Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tis the Season

I rid myself of the Prediction Bug back in February as I went through my 12 Nine Questions Facing the 2006 Yankees. However, this is the time when predictions are doled out en masse, and as such I’ll stay clear of that bandwagon.

I realize that most readers of this here site come from links on other baseball and Yankees related websites, so posting links back to them may not be the most productive way to spend my time. But these people spent plenty of time on these projections, so in the off-chance that you’re a regular reader here and not on the linked sites, I’m going to provide you some reading material.

As a precursor, I want to restate my position on projections/predictions. I enjoy reading articles speculating about someone’s anticipated performance. However, I do not enjoy predictive statistics such as ZiPS and PECOTA. We already analyze baseball players like robots, figuring certain numbers tell the tale. I like that because it’s a retrospect; we look back and see exactly how a player performed. Predictive statistics take that robotic notion to another level, attempting to predict that a player will perform a certain way based on past statistics.

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I bring up this point in transition to the first prediction site I’ll link to, Beyond the Boxscore. This is a Sabermetrics blog, and as such uses numbers that I don’t typically agree with. However, the predictions here are broken down into your standard Avg/OBP/Slg categories, so it’s much easier to read. After skimming this (I always skim to see if it’s worth my full attention), I kinda tossed it aside. Only two returning Yankees – Gary Sheffield and Jorge Posada – are projected to improve over their 2005 numbers. As I’ve been told, this is in part due to the team age; predictive statistics apparently kill players as they get on in years. Add them to the long list of Yankee haters out there.

Now for the hefty one: SG’s "Looking Ahead" series over at RLYW. Here goes.

Yankee Catchers
First Base
Second Base
Shortstop
Third Base
Left Field
Center Field
Right Field
Randy Johnson
Mike Mussina
Chien-Ming Wang
Shawn Chacon
Carl Pavano
Santana, Halladay, Wright, Small
Mariano Rivera
Kyle Farnsworth
Lefty Relievers

In addition to that stack of papers, he also simulated the season using various predictive statistics. Prepare for an influx of numbers and projects as you click here to check it out. I have to admire SG for his dedication to covering the Yankees from a non-mainstream perspective.

There has been an ongoing community projection for the Yanks over at YanksBlog. Unfortunately, since the moderator, Patrick, refuses to link me on the main page, I won’t link back to them in this post (though I won’t take down their link on my main page out of respect). Their top dog, James Varghese, has done a masterful job with the projections. An archive of James’s works can be found here, which include links to the community projections. Not only are James’s views worth the read, but there are a flurry of reader opinions (as implied by "community projection") that are worth 15 minutes of your time.

We’re still awaiting the "Five Questions: New York Yankees" segment from the Hardball Times, but I’ll be sure to post a link as soon as it goes up (as if everyone that reads this site doesn’t read THT).

That’ll be it for now. If you have links to any further Yankees projections, drop me a line and let me know where to find them.