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2011 Community Projections Review: Matt Harrison

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CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 14: Starting pitcher Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers delivers the ball against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 19, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 14: Starting pitcher Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers delivers the ball against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 19, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The collapse of Matt Harrison had become an annual Texas Rangers tradition. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, Harrison was given opportunities early in the year to stick in the Rangers rotation. His numbers were awful, never posting a FIP below 5.00. He had a combination of few strikeouts, lots of walks and lots of home runs. During Spring Training in 2011 we heard of a new Matt Harrison, one that decided that 25 years old was the perfect time to finally read a book. His spring performances were fairly promising and yet again, he broke camp in the rotation. The projections were still extremely skeptical with a 4.76 ERA in 107.8 innings. The sentiment was that we had seen this all before.

IP ERA K BB HR RMSE
LSB Average 107.8 4.76 70.0 44.8 12.2 41.15%
ZiPS 102.7 5.00 61.0 42.0 13.0 49.07%
Snark (Marcel) 84.0 4.55 54.0 33.0 10.0 44.51%
2011 Results 185.7 3.39 126.0 57.0 13.0 0.00%

And yet... 2011 really was different. In 2011 Matt Harrison finally pitched a full season of quality baseball. He posted a 3.39 ERA in 185 innings with career numbers in K/9, BB/9, HR/9 and GB%. He was one of the Rangers most consistent starters and outperformed his projections more than any other projected Rangers player (if only we had projected Ogando).

Using a Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) approach [lower is better] the top and bottom individual projections have NorCalRangers at the top of the projections (but JBImankee close behind) and Akalhar 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. NorCalRangersFan 175.0 4.51 100.0 60.0 13.0 17.59%
2. JBImaknee 140.0 4.23 75.0 40.0 10.0 18.52%
3. Bats and Balls 181.0 3.85 105.0 48.0 18.0 21.70%
4. jshcmp 122.0 4.67 84.0 39.0 8.0 23.07%
5. rockin_rangers 110.0 3.85 85.0 40.0 6.0 23.94%
Bottom 5
IP ERA K BB HR RMSE
61. ruben_sierra#21 54.0 6.22 25.0 26.0 8.0 75.75%
62. NothinG 70.0 6.10 38.0 40.0 10.0 76.04%
63. Robert L. Bishop 92.0 5.58 75.0 62.0 18.0 103.54%
64. TooLegitToQuit 70.0 6.85 50.0 70.0 13.0 136.08%
65. Akalhar 45.0 6.33 30.0 55.0 14.0 210.10%