If you're a stat nerd like me, then you probably picked up the Baseball Prospectus Guide to the 2009 Season. It's packed full of goodies, but at the top of the list has to be the PECOTA projections.
For the unfamiliar, PECOTA stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm and is a complex formula, devised by BP's Nate Silver, that takes into account all sorts of factors to make educated guesses about what a player will do in the upcoming season. Those guesses are usually pretty accurate, which is what has driven BP to the forefront of the baseball analytical landscape.
Toward the back of this year's book there is predictive leaderboard based on the PECOTA projections. The usual suspects are there: A-Rod, Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, etc. One name that shocked me, though, is Matt Wieters.
Anybody who follows minor league baseball or the Orioles with any sort of regularity knows the masses have Wieters pinned for stardom almost immediately. BP, however, took it one step further, projecting he will be among the leaders in nearly every offensive category.
To wit: BP predicts Wieters for a line of .311/.395/.939, along with 31 HR and 102 RBI.
They project he will:
- Lead the league in Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) with 7.9, edging Grady Sizemore by 0.9.
- Have the top Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) for a catcher -- and sixth-best overall -- with 59.6. Considering that the leader is Albert Pujols', with 87.8, that's pretty darned impressive.
- Come in fifth in the majors in BA (he'll win the batting title in the AL) and EqA, ninth in HR, OBP and RsBI, tie for seventh (with Ryan Braun) in runs scored.
That's quite a lot to heap on a 23-year-old, but if the hype is true, then he'll have no problem living up to everyone's lofty expectations.
BTW: He's hitting .409/.435/1.107 with a home run and five RsBI in 22 spring training ABs. AL East, you have been warned.
Other interesting predictions from BP:
- Chipper Jones will lead in BA, Ryan Howard in HR -- with 40 -- and Pujols will top the league in RsBI, with 124.
- Brett Gardner will steal 32 bases, trailing leader Jose Reyes by 36.
- Your Isolated Power leader will be --shocker!-- Adam Dunn.
- Rich Harden will lead the bigs in Ks, ERA and WHIP, with respective totals of 235, 3.04 and 1.12 -- yet he'll have just 13 wins.
- Jayson Werth will lead the league in VORP for a right fielder, and Elijah Dukes will come in second.
- The best VORP for a rookie pitcher will be (everyone together, now) Brett Cecil of the Blue Jays.
- Joba Chamberlain will have the third best stuff in the league, ranking behind Harden and SF's Tim Lincecum.