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2nd Place Winners, 2014 SABR Diamond Dollars Case Competition
My team and I designed a pitcher projection and valuation model that allowed us to put a dollar value on the surplus generated by each of MLB's top pitchers.
Projection: Our model was built on accurate identification of age-specific comparable players, whose career trajectories informed a series of monte carlo simulations that forecast each individual component of FIP 10,000 times. These independent events were automatically combined into 10,000 instances of FIP, which we then translated into WAR.
Valuation: Using a $6M/year value for WAR that was provided in the case prompt, and taking inflation, injury risk premiums and projection uncertainty into account through inflation and discount rates, we proceeded to build a valuation model that computed the present-day surplus (or deficit) represented by that pitcher's performance through each year of team control.
Sabermetrics and Scouting: We then took our stack-ranked list of top pitchers and applied a detailed series of sabermetric and qualitative filters, to seek either confirmation or denial of the model's results. Our study included grades on pitching mechanics, probabilities of DL-visits in 2014, analyses of makeup and the pitchers' unique pitching characteristics.
Examples of the features we uncovered include Jose Fernandez's 55% zone rate, Chris Sale's unique horizontal movement (3 of the 10 largest horizontal movements in our sample), and Yu Darvish's 3 of the top 7 whiff rate pitches in our sample.