Archive for the ‘Projections’ Category

In part three of what already exceeded even the wildest of expectations, the curious eye of Getting Blanked looks at the projections for young studs from around the baseball world. Today, Anthony Rizzo.

Do you know how good Anthony Rizzo is? If you do, please let me in on your secrets. Anthony Rizzo looks good and his stat lines look good, too. He remains a mere first baseman. Lots of people can put up okay numbers at first. Can Anthony Rizzo ever become a first baseman of the Prince Fielder/Albert Pujols “larger than life wOBA” mould?

Rizzo finally made his Cubs d├ębut in June after the Cubs kept his service time in check, starring for the awful Cubs to the tune of a .349 wOBA with 15 home runs. Good numbers but his 116 wRC+ ranks him 15th among first basemen with 350 PAs, behind Brandon Belt and narrowly ahead of player like Freeman and Mark Teixeira.

So he’s good but not great? Is that fair to say? Keith Law likes Rizzo in 2013, ranking him ahead of the more established Freddie Freeman and the more hyped Eric Hosmer in his top 25 under 25 listicle. Do the projection systems agree?

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In part two of what is sure to be at least a two part series, the curious eye of Getting Blanked looks at the projections for young studs from around the baseball world. Today, Bryce Harper.

Keith Law released his top 25 under 25 ranking today for ESPN Insiders. Always an interesting exercise, Law place Mike Trout at the top and Bryce Harper second. This should come as no surprise, as Mike Trout is your father now. Bryce Harper might be tougher to take for some fans, as the NL Rookie of the Year looked good in 2012 but didn’t break records and faces like his AL counterpart.

Law points to Harper’s midseason struggles, where pitchers adjusted to his strengths and sent the Nats outfielder into a prolonged slump. Calls to platoon Harper came quietly, as the Nats battled for a playoff spot. Luckily, Washington was far enough ahead that Harper got to keep playing – and adjust.

And adjust Harper did, turning his season around and bringing his yearly stats up to respectability. Harper finished with a .352 wOBA, with 22 home runs and 18 steals as a 19-year old. The question we ask the projection systems: what will he do for an encore?

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Love projection systems or loathe them, using regression, recent performance and age to ballpark a player’s numbers into the future is here to stay. They are not without their utility, provided the proper amount of restraint and recognition that their utility ends at a point.

How useful is a tool which, in its very design, drags the highest fliers back to a normalizing line, regressing those we wish could outperform their periphials forever? What kind of framework exists to accurately project the best player in the game, who also happens to be all of 21-years old?

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