Originally written on Tigers Weblog  |  Last updated 2/26/12

PECOTA is the player performance projection system developed by Nate Silver and subsequently purchased by Baseball Prospectus.  I don’t have any documented support for this, but I think that it is safe to say that it is widely regarded as the best player forecaster around.  Before we get into the Tigers projections, realize that PECOTA is  useful tool, and the best around, but the system is significantly wrong more than it is significantly right.  (More on that in my next post)

But hey, it’s spring training.  This is what we do.

I’d likely be breaking a few copyright laws if I reposted all of the Tigers forecasts, so I’ll stick to the key ones.  But you should pick up a copy for yourself.  The book is only $14.97 on Amazon. There is significantly more info that what I’m using below.

First of all, it is worthwhile to note that BP is high on the Tigers in respect of the thoughts that a) they have their (now 3) best players at the top of their payroll, and in the prime of their careers (which is unusual), b) they have young arms, and c) their division rivals should be weak for the next few years.  The window is now.  The Tigers are sorely lacking in the OF and minor league depth, but those should not prevent the boys from competing for a few years.

Avila – BP sing his praises by saying that there are “no weaknesses in his game” and even a “significant drop in offensive value will leave him among the best” catchers in the AL.  PECOTA projects to 15 HR and 57 RBI on 75 less PAs that in 2011, but an .890 OPS and 3.2 WARP.

Prince – one of the things that always bugs me about Baseball Prospectus is that they never have any of the late January signings/injuries reflected in the book.  I don’t know anything about publishing, but I would think that they could update that stuff with a late February ship date.  Does anyone have any insight into this?  Anyway, BP projects another monster year for Fielder (these are taking into account Milwaukee park effects) with 39 HR, 104 RBI, a .952 OPS and a 5.5 WARP (which I think is the 2nd highest WARP projection for 2012, behind Pujols’ 5.9…I think there is some sort of a cap on PECOTA WARP, because I never see any projections about 6, though each year a handful of players end up easily surpassing 6 – Matt Kemp came in at 9.2 for 2011…same thing with pitcher wins, more on this in a later post).

Rayburn – 395 PAs, a respectable .779 OPS and a 1.8 WARP.

Peralta – BP goes on the record as saying that last year they were dead on for questioning the Inge signing last year, an dead wrong for questioning the Peralta one.  15 HR, 63 RBI, .739 OPS and a 2.4 WARP, down from 3.9 last year.

Miggy – BP notes that he’s at the peak of his career, and is signed through 2015.  31 HR, 102 RBI, .947 OPS and a 5.4 WARP, each of which would be worse than his 2010 and 2011 numbers (other than HR – he hit 30 last year).

Inge – 359 PAs resulting in a .224 average and .662 OPS, with a WARP of .8.

Boesch – BP writes that he has good upside, especially at his salary level.  451 PAs, 15 HR, .765 OPS and a 1.4 WARP (down from 2.2 last year).

AJax – BP called his prodigious BABIP (BA on balls in play) drop from 2010 to 2011, but sees an improvement in 2012 with higher Avg./OBP/Slg. and less strikeouts.  Though reduced PAs will lead to a slightly lower 2012 WARP of 1.7 (compared to 2011′s 2.0).  BA suggests that AJax would be a great 7 hole guy where his power could be more encouraged.

JV –  ”There’s nothing our words can add to the majesty you’ve witnessed…”  BP cautions and calls attention to his well-known IPs and pitch count, but ends with “For all we know, he might just get better.  Enjoy.”  15 W, 7 L (I think there is a PECOTA rule against > 16 wins, much like the WARP > 6), 3.05 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 191 Ks in 202 IPs with a 4.2 WARP.

Fister – 175 IPs, 3.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and a 1.9 WARP.

Scherzer – BP falls in the the category of everyone and believes that Scherzer has ace stuff.  In fact, they give him a 22% chance of having a breakout year (meaning that production will improve by at least 20%), which is high for an already top of the rotation starter.  169 IPs, 161 Ks, 3.93 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.  WARP is projected to be 1.7.

Porcello – 28% chance of a breakout for Porcello, which is more likely a result of his mediocrity to date than an endorsement.  158 IPs, 81 Ks, 4.36 ERA and 1.37 WHIP with a WARP of .8.

Turner – “…he can become Rick Porcello with more punchouts.  That’s even better than it sounds.”  Only 48 IPs, 4.74 ERA and 1.45 WHIP.

Dotel – “..a worthwhile low-cost pickup to work the 7th” projects to 46 IPs, .290 BABIP, 3.67 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and a 0.6 WARP.

Perry – Oh yeah, he’s gone  Colin Balester doesn’t project to much better – 26 Ks in 41 IPs with a 5.39 ERA and 1.54 WHIP for a -0.4 WARP.

Benoit – BP is still critical of the high-dollar, multi-year deal for a setup guy, but admits that he one of the best change-ups in the league closer-level stuff.  3.05 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 53 Ks in 50 IPs and a WARP of 1.0.

Valverde – 29 saves (odd, because I think BP projects the Tigers to win 92-95 games), 63 Ks in 61 IPs, a 3.20 ERA and 1.22 WHIP for a WARP of 1.1

 

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