Yesterday, Fangraphs.com started posting Steamer projections for 2013 on their player pages. They post both hitter and pitcher projections, but the the pitcher ones are more interesting. You see, there are have a few statistical studies that have tried to figure out which projection system is the most accurate. A couple of those studies are here and here. The common result is that the Steamer projections for pitchers show the least amount of error. For me, that makes them a little more interesting that most. Realistically, it's probably more useful if you're using them for fantasy baseball. But this being a Padres blog and me having free reign with what I post what I want, I figured I could share the Padres ones here.
When the guys that created Steamer were asked what made them different from others they listed two factors that were used that made them stand out. One was fastball velocity and the other was pitcher handedness. Fastball velocity makes sense. More times than not a pitcher will become less effective as his fastball gets slower. A small elite few will make adjustments, many others won't. The handedness, I think, applies to this fastball velocity. Lefties don't require as much velocity to be effective.
Okay, let's get to the numbers. One thing you should know is that the playing time was determined my crowd sourcing baseball fans. They could be way off and that would impact the counting stats.
San Diego Padres Steamer Pitcher Projections
A few things stand out to me when I look at the starters. The most obvious is Joe Wieland's 13 starts. That's not Steamer's fault that he's projected to have so many, but it certainly isn't right. I doubt he makes even 5 if we're lucky. The second thing is that Steamer loves it some Andrew Cashner. That fastball velocity element is really giving him a boost to be projected as one of the better pitchers on the Padres this season. For Edinson Volquez, his BB/9 stands out to me when I compare it to his history. We all know Eddy V walks plenty and that projected BB/9 is higher than every other Padres starter listed. However, the last two years his BB/9 has been in excess of 5.0, so this would be a significant drop for him. Not sure why that would be projected. Perhaps just the system hedging its bets and using regression to the mean or it is weighing his pre-Tommy John sub 5.0 BB/9 years a bit too heavily. Lastly, the least liked starter is Eric Stults. It expects balls to be flying out of the park a more regularly against him. We'll have to see if Balsley magic has made Stultsy a better pitcher or if his 2012 work was just a fluke.
For the relievers, you can see that the list is a bit incomplete. I understand how some of the less experienced players like Tommy Layne, Miles Mikolas and Nick Vincent would get skipped, but I don’t understand why Brad Brach (67 games in 2012) and Joe Thatcher (237 career games) would get passed over. Especially considering that pitchers like Tyson Ross and Brad Boxberger did get a projection. Weird. I left the pitchers I expect to be bullpen bound in 2013 in the table. Anyway, first up let's look at the closer Mr. Street. In 2012, when healthy, Street was lights out. He has some of the best stats listed here, but they'd be quite the drop off from 2012. Something to think about. We may still have a very good closer, but maybe not quite as good as last year. The rest of the projected bullpen isn't looking too shabby. Ross, Thayer, Gregerson and Boxberger all throw hard, so I guess that makes sense. It expects that velocity to shine through. Boxberger's really stands out. I don't remember him being all that effective last year. However, the scouts love him as evidenced by him showing up on prospects lists. And that K/9 rate is legit since he had a 10.73 in 27.2 IP last year and its been even higher in the minors. The walks, like Volquez in the starting rotation, are his bugaboo.
If you want more fun with projections, Fangraphs did a post on Padres projections using ZiPS today.