Last week the PECOTA Projections were released at Baseball Prospectus for the 2022 season for individual players. As was noted when we looked at some of the hitters, what separates the PECOTA Projections from the other projection systems in terms of what sees the public is that they include a large variety of the projections from least likely on both the low and high end, as well as the 50th percentile projections that everyone publishes that are the”most likely” ones to take place.

Today we’re going to look at some of the more fun parts of the projections. Nothing will match the 99th percentile projection from 2020 that had some crazy glitch that said Shogo Akiyama could hit .480, but hey – there’s still some fun stuff to look at.

In what probably isn’t surprising to anyone who follows the Cincinnati Reds, Luis Castillo projects to be the most valuable pitcher on the team, leading the way with a 3.24 ERA while throwing the most innings on the team. What probably is surprising, though, is that the best ERA projection on the team comes from reliever Art Warren, who projects for a 3.12 ERA.

Another interesting note that jumps out is the projection for prospect Nick Lodolo. He’s only projected for 50.0 innings on the season, but those innings look very good here. He’s projected for the third best ERA on the team. But it’s his 99th percentile projection that’s real fun to dream on. The innings remain unchanged from any of the percentile projections, but his ERA drops to 2.31 – second lowest on the team among the 99th percentile projections (Art Warren remains at the top here, too).

Lodolo is already in early minor league camp. Since he’s not on the 40-man roster, he’s not currently locked out and is allowed to show up in Goodyear and participate with the team’s other 58 players that are currently at the team facility to get ready for the season. The lefty does have an invite to big league spring training if and when that takes place (though how it would play out if there’s a long delay between the start of the minor league season and spring training is unknown to me at this time). He should be in competition for a spot in the rotation along with guys like Tony Santillan, Hunter Greene, Reiver Sanmartin, Graham Ashcraft, and Riley O’Brien.

From that group, and at least from an ERA projection, PECOTA favors Nick Lodolo by quite a bit. The system only has 50.0 innings from him, but that’s likely based on the fact that he’s never pitched in the big leagues and thus there is going to be some struggle to put him out there for an entire season when he’s never done that before (from the standpoint of a statistical model). Of course, projection systems across the board typically struggle to be nearly as accurate with players with little to no playing time in the big leagues. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if it were Lodolo who wound up being the best of the bunch. But it also wouldn’t be surprising if the best of the group wound up being Greene, Santillan, or Ashcraft.

8 Responses

  1. CFD3000

    Doug, assuming that all four of those young pitchers – Lodolo, Greene, Ashcraft and Santillan – stayed healthy this year, and in light of Lodolo’s injury issues last year, what sort of innings limits do you foresee for each? I’d guess Santillan won’t be limited based purely on health / arm preservation, but suspect the other three all would be, for various reasons. Thoughts?

  2. LDS

    Reminds me of the old Mark Twain quote: Lies, d—– lies, and statistics. I’ve followed Silver’s work for years in several domains. Sometimes his models work. Sometimes they don’t. I suspect Pecota has evolved since he and his team developed it. The 99th percentile projections are fun but sadly rare. But I can see Shogo hitting .480 – 12 hits out of 25 ABs. That’s about all the turns that Bell will give him.

    • Tar Heel Red

      Are you assuming the opposing pitcher is lobbing in underhand? If Akiyama sees MLB fastballs he will not hit .480…more likely .180

      • LDS

        No. I suspect Akiyama is better than he’s shown thus far. But adjusting to MLB requires playing and probably a lot. He hasn’t done that. He may not ever succeed but I’d argue he hasn’t played enough to establish that as fact.

    • VegasRed

      Another bell riddle: why not play Akiyama enough to know what he can do?

      Bell is the weakest mgr reds have ever seen

  3. Rednat

    the offense, defense, base running will be shaky at best this year so it will be up to the starting pitchers to be really really good for us to be competitive this year. that is a lot of pressure for our young guys.

    glorious day yesterday. i walked around the Gabp And I got to tell you i caught a little bit of spring fever. the super bowl left me with a sour taste in my mouth. uc and xavier are stinking it up in college basketball. my pacers are in rebuild mode. let’s play some baseball.

  4. MBS

    It should be a real fun season, seeing who becomes what. I’m assuming by the end of the season Greene and Lodolo will be starters. That means the fate of Gutierrez, Ashcraft, Santillan, and SanMartin could change over the corse of the season.

    If I had my druthers I’d start SanMartin and Gutierrez out of spring, and let NL, HG, and GA push their way onto the roster. You’ll have injuries, and with all the trade talk about the big 3, you could have a trade or 2.

  5. JayTheRed

    I’d like to see Akiyama given a lot more chances at least for the early part of the season. If he is terrible by may then put him on the bench.

    I don’t know if anything interesting will happen aquisition wise before even a shortened season starts but, if a trade for one of Toronto’s OF”ers would happen I would be ok with him being a backup overall.