Skip to main content

Most Accurate Fantasy Baseball Projections (2023 Results)

Most Accurate Fantasy Baseball Projections (2023 Results)

Baseball is clearly the best sport for projections. A long history of hundreds of games per year and long careers means we have a wealth of data to project talent. The low rate of injury (compared to some sports) and consistent nature of batting orders take much of the guesswork out of projecting opportunity. There is a well-established culture of approaching baseball analytics scientifically. All this adds up to a sport where projections are quite good and getting better every year.

At FantasyPros, our ultimate goal is to help you win your fantasy league. An important part of winning is deciding which projections are worth listening to, and that’s what this article aims to do. In preparation for fantasy drafts in 2024, let’s take a look at which projection systems were the most accurate in 2023.

Accuracy Methodology

There are many possible reasons to care about projections, and many possible ways to judge their accuracy. Since we are primarily concerned with fantasy, we have developed an accuracy methodology that evaluates projections in terms of their effectiveness as fantasy advice. This has 3 steps:

  1. Select the right data: Because we’re here to win fantasy leagues, we mainly care about the standard 5×5 roto categories. For hitters, that means run scored (R), home runs (HR), runs batted in (RBI), stolen bases (SB) and batting average (AVG). For pitchers, we look at wins (W), saves (SV), strikeouts (K), earned run average (ERA) and walks + runs per inning pitched (WHIP). Many of these are counting stats, so we also care about playing time, and thus include at-bats (AB) for hitters, and innings pitched (IP) for pitchers for a total of 12 categories. We then evaluate counting stats on a per-opportunity bases, rather than raw totals, so that we can separate playing time projections from quality-of-play projections. For example, last year Shohei Ohtani hit 44 home runs on 497 at-bats. If you projected him to hit 49 homers on 550 at-bats, your at-bat projection missed by 53, but your home run projection was right on the money, correctly predicting his 8.9% home run rate.
  2. Evaluate each projection: We ultimately care about how the projection systems stack up against each other, so we measure projection error in context. That 53 at-bat miss for Ohtani might sound like a lot, but it’s only a slightly larger miss than the average projection. To measure this precisely, we transform each projection error into a z-score, in the context of projections from all sources for the same player and stat. To continue the Ohtani example, last year all sources had an average error of 47.5 for Ohtani’s at-bats, with a standard deviation of 13.6. Thus, your projection that missed by 53 at-bats was (53-47.5)/13.6 = 0.4 standard deviations worse than the average.
  3. Aggregate the projection errors: Another advantage of measuring projection error with z-scores is that it puts every category on the same scale. For a given projection source and stat we will take the average of all their projection error z-scores across the player pool, to get an accuracy score for that stat. Then to judge the best overall projection systems, we add together the scores from each stat.

2023 Projection Accuracy Results

Note that since our z-scores represent projection error, lower is better. Without further ado, here are the best projection sources from 2023!

2023 Fantasy Baseball Projection Accuracy
Projection Source Rank Overall Pitchers Hitters
FanGraphs – ATC Projections 1 -1.99 -0.94 -1.05
Draft Buddy – Site Projections 2 -1.89 -0.88 -1.01
Derek Carty – THE BAT X 3 -1.81 -0.87 -0.94
FantasyPros – Zeile Consensus Projections 4 -1.68 -0.70 -0.98
FanGraphs – Depth Charts Projections 5 -1.33 -0.67 -0.66
Steamer Projections 6 -1.18 -0.68 -0.51
Razzball – Site Projections 7 -0.96 -0.63 -0.33
Baseball Think Factory – ZiPS DC Projections 8 -0.62 -0.35 -0.27
ESPN – Site Projections 9 0.16 -0.06 0.22
Clay Davenport 10 0.22 -0.59 0.80
TG Fantasy Baseball – Site Projections 11 1.27 0.77 0.50
RotoChamp – Site Projections 12 1.85 0.52 1.33
Baseball Guru – Site Projections 13 1.92 1.03 0.89
Steve Paulo – STOMPER Projections 14 2.33 1.79 0.54
CBS Sports – Site Projections 15 3.90 2.14 1.76

Ariel Cohen‘s Average Total Cost (ATC) projection system is an institution. Incredibly, this is ATC’s fifth consecutive year as the #1 projection system! This is a testament to the incredible power of ATC’s consensus methodology. Some projection systems, like FantasyPros’ own Zeile, are a simple average of other projection sources. ATC takes that idea a step further and combines several sources smartly, weighting them differently for different stats to achieve an optimal mix, which combines the strengths of the component systems. If you’re putting together a cheat sheet for your fantasy draft, there’s no better set of projections to use than ATC. The consistent track record of accuracy means we can be confident that ATC’s projections will be excellent again this year.

Our #2 system is an impressive showing from a newcomer to the competition, Draft Buddy by Mike MacGregor! Draft Buddy uses a consensus of multiple sources for playing time projections and it’s clearly working. Such a strong showing for Draft Buddy’s first year is promising – will they be able to challenge ATC’s throne in the future?

Taking a consensus of original projection sources like ATC does is clearly the path to the best possible projections, but that could not exist without the projection systems it’s made of. Nobody does original projections better than Derek Carty with THE BAT. Carty has been publishing THE BAT since 2013, and introduced THE BAT X for hitters in 2020. THE BAT X is cutting edge, layering statcast data on top of an already solid foundation of projections. To learn more, check out the announcement article. The results speak for themselves – since it’s introduction, THE BAT X has been the most accurate original projection system for four straight years.

Category Results

And now, for the breakdown of how well each system projected each of the hitter stats we care about for fantasy:

2023 Hitter Projections Accuracy
Projections System AB R HR RBI SB AVG
Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank
FanGraphs – ATC Projections -0.180 5 -0.192 1 -0.131 4 -0.212 1 -0.167 2 -0.170 3
Draft Buddy – Site Projections -0.134 6 -0.185 3 -0.167 1 -0.202 2 -0.151 3 -0.171 2
FantasyPros – Zeile Consensus Projections -0.190 2 -0.188 2 -0.147 T-2 -0.189 T-3 -0.102 5 -0.167 4
Derek Carty – THE BAT X -0.182 3 -0.179 4 -0.108 5 -0.189 T-3 -0.097 6 -0.183 1
Derek Carty – THE BAT -0.181 4 -0.115 6 -0.095 6 -0.147 5 -0.077 7 -0.153 5
FanGraphs – Depth Charts Projections -0.074 8 -0.133 5 -0.147 T-2 -0.053 8 -0.141 4 -0.108 8
Steamer Projections -0.115 7 -0.051 8 -0.089 7 -0.099 7 -0.018 9 -0.135 6
Razzball – Site Projections -0.198 1 -0.033 9 -0.039 9 -0.112 6 0.184 15 -0.133 7
Baseball Think Factory – ZiPS DC Projections -0.071 9 -0.067 7 -0.072 8 0.164 14 -0.188 1 -0.032 11
ESPN – Site Projections 0.128 14 0.001 11 0.116 13 0.019 10 0.004 10 -0.044 10
TG Fantasy Baseball – Site Projections 0.117 13 0.046 12 0.014 11 0.068 11 0.041 13 0.214 14
Steve Paulo – STOMPER Projections 0.099 12 0.073 13 0.062 12 0.110 12 -0.050 8 0.247 15
Clay Davenport -0.048 10 0.131 14 -0.010 10 0.181 15 0.644 16 -0.095 9
Baseball Guru – Site Projections 0.597 16 -0.001 10 0.192 14 -0.006 9 0.136 14 -0.027 12
RotoChamp – Site Projections -0.037 11 0.496 16 0.290 16 0.404 16 0.021 11 0.152 13
CBS Sports – Site Projections 0.365 15 0.218 15 0.241 15 0.156 13 0.025 12 0.757 16

And Pitchers:

2023 Pitcher Projections Accuracy
Projections System IP W SV K ERA WHIP
Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank
FanGraphs – ATC Projections -0.237 T-1 -0.063 T-7 -0.090 5 -0.206 2 -0.156 4 -0.189 T-1
Draft Buddy – Site Projections -0.170 5 -0.092 4 -0.078 6 -0.203 3 -0.145 6 -0.189 T-1
FanGraphs – Depth Charts Projections 0.006 9 -0.063 T-7 -0.100 T-1 -0.174 4 -0.161 3 -0.178 3
Steamer Projections 0.043 11 -0.084 5 -0.100 T-1 -0.168 5 -0.191 1 -0.177 4
Razzball – Site Projections -0.005 8 -0.122 2 -0.012 12 -0.161 6 -0.155 5 -0.171 5
FantasyPros – Zeile Consensus Projections -0.190 4 -0.137 1 -0.054 9 -0.208 1 0.057 13 -0.166 6
Derek Carty – THE BAT -0.237 T-1 -0.105 3 -0.092 4 -0.119 7 -0.167 2 -0.148 7
Clay Davenport -0.193 3 -0.073 6 -0.027 11 -0.038 10 -0.128 7 -0.127 8
Baseball Think Factory – ZiPS DC Projections -0.025 7 0.065 15 -0.100 T-1 -0.083 9 -0.090 10 -0.115 9
Prospects Live – Jordan Rosenblum 0.141 15 0.285 17 -0.069 T-7 -0.101 8 -0.105 9 -0.111 10
ESPN – Site Projections 0.090 13 0.027 13 0.001 13 -0.031 11 -0.040 12 -0.109 11
Baseball Guru – Site Projections 0.270 17 0.006 11 0.470 17 0.409 16 -0.078 11 -0.042 12
numberFire – Site Projections 0.015 10 -0.046 9 0.092 15 0.029 13 -0.118 8 -0.022 13
TG Fantasy Baseball – Site Projections 0.058 12 0.080 16 -0.028 10 0.126 14 0.362 15 0.174 14
RotoChamp – Site Projections -0.085 6 -0.045 10 0.318 16 0.002 12 0.105 14 0.228 15
CBS Sports – Site Projections 0.227 16 0.020 12 0.067 14 0.635 17 0.601 16 0.586 16
Steve Paulo – STOMPER Projections 0.130 14 0.034 14 -0.069 T-7 0.204 15 0.627 17 0.864 17

Jacob Herlin is a Data Scientist for FantasyPros. You can find him on twitter @jacoblawherlin.

More Articles

10 Burning Questions: Ronald Acuna Jr., Brent Rooker, Austin Riley (Fantasy Baseball)

10 Burning Questions: Ronald Acuna Jr., Brent Rooker, Austin Riley (Fantasy Baseball)

fp-headshot by Corey Pieper | 4 min read
Fantasy Baseball Injury News: Ronald Acuna, Jeffrey Springs, Trea Turner

Fantasy Baseball Injury News: Ronald Acuna, Jeffrey Springs, Trea Turner

fp-headshot by FantasyPros Staff | 2 min read
20 Things to Watch: Wyatt Langford, Mark Vientos, Luis Gil (Fantasy Baseball)

20 Things to Watch: Wyatt Langford, Mark Vientos, Luis Gil (Fantasy Baseball)

fp-headshot by Justin Mason | 4 min read
Fantasy Baseball Trade Advice: Buy High & Sell Low (Week 10)

Fantasy Baseball Trade Advice: Buy High & Sell Low (Week 10)

fp-headshot by Chase Davis | 2 min read

About Author

Hide

Current Article

4 min read

10 Burning Questions: Ronald Acuna Jr., Brent Rooker, Austin Riley (Fantasy Baseball)

Next Up - 10 Burning Questions: Ronald Acuna Jr., Brent Rooker, Austin Riley (Fantasy Baseball)

Next Article