Pecota Schmecota!

According to LoHud, the Yankees will finish third in 2010. That’s right. They won’t even make the playoffs. And I’m supposed to believe something called the PECOTA System, which stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm? Don’t make me laugh.
This is why I hate stats. Even if the people at Baseball Prospectus had predicted the Yankees would repeat as World Champions, I’d feel the same way. Talk about taking the pleasure out of actually watching games for an entire season. I don’t care about what things look like on paper. I don’t care about algorithms.  And I really don’t care about any PECOTAS unless they’re a family in California’s Napa Valley that makes this.
How can they predict injuries? Slumps? Career years? An unbelievable bounce back season by Randy Winn? It’s called the human element, and it’s the reason I’m a baseball fan.
Derek Jeter Dive into Stands copy.jpg


  1. rabruzzese

    People watch baseball for different reasons. Some people for the love of the game and some people because they have fun playing with the stats. I’m sure some people fall into both categories. I’m sure the person who came up with these stats has a fantastic time watching the games to see if he’s right or wrong, they wouldn’t go about suggesting that they stop playing or something like that.

  2. Jane Heller

    What category do you fall into, Rob? Sounds like both? I’m not suggesting that people who take stats seriously don’t enjoy watching games too; the two are not mutually exclusive. I’m just saying that stats aren’t fun for me. But then I didn’t like math either. šŸ™‚


    Stats, schmatz! I don’t think PECOTA is anything more than a bunch of numbers created by an actuary who had too much time on his hands. The joy of baseball isn’t about the numbers anyway. (BTW, I have a degree in math, so obviously it’s not that I hate numbers in general.)
    Some people love stats, but like you Jane, they don’t mean too much to me. The prime example of this is Jeter. Though his stats are good, they just do not represent the total picture of what kind of player he is. His numbers will never reflect all the intangibles and the way he comes through when most needed.
    A few years ago during the start of the season, the Yankees/Red Sox hype got to be just too much for me. So I went to a local high school game. Just to watch and remember what it’s all about.


    Ha, ha! I wrote my post without looking at the title of today’s entry. You and I really do think alike!

  5. thefreak

    Is just me Jane, or is this years off season have you scratching your head more then the past? Randy Winn – Nick Johnson – Melky Cabrera. Seems like the brass’ brains went to mush after the Granderson trade.

    And I hate to say this but stats do make a difference. If they didn’t, we all wouldn’t be trying to figure out why Damon isn’t back in pin-stripes. As for the Yankee’s finishing 3rd, I don’t see that happening. But it could happen (probably not though)

    Everyone on paper looks like they could make the playoffs before the season starts. But the season has to play out to determine the actual teams. And THAT IS WHY THEY PLAY THE GAMES! I learned that from baseball 101. LOL



    I don’t care about stats either, Jane. The ultimate goal is The World Series and you can have all of the singularly most impressive pitchers, fielders and hitters in the game and if they don’t play as a team it is all adds up to nothing. That was something that Damon always brought to the game — the team spirit and enthusiasm. We still have plenty of guys that can fill that bill and I’m not worried, as long as the new guys fit in and that they all play as one.

    How about an update on your husband? Hope all is going well and he’s heading home by the early part of next week.

    A quick note, we finally saw George Clooney’s new movie, “Up In The Air” this past Tuesday night. Whoever called this one a comedy got it wrong. It started off in a very humorous manner but it went seriously the other way in the end. The acting was stellar and the directing was phenominal but it was so sad that we left the theatre quite depressed. Anyway, just wanted to warn anyone who might not have seen it yet. If I had some warning I might not have been hit so hard by the outcome and would have enjoyed the movie more.

  7. peggy3

    HI Jane and fellow Baseball fans…

    I haven’t had time to read the past few days and I was just catching up about Michael …I hope he is well on his way to recovery now. He’s on my prayer list …

    As far as PERCOTA I think in their February predictions last season they had Boston, Cleveland, Oakland, Mets, Cubs & Arizona winning their Divisions. Need more be said ???

    I’m sorry to see Johnny D go but I’m here for anyone who wears the pinstripes (even Carl Pavano when he was on the team)…sooooo…here’s to Randy Winn and a very winning season !!! San Fran fans paint him as a terrific person which is what I want in the clubhouse along with a FEW hits too …haha. Go Randy !!! Go Grandy !!! Go Javy !!!
    Go Yankees !!!! (I sound a little like Santa and his reindeers

    Diane …I felt the same way about “Up In The Air” ….very depressing at the end of the movie. It did have quite a few laughs but I didn’t love it as much as others did. Naturally…I loved GEORGE CLOONEY as he does no wrong in my book.

    Last but certainly not least …I finished Name Dropping and now I’m reading Lucky Stars. I was trying to hold my laughter on the train this morning when the Mom & Stacey went to the fish cannery. Mom’s a hoot …she’s just too funny !! Thanks for a enjoyable read Miss Jane ..

    Happy Weekend to all….

    Go Yankees 2010 !!!!

  8. Jane Heller

    You’re hoping Pecota is right, indians? They have the Twins winning the AL Central.

    Great minds think alike, Melissa. We came up with the same (or similar) headline for this post AND we used Jeter to make our points (you in your explanation and me in my choice of photo). If some fans find pleasure in analyzing the stats, that’s more than OK by me. I’m just not one of them.

    This off-season doesn’t really surprise me, Mike, because of how we went after the big guns last year. Getting CC, AJ and Tex were filling obvious holes and they were the best – and most expensive – FAs on the market. This year we traded for Granderson, a good move in my opinion, even though AJax could have a great career with the Tigers. Nick Johnson did make me scratch my head. I’m with you on that one. But he was a relatively cheap pickup, and if he stays healthy he’ll get on base and drive in runs. And Winn, as I keep saying and telling myself, is a good, low-cost guy who might rebound from a bad year. As much as I wanted Damon to come back – and you know I did – he wanted the kind of money the Yankees paid him four years ago when he was a CF-er. I still think he’s a great player, but I don’t blame Cashman for not being aggressive with him, the way he was with last year’s FAs. P.S. We will NOT finish third! Last year we were supposed to be the biggest financial flop in history. Look how that turned out.

    Oops, sorry not to provide an update on Michael, Diane. He was doing a little better yesterday. The doctor is keeping him in the hospital for the foreseeable future – i.e. he wouldn’t commit to a discharge date in spite of my incessant pleas – but there’s been progress. Thanks for asking. As for “Up in the Air,” I’ll have to go back and re-read the post I wrote after seeing that screening a while back. I know I didn’t think it was a comedy. I was one of the few among my friends who didn’t like it. Clooney and Vera were terrific, as was Anna Kendrick, the young efficiency expert, but the story left me cold. ***Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t seen it ***** I could see the fact that Vera was married a mile away, so no surprise there. And that sequence when Clooney went to the wedding made me want to run from the theater; it was so claustrophobic and boring and his “speech” to the groom so glib. But the worst was how it was supposed to be funny that he was going around firing people? Didn’t work for me.

    Yeah, that was a shocker, Leah. I guess Pecota likes the additions the A’s made to their team this off-season. I still see the Mariners battling it out with the Angels though.

  9. phillies_phollowers

    Know what you mean; I hate making predictions. Although, I did predict a return to the WS and every one laughed at me. Did not predict the loss, buy hey, can’t win ’em all! Except for the Yankees, that is ;o) They will totally make the playoffs again!


  10. raysrenegade

    I look at those rating the same way I do a prediction from Rosenthal and Onley… with a smile and a great big belly laugh.
    Seriously, I am not doubting all three teams could not hit that 90 win plateau, but so much goes into winning that all three teams have to be on the ball and healthy the entire year.
    But the reality of these types of projections is that it is nice to be seen as a frontrunner, but sucks when they show you as a trailing team with potential.
    Take it with a grain of salt, or better yet, throw that salt upon the rim of a nice Margarita glass and we can all toast the fact none of us were picked………last.
    2009 PECOTA had the order right of the Top 3, but missed out on the records: NYY projected 99-63, actual 103-59. Guess there is a 4 game wobble in the rating.

    Rays Renegade

  11. Jane Heller

    Thanks, Peggy. Michael was doing better yesterday and I’ll be going to the hospital in an hour or so and assume he’ll be better still. Judging by Pecota’s predictions for last year, my tarot reader did a better job! Glad you were laughing during that tuna cannery part in “Lucky Stars.” Michael and I went to a Chicken of the Sea plant in the Long Beach area and I researched the scene there. It was exactly as I described it. My shoes were soaked from tuna “juice” and I had to throw them out. But the worst part is I haven’t eaten canned tuna since and I used to love it. LOL!

    I hope your prediction is correct, Jenn. I know I’m looking forward to the season, Pecota or no Pecota! Are you going to be at spring training for the Yanks-Phils game in Clearwater on 3/17? If so, I’ll see you there.

  12. peggy3

    Just for your info …I gave you the February 2009 predictions for PERCOTA …they adjust as the season progresses. I think they have some serious adjusting to do this year … :o).
    Yankees 3rd place …bah humbug !!!!

    Go Yankees 2010 !!

  13. crzblue2

    Good morning Jane!
    Glad to hear Michael is doing better! Looking at the Jello pic reminded me of a friend that a blog a la Julia/Julie. She is following a Jello booklet making one or two recipes a week. Her name is Julie. She has an mlb blog too.
    That is great that you brought the ha-ha lady! I love that picture! and yeah, I don’t believe in those predictions.

  14. Jane Heller

    You should be applauding that Pecota prediction, Renegade. They have the Rays winning it! But I agree about so much depending on which team stays healthy. That’s such a huge part of who ends up with the trophy. By the way, I’d love to have that Margarita you mentioned. Bring it on over!

    There you go, kaiser. It must be wrong! LOL.

    Bad humbug is right, Peggy. No third place for us in 2010.

    Now I see what you’re talking about with the stat zombies, Paul. I will continue to be a stat vampiress.

    Thanks for the good thoughts about Michael, Emma. So your friend is making Jell-O recipes and blogging about it? If I were doing a food blog, I’d try different recipes for brownies. HAHA.

  15. levelboss

    Jane, i was talking to a guy at work who’s a baseball expert.. he told me that the guy who was with PECOTA and who made accurate predictions had left PECOTA some years ago to do predictions for politics.. the guy at work agreed with me that the 2010 mlb predictions are a bit off the mark.. he said he thinks the AL East standings will be similar to last year’s standings with the exception of Toronto and Balitmore (Toronto might be in the basement this year).. so never you mind this year’s PECOTA predictions

  16. Jane Heller

    Kaiser, I saw that post on the New Stadium Insider blog and thought it was hilarious. I still don’t think they’re for real but they were awfully entertaining, either way.

    Interesting that the guy who used to do pecota is now in politics, levelboss. They need accurate predictions more than baseball does! I’ll take your advice and pay the current prediction no mind.

  17. irishsoxkid19

    Stats to me, especially this early in the season, mean nothing. Yeah, some people may think otherwise, but I don’t see baseball as a statistical game. It’s more of a form of enjoyment and debate. When I say debate, I mean between the fans of different teams. Something that we all do on MLBlogs, which is why we have one!! It allows us to connect as fans and talk about a sport we love. It’s way to early to tell how a team is going to do, who’s gonna be injured, or who’s gonna win it all.

  18. Jane Heller

    Billze, I’m sorry my responses to comments have been out of whack today. I guess that’s what happens when I try to work from my iPhone! I wouldn’t say that the Red Sox haven’t improved. Their defense should be better with Beltre at third and John Lackey, while not my favorite pitcher, will really fortify their rotation. It’s just that stats aren’t my thing at all. If others enjoy analyzing them, great.

    I couldn’t agree more, Holly. For me baseball is about watching players do things that no statistical analysis of their skills could ever predict they would do. And injuries are such a huge part of which teams succeed and which don’t.

  19. Jane Heller

    It’s been interesting to see the gender split on the subject of PECOTA in particular and stats in general, Virginia. Female fans tend not to care about stats, while the guys are more into them. In any case, I’m with you: The Yankees will repeat as World Champs!

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