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Daisake Matsuzaka 2007 Projection

Following the resolution of the Daisake Matsuzaka soap opera, the focus now turns to projecting what the Red Sox should expect for their $103MM investment over the next six years.  These projections, and the hype, will be the basis for the decisions fantasy baseball owners use to determine what value they assign to Dice-K.

A simple acceptance of these projections is easy enough for non-fantasy baseball fans, but fantasy owners must use these projections and apply them in an environment where money is often at stake.  We do not have the luxury of making predictions and then being unaccountable for the results.  We are not weathermen!

For this reason, I called into question Transaction Oracle's projection of Dice-K's 2007 season:

2007 ZiPS Projection -  Daisuke Matsuzaka
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            W   L   G  GS   IP    H   ER  HR  BB  SO   ERA
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Projection 15   8  26  24  186  186   71  18  34 131  3.44
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My qualms arise solely from the ERA of 3.44 and the innings-pitched-to-striekouts.  There is also a very serious issue with winning 15 of 24 starts (57.5%) and getting decisions in 23 of those 24 starts, but that isn't as important to me as the translation of a 6.33 K-ratio.  (Although it certainly weakens the projection further.)

The math behind the projections is conventional wisdom.  But I don't care about the current acceptance of statistical methodology.  What I care about is what to bid on a player with those peripherals.

As Dice-K will pitch in the AL, I chose to examine all the AL pitchers for last season to see if there were comparable ones with similar IPs and K-ratio to see what their actual ERAs were.

A simple method, once you've downloaded the 2006 stats, for getting relative fantasy values.  A sort based on innings-pitched from 170 to 193 produced eleven comparables.  Then looking at K-ratios between 6.00 and 7.00 produced the following AL pitchers:  Justin Verlander, Kelvim Escobar and Rodrigo Lopez.

I'm sure the first one got you giddy, the second didn't do much to diminish your little-girl-at-a-Justin-Timberlake-concert excitement.  Then Rodrigo Lopez.  Aaaaargh!  It's the Crying Game!!!!!!

However, three is not a good sample, and one that includes Rodrigo Lopez is not one that gets the $25+ draft blood flowing either.

Dice-K's projection also included a miniscule 34 BBs.  Including this makes comparables more difficult as the only 2005 SPs within the innings-pitched range are Carlos Silva and Paul Byrd, and neither of them struck out more than 88.

If you then allow for the BBs to float upwards into the 50s while trying to stay in the ballpark of 131 Ks, then you capture Jarrod Washburn and, again, Kelvim Escobar.

As you can see, the peripherals projected by Transaction Oracle seem inconsistent with the K-ratio.  AL pitchers in that area generally have ERAs over four with the exception of Kelvim Escobar.  And what did your league bid on him?

Answer that question, and you have a rough estimate of Dice-K's draft value based on the above projection.  I'm sure a Wall Street analysis would then allow the difference between Escobar's $13 price tag and the one Dice-K actually goes for to be labelled "growth potential" or "expectations premium" or some other slop.  But that is another issue.