008
  • .216/.263/.313, 3 HR, 12 BB, 52 K, .197 GPA
PECOTA 2009
  • Varitek: .234/.323/.388, 7 HR, 28 BB, 63 K, .242 GPA
  • Posada: .249/.336/.432, 7 HR, 28 BB, 50 K, .259 GPA
CHONE 2009
  • Varitek: .228/.326/.381, 14 HR, 55 BB, 110 K, .242 GPA 
  • Posada: .266/.363/.434, 16 HR, 62 BB, 90 K, .272 GPA

  

FIRST BASE

Kevin Youkilis 2008
  • .312/.390/.569, 29 HR, 62 BB, 108 K, .305 GPA
Jason Giambi 2008
  • .247/.375/.502, 32 HR, 76 BB, 111 K, .294 GPA

PECOTA 2009:

  • Youkilis: .275/.366/.475, 21 HR, 70 BB, 109 K, .283 GPA 
  • Teixeira: .287/.379/.506, 28 HR, 80 BB, 103 K, .297 GPA

CHONE 2009: 

  • Youkilis: .286/.388/.474, 18 HR, 73 BB, 101 K, .293 GPA
  • Teixeira: .286/.381/.521, 32 HR, 81 BB, 109 K, .302 GPA

  
SECOND BASE


Dustin Pedroia 2008
  • .326/.376/.493, 17 HR, 50 BB, 52 K, .281 GPA

Robinson Cano 2008

  • .271/.305/.410, 14 HR, 26 BB, 65 K, .240 GPA 

PECOTA 2009:

  • Pedroia: .303/.364/.447, 12 HR, 51 BB, 53 K, .276 GPA 
  • Cano: .284/.323/.419, 12 HR, 29 BB, 70 K, .250 GPA

CHONE 2009:

  • Pedroia: .311/.376/.464, 11 HR, 50 BB, 43 K, .285 GPA 
  • Cano: .300/.340/.468, 16 HR, 29 BB, 65 K, .270 GPA

  
SHORTSTOP 

Julio Lugo 2008
  • .268/.355/.330, 1 HR, 34 BB, 51 K, .233 GPA

Derek Jeter 2008

  • .300/.363/.408, 11 HR, 52 BB, 85 K, .265 GPA 

PECOTA 2009:

  • Lugo: .255/.325/.347, 3 HR, 25 BB, 44 K, .233 GPA
  • Lowrie: .260/.341/.432, 9 HR, 44 BB, 77 K, .261 GPA 
  • Jeter: .288/.353/.383, 6 HR, 49 BB, 84 K, .255 GPA 

CHONE 2009:

  • Lugo: .263/.333/.370, 6 HR, 47 BB, 75 K, .242 GPA
  • Lowrie: .262/.345/.407, 6 HR, 55 BB, 99 K, .257 GPA 
  • Jeter: .294/.366/.415, 12 HR, 59 BB, 98 K, .268 GPA

THIRD BASE


Mike Lowell 2008
  • .274/.338/.461, 17 HR, 38 BB, 61 K, .257 GPA 

Alex Rodriguez 2008

  • .302/.392/.573, 35 HR, 65 BB, 117 K, .320 GPA 

PECOTA 2009:

  • Lowell: .272/.332/.442, 14 HR, 37 BB, 62 K, .260 GPA
  • A-Rod: .282/.373/.508, 30 HR, 72 BB, 124 K, .295 GPA

CHONE 2009:

  • Lowell: .272/.335/.434, 16 HR, 45 BB, 65 K, .259 GPA 
  • A-Rod: .294/.397/.564, 39 HR, 82 BB, 124 K, .320 GPA

LEFT FIELD

Manny Ramirez 2008
  • .299/.398/.529, 20 HR, 52 BB, 86 K, .299 GPA 

Johnny Damon 2008

  • .303/.375/.461, 17 HR, 64 BB, 83 K, .284 GPA 

PECOTA 2009:

  • Bay: .271/.364/.493, 26 HR, 76 BB, 137 K, .287 GPA
  • Damon: .280/.354/.423, 12 HR, 55 BB, 77 K, .265 GPA

CHONE 2009:

  • Bay: .267/.364/.472, 25 HR, 80 BB, 143 K, .282 GPA 
  • Damon: .276/.351/.417, 17 HR, 62 BB, 82 K, .262 GPA

  

CENTER FIELD

Coco Crisp 2008
  • .283/.344/.407, 7 HR, 35 BB, 59 K, .247 GPA

Melky Cabrera 2008

  • .249/.301/.341, 8 HR, 29 BB, 58 K, .220 GPA

PECOTA 2009:

  • Ellsbury: .291/.348/.409, 7 HR, 42 BB, 75 K, .259 GPA
  • Cabrera: .267/.326/.376, 8 HR, 37 BB, 61 K, .241 GPA
  • Gardner: .253/.339/.351, 4 HR, 55 BB, 93 K, .240 GPA

CHONE 2009:

  • Ellsbury: .297/.354/.425, 7 HR, 39 BB, 68 K, .266 GPA
  • Cabrera: .280/.345/.402, 10 HR, 48 BB, 70 K, .256 GPA 
  • Gardner: .258/.341/.345, 2 HR, 54 BB, 104 K, .240 GPA 

RIGHT FIELD

J.D. Drew 2008
  • .280/.408/.519, 19 HR, 79 BB, 80 K, .313 GPA

Bobby Abreu 2008

  • .296/.371/.471, 20 HR, 73 BB, 109 K, .285 GPA 

PECOTA 2009:

  • Drew: .269/.374/.451, 13 HR, 65 BB, 85 K, .281 GPA 
  • Nady: .270/.323/.444, 18 HR, 32 BB, 101 K, .256 GPA 
  • Swish: .244/.353/.460, 24 HR, 71 BB, 120 K, .274 GPA

CHONE 2009:

  • Drew: .267/.383/.448, 15 HR, 77 BB, 91 K, .284 GPA 
  • Nady: .273/.342/.456, 19 HR, 30 BB, 95 K, .268 GPA 
  • Swish: .247/.360/.454, 26 HR, 86 BB, 133 K, .276 GPA 

DESIGNATED HITTER


David Ortiz 2008
  • .264/.369/.507, 23 HR, 70 BB, 74 K, .282 GPA

Hideki Matsui 2008

  • .294/.370/.424, 9 HR, 38 BB, 47 K, .273 GPA 

PECOTA 2009:

  • Ortiz: .269/.375/.504, 27 HR, 81 BB, 96 K, .295 GPA
  • Matsui: .275/.352/.417, 10 HR, 42 BB, 55 K, .263 GPA

CHONE 2009:

  • Ortiz: .284/.401/.555,  35 HR, 99 BB, 102 K, .319 GPA
  • Matsui: .277/.360/.443, 17 HR, 57 BB, 65 K, .273 GPA 

Let's plug some of these numbers into Baseball Musings' lineup calculator and see what these theoretical projected lineups would produce (provided no appearances by any other players, which is simply not going to happen).

First off, when I ran the 2008 PECOTA projections I came up with these numbers for each team:
  • Yankees: 914 runs, 5.64 per game.
  • Red Sox: 881 runs, 5.44 per game. 

Based on their actual 2008 numbers for the starters, the lineup calculator spits out these totals: 

So PECOTA was pretty badly wrong. The Yankees lost Posada and saw big declines from many of the players in their lineup, while the Sox got big performances from Pedroia, Youkils and Drew, even with declines from Ortiz and Varitek. The Sox starting nine was basically nine wins better than the Yankees, though it's odd because Ellsbury was leading off the Sox' lineup more often than any other player last year, yet he split time between left and center to an extent that he was not the "starting" outfielder for purposes of this study.

Here's what PECOTA projects for the Sox and Yanks in 2009:

And CHONE:

We'll tackle the pitching staff in our next segment. 

8 comments… add one

  • Awesome. Thanks again, Paul.
    If Cano hits that CHONE projection I would be rather happy.

    attackgerbil March 2, 2009, 1:12 pm
  • I meant to add this note about GPA, which is a statistic that takes into account the greater importance of on-base percentage to slugging. The formula is: (1.8*OBP + SLG)/4. Dividing by four puts it on a scale similar to batting average. Above .300 is fantastic, .250 is about average, .200 is terrible.
    The GPA used for 2008 is from the Hardball Times, which adjusts for park effects. That cuts about .010 from every GPA for the Red Sox, while Yankee Stadium played basically neutral. The 2009 projections are my own calcualtions and are not park adjusted, so you probably should just compare GPA within its own timeframe, and not across years. Or just add .010 to every Boston GPA from 2008.

    Paul SF March 2, 2009, 2:32 pm
  • Great stuff guys.
    Nationally, I think people see the Sox and Yanks as two equaly talented juggernauts, both with a few concerns that could ruin the 2009 season.
    It was interesting to see that the stats give the same result – at least offensively.
    Which is why I will be excited to see your breakdown of the pitching staffs – becuase I think the success (or failure) of the pitchers will make the difference in the AL East this year… and that includes the Rays.

    Bottom Line Rob March 2, 2009, 2:54 pm
  • “Which is why I will be excited to see your breakdown of the pitching staffs – becuase I think the success (or failure) of the pitchers will make the difference in the AL East this year… and that includes the Rays.”
    If my memory of the projection systems is correct, I think the Yanks get the nod pitching-wise over both the Sox and Rays in PECOTA and CHONE. I’m not sure how much defense is factored in to these things because obviously the Sox and Rays are superior to the Yanks in that regard.

    Nick-YF March 2, 2009, 3:45 pm
  • If PECOTA sees the Sox as about four games better than the Yanks on offense, but only two games better overall, then that tells you they think pretty well of the Yankee staff, but not as well as they think of the Sox’ bats (or they just really hate the Yanks’ bats, which appears to be the case).
    CHONE, meanwhile has the Yanks’ lineup as even to slightly better than the Sox’, and has the Yanks one game ahead in its projected standings, so it appears to see the Yanks as even to slightly better in both areas.
    Both see the Sox and Yanks comfortably ahead of the Rays, so they’re apparently less than enthralled by TB’s likely performance in both facets.

    Paul SF March 2, 2009, 4:46 pm
  • I’m glad the head-to-head projections show the Sox/Yanks to be so close, because that’s certainly how it feels. I think Varitek will be a little better than projected, and I don’t see Youk batting .275. Can’t wait for these games to matter!
    As an aside, there’s a cool list of the current 25 worst contracts in baseball. Lugo is on there for the Sox, but that’s it. Posada/Matsui/Igawa are on there for the Yanks. Lugo’s contract pales in comparison to some of the others on that list.

    Atheose - SF March 3, 2009, 7:22 am
  • Igawa is indoubtedly one of the worst contracts in baseball. While I agree that the Posada contract has the potential to be a very bad deal, I think its too early to count it in that category. A bounce-back year this year and two decent decline years will make that contract worthwhile. It will be defined by his health…

    sam-YF March 3, 2009, 10:11 am
  • that should have read undoubtedly…

    sam-YF March 3, 2009, 10:25 am

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