Saturday, January 3, 2009

Its the most wonderful time of the year (for stat-heads)

Uh oh! You know baseball projection season is upon us when I break out the clip-art of the guy hugging his computer - a stat-head after my own heart!

Just to whet your appetite for the 2009 season, here is a list of the various projections systems that I would put some stock into:

PECOTA - Known to be DEADLY ACCURATE - Nate Silver's baby. Still the king of the hill - subscription-based so you cheap folks should move on... (Not available until February '09)

Bill James Handbook Projections - The grand-daddy of all baseball stat guys. (Link is to which offers a free version of the projections in Bill James' book on the player pages. If you are a true stat-head, you will want to buy Bill James' book.)

Marcel - The self-proclaimed "most basic" projection system. Proven to be nearly as accurate as the "deadly accurate" PECOTA. (Link is to which hosts Marcel's projections).

CHONE - the earliest projection system to predict the Rays breakout season in 2008

- Finds its home at Baseball Think Factory and is another well-respected projection system. In the past has stacked up nicely with PECOTA.

CAIRO - I had to include this relatively new system since it was designed by SG at my favorite Yankee blog, Replacement Level Yankees Weblog. Over at RLYW he has an explanation of the need for his projection system. And yes, it is named after famed utility infielder Miguel Cairo.

Some other systems that I am not as familar with, but are well-known - ESPN Fantasy, RotoWire, RotoTimes. I believe those are all paid services.

Predicting the human element of sports is impossible, so no projection system will ever be perfect. However, these projection systems are great at "discovering" an unexpected player or team. Vegas Watch (a sports gambling themed blog) regularly uses these projections system to figure out the best action to take at the various casinos. I use them to make informed decisions during my fantasy baseball draft and usually end up at the top of the standings because of it.

Talk about it in the NYYSI Forums!
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