Mitchell: Forecasting major-league pitching with minor-league stats

From Chris Mitchell at The Hardball Times on February 6, 2015:

Shortly before the new year, I wrote a piece here at The Hardball Times introducing KATOH — a methodology for forecasting major league performance using minor league stats. Using a series of probit regression analyses, I explored how a hitter’s age and offensive statistics are predictive, across all levels of the minor leagues, from Rookie ball to Triple-A, of his future big league performance.

The result was a set of projections for for each minor league hitter, which included the probability that he’d play in the majors and that he would hit certain WAR thresholds through age 28. This analysis also provided some insight into which offensive statistics are predictive of future success for players at each level of the minor leagues. The most pronounced trend — and possibly the most surprising one — relates to a hitter’s walk rates. In the lower-levels of the minors, they have little to no bearing on a player’s future big league success.

Today, I’m going to deal with minor league pitchers using the same type of methodology. In my original piece, I noted that these projections shouldn’t be used to replace traditional, scouting-based methodologies. Instead, they are intended to complement them, and possibly uncover statistical factors that have been overlooked. This is especially true for pitchers, whose stats take longer to stabilize, and whose stuff often matters more than stats.

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Originally published: February 6, 2015. Last Updated: February 6, 2015.