Revisiting Baseball Brit taking on PECOTA

Hopefully, you read the previous article reviewing 2019 PECOTA projections, entitled “Just accept it, PECOTA hates your team”, and you are still in the mood for more discussion about projections.

As you know, PECOTA is the algorithm from Baseball Prospectus that projects player performance based on comparison with historical player-seasons.

As you are reading Bat Flips and Nerds, then you also presumably know Baseball Brit. Joey is one of the most active promoters of the game and a must-follow on Twitter @BaseballBrit

Last season, he pitted himself against the PECOTA projections. You definitely need to go and check out the article, but I can tell you, he was pretty damn impressive.

Well I say, he was pretty damn impressive, but not everyone is in agreement (Editor Tom – He means me). See what you think.

Giancarlo Stanton: He took the over on Giancarlo Stanton’s 41 home runs. In his first year in pinstripes, which was also his first campaign predominantly as the designated hitter, the former Marlin slugged 38 dingers.

If, like me, you are of a charitable disposition, you will think “there’s so little difference between 41 and 38, let’s call it a draw”. Those playing by the book will score it 0-1 against Joey.

Shohei Ohtani: Joey also took the over on Shohei Ohtani’s 3.48 ERA. Injury restricted the two-way phenom to just 10 starts, but that was at an impressive 3.31 ERA. We now know that he won’t be ready for Opening Day and will be restricted to just hitting as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery.

0.17 points of ERA is nothing. It is the equivalent of one run over Ohtani’s 51 innings. I’m calling it another draw, but I know some of you will mark it down as 0-2.

Joey Votto: The Reds first baseman is an on-base machine, so it was not surprising that Baseball Brit took the over on Joey Votto’s projected .423 OBP. Even though Votto experienced a down year compared to his usual elite standards, the only two qualified hitters that posted higher than his .417 OBP were Mookie Betts and Mike Trout. They’re pretty good.

0.06 OBP! Are you really going to penalise him for that? Either it is another draw or 0-3.

Rougned Odor: At the opposite end of the patience-at-the-plate scale is Texas Rangers’ second baseman Rougned Odor. Joey correctly predicted Odor would fail to reach a batting average of .257; It was .253 AVG.

0.04 points of batting average over 535 at-bats is the slimmest of victories, so to keep continuity, I’m marking that one down as a draw as well, but I guess some of you will see the score as 1-3 against Joey.

Cleveland Indians: Despite being in the easiest division in the whole of MLB, the Cleveland Indians failed to reach their projected 96 wins, finishing 91-71, so Joey, like PECOTA, took a hit on this one.

This was his only proper loss, although the less charitable will see it as 1-4.

Billy Hamilton: Joey won big by taking the under on Billy Hamilton’s projected 66 stolen base total. Fantasy baseball players and their love for speed overvalued the former Reds’ centre fielder, who had averaged 58 stolen bases over the previous four seasons. The speedster swiped a career-low 34 bags in 2018.

Great pick Joey! Not only to get the prediction correct, but PECOTA’s projection wasn’t even close. If I were scoring, I would give double-points for this one, but you’ve probably marked it down as 2-4.

Kazuhisa Makita: Another big win (and I admit I had to baseball-reference this guy) was when Joey correctly predicted the over on Kazuhisa Makita’s innings-pitched total.

The Japanese submariner threw six times as many innings as projected. Don’t tell me that’s only worth one point as well. 3-4 with one to go.

Boston Red Sox: The final win by @BaseballBrit was to disagree with PECOTA’s projection that the Yankees would enjoy an eight-game winning margin over their arch-rivals in Boston. As we all know now, the Red Sox reversed the projection and finished eight games ahead of New York. Another inspired pick by Joey.

In last year’s article, Baseball Brit said he was hoping for a .500 record, which is exactly as it panned out, but it seems far more like an MVP effort to me.

Whether you feel that PECOTA hates your team or not (spoiler alert: it doesn’t), the system provides a good barometer for the projected performance of players in the upcoming season. And it gives us plenty to talk about before meaningful matches start.

Another key publication from Baseball Prospectus is their annual which is essential reading for all MLB fans. Order it today from Amazon.

Not that British MLB fans need more incentive to purchase the annual, but this year, our very own Darius Austin has written Cubs’ player comments.

What are your opinions on PECOTA? Do you vehemently disagree with any of the projections? We want to hear from you. Follow us on Twitter @batflips_nerds and join in the discussion.

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