The Nats and 2015 PECOTA Projections

The season hasn’t started, but projection season has! Baseball Prospectus has released their PECOTA projections. These are, as always, just projections, and I always like to throw this Colin Wyers quote out before jumping in

PECOTA does not hate your favorite team. PECOTA is a collection of algorithms, written in computer code and run by an unfeeling machine… these are PECOTA’s estimates of what would happen if the season were played thousands of times. PECOTA is not infallible, and the season is played but once. It is a prediction, not destiny.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the ones that actually are interesting to me:

  • Wilson Ramos is predicted to do pretty well, all things considered. Around a 10 point increase each in OBP and SLG leads to a nice OPS bump. He also, contrary to most other players, his 461 projected plate appearances would be the highest in his career
  • Yunel Escobar is basically going to repeat his 2014. Thanks to the change in league and parks, I’ll take the over on that
  • Anthony Rendon had a breakout season last year, and PECOTA isn’t so sure he’s ready for that again. His .287/.351/.473 would be pretty hard to repeat, but PECOTA’s .269/.340/.428 seems low to me. I think he’ll have a higher average, which would translate to a higher slugging, even if it isn’t the .473 he had in 2014
  • If Ian Desmond only hits 16 HRs and slug .405, as PECOTA says, that might hurt his chances of getting the uber-contract, and it would be his worst year since 2011, by a pretty good amount
  • PECOTA basically suggests Bryce Harper will have the same splits with a little bit more power, which would probably be a little disappointing, even though it would still be a good season
  • The biggest regression goes to Denard Span, who is forecast to have a .325 OBP and a .358 SLG – curious numbers considering both would be career lows
  • Stephen Strasburg, thanks to those incredible peripherals looks incredible. His 2.71 projected ERA, would be a career best
  • A regression for Jordan Zimmermann wouldn’t surprise anyone, although his 3.32 projected ERA would be his worst since 2010
  • A bounceback year is projected for Gio Gonzalez, with a 3.32 ERA – maybe PECOTA is giving him credit for being spectacular after coming back from injury in mid-June

There are a couple of interesting regressions on guys who are probably due to regress, but maybe not as much as PECOTA thinks. The best players on the team are not surprising – Rendon, Harper, Strasburg and Scherzer, with Werth not too far behind.

It will be interesting to see if anyone else can pull out a great season, especially a trio of players who have already done it – Zimmerman, Zimmermann and Desmond.

Finally, don’t let these projections disappoint you too much, because they also add up all these numbers to give the Nats a record of 92-70, good enough for 2nd best in all of MLB (behind the Dodgers) and 10 games ahead of their closest NL East competition.

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