When Projections Go Bad

What the heck, now is as good a time as any to revisit pre-season projections. I know, OPS and ERA aren’t the end-all and be-all, but they’re good enough for government work…

Projections vs Reality: Hitters
Player BJ CH MA MI ZI DS Act
Statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs and are through games of May 29, 2008. Click on column head for more info about projection system.
Josh Bard 785 741 791 728 767 767 540
Adrian Gonzalez 839 840 842 810 862 879 894
Tadahito Iguchi 760 737 756 723 751 732 657
Kevin Kouzmanoff 882 796 789 740 837 858 741
Khalil Greene 762 764 752 747 742 773 599
Scott Hairston 833 740 769 721 722 794 714
Jim Edmonds 830 766 782 739 784 756 498
Brian Giles 820 777 783 732 773 789 815

Gonzalez and Giles are doing as well as or better than expected; Iguchi, Kouzmanoff, and Hairston are underperforming; and Bard, Greene, and Edmonds aren’t even close.

Projections vs Reality: Pitchers
Player BJ CH MA MI ZI DS Act
Statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs and are through games of May 29, 2008. Click on column head for more info about projection system.
Jake Peavy 3.23 2.99 3.23 3.48 2.99 2.81 2.91
Chris Young 3.34 3.39 3.51 4.31 3.32 3.23 4.50
Greg Maddux 3.60 3.91 4.30 3.94 3.92 4.09 3.76
Randy Wolf 3.87 4.04 4.85 4.75 5.03 4.18 4.59
Justin Germano 4.40 4.11 4.24 4.14 4.24 4.62 5.98
Trevor Hoffman 2.80 3.41 3.60 3.88 2.53 3.21 4.58
Heath Bell 3.10 3.18 3.55 3.18 2.89 2.76 2.37
Cla Meredith 3.51 3.25 3.73 3.39 3.26 2.97 4.33
Joe Thatcher 3.67 3.86 2.96 2.86 7.45

Bell is outpitching his projections; Peavy, Maddux, and Wolf are doing what everyone expected; and Young, Hoffman, and Meredith have been worse than projected; and Germano and Thatcher have been a complete disaster.

Three guys are doing better than the experts expected, four are about where they should be, and 10 aren’t meeting their projections (half of those are failing in spectacular fashion). Yep, that could be a problem…

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42 Responses »

  1. Nice work Geoff. It will be interesting to revisit this at the end of the year and see which system was the most accurate.

    People have criticized Towers for poor contingency planning but it’s pretty difficult for a team with the Padres payroll to come up with viable options for half the team, especially at SS, CF and C.

    I guess the good news is at least some of the underperformers are bound to improve, right?

  2. #1@Anthony: Agree completely, and this is very much in line with what I’ve been saying for a while. I don’t think it’s fair to pin this year’s disaster on the FO. Everyone thought the team would be better than this. Hopefully they’ll overachieve the next 2/3 of the season to get back to these projections.

  3. Meaningless trivia but I still dabble.

    The ’88 Padres giving me hope and reason to believe !

    The 1988 Padres started the season (55 games in) at 20-35 and ended up finishing at 83-79.

  4. In line with JP’s comment at #3 … don’t look now but the Drinos are out of last place and could be in third by the end of the weekend, in striking distance of the mediocre Dodgers and D’Backs. And this is after what we all can agree have been two very poor, very snakebitten months of baseball.

    Kouz and Greeney are coming around, Peavy sounds like he’ll be back soon, Carlin and Barrett have been an improvement over Bard, Bryan Corey has been a beast, Headley is on the way to maybe add some pop … I for one am not giving up.

  5. The Giants series is huge and going to be tough.
    They just swept the Snakes.

    Interesting to see that most of DS picks are close to ZiPs. Thanks, Geoff.

  6. Way way way OT, but holy friggin’ crap!

    I’m not sure how much of you are dialed in politically, but there is an excellent Web site run by a poster named Poblano that has really been doing solid work crunching the numbers from the primaries and predicting this year’s general election outcome.

    Poblano, who to this point had remained anonymous, was starting to gain notoriety for his excellent mapping and projection system that he was using.

    Today, Poblano revealed himself to be none other than Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/5/30/103412/365/357/525434

  7. #4@Ryan: Love it! Amazing what a 5-5 last 10 can do for you….. Still, though, if we are able to get within 6 by the break, I’d say that all is not lost.

  8. #5@Didi: The Padres are 13 games below .500 and their longest winning streak is 2 games. Until they start wining with some regularity, their relative place in the standings is meaningless.

  9. Per Rotoworld, Bud Black says that a crack in CY’s skull must heal (to prevent infection of the brain) before he’ll be cleared to pitch.

    Yuck. Brain infections.

  10. #8@Field39: Debbie Downer!

  11. #10@Marsh: Guilty as charged.

  12. OT: Friend of Ducksnorts Steve Poltz got to run in the sausage race at Miller Park:


    How sweet is that?

  13. #12@Geoff Young: That’s brilliant. Go Steve!

  14. I’m sensing a turn around. Players will come closer to the projections as the season continues. We’ll end up in 3rd place. Hopefully better. For some reason I have a positive outlook today.

  15. OT: Jerry Crasnick posted my question!

    Stephen, San Diego: Jerry, Are you ready to reconsider your description of Adrian Gonzalez as a “decent Padre” (recent ESPN The Magazine)? What kind of numbers would he put up hitting in Philly or the NL Central?

    Jerry Crasnick: Stephen, Just to put that to rest, I wasn’t the person who called Gonzalez a “decent Padre.” One of the editors dropped that in a chart, and I got stuck with the angry emails from Padres fans. Gonzalez is a very, very good player and he’d be good for 40 homers in a more charitable park.

  16. #12@Geoff Young: ,”Hey Polish Sausage! You suck!”

    That is so cool, and so wrong.

  17. #3@JP: That was a very good turnaround, and it was the second year in a row they did it.

    In 1987, they started 12-42 (yes, things could be a lot worse) and then finished 53 – 55. They were on pace to obliterate the Mets’ 1962 year, but a drastic turnaround.
    Breaking that year down:
    10 games: 2-8
    20 games: 5-15 (3-7)
    30 games: 7-23 (2-8)
    40 games: 10-30 (3-7)
    54 games: 12-42 (2-12)

    65 games: 19-46 (7-4)
    76 games: 26-50 (7-4)
    halfway: 28-53
    87 games: 30-57 (4-7)
    98 games: 35-63 (5-6)
    108 games: 41-67 (6-4)
    120 games: 49-71 (8-4)
    132 games: 54-78 (5-7)
    144 games: 59-85 (5-7)
    151 games: 64-87 (5-2)
    162 games: 65-97 (1-10)

    From game 55 through 151, the Padres were 52 – 45, or .536
    From game 1 through 45 and 152-162, the Padres were 13 – 52, or .200.

    It was a very odd year. Against the West, 43-47. Against the East, 22-50.

    Sorry, this has gone on way too long. 1987 is still one of my favorite years for some reason.

  18. #17@Kelly in SD:

    Well, T Gwynn hit .370.

  19. #18@Stephen: .370/.447/.511 Not bad.

  20. Too bad PECOTA isn’t public data (though I can’t say I never cheated and posted some on my blog) but it was way down on Edmonds and a bit higher, iirc, on Hairston.

  21. #1@Anthony: Is that a picture of you?

  22. #21@Kevin: Haha, The Most Interesting Fan in the World! No, that’s not me. I don’t always read blogs, but when I do, I prefer Ducksnorts.

  23. 11: Two games winning streak throughout the season can be useful in winning series. In three game series, win #1, lose #2, win #3, and repeat.

    Until the Padres start to win series….like 5 in a row, my hope for this team making it to .500 by ASB (revised from end of June) isn’t looking good. Then again, per GY, to make it to .500 by end of season is tough enough….uh….hmmm….

    Man, you suck. There I was starting to dream and you had to dash it.

    Fine, just beat the Giants. How is that? Happy now? :(

  24. #24@Didi: If the Padres play .600 ball from here on out they’ll finish with 85 wins. They pretty much have to win two out of every three to get to 90. If they can get to 81 wins I think it’s a moral victory.

  25. #25@Anthony: Barring a fire sale, I can see them playing .500 from here on out. Maybe 75 wins.

  26. #26@parlo: If all they can manage is .500 ball between now and the break, I would be expect a veteran sale.

  27. #25@Anthony: They’d probably need to win at about a .626 clip the rest of the way to catch the D’Backs.

  28. A wild one at Wrigley today, the Cubs trailed 9-1, and rallied to win 10-9. Edmonds went 3for4, with a HR and a double. He raised his BA to a scorching .186

  29. #22@Anthony: I thought that was it. Sweet.

  30. #22@Anthony: That was brilliant.

    I don’t know if we can compare this team to the 1987-1988 Padres since that team was managed by Larry Bowa until he was fired and replaced by Jack McKeon.

    Yesterday we talked about whether one of the Padres “goals” should be to finish with the worse record and get the first pick in the 2009 draft to take Stephen Strasburg of SDSU. With the way the Royals are playing (as well as the Mariners) I don’t think there is any chance of that happening. As poorly as they are playing right now they are still ahead of those two teams and they actually have hope to improve, unlike those two.

  31. I don’t follow the amateur scene too closely but at this point I’ll be very happy if the Padres don’t draft a pitcher #1. The track record hasn’t been too good there lately.

  32. #22@Anthony:

    #23@Geoff Young:

    Late to the party, but wholeheartedly agree. Stay thirsty (for knowledge) my friends.

  33. OT: Why is “Accelerate” still on GY’s Amazon wish list? When we’re deep in our cups, as some of us often are, how better to express our appreciation than by fulfilling one of his wishes? But how are we to know what those wishes are if they aren’t kept current?

  34. I know I probably sound like a chump to most of you but at this point I think I’d rather see us get rid of players we can get value for and who will not play a part in our future than play for a .500 record with them. The only thing winning games with this team is going to do is prolong an adjustment period for any kids we call up and hurt our 2009 draft position.

    If a team with call ups was competitive at least they would be gaining experience while they killed the draft pick. I know draft picks in baseball are not nearly a sure thing but in what way shape or form are we helping this team by standing pat with who we have, if in a really good situation we are talking about the possibility of finishing even. That doesn’t make sense to me.

  35. #34@Tom Waits: D’oh! That’s been fixed. Everything else is current.

  36. #35@KRS1: You don’t sound like a chump to me. It’s a delicate balancing act between attracting fans this year, attracting fans for next year, and the players who could be acquired.

    The good thing is that 3 of our chips (Maddux, Giles, Iguchi) are likely to have the same or greater value six weeks from now, so there’s not a huge rush. But it wouldn’t bother me if they sold early, either.

  37. Fire Sale ? Not on my mind much really as the only vet (outside of CY) that they will get anything of significance for is Giles. And to be honest, unless it’s a rosy deal, I wouldn’t move Giles.

    Iguchi will not fetch much at all.

  38. I am a new poster, but I read this regularly from Boise. Thankfully i’m able to watch every Padres game with the assistance of modern technology. Anyways, I know I will most likely be lambasted for these views, but I don’t understand the call for the demolition of this team. I feel like we are close to having all of the pieces in place for a playoff run next year. Two big ifs, but if Headley and Antonelli can at least be average in left and at second, all we might need is a centerfielder. Otherwise this is the same team that has performed well the last three years. I understand that they might need some back end starters next year, but I feel like we can find that somewhere. So, if anyone is still reading this post, feel free to tell me why i’m delusional. And thankyou Geoff for the Annual and this site.

  39. #39@BobbyV: I think it takes a lot more than what you brought in your first post to deserve a lambasting, BobbyV … bring more, dude!

    “demolition of the team” is over-spining the majority/consensus opinion, me thinks … a softer spin is “any players that have trade value now that is greater than what they can be expected to contribute to the next playoff run should be traded now” …

    So perhaps the question is this … when should the Padres target their next playoff run?

    I think we’re almost all at the point of agreeing that it’s not 2008 … you seem to be proposing 2009 … that’s cool … and I see where some might think that unrealistic … others might trade off delaying the run to 2010 in hopes of it having a higher ceiling (ie. if you start planning now for a playoff run in 2010, then you might be more likely to end up with a WS ring in 2010 or 2011 or 2012 than if you sacrifice some of the upside for nearer term success, ie. a weaker playoff run in 2009).

    re: Headley … I think you’re being realistic to hope for Headley being average in left next year …

    re: Antonelli … there’s data that suggests Antonelli will not be able to be average @ 2B next year (ie. he’s struggling mightily at AAA right now) … so that seems a reach presently …

    If there’s no “demolition of the this team” at all, then how might we get a CFer for next year? Sign a FA? I wonder who’s going to be available …

  40. Well, I think I understand that centerfielders don’t fall off of trees. We can’t even get a decent one for our softball team. My main point of contention is the talk of releasing Kouzmanoff and Greene. These seem like panic moves to me. I’m probably not as versed in Padres lore as some, but I don’t recall having a slick fielding shortstop who hits 25 bombs a year in our organization. I understand his shortcomings and have yelled at the TV as much as anyone when he appears to slowly wave at the balls on the outer half of the plate. And Kouzmanoff seems to be a solid contributor who’s defense seems not nearly as bad as some would like to believe.

    I’ve seen the Cardinals and White Sox win World Series in the past few years. The concept of building a higher ceiling is all well and good, but I am of the belief that once you get to the playoffs, good things can happen. We’ve got two great pitchers at the top and some decent bullpen help. These arms aren’t going to be fresh forever.

    Really it boils down to the fact that i’ve really enjoyed the Padres recent success, and am in no way or shape, wanting to even think about a total overhaul. Our guys are better than this….I hope.

  41. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone here at DS talking about releasing KK nor KG … all the “fire sale” talk is about trades … clearly KK and KG have some value … even as bad as KG is batting this year, he’s still a valuable player who might be more valuable to another team than to the Padres … if so, it might make sense to trade him …

    re: once you get to the playoffs, good things can happen … you betcha … my biggest concern is that Jake has gotten to the playoffs but then not been strong enough to dominate a game and get a W … ie. carry the team …

    I agree that “our guys are better than this” … and I think we’ve seen that the last week or 2 …