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2019 Projection Series: Primer

What does Cerutti's crystal ball tell us this year?

Hello Birds on the Black and Flyover Country Baseball friends! Welcome to February!

It’s getting to be that time of year again. I am going to be publishing my individual St. Louis Cardinal pitcher and position player projections for the 2019 season in the upcoming days and weeks. (Stay here at Birds on the Black this spring for Kyle's Dirty Thirty Five, as well! They're going to be incredible.) Prior to now, I have never really officially typed about what these projections are and how I come to get them anywhere, so this is my place to do that.

Back in the mid-to-late-2000s or so, I began attempting to create a projection system similar to Steamer, Marcel, ZIPS, etc. in order to see what I thought the Cardinals had going for them for the next season. I have attempted to improve upon it each and every year. In the past two calendar years, I have revamped the way minor league and foreign league numbers play into my projections. That has been one of the hardest parts of doing this exercise year in and out.

Basically, the gist of what I do is this:

  • I start on Google Sheets (formerly Microsoft Excel at the beginning of all of this).

  • I have a sheet for each individual player. I manually input their career major league, minor league, and foreign league statistics. I manually input their prior three seasons’ worth of statistics. I manually input how many plate appearances or batters faced at each level each season.

  • I then use a special formula to convert each level of the minors to a Major League Equivalency (MLE) output to compile their MLE stats for the 3 most recent seasons (minors/foreign+majors combined) and for their careers.

  • I then use a formula to attempt to weight each of those factors (the three most recent seasons AND the career statistics) and have it spit out what I use as my projected stat line for the upcoming year.

  • *The only thing that I sometimes fudge around with is plate appearances or innings pitched that I am allotting them for the upcoming season - since that is still an unknown.*

The finished product for each individual player looks something like this for position players:

Yadi 2018 Projections

And this for individual pitchers:

Waino 2018 Projections

After I get everyone finished (such as above), I go through and input them into another sheet for the entire team. Below you will find the sheet for the position players in 2018:

Cardinals Hitters 2018 Projections

And the sheet for pitchers in 2018:

Cardinals Pitchers 2018 Projections

As you can see, I make sure that the team is only allotted 6,300 plate appearances (and ~1,450 innings on the pitcher side). I have to take guesses as to playing time, basically I create my own depth chart - which is why these projections don’t come out until the spring; and I have to use a formula to get the totals because not everyone’s plate appearances / innings are guaranteed. That helps me to see about how many runs I believe the team will score vs. how many I believe they will allow on the season. In turn, those numbers help guide me on how many projected wins I believe the team can have in the following season.

Any questions? Any suggestions for the future? I hope you're looking as forward to these as I am to putting them out there for everyone to...most likely critique. :)

SCHEDULE February 1st - Primer (today)

February 2nd - Miles Mikolas and Paul Goldschmidt

February 3rd - Jack Flaherty and Matt Carpenter

February 4th - Carlos Martinez and Marcell Ozuna

February 5th - Michael Wacha and Paul DeJong

February 6th - Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina

I have not scheduled any more, but there will be PLENTY more after that throughout February.

Please enjoy.



Ben Cerutti
Ben Cerutti
Feb 05, 2019

Thanks, Luke. By the end, if you think of anything that could make the process better, bring it on, brother. I would love to improve this somehow. (I mean, I have ideas, but no clue as to how to make them work yet otherwise they'd be incorporated.)


Luke Rachwal
Luke Rachwal
Feb 04, 2019

This series is awesome man, love seeing your process

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