Looking Back at Some 2010 Marcel Projections

When projections begin to be released, everyone seems to have there own opinions on how the projections are wrong. With Tom Tango just releasing his 2011 Marcel Projections, here is a look back at how some various players performed compared to their 2010 projections.

First, here are the top ten projected hitters by wOBA for 2010 and how they actually performed:

The projections overestimated a on a few players (Mauer, Sandoval, Ramerez, Rodiguez), underestimated on some others (Votto and Holliday) and was fairly close with the rest. When looking at the average of the 10 hitters, the number of home runs projected and actual ended up exactly the same at 27. Yep, dead on.

The hitters did under performed their projected wOBA by 0.016. With this small sample of 2010 data, Marcels pin pointed the home run total and were a little optimistic with projecting wOBA.

Besides the hitters, here are the top 10 projected pitchers according to their ERA:

These pitchers did much better in 2010 as group compared to their Marcel projections when looking at their counting stats. They averaged 1.5 more wins across the board along with a almost 40 strikeouts. The key here was that the group was generally healthy throughout the season. Removing one pitcher pitcher from the group (subtracting 13.5 wins and 190 strikeouts from the total) numbers puts the win total almost exactly on projected value and the strikeout closer in line. This group of pitchers is relatively young and healthy and may not need to be regressed as much to the league average.

On the other hand, the ERA value was about identical (3.29 vs 3.27). The pitchers’ overall talent is farirly predictable with a system like Marcels, but the ability to predict the inning pitched is much harder.

As a whole Marcels held up pretty good when looking at 2010 projections and the actual results of the top hitters and pitchers. The key is for other projection systems to take projecting a step further and fill in the extra information that Marcels doesn’t include.



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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.


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bill
Guest
bill
5 years 6 months ago

Kind of bizarre to see Jair Jurrjens on the list of top 10 projected pitchers but not Cliff Lee.

Erik
Member
Erik
5 years 6 months ago

For analyzing projections (and making them, for that matter), wouldn’t it make sense to make every stat a rate stat except for playing time? So look at proj vs actual HR/PA instead of total HR, for example. And it would tell you that Jurrjens would have nailed his Marcel proj for K had he started ~30 games instead of only 20. I guess at some point you just get down to the boring “true skill” numbers, but separating out playing time for projection analysis seems to make sense.

Also, it would be nice if you could tidy up those Excel tables. They’re a little hard to read, the formatting isn’t consistent between the two, and you’ve still got the squiggly mispelling underlines (screencap?). Maybe Appelman could make a “Fangraphs” style for Excel tables and charts so that they are both well-formatted and easy for the writers to work with?

Barkey Walker
Guest
Barkey Walker
5 years 6 months ago

Yes. Separating out rate and playing time makes the most sense for a projection.

Will Larson
Member
5 years 6 months ago

@ Jeff: All in all, the Marcels did pretty good. Check out the article here: http://www.fangraphs.com/community/index.php/comparing-2010-hitter-forecasts-part-2-creating-better-forecasts/

Anthony
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Anthony
5 years 6 months ago

Think i’ll stick with Bill James.

MGL
Guest
MGL
5 years 6 months ago

Jeff, you really should normalize the projections to their overall mean (weighted by actual playing time) and then compare them to the actuals normalized to their mean (also weighted by playing time).

There is no way for a forecaster to know whether the stats for the whole league will be low or high in any given year, due to the weather, fluctuations in the construction of the baseball, PED use, a good or bad crop of incoming rookies, etc.

The primary reason that the Marcels were low on wOBA for the top batters was NOT because they under-projected them – it was because Marcel uses the last 3 years of offense and pitching for its baseline and 2010 was an anomalously low-offense year. You cannot expect a projection system to know that, if it is due to something other than the talent and playing time of the players.

Dwight Schrute
Guest
Dwight Schrute
5 years 6 months ago

I want to know what the reasoning behind not having Miguel Cabrera in the top 10 was because I certainly can’t think of one. Coming into 2010 he was just 26 years old and in his previous 6 seasons he averaged a .394 wOBA and was coming off of a .402 wOBA. So despite entering what most people consider the prime era of a hitter he was going to drop off from his career numbers after showing zero evidence that it might be a possibility? I find that highly unlikely.

Dwight Schrute
Guest
Dwight Schrute
5 years 6 months ago

I forgot to add that I was going to say maybe the explanation would be that they had concerns about him holding up because of his weight but that argument would go out the window after seeing Fielder and Sandoval on the list.

MV
Member
MV
5 years 6 months ago

No pitcher projected to win more than 14 games?

Bobby g
Guest
Bobby g
5 years 6 months ago

That is weird. I think it’s probably because injury can cause a pitcher to win zero games, whereas there is no opposite phenomenon that could see him win 40. I think that depresses all projected win numbers.

omahablue
Member
5 years 6 months ago

Interesting to look back at the top 10 players, but it would be more interesting to me to see how the Marcels did at projecting a good fantasy team. Were there players who were way over- or under- rated compared to other projection systems? If you used the Marcels to put a team together, what was a likely outcome paired against other projection systems?

tangotiger
Guest
tangotiger
5 years 6 months ago
prideyokids
Member
prideyokids
5 years 6 months ago

Being a somewhat statistics-based site, I was hoping for something done on a bit larger scale than taking a 10 player sample. Sure, 30 at the least, but with Excel and everything else, it would not have taken you more than another 5 minutes to give more quantitatively relevant date rather than just that of 10 position players.

tangotiger
Guest
tangotiger
5 years 6 months ago

The post made the point on a smaller scale that a big scale post couldn’t.

I’ve done it both ways for public consumption, on a grand scale, and on a small scale. Small scale sells better:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/forecasting-2006/

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As an aside, it sounds like you are complaining that someone else didn’t do enough work. You can complain that someone did a bad job wasting your time (which in this case is not true). You can’t complain that someone didn’t do enough.

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