Gleeman: 2017 PECOTA projections released

From SABR member Aaron Gleeman at Baseball Prospectus on February 7, 2017:

I have a vivid memory from my little league days of sitting in the dugout after practice and listening intently as a teammate read Baseball America’s rankings of the best players in the country by age. The best player on our team, who later went on to play Division I ball, was annoyed by the notion of a 13-year-old somewhere else getting so much attention for what couldn’t possibly be (he figured) superior talent. The sixth-best player on our team, who later went on to write this article, found it fascinating that there was a 13-year-old so good at baseball that they were being written about in magazines.

Certain things about the aging (and development) process are so ingrained in the way we experience the sport that we don’t even think about them because they just sort of … are. For instance, we know to view the early season struggles of a 20-year-old rookie and a 40-year-old veteran through much different lenses and adjust our internal freak-out meters accordingly. We also just know, for example, that players generally peak in their mid-20s, signing a 30-something player to a massive long-term contract usually works out badly, and great numbers in the minors can be misleading if not placed within the context of age and level of competition.

Age is extremely important in projecting future performance. It plays a huge part in our PECOTA projections, the 2017 version of which were released today. Because I can’t seem to shake that little league memory, I thought it would be interesting to use PECOTA as our guide to baseball’s best players by age. I’ll leave the teenagers to Baseball America, so let’s start with 20-year-olds and use projected WARP for 2017 as our main guide, leaving a little room for subjectivity when it seems necessary.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: February 7, 2017. Last Updated: February 7, 2017.