Thursday, February 09, 2012

PECOTA Sees Tigers Offense as Two-Man Show

Baseball Prospectus recently released its Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm (PECOTA) projections for 2012.  PECOTA is a complicated projection system created by Nate Silver and recently improved by Colin Wyers.  It uses the statistics and characteristics (age, height, weight, position) of a given player and the statistics and characteristics of similar players to arrive at projections for that player.

Accessing the data requires a subscription, so I can't reveal too much, but I can tell you that PECOTA views the Tigers offense as the Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder show.  It projects that both will have OPSs north of .920 and that they will finish second and third in Major League Baseball behind new Angels slugger Albert Pujols.  It is also forecasting 37 homers for Fielder, which would tie him for the lead with Pujols. 

Beyond Cabrera and Fielder, PECOTA does not project any Tiger to have an OPS above .800.  Who will have the third highest OPS on the Tigers?  Alex Avila? Brennan Boesch? Jhonny Peralta? No, PECOTA projects that second baseman/outfielder Ryan Raburn will finish third with a .773 OPS.

The system also decides which players are most likely to improve.  It says that outfielders Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks have the best chance among current Tigers of improving, although it is not actually projecting that to happen in 2012.  The most comparable player to Jackson is former Reds out fielder Bobby Tolan.  Dirks is most comparable to Paul Blair and Amos Otis (that would be nice!) 

If you subscribe to Baseball Prospectus, you can download your copy of projections for all players.

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