Reviewing Pod vs Steamer Projections — Stolen Base Upside

Let’s continue our recaps of my Pod vs Steamer projections series, this time with stolen bases. As a reminder, I compared my 2017 Pod Projection stolen base forecast to the Steamer projected, extrapolated over the same number of plate appearances I had projected. This group is composed of those whose Pod Projected stolen base total most exceeded the Steamer projection. Let’s see how they did.

Since overall, Steamer was much more optimistic about leaguewide stolen bases, the group I was bullish about, I really wasn’t so bullish about, so it’s just a matter of a couple of steals more for some of these, which is essentially nothing.

Pod SB > Steamer Extrapolated SB
Name 2017 Pod SB 2017 Steamer Extrapolated SB 2017 SB Winner
Jose Peraza 37 29 23 Steamer
Billy Hamilton 60 52 59 Pod
Keon Broxton 33 29 21 Steamer
Dee Gordon 51 47 60 Pod
Travis Jankowski 40 36 4 Steamer
A.J. Pollock 29 26 20 Steamer
*I extrapolated the actual Steamer stolen base projections to match the same number of plate appearances I projected, so playing time differences weren’t a factor

My initial reaction was that I must have whiffed on Jose Peraza’s plate appearance projection, and when he fell way short, obviously the pessimistic stolen base projection would win. But that wasn’t really the case, as I missed the total by just 21 plate appearances. Instead, his stolen base attempts plummeted, as his BABIP collapsed, driving his OBP below .300. You can’t steal first base they say! At this point, I’m just not sure he’ll be good enough offensively to hold a starting job all season, as his defense isn’t anything special to force the team to keep him in the lineup.

I’m not sure why Steamer was so bearish on Billy Hamilton’s steals, and his seasonal stolen base totals have actually been pretty hilarious – beginning in his first full season, he’s gone 56, 57, 58, 59, 60! How’s that for consistency? He actually attempted a steal less frequently than ever before, but you didn’t notice because he set a career high in plate appearances. Steamer is at it again, with a forecast of just 49 in 2018.

Keon Broxton’s walk rate fell back down to Earth, which was the primary driver of his wOBA decline and reduction in stolen base attempts. He obviously swings and misses far too often, but gosh darn that combination of power and speed is intriguing.

Steamer clearly wasn’t a fan of the top tier speedsters, as it was lowest on the totem pole on Dee Gordon’s steals as well. Crazy considering on the whole Steamer was much more bullish on steals leaguewide than I was. Gordon posted a career high in plate appearances and fully rebounded offensively after a weak 2016.

So ummm, yeah, obviously the pessimistic was going to be closer on Travis Jankowski, who recorded all of 87 plate appearances. But even had he earned the number of plate appearances I was projecting, he still was only on pace for 29 steals. And steals was all he was expected to be good for!

Another season, another injury for A.J. Pollock, causing both systems to miss our stolen base forecasts. But hey, extrapolated over my plate appearance forecast, he was on pace for exactly the 29 steals I was forecasting! So I was right about Pollock’s stolen base ability, but need more work on forecasting injury :-).

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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That is pretty funny on the Hamilton sequence (56, 57, 58, 59), but you got carried away and added one too many – perhaps in 2018 he will steal 60.

Reminds me of Adam Dunn hitting exactly 40 HR 4 years in a row.