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2013 ZiPS Projections – Pittsburgh Pirates

Posted By Carson Cistulli On January 14, 2013 @ 8:00 am In 2013 ZiPS Projections,Featured,Pirates | 36 Comments

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 Pittsburgh Pirates. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

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

Batters
Andrew McCutchen‘s projection unsurprisingly places him among the early candidates for the NL MVP award. Certain readers might note, however, that the WAR forecast here represents a decline not only from his excellent 2012 season, but also (by a slight margin) his 2011 one — despite the fact that he’s still theoretically on the upward slope of his age curve. I asked Szymborski about this, to which he responded, as follows:

Regression to mean. Great players usually have (and should have) lower projections than years in which very little went wrong — the risk is generally one-sided. And in this case, Cutch has that .375 BABIP in 2012 as well. ZiPS still gives him a 35% chance of a 140+ OPS+, 8% 160+.

Part of the difference is the defense — the projection’s the same as his 2011 fWAR minus 4 runs of defense.

While McCutchen has been Pittsburgh’s best field player in each of his first four seasons, ZiPS is optimistic that the club’s supporting cast will be more, uh… supportive than in previous seasons. Since 2009, never has McCutchen had more than three teammates with a season WAR total of 2.0 or greater. ZiPS projects four such players in 2013: Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte, Russell Martin, and Neil Walker.

Pitchers
I’ve noticed, while writing these pieces in accompaniment of Szymborski’s projections, that a certain portion of each fanbase will make a comment to the effect that ZiPS “hates,” or is somehow biased against, their particular team. Most of these remarks are tongue-in-cheek; a few, less clearly so. In any case, owing to how ZiPS is mostly just a giant math problem in Dan Szymborski’s computer, its capacity for bearing a grudge against this or that major-league baseball franchise is pretty limited.

In the spirit, though, of attributing human qualities to said giant math problem, it would probably be fair to say about ZiPS that — while it doesn’t hate the Pirates pitching staff — that it’s at least thoroughly unimpressed by those qualities in the Pirates pitchers which correlate most strongly with future run prevention. With the exception of Wandy Rodriguez and (just barely) A.J. Burnett, none of the team’s starters are even viewed as average.

Bench/Prospects
If Pittsburgh lacks major league-ready starters, it does have a few young ones who are showing promise. Right-handers Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon enter their age-22 and -21 seasons, respectively, and both profile as better than replacement-level already. Also of note is the less heralded and older Phil Irwin. After spending much of the season at Double-A in 2012, Irwin made four dominant starts at Triple-A, posting this line: 21.0 IP, 28 K, 7 BB, 1 HR, 2.30 FIP.

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

Pirates 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
Andrew McCutchen R 26 CF 673 105 165 31 6 24 84 23 11
Neil Walker B 27 2B 617 75 150 35 3 16 86 8 5
Pedro Alvarez L 26 3B 610 72 128 26 2 29 92 2 1
Starling Marte R 24 CF 578 75 141 27 14 11 68 24 12
Russell Martin R 30 C 466 49 97 19 0 12 46 7 2
Clint Barmes R 34 SS 475 42 103 21 1 9 47 3 3
Chase d’Arnaud R 26 SS 532 67 110 26 8 6 49 24 5
Alex Presley L 27 LF 607 82 146 24 13 13 60 15 8
Gaby Sanchez R 29 1B 541 59 123 29 1 14 58 3 1
Tony Sanchez R 25 C 395 39 79 19 1 5 40 2 2
Rod Barajas R 37 C 328 29 68 13 0 12 36 0 0
Garrett Jones L 32 1B 530 64 122 29 2 20 74 5 2
Jose Tabata R 24 RF 580 80 136 31 4 5 36 19 12
Michael McKenry R 28 C 335 29 68 17 0 8 34 1 1
Jordy Mercer R 26 SS 500 59 108 27 3 8 53 5 4
Jared Goedert R 28 3B 483 50 108 24 1 11 48 1 0
Jerry Sands R 25 LF 564 66 119 24 4 16 69 4 1
Josh Harrison R 25 2B 481 62 115 23 5 5 40 12 6
Travis Snider L 25 LF 497 56 115 27 1 13 54 9 4
Felix Pie L 28 RF 325 35 78 19 6 4 29 7 1
Matt Hague R 27 3B 571 63 134 26 1 8 59 3 3
Ali Solis R 25 C 297 28 64 16 1 5 29 1 1
Hector Luna R 33 3B 395 38 91 16 2 8 40 4 1
Clint Robinson L 28 1B 577 56 130 33 2 12 57 2 1
Darren Ford R 27 CF 402 47 86 14 5 4 31 25 13
Drew Sutton B 30 2B 339 32 69 20 2 3 29 2 3
Jose Morales B 30 C 211 18 44 9 1 1 18 0 1
Anderson Hernandez B 30 2B 445 40 99 14 4 3 34 7 5
Jeff Larish L 30 1B 302 28 55 15 1 7 31 1 1

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Andrew McCutchen 673 11.4% 18.0% .197 .318 .283 .369 .480 .361
Neil Walker 617 7.9% 18.5% .160 .309 .270 .328 .430 .325
Pedro Alvarez 610 10.2% 31.1% .215 .302 .236 .313 .451 .324
Starling Marte 578 4.3% 22.8% .164 .329 .264 .310 .428 .314
Russell Martin 466 10.3% 16.1% .135 .264 .238 .328 .373 .308
Clint Barmes 475 5.5% 18.7% .116 .277 .237 .289 .353 .273
Chase d’Arnaud 532 6.4% 21.6% .124 .283 .226 .285 .350 .284
Alex Presley 607 6.1% 18.0% .159 .302 .260 .308 .419 .312
Gaby Sanchez 541 8.7% 14.6% .151 .276 .254 .324 .405 .316
Tony Sanchez 395 8.4% 22.0% .103 .285 .226 .305 .329 .281
Rod Barajas 328 7.3% 20.4% .166 .256 .231 .297 .397 .294
Garrett Jones 530 7.7% 21.1% .193 .287 .253 .309 .446 .322
Jose Tabata 580 7.9% 15.0% .104 .305 .262 .329 .366 .303
Michael McKenry 335 8.7% 24.8% .138 .284 .227 .297 .365 .288
Jordy Mercer 500 5.4% 18.2% .125 .275 .236 .286 .361 .279
Jared Goedert 483 6.6% 20.5% .132 .286 .243 .294 .375 .292
Jerry Sands 564 8.5% 25.0% .158 .291 .236 .304 .394 .303
Josh Harrison 481 3.7% 12.1% .109 .288 .261 .299 .370 .285
Travis Snider 497 7.4% 22.7% .150 .307 .253 .310 .403 .309
Felix Pie 325 4.9% 16.3% .141 .297 .257 .296 .398 .301
Matt Hague 571 6.0% 14.2% .099 .284 .253 .303 .352 .286
Ali Solis 297 2.7% 28.6% .115 .301 .225 .250 .340 .256
Hector Luna 395 5.6% 16.2% .120 .279 .248 .294 .368 .291
Clint Robinson 577 7.5% 16.8% .138 .280 .247 .307 .385 .300
Darren Ford 402 6.0% 23.6% .097 .299 .231 .283 .328 .269
Drew Sutton 339 8.6% 23.0% .110 .297 .230 .304 .340 .280
Jose Morales 211 9.0% 19.9% .075 .293 .235 .305 .310 .266
Anderson Hernandez 445 4.9% 15.5% .075 .277 .238 .277 .313 .256
Jeff Larish 302 9.9% 29.1% .142 .274 .204 .288 .346 .277

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def WAR No.1 Comp
Andrew McCutchen 673 6.7 134 -1 5.3 Ben Chapman
Neil Walker 617 5.2 108 -3 2.9 Lee Walls
Pedro Alvarez 610 5.0 109 -5 2.7 Mike Pagliarulo
Starling Marte 578 4.9 102 3 2.6 Adam Jones
Russell Martin 466 4.4 94 -1 2.3 Al Lopez
Clint Barmes 475 3.5 77 8 1.9 Jason Wood
Chase d’Arnaud 532 3.8 75 1 1.7 Chris Basak
Alex Presley 607 4.7 100 1 1.6 Stu Pederson
Gaby Sanchez 541 4.8 101 2 1.5 Peter Zoccolillo
Tony Sanchez 395 3.4 76 3 1.3 B.J. Waszgis
Rod Barajas 328 4.1 90 -1 1.3 Jim Hegan
Garrett Jones 530 5.0 107 -4 1.2 Jermaine Dye
Jose Tabata 580 4.3 93 2 1.1 Jerome Walton
Michael McKenry 335 3.8 83 -1 1.1 Del Rice
Jordy Mercer 500 3.6 78 -1 1.0 Luis Rivera
Jared Goedert 483 4.0 84 -3 0.9 Josh Klimek
Jerry Sands 564 4.3 92 -1 0.9 Jason Botts
Josh Harrison 481 4.1 85 -3 0.8 Alberto Gonzalez
Travis Snider 497 4.5 96 -2 0.8 Travis Ishikawa
Felix Pie 325 4.5 91 2 0.8 Larry Barnes
Matt Hague 571 3.8 81 -4 0.7 Agustin Murillo
Ali Solis 297 2.9 62 3 0.7 Johnny Cuevas
Hector Luna 395 3.9 82 -4 0.5 Charlie Hayes
Clint Robinson 577 4.2 91 -1 0.5 Jose Tolentino
Darren Ford 402 3.2 69 3 0.4 Chris Roberson
Drew Sutton 339 3.5 79 -4 0.1 Bobby Scales
Jose Morales 211 3.2 71 -4 0.0 Dwight Lowry
Anderson Hernandez 445 3.0 63 -1 -0.1 Rondin Johnson
Jeff Larish 302 3.3 75 -2 -0.4 Steve Neal

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
Wandy Rodriguez L 34 29 29 180.3 136 53 15 170 77 72
A.J. Burnett R 36 29 28 172.3 140 62 17 172 83 78
James McDonald R 28 28 26 150.7 130 63 17 143 74 69
Gerrit Cole R 22 23 23 133.3 110 54 11 134 65 61
Jeff Karstens R 30 25 20 121.0 79 25 15 127 60 56
Phil Irwin R 26 24 22 123.0 80 29 13 131 63 59
Vin Mazzaro R 26 33 19 129.3 85 52 11 134 66 62
Kyle McPherson R 25 26 21 116.0 85 30 15 121 60 56
Jason Grilli R 36 54 0 53.7 68 21 5 44 20 19
Jameson Taillon R 21 21 21 116.0 77 40 12 122 62 58
Mark Melancon R 28 57 0 59.7 53 17 5 55 25 23
Tony Watson L 28 68 0 59.3 57 26 6 52 26 24
Vic Black R 25 44 0 51.7 56 25 4 45 22 21
Jared Hughes R 27 68 0 75.7 50 24 7 74 34 32
Jeff Locke L 25 29 28 150.0 109 60 17 159 83 78
Charlie Morton R 29 19 19 110.3 67 40 10 124 62 58
Jeanmar Gomez R 25 29 27 156.7 86 55 16 174 89 83
Chris Leroux R 29 42 4 70.7 51 24 7 74 36 34
Mike Zagurski L 30 51 0 49.7 45 25 5 47 25 23
Chad Qualls R 34 62 0 56.3 35 15 5 61 29 27
David Bromberg R 25 26 14 91.0 58 45 9 98 54 50
Doug Slaten L 33 45 0 41.3 27 18 4 44 22 21
Justin Wilson L 25 32 23 121.0 92 80 14 123 74 69
Erik Cordier R 27 21 14 73.7 46 56 7 79 47 44
Hunter Strickland R 24 25 9 73.3 36 24 10 86 46 43
Zach Stewart R 26 28 20 118.7 66 39 15 138 73 68
Duke Welker R 27 43 0 50.7 35 39 4 51 31 29
Ryan Reid R 28 41 3 70.0 44 35 8 77 43 40
Bryan Morris R 26 51 0 80.7 57 26 10 89 46 43
Stolmy Pimentel R 23 24 23 105.3 60 44 13 124 67 63
Kris Harvey R 29 35 0 51.0 34 28 6 55 32 30
Andrew Oliver L 25 27 23 123.0 88 95 14 127 80 75
Brooks Brown R 28 25 18 102.0 50 59 12 117 70 65

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Wandy Rodriguez 180.3 764 17.8% 6.9% .279 3.59 3.57 94 94
A.J. Burnett 172.3 751 18.6% 8.3% .297 4.07 3.99 107 105
James McDonald 150.7 658 19.8% 9.6% .284 4.12 4.07 108 107
Gerrit Cole 133.3 588 18.7% 9.2% .303 4.12 3.89 108 102
Jeff Karstens 121.0 515 15.3% 4.9% .284 4.17 4.00 110 105
Phil Irwin 123.0 529 15.1% 5.5% .295 4.32 4.02 114 106
Vin Mazzaro 129.3 574 14.8% 9.1% .294 4.31 4.21 113 111
Kyle McPherson 116.0 499 17.0% 6.0% .293 4.34 4.24 114 112
Jason Grilli 53.7 226 30.1% 9.3% .302 3.19 2.89 84 76
Jameson Taillon 116.0 510 15.1% 7.8% .295 4.50 4.35 118 114
Mark Melancon 59.7 251 21.1% 6.8% .289 3.47 3.31 91 87
Tony Watson 59.3 256 22.3% 10.2% .279 3.64 3.75 96 99
Vic Black 51.7 225 24.9% 11.1% .299 3.66 3.56 96 94
Jared Hughes 75.7 325 15.4% 7.4% .280 3.81 3.97 100 104
Jeff Locke 150.0 669 16.3% 9.0% .300 4.68 4.48 123 118
Charlie Morton 110.3 495 13.5% 8.1% .307 4.73 4.26 124 112
Jeanmar Gomez 156.7 699 12.3% 7.9% .296 4.77 4.45 125 117
Chris Leroux 70.7 310 16.4% 7.7% .299 4.33 4.04 114 106
Mike Zagurski 49.7 221 20.4% 11.3% .291 4.17 4.16 110 109
Chad Qualls 56.3 245 14.3% 6.1% .295 4.31 3.70 113 97
David Bromberg 91.0 416 13.9% 10.8% .298 4.95 4.72 130 124
Doug Slaten 41.3 186 14.5% 9.7% .299 4.57 4.43 120 116
Justin Wilson 121.0 566 16.3% 14.1% .293 5.13 5.21 135 137
Erik Cordier 73.7 356 12.9% 15.7% .296 5.38 5.48 141 144
Hunter Strickland 73.3 330 10.9% 7.3% .298 5.28 5.07 139 133
Zach Stewart 118.7 533 12.4% 7.3% .302 5.16 4.74 136 125
Duke Welker 50.7 242 14.5% 16.1% .294 5.15 5.28 135 139
Ryan Reid 70.0 322 13.7% 10.9% .299 5.14 4.95 135 130
Bryan Morris 80.7 357 16.0% 7.3% .306 4.80 4.48 126 118
Stolmy Pimentel 105.3 484 12.4% 9.1% .308 5.38 4.98 141 131
Kris Harvey 51.0 236 14.4% 11.9% .297 5.29 5.06 139 133
Andrew Oliver 123.0 591 14.9% 16.1% .293 5.49 5.63 144 148
Brooks Brown 102.0 482 10.4% 12.2% .297 5.74 5.56 151 146

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ WAR No. 1 Comp
Wandy Rodriguez 180.3 6.79 2.65 0.75 103 2.7 Kenny Rogers
A.J. Burnett 172.3 7.31 3.24 0.89 91 1.5 Kevin Gross
James McDonald 150.7 7.76 3.76 1.02 90 1.2 Charlie Puleo
Gerrit Cole 133.3 7.43 3.65 0.74 90 1.1 Ken Hill
Jeff Karstens 121.0 5.88 1.86 1.12 89 0.9 Matt Ginter
Phil Irwin 123.0 5.85 2.12 0.95 86 0.7 Dave Telgheder
Vin Mazzaro 129.3 5.92 3.62 0.77 86 0.6 Jim Acker
Kyle McPherson 116.0 6.59 2.33 1.16 85 0.6 John Dettmer
Jason Grilli 53.7 11.40 3.52 0.84 116 0.6 Rudy Seanez
Jameson Taillon 116.0 5.97 3.10 0.93 82 0.4 Kevin Brown
Mark Melancon 59.7 7.99 2.56 0.75 107 0.4 Mark Huismann
Tony Watson 59.3 8.65 3.95 0.91 101 0.3 Armando Almanza
Vic Black 51.7 9.75 4.35 0.70 101 0.2 Brian Bruney
Jared Hughes 75.7 5.94 2.85 0.83 97 0.2 Brian Wolfe
Jeff Locke 150.0 6.54 3.60 1.02 79 0.2 Dan Serafini
Charlie Morton 110.3 5.47 3.26 0.82 78 0.1 Chris Beasley
Jeanmar Gomez 156.7 4.94 3.16 0.92 77 0.0 Brian Moehler
Chris Leroux 70.7 6.49 3.06 0.89 85 0.0 Rick Heiserman
Mike Zagurski 49.7 8.15 4.53 0.91 89 -0.1 Kevin Tolar
Chad Qualls 56.3 5.60 2.40 0.80 86 -0.2 Jose Bautista
David Bromberg 91.0 5.74 4.45 0.89 75 -0.3 Danny Kolb
Doug Slaten 41.3 5.88 3.92 0.87 81 -0.3 Mike Venafro
Justin Wilson 121.0 6.84 5.95 1.04 72 -0.6 Dennis Gray
Erik Cordier 73.7 5.62 6.84 0.85 69 -0.6 Jesse Jefferson
Hunter Strickland 73.3 4.42 2.95 1.23 70 -0.6 Brian Wolfe
Zach Stewart 118.7 5.00 2.96 1.14 72 -0.6 Scott Barber
Duke Welker 50.7 6.21 6.92 0.71 72 -0.7 Johnny Humphries
Ryan Reid 70.0 5.66 4.50 1.03 72 -0.7 Marty McLeary
Bryan Morris 80.7 6.36 2.90 1.12 77 -0.7 Ron Rightnowar
Stolmy Pimentel 105.3 5.13 3.76 1.11 69 -0.8 Matt Avery
Kris Harvey 51.0 6.00 4.94 1.06 70 -0.8 James Warden
Andrew Oliver 123.0 6.44 6.95 1.02 67 -1.1 Scotty Baker
Brooks Brown 102.0 4.41 5.21 1.06 64 -1.2 Mike Heathcott

***

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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