2013 ZiPS Projections – Atlanta Braves

Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections, which have typically appeared in the pages of Baseball Think Factory, are being released at FanGraphs this year. Below are the projections for the Atlanta Braves. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other 2013 Projections: Angels / Astros / Athletics / Blue Jays / Brewers / Cardinals / Cubs / Diamondbacks / Dodgers / Giants / Mariners / Marlins / Mets / Nationals / Orioles / Padres / Phillies / Pirates / Rangers / Rays / Reds / Red Sox / Rockies / Royals / Tigers / Twins / White Sox / Yankees.

Batters
Basically every starter for Atlanta — plus the Francisco/Johnson platoon at third — appears likely to produce something between two and four wins above replacement. For obvious reasons, that’s more of a good thing than a bad one — on account of, I mean, more wins is better than fewer wins. If there is a downside to having such a balanced roster, it’s that upgrading at midseason is more challenging. Last season, for example, the Chicago White Sox had the blackest of possible holes at third base. Therefore, their late-June acquisition of Kevin Youkilis represented a considerable improvement over the status quo. As of now, the possibility that the Braves will have such a glaring weakness is on the low-ish end of things.

Posing some difficulty to those who would prefer to draw strong conclusions about Atlanta based on these projections is what one might call, were he/she in the mood, the Brian McCann Shoulder Situation. The very good Braves catcher had surgery on his right shoulder in October — of which procedure Dan Szymborski’s math computer is entirely unaware. Reports suggest that McCann should be ready by mid-April, but even that timetable is liable to futz around with McCann’s “real” projection for 2013.

Pitchers
While the author, in this nearly concluded series of ZiPS posts, has generally considered each team’s starting rotation first, the Atlanta bullpen demands to be acknowledged. Closer Craig Kimbrel, the reader will note, is projected to strike out 43.2% of opposing batters. Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters, and Jordan Walden — the reader will continue to note — are all projected to post park-adjusted FIPs about 20% better than league average.

The rotation, for its part, is neither (a) chopped liver, nor (b) any other sort of popular and edible organ. Kris Medlen, despite having made only 30 career starts, is projected to pitch rather on the excellent side of things. Also noteworthy is Brandon Beachy‘s forecast. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012, Beachy is expected back around June. If he approximates his per-inning numbers, he will be of some considerable use to the Braves, one imagines.

Bench/Prospects
Catcher-cum-outfielder Evan Gattis was among the best hitters in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason — this, after performing admirably in both the High-A Carolina League and Double-A Southern League. ZiPS is not skeptical of the power, but is skeptical of the overall defensive ability. Also of note is this: largely obscure third baseman Joe Leonard is projected to out-WAR (in roughly the same number of plate appearances) offseason acquisition Chris Johnson.

Depth Chart
Here’s a rough depth chart for the Braves, with rounded projected WAR totals for each player (click to embiggen):

Braves Depth

Ballpark graphic courtesy Eephus League. Credit to MLB Depth Charts for roster information.

Batters, Counting Stats

Player B Age PO PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS
Jason Heyward L 23 RF 593 81 140 27 5 24 72 16 6
B.J. Upton R 28 CF 649 89 145 33 5 25 80 34 10
Brian McCann L 29 C 518 51 118 21 0 21 73 3 1
Freddie Freeman L 23 1B 648 87 156 33 2 26 97 3 2
Justin Upton R 25 RF 661 93 152 29 4 22 76 19 9
Andrelton Simmons R 23 SS 526 55 134 23 6 5 48 14 10
Chipper Jones B 41 3B 424 48 100 23 0 13 57 1 1
Dan Uggla R 33 2B 610 81 126 24 0 23 80 3 3
Juan Francisco L 26 3B 402 42 96 24 2 16 59 2 1
Tyler Pastornicky R 23 SS 485 54 118 21 4 7 43 12 6
Gerald Laird R 33 C 217 22 48 10 1 3 17 1 0
Paul Janish R 30 SS 356 35 74 18 1 3 26 2 2
Joe Leonard R 24 3B 527 49 112 24 3 10 59 3 2
Evan Gattis R 26 LF 396 40 90 21 3 16 53 2 4
Christian Bethancourt R 21 C 393 33 92 11 2 6 37 9 7
Todd Cunningham B 24 CF 493 56 113 18 6 4 36 14 7
Chris Johnson R 28 3B 541 54 128 27 4 14 74 4 1
Jordan Parraz R 28 RF 372 40 82 19 3 6 34 5 3
Ramiro Pena B 27 SS 339 32 72 11 2 3 26 4 2
Jose Constanza L 29 LF 501 60 122 9 6 2 32 21 8
Stefan Gartrell R 29 RF 522 57 108 23 1 18 61 5 1
Ruben Gotay B 30 3B 441 47 89 15 2 7 37 4 3
Ernesto Mejia R 27 1B 577 58 128 29 1 21 74 5 2
Matt Pagnozzi R 30 C 283 24 53 10 0 3 25 0 1
Blake DeWitt L 27 LF 302 28 63 14 4 4 27 1 1
Jordan Schafer L 26 CF 411 47 78 13 2 4 25 23 8
Reed Johnson R 36 LF 251 26 58 13 2 3 19 2 2
Joey Terdoslavich B 24 1B 588 57 129 33 4 13 63 4 0
Josh Kroeger L 30 RF 419 41 91 21 0 9 43 8 6

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Jason Heyward 593 9.9% 21.8% .207 .307 .265 .341 .472 .351
B.J. Upton 649 9.4% 25.6% .204 .306 .251 .322 .455 .338
Brian McCann 518 10.4% 16.8% .183 .275 .258 .338 .441 .329
Freddie Freeman 648 9.9% 20.2% .202 .310 .274 .350 .476 .353
Justin Upton 661 10.4% 22.5% .179 .316 .263 .348 .442 .339
Andrelton Simmons 526 5.3% 10.1% .104 .301 .278 .320 .382 .298
Chipper Jones 424 10.8% 14.2% .166 .286 .268 .347 .434 .330
Dan Uggla 610 11.6% 24.1% .176 .285 .238 .334 .414 .326
Juan Francisco 402 4.2% 28.1% .199 .315 .252 .286 .451 .313
Tyler Pastornicky 485 5.2% 12.6% .113 .292 .265 .305 .378 .291
Gerald Laird 217 6.9% 15.7% .107 .281 .245 .304 .352 .284
Paul Janish 356 7.6% 14.3% .091 .265 .231 .299 .322 .274
Joe Leonard 527 6.8% 23.9% .125 .291 .233 .288 .358 .282
Evan Gattis 396 5.8% 18.2% .206 .266 .247 .303 .453 .320
Christian Bethancourt 393 2.3% 19.8% .088 .291 .245 .263 .333 .256
Todd Cunningham 493 5.3% 15.0% .093 .291 .251 .303 .344 .283
Chris Johnson 541 5.0% 25.0% .153 .317 .254 .296 .407 .301
Jordan Parraz 372 6.5% 19.9% .128 .295 .243 .308 .371 .298
Ramiro Pena 339 6.2% 19.2% .078 .283 .232 .284 .310 .262
Jose Constanza 501 6.6% 14.2% .059 .310 .266 .316 .325 .280
Stefan Gartrell 522 7.1% 29.1% .165 .291 .226 .288 .391 .297
Ruben Gotay 441 10.9% 22.4% .103 .289 .229 .316 .332 .287
Ernesto Mejia 577 5.5% 32.9% .176 .327 .240 .289 .416 .304
Matt Pagnozzi 283 7.1% 27.2% .076 .286 .209 .273 .285 .246
Blake DeWitt 302 8.3% 17.5% .124 .271 .231 .298 .355 .283
Jordan Schafer 411 8.8% 26.0% .079 .289 .214 .286 .293 .259
Reed Johnson 251 3.2% 22.7% .111 .314 .248 .292 .359 .281
Joey Terdoslavich 588 6.1% 25.2% .148 .300 .238 .286 .386 .291
Josh Kroeger 419 6.9% 16.2% .125 .265 .236 .294 .361 .282

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def WAR No.1 Comp
Jason Heyward 593 6.0 119 11 4.0 Leon Durham
B.J. Upton 649 5.5 109 0 3.5 Mike Cameron
Brian McCann 518 5.4 111 0 3.5 Ed Bailey
Freddie Freeman 648 6.2 123 -1 3.0 Kent Hrbek
Justin Upton 661 5.7 114 3 3.0 Chili Davis
Andrelton Simmons 526 4.4 91 6 2.3 Placido Polanco
Chipper Jones 424 5.5 112 -2 2.1 Pinky Higgins
Dan Uggla 610 4.9 103 -7 1.9 Rico Petrocelli
Juan Francisco 402 4.7 97 -1 1.3 Jim Presley
Tyler Pastornicky 485 4.2 85 -5 1.0 Alberto Gonzalez
Gerald Laird 217 3.9 78 2 0.8 Rollie Hemsley
Paul Janish 356 3.3 70 3 0.8 Tim Cullen
Joe Leonard 527 3.6 75 1 0.7 Corey Myers
Evan Gattis 396 4.8 103 -3 0.6 Chad Rupp
Christian Bethancourt 393 3.0 62 4 0.6 Edwin Bellorin
Todd Cunningham 493 3.8 76 1 0.6 Renard Brown
Chris Johnson 541 4.4 89 -10 0.5 Bobby Knoop
Jordan Parraz 372 4.1 84 3 0.5 Rod Allen
Ramiro Pena 339 3.1 62 3 0.4 Raul Nieves
Jose Constanza 501 3.9 75 5 0.3 Jason Tyner
Stefan Gartrell 522 4.0 83 0 0.3 John Nelson
Ruben Gotay 441 3.6 77 -6 0.0 Mark Kiger
Ernesto Mejia 577 4.3 90 -5 -0.1 Chris Cron
Matt Pagnozzi 283 2.6 53 -1 -0.1 Joe Hietpas
Blake DeWitt 302 3.7 77 0 -0.1 Michael Tullier
Jordan Schafer 411 3.1 59 -1 -0.3 Roger Bernadina
Reed Johnson 251 3.7 77 -2 -0.3 Roberto Kelly
Joey Terdoslavich 588 4.0 81 -4 -0.4 Julio Zuleta
Josh Kroeger 419 3.6 78 -5 -0.7 Ron Calloway

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
Tim Hudson R 37 27 27 169.7 106 50 14 163 73 68
Kris Medlen R 27 23 23 145.0 113 33 13 138 58 54
Brandon Beachy R 26 20 20 122.0 119 43 12 108 49 46
Craig Kimbrel R 25 69 0 69.0 118 28 5 38 13 12
Mike Minor L 25 30 30 170.7 154 57 22 161 81 76
Paul Maholm L 31 28 28 168.0 115 51 17 168 80 75
Jonny Venters L 28 74 0 73.3 84 34 5 59 26 24
Aaron Northcraft R 23 25 24 129.0 98 63 11 129 66 62
Julio Teheran R 22 28 26 142.7 100 55 17 148 76 71
Eric O’Flaherty L 28 67 0 58.7 52 19 4 51 20 19
Cristhian Martinez R 31 49 0 71.0 59 17 7 69 30 28
Jordan Walden R 25 57 0 54.3 62 25 4 46 21 20
Cory Gearrin R 27 57 0 72.0 67 35 5 65 31 29
Ben Sheets R 34 13 13 74.3 55 23 10 76 39 36
David Carpenter R 27 60 0 61.7 55 26 7 62 32 30
Luis Avilan L 23 42 12 93.0 70 46 14 97 57 53
Juan Jaime R 25 44 0 48.0 55 46 6 41 29 27
Cory Rasmus R 25 53 0 54.7 44 42 6 55 34 32
David Hale R 25 26 17 105.0 68 66 15 117 72 67

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Tim Hudson 169.7 722 14.7% 6.9% .275 3.61 3.82 92 97
Kris Medlen 145.0 606 18.6% 5.4% .281 3.35 3.32 85 85
Brandon Beachy 122.0 517 23.0% 8.3% .283 3.39 3.39 86 86
Craig Kimbrel 69.0 273 43.2% 10.3% .275 1.57 1.79 40 46
Mike Minor 170.7 730 21.1% 7.8% .283 4.01 3.88 102 99
Paul Maholm 168.0 723 15.9% 7.1% .284 4.02 3.97 103 101
Jonny Venters 73.3 313 26.8% 10.9% .294 2.95 3.07 75 78
Aaron Northcraft 129.0 579 16.9% 10.9% .296 4.33 4.22 110 108
Julio Teheran 142.7 631 15.8% 8.7% .290 4.48 4.43 114 113
Eric O’Flaherty 58.7 246 21.1% 7.7% .278 2.91 2.99 74 76
Cristhian Martinez 71.0 299 19.7% 5.7% .290 3.55 3.30 91 84
Jordan Walden 54.3 234 26.5% 10.7% .296 3.31 3.01 84 77
Cory Gearrin 72.0 316 21.2% 11.1% .294 3.63 3.63 93 93
Ben Sheets 74.3 322 17.1% 7.1% .283 4.36 4.20 111 107
David Carpenter 61.7 273 20.1% 9.5% .304 4.38 4.01 112 102
Luis Avilan 93.0 422 16.6% 10.9% .289 5.13 5.07 131 129
Juan Jaime 48.0 231 23.8% 19.9% .289 5.06 5.15 129 131
Cory Rasmus 54.7 261 16.9% 16.1% .297 5.27 5.24 134 134
David Hale 105.0 498 13.7% 13.3% .299 5.74 5.65 146 144

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ WAR No. 1 Comp
Tim Hudson 169.7 5.62 2.65 0.74 110 3.3 Bob Forsch
Kris Medlen 145.0 7.01 2.05 0.81 118 3.2 Shane Reynolds
Brandon Beachy 122.0 8.78 3.17 0.89 117 2.7 Jack Armstrong
Craig Kimbrel 69.0 15.39 3.65 0.65 254 2.5 Francisco Rodriguez
Mike Minor 170.7 8.12 3.01 1.16 99 2.4 John Cerutti
Paul Maholm 168.0 6.16 2.73 0.91 99 2.4 Kirk Rueter
Jonny Venters 73.3 10.31 4.17 0.61 135 1.4 Rod Scurry
Aaron Northcraft 129.0 6.84 4.40 0.77 92 1.3 Charlie Haeger
Julio Teheran 142.7 6.31 3.47 1.07 89 1.2 Wade Taylor
Eric O’Flaherty 58.7 7.97 2.91 0.61 136 1.1 Juan Agosto
Cristhian Martinez 71.0 7.48 2.15 0.89 112 0.8 Gil Heredia
Jordan Walden 54.3 10.28 4.14 0.66 120 0.8 Brian Bruney
Cory Gearrin 72.0 8.38 4.38 0.63 110 0.8 Jim Stoops
Ben Sheets 74.3 6.66 2.79 1.21 91 0.7 Bob Milacki
David Carpenter 61.7 8.02 3.79 1.02 91 0.1 Dale Thayer
Luis Avilan 93.0 6.77 4.45 1.35 77 -0.2 Frank Brooks
Juan Jaime 48.0 10.31 8.63 1.13 78 -0.3 Marcus Moore
Cory Rasmus 54.7 7.24 6.91 0.99 75 -0.5 Edwardo Sierra
David Hale 105.0 5.83 5.66 1.29 69 -0.8 Nick Skuse

***

Disclaimer: ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors — many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2012. ZiPS is projecting equivalent production — a .240 ZiPS projection may end up being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example. Whether or not a player will play is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting the future.

Players are listed with their most recent teams unless Dan has made a mistake. This is very possible as a lot of minor-league signings are generally unreported in the offseason.

ZiPS is projecting based on the AL having a 4.09 ERA and the NL having a 3.92 ERA.

Players that are expected to be out due to injury are still projected. More information is always better than less information and a computer isn’t what should be projecting the injury status of, for example, a pitcher with Tommy John surgery.

Regarding ERA+ vs. ERA- (and FIP+ vs. FIP-) and the differences therein: as Patriot notes here, they are not simply mirror images of each other. Writes Patriot: “ERA+ does not tell you that a pitcher’s ERA was X% less or more than the league’s ERA. It tells you that the league’s ERA was X% less or more than the pitcher’s ERA.”

Both hitters and pitchers are ranked by projected WAR.



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