For those that are Baseball Prospectus subscribers (which I completely suggest you should be), Tuesday of last week was PECOTA day where BP launched their 2015 PECOTA projections that includes anything from 2015 stats, top three historical player comparison, and other metrics of intrigue.
One of the things they release that I enjoy the most, or at least find the most interesting, is the breakout, improve, and collapse rates found in their weighted means spreadsheet. They seem pretty self-explanatory in their name, but we can go a little further and give the definition right from BP's site of what they mean.
The percent chance that a player's production (measured by RA for pitchers, and True Average for hitters) will improve by at least 20 percent relative to the weighted average of his performance over his most recent seasons.
Every player of the same age in our database (historically) is assigned a similarity score to the player in question. For each such similar player, a "baseline" value is projected for runs allowed based on past performance and standard aging curves. The weighted average of "1" or "0" for each of these similar players is taken, where "1" is used each time a comp player accomplished the goal in question-improving his run prevention or True Average by 20 percent.
Improve Rate is the percent chance that a player's production will improve at all relative to his baseline performance.
A player who is expected to perform just the same as he has in the recent past will have an Improve Rate of 50 percent.
Collapse Rate is the percent chance that a position player's true runs produced per PA will decline by at least 25 percent relative to his baseline performance over his past three seasons.
Collapse Rate can sometimes be counterintuitive for players who have already experienced a radical change in their performance levels.
You can read more about PECOTA's definitions here at their glossary, but the above descriptions should give a good baseline as to what the numbers mean.
Now I'm obviously not going to list every players rates on here, but we can look at some of the more interesting numbers that come up. I'll say it one more time, subscribe to Baseball Prospectus if you want all the information.
The Royals actually have a candidate for breakout in the top-10 of all the scores, but it isn't someone you either a) heard of or b) really know: it's recently acquired outfielder Raymond Fuentes who came over in the Kyle Bartsch deal from the Padres. Fuentes was given a breakout rate of 12 (the highest given was 20).
Another Royals player ranks in the top-25, but again it's a somewhat obscure name in Lane Adams with a 9. Adams has been with the Royals since the 2009 draft and even saw some MLB time this past season where he went hit-less in 3 plate appearances.
When it comes to hitters who are expected to see considerable playing time or a roster spot, Jarrod Dyson is projected for a 5 rating while Christian Colon received a 3.
For pitchers PECOTA is a little more liberal with the scoring (the highest score being a 48 to Wily Peralta). Danny Duffy received a 36 rating (30th overall) while Kelvin Herrera with a 29 comes in for 104th overall. Closely behind Herrera is Yordano Ventura at 28.
One that should make Royals fans happy, Eric Hosmer has the 4th highest improve rating in baseball at 66 which should help push the narrative that he's a bounceback candidate. Salvador Perez is 14th overall with a 61 rating. Mike Moustakas received a 54 rating, good for 44th overall.
For pitchers it's a bit more of the same. Duffy placed 10th overall with an improvement rating of 70 for 9th overall, Ventura a 65 (22nd overall), and Tiny Tim Collins gets a 59 for 46th overall.
While it's likely a moot point or not at least a particularly impactful one, newly signed Ryan Madson received the worst collapse rating of any pitcher in baseball with a 48. With an already full bullpen and signing a minor league deal, his leash is likely pretty short to begin with.
Behind Madson though is Greg Holland with a 32 score (15th overall) and Jason Vargas 31 (24th overall).
For hitters this one takes some sifting through. Rafael Furcal, Manny Ramirez, and Raul Ibanez all occupy the top few spots. That makes sense given that Ramirez/Ibanez are 43 years old, while Furcal is 37 and has played 9 games the past two seasons.
Lorenzo Cain is listed among the top true players with a 21 collapse rating. Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar received a 6 rating.
Maybe the inverse would be better to look at. As mentioned earlier PECOTA is bullish on Hosmer's 2015 outlook looking at his improve rating, but through collapse rating he's given a 0 (or the perfect score). 200+ players received a 0 rating as well, but maybe it's not not meaningless that when excel sorts by collapse score, Eric Hosmer ranks first. Mike Moustakas also received a 0 collapse rating. So, maybe they can't get worse!
PECOTA has limited projections on prospects, especially those in the lower levels, but it does have comparables (which we must always be cautious with). Some select Royals prospects:
|Player||Breakout||Improve||Collapse||Top 3 Comparables|
|Sean Manaea||21||29||7||Jake Mcgee, Christian Fredrich, Chris Dwyer|
|Raul Mondesi||0||0||0||Eduardo Nunez, Arismendy Alcantara, Chris Owings|
|Kyle Zimmer||13||16||6||Christian Fredrich, Erc Surkamp, Matt Barnes|
|Bubba Starling||0||0||0||Corey Brown, Elijah Dukes, Michael Saunders|
|Hunter Dozier||0||0||0||Chris Gimenez, Zelous Wheeler, Jesus Guzman|
|Brandon Finnegan||23||37||9||Zach Putnam, Carter Capps, , Mat Latos|
|Jorge Bonifacio||0||0||0||Moises Seirra, Brandon Jones, Rene Tosoni|
|Chase Vallot||0||0||0||Kyle Skipworth, Brandon Snyder, Wilson Ramos|
|Christian Binford||14||29||3||Patrick Corbin, David Holmberg, Joe Wieland|
|Miguel Almonte||0||0||0||Kyle Drabek, Andrew Heaney, Adam Wilk|
The Binford one is really fun. Prior to having Tommy John surgery, Patrick Corbin was worth 3.6 wins in his age-23 2013 season.