ESPN.com’s Stats Projection Machine Is Drunk

It’s projecting John Buck to hit 81 homers and Justin Masterson to win 44 games. Seems unrealistic. posted on

1. John Buck is a catcher for the Mets. He’s a career .236 hitter.

Seth Wenig / AP

2. But this year, he’s already hit six homers in twelve games.

3. And this is ESPN.com’s player page for John Buck. It has some interesting opinions about Buck. Specifically, projections for his 2013 season.

4. ESPN.com has taken Buck’s season so far — this tiny sample size of 12 games — and used that to project a full 162 game season. So in 162 games, Buck is projected to do this.

5. Let’s zoom in on two big numbers. That’s right: ESPN.com says he’ll hit 81 homers and 257 RBIs. Which, yes, would be impressive.

So what this has made us just now realize is that rather than doing an actual projection by incorporating up-to-date data into a systematic prediction formula a la Nate Silver, ESPN seems to just pro-rate players’ totals for the number of games remaining.

7. Justin Upton of the Braves is already an established star, so his projection isn’t quite as random as Buck’s, but it’s still pretty funny.

J Pat Carter / AP

9. 95 HOME RUNS IS QUITE A LOT OF HOME RUNS.

10. People are excited about Bryce Harper of the Nationals, but he’s on pace for a truly pedestrian year by these high standards.

Al Behrman / AP

13. ESPN is excited about pitchers, too. Cleveland’s Justin Masterson is headed for a killer year.

J. Meric / Getty Images

15. 44-0. Cooperstown will have to be renamed Mastersontown.

16. And get excited about Baltimore closer Jim Johnson’s 2013!

Rob Carr / Getty Images

18. 68 saves…but 14 losses. The 9th inning is apparently going to be feast or famine for the O’s.

19. Of course, you don’t want to get on ESPN.com’s bad side. This is Houston pitcher Philip Humber.

Bob Levey / Getty Images

21. He’s going to have an ERA under 3.00…and lose 37 games. Even calculators hate the Astros.

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