POLL(S): The Projections and You

Last Friday, Dave wrote about MGL writing about the significance of in-season projections. While we often find ourselves trying to find the value in current-season statistics, what MGL demonstrated is that, overall, projections worked better than putting too much weight on recent events. What MGL demonstrated is that, overall, the projections were outstanding, even when dealing with potential outliers. A short, hypothetical example: if you had a guy projected to hit .300, and for a little while he hit .400, and the projection was increased to .305, then that .305 would be the smartest bet the rest of the way. Players, simply, don’t often dramatically change their levels of true talent.

But of course, every rule has exceptions. Every projection system has players who disobey it and come out of nowhere to excel or suck a lot. This is where we spend a lot of our time — trying to identify players who are in the process of meaningfully changing. Players who, say, add pitches, or players who change their swing patterns. We’re always looking for guys for whom the projections might miss the mark. We know those guys exist — we just have to find them.

So in this post, you’re going to see 20 players and 20 polls. That’s a lot of polls, but I promise they’ll go by fast. There are five hitters out-performing their updated projections*, five hitters under-performing their updated projections, five pitchers out-performing their updated projections, and five pitchers under-performing their updated projections. For every player, one could make the argument that something has changed, and the projections just haven’t caught up yet. I want to get a feel for who you think has actually changed, and who might just be riding a streak. And while the poll answers are kind of subjective, they should do well enough — use your best judgment. From this exercise, what we’ll eventually learn is almost nothing. But it’ll be kind of fun and kind of informative, to look at tomorrow and to look at in October. Let’s just get this over with so you can do what you’re actually supposed to be doing.

(* – ZiPS and Steamer, blended, per usual around here)

Position Players

Lonnie Chisenhall

  • Season: .438 wOBA
  • Projection: .342
  • What’s up: former good prospect hitting for more power, with reduced strikeouts!

Nelson Cruz

  • Season: .419 wOBA
  • Projection: .355
  • What’s up: dingers, all over the place!

Victor Martinez

  • Season: .419 wOBA
  • Projection: .356
  • What’s up: already more homers than last season and the season before!

Michael Brantley

  • Season: .399 wOBA
  • Projection: .334
  • What’s up: for the first time, Brantley has hit like a power hitter!

Brian Dozier

  • Season: .359 wOBA
  • Projection: .317
  • What’s up: Dozier supposedly made changes last year to stop being bad!

David Wright

  • Season: .301 wOBA
  • Projection: .347
  • What’s up: if only every single peripheral weren’t trending in the wrong direction!

Mike Moustakas

  • Season: .266 wOBA
  • Projection: .312
  • What’s up: Moustakas has already been demoted once after making awful contact!

Domonic Brown

  • Season: .257 wOBA
  • Projection: .331
  • What’s up: Brown’s ISO is last year’s ISO minus half of it!

Brad Miller

  • Season: .240 wOBA
  • Projection: .308
  • What’s up: the Mariners have been reduced to occasionally starting Willie Bloomquist!

Jedd Gyorko

  • Season: .215 wOBA
  • Projection: .304
  • What’s up: not his BABIP and not his ISO!


Dallas Keuchel

  • Season: 2.81 FIP, 2.79 xFIP
  • Projection: 3.83
  • What’s up: with a new slider, Keuchel has pitched like an ace for a team that isn’t bad anymore!

Jake Arrieta

  • Season: 2.32 FIP, 2.89 xFIP
  • Projection: 4.12
  • What’s up: from last year, his K% – BB% has tripled!

Collin McHugh

  • Season: 3.00 FIP, 3.37 xFIP
  • Projection: 4.36
  • What’s up: the supposed-to-be spot starter has struck out ten per nine innings!

Garrett Richards

  • Season: 2.56 FIP, 3.28 xFIP
  • Projection: 3.75
  • What’s up: Richards is finally getting the strikeouts people have expected for years!

Jake Odorizzi

  • Season: 3.24 FIP, 3.50 xFIP
  • Projection: 4.28
  • What’s up: Odorizzi has the same strikeout rate as Felix Hernandez!

Matt Cain

  • Season: 4.79 FIP, 4.21 xFIP
  • Projection: 3.83
  • What’s up: we don’t know if Cain was really a DIPS-beater after all, given what he’s been lately!

Shelby Miller

  • Season: 4.63 FIP, 4.56 xFIP
  • Projection: 3.95
  • What’s up: very early on, Dave declared that Miller was broken, and he hasn’t pitched nearly as well as his ERA!

Justin Verlander

  • Season: 3.96 FIP, 4.72 xFIP
  • Projection: 3.62
  • What’s up: Verlander hasn’t struck out more than eight in a game all season, and lately he’s had barely more strikeouts than walks!

Clay Buchholz

  • Season: 4.84 FIP, 4.79 xFIP
  • Projection: 4.12
  • What’s up: Buchholz was sufficiently bad that people figured his DL stint was for a phantom injury!

Felix Doubront

  • Season: 5.03 FIP, 4.86 xFIP
  • Projection: 4.28
  • What’s up: Doubront’s strikeout rate has dropped from 24% to 20% to 15% since 2012!

Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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Brad Johnsonmember
8 years ago

The tricky thing is with a guy like Jake Arrieta. A 4.12 projection might be too high, but a 3.90 smells right. And is 3.90 statistically different than 4.12?