The worst thing for a kid growing up in Northeast Ohio who happened to be a complete baseball junkie had to be the winter. Not that I didn’t enjoy Pete Franklin blasting “Mr. Know It All” or Joe Tait calling a Cavs game or a Sunday spent with the Browns—it’s just that I needed baseball. To me, watching Casey Coleman on the local news covering Cy Buynak as he completed the final check of the equipment trucks departing for Spring Training in Tuscon was in itself a sign that baseball was inching closer.
The other big event of the winter was the arrival of the new Topps baseball cards. Sometime after February 1st I’d walk into the corner drugstore with my dad with nervous anticipation, wondering if this would be the day. My eyes grew wide as I glanced over and saw the brand new box of cards on display and experienced a moment of euphoria.
These cards were necessary for keeping stats, as my mom had long since made it a yearly habit to enter the privacy of my room and throw away all the Sunday Plain Dealer sport sections that I had collected over the course of the season. (They were a fire hazard, she explained to me, but I explained to her that these papers had all the stats compiled and even had the Indians players in bold text to make them easy to find. She wasn’t moved, as we had this same discussion every winter of my youth.) Once I had those cards and stats in hand I could start trying to make my predictions for the upcoming season.
Times have changed for me, but the mid-February adrenaline rush remains—not from the arrival of the new Topps baseball cards anymore, but from the release of the annual PECOTA (and other) projections. Some people will utilize these projections in preparation for their fantasy baseball drafts, some will examine them to see if the projections meet their preconceived expectations of a player, and some will scoff at the numbers and suggest that they are the equivalent of tea leaves.
There has been plenty of discussion over the past few months about whether Asdrubal Cabrera can hit 20 home runs again in 2012, whether Grady Sizemore stay healthy in 2012 (and if he will produce if he does), how good can Jason Kipnis be, what we can we expect from the pitching staff, and how about that bullpen? These discussions pick up speed as the projections come out and pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear in less than two weeks.
The PECOTA projections are a good place to start looking as to what the historical numbers are telling us what we may be able to expect in 2012 (Quick Intro to PECOTA video here). I have compiled the numbers below for who I expect (barring injury) to be on the 25-man roster when the Indians head back to Northeast Ohio to take on the Toronto Blue Jays on April 5th.
The Pitching Staff:
Some players of interest not included in either of the above tables are as follows:
- Lonnie Chisenhall is projected to have a slash line of .249/.298/.399 and a WARP of 0.8.
- Matt LaPorta is projected to have a slash line of .250/.322/.417 and a WARP of 1.o.
- Fausto Carmona projected to go 11.5-8.4 (losing exactly 8.4 games would be quite a feat indeed) in 169.2 innings pitched with a 4.33 ERA.
Visit these links for more information on the methodology of Pecota or any of the other systems (Bill James, ZiPS, Marcel, Oliver, Cairo, or Chone). Within each of the linked articles below are many other worthwhile links to explore.
- Steve Slowinski at Fangraphs summarizes the different projection systems in his article titled: The Projection Rundown: The Basics of Marcels, ZiPS, CAIRO, Oliver, and the Rest.
- Jason Colletteat DRaysBay writes about What To Do With Projection Systems.
- Colin Wyers details the changes to the PECOTA System in his article: Reintroducing PECOTA.
- For the fan that suggest that projections are tea leaves check out Matt Swartz’ article for FanGraphs titled: Testing Projections 2011.
- And, of course, you can have fun plugging various projections into our Simple WAR Calculator.