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Baseball Player Forecasts, Projections, Rankings


2021 player forecasts are ready! These were a special labor of love and extra challenge, given the shortened 2020 season and pitchers not having a proper spring training and unusual usage.

As always, they are free to download. Find sleepers and player rankings by position. Special original stats were designed especially for fantasy league drafting. Enjoy!! 

FREE MLB Player Forecasts, Rankings

About the Guru's MLB Player Projections, Rankings - The spreadsheets below have 6 tabs: Definitions (descriptions of stats), Demo (batter details), Batting forecasts, Pitching forecasts, and Cheat Sheets for batters and pitchers. The names of the forecasted stats have an "m" in from of them. So, the HR forecast is mHR, etc. Players with no MLB experience do not have forecasts. 

SPECIAL NOTE:  The 2020 season data used for 2021 forecasts are based on 60 regular season games plus 102 projected game stats. These were the numbers used: mlb2020.xls

The AI detected new pitcher usage patterns and classified a group of what used to be starting pitchers as LP. There were two cases of this. First, consider the simple case of Buehler averaging less than 5 innings pitched per start. The machine hedges its bets that he could continue that pattern as it upholds SP ratings for only the pitchers it is most sure about. Second, consider the more drastic change of managers using "openers" who go one or two innings. The AI chose not classify them as SP either. Interesting times.  Note: on 11/28/2020 pitchers were updated with new usage assumptions to account for unusal managerial decisions during the covid shortened season.

Download Forecasts Spreadsheet:  GURU_mForecast2021.xlsm (Updated 1/29/2021)

For daily injury updates and when players are due back: MLB Injury Report

SSL2021.xls  - Scoresheet Drafting Spreadsheet (Includes SSL ID's, range, platoon adj, extra forecasts)

Guru's 2021 Fantasy Baseball Drafting Tool  (Posted January, 29 2021)

CAUTION: Advice from a human - Don't draft AP (Avoid) Pitchers even if the machine likes one. Probably shouldn't draft BP (Bad) Pitchers either. Those designations are very telling.  JP (Junk) Pitchers are risky, but you could get lucky with an undiscovered rookie or star returning from Tommy John.


tips

Forecasts are based on data from the last three years, where recent years count more. Some of last years stats are included as a reference. Some stats are our own invention (described below). And, for pitchers, 2 and 3 year forecasts for key stats are included, but take these with a grain of salt.

For ranking players, the mGURU stat is the key. Alternatively for batters, use mGURUwt, which weighs by positional scarcity. mGURU is designed to weight the players rate of production and expected playing time to arrive at a best rating. Since forecasting playing time is difficult (although we are proud of the strength of this forecast), mGURU is weighted more heavily on rate than tradition linear weights. This strategy is useful for the goal of ranking player forecasts for simulation leagues.

mGURU is calibrated to value batters and pitchers roughly equally, possibly giving a slight edge to pitchers. It does not consider fielding. For batters, SB's are not as valuable in real life (or in mGURU) as they are in rotisserie, so draft accordingly.

mROTO is designed to provide values for 5x5 rotisserie scoring as follows: Batting is Avg, HR, SB, RBI, R. Pitching is ERA, W, SV, WHIP, Strike outs. mROTOwt weights values by positional scarcity. Values are meant to be relative to each other and provide directional guidance. Values resemble mixed leagues with a $260 budget for 12 teams.

NL players are listed at the top, AL at the bottom. If you are playing in a mixed league, for batters: sort by Play (descending), POS (descending), mGuru (descending); for pitchers sort by Play (descending), POS (descending), mGURU (descending). In the case of pitchers, notice that positions were newly defined to distinguish between them (see below).

Players can also be sorted by rankings. Rank is overall for batters.lrank is the league rank among either batters or pitchers. prank is the positional rank within league for either batters or pitchers. An overall rank across all players was not made, but it can be infered using mGURU.

If you prefer not to consider playing time in the rankings and want to reply soly on rate of production, we have that too. For batters use wOBA, which is based on research by Tom Tango. For Pitchers use mDERA, which is the ERA forecast. It relies heavily on Voros McCracken's DIPS concept. ERAi is the indexed to league ERA.

No minor league data was considered, so be advised that forecasts for rookies tend to be weighted more heavily towards league averages for players of their positions and expected playing time than established players. Another stat Tom Tango developed called Reliability will help you gauge this. Best of all is to look at the 3 similar players players the machine identifies.

Looking for sleepers?

Value is S=Sleeper, R=Regular, and O=Overpriced compared to what others might expect based on last season. If you want to know how big a sleeper or how overpriced, use gurud, which is the difference between forecasted performance and last year for those keys stats. The higher the number the bigger value, the lower the number the more overpriced.

Pitchers: DIF is mDERA-ERA (forecasted era minus last years era). Negative dif is a value pick, positive is premium. DIF_IP3 is the change in projected IP 3 years from now minus last year.

ORIGINAL INSIGHTS

Before we get into the numbers, consider the machine learning text. It tells us which players are the most similar using an original approach and clusters them and gives us a brief description of their status.

ORIGINAL BATTING STATS

The xGURU and xwOBA for batters shows expected batting value for someone at that position and playing time. So if you want to consider valuing SS over OF, then see how much higher that persons mGURU is above xGURU. mGURUwt was created to do this weighting for you.

mStarter is predicted playing time, where Y is Starter; N is Not full time Starter or Inj risk or Performance Risk; and B is a Bench player with fringe mlb-level quality forecasted.

mVORP is Value (runs contributed) Over Replacement Player. It is similar to WAR, but uses a different bar for replacement value. For batters this is the wOBA of non-starters at each position. The formula is (mwOBA-xwOBA)*mTAP. This is different from mGURU, which further weights the results against players of similar playing time. mGURU is also weighted more towards rate of performance, so times at plate plays less of a factor (although it still matters).

ORIGINAL PITCHING STATS

Creation of pitching positions: SP=Starters / LP=Long Relief (Swing) / JP=Junk (or Junior) Starters / EP=Elite Relief Pitchers / DP=Decent RP / BP=Bad RP/ AP=Avoid RP. These assignments are critical for drafting. Seriously, do not draft AP or JP pitchers, no matter what the machine thinks. And, LP might also stand for "Last to Predict" because I don't know what to do with these guys (neither do most others, but at least Iadmit it). I don't have supporting minor league data and LPs are players in flux. Look for bargains and young talent there.

mSTUFF (Do NOT confuse this with PECOTA's stuff). Having big STUFF means excellent power and control. Its our way of measuring upside, especially for young pitchers. Find hidden future stars! The formula is: 6*mDOM -2.67*mDERA -3*mCTL -5*mHR9; if mSTUFF<1 then mSTUFF=1; mSTUFF=mSTUFF*mSTUFF/10;

WRIP - Since hrs allowed are more under a pitchers control than hits allowed, a stat called wrip was created to look like whip. Whip is (walks+hits)/ip and Wrip is (walks+hr*10)/ip. I also like the names because a pitcher giving up lots of hits gets "whipped", while one giving up lots of HRs gets "wripped." Agree?

mVORP is Value (runs allowed) Over Replacement Player at same position. It is similar to WAR, but uses a different bar for replacement value. It is (mDERA-xDERA)*mIP. xDERA ranges from 6 for someone who only starts to 5 for somone never starts. Like WAR, which is based on FIP instead of ERA, this is based on mDERA, which is much more like FIP than ERA.

traj indicates the trajectory the pitcher is heading over the next 3 years.

Several more are borrowed from others, such as: mCMD (9*bb/ip), mDOM (9*k/ip), mCTL (k/bb), and HR9 (9*hr/ip). 

 Forecasts from Past Years
These include original stats and other sabermetrics.

Work was done every year to improve the forecasts and add insights!

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2020.xlsm    Actuals*: mlb2020.xls

For the shortened 2020 season, two sets of stats are given (actual and projected).

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2019.xls    Actuals: mlb2019.xls

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2018.xls    Actuals: mlb2018.xls

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2017.xls    Actuals: mlb2017.xls

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2016.xlsm    Actuals: mlb2016.xls

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2015.xls    Actuals: mlb2015.xls

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2014.xls    Actuals: mlb2014.xls

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2013.xls    Actuals: mlb2013.xls

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2012.xls    Actuals: mlb2012.xls

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2011.xls    Actuals: mlb2011.xls

Forecasts: GURU_mForecast2010.xls    Actuals: mlb2010.xls

Forecasts:  GURU_mForecast2009.xls    Actuals: mlb2009.xls

Forecasts:  GURU_mForecast2008.xls   Actuals: mlb2008.xls

Forecasts:  GURU_mForecast2007.xls   Actuals: mlb2007.xls

Forecasts:  GURU_mForecast2006.xls   Actuals: mlb2006.xls

Forecasts:  GURU_mForecast2005.xls   Actuals: mlb2005.xls

Compare these to Steamer, Razzball, Rotochamp, and Marcel


Scoresheet (SSL ID's, range, platoon adj, special forecasts):

SSL2020.xls  SSL2019.xls    SSL2018.xls 

SSL2017.xls  SSL2016.xls    SSL2015.xls     SSL2014.xls 

SSL2013.xls    SSL2012.xls     SSL2011.xls 

SSL2010.xls     SSL2009.xls

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