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PECOTA and the Dodgers
2004-02-27 10:30
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Nate Silver of Baseball has an elaborate system called PECOTA for predicting player performance. What follows is a synopsis of how the PECOTA system predicted six Dodgers would do in 2003, their actual 2003 statistics, and the system's predictions for 2004:

The first set of numbers is the player's actual statistics; the EqBA, EqOBP and EqSLG are adjusted for league and park effects.

It's all grain-of-salt stuff, but I haven't thrown any numbers up here in a while, so I thought you might be interested.

Adrian Beltre

2003 prediction54218.268.328.434.282.336.467
2003 statistics55923.240.293.424.254.303.454
2004 prediction50421.259.312.447.267.322.461

Comment: PECOTA overestimated Beltre's 2003 offensive production, except for home runs. The improvement predicted for 2004 probably won't thrill Dodger fans.

Shawn Green

2003 prediction55133.279.373.525.293.382.565
2003 statistics61119.280.358.460.293.367.486
2004 prediction54632.286.369.529.295.381.546

Comment: Obviously, PECOTA didn't foresee a scenario where Green would have an injury that depleted his power but not his playing time. The 2004 prediction is close to the 2003 prediction.

Cesar Izturis

2003 prediction3753.245.283.328.258.291.353
2003 statistics5581.251.283.315.271.302.343
2004 prediction4484.247.281.328.255.290.339

Comment:The system honed in well on Izturis' 2003 on-base percentage. As with Beltre, PECOTA sees no great improvement for young Cesar in 2004.

Paul Lo Duca

2003 prediction49612.277.336.414.291.345.445
2003 statistics5687.273.336.377.289.348.403
2004 prediction46311.271.331.400.279.342.413

Comment: PECOTA did well with the batting average and on-base percentage, but again, here was another case of a Dodger not bringing the power. The system thinks Lo Duca can return to double-digits in home runs this year but sees no significant increase in overall slugging percentage.

Dave Roberts

2003 prediction3603.256.325.349.269.334.375
2003 statistics3882.250.331.307.267.344.330
2004 prediction3652.257.326.334.265.336.344

Comment: Like Izturis, Roberts managed to undercut some very modest power predictions, but did slightly exceed on-base projections. The 2004 predictions don't offer much of a bounce.

Juan Encarnacion

2003 prediction49715.265.324.421.272.327.449
2003 statistics60119.270.316.446.280.323.466
2004 prediction50620.263.318.447.272.328.462

Comment: Unlike the 2003 Dodgers on this list, Encarnacion surpassed PECOTA's predictions in power but not in on-base percentage. More of the same in 2004.

For all the considerable math involved, the PECOTA predictions for 2004 in this very small sample deviate so little from the 2003 statistics that you could be excused for wondering why Silver goes to all the trouble. Nevertheless, it is sort of a reality check for those who think that these six players are likely to make great offensive recoveries this season.

While I was working on these charts, Baseball Prospectus pulled together some more projections for prospective Dodger starters at the plate and on the field. Looks like more of what you see above, with no real recovery on the horizon. Better seasons for Shawn Green, Dave Ross, Adrian Beltre and to a much smaller extent, Cesar Izturis are countered by declines at second base, center field and right field (assuming Green is moving to first). On the mound, BP predicts major tumbles for Hideo Nomo and Guillermo Mota.

P.S. Check this chart out on (tip courtesy of Baseball Musings).

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