Baseball Prospectus released their PECOTA projections. How did the Detroit Tigers fair in their projections?
PECOTA, which stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, is the Baseball Prospectus system that projects team and player performance. The data identifies an estimated range of games might win and gives the average. An important note to remember. This data could change as spring training starts.
This year, the Tigers are projected to go 69-92, good for fourth place in the AL Central just ahead of the Kansas City Royals. Well that sounds good, right? Not necessary. Last year, the Tigers were projected to win 66 games but fell way off the mark. Injuries to the rotation, players not hitting their projections all played a factor.
PECOTA also made a note that in the past five seasons, it painted a rosy picture of the Tigers. According to the article written by Rob Manis, the Tigers were projected an average of eight more wins per season than the team actually won. The team’s projections for the number of above-average hitters on the depth chart lists them at 4. Let’s take a closer look at some of the player projections.
For this information, it is behind the Baseball Prospectus firewall if you want to do a deeper dive. DRC+, the metric BP standard for hitters’ contributions while controlling for the opposition and environment. What we are looking for are Tigers batters over 100.
- Miguel Cabrera DRC+ 122 19 HR 70 RBIs .297 BA
- Christin Stewart DRC+ 110 27 HR 78RBIs .244 BA
- C.J Cron DRC+ 107 30 HR 82RBIs .261 BA
- Jeimer Candelario DRC+ 100 22HR 72RBIs .236 BA
Worth noting the next highest player was Isaac Paredes, who was projected for only 32 at-bats and DRC+ of 98 so that data is still incomplete. Newest Tiger Jonathan Schoop came in at 97 and Niko Goodrum was projected to lead the team in strikeouts at 166. This high projection for Miguel Cabrera boasts well if he can play over 100 games. If Stewart can hit near those projections, I am sure fans would not mind the lack of defense in left. For Candelario, while the power numbers are nice, I would like to see that batting average closer to .300.
For pitchers, the key metric BP measures is Deserved Run Average Minus or DRA-. This focuses on the pitcher’s expected contribution and uses a mixed-model approach to isolate the work of the pitcher from other factors like defense, park, and quality. So anything higher than 100 indicates that the pitcher pitched below-average. I would highly suggest checking out the starter guide here for more information. Here are some highlights.
- Joe Jimenez DRA- 79 SO per 9 11.9 30 SV ERA 3.37 WHIP 1.18
- Matthew Boyd DRA- 92 SO per 9 10.4 WHIP 1.25 Wins: 10
- Buck Farmer DRA- 98 SO per 9 9.8 WHIP 1.36
- Rony Garcia DRA-100 SO per 9 7.9 WHIP 1.33 (numbers as a reliever)
Worth noting that starters Jordan Zimmermann was projected at 139 and Ivan Nova at 129. If the Tigers can get that projection out of Garcia, Jimenez, and Farmer with another reliever that can go above what is projected, the Tigers bullpen would be a significant upgrade from 2019. As I stated earlier, these numbers can change as spring training gets underway so projections could get better for the Tigers. Here’s hoping to some pleasant surprises.