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Friday, April 06, 2007


BP’s PECOTA forecast and depth charts combine to calculate the number of runs scored and allowed for each team. The RS-RA data can then be plugged into Bill James’ formula [RS^2/RS^+RA^2] to estimate winning percentage.

After going through the Sox math (893 RS versus 775 RA), the Olde Towne Team is projected to win 92 games this season with the second best record in baseball, but finishing second to the MFY’s 93 wins. This does not account for luck or the outcomes in one-run games. Essentially, the MFY and our Sox are in a dead heat once again.

The offensive half of the ledger and comments is below.


1) Julio Lugo - 617 - 284/347/406 – It appears that PECOTA is weighting the terrible 164 PAs Lugo had in L.A. accordingly when projecting his 2007 line. Over the last three seasons (the normal data used to project a player), Lugo lost in LA consisted of only 9% of his PAs.

2) Kevin Youkilis - 661 - 271/376/456 – Youk is settling into league average corner infielder at a bargain or pre-arbitration price. It would be great to copy and paste this for Pedroia next year.

3) David Ortiz - 716 - 289/406/577 – Big Papi projects as a monster again. Enough said.

4) Manny Ramirez - 624 - 297/400/567 – Manny being Manny…hopefully, he gets to 700 PAs.

5) J.D. Drew - 500 - 285/392/476 – If Drew stays on the field, PECOTA would likely think the Sox are a lock to score 900 runs.

6) Mike Lowell - 557 - 273/333/441 – A year older after 30 and your projection continues to slide. No surprise here. Next winter, the Sox should be able to find a similar hitter at first for less than $9 million.

7) Jason Varitek - 440 - 274/357/453 – It is understandable that PECOTA sees a comeback season for the Captain. His walk/pa rate stayed constant, strikeout/pa rate improved, and the only blemish was a drop in isolated power (SLG-BA). The system might conclude that Tek was a victim of bad luck last season. Add in our knowledge of his poor health and we should be thinking about a rebound year for Tek. But it is hard to forget about the overwhelming evidence that Catchers in their 30’s have a history of collapsing offensive production. PECOTA considers it, just not enough in the weighted mean forecast (as well as in other area of his player card). On a positive note, PECOTA’s second most comparable player is Carlton Fisk. Fisk bucked the trend by having up and down offensive years after his 20s.

8) Coco Crisp - 560 - 310/361/452 – Coco is forecast to regain his form. He mentioned that the cause for his below par 2006 - the finger injury - is still bothering him. If it is not fully healed, be prepared for a 270/320/400 line at the end of the year.

9) Dustin Pedroia - 512 - 294/360/431 – DP is PECOTA’s love child. On the other side, most scouts have come around to DP becoming a league average second baseman, but maybe not this year. He may find it more difficult to make adjustments than a player with better tools. DP has run into very little adversity in the minors.


* Wily Mo Pena - 432 - 276/336/504 – After an insane batting average on balls put into play, PECOTA foresees Pena’s batting average and OBP falling back. WMP’s line looks reasonable, and if Pena’s comparables are any indication, than he stands a good shot at becoming a productive slugger in the future. The top ten consists of Frank Howard, Matt Holiday, Pete Incavigila, Charlie Spikes, Dale Murphy, Ivan Calderon, Jay Buhner, Jesse Barfield, Richie Sexson, and Ron Jackson. At 25, it could be a breakout year for Pena. Hopefully, he won’t have that opportunity. Since, he would likely take PAs away from Manny or Drew.

* Alex Cora - 282 - 254/313/333 – Cora’s line could be much better if Tito uses him primarily against right-handers when resting Lugo and DP. He is useless against southpaws. Picking up a veteran RHB up the middle to play in RI would provide Ben Aflac supplemental insurance in case one of the middle infielders go down for an extended period of time.

* Eric Hinske - 187 - 263/336/446 – The four corner reserve projects as about a league average hitter in limited time.

* Doug Mirabelli - 169 - 218/294/386 – “I have a great paying job only because I can catch Wakefield’s knuckleball. Nothing else matters. My life is damn good.”

* David Murphy and George Costanza Kottaras make it on the depth chart with an insignificant number of PAs.


PECOTA is too optimist for my taste on the bottom third of the order. It is does not account for the possible lingering finger problem with Coco, Pedroia having issues adjusting to the Show, or Tek falling off the table. It is likely that at least one will struggle. With that in mind, 893 runs is too high with Drew getting only 500 appearances. If Drew gets another 100+ PAs, it would help mitigate the probable tough year by one of the bottom three in the order thereby giving the Sox a shot at 900 runs.

Next week, it is a look at the pitchers.


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