Top over/under-achieving players - 1st half of 2014 MLB season
Every season there is plenty of surprises and unexpected this happening in baseball. We scratch our heads and ask the question: Where did that come from? Who would have guessed that J.D. Martinez was going to be an impact player for the Tigers with 13 homeruns and 17 doubles so far (55 games / 188 ABs)? Or Devin Mesoraco stepping up and giving the Reds much needed offensive stability in the absence of Joey Votto? And what about Jake Arrieta, Phil Hughes and Garrett Richards having ace-type seasons.
We look back at pre-season player predictions and compare them to actual performance at the All Stars break. The tables below show top ten over-/underachieving batters and pitchers so far this season. The stats used for batters is wOBA (weighted on-base average) and FIP (fielding independent pitching) for pitchers. A minimum of 150 plate appearances and 50 innings pitched were required.
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When making player predictions the important thing is not to try to guess which players are going to have dramatically different seasons from what their numbers from previous seasons suggests. There is of course value in adjusting for some variables, for example a player having a worse season than expected because playing with some minor injury or a pitcher changing teams and playing in a ballpark more suitable for his pitching style (Phil Hughes Yankees -> Twins). The important thing is to getting the predictions right (or being close) for the large crop of players.