Effectively Wild Wiki


Ben and Sam answer listener emails about whether PECOTA underestimates the Yankees, how to improve ERA, Coco Crisp the MVP candidate, and in-season stats vs. projections.


  • New York Yankees PECOTA projection
  • Coco Crisp MVP hypothetical
  • Improving ERA
  • In-season stats vs. projections

Email Questions[]

  • Steve: "I am a Red Sox fan (ex-pat living in Brooklyn). Right now the Yankees seem to be holding their own (and then some) despite an array of injuries that one would expect to be crippling. I can't remember a season when the New York Yankees did not outperform their PECOTA expected win total. Where do the Yankees rank in terms of realized versus expected PECOTA wins since the inception of PECOTA? If they have been a consistent outperformer, do you think it is luck or something else? If you conclude that PECOTA does have an anti-Yankee bias, would it be appropriate to build some kind of aura and mystique factor into the projection system or is that idea fundamentally un-PECOTA?"
  • Brad: "My question is, what if Coco Crisp just won the MVP award this season? I mean, what if he just kept playing well, hitting for power, helping his team win, and then he ended the season with great stats for a great team and won the MVP. How crazy would that be? How odd would that be to watch Coco Crisp accept an MVP award? Is Coco Crisp the most unlikely of all MVP candidates? I know that in reality a guy like Drew Butera is the most unlikely of all MVP candidates, I get that. However if I had you list your choices for AL MVP at the beginning of the season, basically until you run out of players you would actually consider, Coco Crisp would eventually be on the list but he would be one of the last guys before you give up and stop making the list. He might even be the last guy. He is probably a better candidate than other guys on his team, but still he's Coco Crisp."
  • Stephen: "Considering pitchers do not average 9 innings per start, I've been thinking it would make more sense to use an earned run ratio rather than ERA. If we use a ratio of average innings per start:average earned runs, looking at one ratio would provide a frame of reference for what the pitcher usually does in one game. For example, in 2012 Cliff Lee had an ERA of 3.16, which we intuitively know is good. But his earned run ratio was 7.03:2.85, which means he went an average of 7.03 innings per game and allowed an average of 2.85 runs per game which gives us a clear indication of his average performance on a game by game basis."
  • Daryl: "I am playing Scoresheet for the first time and part of the fun is weekly determining batting for my team. I initially used Baseball Prospectus' projections and the rule of thumb from the book to determine my lineup, which led to my batting Nolan Reimold first against left handed pitchers even though the Orioles had him ninth. But now that I have some 2013 data, I am tempted to base it on that even though it certainly is a small sample. Do you recommend I continue to use the projected stats and risk putting slumping players at the top of the order and not riding streaks? Or should I use what little 2013 data I have and risk missing out on slumping players regressing positively to the mean?"


  • From 2005-2012, the Yankees were projected by PECOTA to win 756 games. They have actually won 765 games.
  • 2008 was the last time the Yankees did not outperform their expected win total (projected to win 97, won 89).
  • Who from 'the field' could win the MVP award? Sam thinks Ken Caminiti in 1996 is a good example.
  • Ben & Sam think that Daryl should, if forced to make a binary choice, use the preseason projections all season long.