Gleeman: The age of PECOTA

From SABR member Aaron Gleeman at Baseball Prospectus on February 8, 2019:

Who is the best player in baseball for each age group? PECOTA projections came out yesterday, so let’s use the projected WARP totals for this season as our main guide while also leaving a little room for subjectivity if/when it seems necessary.

Best 20-year-old: Juan Soto, Washington Nationals

Juan Soto had one of the greatest age-19 seasons ever, joining the Nationals in mid-May and hitting .292/.406/.517 in 116 games. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays left their own 19-year-old phenom, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., in the minors for the entire season and figure to keep him there to begin this season as well. That’s noteworthy because, while PECOTA loves Soto—projecting a tremendous sophomore season and populating his top-comps list with names like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Ken Griffey Jr.—the system is head over heels for Guerrero. However, since Guerrero is likely to spend time in the minors, Soto is projected to receive more plate appearances and, thanks to that extra playing time, generate slightly more WARP.

Honorable mention: Guerrero. There’s certainly an argument for picking Guerrero, whom PECOTA projects as the 10th-best hitter in the majors before he’s even gotten there, but a) Soto is an amazing 20-year-old, and b) please direct your anger at the Blue Jays rather than at me.

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Originally published: February 8, 2019. Last Updated: February 8, 2019.