Cubs' PECOTA Projections

Here are the weighted means from BP's PECOTA projection system in a few categories for the Cubs. PECOTA does try to project playing time, so cumulative stats like VORP and WARP are based off of that.

They have Fukudome listed as a center fielder, so I assume that would affect his VORP and WARP scores a bit. Otherwise here are the hitters sorted by EqA.

Player Age
Aramis Ramirez 32
 3B 30 .293 3.3
Derrek Lee
18 .281 2.0
Geovany Soto
31 .279 3.2
Marlon Byrd
22 .271 2.0
Kosukue Fukudome
19 .266 2.0
Micah Hoffpauir
5 .264 1.1
Alfonso Soriano
11 .262 2.5
Jeff Baker
12 .259 1.0
Ryan Theriot
20 .257 1.2
Mike Fontenot
12 .257 1.2
Chad Tracy
0 .253 0.2
Xavier Nady
3 .253 0.3
Andres Blanco
3 .240 0.0
Sam Fuld
2 .237 0.2
Koyie Hill
1 .223 0.1

...and your pitchers sorted by VORP. I assume there's no setting for starting the season on the disabled list for Lilly.

Ted Lilly 34 3.82 29.1 3.2 3.1
Carlos Zambrano 29 4.00 26.1 3.0 2.8
Ryan Dempster 33 4.09 20.9 2.8 2.3
Carlos Marmol 27 3.09 17.0 2.0 1.9
Randy Wells 27 4.64 12.2 2.3 1.3
Tom Gorzelanny 27 4.61 10.1 2.0 1.0
John Grabow 31 4.26 10.1 1.3 1.1
Angel Guzman 28 3.86 8.5 1.2 0.9
Sean Marshall 27 4.39 7.4 1.1 0.8
Jeff Gray 28 5 6.8 0.9 0.7
Esmailin Caridad 24 5.4 0.3 0.7 0.0
Jeff Samardzija 25 5.48 -0.5 1.0 -0.1
Mitch Atkins 24 5.44 -2.1 0.8 -0.2
David Patton 26 6.7 -3.8 0.3 -0.4
Carlos Silva 31 5.32 -6.0 0.9 -0.6

Nothing to take too seriously, but PECOTA sure doesn't seem to like the Cubs much. I added 34.9 Wins above replacement and I think a team of replacement level players is around 47 wins. If I did that right (and it's very, very possible I did that wrong), I come up with about an 82 win team.

UPDATE: If the BP depth chart uses the same projections and math, they're even more pessimistic and have the Cubs at 77 wins. A team full of replacement level players according to BP math at one point would win 44 games, athough it's been adjusted a few times since originally calculated (thanks to "stevens" and "navigator" for the help in the comments).

UPDATE #2: Sobering thought...this is the lowest amount of wins predicted by PECOTA for the Cubs that dates back to 2003.

2010: 77 wins

2009: 92 wins (won 83 games), -9

2008: 89 wins (won 97 games), +8
2007: 85 wins (won 85 games), 0

2006: 85 wins (won 66 games), -19

2005: 89 wins (won 79 games), -10

2004: 92 wins (won 89 games), -3

2003: 83 wins (won 88 games), +5

Originally, the Cubs were down for 96 wins in 2009, but BP does adjust as the season approaches.


"82 win team"

Depth chart predicts 77. 3rd behind Cards and Reds. Ouch.


FWIW, Woolner himself wrote this a few years back (when he introduced VORP) using 1998 MLB statistics. (which would project the Cubs at ~79 wins in 2010)

So what level of performance does a VORP=0 team represent? Well, using the 1998 season MLB statistics to date, a all-replacement-level team would hit about .235/.300/.356 and have a RA of 5.85. The Pythagorean projection over 162 games would be 44-118, for a .271 winning percentage. This is comparable to the performance of the worst teams in history (e.g. '62 Mets who went 40-120 for a .250 Win%).

thanks, that would give the 77 wins although they've changed replacement level more than a few times though over the years.

"82 win team"
Here's what 82 wins gets you:

the Nats lead by Jason Marquis go 82-80, hmmmm....

and the Twins win the AL central with a similar 82-80 record.

I think the Cubs are a little better than that 82 win prediction. However the window is closing really fast. That is part of the reason I was pro-arbitration for Rich Harden. We need to get some impact kids into the pipeline.

I don't see anyone in the pipeline that is a slam dunk can't miss prospect. Especially as a corner bat.

Yeah, but not many system's have those. For the first time in a while actually, the Cubs have some young and exciting talent. Let's hope Fleita and Hendry doesn't fuck 'em up like they usually do.

I agree with you though about offering Harden.

Rays 96 wins, RSox 95, Yanks 93, A's win West with 87 wins

Nationals at 82 wins, Phils just at 88, Cards the class of the NL with 89

This is why the PECOTA projections are flawed in my mind. Any kind of system that's giving you those results is just f'ed up.

except that it's shown to be the most accurate (until the last 2 years at least)

see the link in comment #13

Edmonds signs minor league contract with Brewers.

Even I'm not THAT pessimistic about Carlos Silva, and I think Carlos Silva sucks.'s just an older team.

pectoa is off by 5-7 "wins" traditionally, anyway...on average.

Do you mean margin of error? or just with the Cubs?

If you take all the teams and average them, they'd be correct every year.

team averages of w/l are off 5-7 traditionally. sometimes a bit over 7 (only once i think) but closer to 5 on whole.

pectoa vs. vegas has been funny to watch ebb/flow of handicapping. in 2008 after a very successful pectoa year predicting games a few handicappers adopted it only to see it fall on it's face in 09.

I assume you mean this...

A summary for the 2003 through 2007 seasons shows that PECOTA's average error between the predicted and actual team wins declined[36]: 2003 5.91 wins; 2004 7.71 wins; 2005 5.14 wins; 2006 4.94 wins; 2007 4.31 wins. Silver conjectures that the improvement has come in part from taking defense into account in the forecasts beginning in 2005. It should be noted that in 2008 the average error was 8.5 wins.[37]

and as you said, apparently way off in 2009

nonetheless, that puts the Cubs at 72-82 wins then...lovely.

if it wasnt for age and injury things would be a little more rosey.

given that dlee, soriano, and aram like to stay in shape i'm not worried that much...actually, i am worried about soriano's bat speed, but that's a non-pectoa/non-history-stats-based/non-peer-related issue.

Z and dumpster better be ready for 2010...they got a bit of the team to "carry" a while.

It's going to be a sad day the first time Randy Wells gets booed at Wrigley.

pectoa doesn't think too highly of him this year.

he put up some shockingly good numbers last year for a guy who's got good, but not great, stuff.

none of the projection systems do, although PECOTA is the least flattering. Minor league track record isn't much and had the lowest HR rate of his professional career.

High 3/low 4's seems reasonable to me...

3s and 4s in what? ERA? WARP? K/9? ... VORP? WHIP?

ERA, sorry.

(+ means more wins than Pecota predicted, average age in parenthesis)

Rockies +20 (27.7)
Marlins +17 (26.8)
Rangers +16 (27.6)
Angels +13 (29.6)
Giants +12 (29.1)
Cardinals +10 (28.4)
Twins +9 (27.6)
Mariners +9 (29.9)
Phillies +7 (31.2)
White Sox +5 (29.8)
Astros +5 (31.6)
Dodgers +4 (29.8)
Yanks +4 (30.7)
Tigers +2 (29.9)
Blue Jays +2 (29.9)
Red Sox +1 (30.1)
Padres +1 (28.0)
Braves 0 (28.8)
Reds -1 (27.7)
Pirates -2 (27.0)
Brewers -5 (29.3)
Cubs -9 (30.1)
A's -9 (29.1)
Rays -11 (27.8)
Royals -11 (27.6)
Orioles -12 (28.7)
Nationals -16 (28.2)
DBacks -17 (26.3)
Mets -20 (29.5)
Indians -21 (27.4)

if anyone has total days on DL for a team, that would be interesting to note.

otherwise, if you're looking for a surprise team, be young.

Even if it's a surprise like the Indians and D-Backs?

a surprise is a surprise...

I would guess that days on the DL would be one of the biggest factors for the poor showings, but I don't have that info. Indians also traded Lee and K-mart, to complicate matters.

Yes, but he's one of the few guys on the stgaff who throws strike one with any consistency.

updated post with historical PECOTA wins for Cubs since 2003

thanks for reminding me of 2006...i think i got injured just writing that.

BTW, Rob, there's a typo in the title. You know, for all those top brass bigwigs that read this blog.



HAs anyone seen if Nady passed his physical which was supposed to have been completed by today?

Calling CUBSTER?

Actually, after checking around - I noticed this on Bruce Miles' blog from today. He also mentions that IF the Cubs carry 12 pitchers and IF NAdy passes his physical - there are four guys competing for one spot out of ST - which AZ Phil alludes to:

Sam Fuld, Tracy, LaHair and Hoffpauir.

"Of course, injuries and good/poor performances in spring training will determine things further. The Cubs will have a bunch of youngsters in camp."

"The physical was either Wednesday or Thursday, and it's his elbow, not his shoulder, that's the concern. I suspect we'll have something tomorrow."

So it's accurate give or take roughly 10 wins? Gee, thanks PECOTA.

at least in flaws there come refinements...meh...give it another decade or two... =p

What's the phrase for people who just sit back and take pot shots at stuff? Seriously, can you do better?

I like the edit feature, too.

take pot shots?

it's how the stuff works so far. it's been refined. what's it been refined with? improvements learned by crap or inconsistent data being produced.

all this stuff is continuously tweaked because they learn from their fail and take another stab at trying to improve it.

it's not pot shots if you back up what you're bitching about.

HAs anyone seen if Nady passed his physical which was supposed to have been completed by today? Calling CUBSTER?
No word yet on Nady's physical from Thursday. Probably will hear about it tomorrow. Any delay might be because they may have wanted a new post-op MRI to review for medical clearance...

Muskat has a detailed piece on Nady's TJ surgery and an interview with catcher Vance Wilson (outfielder, Jay Payton and Wilson are the only other position player with two TJ surgeries).

Apparently Nady's first surgery did use the Plantaris tendon in his leg. So the second probably used the traditional Palmaris Longus from the forearm.

Nady underwent his first Tommy John surgery -- a procedure in which doctors use a tendon from a different part of the body to replace a torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow -- on Sept. 29, 2001, when Nady was still a San Diego Padres prospect. In Nady's case, the tendon came from his right lower leg.

Royals director of Minor League operations Scott Sharp said one trainer told him that players who undergo a second Tommy John surgery only have about a 10-percent chance to get back to their previous level, whether that's rookie ball or the big leagues.

Note wrt the above "Trainer" comment: pretty tough to say there is a 10% chance of full recovery when there have been only 2 outfielders who fit into this repeat TJ surgery category. Payton did return to the majors, although I'm not sure if his skills weren't as good after the 2nd surgery. Wilson isn't a good comp since 1) he is a catcher and 2) he also had a torn flexor origin at the time of this TJ surgery...aka, the Ben Sheets operation.

Is this surgery/injury likely to have much effect on his hitting?

Jay Payton had his two TJ surgeries before he made it to the majors. His surgeries were in 1995 (age 22) and 1997 (age 24) well before he became a full time player in 2000 (age 27) with the Mets (in 2000. 529 PA, 17 HR, .291/.331/.447/.778). His career high in HR's was 2003 with the Rockies (28). So I'll consider his 2nd TJ procedure a resounding success. Still it's early postop for Nady on this procedure and even this comp is iffy because Nady's 31 yrs old.

My take is he'll be fine as long as he's not forced into an everyday role early in the season.

Based on the outfielders who have had two Tommy John surgeries, Nady has a 100% chance of at least playing as well as he did prior to the surgeries. At least if you use the Royals' trainer's logic.

from the Muskat article...Looks like Nady took 7 months to recover from his first surgery at age 22. End of Sept 2001 surgery and back for April opening day. Of course his immediate post recovery stats are from the minors but he did flash some power even that year.

However, it can be a much quicker recovery for hitters, and Nady was back on the field the following April for Opening Day. He went on to bat .281 in 2002 with 23 home runs and 80 RBIs between Class A Lake Elsinore and Double-A Portland.

2010 will be about .500 team

Pitching is what is going to kill them.

Agreed, and stated the same
a month ago as well.

Is 90 wins "about .500"?

'Cause that's how many games the Cubs will win in 2010.

I like the optimism, Jack. I can't say I share it. But I like it.

Hope your right, brotha!

You know, I looked at these same projections yesterday and figured there was something not right.

Is Jeff Baker really going to hit 13 HR's in a short platoon roll and as a PH? Is Fuld really going to see as many PH/DH at bats as Hoffpauir if Michah's OPS is .110 higher? Where's the defense, is it factored into the pitcher's VORP? Is David Patton really going to get 55 innings of 6.70 ERA pitching?

Hopefully they'll make some down from crack high corrections to the projected rosters and playing times before the start of the season and then we'll get a true picture of what the PECOTA actually expects.

Comment from Jay Jaffee about the BP projections:

As somebody who follows the projected standings quite closely (since they ultimately turn into the preseason Hit List, among other things), I just want to sound an early note of caution that the Projected Standings will be adjusted quite frequently throughout the spring as playing time estimates evolve due to late signings, trades, injuries, prospects panning out (or not), batting orders and pitching staff roles being clarified, etc. What you see here on January 27 could look significantly different two months from now.

Case in point, last year's initial projection had the Diamondbacks ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West, but the signings of Randy Wolf, Orlando Hudson and Manny Ramirez changed all that.

as I noted at the end of the post, the Cubs started at 96 games last year and it was changed to 92 games by the end of spring training.

Lindsey Willhite over at the Daily Herald has this:

Last year, the average NL team scored 717.5 runs. The PECOTA predictions say San Diego will be last in runs scored at 718. Unless PECOTA senses a surge in performance-enhancing bats and balls and bodies, these numbers are goofy.

Ah, now I see the problem. BP's Christina Kahrl said in a chat that PECOTA doesn't have the proper depth-chart analyses at this time.

Maybe they should hold off the release of these PECOTA projections until after ST.

Is Jeff Baker really going to hit 13 HR's in a short platoon roll and as a PH? Is Fuld really going to see as many PH/DH at bats as Hoffpauir if Michah's OPS is .110 higher?

fwiw, they have Aramis at 105 games and Soriano at 96 games and 128 for Lee, which would then in turn give more Ab's to Baker, Fontenot and Hoffpauir by the way they have it set up at the moment. They only have 69 for Nady (although they think Hoffpauir will hit better anyway) and 128 for Fuku and 120 for Byrd.

The Aram projections don't make any sense, but it's really the negative pitching numbers that are stupid wrong. Patton and Silva and Samardizja simply aren't going to get that many innings if they pitch that poorly. Just like Patton didn't last year. They're relievers, you just keep cycling them in until you find someone who succeeds, and with Jackson, Gaub, Parker, Cashner etc in the wings, Silva isn't going to get 60 meaningful innings unless he pitches better.

the pitching is indeed weird at the moment, they have Dempster starting 23 games and relieving 23 games along with plenty of other silliness...

on the other hand, my guess is that it doesn't change more than 5 games by the end of spring training.

No, I wouldn't think so. This is the system that predected the Cubs to win the division and lead the league in OBP in 2007, when such a thing was unheard of for Cubs fans.

Thankfully they actually will play the season rather than just project it.

I wonder if they use PECOTA on the 1906 season who should win the World Series in 1907?

The other thing, and anyone who knows Hendry knows this, is that his language, especially in a locker-room setting, can get a bit salty. And he was at his saltiest best when talking to the Bluejays.

“I don’t go to church,’’ forward Chad Millard said, “but if I did, I imagine I wouldn’t be hearing too many of the words there that he was using.’’

In terms that wouldn’t be fit to print in a public setting, Hendry told the Bluejays that they needed to man-up and finish the season right. He said no Creighton team should be playing .500 basketball. It was up to the players, Hendry said, to get this thing turned around. If they’re not willing to get with the program, he said, then get off the bus.

Nady still not signed yet. Physical was yesterday.

Press conference this afternoon.

Really? He gets a press conference? I'd send him a $20 bill if he says "I'm kind of a big deal" at some point in the press conference.

I'm finally high-def equipped this year (I know, welcome to the year 2004, Ryno...) so I'll be able to see every ripple in Xavier Nady's magnificent body.

baseball in HD feels like it should have always been in HD.

Wait for a June/July night game at Wrigley, when sun is setting.

Directors dream of that type of lighting.

Nady signs... per Yahoo's Tim Brown.

Link please?

both Rotoworld and mlbtr are saying Nady passed the physical and is signed. (Adam McCalvy subbing for Muskat)'s the article...

of the losers...

thanks to cubnut for the link

Noticed the projections do not include Sean Marshal playing left.

And we have Rothschild. Big Edge.

I'm not sure what to make of that story. It's presented like it's breaking news, but I don't think there's anything new there.

Lar at Wezen-Ball points out that Dawson was not happy with the amount the Cubs filled in on the blank check, but that's not too surprising. The Cubs significantly underpaid Dawson, so you can't blame the guy for not being happy.

The bigger point I got from the story was that despite being taken advantage of, Dawson kept the whining to a minimum and let his on-field performance speak for itself.

It was an interesting read, but I think the point Lar was trying to make got lost on me.

something that happened in '87 is probably not breaking news, just an interesting story for those that thought Dawson was just dying to play in Chicago no matter the cost.

He was desperate (thanks to collusion), but was a man of his word when he said he'd play for whatever they gave him.

I didn't mean to suggest that the whole story was breaking news. I was talking about the part where Wezen-Ball seemed to stress the fact that Dawson was not happy about the amount he was paid, as if that was new information.

Maybe I mis-read what Lar was saying, but I took it as if he was saying, "This Dawson guy wasn't the class act he is portrayed to be." Although it seemed to me he was trying to push this point, I thought the evidence he used did the exact opposite.

if they can't sign FA reliever, Frasor or Downs of the Blue Jays could be of interest...

Prior rehabbing once again...

frasor or downs? good f'n luck.

"Prior rehabbing once again..."

The story the adult towels use to frighten the little kid towels to get them to behave.

looks like he won't play the field in March and April, wonder how that will effect the bench.

So Cubs sign guy to put on Dl first part of season?


think he'll be on the team, but exclusively as a pinch hitter in April.

Some interesting points on the problems with revenue sharing.

yeah, giving out money with no strings attached tends to lead to this.

on the flip side, the political/social mindset of these people also leads to not wanting to regulate it.

so it's a self defeating system so they don't have to actually put mandatory requirements on money.

you'd think we would have seen this in government or other businesses...hmmm... =p

that sounds like a fun read...

tl;dr = we have lots of books for you to buy and will remind you every few paragraphs.

From Jerry Crasnick:

I heard from one MLB executive that Jermaine Dye turned down that $3.3M contract offer from the Cubs before Xavier Nady snagged it.

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  • modern media

    @BNightengale: Former #MLB pitcher Dan Haren will be throwing to Tim Tebow tomorrow during his tryout in LA, he announced.

     [email protected](dan haren): @BNightengale nope, I was offered the opportunity and declined.

     @ithrow88 Oh and memo to my agent, @bvanwagenen: Pitching to Tim Tebow tomorrow DOES NOT count as getting me a real job offer.

    Rob G. 4 min 44 sec ago view
  • I think the Cub Reporter should be politics free.
    Build Bridges. Don't anyone dare pull out a trump card.

    Cubster 13 min 30 sec ago view
  • The Cub offense is in on the con.

    1-for-10 so far w/RISP.

    billybucks 17 min 57 sec ago view
  • swing and a miss.

    i'm gonna like...go stand over there. *points*

    crunch 18 min 36 sec ago view
  • This is all a long con by Arrieta to lull playoff opponents.

    Rob G. 22 min 19 sec ago view
  • the factual correction on your mistakes on your post that I barely bothered to read the first time because it had nothing to do with anything I wanted to talk about is indeed a sign of my degenerative brain condition. I appreciate the safety tip and will be looking into with extreme urgency now.

    Rob G. 45 min 3 sec ago view
  • it took you 4 posts to get to this?

    have you checked the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector?

    #droppingknowledge #savinglives

    crunch 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • Fwiw, Billy Hamilton's actual WAR numbers that relate to the ones that I posted for Mike Trout are:

    • 2014: 2.5
    • 2015: 1.0
    • 2016: 2.6

    But by all means #crunchsplain on the stupidity of WAR while exaggerating your points. I can't wait to read more.

    Rob G. 1 hour 14 min ago view
  • jacos 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • *stroking intensifies*

    crunch 1 hour 18 min ago view
  • #crunchsplaining

    Thanks for the awesome give and take today and for the 535 words you spilled filling in all the gaps that I woefully neglected. We're all a little wiser and better for it. I look forward to your play-by-play summary later in the comments.

    Rob G. 1 hour 25 min ago view
  • it was about a post comparing players based on WAR...and comparing WAR values of a CF to a slew of other players...a post that you made...and i made a comment...that talked about D weighting of WAR...and comparinging WAR values of a CF to a slew of other players...etc etc...

    hell, we didn't even get in deep. i didn't even involve UZR or FIP versions and their strengths/weaknesses...or position mandated "handicapping" in points...etc.

    let's not talk about, fine, awesome. context sucks. san dimas highschool football rules.


    crunch 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • Ha

    jacos 1 hour 48 min ago view
  • Thanks for shining a light on this very important topic and steering it away from the frivolity that was the awesomenes of Mike Trout, but moreso on the foolishness of WAR as a metric to judge the value of center fielders. We're all a little wiser now and your contributions are invaluable to this community and to America's pastime. God Bless!

    Rob G. 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • so...what's chan-yong lim up to these days?


    crunch 3 hours 35 min ago view
  • yes, those hamilton WAR numbers are very reasonable. i'm on your side now based on that biting commentary and reasoning of why he's a 3.5-ish WAR player over a 600 PA season.

    those numbers are obviously well deserved and worthy of no scrutiny...none at all. no issue.

    CF D is rarer than a jon lester pickoff at 2nd...totally way in hell there's good D, low/no-hitting CF's in anyone's system that could do what hamilton is doing. guys like this don't get like, 2-3 at any given time in history.

    crunch 3 hours 55 min ago view