WAR Games: What PECOTA and Other Projection Systems Think About the Cubs in 2015
We’ve come a long way since the days of David Lightman hacking into WOPR and nearly setting off World War III. Case in point, we’re able to use advanced computer systems to calculate WAR rather than to simulate wars. And the absence of the threat of mutually assured destruction is good too.
If I’ve already lost those of you not familiar with Matthew Broderick’s star turn in 1983, I’m sorry. Just know that he was sort of like Miles Teller, only 30 years ago. Moving on…
I recently took a look at the ZiPS projections for the Cubs in the coming season, but that’s not the only projection gheti in the ocean. In fact, there are several more, each relying upon its own proprietary calculations to produce the numbers we can readily access online.
What follows below is not a comprehensive compilation, but rather a culling of the projected WAR totals for much of the Cubs roster by five relatively well-known systems. You may, and probably should, want to check out sites like FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus for a more nuanced look at the individual stats that make up the figures below.
In addition to ZiPS, I used Fans, Steamer, and Steamer 600; B-Pro just released its PECOTA stats recently, so I was happy to be able to include those as well.
We won’t know until October whether or not any of these are correct, but it’s fun to look at the variations between the different systems from player to player. For instance, Jorge Soler and Arismendy Alcantara have a range of more than 2 WAR while Migual Montero’s is only 0.4 from lowest to highest.
The pitching numbers appear to be a bit more consistent, though that’s not such good news for Travis Wood. It appears that these systems back up my belief that his 2014 was more the rule than the exception.
Now how about I stop yammering though and we just get to the numbers:
One thing we can take away from this is that the computers agree with the fans when it comes to their increased expectations for the Cubs in 2015. Some of those expectations were fueled by the signing of Jason Motte. Even though relievers–for the most part–have less of an impact WAR-wise, I was a little surprised that Motte seemed so inconsequential.
On the other hand, Miguel Montero’s projections had me thinking happy thoughts. Were there any players that jumped out at you as having WAR values that were higher or lower than you expected?
Projected WAR might be good for absolutely nothing, but it’s nice to know that we won’t be forced to watch a team filled with replacement-level players. At least, that’s the hope.