Some of you may know of PECOTA, the Baseball Prospectus projection system. Developed in 2002-03 by Nate Silver -- son of Dr. Brian Silver, who was my favorite professor at Michigan State at around that same time -- the system uses statistical modeling to create projections for the upcoming season.
(His father was also heavily involved in statistical modeling and elections. All I did in his class, however, was read Supreme Court rulings and debate things, which thankfully involved a lot less math. Full disclosure brag: I got a 4.0 in the class and a letter of recommendation from Dr. Silver.)
PECOTA had its up years and its down, sometimes coming back as the most successful system and sometimes not. Nate Silver has since left to model elections for FiveThirtyEight and the New York Times, leaving the system in new hands. Now, Colin Wyers runs the system after making a few tweaks to it. You can read more details at the Baseball Prospectus site.
While you should never trust any one projection system to consistently the most accurate, I still enjoy the PECOTA system. Maybe because it shows up like Christmas in February every year. Probably because of the list of comparable players given back based on stats, position and body type.
Obviously, giving you a full look at the PECOTA sheet for the Detroit Tigers isn't possible because Baseball Prospectus sells the information to subscribers only. But I thought I'd share a few of the fun ones.
Price Fielder -- Norm Cash, Todd Helton, Frank Thomas
A famous Tigers slugger and my favorite player of the 90s. Not the best comparables but not bad.
Max Scherzer -- Pedro Martinez, Jake Peavy
We'll take it.
Adam Wilk: Mark Buehrle
Justin Verlander -- Kevin Appier
Wait, what?! Part 2
Delmon Young -- Moises Alou, Carlos Lee
See, Detroit didn't need to trade for Lee after all!
Jose Valverde -- Kerry Wood
I was really expecting to see Al Alburquerque here, to be honest.
Magglio Ordonez -- Al Kaline
Sure Maggs isn't with Detroit any more, but it's nice to see Kaline come back as the best comparable
There's plenty more fun stuff on PECOTA, from Miguel Cabrera's three stolen bases to Brandon Inge's batting average. (Hint: they're about the same.) So if you subscribe, be sure to go download your copy now and check it out. If you don't subscribe, give Baseball Prospectus a look.