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2014 ZiPS Projections – Houston Astros

After having typically appeared in the entirely venerable pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections were released at FanGraphs last year. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Houson Astros. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Colorado / Detroit / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / New York NL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / San Diego / Seattle / St. Louis / Tampa Bay / Toronto.

Batters
Unlike the blouse of an Olympic-level figure skater, the Houston Astros’ roster is not studded with bright and/or shining stars. That said, relative to the amount, in dollars, which that same roster is likely to be compensated in 2014 — the field-playing part, at least — they’ll actually provide some value, as none are projected to be worse than replacement-level, either.

As was the mostly the case for the 2013 edition of the Astros, this next season will be dedicated, it appears, to evaluating which of the players on the current roster are worthy of retaining as the club looks ahead to contending in the future. Here’s a summary of ZiPS’ opinion on the matter: Jose Altuve and Dexter Fowler — and probably also Matt Dominguez and Max Stassi — are about average. Jason Castro and George Springer are probably better than that, despite the fact that the latter has recorded zero major-league plate appearances. Everyone else? Not so much.

Pitchers
As part of the three-year deal he signed this offseason with the Astros, right-hander Scott Feldman is due $12 million in 2014. That makes Feldman the highest-paid Houston pitcher by nearly $8 million. It’s also a bit misleading: as managing editor Dave Cameron notes in a recent edition of the podcast, Feldman’s contract is front-loaded — mostly as a result, probably, of the Astros’ attempt to present some semblance of a payroll to MLB and the players’ union.

Feldman and other right-hander Jarred Cosart are the only pitchers projected by ZiPS to reach even the one-win threshold. Indeed, indications indicate that, given the proper sequence of events, that a reliever could lead the club’s pitchers in WAR. Not ideal, that — but again, a result of the organization’s parsimony, at the moment

Bench/Prospects
Prospects! Houston has them. As noted above, George Springer would appear to be quite good, already — and, it would appear, a legitimate early candidate for Rookie of the Year. After Springer, there’s promise, too — just not the sort that’s likely to produce many wins in 2014. Catchers Stassi and Tyler Heineman both have promise. Ronald Torreyes, acquired last year from the Cubs in a trade for two of the Astros’ international bonus pool slots, is also projected to be useful.

Depth Chart
Below is a rough depth chart for the present incarnation of the Astros, with rounded projected WAR totals for each player. For caveats regarding WAR values see disclaimer at bottom of post. Click to embiggen image.

Astros Depth

Ballpark graphic courtesy Eephus League. Depth charts constructed by way of those listed here at site and author’s own haphazard reasoning.

Batters, Counting Stats

Player B Age PO PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS
Jason Castro L 27 C 437 56 98 26 1 14 50 1 1
George Springer R 24 CF 607 86 127 22 4 26 74 27 7
Dexter Fowler B 28 CF 533 59 111 15 5 12 38 15 7
Jose Altuve R 24 2B 680 78 180 33 4 7 53 34 14
Matt Dominguez R 24 3B 600 63 138 28 1 17 74 0 1
Max Stassi R 23 C 369 42 80 17 1 11 40 2 1
Tyler Heineman B 23 C 372 48 79 17 1 5 37 3 3
Chris Carter R 27 1B 551 71 109 24 2 28 79 3 1
Ronald Torreyes R 21 2B 489 55 117 21 4 5 42 7 2
Rene Garcia R 24 C 380 37 89 15 1 2 28 2 3
L.J. Hoes R 24 RF 629 69 154 28 4 6 48 15 9
Jonathan Villar B 23 SS 546 62 115 19 5 10 44 37 11
Ryan Jackson R 26 SS 562 46 119 22 2 5 36 5 1
Jesus Guzman R 30 1B 400 46 90 22 1 12 56 5 2
Delino DeShields R 21 2B 587 73 126 19 6 6 44 49 19
Carlos Corporan B 30 C 265 24 55 10 1 7 27 0 1
Robbie Grossman B 24 CF 616 74 121 24 3 8 43 14 11
Preston Tucker L 23 RF 481 61 114 20 1 13 52 2 1
Jon Singleton L 22 1B 474 58 96 19 2 15 47 3 1
Jonathan Meyer R 23 3B 572 62 126 22 1 10 51 3 4
Domingo Santana R 21 RF 514 65 99 20 2 19 59 9 4
Marwin Gonzalez B 25 SS 419 42 95 20 1 5 29 8 4
Cesar Izturis B 34 SS 169 11 38 7 1 1 12 1 1
Brett Wallace L 27 1B 569 68 123 26 2 19 66 1 1
Gregorio Petit R 29 SS 507 49 106 20 1 5 40 4 2
Eric Thames L 27 RF 536 61 119 24 3 15 53 5 2
J.D. Martinez R 26 LF 505 51 118 25 1 11 64 2 1
Adron Chambers L 27 RF 459 48 91 14 4 7 33 13 5
Leo Heras L 24 LF 529 66 111 16 8 10 44 12 7
Jiovanni Mier R 23 SS 383 38 71 11 1 3 24 8 9
Marc Krauss L 26 LF 525 57 98 23 2 15 51 4 3
Cody Clark R 32 C 216 17 39 8 0 2 12 0 0
Japhet Amador R 27 1B 483 51 103 16 1 14 51 0 1
Michael Burgess L 25 LF 446 40 80 20 1 10 41 1 1
Erik Castro L 26 1B 470 51 85 18 0 11 44 1 3

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Jason Castro 437 10.8% 24.9% .183 .318 .256 .337 .439 .335
George Springer 607 9.9% 31.1% .202 .312 .237 .319 .439 .335
Dexter Fowler 533 13.7% 28.3% .135 .343 .247 .354 .382 .328
Jose Altuve 680 5.1% 12.5% .099 .317 .285 .323 .384 .308
Matt Dominguez 600 5.3% 15.8% .146 .270 .249 .294 .395 .300
Max Stassi 369 5.1% 26.6% .155 .296 .238 .288 .393 .298
Tyler Heineman 372 5.6% 12.4% .101 .258 .237 .298 .338 .281
Chris Carter 551 11.4% 33.8% .233 .300 .228 .319 .461 .340
Ronald Torreyes 489 5.3% 9.8% .099 .284 .264 .313 .363 .296
Rene Garcia 380 3.9% 16.6% .064 .295 .248 .281 .312 .260
L.J. Hoes 629 8.4% 16.7% .095 .322 .271 .337 .366 .313
Jonathan Villar 546 7.3% 27.8% .121 .319 .235 .295 .356 .287
Ryan Jackson 562 7.3% 21.4% .081 .295 .235 .292 .316 .269
Jesus Guzman 400 8.5% 22.8% .167 .301 .249 .318 .416 .320
Delino DeShields 587 8.0% 25.0% .094 .323 .240 .311 .334 .290
Carlos Corporan 265 5.3% 26.4% .137 .289 .228 .285 .365 .280
Robbie Grossman 616 11.2% 27.1% .102 .315 .228 .321 .330 .289
Preston Tucker 481 6.7% 17.7% .137 .290 .257 .310 .394 .311
Jon Singleton 474 12.2% 32.7% .165 .329 .233 .325 .398 .319
Jonathan Meyer 572 5.4% 24.5% .101 .298 .236 .278 .337 .271
Domingo Santana 514 8.0% 37.9% .176 .320 .214 .290 .390 .302
Marwin Gonzalez 419 4.5% 15.3% .094 .279 .244 .279 .338 .267
Cesar Izturis 169 4.1% 11.8% .076 .270 .242 .277 .318 .255
Brett Wallace 569 6.9% 31.5% .168 .324 .238 .304 .406 .311
Gregorio Petit 507 5.5% 19.9% .079 .277 .227 .275 .306 .258
Eric Thames 536 6.9% 26.7% .154 .312 .244 .305 .398 .309
J.D. Martinez 505 6.3% 23.2% .129 .313 .253 .303 .382 .301
Adron Chambers 459 8.5% 26.4% .107 .300 .225 .300 .332 .279
Leo Heras 529 7.6% 26.8% .129 .307 .232 .294 .361 .286
Jiovanni Mier 383 8.9% 25.8% .065 .286 .210 .286 .275 .249
Marc Krauss 525 10.3% 30.1% .156 .283 .213 .298 .369 .296
Cody Clark 216 4.2% 22.7% .071 .250 .198 .234 .269 .218
Japhet Amador 483 6.4% 24.8% .135 .283 .231 .284 .366 .285
Michael Burgess 446 8.5% 31.8% .129 .277 .199 .271 .328 .267
Erik Castro 470 9.1% 37.4% .121 .312 .201 .276 .322 .265

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Jason Castro 437 5.3 113 1 3.3 Terry Kennedy
George Springer 607 5.2 107 -1 3.3 Mike Cameron
Dexter Fowler 533 4.9 104 -4 2.3 Jerry Mumphrey
Jose Altuve 680 4.8 95 -4 2.0 Roberto Alomar
Matt Dominguez 600 4.1 89 4 1.9 Casey Webster
Max Stassi 369 4.0 86 3 1.8 John Buck
Tyler Heineman 372 3.5 76 4 1.5 Brian Moon
Chris Carter 551 5.2 113 -4 1.3 Orestes Destrade
Ronald Torreyes 489 4.2 87 0 1.2 Placido Polanco
Rene Garcia 380 3.0 64 6 1.1 Ken Huckaby
L.J. Hoes 629 4.5 95 -1 1.1 Dave Gallagher
Jonathan Villar 546 4.0 79 -5 1.1 Mariano Duncan
Ryan Jackson 562 3.3 69 2 0.8 Jack Hannahan
Jesus Guzman 400 4.8 101 0 0.7 Marty Cordova
Delino DeShields 587 3.9 79 -5 0.6 Juan Bell
Carlos Corporan 265 3.6 79 -1 0.6 Dave Parrish
Robbie Grossman 616 3.5 81 -5 0.5 Rich Becker
Preston Tucker 481 4.4 93 -2 0.5 Daryle Ward
Jon Singleton 474 4.6 99 -2 0.5 Mario Valdez
Jonathan Meyer 572 3.2 69 5 0.5 Jack Hannahan
Domingo Santana 514 3.9 86 -1 0.4 Jim Lindeman
Marwin Gonzalez 419 3.4 70 -1 0.3 Chad Tredaway
Cesar Izturis 169 3.1 65 2 0.2 Rafael Bournigal
Brett Wallace 569 4.4 94 -3 0.1 Travis Ishikawa
Gregorio Petit 507 2.9 61 1 0.1 Juan Castro
Eric Thames 536 4.4 93 -7 0.1 LaVel Freeman
J.D. Martinez 505 4.2 88 -4 0.0 Ken Harvey
Adron Chambers 459 3.6 75 2 -0.1 Kevin Koslofski
Leo Heras 529 3.7 80 0 -0.1 Nathan Haynes
Jiovanni Mier 383 2.4 57 1 -0.2 Niuman Romero
Marc Krauss 525 3.7 83 -4 -0.3 Chris Weinke
Cody Clark 216 2.1 39 -2 -0.6 Charlie Greene
Japhet Amador 483 3.6 78 -1 -0.8 Gabriel Martinez
Michael Burgess 446 3.0 65 1 -0.8 John Fantauzzi
Erik Castro 470 2.9 65 -3 -1.7 Tate Seefried

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
Jarred Cosart R 24 26 25 132.0 95 69 11 132 67 63
Scott Feldman R 31 26 22 128.3 97 39 16 133 67 63
Jesse Crain R 32 47 0 45.0 52 17 5 39 18 17
Erik Bedard L 35 24 22 118.3 112 56 16 120 67 63
Luis Cruz L 23 30 21 129.3 106 53 15 136 75 70
Lucas Harrell R 29 30 23 145.0 101 66 17 155 86 80
Dallas Keuchel L 26 30 26 156.0 103 52 19 177 93 87
Darin Downs L 29 46 0 52.0 48 21 5 51 26 24
Raul Valdes L 36 33 8 73.3 62 22 11 78 42 39
Matt Albers R 31 57 0 59.7 48 25 6 58 30 28
Nick Tropeano R 23 27 22 129.0 102 58 16 142 78 73
Edgar Gonzalez R 31 21 14 83.3 52 25 12 95 50 47
Chia-Jen Lo R 28 31 0 32.0 29 13 4 32 17 16
Chad Qualls R 35 60 0 54.7 38 17 6 58 29 27
Josh Fields R 28 45 0 50.0 51 24 7 48 27 25
Alex White R 25 21 20 101.3 73 48 15 111 63 59
Peter Moylan R 35 34 0 35.3 26 17 4 38 20 19
Collin McHugh R 27 27 24 132.0 94 50 18 149 82 77
Brad Peacock R 26 29 25 137.0 126 63 23 141 86 80
Sergio Escalona L 29 32 0 26.0 22 12 4 27 16 15
Anthony Bass R 26 35 16 110.0 77 41 16 124 68 64
Jason Stoffel R 25 55 0 59.0 45 30 6 62 34 32
Asher Wojciechowski R 25 26 23 128.7 83 51 18 147 82 77
Kevin Chapman L 26 58 0 61.7 57 44 7 60 36 34
David Martinez R 26 31 18 119.7 68 39 17 141 77 72
Jose Cisnero R 25 41 0 64.7 64 35 9 66 39 36
Brett Oberholtzer L 24 27 25 141.7 100 47 26 159 92 86
Patrick Urckfitz L 25 49 0 64.0 39 32 6 71 39 36
Jake Buchanan R 24 29 22 136.3 69 41 18 166 89 83
Josh Zeid R 27 61 0 63.0 58 36 9 64 39 36
Mike Foltynewicz R 22 29 23 119.3 88 63 18 132 79 74
Rudy Owens L 26 15 15 80.3 47 33 15 97 58 54
Hector Ambriz R 30 55 0 59.7 44 28 9 67 40 37
Bobby Doran R 25 28 22 126.0 72 40 21 149 86 80
Jorge de Leon R 26 47 6 70.0 43 35 11 81 49 46
Paul Clemens R 26 32 19 116.3 78 46 21 136 81 76
Rhiner Cruz R 27 54 0 60.7 47 42 10 67 44 41
Ross Seaton R 24 25 24 127.0 64 49 29 165 106 99

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Jarred Cosart 132.0 597 15.9% 11.6% .292 4.30 4.80 108 120
Scott Feldman 128.3 557 17.4% 7.0% .293 4.42 4.57 111 114
Jesse Crain 45.0 191 27.2% 8.9% .293 3.40 3.65 85 91
Erik Bedard 118.3 531 21.1% 10.5% .302 4.79 4.79 120 120
Luis Cruz 129.3 577 18.4% 9.2% .306 4.87 4.74 122 118
Lucas Harrell 145.0 656 15.4% 10.1% .296 4.97 4.97 124 124
Dallas Keuchel 156.0 697 14.8% 7.5% .306 5.02 4.79 126 120
Darin Downs 52.0 228 21.1% 9.2% .305 4.15 4.13 104 103
Raul Valdes 73.3 320 19.4% 6.9% .303 4.79 4.73 120 118
Matt Albers 59.7 262 18.3% 9.5% .287 4.22 4.41 106 110
Nick Tropeano 129.0 587 17.4% 9.9% .313 5.09 5.04 127 126
Edgar Gonzalez 83.3 370 14.1% 6.8% .300 5.08 5.12 127 128
Chia-Jen Lo 32.0 141 20.6% 9.2% .298 4.50 4.58 113 114
Chad Qualls 54.7 239 15.9% 7.1% .294 4.45 4.26 111 106
Josh Fields 50.0 222 23.0% 10.8% .297 4.50 4.67 113 117
Alex White 101.3 463 15.8% 10.4% .299 5.24 5.39 131 135
Peter Moylan 35.3 161 16.2% 10.6% .304 4.84 4.90 121 122
Collin McHugh 132.0 595 15.8% 8.4% .308 5.25 5.10 131 127
Brad Peacock 137.0 615 20.5% 10.2% .299 5.26 5.33 132 133
Sergio Escalona 26.0 117 18.8% 10.3% .299 5.19 5.26 130 132
Anthony Bass 110.0 495 15.6% 8.3% .303 5.24 5.09 131 127
Jason Stoffel 59.0 269 16.7% 11.2% .304 4.88 4.72 122 118
Asher Wojciechowski 128.7 584 14.2% 8.7% .305 5.39 5.36 135 134
Kevin Chapman 61.7 289 19.7% 15.2% .299 4.96 5.32 124 133
David Martinez 119.7 539 12.6% 7.2% .305 5.42 5.32 136 133
Jose Cisnero 64.7 295 21.7% 11.9% .308 5.01 4.77 125 119
Brett Oberholtzer 141.7 631 15.8% 7.4% .295 5.46 5.55 137 139
Patrick Urckfitz 64.0 295 13.2% 10.8% .304 5.06 4.91 127 123
Jake Buchanan 136.3 616 11.2% 6.7% .309 5.48 5.21 137 130
Josh Zeid 63.0 289 20.1% 12.5% .302 5.14 5.28 129 132
Mike Foltynewicz 119.3 553 15.9% 11.4% .304 5.58 5.75 140 144
Rudy Owens 80.3 371 12.7% 8.9% .303 6.05 6.09 151 152
Hector Ambriz 59.7 274 16.1% 10.2% .305 5.58 5.40 140 135
Bobby Doran 126.0 567 12.7% 7.1% .301 5.71 5.64 143 141
Jorge de Leon 70.0 326 13.2% 10.7% .302 5.91 5.94 148 148
Paul Clemens 116.3 531 14.7% 8.7% .303 5.88 5.75 147 144
Rhiner Cruz 60.7 291 16.1% 14.4% .303 6.08 6.22 152 156
Ross Seaton 127.0 595 10.8% 8.2% .306 7.02 6.69 176 167

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Jarred Cosart 132.0 6.48 4.70 0.75 93 1.3 Mike Torrez
Scott Feldman 128.3 6.80 2.74 1.12 91 1.0 Dana Kiecker
Jesse Crain 45.0 10.40 3.40 1.00 118 0.5 Jeff Nelson
Erik Bedard 118.3 8.52 4.26 1.22 83 0.4 Mark Langston
Luis Cruz 129.3 7.38 3.69 1.04 82 0.3 Randy Keisler
Lucas Harrell 145.0 6.27 4.10 1.06 81 0.2 Don Black
Dallas Keuchel 156.0 5.94 3.00 1.10 80 0.1 Jeff Mutis
Darin Downs 52.0 8.31 3.63 0.87 96 0.1 Matt Whisenant
Raul Valdes 73.3 7.61 2.70 1.35 84 0.0 Travis Driskill
Matt Albers 59.7 7.24 3.77 0.90 95 0.0 Mike Koplove
Nick Tropeano 129.0 7.12 4.05 1.12 79 0.0 Chris Hook
Edgar Gonzalez 83.3 5.62 2.70 1.30 79 0.0 Dave Telgheder
Chia-Jen Lo 32.0 8.16 3.66 1.13 89 -0.1 Jesus Colome
Chad Qualls 54.7 6.25 2.80 0.99 90 -0.1 Kirk Bullinger
Josh Fields 50.0 9.18 4.32 1.26 89 -0.2 Johnny Ruffin
Alex White 101.3 6.49 4.26 1.33 76 -0.2 Dave Coggin
Peter Moylan 35.3 6.63 4.33 1.02 83 -0.3 Ernie Camacho
Collin McHugh 132.0 6.41 3.41 1.23 76 -0.3 John Snyder
Brad Peacock 137.0 8.28 4.14 1.51 76 -0.3 Donnie Elliott
Sergio Escalona 26.0 7.62 4.15 1.38 77 -0.3 Joey Eischen
Anthony Bass 110.0 6.30 3.35 1.31 76 -0.4 Casey Daigle
Jason Stoffel 59.0 6.86 4.58 0.92 82 -0.5 Marc Pisciotta
Asher Wojciechowski 128.7 5.80 3.57 1.26 74 -0.5 Peter Bauer
Kevin Chapman 61.7 8.31 6.42 1.02 81 -0.5 Scott Wiggins
David Martinez 119.7 5.11 2.93 1.28 74 -0.6 Vicente Bonilla
Jose Cisnero 64.7 8.90 4.87 1.25 80 -0.6 Ken Giard
Brett Oberholtzer 141.7 6.35 2.99 1.65 73 -0.6 Doug Simons
Patrick Urckfitz 64.0 5.48 4.50 0.84 79 -0.6 Brian Adams
Jake Buchanan 136.3 4.56 2.71 1.19 73 -0.7 Mike Thompson
Josh Zeid 63.0 8.29 5.14 1.29 78 -0.7 Mike Shade
Mike Foltynewicz 119.3 6.64 4.75 1.36 72 -0.7 Jon Pridie
Rudy Owens 80.3 5.27 3.70 1.68 66 -0.9 Tommy Phelps
Hector Ambriz 59.7 6.63 4.22 1.36 72 -1.0 James Warden
Bobby Doran 126.0 5.14 2.86 1.50 70 -1.0 Cameron Reimers
Jorge de Leon 70.0 5.53 4.50 1.41 68 -1.1 Felix Villegas
Paul Clemens 116.3 6.04 3.56 1.63 68 -1.2 Chris Mears
Rhiner Cruz 60.7 6.97 6.23 1.48 66 -1.3 Agustin Montero
Ross Seaton 127.0 4.54 3.47 2.06 57 -2.9 Mike Redding

***

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 2014. 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 4.04 ERA and the NL having a 3.81 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 zWAR — which is to say, WAR values as calculated by Dan Szymborski, whose surname is spelled with a z. WAR values might differ slightly from those which appear in full release of ZiPS. Finally, Szymborski will advise anyone against — and might karate chop anyone guilty of — merely adding up WAR totals on depth chart to produce projected team WAR.