Steamer Projects: Colorado Rockies Prospects

Earlier today, polite and Canadian and polite Marc Hulet published his 2014 organizational prospect list for the Colorado Rockies.

It goes without saying that, in composing such a list, Hulet has considered the overall future value those prospects might be expected to provide either to the Rockies or whatever other organizations to which they might someday belong.

What this brief post concerns isn’t overall future value, at all, but rather such value as the prospects from Hulet’s list might provide were they to play, more or less, a full major-league season in 2014.

Other prospect projections: Arizona / Baltimore / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York NL / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto.

Steamer Projections: Colorado Batting Prospects
Below are the current 2014 projections for select Colorado batting prospects. All projections have been prorated to 550 plate appearances (and 450 for catchers) for sake of uniformity. Defensive figures (denoted by Def) account both for positional adjustment and UZR, and are presented relative to league average. Note that, in many cases, defensive value has been calculated entirely by positional adjustment based on the relevant player’s minor-league defensive starts in 2013. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.

# Name Age POS PA BB% K% BABIP wRC+ BsR Off Def* WAR
10 Kyle Parker 24 COF 550 6.9% 19.2% .304 106 0 4 -6 1.7
6 Tom Murphy 23 C 450 6.0% 24.4% .297 79 0 -11 8 1.3
13 Cristhian Adames 22 SS 550 6.1% 16.7% .301 66 0 -21 6 0.3
14 Will Swanner 22 C 450 6.3% 28.8% .269 54 0 -23 8 0.0
15 Jose Briceno 21 C 450 4.1% 18.3% .240 32 0 -35 8 -1.2
8 Trevor Story 21 SS 550 5.5% 28.0% .265 42 0 -36 6 -1.2
3 David Dahl 20 CF 550 4.3% 16.5% .255 47 0 -33 2 -1.3
4 Rosell Herrera 21 SS 550 5.3% 18.5% .262 39 0 -38 6 -1.4
7 Raimel Tapia 20 OF 550 3.7% 14.5% .250 36 -1 -40 -2 -2.5
5 Ryan McMahon 19 3B 550 4.6% 21.5% .229 28 0 -45 2 -2.6

Steamer Projections: Colorado Pitching Prospects
Below are the 2014 projections for select Colorado pitching prospects. Projections for starting pitchers have been prorated to 150 innings; for relievers, to 50 innings. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR, which has been calculated by using kwERA — that is, an ERA estimator which utilizes only strikeouts and walks — so as to remove the vagaries of park effects, and probably also because the author has no idea what he’s doing. Listed ages are as of June 30, 2014. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.

# Name Age Hand IP K% BB% kwERA kwERA- WAR
9 Chad Bettis 25 RHP 150 18.1% 8.3% 4.13 107 1.4
1 Eddie Butler 23 RHP 150 16.4% 10.8% 4.64 120 0.5
11 Tyler Anderson 24 LHP 150 14.2% 10.0% 4.81 124 0.2
12 Jayson Aquino 21 LHP 150 11.3% 8.5% 4.97 129 -0.1

• The discussion this offseason with regard to who will and won’t play left field in Colorado following the departure of Dexter Fowler and subsequent transition of Carlos Gonzalez to center has generally included some or all of the following names: Brandon Barnes, Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson, and Drew Stubbs. Less frequently it’s included Kyle Parker. Steamer suggests that, if not demonstrably better than, Parker is at least as good as, any of the four aforementioned players, providing the Rockies with solid depth, if nothing else.

• While Steamer is a projection system informed by algorithms and the author is a human man produced by two other humans grossly, both can be said to harbor optimism regarding right-hander Chad Bettis. Bettis’s 107 kwERA- is the best among the Rockies pitching prospects projected here — a different, one notes, than suggesting that he’s the best pitching prospect overall.

• Not included here is one of those very top pitching prospects, Jonathan Gray. Because he’s recorded fewer than 40 career innings, is perhaps one reason why. The author has emailed Boss of Steamer, Jared Cross, for some answers on this topic.

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Joe Blow
Joe Blow

In terms of eventual accuracy, is there much difference between projecting MLB performance of prospects and projecting the flight path of a house fly?

J. Cross
J. Cross

For house flies we assume a random walk with a bias determined by the light gradient. Obviously wind and available food are complicating factors. Hard to compare RMSE’s across dunits though so I’m not sure how to answer this.


J. Cross is correct.

The other complicating factor is that most house fly’s are killed, making the flight projections and r^2 very unstable, perhaps, nearly, impossibly so.

Whereas MiLB prospects generally stay alive, have measurable results, contain varying degrees of athleticism, and can more specifically be analyzed for future success.