This is the place where we link to the projection update in early March. Here they are!
It’s also the place where we post corrections and comments about the Guide. They follow. Listen to this.
This year we start with two doozies, a month before the mag hit the stands.
Writers Credits in the Hitters A-Z: The way this works, I have a spreadsheet with all the comments in one cell and the writers’ initials in another cell. At the last minute I’m supposed to combine the two, then push the button that pours the spreadsheet contents into the page layout for that section. I didn’t do that, then started editing in the page layout, and got too far along before I realized, “No initials.” I’m very sorry about that.
The Multiposition Chart: Was longer than the one page we have budgeted for it. I’m not sure how we’ll deal with that next year. We’ll likely run it on a page and part of another. But this year that wasn’t possible. So, here’s all the data for the chart as a handy pdf. Not ideal, but the best we could do.
There have been a few questions about the Big Prices that show up as Big Letters. These letters are something we’ve had off and on in the magazine. For me they’re a way of identifying players who shouldn’t get a Big Price because they’re not buyable this year, but they’re notable because of present or future potential. The problem is I label them when I notice, and just because of the work flow I’m not systematic about that.
So, some future stars, guys with great future potential we probably won’t seen the majors this year, get an F, for Future. Some don’t.
Some guys who don’t have a clear path to big league value this year, but who might have value if they got a chance to play get a R, for Reserve. Some don’t.
And other guys, who have an even less likely path to playing time but who have skills that could prove valuable if they’re called to action for a week or three have a C, for Claims. And some don’t.
Someone at Pattonandco.com asked me about inconsistencies between the Big Prices and the Projections. This is an important point, because the two scales are determined in different ways, and as I perfect my draft/auction lists in prep it is the tension between the two that causes me to bump guys up and down. This is the discussion each of us has as we make our ranking decisions. Here’s how I described the process and what it means:
Thanks! Good question, one I should probably do a better job of explaining, so here goes…
The Bid Price is based on what a player has cost in recent years, and what he’s earned. Plus his age and anything I know about role changes, which in November isn’t usually much. My process goes something like: Rosario is 25 years old. He cost $19 last year and earned $27. I’m willing to pay for him to repeat, with a bit extra because he might be better.
For Tatis, the story is a little different. He’s just 21. He earned $22 in 334 at bats. Will he get better? Will he get more at bats? The answer to both questions might be yes, but still, there’s a lot we don’t know. He’s super young, we don’t know how he adjusts to pitchers adjusting. I’m happy to bump him up from the $10 cost of 2019, but am I ready to move him into the first two rounds? Not yet. (But in the Guide he was taken with the 15th pick, and in early NFBC drafts he’s going 18th, so you have to decide how to handle that. )
The projections, on the other hand, tackle different questions. They prorate what we know players have done, on the component level, and convert those numbers into a number of at bats, which we guess at. And adjust for age and situation changes up to a point. In November, remember, there is a lot of context we don’t know.
For Rosario, he’s in prime time. He’s shown he can do what we thought he could. I think he could have a big year, but on the other hand he is what he is. Last year’s bump up could presage a year of regression. The projection reflects that.
Tatis is more challenging. He was terrific in his 334 at bats, but he got hurt. If we extend those AB and the HR/FB% out to a more or less full season, you end up with him hitting 34 home runs. My projection. That could happen, but experience tells me that more often a young hot streak doesn’t extend into the sophomore season, which is why we know it as the sophomore slump. I’ll probably bring those HR/RBI/Runs down a bit when I’m tweaking the projections. You still want Tatis, but you don’t want him at the price the projection suggests you should pay.
That last sentence is the key one. It applies to Heaney and Hendricks. Heaney has great stuff, a bad record, and high risk. Earnings in the last five years? Terrible. Hendricks has a long history of success. Nothing is guaranteed, but you want Heaney cheap for upside, because you can’t be sure about him, and Hendricks you’ll pay more for because he earned 8-39-14-18-19 each of the last five years.
Ps. My Hendricks projection is much more negative for Hendricks than his past performance. That’s because he’s one of those guys who consistently outperforms his component stats. That is, he gets better results than you’d think he should based on his strikes, balls, hard hit, etc. So, as I get into the finer parts of his projection, the tweaking, I’m likely to revise his stats down, to better, because history says they have been and likely will be. The projections for veteran players in the Guide are mostly based on the math, which cheats Hendricks some. Or has so far.
Pps. Hope this helps.
A reader writes:
I’ve been a devoted purchaser of the guide for many years, and my one comment below will not change that. Great guide each year !! However … the use of the dark blue color in the tables for the “Perfect Pitching Staff 2020” article was ill-advised. Combined with the black letters (pitcher names), it’s quite difficult to read (at least for me). It would have been better to use a light pastel, or else make the text in bold white.
Dear Reader: I couldn’t agree more. We’ll keep an eye out on that next year. Thanks for writing.