Outliers: Finding Disagreement With Myself

Creating my initial Bids and my initial Projections are two discrete processes.

For the Bids I sit with a player’s history of Cost and Earnings, look at his age and any injury information, and try to determine how much I think he’s worth and how much I think everyone else thinks he’ll be worth, since everyone else is who I’ll be bidding against. If I’m way higher than I think the market will be, I’ll shave my bid down so that it will win, but not tower above the competition. And if I’m way lower than I think the market will be, I’ll bump my bid up to just below the market. I want to indicate my predilections, but I’m also trying to describe the market as a whole, so the prices are useful even if you disagree with me.

My projections come in two phases. The first is running a player’s historical data, including a bunch of component parts (batted ball data, mostly), through my projection formula, which also takes into account age and league and home field and league. This gives a rough idea of what players will do but has to be adjusted for playing time, and for changes in roles. After those adjustments the projections run in the Guide, and a similar but more complex set (more categories, mostly, and more time to smooth anomalies) run in the Patton $ software, at first. As spring training progresses I tweak the projections manually, mostly for playing time with veterans, but also to deal with differing situations on teams with platoons and competition and as I get a better sense of new players and their roles.

Once the projections are loaded into the Patton $ software they get priced using Alex’s formula, which is an excellent way to discover what the projection formula is telling me, especially when it differs substantially from the bid price. I’ve been going through the lists, looking at some of the substantial differences, assuming that these are players who might be of special interest this year.

HITTERS (Proj$, PK5)

Mike Trout ($49, $41): The bid predated the reports about Trout’s reporting weight. It assumes he’s not going to be nearly as good as last year, but still plenty good. THe projection is a result of increased playing time, even though he’s projected to not be nearly as good as last year. Verdict: Assuming he can run once the season starts, I would be fine standing by the projection, but I think there’s enough risk of sophomore slump and/or other issues that I wouldn’t bid more than $41.

Albert Pujols ($36, $31): The projection is remembering Albert’s past greatness. Age deductions of significance don’t kick in until the mid 30s. He could be great again, but the trend is clear. Verdict: One reason to bid $31 on Pujols is that he could put up another $36 year. But counting on an aging player to keep running is a mistake. I’ve bumped his projection down a bit, especially the SB.


Joaquin Benoit ($15, $1) The bid is wrong. It is the standard bid for a setup guy in 5×5. Especially a guy on a team with a different pitcher named as closer (Bruce Rondon) and at least two other worthy CIW candidates (Al Albuquerque and Phil Coke). But it’s wrong because I’m projecting Benoit to be the closer at some point this year, and to do a good job at it. So, I’m bumping him to $3. That may seem silly, but that’s what he’s worth if Rondon does the job (I doubt it) or one of the other guy ends up the closer. Verdict: Right now Benoit is a closer in waiting. Maybe not even first on line. The reason closers in waiting are valuable is because you don’t pay much for them. So until there’s more smoke, I’m going to keep the bushel on this fire.

Andy Pettitte ($12, $1) He’s 41 years old this year. He only pitched 79 innings last year, and took the year before that off. It’s fine to say last year’s injury was not age related, but not many pitchers stay effective and healthy into their 40s. The projection reflects what he might do if he stays healthy, but the bid is a severe hedge. Verdict: It will be in the $8-$10 range if he emerges from ST in the rotation.

More to come!