Projection Team-by-Team Modeling

I’ve completed the projection modeling process of 26 teams at this point. Only a few more left. As I was reflecting on this tedious modeling process, I though some might be interested in how it is done.

I’ve already shared how batter and pitcher projections are created. The role based portion of MORPS is the regression to the mean based upon the primary position of a player. Player roles are further refined during the team modeling process by evaluating each player that has been projected to make the 25 man team roster. Free agent acquisitions, retirements, changes in team strategy and a variety of other things will impact the positions of a player during the upcoming season. The art of MORPS projections is analyzing all these movements, team-by-team, and shifting position regression and anticipated plate appearances or batters faced. If I was simply concerned about how MORPS stacks up against other projection systems, I wouldn’t worry about these tweaks. MARCEL projections have shown us that simple projections will be very close to actual when taken as a whole without these adjustments. However, this doesn’t help a fantasy owner who wants to know if they should select player A on draft day. The team-by-team analysis allows MORPS projections to reflect the anticipated roles of a player for the upcoming season. This is also why the projections are updated several times leading up to the season. Roles change based upon Spring Training decisions. Those change then impact individual player projections.

So… How does team-by-team modeling work? The first step is to calculate the total number of plate appearances and batters faced for each team position, batting order position, etc. Although one can argue that a team will never have the same number of plate appearances or batters faced from year to year, we are assuming that the variation in these numbers from year to year will not be dramatic. I then take projected lineups, including backups, and assign them to the position or positions they are anticipated to play. Plate appearances and batters faced are adjusted to reflect anticipated playing time and primary positions are adjusted for those players that are moving to a new role in the upcoming year. Projections are then recalculated for each player on that team using these adjustments. Unlike last year, I’ve written a windows program that simplifies this process. That being said, it is still tedious and time consuming.

When all the team projections are completed, I will then put all the players together into batting and pitching lists in preparation for publication. The last check is to scan position totals for abnormal variances that would indicated mistakes in the adjustments. Those things are then fixed and we’re ready for publication. With only a handful of teams left, I am hoping to have the pre spring training projections out within the next several days.

Let me know if anyone has questions. I figure the more open I am with the process, the more people will be able to trust the end result.

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