Cubs Projections

Hello, everyone! I'm Lizzy: Native Virginian, devoted Cubs fan, and author of a blog called The Fair Base Ballist. I was supposed to make a guest post here when Rob G. was on vacation, but technical difficulties prevented my doing so. I spent a good chunk of time hammering out individual player projections for 2010, and Rob has been kind enough to let me go ahead and post them. I hope you'll enjoy, and please contribute your own ideas to mine (especially for the mystery bench player who is likely to be announced 5 minutes after I publish this. I have omitted the 4 candidates for brevity's sake.)

Without further fanfare, your 2010 Chicago Cubs previews. They are all 100% serious.

The latest projections use the Diamon Mind simulator and run 100 seasons using CAIRO projections (which I never heard of until today, but apparently have been the most accurate of the projection systems of late).

They have the Cubs doing a bit better than PECOTA with 83-84 wins and a 17% chance of winning the division, although like PECOTA they'll run the projections again as the season approaches and playing time is a little more certain. As Neyer notes in one of the links above and others have, there's pretty much a 6-game margin of error no matter what  projection stats you use, so we're talking 76-89 win range at the moment. That being said, the Cubs are pretty clearly looking up at the Cardinals at this point and apparently the Reds.

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.

Fangraphs has added the CHONE projections on their player pages along with the Bill James projections. The Hardball Times comes out with theirs in their pre-season annual and of course Baseball Prospectus and PECOTA should be out shortly. But I promised updates when I put up the Bill James projections, so here are the wOBA CHONE projections (league average is generally around the .330 mark, give or take a few points).

Fangraphs is once again going to list the projections on their player pages from a variety of sources, Bill James, CHONE, Marcel....maybe more. Bill James projections are up first and here's how the Cubs ranked by wOBA and their 2009 wOBA (explanation of wOBA here). I'll try and expand when new projections are released. Age is their 2010 playing age. You can click on their names to get their full slash line predictions and more.

Baseball Prospectus had the Cubs running away with the NL Central a few weeks back. CHONE projections1 thinks it will be a tight race with the St. Louis Cardinals. They have the Cubs at 88 wins, just five ahead of the Cardinals, six ahead of the Reds and seven ahead of the Brewers.

Furthermore, they've got the Cubs listed 10th in their power rankings, fourth in the NL behind the Phillies, Mets and Braves.

I think we can infer two things from this new information. First, the Cubs aren't quite the locks to win the NL Central that some of us have led ourselves to believe. Second, that Sean Smith who runs the CHONE projections is a Cub-hater2. I think that's irrefutable. I even think I found a picture of him

1 - Is it pronounced Shawn? If so, I would have just called it the FIGGINS projections.

2 - Disclaimer: Sarcasm.

Baseball Prospectus updated their team depth chart with new PECOTA information and the Cubs are hands down the class of the simulated National League Central. The Cubs come out with 96 wins and an easy division crown with the Brewers being their closest competition at 83 wins. That's also the best record in the NL and second best in the league behind the 98 imaginary wins that Boston has under their belt.

Replacement Level Yankees blog ran some of their own predictions using The Hardball Times  projections back in early January and came up with 91.5 wins for the Cubs. That half win is going to be tough.

It's probably a good time to point out that PECOTA had the Indians winning 92 games last year and Tigers 90, although it did predict the Rays for 90 wins to its credit. I can't seem to find the full 2008 NL Predictions, but it did land the top two spots in the NL Central last year and had 89 wins for the Cubs. I believe it nailed two division winners (Angels and Cubs) and four playoff teams (had Dodgers and Red Sox as the wild card) overall in 2008.

So congrats to the 2009 Cubs - NL Paper Champions!

UPDATE: It appears the Brewers are going to sign Braden Looper which should throw the whole PECOTA system off its axis(/dripping sarcasm). Also, Rosenthal says Rich Aurilia took a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants and the article is worded to indicate that he may have had a similar offer by the Cubs and Phillies.

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