Sunday, October 14, 2007


There's a fellow over at Baseball Think Factory named Dan Szymborski who has a stat-geek player projection system called ZiPS. There are lots of these floating around, and RMC will get to them in due course. I took a look at his projections for Matt Cain and Barry Zito for 2007 (you can see the entire '07 team here).


xMatt Cain 4.01 13 10 33 32 193.0 167 86 24 87 174
Barry Zito 4.01 14 11 34 34 216.0 196 96 25 96 165

Now here is the reality of 2007:

xMatt Cain 3.65 07 16 32 32 200.0 173 81 14 79 163
Barry Zito 4.53 11 13 34 33 196.2 182 99 24 83 131

Stat projections are just that--projections. But there is nothing else to do in October except root for the Yankees to lose (YES!!) and watch other teams celebrate. Why I bring this up, O My Brothers, is the stark ugliness of the 2008 projections. You can peruse them here. Note: we are referred to as "Cellar Dwellers." There is some confusing stuff in among the numbers (all these systems use, to some degree, a theoretical "average" player to compare an individual against), but you'll get the gist.

Here's our boys again, "projected" for next season:

xMatt Cain 3.63 14 10 34 33 206.0 186 83 18 76 173
Barry Zito 3.99 13 12 34 34 210.0 193 93 22 90 159

I'm skipping the batting stuff, it is just too bleak. I'd be happy if Zito has an ERA below 4.00 and pitches over 200 innings. I'd like to see Cain push it a little past these projections, getting his ERA below 3.50 and reaching 220 innings. That being said, he pitched damn well this year, and he will likely pitch damn well next year. (Just cut down the walks and pitch counts, me bucko!) Here's the look at Tim "Link" Lincecum (not in the 2007 database):

Player Spotlight - Tim Lincecum

Stud 2.58 14 4 34 34 206 156 59 11 72 230
Mean 3.28 10 5 29 29 173 146 63 13 67 173
Wuss 4.17 06 6 24 24 138 130 64 13 65 126

Top Near-Age Comps: Jim Maloney, Kerry Wood

The projection assumes a 70% chance of being "mean" and an equal 15% chance each of "badass" or "stinko." (That corresponds roughly to a "normal" distribution.) I like the comparison to Jim Maloney, but obviously not to Kerry "Where Have All the Strikeouts Gone" Wood. I've been using Wood to keep me from hyperventilating over Link--you just never know. (BTW, Mr. Szymborski calls Our Boy Matt the rather predictable "Citizen" Cain.) No matter what else happens in 2008 (please, Brian Sabean, please don't sign any old boring guys or make any trades with our young arsenal of arms), even if we stay in last place from April to September, we get to watch Matt "Sugar" Cain and Tim "Second Coming" Lincecum every week. Throw in a rejuventated Barry "Beezy" Zito and we might have some fun now and then.

I had some problems formatting the text so forgive the X by Sugar Cain and other oddities like being unable to put headers (W, L . . .) over the numbers, leading zeros, etc.


Anonymous said...

Nice to have you back! I want to see the wondrous Matt Cain get the support his pitching deserves and I want to see Barry Zito live up to his early press. I also have to say that, based on nothing rational, I don't much like Brian Sabean. Isn't it almost time for the New Season yet (said she, wistfully)?? NOC
P.S. Sorry about Cal yesterday -- rats. :-(

Dan Szymborski said...

What's more acceptable for Cain? Sugar? Hurra? Nova? Carol? 't We All Just Get Along?

M.C. O'Connor said...

I was thinking the tried-and-true "Sugar," but "Hurra"-Cain has nice ring to it!