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2014 ZiPS Projections – Oakland Athletics

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 Oakland Athletics. 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 / Houston / 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 / Texas / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
What the depth-chart graphic below doesn’t represent very well, but what is still true of the Oakland A’s, is that they’ll probably be getting value from players who aren’t proper starters. Of particular note in this regard is outfielder Craig Gentry, for whom Oakland traded Michael Choice and a friend to Texas this offseason. Gentry’s defensive figures over the last three season have been, speaking in very technical sabermetric terms, entirely bananas. Accordingly, it’s not so unexpected to see him receive a very optimistic projection here (2.4 zWAR) in just 300 or so plate appearances.

Also of note: John Jaso is projected as a catcher here, but is likely to get a significant numbers of plate appearances — perhaps the bulk of them — at DH. Even a poor defensive catcher still receives a pretty substantial increase in value by way of positional adjustment — relative to a designated hitter, certainly. Expecting him to produce two wins in a DH capacity might be unrealistic. Billy Butler posted a 116 wRC+ last season, for example, while DH-ing almost exclusively and still produced just a 1.4 WAR.

Pitchers
The starting pitchers in the depth-chart graphic below are arranged not in order of expected rotation slot, but rather by projected WAR according to ZiPS. What doing that reveals is how Sonny Gray, and probably not Jarrod Parker, is maybe the staff ace. What it also reveals is that Tommy Milone, currently not expected to be included in the opening-day rotation, is projected like a pitcher who probably should be.

Elsewhere, one finds that Scott Kazmir‘s projection (1.0 zWAR) isn’t a particularly favorable one. The reason for that, though, appears due less to mediocrity on a rate basis and more to a pretty conservative innings projections (91.1). This isn’t particularly strange for a pitcher who returned in 2013 following nearly a full two-year layoff.

Bench/Prospects
Given both his (a) skills and (b) performances relative to age/level, it’s not surprising to learn that shortstop Addison Russell is one of the top prospects in baseball. What’s perhaps more surprising is that Russell, who’s recorded just 13 cursory plate appearances above High-A ball, is projected already to produce wins at a league-average rate in the majors. He would appear, at this juncture, to be considerably more advanced than most of the other rookie-eligible players in the Oakland system.

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

Oakland 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
Josh Donaldson R 28 3B 615 75 142 31 2 19 75 7 3
Coco Crisp B 34 CF 515 74 122 22 5 13 53 27 5
Yoenis Cespedes R 28 LF 612 84 147 24 4 25 86 11 6
Josh Reddick L 27 RF 554 67 120 26 4 19 66 8 3
Craig Gentry R 30 CF 308 34 68 11 3 2 22 19 4
Jed Lowrie B 30 SS 488 56 116 27 2 13 54 1 0
Derek Norris R 25 C 406 49 73 17 1 12 42 7 1
John Jaso L 30 C 308 36 67 15 1 6 34 3 1
Addison Russell R 20 SS 529 58 110 22 4 10 46 17 3
Alberto Callaspo B 31 2B 524 54 121 21 0 9 55 3 2
Brandon Moss L 30 1B 524 68 112 24 2 26 78 5 3
Stephen Vogt L 29 C 498 51 114 23 3 10 51 1 1
Shane Peterson L 26 CF 501 54 97 20 2 8 47 10 3
Luke Montz R 30 C 320 33 59 14 0 12 39 2 2
Daric Barton L 28 1B 513 57 103 23 1 7 47 3 2
Hiroyuki Nakajima R 31 SS 519 57 123 20 2 5 54 8 5
Eric Sogard L 28 2B 433 49 99 19 3 4 36 10 4
Chris Gimenez R 31 C 327 33 66 12 0 4 26 1 2
Corey Brown L 28 CF 506 54 92 19 3 15 49 10 5
David Freitas R 25 C 413 40 80 18 0 7 38 0 0
Michael Taylor R 28 RF 519 56 107 23 1 12 55 8 3
Nick Punto B 36 SS 244 23 48 9 1 1 16 3 2
Jose Martinez R 28 2B 451 48 103 19 2 6 44 3 2
Jake Goebbert L 26 LF 515 57 101 20 4 12 51 4 2
Andy Parrino B 28 SS 449 44 82 19 2 5 36 4 2
Miles Head R 23 3B 352 35 74 14 2 7 30 1 1
Conner Crumbliss L 27 LF 563 60 96 18 2 7 38 13 5
Nate Freiman R 27 1B 462 42 99 20 1 11 56 1 1
Tyler Ladendorf R 26 3B 462 42 86 18 2 6 34 4 2
Anthony Aliotti L 26 1B 582 56 113 22 1 8 51 2 2
Dusty Coleman R 27 SS 561 46 89 22 4 7 41 10 6
Jeremy Barfield R 25 RF 461 42 91 17 1 10 43 1 1

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Josh Donaldson 615 8.6% 18.9% .167 .292 .257 .327 .424 .330
Coco Crisp 515 8.9% 12.2% .154 .279 .265 .328 .419 .330
Yoenis Cespedes 612 7.2% 19.6% .191 .293 .263 .322 .454 .335
Josh Reddick 554 8.8% 20.6% .184 .274 .242 .309 .426 .318
Craig Gentry 308 7.5% 16.9% .085 .303 .251 .329 .336 .302
Jed Lowrie 488 8.2% 15.2% .159 .288 .263 .324 .422 .325
Derek Norris 406 12.8% 28.8% .159 .277 .211 .319 .370 .310
John Jaso 308 13.6% 14.6% .134 .289 .258 .365 .392 .340
Addison Russell 529 7.4% 27.2% .125 .305 .229 .295 .354 .294
Alberto Callaspo 524 10.1% 9.5% .104 .274 .261 .335 .365 .308
Brandon Moss 524 9.2% 27.7% .227 .288 .240 .317 .467 .338
Stephen Vogt 498 6.2% 16.7% .129 .280 .248 .294 .377 .292
Shane Peterson 501 10.2% 25.9% .109 .291 .220 .305 .329 .286
Luke Montz 320 9.1% 29.7% .175 .260 .207 .284 .382 .290
Daric Barton 513 13.3% 16.6% .106 .277 .237 .342 .343 .309
Hiroyuki Nakajima 519 4.8% 17.5% .082 .301 .256 .297 .338 .279
Eric Sogard 433 7.4% 12.5% .094 .283 .253 .312 .347 .292
Chris Gimenez 327 9.5% 20.2% .082 .279 .228 .305 .310 .274
Corey Brown 506 8.3% 36.0% .154 .296 .202 .273 .356 .276
David Freitas 413 9.2% 22.5% .105 .270 .217 .298 .322 .281
Michael Taylor 519 8.9% 22.4% .131 .279 .230 .303 .361 .296
Nick Punto 244 10.2% 20.9% .066 .290 .226 .305 .292 .264
Jose Martinez 451 4.4% 10.9% .098 .262 .245 .283 .343 .272
Jake Goebbert 515 9.3% 22.3% .140 .266 .221 .300 .361 .293
Andy Parrino 449 8.5% 27.4% .095 .279 .204 .280 .299 .257
Miles Head 352 5.7% 30.1% .120 .312 .226 .278 .346 .277
Conner Crumbliss 563 13.0% 21.8% .090 .254 .202 .313 .292 .278
Nate Freiman 462 6.5% 21.4% .130 .278 .235 .292 .365 .290
Tyler Ladendorf 462 6.7% 24.0% .095 .261 .204 .266 .299 .253
Anthony Aliotti 582 10.1% 30.6% .093 .315 .219 .301 .312 .277
Dusty Coleman 561 6.6% 43.1% .099 .308 .174 .237 .273 .229
Jeremy Barfield 461 6.5% 22.3% .115 .257 .215 .267 .330 .263

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Josh Donaldson 615 5.1 109 5 3.8 Pinky Higgins
Coco Crisp 515 5.5 108 2 3.1 Chuck Hinton
Yoenis Cespedes 612 5.3 115 2 2.8 Rondell White
Josh Reddick 554 4.7 104 10 2.5 Jessie Reid
Craig Gentry 308 4.4 87 13 2.4 Esteban German
Jed Lowrie 488 5.0 107 -6 2.3 Rich Aurilia
Derek Norris 406 4.2 93 -3 2.0 Josh Willingham
John Jaso 308 5.3 113 -5 1.9 Ellie Rodriguez
Addison Russell 529 3.9 81 1 1.9 Dick Schofield
Alberto Callaspo 524 4.5 97 -3 1.7 Edgardo Alfonzo
Brandon Moss 524 5.2 116 -3 1.6 Dan Pasqua
Stephen Vogt 498 4.0 87 -6 1.4 Jerry Narron
Shane Peterson 501 3.6 78 2 1.2 Ryan Spilborghs
Luke Montz 320 3.6 85 -1 1.2 Dave Duncan
Daric Barton 513 4.1 94 4 1.0 Mike Twardoski
Hiroyuki Nakajima 519 3.6 78 -1 0.9 Manny Trillo
Eric Sogard 433 4.0 85 -1 0.9 Mike Gates
Chris Gimenez 327 3.2 73 -2 0.7 Dave Toth
Corey Brown 506 3.3 75 1 0.6 Jon van Every
David Freitas 413 3.3 74 -7 0.5 Adam Melhuse
Michael Taylor 519 3.9 85 0 0.4 Cliff Brumbaugh
Nick Punto 244 3.1 69 1 0.4 Gene Michael
Jose Martinez 451 3.4 75 0 0.3 Mike Richardt
Jake Goebbert 515 3.8 85 0 0.3 Brad Bierley
Andy Parrino 449 2.8 63 1 0.2 Ryan Owens
Miles Head 352 3.3 74 -3 -0.1 Pete Dempsey
Conner Crumbliss 563 3.2 72 0 -0.3 Troy Thomas
Nate Freiman 462 3.7 83 -3 -0.7 Frank Jacobs
Tyler Ladendorf 462 2.7 58 -3 -0.7 Ryan Stegall
Anthony Aliotti 582 3.2 73 1 -0.9 Dale Holman
Dusty Coleman 561 2.1 43 3 -0.9 Austin Manahan
Jeremy Barfield 461 3.0 67 -2 -1.0 John Lindsey

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
Sonny Gray R 24 33 31 185.3 163 70 14 171 78 73
Dan Straily R 25 31 31 175.7 160 68 20 159 80 75
Tommy Milone L 27 29 28 168.3 140 34 21 168 76 71
A.J. Griffin R 26 31 31 183.7 157 50 27 172 87 81
Jarrod Parker R 25 30 30 174.0 133 63 18 164 81 76
Sean Doolittle L 27 67 0 69.0 76 19 5 56 24 22
Scott Kazmir L 30 17 17 91.3 86 33 10 86 44 41
Ryan Cook R 27 69 0 68.7 73 28 5 57 25 23
Drew Pomeranz L 25 26 25 123.0 105 62 14 117 64 60
Jim Johnson R 31 69 0 72.0 52 18 5 67 28 26
Luke Gregerson R 30 69 0 62.7 54 19 5 56 25 23
Dan Otero R 29 56 0 68.3 44 12 5 69 28 26
Jesus Castillo R 30 39 5 63.3 39 20 5 64 29 27
Jesse Chavez R 30 38 8 89.3 71 29 10 89 45 42
Eric O’Flaherty L 29 46 0 41.0 33 13 4 37 16 15
Jose Flores R 25 53 0 60.3 50 26 4 57 27 25
Raul Alcantara R 21 28 24 134.0 73 39 17 149 76 71
Evan Scribner R 28 49 0 62.7 52 21 6 60 29 27
Josh Lindblom R 27 48 11 95.7 70 39 13 96 51 48
Fernando Abad L 28 55 3 60.7 48 19 7 61 30 28
Fernando Nieve R 31 22 9 65.3 46 26 8 68 36 34
Pat Neshek R 33 50 0 47.0 37 15 6 46 22 21
Kyler Newby R 29 49 0 57.7 47 26 6 55 28 26
Fernando Rodriguez R 30 47 0 52.7 55 27 6 47 26 24
Hideki Okajima L 38 37 0 43.0 30 13 5 44 22 21
Carlos Hernandez L 27 27 20 122.3 68 46 17 137 73 68
Arnold Leon R 25 26 12 85.0 47 26 12 95 50 47
Philip Humber R 31 31 17 115.7 78 40 17 123 68 64
Michael Ynoa R 22 21 19 60.7 41 37 8 64 39 36
Deryk Hooker R 25 50 0 59.0 42 27 8 60 33 31
Chris Resop R 31 55 0 62.0 48 25 9 65 35 33
Andrew Granier R 25 27 27 140.0 103 90 20 147 91 85
Matt Buschmann R 30 26 23 126.3 79 77 19 140 87 81

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Sonny Gray 185.3 797 20.5% 8.8% .289 3.54 3.55 90 91
Dan Straily 175.7 754 21.2% 9.0% .280 3.84 4.06 98 103
Tommy Milone 168.3 707 19.8% 4.8% .289 3.80 3.68 97 94
A.J. Griffin 183.7 773 20.3% 6.5% .271 3.97 4.15 101 106
Jarrod Parker 174.0 749 17.8% 8.4% .276 3.93 4.05 100 103
Sean Doolittle 69.0 282 27.0% 6.7% .283 2.87 2.69 73 69
Scott Kazmir 91.3 393 21.9% 8.4% .291 4.04 3.81 103 97
Ryan Cook 68.7 291 25.1% 9.6% .287 3.01 3.21 77 82
Drew Pomeranz 123.0 548 19.2% 11.3% .285 4.39 4.49 112 115
Jim Johnson 72.0 301 17.3% 6.0% .279 3.25 3.33 83 85
Luke Gregerson 62.7 263 20.5% 7.2% .280 3.30 3.35 84 86
Dan Otero 68.3 286 15.4% 4.2% .288 3.42 3.36 87 86
Jesus Castillo 63.3 274 14.2% 7.3% .287 3.84 3.92 98 100
Jesse Chavez 89.3 386 18.4% 7.5% .293 4.23 4.06 108 104
Eric O’Flaherty 41.0 173 19.1% 7.5% .270 3.29 3.55 84 90
Jose Flores 60.3 264 18.9% 9.9% .293 3.73 3.63 95 93
Raul Alcantara 134.0 590 12.4% 6.6% .291 4.77 4.69 122 120
Evan Scribner 62.7 269 19.3% 7.8% .287 3.88 3.77 99 96
Josh Lindblom 95.7 422 16.6% 9.2% .281 4.52 4.70 115 120
Fernando Abad 60.7 262 18.3% 7.2% .292 4.15 4.04 106 103
Fernando Nieve 65.3 290 15.9% 9.0% .291 4.68 4.64 119 119
Pat Neshek 47.0 202 18.3% 7.4% .280 4.02 4.06 103 104
Kyler Newby 57.7 254 18.5% 10.2% .285 4.06 4.26 104 109
Fernando Rodriguez 52.7 232 23.7% 11.6% .289 4.10 3.84 105 98
Hideki Okajima 43.0 186 16.1% 7.0% .287 4.40 4.11 112 105
Carlos Hernandez 122.3 550 12.4% 8.4% .292 5.00 5.08 128 130
Arnold Leon 85.0 376 12.5% 6.9% .290 4.98 4.91 127 125
Philip Humber 115.7 510 15.3% 7.8% .286 4.98 4.73 127 121
Michael Ynoa 60.7 283 14.5% 13.1% .290 5.34 5.47 136 140
Deryk Hooker 59.0 264 15.9% 10.2% .284 4.73 4.90 121 125
Chris Resop 62.0 276 17.4% 9.1% .293 4.79 4.58 122 117
Andrew Granier 140.0 657 15.7% 13.7% .293 5.46 5.61 139 143
Matt Buschmann 126.3 596 13.3% 12.9% .294 5.77 5.83 147 149

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Sonny Gray 185.3 7.92 3.40 0.68 109 3.1 Jason Schmidt
Dan Straily 175.7 8.20 3.48 1.02 101 2.3 Mike Bielecki
Tommy Milone 168.3 7.49 1.82 1.12 102 2.3 Frank Tanana
A.J. Griffin 183.7 7.69 2.45 1.32 97 2.1 Ben McDonald
Jarrod Parker 174.0 6.88 3.26 0.93 98 2.1 Frank Seminara
Sean Doolittle 69.0 9.91 2.48 0.65 135 1.0 Dan Plesac
Scott Kazmir 91.3 8.48 3.25 0.99 96 1.0 Randy Wolf
Ryan Cook 68.7 9.56 3.67 0.66 128 0.9 Jim Kern
Drew Pomeranz 123.0 7.68 4.54 1.02 88 0.8 David West
Jim Johnson 72.0 6.50 2.25 0.63 119 0.7 Terry Leach
Luke Gregerson 62.7 7.75 2.73 0.72 117 0.6 Hector Carrasco
Dan Otero 68.3 5.80 1.58 0.66 113 0.6 Terry Fox
Jesus Castillo 63.3 5.55 2.84 0.71 101 0.5 Jim Todd
Jesse Chavez 89.3 7.16 2.92 1.01 91 0.4 Carlos Reyes
Eric O’Flaherty 41.0 7.24 2.85 0.88 117 0.4 Bobby Seay
Jose Flores 60.3 7.46 3.88 0.60 104 0.3 Anthony Chavez
Raul Alcantara 134.0 4.90 2.62 1.14 81 0.2 Bob Tewksbury
Evan Scribner 62.7 7.46 3.01 0.86 100 0.2 Hipolito Pichardo
Josh Lindblom 95.7 6.58 3.67 1.22 86 0.1 John Costello
Fernando Abad 60.7 7.12 2.82 1.04 93 0.1 Erasmo Ramirez
Fernando Nieve 65.3 6.34 3.58 1.10 83 0.1 Aaron Small
Pat Neshek 47.0 7.09 2.87 1.15 96 0.0 Blas Minor
Kyler Newby 57.7 7.33 4.06 0.94 95 0.0 Jason Boyd
Fernando Rodriguez 52.7 9.39 4.61 1.02 94 0.0 Bart Miadich
Hideki Okajima 43.0 6.28 2.72 1.05 88 -0.2 Boom-Boom Beck
Carlos Hernandez 122.3 5.00 3.39 1.25 77 -0.2 Andy Van Hekken
Arnold Leon 85.0 4.98 2.75 1.27 78 -0.2 Dicky Gonzalez
Philip Humber 115.7 6.07 3.11 1.32 78 -0.2 Jason Roach
Michael Ynoa 60.7 6.08 5.49 1.19 72 -0.3 Tim Harrell
Deryk Hooker 59.0 6.41 4.12 1.22 82 -0.4 Buddy Carlyle
Chris Resop 62.0 6.97 3.63 1.31 81 -0.5 Dave Wainhouse
Andrew Granier 140.0 6.62 5.79 1.29 71 -0.9 Scott Kamieniecki
Matt Buschmann 126.3 5.63 5.49 1.35 67 -1.3 Michael Smith

***

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.