Baseball Nation's Grant Brisbee has a nice article on the player comparables in Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections for 2012, and that led me to check out the PECOTA projections myself. Essentially, the system compares players to players from the past to see how they might progress.â†µ
I chronicled what I found here, but suffice it to say that it's a shame these are subscribers-only, because they're hysterical. First I checked Andrew McCutchen, and PECOTA compared him to Tim Raines, Tom Tresh, and Al Kaline. Well, okay -- Raines and Kaline were two great outfielders whose games really weren't remotely similar, but McCutchen is a terrific young player whose career could go in a bunch of directions, so I figured I'd buy that, at least on a provisional basis.â†µ
Then I started looking around for other Pirates. And I started laughing. And laughing. Minor-league signee Jake Fox's top comparable is Orlando Cepeda. Jose Tabata's is Rickey Henderson. Eric Fryer's is Craig Biggio, and his third-best comparable is Thurman Munson. Erik Bedard's is Steve Carlton. Kevin Correia's is Bob Welch. Chris Resop is compared to Joel Hanrahan and Goose Gossage.â†µ
Clearly, these aren't best-case scenarios. They aren't even much fun as fantasies, because they're too unrealistic. It's simply not possible to imagine a world where Erik Bedard pitches 300 innings in a season, or Jose Tabata breaks the career mark for stolen bases, or Eric Fryer becomes a Hall-of-Fame catcher/infielder. They do, however, make amazing comedy.