FANALYTICS: Projectable chunks, redux

One month ago—late May—I suggested that we had enough early data to start drawing some conclusions. In fact, I said that we had three data points to work with. . . April, May and our original seasonal expectation.

I wrote: ”If we compare April to May and bench those two data points against our original expectation for the year, we can find some interesting insights. In fact, if you consider the projection as each player’s 'destination' for the full year, there are many interesting trends that develop.”

I then compiled some lists. We can now pass judgment on the rough conclusions I drew. Monthly data is fun!

Slow Start, Then Breakout

These were players who started slow in April as compared to their projection, then had a huge May breakout that far exceeded projection. I suggested that odds were strong that they would regress in June.

BATTERS          Prj  Apr  May  June
===============  ===  ===  ===  ====
Puig,Yasiel       15   10   48	 17
Martinez,Victor   12    8   36	 28
Moss,Brandon      12   11   29	  5
Pollock IV,A.J.    6    3   19	 11 
Stubbs,Drew        7    0   20	  4
Teixeira,Mark      9    3   21	  6
Murphy,Daniel     14   10   24	 20 
Granderson,Curtis  3    1   13	 25
Kinsler,Ian       14   12   24	  3

PITCHERS         Prj  Apr  May  June
===============  ===  ===  ===  ====
Hughes,Phil        1    0   20	 16
Weaver,Jered       7    3   25	 -1
Clippard,Tyler     9    4   22	  1
Wilson,C.J.       15   10   24	  2
Arroyo,Bronson     5  -14   12	  5
Gee,Dillon         6    4   12	 -4 
Leake,Mike         7    3   13    2

Screening out those players who were hurt, every one except Granderson regressed in June. That’s well over 90% and a very strong percentage play.

It's really just Bill James' Plexiglass Principle at work. So we can probably extend this to the June surgers as well. When I look at a player like Jonathan Lucroy (pictured)—who was projected at $12, earned $9 in April, $15 in May and $33 in June—all I see is a July regression.

Similar players who had a huge June spike and could regress in July are Billy Hamilton, Coco Crisp, Alex Gordon, Corey Dickerson, Anthony Rendon, Lonnie Chisenhall, Khris Davis, Scott Kazmir, Josh Beckett, Jason Vargas, Tanner Roark and Kyle Gibson.

2014 Breakouts

These were players who have performed far above projection all season. I suggested that, while there will likely be some regression, we have to start taking these performances at least a little bit seriously.

BATTERS          Prj  Apr  May  June
===============  ===  ===  ===  ====
Gordon,Dee         1   30   36	 39
Tulowitzki,Troy   18   25   51	 17
Dozier,Brian       9   28   36	 20
Stanton,Giancarlo 18   24   42	 24
Smith,Seth         3    7   23	  6
Altuve,Jose       14   20   34	 39
Kendrick,Howie     7   15   27	 -6
Escobar,Alcides    1   12   20	 16
Rizzo,Anthony      9   10   28	 28
Brantley,Michael  12   20   30	 22
Jones,Garrett      2    6   20	 -5
Cruz,Nelson        9   19   27	 26
Solarte,Yangervis  1    8   16	 -3
Francisco,Juan     2    4   16	  1
Frazier,Todd       6   12   20	 28
Ramirez,Alexei    11   23   25	  6
Rollins,Jimmy      9   16   22	 10
Norris,Derek       5    8   18	 13
Bautista,Jose     17   28   30	 35
Cabrera,Melky      7   18   20	 10
Yelich,Christian   6   14   18	 13
Chisenhall,Lonnie  1    5   13	 27
Arenado,Nolan      2    9   13	 -4
Murphy,David       1    8   12	  1
Lake,Junior        2    4   12    2

PITCHERS         Prj  Apr  May  June
===============  ===  ===  ===  ====
Kluber,Corey       3    7   33	  5
Peralta,Wily       1   11   29	 -1
Cueto,Johnny      10   27   37	 26
Buehrle,Mark       2   14   28	 15
Gray,Sonny         8   19   31	  1
Ross,Tyson         4    8   26	  5
Samardzija,Jeff   11   18   30	  0
Keuchel,Dallas     1    9   19	 23
Smith,Will         1   12   18	 12
Davis,Wade         1    4   18	 20
Teheran,Julio     13   17   29	 26
Tanaka,Masahiro   15   19   31	 43
Chavez,Jesse       1   15   17	 13
Betances,Dellin    1    7   17	 18
Warren,Adam        1    4   16	  4
Machi,Jean         2    7   17	 12
Richards,Garrett   1    8   16	 27
Hammel,Jason       1   11   15	 10
Britton,Zach       1    8   14	  8
Niese,Jon          3    7   15	 14
Carpenter,David    1    6   12	 -9
Neshek,Pat         1    3   11	  7
Greinke,Zack      17   19   27	 14
Rondon,Hector      1    3    9    0

Once again screening out injuries, 58% of batters and 74% of pitchers managed to maintain their breakout performances into June. This is not as strong a percentage play as the first group, but it still bears watching.

Slow Improvers

These were players who got off to a slow start in April, but improved in May, even though both months had yet to meet projection. I suggested that odds were good that they would continue to improve.

BATTERS          Prj  Apr  May  June
===============  ===  ===  ===  ====
Cabrera,Miguel    39    5   27	 22
Goldschmidt,Paul  36   19   23	 45
McCutchen,Andrew  33   25   27	 41
Choo,Shin-Soo     30   13   25	 -2
Davis,Chris       29   13   15	 -1
Ortiz,David       25   11   21	 10
Cano,Robinson     24    7   23	 24
Reyes,Jose        23    0   18	 24
Pedroia,Dustin    22    6   10	  8
Segura,Jean       20    7   13	  4 
Wright,David      20    7   13	 10 
Beltre,Adrian     19    4   12	 11
Marte,Starling    18   14   16	 15
Santana,Carlos    17    2   14	 20
Desmond,Ian       16    8   10	  9
Jones,Adam        16    7   13	 16
Aoki,Norichika    14    6   12	  0
Heyward,Jason     14    8   12	 25
Seager,Kyle       13    5   11	 14
Bourn,Michael     10    4    8	  3
Span,Denard       10    5    9   10

PITCHERS         Prj  Apr  May  June
===============  ===  ===  ===  ====
Bumgarner,Mad.    21    9   13	 32
Kimbrel,Craig     20    9   11	 13
Holland,Greg      19    5   15	 13
Uehara,Koji       17    7    9	 23
Nathan,Joe        16    1    5	 -9
Jimenez,Ubaldo    13  -10    2	  2
Robertson,David   11    1    7   10

Of the batters, 60% did continue to improve, or at least didn’t regress. On the pitching side, 4 of 7 (57%) improved (71% if you consider that Holland did not regress back to April’s earnings). Small sample size in any case. Again, not a strong play, but worth considering.

Potential Lost Seasons

These were players who got off to a slow start in April and continued to decline in May. I suggested that we should be concerned about this group and not expect much in the way of rebounds.

BATTERS          Prj  Apr  May  June
===============  ===  ===  ===  ====
Ellsbury,Jacoby   29   24    6	 45
Ramirez,Hanley    24   15    7	 38
Werth,Jayson      23   16   10	 13
Cuddyer,Michael   21   10    4	  4
Carpenter,Matt    21   11    9	 16
Mauer,Joe         20   12    8	  1
Jackson,Austin    16   14    8	 -1
Soriano,Alfonso   15    6   -2	 -4
Zimmerman,Ryan    15    5   -1	 -1
Longoria,Evan     15   10    4	 13
Brown,Domonic     12   10   -4	  6
Nava,Daniel       12    0   -4    4

PITCHERS         Prj  Apr  May  June 
===============  ===  ===  ===  ====
Verlander,Justin  23   17   -1	-16 
Price,David       20   10    0	 26
Gonzalez,Gio      18   11   -9	 -8
Jansen,Kenley     18   11    1	  6
Wood,Travis       13    7    1	 -5
Buchholz,Clay     13   -6  -14	-16
Masterson,Justin  12    3  -13	  7
Garza,Matt        10    4  -10	 18
Axford,John        8    5   -1	  1
Hunter,Tommy       6    2   -4   -4

This final group was significant. Of batters, 81% continued to fall short of expectation; only Ellsbury and Hanley Ramirez turned things around in June.

On the pitching side, 78% are still scuffling; only Price and Garza rebounded. Some older Baseball Forecaster research noted that holes are tough to dig out of. This confirms those results, even though the sample size is small.

You can put all these findings to use in your trade negotiations, cherry-picking players whose short-term performance might bring inflated return. And, needless to say, this insight is gold in monthly leagues.

The deadline for July leagues is this Sunday, June 29 at 11:00 pm ET. Here are 5 reasons to consider playing.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.