Ask Rotoman!

Major League Baseball : Fantasy : Fantasy

Dear Rotoman:

While I have a great deal of respect for anyone that
compiles as much data for baseball fans and fantasy
addicts as you, I did want to point out some major
flaws with your projections for 2006 regarding
pitchers’ statistics. I am assuming you use some sort
of stat compiler or program you invented to project
season statistics. Of the pitchers you estimated
statistics for, you’ve projected only eight MLB
pitchers totaling 14 wins or more in 2006. Was this an
oversight? Colon finishes with 16, Oswalt and Santana
with 15 each, and Suppan, Sabathia, Lee, Prior and
Halladay with 14. I understand that its difficult to
pay individual attention to each pitcher, but there
must be a way to plug in the frequency of 20-game
winners, 19-game winners, 18-game winners, etc., into
whatever formula you are using to project stats. It’s
unrealistic to project such marginal stat lines, and
its a disservice to your fans to kick out these
figures like a robot, especially if you were being
intentionally conservative. SOMEBODY in the majors is
going to win at least 17 games. I’m willing to bet my
life savings on it. Wouldn’t you?

“Go for Broke”

Dear Go:

Absolutely, someone will win 18 games this year, but what good does it do to project the wrong guy to win 20 or 19 or 18 games?

It’s fun to model the whole year so it looks like the whole year (with 20 game winners and guys with 50+ homers) but it also means being wrong more often and by a larger amount, which doesn’t do anyone playing our game much good.

My projections are based on regressions of historical data modified by a few factors, the biggest one being age, combined with a different set of rate calculations, all of which are combined with a mechanical estimate of times at bat. I then go in and adjust based on probably changes in playing time and assessments of talent that don’t seem to be reflected in the projection. I call this tweaking, and it makes the boring regressions a little more lively and the overall correlation of the projections a good bit higher.

Then I scale everything so that the top 400 players projections are similar in total to the top 400 players actual stats. But the extremes in each stat just aren’t there, because the leaders in all categories usually change from year to year.

Thanks for writing,

Ps. I would not bet my life savings on the accumulation of any counting stat in a year when the Basic Agreement between the players and owners expires.


You also have the MLB HR leader with 39 home runs.
When was the last time NOBODY hit 40 home runs?


Dear Go:

One of the byproducts of the system is that the AB of regular players are reduced about 10 percent off their usual peaks, with a similar reduction in the other stats. So all the guys who would project to 43 homers end up at 39 or 38.

The reason the AB get reduced is because about 10 percent of expected AB from year to year are lost to injury or other problems. This doesn’t happen evenly, but it happens consistently. There are two ways to handle this. One would be to ignore it and give all players their full measure of AB and stats. The other is to scale the pool of projected stats to the actual stats that will be produced by the pool.

I do the latter, because it gives a more accurate assessment of how groups of players perform on the year. The other looks better when everyone stays healthy, but since they never all do my method measures as more accurate.