PECOTA, ZiPS, Chone, Marcel . . . everybody's got a projection season these days. Granted, "everybody" in that context is an actual sabermetrician, and I'm not. But identity politics don't deter me, brother. MacGyver was neither a chemist nor a chef, yet he could construct a bomb out of graham crackers and cream cheese. And I can create a pitcher projection system.
Say hello to Intuitive Diagnostic Observational Indication of Talent, or "IDOIT."
Why call it IDOIT? Well, that's the acronym you get when you shorten Intuitive Diagnostic Observational Indication (of) Talent. Additionally, I suppose I use the acronym for the same reason I sometimes type teh. It seems sort of internetty. IDOIT it is.
What is IDOIT? I can't tell you.
I mean, I could tell you. I just don't wanna. IDOIT is proprietary. I'm looking to make some money on this thing down the road. And I can't do that if, as Red would say, Racquel is spilling her little secret. Suffice it to say: (a) IDOIT is teh awesome, (b) I'm not telling you what it is, and (c) it's going to make me rich. Rich, I tells ya!
However, I will reveal one aspect of IDOIT: Unlike the "other" projection systems, which just project end-of-season ERAs and peripheral numbers and numerous adjustments thereof, IDOIT is far more user-friendly and fascinating. Using that stuff I can't tell you, and doing so in ways I can't explain, IDOIT projects the pitcher's season start-by-start, or in the case of relievers, appearance-by-appearance. It even projects precise points where starters are demoted from the rotation to the bullpen or the minors, where relievers are inserted into the rotation on a temporary or emergency basis, where emergent pitchers are recalled to the majors, and where guys get injured and miss some time. IDOIT is adroit enough to give you the contours of a pitcher's season, not just a fast-forward button to the end.
IDOIT adjusts for home park and for a measure I call "Competition," which is essentially the list of teams on a given team's schedule. Furthermore, as accurately as possible, each IDOIT projection attempts to place a starting pitcher into a specific Nos. 1-5 rotational spot, so as to predict team- and opposing pitcher-matchups.
No pitching projection system is as advanced as IDOIT.
* * * *
I know you want me to take IDOIT for a whirl. I expected that. And I'll deliver. The first public subject of IDOIT is John Patterson, staff ace of the Washington Nationals.
IDOIT is aware of several things about the Big Nasty: (1) he's a pretty darn good pitcher when healthy; (2) he's not healthy very often; (3) but he says he's healthy now; and (5) he's pitching for what will likely be a bad team.
Wait. I skipped (4), didn't I? Sorry, that's one of the things I can't tell you about IDOIT. Trust me. You won't get any money out of that---and I will---but you'll be smarter for it.
At any rate, those are things IDOIT considers when projecting Patterson's performance start-by-start. His projection follows below. Actually, don't call it a projection; call it a stone-cold lock. Based on last year's results, figured retroactively, the delta of the Hardelstein Manifold is Sub Two Trinomical. You don't know what that means, but it's good.
Very good. File these IDOITs in a safe place, 'cause we'll return to them in October.
JOHN PATTERSON: IDOIT
|Appearance No.||IP/H/R/ER/BB/SO/HR||Decision||YTD W-L, ERA|
|No.2(GS)||6/6/3/3/2/5/1||No D||0-1, 4.15|
|No.7(GS)||6.1/6/3/3/4/3/0||No D||3-2, 3.04|
|No.8(GS)||3.1/6/4/4/2/2/1||No D||3-2, 3.55|
|INJURED + REHAB|
|No.9(GS)||5/5/2/2/1/3/0||No D||3-2, 3.55|
|INJURED - MISSED START|
|No.16(GS)||7.2/5/3/2/1/8/0||No D||6-5, 3.32|
|No.18(GS)||6/5/3/3/1/4/1||No D||6-6, 3.32|
|No.19(GS)||9/2/0/0/2/10/0||W (CG-SHO)||7-6, 3.08|
|No.20(GS)||5.1/6/3/2/5/6/0||No D||7-6, 3.09|
|No.21(GS)||7/7/4/3/2/5/1||No D||7-6, 3.13|
|No.23(GS)||4.2/8/6/6/3/2/2||No D||8-6, 3.41|
|No.25(GS)||9/7/3/3/2/6/1||L (CG)||9-7, 3.30|
As I said before, IDOIT gives us a look at the contours of a pitcher's season. With Patterson, they are fairly easy to see. IDOIT projects Patterson to get off to a fine start, but some arm troubles begin to creep up. He takes some time off, takes a few starts to tweak things, misses a start as a precautionary measure, and then blasts off: seven straight quality starts (only one of them of the baseline variety, with a two-hitter mixed in), and nine starts without surrendering a homer. From there, Patterson, settles in for the end of the season. One poor start kills his chance of a sub-three ERA, but all in all it's a fine (if somewhat truncated) season, even factoring in the home park.
And here's his full IDOIT stat line:
Overall, that's a nice season---superficially similar to his 2005 breakout campaign. The strikeout rate is a bit down, and look at that hits per innings pitched ratio. Is Cristian Guzman really that good? The answer's probably no to that, but IDOIT has Patterson doing some very good things. Check out that homer rate, for instance; that's making good use of the home park. However, IDOIT is also well aware of Patterson's injury history and adjusts accordingly.
Some of the preseason previews have noted Patterson hasn't won as many as ten games in a previous season. Injuries or not, bad team or not, IDOIT says bullocks to that! (Just barely.)