2009 win projection – CHONE

Update (1/14/2009, 1:00 PM): I made some adjustments using an updated spreadsheet published by Sky this morning. The new spreadsheet required increased total plate appearances, so I changed the numbers for many of the players. Also, I changed the projected ERA numbers to projected FIP, so that it represents the pitcher’s true talent level. With the adjustments, we are now down to 71 projected wins, which seems much more realistic. Sky also added a feature that calculates the probability of winning X number of games. We have an 88% chance of avoiding 100 losses, a 5% chance to reach .500 and a 0.063% chance of winning 91 games.


Using a spreadsheet published last week by Sky Kalkman of Beyond the Box Score, I projected the Pirates 2009 win total. You can check it out here.

I used Sean Smith’s CHONE projections for most of the numbers. For offensive value, I estimated wOBA by plugging the CHONE projections into the formula (OBP*1.75 + SLG)/3. I estimated base running value based on 2008 Equivalent Base Running Runs from Baseball Prospectus. This number includes stolen bases, caught stealing and other base running measurements. I used the 2009 CHONE defensive projections for defensive value.

I am guessing that Andrew McCutchen will join the team around midseason, moving Nate McLouth to left field. I also gave Neil Walker 50 65 plate appearances in a late-season call-up. With the team’s bench up in the air, I estimated the best I could. I also added 137 330 unassigned plate appearances with a .295 OBP and .360 SLG for filler.

I simply used the CHONE innings and ERA FIP projections for pitchers, adjusting IP appropriately. CHONE has Phil Dumatrait as a starter and Ross Ohlendorf as a reliever. With the recent news that Dumatrait’s best shot at pitching this season is in the bullpen, I made him a reliever and gave Ohlendorf some innings as a starter. I increased Ohlendorf’s projected ERA FIP by about a run for his time in the rotation.

After all that, the Pirates come out with about 76 71 wins. I think most would agree that seems a little high. I would say CHONE is too optimistic about the Pirate pitchers, with most of their projected ERA’s below 5.00. I cannot see the pitching being that consistent.

This spreadsheet is a work in progress. Obviously, there are still issues with the roster to clarify. I will adjust it as that becomes clearer. Sky and his readers are also working on ways to improve the spreadsheet, so I may adjust it based on their brainstorming. I plan to redo this with different projection systems throughout the spring, and I would like to use the community projections from Bucs Dugout to see how optimistic the Pirate community is as a whole. I might also do best-case and worst-case scenario spreadsheets. You can check the current spreadsheets by clicking on 2009 Win Projections in the site header.

I also would love to hear feedback from the readers. Let me know if you think some of my methods can be improved, or if you feel my projected playing time is off. I will adjust it as I see fit.

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Brian Cartwright

I think Pearce has at least .350 wOBA, Andy also showed a little higher than .340 before 2008.
I have Moss and McCutchen at about .330 wOBA, with speed & defense going to McCutchen – his midseason callup should force Moss to the bench.
Other than that, it all looks pretty accurate.


76 sounds a bit high, but I’m no expert. And that could be my fault for setting rep level wrong in the spreadsheet. I DO think, however, the Pirates will be better than most anticipate this year.
Good stuff and good reference.


It looks like CHONE has the Pirates as all regressing pretty far to the mean, which really wouldn’t be THAT surprising. I can’t decide if I would be surprised if LaRoche the Younger does what the projections have him at. The fringey bullpen arms have ERAs that look a little low to me (Ohlendorf, Hansen, and especially Yates), but that’s maybe a difference of 1 WAR.
That would be their best record since 1999. Geez…

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