Monday, February 01, 2010

2010 Red Sox Projections

Red Sox 2009 vs. 2010

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be looking at the 2009 Red Sox vs. the 2010 Red Sox. Obviously, there have been several changes to the team over the winter. Equally obviously, there is some disagreement about whether the team has improved or regressed. Boston Globe writer Tony Massarotti called the Red Sox current position a "predicament" over the weekend.

I think that's just silly. My initial reaction is that this is a stronger squad than the one which won 95 games last year. But I haven't looked at all of the numbers yet. That's what I'm going to be doing over the next couple of weeks. My intention is to post at noon each day. I'll be going around the positions in order as numbered (from catcher [2] to right field [9]) followed by DH, starting pitching and bullpen. So there should be, when I'm done, a total of thirteen posts - this introduction, 11 position posts, and a wrap-up. And the wrap-up, projection post should come on Saturday, February 13.

For projections, I'll be using two different sets of numbers. The first is the "Marcel the Monkey" projections from The Book website.
The Marcel the Monkey Forecasting System (or the Marcels for short) is the most advanced forecasting system ever conceived.


Actually, it is the most basic forecasting system you can have, that uses as little intelligence as possible. So, that's the allusion to the monkey. It uses 3 years of MLB data, with the most recent data weighted heavier. It regresses towards the mean. And it has an age factor.
The other is the PECOTA forecasting system from Baseball Prospectus. Everything that Marcel is not, PECOTA is. Long, complicated, and proprietary. It's also got a very good track record.

I'll be looking at the team position-by-position, and comparing 2010's projected performance with 2009's actual performance. In most cases, I will adjusting the projection system's numbers to try to closely match the at-bats by position to 2009's at-bats. I will let you know what those adjustments are as I make them.

One more projection issue - the Runs Created calculation uses IBB, HBP, SH, SF and GDP. PECOTA doesn't provide those. In each case, I'll be using the Marcel-adjusted projections on those five fields with the PECOTA numbers, and calling it close enough. This whole exercise is obviously a crystal exercise anyway, and those are values that tend to be small, with minimal impact on the numbers.

At the end, I'll look at all of the projections, generated a likely runs scored and runs allowed figure, and produce a Projected Pythagorean record.

So, first up, tomorrow: Catcher

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