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2011 Community Projections Review: C.J. Wilson

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C.J. Wilson made a very successful transition from reliever to starter in 2010 for the Texas Rangers. He put up a 3.35 ERA in 204 innings with 170 strikeouts, 93 walks and a very low 10 home runs. It was a very good year but his strikeouts were a career low at 7.50 K/9 and his 4.10 BB/9 was one of the highest in the league among starters. Because of his peripherals and lack of starting experience, the projections for 2011 expected another strong year, but with a bit of regression. His ERA was projected to be a third of a run higher with a bit more strikeouts (7.65 K/9) and home runs. One kind of odd element of the community projections was the expected walks. The 76.9 in 194.9 innings is a 3.55 BB/9, half a walk below his 2010 numbers and also below his career average which was almost 4.0.

IP ERA K BB HR RMSE
LSB Average 194.9 3.63 165.8 76.9 13.4 14.83%
ZiPS 155.3 3.77 137.0 70.0 13.0 25.78%
Snark (Marcel) 146.0 3.54 125.0 63.0 10.0 22.60%
2011 Results 223.3 2.94 206.0 74.0 16.0 0.00%

C.J. didn't regress... he went the exact opposite direction and improved in almost every category except home runs (which he still limited more than you'd expect given the park he pitches in). He had career highs in innings and strike outs and raised his K/9 from 7.50 to 8.30. And... even though there was nothing to indicate it should happen... LSB's optimism on C.J.'s ability to reduce his walks wasn't optimistic enough! He brought it down all the way to 2.98, over a full walk less per nine innings. He ultimately finished 6th in the AL Cy Young voting and had one of the best regular seasons for a starting pitcher in Rangers history.

Using a Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) approach [lower is better] the top and bottom individual projections have TideNTexas at the top of the projections and PM Productions at the bottom.

Everyone's rankings can be found in this Google Spreadsheet and the top and bottom 5 shake out as:

Top 5
IP ERA K BB HR RMSE
1. TideNTexas 212.0 3.02 173.0 72.0 15.0 5.90%
2. Baseball North 220.0 3.25 175.0 75.0 15.0 8.18%
3. CRUSHDAVIS 225.0 2.79 192.0 65.0 18.0 8.75%
4. Bface 203.0 3.42 178.0 75.0 14.0 10.20%
5. JayAhre 225.0 2.95 170.0 65.0 17.0 10.22%
Bottom 5
IP ERA K BB HR RMSE
67. LiamP 145.0 4.34 121.0 58.0 11.0 28.47%
68. LSJ 180.0 4.20 150.0 85.0 10.0 30.39%
69. erudy 186.0 3.86 156.0 96.0 16.0 31.15%
70. Winojohn 138.0 3.11 137.0 77.0 11.0 35.64%
71. PM Productions 150.0 4.25 150.0 100.0 15.0 54.65%