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Bill James' projections -- did you guys see this?

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Postby Cornbread Maxwell » Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:16 pm

So, as long as we are throwing out injuries and other nonstatistic intangibles, then I would agree that last yr was a fluke for Beltre. However, if we look at why last yr was much better than his previous seasons one could conclude that maybe it was a natural development of a young player that went to the majors before he was ready, but learned to adapt before running into injury and personal issues in 2003. Therefore by 2004 he not only overcame his injuries, but the combination of that and his maturation made him an elite hitter. So, from a fundamental standpoint, his 2004 numbers were not an abhoration, but rather natural meeting of experience and health - as long as he remains healthy, his numbers should remain consistant to 2004 averages. However - from a technical standpoint, last yr was a fluke and he will regress based solely on the previous years averages.

This is a prime example of the difference between the 2 major types of fantasy perspectives - fundamental and technical.

The wise fantasy player will not rely too heavily on either, but rather use them in conjunction by using technical data to create a projection range, but fundamental data to raise or lower those projections.

How will Beltre perform? My guess is slightly worse than 2004 - not enough to drop him significantly in rankings however, and certainly much closer to 2004 averages than pre 2004 averages. Hope that helps.
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Postby Erboes » Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:25 pm

There you have it. Two of the most intelligent and usually correct posters (if not the best) here at the Cafe spoke and everyone here would be wise to heed their opinions. Nice posts, Mookie and Cornbread.
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:35 pm

Erboes wrote:



Agnes, don't you think that these two sentences contradict themselves just a tad?

And everytime you mention an Anderson or Hidalgo alls you are doing is citing the exceptions to the rule, and the rule is most players do not break out in their rookie seasons. In most cases, it takes them a few seasons to actually start producing up to their capabilities, and once they do they normally do not revert back to their struggling early seasons. Other than Pujols, that is the norm. Besides, what would you say if Beltre played in the minors until he cracked through last season at age 25 and put up those types of numbers?

So I guess you are backing James in saying that come draft day I should be taking Pickering and MacPherson ahead of this list of FA's since you say these MLE's are just as accurate as any other projection method? Looking at some of his projections I will have to say that you are right as long as you are using his projections in comparison.[/quote]

No, I don't think it's a contradiction. It's a question of how much you weight past data. If you weight last year at 100% and prior years at 0%, then you expect Beltre to post an OPS over 1.000. If you weight last year at 0% and the two prior years, you project about a .720 OPS.

James' estimate turns out to be very close to what you get if you use .5/.33/.17. So, my statement is that you definitely use past data and you definitely weight last year more than any other year. But, you don't weight it at 100%. So, the real debate (in terms of weighting the most recent year) is whether it's 50% or 60% or 70% or higher.

In terms of minor leagues and rookies, I would be saying the exact same thing about Beltre as I did about Posednik last spring...when a guy's rookie season is way above what his MLEs were as a minor leaguer, it's unlikely to be sustained.

My argument has nothing to do with rookie seasons or player psychology. It simply has to do with number patterns. When you see a string of numbers like Beltre (or Anderson or Hidalgo), you'll win a lot of money by not placing too much weight on the aberrent number. You weight it, but don't overweight it.

Now, assuming that James is recommending you take Pickering or McPherson over Beltre takes his projections far beyond what I think he would say is appropriate. His projections are not made with fantasy players in mind. They don't take into account likely playing time, for example. Like most SABR guys, James makes his predictions assuming the player gets to play.

Furthermore, his predictions don't translate into fantasy value because they don't value position shortages, lineup, certain fantasy stats, etc.

So, don't leap to the conclusion that James suggests you pick Pickering. He's predicting what Pickering will do, if given the opportunity.
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:41 pm

Mookie4ever wrote:Wow Agnes, comparing Beltre to Brady Anderson? Not a good comparison at all.

Beltre has always been considered a superstar-in-waiting. The guy started out in the majors when he was 19. He has had medical problems and a lot of pressure put on him - but last year when he was fully healthy he produced. There is no reason to expect his to regress. How many players out there are 5 year MLB vets at the age of 25 coming off of an MVP-type year? He is first round material for sure.


Why should it matter what other people thought Beltre was?

What matters is whether or not he has produced?

You blame his past numbers in part on injuries. Fine. Why should I then assume that he will be in perfect health this year? Players who have an injury past, will almost certainly have a future full of injuries.

You also blame his struggles in the past on having trouble handling the pressure. Why should I assume that he's put that all beyond him based just on one year? In my experience, people that have psychological problems coping with stress rarely completely eliminate them in so dramatic a fashion.

Look at Hidalgo age 25, if you don't like Brady.
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:45 pm

Cornbread Maxwell wrote:So, as long as we are throwing out injuries and other nonstatistic intangibles, then I would agree that last yr was a fluke for Beltre. However, if we look at why last yr was much better than his previous seasons one could conclude that maybe it was a natural development of a young player that went to the majors before he was ready, but learned to adapt before running into injury and personal issues in 2003. Therefore by 2004 he not only overcame his injuries, but the combination of that and his maturation made him an elite hitter. So, from a fundamental standpoint, his 2004 numbers were not an abhoration, but rather natural meeting of experience and health - as long as he remains healthy, his numbers should remain consistant to 2004 averages. However - from a technical standpoint, last yr was a fluke and he will regress based solely on the previous years averages.

This is a prime example of the difference between the 2 major types of fantasy perspectives - fundamental and technical.

The wise fantasy player will not rely too heavily on either, but rather use them in conjunction by using technical data to create a projection range, but fundamental data to raise or lower those projections.

How will Beltre perform? My guess is slightly worse than 2004 - not enough to drop him significantly in rankings however, and certainly much closer to 2004 averages than pre 2004 averages. Hope that helps.


And why would we assume that a player with an injury history who had an injury free season would not revert to form?

And if you don't like Hidalgo, look at Ruben Sierra.
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:46 pm

Or, Troy Glaus....
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Postby Erboes » Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:48 pm

You know, Agnes, I think you have backed into an actual use for MLE's when you mentioned Podsenik. If you use them as a way to figure out a successful rookie is for real, then I can see that. I just do not think it works in reverse, however. It does not tell you what rookies will succeed and I don't care what kind of accounting trick you use because I can go through the entire MLE's going into last season and very few were even close.

All your little numbers fail to tell you one thing with Beltre, and that is he learned how to hit. He shortened his swing and worked the zone better, which is something you guys are overlooking. And, believe it or not, once a player learns a skill it is unlikely for him to all of a sudden to forget it. Remember, Jose Guillen, Mora, and Loretta where all having the same things said about them last off-season, and both Mora and Loretta actually improved in '04 whereas Guillen's drop-off was only slight. And all three of these players were older than Beltre when they broke through as well. To assume that Beltre will revert to the numbers he put up after he got his hack appendectomy sure seems silly to me, but only time will tell I guess.
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:50 pm

In other words, how often does a young player with a few years under his belt post a big BA/SLG spike and then regress to about halfway between that spike and his past level?

You just don't have time enough for me to document how frequently that happens.

Beltre is a good player. Even with that regression, he's among the top players.

But, it's very likely he'll be 100 or so points of OPS below last year (unless he moves to a good hitter's park).
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Postby Mookie4ever » Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:51 pm

GotowarMissAgnes wrote:And why would we assume that a player with an injury history who had an injury free season would not revert to form?


GotowasMissAgnes wrote:You blame his past numbers in part on injuries. Fine. Why should I then assume that he will be in perfect health this year?


Because you can only remove your appendix once. :-D
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Postby Erboes » Tue Nov 23, 2004 3:02 pm

GotowarMissAgnes wrote:In other words, how often does a young player with a few years under his belt post a big BA/SLG spike and then regress to about halfway between that spike and his past level?

You just don't have time enough for me to document how frequently that happens.

Beltre is a good player. Even with that regression, he's among the top players.

But, it's very likely he'll be 100 or so points of OPS below last year (unless he moves to a good hitter's park).


We'll let you do the homework, Agnes. The truth is, most of your present day stars have had a spike in average and slugging because most struggle somewhat when they first come up. When that surge happens comes at different times and at different ages. Hell, it took Bonds until he was 28 until he did it. Don't act like Beltre is any different than most every other present day superstar. Sure, there are exceptions, but since you can name only a few it proves my point. Could Beltre be an exception? Sure, but it isn't the money play to think so.
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