FIRE JOE MORGAN: According to Nate Silver, I Am 100% Wrong


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FJM has gone dark for the foreseeable future. Sorry folks. We may post once in a while, but it's pretty much over. You can still e-mail dak, Ken Tremendous, Junior, Matthew Murbles, or Coach.

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Friday, December 29, 2006


According to Nate Silver, I Am 100% Wrong

And Keith Law is pretty close to right on. Not only that, I am "dumb." Certainly possible.

Nate Silver is a writer for Baseball Prospectus, and he didn't call me dumb specifically, but he did say it's dumb to use ERA as a predictive statistic.

To reiterate, the key difference between these two sets of projections boils down to the predictive value of ERA; if Zito’s ERAs were an accurate reflection of his ability (as our “dumb” projection assumes), then this contract would have been perfectly reasonable. But while ERA is a very useful backward-looking metric — it’s helpful in settling Cy Young Award debates, for example — it’s not such a good forward-looking metric. A pitcher’s peripheral statistics predict ERA much better than past ERA itself.

So what does PECOTA predict for Barry Zito?

PECOTA is not terribly optimistic about Zito, whom it regards as a just a hair better than a league average starter.

Wow. And what is he worth?

It thinks that Zito’s next seven seasons are worth $43 million in present value.

An average annual value of just over six million dollars a year.

We can't take this as gospel, of course. PECOTA is far from perfect. But it's probably better than a rough-hewn guess, which is certainly what I (or most people) would be able to manage on their own.

So who's buying this? Do we trust PECOTA and the peripherals? Is Barry Zito really going to be a league-average starter for the next seven years? Somehow, it's hard to swallow. Mostly because if he is, I'll have to apologize to Keith Law in 2013.

One more thing: are there instances of pitchers who consistently outperform their peripherals -- that is, guys who, year after year, allow fewer runs than you might predict?

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posted by Junior  # 3:28 AM
Hi, everyone. I'm back from holiday nonsense, and I'm thrilled to see this passionate and entirely meaningless waste-of-time debate raging on our little site.

My $1/50th:

The non-stat-based reason Zito is better than a #3 is: he throws many innings at league-average or better than league-average levels. He doesn't often totally shut people down, but he also doesn't often get lit up. There have always been very few Santanas or Carpenters -- truly awesome pitchers. But in this day and age, it seems to me, there are also very few Zitos -- durable, solid guys who are never hurt and give your team a good outing 4/5 times.

Now, he did pitch in a massive canyon with 300 hectares of foul territory and some good OF behind him. But he's good. He'll be fine in San Fran, I think -- not outstanding, but fine. ( LCF in that park is like 500 feet away.) I basically think he is totally worth the $56 million over seven years the Giants gave him.

What's that?

No. That can't be right. Let me check on that...


Oh boy.

Sabean. Sabean Sabean Sabean. What have you gone and done?
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