Predicting the Milwaukee Brewers Regression | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Through one month, the Brewers are off to a 20-8 start. I can’t really explain how or why this happened, but it did. 5.5 games up on the Cardinals, they are the surprise team in baseball, and back-to-back comeback, extra inning wins in St. Louis convinced a large number of people that this team isn’t just a fluke.

Like I said, I can’t pinpoint how the Brewers got off to such a great start on one thing. They’ve exceeded expectations, plain and simple. And for the team to exceed expectations, a significant amount of players have to do so.

Francisco Rodriguez won’t post a 0.00 ERA all season, Carlos Gomez won’t hit 42 home runs (probably), and Martin Maldonado won’t walk 22 percent of plate appearances.

Put simply, we can expect regression from both the Brewers as a team in the win-loss column, and from players individually. The regression we should expect to happen shouldn’t be for their performance to all of a sudden be terrible, but rather to regress to the expected, projected values. To simulate what we can expect/what may happen over the remaining 134 games, I combined the current numbers of some of the players off to the starts that vary most from their pre-season projections and balanced them out with those projections.

The number-crunching behind it wasn’t too difficult (even for a journalism major). I took the April numbers for the selected players and, because the season is 14/81 (17.3%) of the way done, I multiplied each player’s current slash line (and some other numbers that are incredibly higher than projected, like Maldonado’s BB%) by .173. I then took their PECOTA preseason projections and multiplied those figures by the remaining .827. Add the adjusted April numbers to the PECOTA adjusted numbers and there you have it.

In addition to that, I multiplied each selected player’s ZiPS projected WAR by .827 and added to their value from April.

Carlos Gomez

Current: .293/.352/.569, 7 HR (Adjusted: .051/.061/.098)

PECOTA: .251/.305/.413 (Adjusted: .208/.252/.342, 15.7 HR)

End-of-year projection: .259/.313/.440, 23 HR

Sidenote: The PECOTA projections for Gomez were a little pessimistic. ZiPS projected his OPS almost 60 points higher. 

WAR: 1.2 (Current), 3.3 ZiPS adjusted- 4.5 final

Jonathan Lucroy

Current: .295/.362/.432 (Adjusted: .051/.062/.075)

PECOTA: .272/.325/.410 (Adjusted: .225/.269/.339)

End-of-year projection: .276/.331/.414

WAR: 0.8 (Current), 2.8 ZiPS adjusted- 3.6 final

Lyle Overbay

Current: .279/.380/.395/.376 wOBA (Adjusted: .048/.066/.068/.065 wOBA)

PECOTA: .233/.313/.374/.306 wOBA (Adjusted: .193/.259/.309.253 wOBA)

End-of-year projection: .241/.325/.377/.318 wOBA

WAR: 0.4 (Current), 0.0 ZiPS adjusted- 0.4 final 

Sidenote: I don’t expect Overbay to finish with the same WAR he’s currently listed at. Either up or down from here. Hopefully up. 

Mark Reynolds 

Current: .224/.302/.500, 37.8 K%, 6 HR (Adjusted: .039/.052/.087, 6.5 K%)

PECOTA: .219/.321/436, 30.1 K% (ZiPS), 29 HR (Adjusted: .181/.265/.361, 24.9 K%, 25.3 HR)

End-of-year projection: .220/.317/.448, 31.8 K%, 31 HR

WAR: 0.5 (Current), 1.3 ZiPS adjusted- 1.8 final

Francisco Rodriguez 

Current: 0.00 ERA, 1.18 FIP, 12.94 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, 0.69 WHIP (Adjusted: 0.00 ERA, .20 FIP, 2.24 K/9, 0.39 BB/9, 0.119 WHIP)

PECOTA: 3.25 ERA, 3.72 FIP (Adjusted: 2.69 ERA, 3.08 FIP)

ZiPS: 9.81 K/9, 3.53 BB/9, 1.28 WHIP (Adjusted: 8.113 K/9, 2.92 BB/9, 1.059 WHIP)

End-of-year projection: 2.69 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 10.35 K/9, 3.31 BB/9, 1.178 WHIP

WAR: 0.8 (Current) 0.2 ZiPS adjusted- 1.0 final 

Martin Maldonado

Current: .294/.455/.353, 22.7 BB% (Adjusted:  .051/.079/.061, 3.9 BB%

PECOTA: .235/.298/.372, 6.1 BB% (ZiPS) (Adjusted: .194/.260/.324, 5.3 BB%)

End-of-year projection: .245/.339/.385, 9.2 BB%

WAR: 0.2 (Current), 0.9 ZiPs adjusted- 1.1 final


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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Greg Royce says: May 1, 2014

    That wasn’t an article, it was a math exercise. What insights did you draw from your research? We know Maldonado won’t walk 22% of the time. We also know it won’t matter when he’s only going to see five AB’s a week. They’re winning because they are pitching better than the teams they are playing. When the pitching falls off, so will the wins.

  2. Chris says: May 1, 2014

    I think this does a good job of illustrating the pending drop off of key players but at the same time noting that you can’t take away what has already been accomplished. I like the way Curt went about this exercise. Sure, some insights about what this might mean overall would have been nice, but as that is very hard to know right now I am OK with that omission. Bottom line–because of the good start Brewers look likely to exceed whatever expectations most observers had for them at the start of the year.

  3. Greg Royce says: May 1, 2014

    Journalism is more assessment and analysis and insight than math. Can the club survive with a lead-off man who doesn’t draw walks? Is this new Z. Duke the real deal, or do statistics suggest he’ll return to his career production levels? What about Gallardo? Has he really changed his ways? To really stand out from the horde of number crunchers an author should be able to make a point with all that data. From what I’ve read these guys have potential as writers. I get frustrated when they hide behind the statistics.

    • moe says: May 1, 2014

      Agreed, let’s get some analysis. Writers here at DoU are very good, and should provide more than just zips/pecota comparisons and extrapolations.

      Not saying the article isn’t good, just give us a little more…like what you started with those sidenotes. Just more! more!

    • Curt Hogg says: May 1, 2014

      One of the primary things I wanted to do with this was to leave the answers to some of those questions up to the reader. Will Zach Duke realize he’s Zach Duke and will his numbers for the rest of the season reflect that? Probably. But who’s to say? You can’t really judge whether or not he’s really one of the best relievers all of a sudden because he is all of a sudden missing bats through one month. By no means do I feel like this is hiding behind statistics, but I will make an effort to add more context going forth.

      • moe says: May 2, 2014

        Well said, I’d like to clarify that I don’t think that this article is hiding behind statistics, and it’s nice of you to read and take into consideration our thoughts. Keep up the good work!

  4. Jason says: May 1, 2014

    I think you are worrying too much about regression on the offensive side. Regressing back to the mean also means people getting out of a slump (Weeks, Bianchi & Schaefer). Their team BA is .255. That is in the ballpark of where I expect them to be at the end of the year- it may even be a little on the low side.

    As for pitching, yes they will not have a team ERA of 2.82 come the end of September, but I think they will be in the area of 3.50-3.80. I don’t expect them to go 117-45 but that is enough for 90-95 wins.


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