If you're a numbers person
Quick note on this morning’s workout, it’s cloudy and overcast, but I will do my best to get more pictures up via Twitter. But by forewarned, there’s some pretty tedious pitchers fielding practice and bunt plays on the agenda for today.
Baseball Prospectus has been putting up their predictions for each division, which mostly relies on the use of PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm). It’s basically a sabermetric system for forecasting Major League Baseball player performance. BP combines each player’s performance with projected playing-time forecasts to project the standings.
You can find the whole story here, but here’s the bit that concerns the O’s…
Projected record: 79-83 (4th in the AL East)
Why They Might Win: In any other division, the Orioles would probably be a contender. Although this probably isn’t the year they put it all together, they are tantalizingly close to a return to respectability. They are projected to score 781 runs–fifth in the AL, but fourth in the East. The outfield of Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Nolan Reimold might be the best in the division. Starters Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman could have breakouts in their first full major-league seasons.
Why They Might Not Win: Their starting pitching is not yet where it needs to be. Kevin Millwood isn’t as good as his ERA made him seem last year, so PECOTA projects Brad Bergesen to be the Orioles’ starter with the lowest ERA at 4.40. This is not a formula for success.
Player Who Could Surprise: Jones started last year strong (.303/.357/.481 before the All-Star break), but cooled in the second half. PECOTA thinks he can do it all season this year, pegging him for .294/.350/.501. Even more noteworthy is his high “Breakout” score, which suggests a good probability that his production will improve by at least 20 percent over his established level of performance.
Player Who Could Disappoint: Millwood, despite a superficially strong ERA last season, has lost the ability to strike out batters at a high rate. PECOTA sees the writing on the wall and projects him for a pedestrian 4.71 ERA and just 5.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
So what do you think?
Also, I’m hoping to get enough queries to turn out my first Orioles inbox soon, so get those questions coming via email, with your name and location.