Community Projection: Jose Lopez

Dave · February 12, 2007 at 5:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

As of last night, we had 155 entries in the Jose Lopez projection, which figured to be one of the more interesting assignments of this whole project. He’s a young player with significant talent who had a Jekyll/Hyde season in 2006, and the extremes at both ends of the projection scale are believable. This is a kid with a wide range of possible performances. Let’s see what you guys expect:

Community Projection:.285/.330/.435, 588 AB, 167 H, 32 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR, 32 BB, 7 HBP, 81 K
High Projection: .310/.366/.511
Low Projection: .241/.288/.347
Dave Projection: .280/.324/.443

I actually expected to be in the optimistic segment of the population, as I know Lopez’s terrible second half soured a lot of people on his abilities, but in the end, I basically came out dead in the middle. This projection, by the way, might not look like much, but a .765 OPS from a second baseman playing half his games in Safeco Field and not being a total butcher with the glove – that’s a hell of a player. If Lopez performs as the community expects, he’ll be a borderline all-star.


42 Responses to “Community Projection: Jose Lopez”

  1. joser on February 12th, 2007 5:24 pm

    Which is what he was last year — above the border for the first half, and below the border for the second.

    Can we really blame this all on the coaches trying to turn him into another Hargrove at the plate, rather than Jose Lopez?

  2. Evan on February 12th, 2007 5:40 pm

    I was tempted to submit a Grover-esque projection with a higher OBP than SLG…

  3. DMZ on February 12th, 2007 6:05 pm

    I’m extremely pessimistic about the year he’ll have while remaining positive about his abilities. If Hargrove decided that he couldn’t in good conscience collect a paycheck for his performance and retired immediately and the new manager (whoever it was) told Lopez to swing away and let things sort themselves out, I’d absolutely put him down for 15-20 homers and good doubles power. But as long as Hargrove is there to get him to ground out over and over, Lopez isn’t going to be the hitter he could be.

    The best thing that could possibly happen, barring that, is for Lopez to realize that Hargrove is full of it and keep nodding, pretending to listen to his manager, and do what comes naturally.

    The downside to that is Hargrove might bench him for Bloomquist, who listens enthusiastically.

  4. terry on February 12th, 2007 6:13 pm

    Maybe I’m reading too much into this but this:

    second baseman playing half his games in Safeco Field and not being a total butcher with the glove

    doesnt sound like a ringing endorsement of Lopez’s leather. PMR to runs loves him (+16). Is he a plus defender?

  5. CSG on February 12th, 2007 6:35 pm

    Most metrics have Lopez right around average, give or take a couple runs either way. I think PMR to runs is the outlier in this case.

  6. mark s. on February 12th, 2007 7:51 pm

    So has the community been bias to the M’s thus far?

  7. Calderon on February 12th, 2007 7:55 pm

    Derek any word on Lopez’s rehab in Peoria?

  8. dang on February 12th, 2007 8:02 pm

    What evidence is there that Hargrove is influencing how Lopez hits? I’m not saying there isn’t any, just that I might have missed the post where it is documented. Or is his decline in the 2nd half automatically attributed to Hargrove’s influence? Again, I’m not saying that is the case – I just want to read where the case for Hargrove negatively impacting Lopez.

  9. DMZ on February 12th, 2007 8:43 pm

    On his rehab: I have no news.

    On Hargrove and Lopez, the short version: Hargrove wanted Lopez to stop pulling the ball to left field, where Lopez’s power lives, and the result was the second half performance you see, where Lopez went more to the right side of the infield, beating the ball into the ground, getting no power and becoming a really, really bad hitter who did a better job grounding out to both sides of the infield.

    This made Hargrove happy.

    As to evidence, I don’t have Hargrove quotes handy. If there’s a huge clamor, I could go hunt them down, I guess. Jeff @ Lookout Landing did a really nice piece breaking the difference down, but it’s night and day.

  10. Mr. Egaas on February 12th, 2007 9:21 pm

    Kid is a ton of fun to watch when he’s on.

    For a a stretch of a few weeks to months earlier in on the season last year, he totally won me over.

    Then he killed me.

  11. Slippery Elmer on February 12th, 2007 9:36 pm

    “he totally won me over. Then he killed me.”

    Jose Lopez–the Mariners’ own Gary Ridgway.

  12. joser on February 13th, 2007 12:58 am

    Actually, isn’t that more a description of Ted Bundy? One thing about the NW, there’s no lack of serial killers to analogize from.

  13. terry on February 13th, 2007 4:34 am

    Most metrics have Lopez right around average, give or take a couple runs either way. I think PMR to runs is the outlier in this case.

    which ones are you referring too?

  14. marc w on February 13th, 2007 9:06 am

    13 – Chris Dial’s ZR, for one. It’s here.

  15. Manzanillos Cup on February 13th, 2007 10:12 am

    I hope Chase Utley’s contract speaks louder to Lopez than Hargrove’s idiocy.

  16. BLYKMYK44 on February 13th, 2007 11:05 am

    Looks like the Wisdom of the Crowd seems to be pretty spot on with the expert in each of the projections…nice to see

  17. Evan on February 13th, 2007 12:55 pm

    Though, how many crowd members are taking their favourite expert projection and just adjusting it slightly?

  18. DMZ on February 13th, 2007 1:10 pm

    Probably a ton. It’d be an interesting exercise to do this twice with portions of the same crowd, pre-and-post Zips/Pecota/etc

  19. Evan on February 13th, 2007 1:37 pm

    Then we’d probably just look at last year’s stats and apply a generic aging curve. Sort of like the old Vladimir projections.

  20. Dave on February 13th, 2007 1:52 pm

    Here’s the thing about the wisdom of crowds, though – it’s not dependent on the crowd being isolated from other influences and coming to its conclusion independently. It doesn’t matter if we’re being influenced by the other projection systems (and I’m pretty sure we are). The theory, and the supporting data, shows that the crowd, with all their various inputs, is pretty good at projecting the future in all kinds of situations.

    Would we be as good if we didn’t have PEOCOTA/Zips/Chone? Probably not. But that’s a hypothetical world that we don’t have to deal with, because we do have those things, and the idea is that our opinions, even influenced by those systems, is better than those systems by themselves.

    As long as we don’t come to any conclusions about the uselessness of the various inputs after we see the results of the crowd’s wisdom, it doesn’t matter if they’re influencing us or not.

  21. Steve Nelson on February 13th, 2007 1:56 pm


    # Evan said:
    February 13th, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Though, how many crowd members are taking their favourite expert projection and just adjusting it slightly?


    # DMZ said:
    February 13th, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    Probably a ton. It’d be an interesting exercise to do this twice with portions of the same crowd, pre-and-post Zips/Pecota/etc

    The rationale for the community projections (that the median of opinions contributed by individual knowledgeable observers is more accurate than “expert” prediction systems) is similar to the first stage of a Delphi method analysis.

    One of the keys of the Delphi Method, though, is that the observers don’t see the contributions made by other participants. Without that barrier, participants move toward consensus projections instead of independent projections, and there is a tendency to gravitate toward the opinions of “experts” – in much the same way that financial analysts doing earnings projections for publicly traded companies tend to tweak their projections (often subconsciously) to conform with the overall projections of their counterparts at other firms.

    The community projection system would be more pure if participants prepared their submissions in isolation.

  22. DMZ on February 13th, 2007 1:57 pm

    I totally agree that it’s good that the crowd is well-informed and has these resources. I’m interested in how much any one of them sways opinion, though – do people weight PECOTA more than three-year averages? When they disagree, what’s driving that evaluation? That kind of thing fascinates me.

  23. BLYKMYK44 on February 13th, 2007 2:41 pm

    – Another way to look at it is the fact that the Iowa Electronic Market has done a tremendous job of predicting the outcome of political races. Think about how much more information (both good and bad) is out there when it comes to a presidential election. On top of that the news is a constant flow whereas since these projections are being done in the preseason we aren’t even subject to having a hot/cold streak create a weird bias. Last, but certainly not least…I would imagine that political affiliation would have an even stronger bias in decision making than team affiliation…and yet the whole system works well.

    – What is interesting, and what is discussed at lengths in the book, is how hard it is for people to accept that the Wisdom of Crowds actually works. People keep looking for ways to discount the results and yet the results seem to continue to come out pretty decent. Personally, I find it hard to believe that everyone who has participated in the study has gone back and looked at all the other porjection tools they have handy and just made slight tweaks.

    What is more likely is that in the last few months they have read information about these players and the more information they have read the more they have developed their own opinion. Therefore, when asked to formulate their own opinion they get a pretty decent numbers. If the numbers were spectacularly off it would probably point to the accuracy of the outside influences that create their opinions, than straight biased about the team.

  24. BLYKMYK44 on February 13th, 2007 2:45 pm

    22: I would imagine the pretty obvious answer is that each person is swayed by the different tools available differently. Since it appears most of the people here are pretty good at forming their own opinions. It seems more likely that they have already formed a rough opinion of each player in their head and then they look at the different projections and depending on how well those vibe with their original opinion certain people will gravitate to certain systems.

  25. terry on February 13th, 2007 2:48 pm

    ok…i admit it…I cheat…I basically take the average of the 5 available to the public projection systems…

  26. DMZ on February 13th, 2007 2:50 pm

    Ah, so there’s the interesting question – do people look at projection systems and side with the ones they agree with, or do they reconsider their position if they find their opinion disagreed with?

    I know that’s kind of a subtle question, but I’m quite interested in how people form their opinions, choose their information sources, and so on.

  27. lokiforever on February 13th, 2007 3:13 pm

    Another Example of wisdom in crowds

    The ability of prediction markets to flush out inside information is what spawned the U.S. Pentagon’s recent Terrorism Futures Market, which was quickly terminated after the announcement of its existence in July of 2003 caused a sharp Congressional outcry. At first, such a market seems ghoulish until one realizes that it actually would have the ability to flush out inside information regarding terrorism.

    It was designed to be a prediction market operated by the Pentagon and two private companies.

  28. DMZ on February 13th, 2007 3:25 pm

    The problem there is that either the people performing terrorist attacks will ignore the market for fear of tipping off their intentions or there’s a huge new incentive to bet & profit that was never there before. Jimbo’s Hot Dog stand might be an extremely low target, but it’s easy, vulnerable, you put down $100,000, blow it up, chinga chinga chinga. Is the possibility of picking that bet out of the noise worth having Jimbo’s blown up?

    It’d be like if community projections here paid out: there would be an incentive to pick Lopez to only get 200 at-bats and then make sure he doesn’t get past 200 at-bats.

    I can see where the concern comes from.

  29. Ralph on February 13th, 2007 3:28 pm

    This “wisdom of crowds” theory is interesting, but I doubt if the author has ever visited the Post-Intelligencer’s baseball forum.

  30. lokiforever on February 13th, 2007 3:31 pm

    I didn’t like it either, for practical reasons you point out. It just struck as me as terribly interesting that matters of national security would use some of the same tools as USSMariner or Iowa Electric.

  31. lokiforever on February 13th, 2007 3:33 pm

    Ah yes, the PI Mariner’s forum….the finest in intellectual discourse.

  32. BLYKMYK44 on February 13th, 2007 4:01 pm

    – In theory the terrorist market would work well. The reason it doesn’t work in practice is because you are asking people to actually predict things that are uncomfortable…and it would have the slight ability to tip of terrorists on where we are focusing. However, if you could create one that was highly confidential you’d actually do much, much better than we are doing right now.

    – The author of the Wisdom of Crowds does not claim that all people are smart (I assume this is what you are referring to when talking about the PI Forums) it just claims that when you ask enough people to make a prediction they will generally come out ahead of any one person.

    — For all the people who seem to want to figure out counters to the whole theory I would suggest actually reading the book. It might help you formulate an informed opinion rather than just denying things because they don’t seem right. Honestly, if you think about it…you are doing the same thing that people who think BA, RBIs and ERA are the end-all, be-all in baseball. You are taking a theory and dismissing it for no apparent reason, despite its pretty good track record.

  33. MKT on February 13th, 2007 4:03 pm


    Ah, so there’s the interesting question – do people look at projection systems and side with the ones they agree with, or do they reconsider their position if they find their opinion disagreed with?

    That is the key to how the Wisdom of Crowds works (when it works). If people were simply blindly taking an average of the projections, then we could make projections that were just as good as the Crowd’s, by doing the same thing.

    But each individual in the Crowd is not simply taking an average, they’re looking at the information available, including the expert projections, and then making the Key Crucial Decision: go with what those projections say (i.e. changing their mind) or decide that the expert projections are off-base and either tweak them or use a projection that’s entirely their own.

    Some individuals will be swayed hugely by the projections out there, some will not be, and the hope is that overall they are making that decision at least somewhat wisely based on their own knowledge, intuition, information, etc. Wisely enough so that their tweakings/non-tweakings hopefully add additional information to the overall average.

  34. Evan on February 13th, 2007 4:06 pm

    do people weight PECOTA more than three-year averages?

    My projections are based heavily on a story I heard about natural gas production in the high arctic.

    So, this oil company develops some extremely sophisticated software to predict the local weather, because the weather can get really awful and they’d like to know about that in advance (and no one else is really predicting the weather with any accuracy up there because no one else ever needs to know). So, this software turns out only to be right about 70% of the time, but the tech guys learn that there’s an operator up there who predicts the weather with 85% accuracy, and has been for years. So they head up there to ask him how he does it.

    And he says, “The weather up here doesn’t change much, so I always predict it will do tomorrow exactly what it’s doing today. When the weather does change, I’m wrong, but then I’m right again a bunch of days in a row as the new system settles in.”

    That’s basically what I’m doing. I expect the offense overall to be a bit better than 2006, so I’m adding a bit to each player’s AB total (because more runs means more plate appearances), and then reproducing rate stats as closely as I can, with slight adjustments based on whether I expect players to improve or decline. Johjima’s walk rate, for example, was extremely low in 2006, so I bumped that up a bit, but otherwise I expect him to be the same hitter he was last year.

    I am not so sophisticated that I then reduced Johjima’s AB total by the number of extra walks I predicted over the pro-rated amount. Perhaps I should have.

  35. RaoulDuke37 on February 13th, 2007 4:11 pm

    It would be interesting to do a community projection of the Final 2007 Season Standings. And maybe if ussmariner is good enough friends with Diamond Mind Baseball, see if they’ll add it into their annual report.

  36. terry on February 13th, 2007 4:30 pm

    Ah, so there’s the interesting question – do people look at projection systems and side with the ones they agree with,

    That would be kind of sad wouldn’t it?

  37. bigred on February 13th, 2007 4:38 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this community projection thing and I think we can solve the projected plight of the M’s 2007 season.
    All ya’ll have to do is start upping your projections. If the general consensus of this group thinks Sexson will hit +40 dingers this year, then he probably will, right? I project Lopez and YuBet to be all-stars this year. I project Hargrove to get Manager of the Year. I project Willie to not just ignite the ball, but actually hit it out of the infield into the gaps for a lot more doubles. I project the starting rotation to each pitch 200+ innings and have several complete game shutouts. I also project the M’s to take the Division, ALCS in four games, and the WS too.

  38. bmanuw2 on February 13th, 2007 5:04 pm

    37. Ha…I do have to say that projections are fun as filler but dont mean squat once the season starts and rarely are people right about anything in life.

  39. DMZ on February 13th, 2007 5:20 pm

    So you’re almost certainly wrong about projections as filler and meaningless?

    Or are you wrong about the last part thus negating your comment entirely? Oh the logic!

  40. schneidler on February 13th, 2007 8:45 pm

    For what its worth, my projections have used noone else’s numbers (I haven’t even looked at any of the projections other than ours). I glance at each guy’s career stats, make an adjustment based on intuition or age or whatever and thats it. So maybe my guesses are more “pure”…and probably less accurate.

    Derek, can you just make up something and post it as news? Just to get things stirred up around here. Something like “Bavasi trades Jose Lopez (or Adam Jones, or heck Felix!) for ________ (insert old, broken down expensive player here)” ought to get those server lights blinking.

    The college I went to used to print a “jack issue” every once in a while full of somewhat believable lies. It was always good for an initial shock and some laughs as you watched your peers glance at the headlines and do a doubletake.

  41. DMZ on February 13th, 2007 9:41 pm

    The short version is “no”. It’s not worth the hit we’d take for making something up. There are a couple instances of blogs pulling stunts like that where it destroyed their credibility and relationships.

    Unless you think we already make things up and have no credibility, in which case I’d wonder why you were here.

  42. joser on February 14th, 2007 12:01 pm

    My projection is that everybody is going to suck. Except Ichiro, who will just decline gracefully.

    This is the “weather tomorrow will be like the weather today” theory extended to entire seasons. Suckitude begets suckitude. It worked spectacularly well for predicting the M’s in the 80s, and seems to be in play once again. At this point I’m looking for the M’s having the highest payroll per win (which is going to be hard with the Royals paying so much money to Meche). But hey, whatever it takes to bring the Hargrove/Bavasi era to an end (and hopefully ashcan some people higher up the chain too).

    (BTW, Evan, your story is apocryphal, or at least overly specific. Until the late 20th century “the weather tomorrow will be like the weather today” was, when averaged over time, the most accurate prediction possible not just in the arctic but for every location on the planet. The Atmoshperic Sciences department at the UW has run a weather predicting contest for decades, and the old professor who won it regularly used that system [defeating countless grad students with countless other systems]. It was only in the late 1980s that computer models got consistently better than that for 24 hours out; since then they’ve been extending their reach both further into the future and into finer detail on the ground, which is important for places like Puget Sound where geography can have such a huge effect on the microclimate. But if you don’t have a computer model or accurate data over a large volume of the earth’s atmosphere, “tomorrow will be like today” is still the best guess.)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.