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Friday, January 19, 2007

New PECOTA projections are online at BP

Subscribers can access the new '07 PECOTA cards at Baseball Prospectus! PECOTA is, by most accounts (and my experience), the most comprehensive and reliable projection system available. It essentially uses age-adjusted similar players (plus lots of other factors, like ballpark, etc) to project player performance next season, plus other seasons down the road. As with anything like this, you take it with a dash of salt (more than a grain, but still be skeptical). But it's interesting to look at.

Jim Baker ran an article talking about the best rookie prospects for '07, according to PECOTA projections. Joey Votto was listed as the best 1B rookie prospect, with a projected line of 0.284/0.366/0.511 (weighted mean). They project 29 home runs in 630 plate appearances next year!

That's overwhelmingly positive, and frankly I think it's a bit optimistic. Votto rebounded in a big way last year, but he hasn't even played in AAA yet. I think he'd hold his own, but this seems a bit over the top (note: PECOTA also assumes playing time, which is unlikely at least to start the year with Hatteberg *AND* Conine standing in his way). Still, it's nice to hear that he's projecting so well. Similar players to him, by the way, include Carlos Pena, Travis Hafner, Pat Burrell, Hee-Seop Choi, Lance Berkman, Jason Giambi, Kent Hrbek, and Brad Wilkerson. Interesting group.

A few other interesting projections and my comments:
  • Homer Bailey: 4.64 ERA in 129 innings, 119 k but 66 bb -- seems reasonable for a 21-year old if he goes AA to MLB this year.
  • Adam Dunn: 0.267/0.390/0.574 -- nice to see a projected rebound.
  • Ken Griffey Jr: 0.275/0.344/0.506 -- PECOTA thinks that he's declining. So do I. But he should still be a productive hitter.
  • Kyle Lohse: 4.87 ERA -- Eek. I'm more optimistic about him.
  • Bronson Arroyo: 4.40 ERA -- ...Unfortunately, while I'm not quite that pessimistic, that doesn't sound far off to me.
  • Chris Denorfia: 0.296/0.365/0.459 -- That also seems quite reasonable. I'm bullish on Chris to have a good year in center field, as long as Narron lets the guy play...which is, of course, not guaranteed.