The Fans and Marcel in 2011: Pitchers

Monday, I looked at how the 2011 Fans and Marcel projections compared for position players, and today I will do the same for pitchers. For position players the fans project more playing time than Marcel. The fans also project higher rate stats (wOBA) for most players , but for below-average players actually project a lower wOBA than Marcel. Most of this can be explained by a the fans not regressing towards the mean as much as Marcel does. Let’s see whether the same holds for pitchers.

Again, I am looking just at players with more than 15 fan ballots, and grouping all fan ballots regardless of the fans’ favorite team. Again, Marcel is on the x-axis and the fans on the y-axis. The red line is when the two systems project the same, so the closer to the line the more similar the projections. I separate out relievers from starters by considering a pitcher a starter if the fans project more than half of his games as games started. Starters are solid points while relievers are empty circles.

Here are the innings pitched projections:

Almost all pitchers have more projected IPs by fans than by Marcel, just like position players with PAs. The difference is most noticeable for pitchers who are expected to spend their first full year in the rotation (Jeremy Hellickson, James McDonald, Daniel Hudson), so again the fans bring more depth-chart knowledge than Marcel. But the difference is seen throughout — again, I assume because the fan’s don’t regress as much as Marcel.

Marcel also doesn’t know about Johan Santana‘s September 14th surgery, or the fact that he hasn’t started to throwing yet. But the fans do and it looks like the Mets fans know it even better than everyone else. They see Santana throwing just 106 innings versus 161 by other fans (Marcel thinks 176). Here, unfortunately, it looks like the Mets fans have a better handle on Santana’s time table.

Turing to ERA:

With just one exception (Joel Peralta) the fans project lower ERAs for relievers than Marcel does, and by 0.4 runs on average. A big part of this is that the fans are much more likely to project good relievers: projecting closers and setup men, not middle relievers. If they did project some middle relievers maybe some would have higher fan-projected ERA than Marcel-projected ERA. The amount Marcel regresses is inversely proportional to the number of innings pitched, so all relievers are going to get lots of regression. Since the fans don’t seem to regress towards the mean as much they will give closers and setup men (who had low ERAs in the past) very low ERAs compared to Marcel.

Looking just at starters:

Here the fans are actually in broad agreement with Marcel. There are nearly as many pitchers with higher fan-projected ERA, 56, as with higher Marcel-projected ERA, 60. And on average Marcel ERA is just 0.0007 runs higher. So this is the case were the fans have the smallest overprojection compared Marcel, effectively none. Though there is still a trend for the fans to rate above-average pitchers better than Marcel does.

So, overall, we see that the fans are much less likely to regress than Marcel, which is a natural human tendency — i.e. to take what we observe as true talent. But I do think that Fans bring an important piece of information with their knowledge of depth charts and injuries. They are probably better trusted for playing time, once you discount their projections somewhat for regression. In terms of rate stats, fans project much better performance from position players and relievers, but, strangely, not starters. Across all groups of players the fans project above-average players to do much better than Marcel projects them, and below-average players worse than Marcel projectes.




Print This Post



Dave Allen's other baseball work can be found at Baseball Analysts.


13 Responses to “The Fans and Marcel in 2011: Pitchers”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Total Dominication says:

    We can take from this that statistical age-based analysis cannot project Mariano Rivera.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Dave Allen says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      Yeah I would take the under on Marcel’s 2.90 projected ERA for Rivera.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • phoenix2042 says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      could not agree more. assuming his arm does not eventually fall off, he could be jamie moyer out of the bullpen! and you if he doesn’t gracefully retire.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Jason461 says:

    What would be really interesting is to see how close each system comes to actual. I’d love to see graphs of each plotted against 2010 production to see who gets closer to a 45.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Xeifrank says:

    As far as IP (pitchers) and PA (hitters) it makes sense to me to think of the forecasts as a Vegas Over/Under number. Sure, regressing is fine, but would you be willing to take wagers on that number (if you ran a sports book). I think if this were the case you’d see the Marcel numbers go higher and the Fans numbers go lower and meet somewhere in the middle.

    Thanks for these posts.
    vr, Xeifrank

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Barkey Walker says:

    I’m a little surprised to see Brian Duensing with such a high fan projected ERA. After becoming a starter (and being allowed to throw 80 pitches/game) he was 9-3 for quality starts, including shutting out Oakland.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Dave Allen says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      I think this is an ERA v. xFIP issue. Marcel is projecting his ERA based on regressed past ERAs, which have always been much lower than his xFIP thanks to very low HR/FB and BABIP. The Fans probably think this is unsustainable and think his ERA will be more inline with his xFIP in 2011.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Barkey Walker says:

        Thanks for the explanation. The Twins infield UZR is off the charts in every (infield) position, so I think he could sustain an ERA below his tERA. But certainly, he is likely to give up more homers per at bat / fly ball this year and is not likely to sustain a 10-3 type W-L nor a sub 3 ERA.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. O's fan in Glen Burnie says:

    This is off topic, but somebody please help me out.

    I was looking a WAR, which I have a basic understanding of. Then I was looking at Jeremy Guthrie. I noticed that Fangraphs has him 2.3 WAR for 2010.

    Then I went to baseball-reference and noticed that they have him at 4.3 WAR for ’10.

    Then I went to baseball prospectus and they have him at 5.1 WAR

    I’m really confused right now. Does the 3 different sources have 3 different ways to evaluate WAR? Am I missing something? If anyone could help me I’d apprieciate it. Thanks.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jmr says:

      The Fangraphs library has a good explanation of WAR and the differences between its WAR and at leas the baseball-reference WAR:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/misc/war/

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Dave Allen says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      A big reason for Guthrie’s low fWAR (FanGraphs WAR) is that we use FIP to calculate WAR and Guthrie’s FIP was high (4.44) compared to his ERA (3.83). If the other sources give Guthrie some of the credit for his low ERA they will give him a higher WAR than FanGraphs does.

      WAR is a general concept so there are different ways to implement it. For pitchers FanGraphs decided to only give them credit just for their defense-independent contributions (K, BB and HR). Other places do it differently.

      Vote -1 Vote +1