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

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