Outskirts of Red Sox Nation

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


In what felt like Christmas morning for me, I checked in to Baseball Prospectus and found out that PECOTA has been released. For those of you who don't know, don't care, or just think I'm a hopeless dork (even without the benefit of one of the Lego-based "dork detetectors" that my daughter, wife and I built the other night), PECOTA is the baseball performance projection system developed for the BP website by Nate Silver and others. It has been proven to be somewhere between 65-75% accurate in predicting player performance. Actually, it does much better than that in some cases, and much worse, particularly for pitchers. I'm going to work up some future entries on this when I get some time to do it, but I thought I would just start with a quick teaser.

This one goes out to all of those "veteran leadership" guys who are pooh-poohing the apparent annointing of Dustin Pedroia as the second baseman of the future for the Sox. "Why didn't we re-sign Mark Loretta? He's an all-star!?" is the frequent refrain. I myself wouldn't have minded seeing the Sox sign Loretta as a backup, but agree that Pedroia is the way to go. PECOTA agrees with me. I can't do formatting very well in Blogger, but here are some comparative projections:

Pedroia- .294/.360/.431
Loretta- .276/.341/.388

Some more advanced metrics
Pedroia- .277/22.2
Loretta- .252/12.7

and the defense:
Pedroia 130/+6
Loretta 114/-3

and now the key:
Age: Pedroia (23) Loretta (35)

In every facet of game performance, Pedroia projects (based on his actual performance, not scouting, etc.) to be significantly better than Mark Loretta. In fact, PECOTA sees Pedroia as being the 5th most productive second baseman in the AL next year by VORP (behind Cano, Kendrick, Kinsler, and Iguchi). He and Kendrick are the youngest, both 23. Now I'm not saying that Pedroia's the next coming of Jeff Kent or Joe Morgan, but he's going to be pretty good, I think. He'll be better than Loretta, better than most guys out there, and plenty good enough to earn his keep on this team.


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