An exciting day for projections nerds everywhere, as Baseball Prospectus has released their PECOTA projection system for 2018. While some people are getting excited or annoyed at the various win projections, I've been poring over the individual player projections to find the ones that PECOTA loves and hates. I've set the Steamer projection system as my 'baseline', as they're the earliest-released and most-trusted system, and I'll use the Big Board's PA and IP in both cases. Let's do five of each. Here's what I found (I'll show the PECOTA projections below, and you can check them out side-by-side with Steamer at this link):
Billy Hamilton appeared on this list last year. Steamer keeps calling on his speed to regress, PECOTA doesn't, and that's a big difference in value. PECOTA loves Acuna! I like their numbers here but I think the PA is the hardest thing to peg - watch spring training and try to figure out when he'll be promoted. I fall somewhere between the two systems on Jake, but man, PECOTA really must buy his ability to suppress BABIP. More than anything, that might depend on what team he ends up with and their infield defense. I don't get this Taijuan projection - why should we expect his K% to spike to new levels when he's put up 500 innings consistently around 21%? Again though, I'm between the two systems, since Steamer isn't correctly projecting his HR/9 or BABIP in my opinion. And finally, Reyes! This projection blows me away. We certainly have to walk it back a bit (TJS returnees tend to struggle a bit with command) and think carefully about playing time, but there could be a major breakout coming.
Last year, PECOTA disliked Thames, Daniel Murphy, and Moustakas, and they were wrong on all accounts, so maybe we shouldn't be too worried to see a bunch of great hitters doubted by PECOTA yet again. Stanton, Arenado, and JoRam are all top-tier fantasy players, and in each case, PECOTA projects them for significantly less power than Steamer. Perplexing. The pitchers here are more interesting... Verlander's PECOTA projection seems overly influenced by his bad '14-'15, personally I'm seeing more of the '16-'17 version coming, as does Steamer. Castillo is one of the hottest 'breakout' picks (ie, he actually already broke out, and now it's time to overvalue him) and PECOTA throws a bit of cold water on that here. I've personally pegged him for 3.70 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, so I think PECOTA is nuts here.
What does everyone think? Is Steamer more right on these players, or is PECOTA? Are these players you want or players you're avoiding?