February 18, 2014

Projections and Previews

For the first time in my life I finally bought the Baseball Prospectus Preview/Projection book. I bought it, read it quickly, and then returned it on my Kindle for a refund because that's not the kind of book I like to keep around. We can talk about my buying books on Kindle and returning them policy another day, what I want to talk about is previews/projections.

For the first time in their history Baseball Prospectus added byline's in their preview sections while also letting outside writers write a few of those previews. Now once again this was the first book of their's I've bought, but I've been told the bylines and previews makes this one of the better Prospectus books in a while. And I completely agree with that point.

The preview section for each team is why I bought the book. The previews were a fantastic combination of statistical insight and history of each team and how they got to this specific point. The Orioles segment for example was a terrific insight into how this Orioles team was put together, Dan Duquette's positives and negatives, and how the Orioles have scouted overseas. kt1000 would know all the details already but for someone like myself it was wonderful insight.

And that too me is where Baseball Prospectus stands apart from other preview magazines like Lindy's or Athlon. Those magazine's give you the bare bones preview. A quick glimpse of the team heading into spring training. Baseball Prospectus is trying to give you a preview of how a team arrived at this point before spring training and for that reason I would buy this book.

The meat and potatoes of Baseball Prospectus though will always be their PECOTA projections and that what makes up of 80 percent of that book. Projections have never interested me when it comes to baseball.

Don't get me wrong, PECOTA and Baseball Prospectus have done a fantastic job in projecting a team's outcome and a player's outcome for a season. Projections just have never interested me because in the long run they don't matter. Player outperform or underperformed their projections all the time. PECOTA also can't project injuries and how much they have an effect on a team. PECOTA also can't project which player will simply have a down year.

PECOTA is great at projecting players based off of past years and the ballparks they play in. PECOTA can't project though who'll get injured and who'll simply have a bad year that's not based on park factors or age.

And that's why I eventually returned the Baseball Prospectus book for a refund. I didn't want to read page after page of projections. Especially when most of the projections were for players I've never heard of or players who won't be in the majors this season.

If that's your thing though, I do suggest reading this year's Baseball Prospectus Preview/Projections book.

1 comment:

  1. I've bought the Prospectus book before, but not this year, and you just get lost in their projection numbers.