Steamer Likes Thor and Montero A Lot (But the Math is Fuzzy To Me)

fangraphs logoAs a companion piece to Fangraphs Top 10 Mets prospects, Carson Cistulli took a look at the Steamer projections for the guys on the list.

There are two things that really caught my eye:

1. Steamer projects Travis d’Arnaud to be worth 2.9 WAR via above average offense (108 wRC+) and above average defense worth eight runs. This is basically in line where I think d’Arnaud will be this year – an above average big league catcher.

2. Steamer really, really likes Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. Based on projected strikeout and walk rates, Cistulli derives a kwERA, an ERA predictor, and then uses that to construct kwERA- (an ERA estimator like ERA-, where 100 is average, and lower is better). By this method, he estimates a kwERA of 3.53 for Syndergaard and 3.79 for Montero and kwERA- of 91 for Thor and 98 for Montero. Thus, over 150 innings, through the translations that Cistulli make, that translates into a WAR of 2.6 for Syndergaard and 2.1 for Montero. These, relatively speaking, are monster estimates.

For example, on the Fangraphs page for each of the other six potential Mets starting pitchers (Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, Bartolo Colon and Carlos Torres) no other starter is projected as being worth more than 1.7 WAR/150 innings. In terms of overall WAR, Steamer tops out Bartolo Colon at 2.0 over 173 innings.

Syndergaard_front-2I think there’s something weird about both Cistilli’s transitions from kwERA to WAR/150 innings and the way Fangraphs is doing their Steamer WAR estimation other places, however, only one of which is made explicit. Cistulli writes of his own estimate, “Figures might diverge slightly (although not significantly) from those which appear on player pages.” Ok, so we’re covered there. (Given that Cistulli’s method includes only walk and strikeout percentages, and not homers or any other run scoring events, that all makes sense.) However, I was interested in comparing the prospect projections with other Mets’ pitchers, but projections using different methodologies make that difficult. Instead, I used the projections generated on other areas of the site, particularly the player pages. Even so, there’s something off.

On the player pages, Steamer projects Jenrry Mejia to pitch to a 3.71 ERA and a 3.53 FIP over 73 innings for a 0.3 WAR or 0.62 WAR/150. Steamer projects Rafael Montero to pitch to a 3.86 ERA and a 3.64 FIP over 67 innings and accumulate a 0.7 WAR or 1.57 WAR/150. So, Steamer projects Montero to pitch fewer innings, and do so less well than Mejia on a per-inning basis, by ERA AND FIP, but be worth more WAR. I must be missing something.

Leaving that aside, and using only Steamer’s ERA estimate from the player pages, Steamer projects Noah Syndergaard with the second-best ERA among this group behind only Mejia. Montero (3.86) has the fourth-best ERA projection behind only Mejia, Syndergaard, Colon and in a class with Jon Niese (3.90) and Carlos Torres (3.95).

So, again, Steamer really likes Montero and Syndergaard. Without assigning too much specificity, it sees Syndergaard as one of the Mets’ best non-Harvey pitchers right now, and Montero fitting comfortably in the back side, or #4 slot in a rotation.

 


The following chart uses ERA, IP and WAR estimates from Steamer on Fangraphs player pages. The only column where I did any manipulation is the farthest right, where I prorated Fangraphs’ Steamer WAR estimate over 150 innings.

 Steamer on the 2014 Mets Pitching


2013 ERA- 2014 Steamer ERA 2014 Steamer IP 2014 Steamer WAR 2014 WAR/150 innings
Matt Harvey 63 NA NA NA NA
Jon Niese 104 3.9 134 1.5 1.68
Zack Wheeler 96 4.12 182 1.4 1.15
Dillon Gee 101 4.18 144 1 1.04
Jenrry Mejia 64 3.71 73 0.3 0.62
Bartolo Colon 68 3.8 173 2 1.73
Carlos Torres 96 3.95 160 0.3 0.28
Noah Syndergaard NA 3.73 1 0 0.00
Rafael Montero NA 3.86 67 0.7 1.57
Jacob deGrom NA 4.56 1 0 0.00
38 comments
Connor O'Brien
Connor O'Brien

I would be thrilled if TDA can get to that ~3 WAR projection. That would be fantastic and a great place to build on and improve.


Unlike some others here, I don't see Mejia being an ace. Yeah, he was filthy last year, but remember that he only pitched 27.1 innings. Not nearly enough to have me believing he is the next Matt Harvey...

Peter Buell
Peter Buell

I am goin to give my thoughts on the metro station the old fashion way. By see test, some traditional statistics and past performance extrapolated. This is the way I see it if each one of these pitchers we're in the starting rotation. Now I know there are more than 5, but I will give my opinion based on each one being in the starting 5.

Wheeler 3.39 era. 14 wins

Mejia. 2.56 era. 15 wins

Gee. 3.47 era. 12 wins

Colon. 4.29 era 8 wins

Neise. 4.47 era. 9 wins

Syndergaurd 3.57. 12wins

Montero 3.25. 10 wins

you should be able to tell I am NOT a big fan of the Colon deal. I think he's gonna have an up-and-down year. some of the things factored in here regarding wins to era is how deep they can go in gamesthe makeup of the individual pitchers. I feel Mejiawill have a breakout year. He's been up and down the last 4 years with injuries playing a part. I think this coming season is is coming out party based on his performances last season and what I believe will be his first fully healthy season

Peter Buell
Peter Buell

though I'm not a big fan of the matrices being used or should I say overused. I do agree with the projections that are being giving here. Which brings me to my question, why did we sign Colon instead of a shortstop, namely drew or Peralta. That 10 million per year would have been better spent on one of these guys. They are also retarding the growth of these prospects mentioned above, some who are 25 or 26. Colon was a luxury that this team cannot afford. Please get a shortstop we looking at another 74 wIn season.

Daniel
Daniel

If healthy for 150 IP, Mejia will be our best non-Harvey pitcher. 

dexx
dexx

2015 Rotation


1. Matt Harvey-R

2. Noah Syndergaard-R

3. Zack Wheeler-R

4. Jon Niese-L

5. Jenry Mejia-R

6. Dillon Gee-R

7. Rafael Montero-R

8. Bartolo Colon-R

9. Jeremy Hefner-R

10. Jacob deGrom-R


with Steven Matz-L, Michael Fulmer-R, Gabriel Ynoa-R, Luis Cessa-R, Domingo Tapia-R & Cory Mazzoni-R knocking on the door.


If everyone stays healthy and progresses, all anyone can say is WOW.  I think its safe to say a few arms will get moved at some point.


mustang66
mustang66

I t hin k the use of statistics has gone way too far in evaluating players. From the eye test this is what I see. I see Mejia, if he can stay healthy as a 2.50 to

A 2.90 era. He has the most incredible stuff I've seen from any meta pitches since doc. Combine that with a 92 to 93 fastball, I see him as leading the staff this season

Noah Baron
Noah Baron

I did these calculations for every Mets pitching prospect of significance, with the 2013 model below, and a separate 2012/2013 model.  Because of the additional sample size of two seasons (169 pitchers instead of 82), the r^2 was not as high, but it was still a significant 0.24793.  


Here are the values I got:

Pitcher, FIP (fangraphs), MiLB xFIP (2013 Model), MiLB xFIP (2012-2013 Model)


Noah Syndergaard  2.89 2.55 2.84  Rafael Montero  2.45 3.54 3.62  Steven Matz  2.63 2.76 3.13 Jake deGrom  3.56 3.29 3.64 Gabriel Ynoa  2.88 3.42 3.55 Luis Cessa  2.83 2.69 2.95 Rainy Lara   2.92 3.67 3.82 Zack Wheeler(AAA)  4.04 3.28 3.55  Domingo Tapia  3.84 4.23 4.48  Cory Mazzoni  2.70 2.87 3.13  Logan Verrett  3.96 3.07 3.32  Matthew Bowman  3.14 4.04 3.53
Some conclusions:  Syndergaard is even better than we originally thought, as his ERA probably would have been somewhere between 2.55 and 2.84 with average luck and HR rates.  Pretty scary.  
Also, some other pleasant surprises were Jake deGrom, Luis Cessa, and Logan Verrett.  All three pitchers should benefit from being able to get ground balls at a reasonable yet not extreme rate, because the equations show that when pitchers start to approach extreme GO/AO ratios around 2/1 HR/9 counterintuitively starts to increase.  Matthew Bowman was the only Mets pitching prospect with a GO/AO ratio that exceeded 2.0, which costed him in the calculations.    
Previously I wondered why stat-heads didn't consider Montero a potential #1/#2 starter based on his amazing minor league stats, but these calculations backed up the scouting reports claiming he only had middle of the rotation stuff .  He simply has too low of a GO/AO ratio to maintain his current low HR/9 rates going forward, and should see a bit of regression next year.  Montero is still a quality mid rotation prospect, but don't expect the HR rate to continue to be this low next season.

arc34
arc34

Based out of pitching at a crappy AAA park in Vegas.....numbers produced there mean very little and impossible to construct any logic to proposed numbers at mlb level.  Saber-stats already have a big subjective factor to them....this puts it in fantasy land.

JoeBourgeois
JoeBourgeois

If we get 233 innings at less than 4 ERA out of Torres and Mejia, I'll be very surprised and happy.

Noah Baron
Noah Baron

Toby, I must ask, why do you use ERA- when xFIP- is available and undoubtedly a better statistic?  Especially when predicting 2014 production, SIERA and xFIP- are the statistics you want to use.  


On a separate note, because batted ball data in the minors is limited to GO/AO rate, I decided to see if there was a correlation between GO/AO and HR/9 in MLB.  Turns out there is a significant correlation, with an r^2 of 0.51983 with a two year sample size of 82 pitchers over the 2013 seasons.  


In case you are interested, here is the formula I derived, with x representing GO/AO and y being HR/9.  


y = 1.1752x^2 - 3.5263x + 3.0713    


Once HR/9 is calculated, you can just multiply the HR/9 rate by innings pitched and divide by 9 to determine how many home runs the pitcher SHOULD have given up based on the formula.  


For Noah Syndergaard, based on a 1.11 GO/AO, his HR/9 rate should have been 0.61 HR/9 instead of his actual rate of 0.84 HR/9.  


That means instead of him giving up 11 home runs, he gives up 7.9 home runs. That's a big difference, and based on this (with calculations a bit to lengthy to show here), his FIP drops from 2.89 to 2.55.  


I call it MiLB xFIP, and while the correlation probably isn't as strong as the correlation of regular xFIP, I think it's pretty intriguing.  Definitely should be a better future performance predictor than regular FIP. 


It's amazing what you can do when you're trying to procrastinate.

drmetfan
drmetfan

Can't wait to see Thor, Montero and DeGrom in the bigs with the Mets. These kids have a lot of potential.

Marcus Jensen
Marcus Jensen

And don't leave your strikeouts in the minor leagues. Instead, have them on the major league DL.

Marcus Jensen
Marcus Jensen

Gee's IP seems a little low. 144. I've got to think he's going to put in more than that.

Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly

I find the projections for Prospects at MLB are always strange. It's nice to use to show potential value... but it's really hard to project. Especially when you include the same formula for leagues that play so different (PCL to EL)

foley
foley

@Peter Buell 


Wheeler 13 wins

Mejia  8 wins

Gee 10 wins

Colon 14 wins

Neise  11 wins

Syndergaurd 9 wins

Montero 6 wins


By the way if this happens Mets would be contenders.

emmanuel13
emmanuel13

@Peter Buellwow youre mejia prediction is pretty bold, but i love it! i guess i could see him put up those numbers if he stayed helathy for a full year

ponzies86
ponzies86

@Peter Buell COLON is going to feast on the weaker national league lineups. He already 3 solid years I dont see him having a down year this year 

metfan9876
metfan9876

I feel that Wheeler can definitely pitch to around a 2.90 ERA rather than a 3.39 ERA and that Syndergaard will also pitch better than Montero with an ERA somewhere around 3.00-3.10ish

The Feels
The Feels

@Daniel I completely agree and I can't wait to watch him. He can be filthy. 

Noah Baron
Noah Baron

@dexx Pitching Gee, Hefner, Colon, and deGrom would be silly when you can pitch the others instead.

benmoz
benmoz

@dexx lol dude why do you have a rotation with 10 people in it?

Noah Baron
Noah Baron

@mustang66  You contradicted yourself.  Most of Mejia's backers (myself included) love him because of his impressive statistical pedigree.

David Fernandez
David Fernandez

Awesome analysis. Although the GO/AO ratio is a fair indicator of future hr/9 levels its also completely unpredictable to say the least. Considering Montero (if he stays on the Mets) plays in Citifield id bet he can actually maintain that hr rate or at least let it flutter a bit.

Noah Baron
Noah Baron

I'm trying to edit the comment to space out each pitchers stat line but it isn't letting me. Says "error occurred" every time I try and repost it.  Sorry if it is difficult to understand.  

Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly

@arc34Well considering you only play half the games, or half the starts there you can, and it's not necessarily the "Park" but the weather like in Arizona or Colorado that makes it hitter friendly. Dry air carries the ball futher.


Saber-Stats don't have that much subjective factor... The Value stats to.. I.E. WAR... The rest are based on MATH and comparisons vs the average MLBer.. Not some madeup number. OPS is just OBP+Slugging. OPS+ is the the average level of production for an MLB player where 100=average. Not  "Subjective"


Things like WAR and PECOTA and STEAMER are predictive models, which can be extremely accurate, in baseball it's slightly less so. They weight things differently and there will never be a set way, these will get better as they are used more as any predictive model will, but more advanced ones will come about, which will need tweeks over time, and so on, and so on.

Toby Hyde
Toby Hyde

@Noah Baron Noah, I am skeptical of xFIP because it normalizes HR rates. We know from actual observations over careers, that such an assumption is not good for some subset of pitchers. There are guys who consistently overperform or underperform their FIP and xFIP. Until I have a better handle on that, I try to use xFIP sparingly, and in combination with at least one other metric. 


Lets talk about those calculations further.  

Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly

@Noah Baron@mustang66I also get very annoyed that people still want to see him as a "CLOSER" cause he reminded people of Mariano years ago. 


I fully hope the mets FO realizes like many have that the "Closer" is a ridiculously over-rated and hence over paid postion in baseball.

Noah Baron
Noah Baron

@David Fernandez Agreed.  Don't think the fly balls will be too much of a problem for Montero at Citi Field.  I'm just not expecting the sub 3 ERA that Harvey had immediately.


Syndergaard on the other hand could very easily break onto the scene with a bang like Harvey and just dominate right from the get-go.

Peter Buell
Peter Buell

thank you Benmoz. A couple of guys with too much time on their hands. Thanks for qualifying for me

Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly

@benmoz@Mark Kelly@Jason Luft@mustang66Advanced stats are just stats... That someone doesn't understand so they throw them away as meaningless. 


So if you refer to ERA, then FIP, xFIP, ERA- GB/FB ratio K/BB ratio are all in play.. If you don't understand them go research them and don't disregard them. 


That's all. Advanced stats give you a deeper picture of a players performance. Scouting is still important as well.... But i continually see people boil advanced stats down to "Useless" or "OBP" becasue they saw moneyball.

Mark Kelly
Mark Kelly

@Noah BaronHe could, but that is so rare... Could be something more common in this "New Era" then it was in the previous 25-30 years. As we have seen with guys like Wacha, Fernandez, Harvey Etc Etc.... When for years most SP's who were called up struggled with consistency when they hit the bigs. 


I see Montero being in the latter where he will look dominate from and extremely hittable from start to start for the first 15 or so starts.


Both are nice to have, throw in DeGrom it's nice.