FanPost

Projections and Outcomes

The end of the season is upon us, and the postseason hopes have been officially dashed. So how about those projections from the beginning of the season? Seems like the most interesting thing to talk about presently. For anyone new to the site or inexperienced in sabermetric stat analysis, I will provide a short glossary and some links.

At the beginning of the season I averaged together all the pitching rate stat projections scaled to ERA readily available at fangraphs.com. I think the ones available were ZiPS, CHONE, Marcel, and Fans. Anyways, let's see how averaging these projections together worked out for just a few players analyzed:

 

(current FIP/preseason median projection)


  • Carpenter 3.74/3.29
  • Wainwright 2.87/3.4
  • Lohse 4.48/4.37
  • Garcia 3.43/4.66
  • Halladay 3.02/3.17
  • Hamels 3.70/3.77
  • Blanton 4.34/4.20
  • Happ 4.12/4.49
  • Moyer 4.99/4.94

What's funny is that I was comparing the Cardinals to the Phillies before the season started. One team overcame adversity, the other crumbled.

Over half the 7 pitchers listed outperformed projections, only a few did not (Lohse had midseason surgery, and Moyer didn't pitch that much either. And Carp's projection was probably a bit too optimistic overall. But he still had a great season.) I think this further illustrates the amazing achievement Garcia had for a rookie season (any other year and he'd probably be ROtY). 

What stands out most are the seasons Wainwright and Halladay are having! Waino has outperformed his projection by .53, and Halladay's by .15. Very impressive especially for Wagonmaker.

 

Speaking of outperforming projections, I also did a segment about comparing the best case scenario projection (or cherry picking a best projection for a player from the available projection services). Here I used FIP as well as pitcher's WAR as one of the stats:

  • Hudson........... 4.03 so far (3.74 projected FIP by CHONE) 2.8 in 215.2 innings | 3.4 WAR
  • Lowe................ 4.01 so far (3.72 proj FIP by Fans) 2.5 in 188 innings | 3.9 WAR
  • Hanson............ 3.36 so far (3.34 proj FIP by Fans) 4.2 in 197.2 innings | 4.6 WAR

Moving right along, some hitting projections, and the outcomes for the Cardinals lineup (cradtastic)

 

 

  • Molina............. .327 wOBA/3.35 WAR actually at .299/2.6
  • Pujols.............. .443 wOBA/7.55 WAR actually at .420/7.2
  • Schumaker.....   .335 wOBA/1.9 WAR actually at .302/0.0
  • Ryan................. .311 wOBA/2.75 WAR actually at .254/0.8
  • Holliday............. .396 wOBA/5.35 WAR actually at .399/6.8
  • Rasmus............ .334 wOBA/3.6 WAR actually at .370/3.8
  • Ludwick.............. .359 wOBA/2.5 WAR actually at .331/2.5
  •  

     

    So next time someone says that Rasmus is not performing up to expectations, you have full right to slap them upside the head. Keep in mind that these are averaged projections, not best case. It's pretty amazing that Brendan Ryan has almost 1 WAR while putting up a weighted on-base average of .254. Yeesh. Actually everyone but Holliday and Rasmus did not live up to expectations. Ludwick actually matched his WAR projection, but mainly because he all the sudden became a premium defensive RF'r. Holliday did the same except he also outperformed his hitting projections. Final conclusion is that Schumaker is a replacement level player at second base. Now, here is how the Phillies hit this year compared to their projections.

     

     

  • Ruiz.....................  .326 wOBA/2.5 WAR actually at .362/3.8
  • Howard................. .391 wOBA/4.45 WAR actually at .367/2.2
  • Utley.................... .395 wOBA/7.05 WAR actually at .378/5
  • Rollins.................  .342 wOBA/4.15 WAR actually at .318/2.1
  • Polanco...............  .332 wOBA/2.85 WAR actually at .324/3.5
  • Ibanez.................. .361 wOBA/2.35 WAR actually at .341/1.3
  • Victorino..............  .346 wOBA/3.35 WAR actually at .341/3
  • Werth..................  .377 wOBA/4.05 WAR actually at .395/4.9
  •  

     

    Jayson Werth was, ahem, well worth his contract this season. And that's probably an understatement. He seems sort of comparable to Holliday. Looks like we are paying Matt a lot to get better at defense! hahahah

    Anyways, Carlos Ruiz is the shining star of this offense. Sort of their anti-Yadi. Look at how far he overperforms projections! Looking at the projections makes it look like the Phillies won the NL East because no one else wanted it. Speaking of, what did the Braves do?

     

  • Prado................ .355 wOBA/2.5 WAR (Marcel) actually at .352/3.9
  • McCann............. .378 wOBA/5.05 WAR (Fans) actually at .366/5.3
  • Diaz.................. .365 wOBA/1.6 WAR (ZiPs) actually at .312/0.4
  • M. Cabrera......... .358 wOBA/2.35 WAR (CHONE) actually at .294/-0.8
  •  

     

    uh, ok! I guess they do have Jason Heyward at .377 wOBA and 4.4 WAR. Now how about the Reds:

     

     

  • Joey Votto: .407 wOBA by Bill James; 4.3 median WAR actually at .442/7.4
  • Brandon Phillips: .342 wOBA by ZiPs; 3.1 median WAR actually at .328/3.7
  • Orlando Cabrera: .330 by ZiPs; 1.15 median WAR actually at .291/1.4
  • Scott Rolen: .353 by Fans; 3.3 median WAR actually at .371/4.5
  • Jay Bruce: .379 by CHONE; 3.05 median WAR actually at .353/3.9
  • Drew Stubbs: .341 by Marcel; 2.9 median WAR actually at .336/2.7
  • Chris Dickerson: they didn't play him very much, limiting their team's loss in production 
  • Ramon Hernandez: .325 by CHONE; 1.7 median WAR  actually at .354/2.6
  •  

     

    As you can see, this is why they won the division. Except for Jay Bruce who continues to not meet expectations, an aging Orlando Cabrera, and Drew Stubbs, who only slightly underperformed, the team did quite well at offense. Votto shattered projections at .442 wOBA, better than even the mang himself.  Scott Rolen also was an amazing surprise for a Reds fan. It's as if he never got injured (another of the many not-fair moments for a Cards fan in '10).

    It's also notable to mention that the Reds are tied with the Tigers in team BABIP at .313, the best in the major leagues. Votto is at an absurdly high .361 BABIP for the season. For comparison the Cardinals were a much more normal .297 (almost in the bottom third of teams), while Pujols' BABIP matches the Cardinals' .297. I think the only conclusion you can pull for the season is that it was a very unexpected season. The Cardinals somehow ended up with some of the worst players in the major leagues on their roster for a significant part of the season. 

    The sum of Aaron Miles, Nick Stavinoha, Jeff Suppan, Randy Winn, Skip Schumaker, Mike MacDougal, etc all add up to garbage island, or in sabermetric terms, negative WAR. That's right, only shining superstar Aaron Miles was worth much at .2 (grit! to adust for grit factor, simply add .2 WAR). Just for fun, Kyle Lohse was worth .6 WAR this season. 

    2010: A Really Mindbendlingly Messed Up Odyssey

     

     

    Finally, Here's the SABR glossary and links list:

     

    FIP means fielding independent pitching. a number of environmental elements are factored to correct for statistical distortion or anomaly, such as putting a league average defense behind a pitcher and correcting for league, ballpark, etc. please add to the definition in the comments if you will 

    If you are still thinking, hey, that sounds like a bunch of hogwash, here's one of many articles that explain why ERA is not all that great of a stat: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-most-convoluted-statistic-era/

     

    WAR means Wins Above a Replacement level player. Genius mathematicians have figured out what a league average player is. Then if you are really good at both defense and offense, you will be worth about 6 or 7 Skip Schumakers (sorry, 2010 Skip Schumakers, not 2009 ones).

    Some are only valuable for defense. Others, defense is a big liability (think Brendan Ryan vs Adam Dunn... one shouldn't be fielding, and one shouldn't be hitting). The main drawback about WAR is that the defensive component of the stat is not entirely accurate. Yet. Looking forward to new metrics!

     

    wOBA means weighted On-Base Average. linear weights (more mathemagic at work) and park factors, etc are applied to key offensive stats such as on base percentage, slugging.... Basically, wOBA is a more accurate version of On Base Plus Slugging % (OPS).

     

    Here are some links

    this article describes why on-base percentage is more quotable than batting average 

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2105763/batting_average_vs_onbase_percentage.html

    Here is a baseball stat glossary

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/statpages/glossary/

    more on wOBA

    http://www.insidethebook.com/woba.shtml

    and the ever useful http://www.fangraphs.com and http://www.baseball-reference.com

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