Most of us here are familiar with Baseball Prospectus and their PECOTA player projection system. To those who are not, BP is a baseball web site that has invented a whole wealth of stats to measure player value, including VORP (Value Over Replacement Player), WARP (Wins Over Replacment Player), and EqA (Equivalent Average). To those who are not familiar with BP and these stats, and are looking for a new way to look at the game, I highly suggest that you check the website out. It will never replace traditional stats like batting avergae, RBIs, and such, but it does add some supplementary info to them, and helps create a bigger picture of a player's value. It keeps adding more innovative stuff every year, and is certinly worth a bookmark.
Anyways, BP always comes out every February or so with a player projection system called PECOTA. Don't ask me what the acronym stands for, but this projection system can take all kinds of information into account, trends, stats, location, players with similar previous playing careers, and takes that all into account in coming up with a player's projected stats for the following season, and even a few years down the line. Now BP relegates a lot of their content (PECOTA included) to the payed account section of their site, where only people with payed accounts can access them. This is unfortunate, but to pay for the innovative content and research that BP provides, it is a necessary evil.
To be sure, not all content requires you to pay to access, but PECOTA does. The good news, however, is that the St. Petersburg Times obtained PECOTA projections for some key Rays players for next season, and posted them on a chart in their baseball section today. Now, I know we have a lot of out of town fans here, and tables and sidebars usually don't appear in the web edition, only the print version. But never fear, guess who has a print subscription to the Times? For our reader enjoyment, here is that table and the stats it says some key Rays players will put up this season:
Casey Fossum 8-11, 4.80
Mark Hendrickson 8-12, 4.94
Scott Kazmir 10-11, 4.30
Seth McClung 5-9, 5.19
Doug Waechter 8-11, 5.02
Chad Orvella 3-4, 3.61, 23 saves
Well, the projections are always interesting to look at, and PECOTA is usually the most reliable of the projection systems. Of course injuries can shoot up the whole thing, but if nothing unexpected happens to derail a player's at bats, it is usually dead on. Hell, it predicted Jonny Gomes' rise last year. Overall, I have my opinions on this, but I think that this would make a great interactive question, don't you? So later tonight I will re-format this into an Interactive question and post last week's answer.
For now, however, here's to Marc Topkin. Great feture Marc, it really is a help, and here's hoping that we see more outside the box thinking from the Times this season is discussing B Pro and other non-traditional information sources next season. But this was probably the best thing the Times has done in a while as it pertains to their baseball coverage. To the dean of Tampa Bay baseball writers, excellent job and keep up the good work.