Over the next couple of weeks, Inside the ‘Zona will be previewing the upcoming season through Steamer projections. Each post will feature a different Diamondbacks unit (ie. bullpen, outfield, etc.) and a player-by-player breakdown within those units. Provided will be each player’s Steamer projection for 2013, his actual performance for 2013, the player’s Steamer projection for 2014 and a capsule noting expected performance. In case you can’t tell, we’re ready for the 2014 season to begin, so let’s start digging in!
If you’re not familiar with Steamer, take a look at the information and links below. I’ll tag this post at the top of each unit for easy access should you need a refresher.
What is Steamer?
Steamer is a projection system devised by Jared Cross, Dash Davidson and Peter Rosenbloom. It seeks to project every player’s performance for the upcoming season by using past performances and different aging curves, plus information such as minor league performance, age, park factors and more. This should reveal a player’s true talent level and take the ‘luck’ out of things. Essentially, it’s all very complicated but widely accepted as one of the best projection systems available. If you’d like to learn more about it, I strongly suggest visiting the Steamer Blog website and taking a look at Dash’s posted PowerPoint on methodology.
What are Steamer’s Limitations?
Like any projection system, Steamer has clear limitations. It cannot predict things like injuries (although it does take past injury history into account) or the way a certain manager decides to utilize playing time (such as platoons or moving a former reliever into the starting rotation). Steamer also has a very difficult time with projecting minor leaguers as it cannot forecast how much playing time the player will get if/when they do get called up. Projections are also more reliable when there is a larger set of past-performance data to pull from and analyze. Because of this, Steamer (and most projection systems) tends to be far more accurate when projecting the performance of veterans than first or second-year players. In other words, it’s easier to project Martin Prado in 2014 than it is to project AJ Pollock.
Improvements vs. Drop-offs
You’ll notice that Steamer projects significant improvements for many Diamondbacks players. I’d argue that it’s because Steamer regresses towards the mean and as you saw in 2013, several Diamondbacks had uncharacteristically poor years. Steamer projects that most of these players move closer to their career averages. But just like down years are projected to be followed up by more average seasons, the same goes for break-outs. Steamer, just as it regressed down years to the mean, does the same for players who had uncharacteristically good years in 2013. Therefore, you’ll see some players are predicted to have a lower performance next year. This isn’t because Steamer hates your favorite player, it’s because Steamer plays the averages based on past performance, age, injury history, park factors, etc. Just as we rejoice over a predicted uptick for a player who disappointed, we must also respect a decrease from a player who came out of nowhere to post career highs.
This projection system is nuanced in ways far more complicated than I’ve just laid out, but hopefully you get the idea. Check back starting next Wednesday to see the first set of projections for the 2014 Diamondbacks. They say the game of baseball starts with pitching and we’ll do the same here, unveiling projections for the rotation to kick things off. See you next week!
- The Inside the ‘Zona 2015 Midseason Plan
- The Smart D-backs/Phillies Bonus Slot Trade and Lessons to Learn
- Recent Draft Picks Making an Impression in Rookie Ball
- Welington Castillo Makes Choice Between Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Oscar Hernandez Clear
- New International Signs Debut for the Diamondbacks
- Robbie Ray Doing it His Way With Fly Balls and a Fourth (or Fifth) Pitch
- An Open Letter to Commissioner Manfred on Selling Teams and Selling Prospects
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- RT @Matt_Winkelman: @OutfieldGrass24 @ryanpmorrison Josh Taylor has some warts, but he is a big lefty who can touch 95 and has almost no mileage on him, 16 hours ago
- On the #Dbacks-#Phillies bonus slot trade, and int'l amateur lessons for the future from #Cubs, #Dodgers, #RedSox http://t.co/OzgRWsefkG, 16 hours ago
- RT @enosarris: Ender Inciarte is two completely different hitters depending on the handedness of pitcher. Road map to bust splits? http://t.co/DdHsEKrsiQ, 21 hours ago
- RT @GammonsDaily: 'Paul Goldschmidt, Speed Demon' by @DavidGolebiewsk http://t.co/53xFtaKtav #Diamondbacks, 22 hours ago
- RT @SportsJunkie854: This standings chart for the DBacks is pretty amusing. @ryanpmorrison @OutfieldGrass24 http://t.co/vVkWU5Xp42, Jul 06
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- Never good when your internal dialogue is "could really use a triple play here." #Mariners, 9 hours ago
- I am starting to hate Logan Morrison less these days., 9 hours ago
- RT @jaysonst: No Cueto. No Kershaw. No Hamels. No Storen. No Familia. No Ziegler. Tough job picking that NL all-star pitching staff. Huh?, 14 hours ago
- #ActionJackson making it happen! About damn time he got some publicity. You're sleeping on a star, baseball. https://t.co/VhTW61zhAy, 14 hours ago
- Get to know the two prospects the #Dbacks acquired Sunday in exchange for Int'l Bonus Pool money (via @mattwinkle46): http://t.co/MjXroVdSdl, 16 hours ago
FanGraphs Stats Glossary
Nick Piecoro Author Page
Cot's Baseball Contracts
BP Base Running Stats
Previously on The Pool Shot, the guys explained some of their favorite advanced stats. Hitting, including wRC+, HHAV and batted ball; pitching (38:00), including FIP, xFIP and SIERA; and baserunning and defense, including UBR, UZR and DRS (58:00).