Why Cubs' arbitration projections are tough to forecast originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
After a season unlike any other, MLB is entering an offseason with an unpredictable forecast.
Teams across the league experienced revenue losses this season. There’s also no telling right now how many fans will be in attendance at games next year. But besides the obvious financial repercussions of 2020, the shortened season offers a smaller sample size for teams to evaluate players.
That brings us to a unique situation as it pertains to arbitration-eligible players.
Due to the unique circumstances of 2020, MLBTR provides three projections for each player this winter. As always, their model accounts for playing time, role, position and stats. You can read more about how they calculate those three projections here.
A player’s past-season salary is always the starting point in arbitration. While their salary can be cut (by no more than 20 percent) it’s hard to see that happening after a pandemic season.
Ultimately, working off 2020 salaries (pre-proration) might be the best tool when looking at a player’s value amid uncertain times. Therefore, take these projections for what you will. Even MLBTR, which has had mixed results in normal seasons, acknowledges it’s more difficult in 2020.