The Saber's Edge: Analyzing PA Projections
The Saber's Edge: Analyzing PA Projections

This article is part of our The Saber's Edge series.

Playing time influences all of a hitter's stats, but it is probably one of the least understood. An extra 100 plate appearances is equivalent to about a month of playing time. We project Alex Gordon to make 521 plate appearances, but he could easily surpass 600 like he did for four straight seasons (2011 to 2014) if he remains healthy. What are his chances of beating the projection? This week, I will investigate plate-appearance projection accuracy and any advantages gained from that information.

I chose Steamer's historic projections as a test group. One data anomaly I found immediately was that the projected number of plate appearances ran a little high; I talked to the creator of Steamer, Jared Cross, who said he wasn't aware of the issue but will look into it.

Even with the small bias, Steamer is considered the most accurate projection system and is always upgrading, such as using pitch velocity as an input. It's a perfect projection system for today's study.

The Steamer projections go back to 2010, and the plate-appearance numbers are derived from FanGraphs fan playing time estimates and depth charts.

To start, here are the plate-appearance distributions compared to the actual results by percentiles.

PAPERCENTILES90%75%50%25%10%COUNT
>700 Projected 738 722 708 705 702 23
Actual 716 709 674 511 351
651 to 700 Projected 689 680 666 656 652 183
Actual 700 681 648 573 425
601 to 650 Projected 647 637 625 614 606 340
Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Zimmerman
Zimmerman writes analytics-focused baseball and football articles for RotoWire. He is a three-time FSWA award winner, including the Football Writer of the Year and Best Football Print Article awards in 2016. The 2017 Tout Wars Mixed Auction champion and 2016 Tout Wars Head-to-Head champ, Zimmerman also contributes to FanGraphs.com, BaseballHQ and Baseball America.
FanDuel MLB: Tuesday Breakdown
FanDuel MLB: Tuesday Breakdown
Regan's Rumblings: Keeper Value Trending Up
Regan's Rumblings: Keeper Value Trending Up
DraftKings MLB: Tuesday Picks
DraftKings MLB: Tuesday Picks
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Tuesday Picks
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Tuesday Picks