Supermen aren’t dead yet!

Last year, Baseball Prospectus shocked the world with their projected batting line of 311/.395/.546 for Oriole catcher Matt Wieters. Colin Wyers examined in depth how this indicated a severe problem with the Davenport Translations used to adjust the minor league data fed into the Baseball Prospectus PECOTA projection system.

I’m no Colin, and I won’t pretend to be. However, as I was browsing through the Yankee hitter PECOTA cards that are freely available, one particular projection caught my eye. Baseball Prospectus projects Jesus Montero to hit .291/.334/.481 in the major leagues in 2010. Superman Jr., anyone?

The current leader among projection systems, Sean Smith’s CHONE, projects Montero to hit a much more subdued .255/.296/.425, and Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projects a .273/.315/.416 batting line for Montero.

What could be causing PECOTA’s optimism about Montero? It looks to me like it’s the same thing that caused PECOTA’s interesting optimism about Wieters last year. According to Montero’s PECOTA card, his .317/.370/.539 batting line at Double-A Trenton was equivalent to a .312/.354/.529 batting line in the major leagues. That doesn’t seem right, does it? Aren’t the majors harder than Double-A? A lot harder?

Unfortunately, this author is merely a replacement-level Colin, so our brief investigation comes to a close here. How many millions do you think they pay on the free agent market for Complex Learning Above Replacement Colin – Keeping Everything Neatly Together?

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Comments

  1. Jeff Sackmann said...

    FWIW, here’s the MLE I have for Montero at Trenton last year: 263/305/449.  I use roughly the same method CHONE does, so combined with the ugly numbers that result from translating his low-A ‘08 season, CHONE and ZiPS make a lot of sense.

    Still—263/305/449 is plenty respectable for a major league catcher.

  2. Sean Smith said...

    He’s probably not going to stay a catcher, but a 750 or so OPS from a guy who was 19 last year is pretty awesome.  Reminds me of a RH Carlos Delgado.  Delgado put himself on the prospect map with a big year in the FSL at age 20, but didn’t become a big league impact player until age 24.

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