2018 White Sox – Projections – PECOTA

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians
Welcome in friends, it’s your pal BeefLoaf and I’m EXCITED!!! Today is PECOTA day!  Some of yous (this is Bridgeport, so don’t mind my dialect) are saying, “Hey ‘Loaf, wtf is PECOTA?”  Well, it’s a projection module that was originally the creation of one Nate Silver back when he was at Baseball Prospectus.  Remember Nate Silver? He was the smartest man on earth when his political projections put Obama in the White House and then he became the dumbest man on earth when he predicted that Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump in the 2016 election.  From what I have read, PECOTA has changed some over the years, so it’s not exactly what Nate Silver created way back when, but I figured you might be interested in the fact that the 538 guy is the original author of this projection module.
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A note on projections in general, the folks who put these together, whether it be PECOTA, or ZIPS (which is Dan Szymborski’s baby) or any others widely available websites projections, are creating them for entertainment purposes ONLY.  I know, I know, you might say that the person’s (or website’s) REPUTATION is on the line, but it’s really not.  These are for creating content and aren’t too serious.  Professional Bettors (not the scamdicappers that are touting picks on twitter, real professional handicappers) and MLB teams themselves are likely to have much better versions of these sorts of projections, but since we aren’t allowed to see those proprietary items, here we are.  Also, these projections have a model with a methodology and the folks who put the projections together, feed inputs into the model and what comes out, comes out.  Baseball Prospectus doesn’t HATE the White Sox or certain players on the White Sox.  That has nothing to do with it, so don’t go all “Keith Law hates my team” on any of this shit……anywho, onto the weird, wild and fun projected White Sox stuff.
“Big Game James Shields Will lead the team with 189 IP and 30 Starts” 
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When I first began reading this projection, I was starting to think that our own Chorizy-E had hijacked the PECOTA projections and inserted his own inflated projection for one Big Game James.  Then I kept reading and saw a projection of -0.7 WARP (which is BP’s version of WAR).  That’s more like it.  Truth be told, I’d be surprised if James racked up 30 starts and 189 innings while avoiding, injury, terribleness and cutness (aka JohnDanksness).
“PECOTA doesn’t believe in Yolmer’s or Leury’s breakouts from 2017”
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Last year, Yolmer posted 1.6 WARP and Leury posted 1.4 WARP (these are Baseball Prospectus’ measures), in slightly more playing time projected for 2018 (remember, these measures generally go up if you accumulate more playing time), they are estimated to get 0.4 and 0.0 respectively.  Yep, replacement level players.
Reynaldo Lopez Only 19 starts”
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Given the clear availability of starts based on the lack of off-season acquisitions (there basically hasn’t been anyone of note added to take away starts), this signals that the projection module either assumes a clear regression or significant injury risk that would preclude him from taking on a more normal workload.  Interesting note, PECOTA has Carson Fulmer basically getting the extra starts and not Michael Kopech (Kopech is estimated for 6 starts).
Charlie Tilson has been officially pronounced dead, RIPInPeace”
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On a team with no true center fielder who can hit, sorry Adam Engel, the PECOTA has him for only 88 Plate Appearances, which looks like a September call-up situation and a relegation to Jacob May level org depth.  It is unfortunate too, because the guy has never gotten healthy since he got here in 2016.  Sucks!
Matt Davidson will once again show he should be DFA’d”
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I know Matt Davidson hit a bunch of 1st half home runs in 2017.  I also know that Matt Davidson sucked in 2017.  PECOTA is projecting slightly less suckage (-0.4 WARP in 438 PA for 2018, compared with -1.1 in 443 PA in 2017), but suckage nonetheless.  If we see Matt Davidson get to play as much as PECOTA suggests, Rick Hahn gonna have a lot of esplainin’ to do.
– BeefLoaf
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