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2013 ZiPS Projections – Colorado Rockies

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 Colorado Rockies. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other 2013 Projections: Angels / Astros / Athletics / Blue Jays / Brewers / Cubs / Giants / Nationals / Phillies / Pirates / Rangers / Royals / White Sox.

Batters
It is not surprising to find that, among Colorado’s field players, ZiPS finds two stars: Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. The former, in particular, is fantastic on a per-game basis; however, injury trouble has created a rather conservative plate-appearances projection for Tulo. The shortstop has recently reported a return to form, but remember: ZiPS doesn’t know how or why he’s been injured, just that his playing time has been deflated in the near past.

Elsewhere, like last season, third base appears to be a cause for some concern for the Rockies in 2013. Chris Nelson (0.3 WAR in 377 PA) and Jordan Pacheco (0.2 WAR in 505 PA) started 148 games there between them in 2012. Neither appears to be a starting option on a winning team. Likely second baseman Josh Rutledge, meanwhile, must be a pleasant surprise for the club. Ranked around 10th on most prospect lists entering the 2012 season, ZiPS suggests that he’s become something not unlike a major-league regular.

Pitchers
If Juan Nicasio is likely the best pitcher in your starting rotation, that’s good for one reason and bad for two of them. It’s good because, at some point not long ago, it wasn’t entirely clear that Juan Nicasio was going to be even an okay starting pitcher. He is, though. Excellent! It’s bad, however, because both (a) Juan Nicasio has dealt with a knee injury in the recent past and also (b) Juan Nicasio is probably not the ace of a World Series contender.

Colorado’s bullpen, on the other hand, is the bullpen of a World Series contender. The author noted yesterday, regarding the cumulatively projected WAR for the White Sox relief corps, that it (i.e. that WAR) was among the highest we’d seen out of the teams considered so far. Yet, Colorado’s bullpen appears to be almost 40% better than Chicago’s, though — again, so far as WAR is concerned.

Bench/Prospects
If third base is a problem for Colorado, it’s possible that Nolan Arenado is ultimately the solution. He took a step back in 2012, slashing just .285/.337/.428 (.296 BABIP), with a 110 wRC+ in 573 plate appearances at Double-A, after an excellent 2011 at High-A and even more excellent Arizona Fall League, but enters just his age-22 season with above-average contact skills and the ability to play third base. Alternatively, if Eric Young could return to second base (which he’s played not horribly, it seems, at the major-league level) and let Rutledge take over at third (which one assumes he could play, given that he’s exhibited enough arm strength to play shortstop), then that might be represent an improvement, too. Finally, the author would be remiss not to mention it: Charlie Blackmon.

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

Rockies 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
Troy Tulowitzki R 28 SS 461 65 121 24 3 23 74 9 3
Carlos Gonzalez L 27 LF 629 92 168 31 7 29 100 23 6
Dexter Fowler B 27 CF 620 74 145 27 13 15 50 16 7
Josh Rutledge R 24 2B 670 73 176 40 8 16 73 19 4
Nolan Arenado R 22 3B 644 59 166 36 2 17 81 1 2
Wilin Rosario R 24 C 462 51 114 20 2 22 60 3 4
Michael Cuddyer R 34 RF 509 67 132 31 3 21 73 8 2
Eric Young B 28 CF 377 49 88 14 5 4 23 29 6
Ryan Wheeler L 24 3B 604 62 158 31 4 16 82 3 2
DJ LeMahieu R 24 2B 598 53 165 26 6 3 55 12 8
Tyler Colvin L 27 RF 468 60 113 24 9 20 70 6 2
Todd Helton L 39 1B 330 32 75 17 1 9 43 1 1
Charlie Culberson R 24 2B 600 74 150 29 6 14 73 14 6
Charlie Blackmon L 26 CF 475 51 116 25 4 9 50 16 5
Cristhian Adames B 21 SS 538 44 121 20 5 6 42 3 1
Kyle Parker R 23 RF 526 52 119 19 4 19 67 1 1
Ramon Hernandez R 37 C 234 19 56 11 0 7 32 0 1
Gustavo Molina R 31 C 166 17 38 8 0 6 21 0 0
Jordan Pacheco R 27 3B 592 51 153 29 3 7 67 6 3
Chris Nelson R 27 3B 449 47 112 22 4 12 59 5 3
Hernan Iribarren L 29 2B 466 43 112 18 3 4 43 13 5
Jonathan Herrera B 28 2B 368 49 83 10 2 4 21 5 3
Corey Dickerson L 24 LF 556 53 128 31 6 19 66 11 8
Jason Giambi L 41 1B 125 11 25 4 0 5 17 0 0
Matt McBride R 28 RF 538 54 136 34 3 14 69 1 1
Rafael Ortega L 22 CF 612 56 149 23 8 9 55 31 25
Omir Santos R 32 C 204 16 47 10 1 2 19 0 0
Tim Wheeler L 25 RF 536 55 121 23 5 10 50 12 8

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Troy Tulowitzki 461 9.3% 15.0% .241 .303 .294 .362 .535 .378
Carlos Gonzalez 629 8.6% 20.3% .234 .337 .297 .360 .531 .373
Dexter Fowler 620 12.1% 23.5% .184 .349 .272 .364 .456 .352
Josh Rutledge 670 3.9% 20.0% .165 .332 .280 .316 .445 .330
Nolan Arenado 644 5.4% 11.0% .153 .289 .280 .319 .433 .320
Wilin Rosario 462 5.2% 24.9% .207 .307 .263 .301 .470 .327
Michael Cuddyer 509 7.7% 16.3% .215 .305 .284 .340 .499 .358
Eric Young 377 8.8% 17.8% .108 .319 .265 .339 .373 .321
Ryan Wheeler 604 5.8% 21.0% .155 .336 .282 .325 .437 .326
DJ LeMahieu 598 4.8% 12.9% .084 .335 .295 .328 .379 .304
Tyler Colvin 468 5.1% 25.6% .233 .310 .258 .298 .491 .334
Todd Helton 330 12.1% 15.8% .162 .291 .264 .355 .426 .338
Charlie Culberson 600 3.7% 21.2% .147 .317 .265 .296 .412 .304
Charlie Blackmon 475 5.9% 16.0% .139 .304 .267 .320 .406 .316
Cristhian Adames 538 6.7% 19.7% .099 .304 .249 .304 .348 .283
Kyle Parker 526 8.2% 26.0% .177 .313 .252 .321 .429 .326
Ramon Hernandez 234 5.1% 14.5% .148 .277 .259 .305 .407 .298
Gustavo Molina 166 3.0% 20.5% .166 .271 .242 .268 .408 .288
Jordan Pacheco 592 5.2% 11.5% .103 .306 .280 .324 .383 .308
Chris Nelson 449 5.6% 20.0% .158 .314 .269 .311 .427 .315
Hernan Iribarren 466 6.4% 15.5% .085 .307 .264 .313 .349 .286
Jonathan Herrera 368 7.6% 13.9% .079 .289 .254 .316 .333 .278
Corey Dickerson 556 6.1% 22.8% .195 .294 .250 .300 .445 .315
Jason Giambi 125 13.6% 27.2% .181 .299 .238 .352 .419 .336
Matt McBride 538 3.7% 14.7% .162 .290 .268 .298 .430 .311
Rafael Ortega 612 5.2% 19.0% .117 .313 .262 .303 .379 .288
Omir Santos 204 2.0% 17.6% .093 .285 .244 .262 .337 .258
Tim Wheeler 536 6.5% 23.3% .129 .311 .247 .304 .376 .293

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def WAR No.1 Comp
Troy Tulowitzki 461 7.5 125 6 4.6 Cal Ripken
Carlos Gonzalez 629 7.6 123 0 4.0 Al Martin
Dexter Fowler 620 6.2 107 -6 2.4 Carlos Beltran
Josh Rutledge 670 5.5 91 1 2.4 Howie Kendrick
Nolan Arenado 644 5.1 89 0 1.6 Casey McGehee
Wilin Rosario 462 5.1 92 -3 1.5 John Buck
Michael Cuddyer 509 6.5 110 -8 1.3 Fernando Tatis
Eric Young 377 5.2 81 2 1.2 Greg Tubbs
Ryan Wheeler 604 5.3 92 -7 1.1 Roy Howell
DJ LeMahieu 598 4.7 80 1 0.8 Todd Haney
Tyler Colvin 468 5.4 96 -1 0.8 Larry Barnes
Todd Helton 330 5.5 98 2 0.8 Kevin Millar
Charlie Culberson 600 4.5 78 -1 0.7 Juan Melo
Charlie Blackmon 475 4.9 83 -3 0.7 Mike Dzurilla
Cristhian Adames 538 3.8 66 3 0.6 Chris Pittaro
Kyle Parker 526 5.0 89 -1 0.4 Andy Thompson
Ramon Hernandez 234 4.4 79 -2 0.4 Raul Chavez
Gustavo Molina 166 3.9 69 1 0.3 Charlie Greene
Jordan Pacheco 592 4.7 79 -5 0.3 Al Pedrique
Chris Nelson 449 4.9 85 -7 0.3 Nick Green
Hernan Iribarren 466 4.1 68 1 0.2 Chico Ruiz
Jonathan Herrera 368 3.8 66 0 -0.1 Doug Baker
Corey Dickerson 556 4.7 87 -4 -0.1 Edgard Clemente
Jason Giambi 125 5.2 95 -4 -0.2 Matt Stairs
Matt McBride 538 4.7 82 -2 -0.2 Rob Cosby
Rafael Ortega 612 3.8 72 3 -0.2 Rob Lukachyk
Omir Santos 204 3.2 51 -1 -0.3 Charlie Greene
Tim Wheeler 536 4.0 72 0 -0.7 Shaun Cumberland

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
Jhoulys Chacin R 25 25 25 136.3 110 61 16 139 72 67
Drew Pomeranz L 24 30 30 134.3 112 65 16 144 79 74
Juan Nicasio R 26 16 16 90.3 80 27 11 97 48 45
Matt Belisle R 33 71 0 73.3 63 16 7 77 34 32
Daniel Rosenbaum L 25 26 25 140.3 81 54 15 168 88 82
Rex Brothers L 25 74 0 68.7 85 40 7 60 32 30
Jeff Francis L 32 27 27 143.3 85 36 21 173 91 85
Rafael Betancourt R 38 55 0 49.7 53 10 6 46 20 19
Wilton Lopez R 29 67 0 65.7 51 12 7 69 31 29
Adam Ottavino R 27 65 0 96.3 95 42 12 97 51 48
Jorge de la Rosa L 32 12 12 70.7 56 34 9 74 42 39
Rob Scahill R 26 29 26 142.7 97 80 17 168 95 89
Tyler Chatwood R 23 30 25 129.3 79 67 17 152 86 80
Christian Friedrich L 25 21 21 109.0 80 40 17 130 73 68
Josh Outman L 28 36 20 107.7 81 62 14 121 72 67
Mike McClendon R 28 44 0 64.3 37 25 5 73 37 35
Jonathan Sanchez L 30 21 21 104.7 94 67 17 109 72 67
Edgmer Escalona R 26 55 0 64.3 56 28 11 67 39 36
Will Harris R 28 53 0 57.7 52 25 8 61 34 32
Joe Gardner R 25 26 24 120.3 65 65 17 143 86 80
Royce Ring L 32 31 0 24.7 18 10 4 28 15 14
Josh Sullivan R 28 61 0 58.0 40 37 6 64 37 35
Erick Threets L 31 42 0 42.7 25 26 4 48 28 26
Manuel Corpas R 30 61 0 69.7 42 25 11 83 46 43
Tyler Matzek L 22 25 25 112.7 97 106 15 119 82 77
Logan Kensing R 30 25 0 29.3 21 16 4 34 20 19
Edwar Cabrera L 25 21 21 111.7 90 49 25 133 83 78
Justin Berg R 29 33 1 43.7 20 26 5 53 32 30
Jason Bergmann R 31 29 4 51.3 33 29 9 62 39 36
Eric Junge R 36 18 16 97.7 46 40 16 128 74 69
Jeff Manship R 28 27 11 76.3 43 36 13 100 60 56
Austin Bibens-Dirkx R 28 32 13 92.7 57 43 18 115 72 67

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Jhoulys Chacin 136.3 609 18.1% 10.0% .295 4.42 4.42 100 100
Drew Pomeranz 134.3 612 18.3% 10.6% .311 4.96 4.56 112 103
Juan Nicasio 90.3 395 20.3% 6.8% .313 4.48 3.80 101 86
Matt Belisle 73.3 313 20.1% 5.1% .313 3.93 3.23 89 73
Daniel Rosenbaum 140.3 643 12.6% 8.4% .316 5.26 4.63 119 105
Rex Brothers 68.7 306 27.8% 13.1% .308 3.93 3.56 89 80
Jeff Francis 143.3 639 13.3% 5.6% .310 5.34 4.63 121 105
Rafael Betancourt 49.7 205 25.8% 4.9% .294 3.44 3.01 78 68
Wilton Lopez 65.7 278 18.3% 4.3% .301 3.97 3.48 90 78
Adam Ottavino 96.3 428 22.2% 9.8% .307 4.48 3.89 101 88
Jorge de la Rosa 70.7 320 17.5% 10.6% .298 4.97 4.65 112 105
Rob Scahill 142.7 676 14.3% 11.8% .319 5.61 5.13 127 116
Tyler Chatwood 129.3 607 13.0% 11.0% .308 5.57 5.18 126 117
Christian Friedrich 109.0 497 16.1% 8.0% .318 5.61 4.89 127 110
Josh Outman 107.7 506 16.0% 12.3% .310 5.60 5.12 126 116
Mike McClendon 64.3 291 12.7% 8.6% .311 4.90 4.31 111 97
Jonathan Sanchez 104.7 490 19.2% 13.7% .301 5.76 5.44 130 123
Edgmer Escalona 64.3 288 19.5% 9.7% .295 5.04 4.93 114 111
Will Harris 57.7 259 20.1% 9.6% .312 4.99 4.55 113 103
Joe Gardner 120.3 569 11.4% 11.4% .305 5.98 5.62 135 127
Royce Ring 24.7 112 16.1% 8.9% .303 5.11 4.96 115 112
Josh Sullivan 58.0 275 14.5% 13.5% .310 5.43 5.23 123 118
Erick Threets 42.7 202 12.4% 12.9% .305 5.48 5.04 124 114
Manuel Corpas 69.7 317 13.2% 7.9% .308 5.56 5.06 126 114
Tyler Matzek 112.7 563 17.2% 18.8% .308 6.15 6.11 139 138
Logan Kensing 29.3 138 15.2% 11.6% .316 5.83 5.18 132 117
Edwar Cabrera 111.7 517 17.4% 9.5% .313 6.29 5.90 142 133
Justin Berg 43.7 210 9.5% 12.4% .307 6.18 5.59 140 126
Jason Bergmann 51.3 245 13.5% 11.8% .312 6.31 5.96 142 135
Eric Junge 97.7 461 10.0% 8.7% .317 6.36 5.66 144 128
Jeff Manship 76.3 365 11.8% 9.9% .324 6.60 5.72 149 129
Austin Bibens-Dirkx 92.7 436 13.1% 9.9% .311 6.51 5.91 147 133

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ WAR No. 1 Comp
Jhoulys Chacin 136.3 7.26 4.03 1.06 105 2.8 Charlie Lea
Drew Pomeranz 134.3 7.51 4.36 1.07 94 1.9 David West
Juan Nicasio 90.3 7.97 2.69 1.10 104 1.8 Paul Wilson
Matt Belisle 73.3 7.74 1.96 0.86 118 1.5 Mike Maddux
Daniel Rosenbaum 140.3 5.20 3.46 0.96 88 1.4 Jeff Mutis
Rex Brothers 68.7 11.14 5.24 0.92 118 1.4 Mitch Williams
Jeff Francis 143.3 5.34 2.26 1.32 87 1.3 Mark Hendrickson
Rafael Betancourt 49.7 9.60 1.81 1.09 135 1.3 John Smoltz
Wilton Lopez 65.7 6.99 1.64 0.96 117 1.3 Rod Beck
Adam Ottavino 96.3 8.88 3.93 1.12 104 1.3 Frank Williams
Jorge de la Rosa 70.7 7.13 4.33 1.15 94 1.0 Randy Wolf
Rob Scahill 142.7 6.12 5.05 1.07 83 0.8 Kevin Ritz
Tyler Chatwood 129.3 5.50 4.66 1.18 83 0.8 Jim Acker
Christian Friedrich 109.0 6.61 3.30 1.40 83 0.7 Brian Tallet
Josh Outman 107.7 6.77 5.18 1.17 83 0.6 Eddie Oropesa
Mike McClendon 64.3 5.18 3.50 0.70 95 0.5 Scott Munter
Jonathan Sanchez 104.7 8.08 5.76 1.46 81 0.4 Ken Kravec
Edgmer Escalona 64.3 7.84 3.92 1.54 92 0.4 Mike Crudale
Will Harris 57.7 8.11 3.90 1.25 93 0.4 Colter Bean
Joe Gardner 120.3 4.86 4.86 1.27 78 0.2 Ken Pumphrey
Royce Ring 24.7 6.56 3.64 1.46 91 0.1 Mike Venafro
Josh Sullivan 58.0 6.21 5.74 0.93 86 0.1 Jake Robbins
Erick Threets 42.7 5.27 5.48 0.84 85 0.0 John Curtis
Manuel Corpas 69.7 5.42 3.23 1.42 84 0.0 Brandon Puffer
Tyler Matzek 112.7 7.75 8.46 1.20 76 -0.1 Jordan Pals
Logan Kensing 29.3 6.45 4.91 1.23 80 -0.1 Jarod Juelsgaard
Edwar Cabrera 111.7 7.25 3.95 2.01 74 -0.2 Doug Creek
Justin Berg 43.7 4.12 5.35 1.03 75 -0.3 Ed Sprague
Jason Bergmann 51.3 5.79 5.09 1.58 74 -0.3 Jim Dedrick
Eric Junge 97.7 4.24 3.68 1.47 73 -0.3 Aaron Sele
Jeff Manship 76.3 5.07 4.25 1.53 70 -0.6 Lee Rodney
Austin Bibens-Dirkx 92.7 5.53 4.17 1.75 71 -0.6 John Kelly

***

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.