2014 ZiPS Projections – Seattle Mariners

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 Seattle Mariners. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Cleveland / Los Angeles NL / Miami / Minnesota / New York AL / Philadelphia / San Diego / St. Louis.

Batters
ZiPS projects Robinson Cano, Brad Miller, and Kyle Seager to produce the most wins among all of Seattle’s field players this next season. The latter two differ from the first insofar as they’ll make entire truck loads less of American currency in 2014. The triumvirate all share a common trait, however, insofar as none of the three ever appeared on a Baseball America top-100 prospect list — a statement intended not as a comment on the great work done by BA, but merely on the unique paths shared by each.

By all appearances, Corey Hart and Logan Morrison will actually share left-field and DH duties in 2014, an arrangement which the author hasn’t depicted on the very attractive depth-chart graphic below not because he was unaware of it (i.e. the arrangement), but because it would have been tedious and largely unnecessary extra work.

Pitchers
If one takes for granted that the Mariners’ timetable for contention has been altered dramatically by the recent signing of Robinson Cano, then one will also recognize that Seattle ought probably to address its starting rotation before the beginning of the 2014 season. This isn’t to say that James Paxton and Taijuan Walker are without promise; indeed, signs point to both of them developing into effective pitchers. What their respective records to date suggest, however, is that that they’re unlikely to prevent runs at the same rate as an average major-leaguer starter — i.e. the sort of starter the should probably occupy the third, fourth, and maybe even fifth rotation slots of a contending club.

This next paragraph is a very short one in which the Mariners bullpen is invoked, because such a thing seems integral to this kind of post.

Bench/Prospects
The field player projected by ZiPS to post the fourth-highest WAR total is actually entirely absent from the club’s depth chart, currently. That player is Nick Franklin, and the position to which he’s probably best suited (second base) is now occupied — and will be occupied for roughly the next decade — by Robinson Cano. A brief inspection of MLB Trade Rumors reveals that there’s a strong trade market for Franklin.

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

Mariners Depth Chart

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
Robinson Cano L 31 2B 670 82 171 37 2 22 85 6 2
Kyle Seager L 26 3B 678 84 161 34 2 18 73 11 5
Brad Miller L 24 SS 671 89 159 25 6 14 66 13 7
Nick Franklin B 23 SS 593 70 131 27 4 15 62 11 2
Mike Zunino R 23 C 491 66 103 19 1 14 51 2 1
Dustin Ackley L 26 CF 648 84 146 27 4 10 53 8 3
Michael Saunders L 27 LF 502 69 101 22 3 14 51 14 4
Ty Kelly B 25 3B 607 62 135 21 2 4 42 5 5
Jesus Montero R 24 C 433 40 97 17 2 12 46 0 1
Kendrys Morales B 31 DH 492 54 119 22 0 17 61 0 1
Justin Smoak B 27 1B 540 58 112 21 0 20 58 0 0
John Hicks R 24 C 382 42 85 15 1 5 36 10 6
Manny Pina R 27 C 285 25 56 12 0 4 20 0 0
Abraham Almonte B 25 CF 506 62 108 19 4 8 38 18 6
Carlos Triunfel R 24 SS 564 58 128 26 2 6 43 5 4
Corey Hart R 32 RF 501 62 112 22 2 18 52 5 2
Nate Tenbrink L 27 3B 395 47 76 13 3 9 35 9 4
Franklin Gutierrez R 31 CF 365 39 77 18 1 8 35 8 3
Logan Morrison L 26 1B 455 49 95 19 3 13 51 1 1
Ji-Man Choi L 23 1B 455 55 97 21 3 11 46 1 3
Julio Morban L 22 CF 406 46 91 16 3 8 39 5 2
Henry Blanco R 42 C 110 10 20 5 0 2 12 0 0
Jason Bay R 35 LF 297 34 56 8 1 9 26 5 1
Humberto Quintero R 34 C 221 17 45 9 0 3 19 0 0
Jesus Sucre R 26 C 264 24 60 8 0 1 19 1 1
Stefen Romero R 25 LF 514 58 118 22 2 12 58 8 6
Brandon Bantz R 27 C 221 20 40 7 1 2 15 1 2
Leon Landry L 24 CF 537 54 116 20 6 5 41 19 10
Xavier Avery L 24 LF 576 55 116 20 3 5 31 24 9
Jabari Blash R 24 LF 502 56 100 15 2 12 42 11 8
Cole Gillespie R 30 LF 444 45 86 15 3 7 37 8 3
Willie Bloomquist R 36 2B 257 28 62 9 2 1 17 6 6
Ramon Morla R 24 3B 502 52 100 18 3 9 46 10 6
Rich Poythress R 26 1B 483 51 103 21 1 10 50 2 1
Jason Jaramillo B 31 C 269 22 50 11 0 1 20 1 1
Carlos Peguero L 27 RF 482 56 96 18 2 16 55 7 5
Endy Chavez L 36 RF 269 24 63 9 1 2 16 4 3
Leury Bonilla R 29 3B 296 29 59 6 1 2 20 4 6
James Jones L 25 RF 492 55 99 16 5 5 38 17 9

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Robinson Cano 670 8.2% 14.0% .178 .303 .284 .349 .462 .342
Kyle Seager 678 8.1% 17.7% .150 .299 .264 .328 .414 .326
Brad Miller 671 7.9% 19.1% .129 .308 .262 .320 .391 .313
Nick Franklin 593 9.4% 21.9% .152 .301 .248 .321 .400 .318
Mike Zunino 491 7.3% 25.3% .143 .288 .233 .299 .376 .297
Dustin Ackley 648 9.7% 17.7% .112 .299 .253 .327 .365 .306
Michael Saunders 502 10.2% 26.7% .158 .291 .228 .308 .386 .306
Ty Kelly 607 10.0% 18.3% .069 .308 .252 .329 .321 .293
Jesus Montero 433 6.7% 22.2% .143 .289 .244 .296 .387 .295
Kendrys Morales 492 6.9% 19.7% .162 .300 .263 .319 .425 .321
Justin Smoak 540 11.1% 23.0% .170 .275 .235 .322 .405 .321
John Hicks 382 3.7% 21.7% .088 .290 .235 .268 .323 .261
Manny Pina 285 6.7% 18.6% .093 .257 .218 .280 .311 .264
Abraham Almonte 506 7.9% 23.1% .111 .298 .235 .297 .346 .287
Carlos Triunfel 564 3.2% 19.9% .091 .295 .242 .280 .333 .270
Corey Hart 501 7.0% 24.6% .175 .297 .246 .307 .421 .315
Nate Tenbrink 395 8.6% 31.9% .131 .306 .217 .293 .348 .284
Franklin Gutierrez 365 5.2% 24.4% .130 .282 .227 .270 .357 .274
Logan Morrison 455 10.8% 19.6% .160 .273 .238 .325 .398 .315
Ji-Man Choi 455 8.4% 20.0% .148 .281 .239 .315 .387 .308
Julio Morban 406 4.9% 33.3% .121 .346 .238 .279 .359 .282
Henry Blanco 110 8.2% 26.4% .111 .265 .202 .275 .313 .264
Jason Bay 297 10.4% 25.9% .143 .266 .215 .301 .358 .294
Humberto Quintero 221 3.2% 24.4% .087 .276 .216 .251 .303 .241
Jesus Sucre 264 3.8% 13.6% .044 .276 .240 .271 .284 .246
Stefen Romero 514 4.3% 20.6% .128 .288 .245 .284 .373 .287
Brandon Bantz 221 5.4% 28.5% .075 .279 .200 .255 .275 .232
Leon Landry 537 3.9% 18.6% .093 .277 .231 .264 .324 .255
Xavier Avery 576 7.6% 28.6% .080 .318 .224 .289 .304 .267
Jabari Blash 502 8.8% 37.1% .122 .346 .222 .299 .344 .286
Cole Gillespie 444 9.2% 24.3% .106 .277 .217 .293 .323 .277
Willie Bloomquist 257 4.7% 14.4% .067 .299 .257 .297 .324 .269
Ramon Morla 502 4.0% 34.5% .107 .306 .211 .245 .318 .247
Rich Poythress 483 7.9% 20.5% .120 .279 .235 .298 .355 .290
Jason Jaramillo 269 6.7% 23.8% .056 .266 .202 .260 .258 .234
Carlos Peguero 482 6.2% 38.2% .158 .324 .216 .272 .374 .281
Endy Chavez 269 3.3% 11.9% .067 .275 .248 .272 .315 .252
Leury Bonilla 296 5.1% 27.0% .051 .297 .216 .259 .267 .228
James Jones 492 6.7% 29.5% .090 .308 .218 .273 .308 .259

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Robinson Cano 670 6.1 131 4 5.5 Charlie Gehringer
Kyle Seager 678 5.0 111 -2 3.7 Edwin Encarnacion
Brad Miller 671 4.6 103 -2 3.4 Dick McAuliffe
Nick Franklin 593 4.8 106 -4 3.2 Jay Bell
Mike Zunino 491 4.0 92 -1 2.3 Todd Zeile
Dustin Ackley 648 4.4 99 -5 2.2 Jacob Cruz
Michael Saunders 502 4.3 98 5 1.7 Derek Lee
Ty Kelly 607 3.7 88 -2 1.5 Ernest Riles
Jesus Montero 433 4.0 94 -7 1.3 Javier Cardona
Kendrys Morales 492 4.9 111 0 1.3 David Segui
Justin Smoak 540 4.6 107 -2 1.2 Kila Ka’aihue
John Hicks 382 3.0 69 4 1.1 John Duncan
Manny Pina 285 3.0 70 3 1.0 Mike Ryan
Abraham Almonte 506 3.8 84 -3 1.0 Everett Graham
Carlos Triunfel 564 3.3 75 -1 0.9 Aurelio Rodriguez
Corey Hart 501 4.6 106 -7 0.9 Rick Reichardt
Nate Tenbrink 395 3.5 83 0 0.8 Rodney Choy Foo
Franklin Gutierrez 365 3.4 78 2 0.7 Les Norman
Logan Morrison 455 4.6 106 -3 0.7 Benny Distefano
Ji-Man Choi 455 4.2 100 0 0.7 Chris Richard
Julio Morban 406 3.6 82 -5 0.2 Gary Thomasson
Henry Blanco 110 2.9 69 -1 0.2 Raul Chavez
Jason Bay 297 3.8 88 -2 0.2 Bob Brenly
Humberto Quintero 221 2.6 58 1 0.2 Joe Oliver
Jesus Sucre 264 2.7 60 -1 0.1 Brian Bock
Stefen Romero 514 3.7 87 -1 0.1 Wes Chamberlain
Brandon Bantz 221 2.2 52 2 0.1 Dave Ullery
Leon Landry 537 3.0 68 0 0.0 Joe Mathis
Xavier Avery 576 3.2 71 4 -0.1 Troy O’Leary
Jabari Blash 502 3.5 84 -3 -0.1 Rod Allen
Cole Gillespie 444 3.3 77 0 -0.1 Adam Shabala
Willie Bloomquist 257 3.2 78 -5 -0.3 Jamey Carroll
Ramon Morla 502 2.6 60 2 -0.4 Ray Thoma
Rich Poythress 483 3.7 87 -3 -0.4 Adan Millan
Jason Jaramillo 269 2.2 50 -3 -0.4 Chad Moeller
Carlos Peguero 482 3.4 83 -4 -0.4 Ralph Bryant
Endy Chavez 269 3.0 68 -1 -0.6 Joe Orsulak
Leury Bonilla 296 2.1 52 0 -0.7 Luke Sable
James Jones 492 2.9 67 -2 -1.1 Herm Winningham

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
Felix Hernandez R 28 31 31 211.3 220 50 16 188 77 72
Hisashi Iwakuma R 33 30 30 195.0 174 40 23 172 75 70
Taijuan Walker R 21 23 23 137.0 122 58 14 129 66 62
Danny Farquhar R 27 55 0 70.7 83 26 5 59 27 25
Charlie Furbush L 28 65 0 60.3 76 25 6 47 22 21
Danny Hultzen L 24 16 16 70.3 66 39 6 65 34 32
James Paxton L 25 25 24 120.0 102 57 14 116 63 59
Erasmo Ramirez R 24 26 22 127.0 96 43 16 130 67 63
Carson Smith R 24 49 0 55.7 56 24 4 49 24 22
Tom Wilhelmsen R 30 66 0 69.7 68 33 7 61 32 30
Oliver Perez L 32 55 0 53.0 62 27 6 46 25 23
Nick Hill L 29 44 0 48.3 52 25 4 43 22 21
Stephen Pryor R 24 30 0 30.0 31 17 3 27 15 14
Joe Saunders L 33 27 27 160.3 99 51 21 178 91 85
Yoervis Medina R 25 60 0 70.7 72 44 8 62 35 33
Lucas Luetge L 27 57 0 60.0 54 30 6 58 31 29
Kyle Hunter L 25 37 2 66.0 43 23 8 71 36 34
Bobby LaFromboise L 28 51 0 63.7 48 28 6 66 34 32
Brandon Maurer R 23 28 23 130.0 96 59 15 141 77 72
Logan Bawcom R 25 53 0 60.7 52 38 7 60 35 33
Brian Sweeney R 40 25 8 69.7 38 25 11 81 47 44
Hector Noesi R 27 31 16 114.0 75 44 19 130 75 70
Blake Beavan R 25 28 24 152.3 74 36 25 181 98 92
Chance Ruffin R 25 47 8 88.7 62 43 16 100 61 57
Anthony Fernandez L 24 23 23 119.7 68 53 20 140 83 78
James Gillheeney L 26 25 25 123.7 78 65 25 146 95 89

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Felix Hernandez 211.3 872 25.2% 5.7% .297 3.07 2.94 76 73
Hisashi Iwakuma 195.0 797 21.8% 5.0% .267 3.23 3.57 80 88
Taijuan Walker 137.0 598 20.4% 9.7% .291 4.07 4.23 101 105
Danny Farquhar 70.7 297 27.9% 8.8% .298 3.18 2.91 79 72
Charlie Furbush 60.3 253 30.1% 9.9% .287 3.13 3.26 77 81
Danny Hultzen 70.3 315 21.0% 12.4% .297 4.09 4.35 101 108
James Paxton 120.0 533 19.1% 10.7% .290 4.42 4.66 109 115
Erasmo Ramirez 127.0 554 17.3% 7.8% .291 4.46 4.55 110 113
Carson Smith 55.7 240 23.3% 10.0% .296 3.56 3.51 88 87
Tom Wilhelmsen 69.7 303 22.4% 10.9% .280 3.88 3.93 96 97
Oliver Perez 53.0 232 26.7% 11.6% .294 3.91 3.84 97 95
Nick Hill 48.3 213 24.4% 11.7% .305 3.91 3.78 97 94
Stephen Pryor 30.0 134 23.1% 12.7% .293 4.20 4.17 104 103
Joe Saunders 160.3 710 13.9% 7.2% .293 4.77 4.66 118 115
Yoervis Medina 70.7 318 22.6% 13.8% .284 4.20 4.50 104 111
Lucas Luetge 60.0 268 20.1% 11.2% .297 4.35 4.24 108 105
Kyle Hunter 66.0 292 14.7% 7.9% .296 4.64 4.79 115 118
Bobby LaFromboise 63.7 285 16.8% 9.8% .301 4.52 4.32 112 107
Brandon Maurer 130.0 590 16.3% 10.0% .307 4.98 4.83 123 120
Logan Bawcom 60.7 280 18.6% 13.6% .296 4.90 5.10 121 126
Brian Sweeney 69.7 315 12.1% 7.9% .296 5.68 5.49 141 136
Hector Noesi 114.0 516 14.5% 8.5% .298 5.53 5.30 137 131
Blake Beavan 152.3 674 11.0% 5.3% .294 5.44 5.27 135 130
Chance Ruffin 88.7 409 15.2% 10.5% .299 5.79 5.84 143 145
Anthony Fernandez 119.7 552 12.3% 9.6% .298 5.87 5.80 145 144
James Gillheeney 123.7 582 13.4% 11.2% .298 6.48 6.38 160 158

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Felix Hernandez 211.3 9.37 2.13 0.68 120 4.2 Roy Oswalt
Hisashi Iwakuma 195.0 8.03 1.85 1.06 114 3.5 Bartolo Colon
Taijuan Walker 137.0 8.01 3.81 0.92 90 1.0 Jason Schmidt
Danny Farquhar 70.7 10.57 3.31 0.64 116 0.6 Felix Rodriguez
Charlie Furbush 60.3 11.34 3.73 0.90 118 0.6 Will Ohman
Danny Hultzen 70.3 8.45 4.99 0.77 90 0.5 Al Leiter
James Paxton 120.0 7.65 4.28 1.05 83 0.4 Brandon Claussen
Erasmo Ramirez 127.0 6.80 3.05 1.13 83 0.3 Travis Thompson
Carson Smith 55.7 9.05 3.88 0.65 104 0.2 Saul Rivera
Tom Wilhelmsen 69.7 8.78 4.26 0.90 95 0.0 Marc Wilkins
Oliver Perez 53.0 10.53 4.58 1.02 94 0.0 Tim Fortugno
Nick Hill 48.3 9.69 4.66 0.75 94 0.0 Armando Almanza
Stephen Pryor 30.0 9.30 5.10 0.90 88 -0.1 Santiago Casilla
Joe Saunders 160.3 5.56 2.86 1.18 77 -0.1 Mark Hendrickson
Yoervis Medina 70.7 9.17 5.60 1.02 88 -0.2 Billy Sadler
Lucas Luetge 60.0 8.10 4.50 0.90 85 -0.3 Kevin Tolar
Kyle Hunter 66.0 5.86 3.14 1.09 79 -0.4 Kevin Ool
Bobby LaFromboise 63.7 6.78 3.96 0.85 81 -0.5 Carmen Cali
Brandon Maurer 130.0 6.65 4.08 1.04 74 -0.5 Rich Loiselle
Logan Bawcom 60.7 7.71 5.63 1.04 75 -0.7 Jason Gilfillan
Brian Sweeney 69.7 4.91 3.23 1.42 65 -1.0 Steve Sparks
Hector Noesi 114.0 5.92 3.47 1.50 67 -1.3 Mark Nussbeck
Blake Beavan 152.3 4.37 2.13 1.48 68 -1.4 Daniel Griffin
Chance Ruffin 88.7 6.29 4.36 1.62 64 -1.5 Brian Woods
Anthony Fernandez 119.7 5.11 3.98 1.50 63 -1.7 Joe Beimel
James Gillheeney 123.7 5.68 4.73 1.82 57 -2.6 Jeff Hundley

***

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.




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

63 Responses to “2014 ZiPS Projections – Seattle Mariners”

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  1. D Pass says:

    Any reason the ERA/FIP- and ERA+ diverge so much? What’s the expected Zips run environment for Safeco vs. the FG?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Billy says:

    Number #6 org.

    -38 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Fightin' Bob La From Boise, Idaho says:

      Ahhh, good old #6. Reminds me of those bygone days when even the smartest baseball analysts could make huge miscalculations based upon nothing more than heartfelt fandom. Sigh.

      -25 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Dom D says:

    So the number one comp for Danny Farquhar is King Felix? This seems to indicate a flaw in either the Mariners front office or in how player comps are determined.

    -33 Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Jack Zduriencik says:

    What the hell is WAR?

    +20 Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. TapRat says:

    So, by WAR, that’s about a .500 team, right? 48 wins replacement level + 33 WAR = 81 wins. Sounds like the M’s are still at least a Tanaka away from contention.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • TapRat says:

      Pretty sure Dan doesn’t know where I live.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Howard Lincoln says:

      Just wait until we add Nelson Cruz! Dingers!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Chris from Bothell says:

      Tanaka is going to be a 9 WAR pitcher in his first full season in the majors?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • taprat says:

        I put “contention” at around 85 or 86 wins. That’s probably not enough to make the playoffs but it’s enough to be a buyer rather than a seller at the trading deadline and it’s just a breakout player or two away from 90+ wins, which might be enough to make the playoffs.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Brett W says:

          6 AL teams won at least 91 games last year. Under old Wild Card format, the second-place Wild Card team (including pre-2012) usually had 86-90 wins. Since 2011 (last year of old format), it’s been 90, 93, and 92 to get in. Probably too soon to call it a trend, but it does seem to be true that recently you have to win more than 90 to get in.

          Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Slats says:

    I think ZiPS is far too harsh on both Walker & Paxton.

    +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Balthazar says:

      ZIPS has its statistical basis, and in that sense is likely not too harsh. Which is not to say I agree with it, I don’t.

      ZIPS has to convert primarily minor league stats, with appropriate deflators for major league projections. Walker had some things not to like somewhat in his minor league peripherals, and takes a hit for that. Paxton had some very bad starts in the minors in 2013, and takes a big, big hit for that. Both guys came up and pitched very well at season’s end, but the statistical system has to discount a small sample more heavily, and also may have a slight deflator for September performance anyway.
      What ZIPS doesn’t ‘see,’ because it doesn’t show statistically very well, is the improvement in performance over the course of the year for both pitchers. Paxton in particular, finally had his mechanics in sync later in the season; not for absolute certainty, but he was utterly dominant when he did. We can’t be sure how often that version of James Paxton will take the mound in 2014, and it would be folly to expect to see that every time out. But yeah, I’ll take the upside on him. I strongly suspect he’ll crush that projection—but have a few ugly starts in there, or a bad patch that might even get him sent to the minors. I really, really like Paxton, though; he’s going to surprise a lot of folks around the league. With Walker, it’s easy to see him outperforming that projection, but harder to be certain that he will. Because Taijuan has to ‘pitch’ to outperform it, and it’s hard to know how quickly he’ll grow into that. Walker has to command his offspeed stuff; has to sequence his pitches to good effect; has to not lean on his fastball too much—which he has tended to do in the minors. Major league hitters can hit a good fastball, Walker will have to outpitch them. I think that in the end he’ll do just that. But 2014 may not be that year, but one where he learns on the job.

      I don’t take any projection system as a simulation of performance. They are a great baseline which one then has to handicap with other information about the player which will effect their performance outcomes. I very much agree with ZIPS on Brad Miller and Nick Franklin, for instance. The Zunino projection seems sound, and interesting to see it as league average; I’ll take that for a guy who could have used (and could still use) another 500 ABs in the high minors. I’m of the view that Taijuan walker, James Paxton, Michael Saunders, and Stephen Pryor will outperform their projections handily. I’m of the view that Iwakuma and Farquhar will regress more than the system expects. Just my views. Dominic Leone isn’t included in these projections, but to me he’s the best bet of the bullpen arms in the system to make the 25-man out of Spring Training and positively contribute.

      Nick Franklin’s projection is exactly why I wasn’t at all psyched up by the Cano signing. Franklin is a terrific player, and the Mariners not only didn’t need another second baseman but not have their talent mix bunged up, and the vultures circling to try and pick him up on the cheap. One can’t argue with Cano’s past performance statistically, but he’s a very awkward fit for the team, the org, and the city, and I don’t see this ‘marriage’ ending well. I can’t see Cano as ever having wanted to play in Seattle; he’s just here for the contract, and that’s a further negative. In about two years Cano will be dying to get out, and moving him a la The Huge Prince would likely be best for all. Our present ownership isn’t likely smart enough to think that through, though.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • champion88 says:

        I doubt Dominic Leone will make the Opening Day roster for the simple fact that ZIPS projections are given for such utterly useless players that if Leone couldn’t even pass that bar, he can’t have much value.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Pointsette says:

        Balthazar: “Nick Franklin’s projection is exactly why I wasn’t at all psyched up by the Cano signing. Franklin is a terrific player.”

        Totally agree. I have been saying the same thing. Even with one bad month, he is still at the top of the lists.

        With all of the talk about him being traded, wonder what the kid thinks?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • I agree that Franklin has been solid so far and the M’s didn’t need a 2B but they did need a star hitter in the middle of the lineup to build the team around. The M’s didn’t have many options so they went with Cano.

        I will be sad to see Franklin go but I don’t see him getting much playing time unless they him in OF, which I doubt they will.

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    • Balthazar says:

      Also, there’s no realistic way to project Corey Hart. He was hurt too much to have an AB, and had been the last time he played to the point where his performance was seriously impacted. He could be completely useless. He could have an excellent break out season. Flip the coin, and call it in the air, and you’ll do better than any projection for him. Logan Morrison . . . who knows. His numbers have been trending down, and the projection likely has a lot of traction on what should be expected for him. Getting him out of Miami’s stadium where he didn’t hit and into a different environment where he has an opportunity to push himself to get in position for free agency and . . . who knows? I’d have to take the under there, but this is one of those change of scenery situations which can confound projections: we know what he should do all things holding steady, but things have changed, so has he?? Oh, and relief pitchers are so volatile I really can’t put to much credence in any projection for them. “Hold onto yer hats, ladiez n gennelmen!” is about all I can think one can say for nine relievers in ten; only a few elite guys have a consistent track record, and even then they don’t tend to last long.

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  7. Big Sexy says:

    Seager and encarnacion made me do a double take

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Seattleslew says:

      40 dingers from Seager would be nice, or even just 30… I’m getting too greedy, I just hope he stays healthy.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Joel says:

    I’m going to assume that the Mariners were just joking when they said they’d give Smoak another shot.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Balthazar says:

      I strongly suspect that Smoak is in another uniform by 15 Feb 14. He’s done here. But if the Mariners were to say, “Uhh, yeah, we’re moving him,” the market for him such as it is collapses to minor league bull pen arms. I don’t see the Mariners as done for the offseason, but everything has been held up everywhere by the starting pitcher log jam, which has been held up on the Tanaka posting.

      Tanaka won’t be going anywhere where there is an established Japanese pitching star on the team, in my view, with Anaheim and Phoenix his most likely destinations. Once he’s inked, the market will sort itself out, and everyone else will know what $ and roster slots they have to fill, and who they will then be willing to move to do so.

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    • Pointsette says:

      Move Cano to first base. I would rather have a 22 year old at 2nd.

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      • I totally agree, after all is the franchise goal to win a championship or to have the best 2B on the team?

        Unfortunately baseball is filled with crybabies who throw a fit when they don’t get what they want.

        As tradition goes, the older, more established player usually gets preference. In this case Cano probably only signed with Seattle because they guaranteed him that he was going to be the starting the 2B.

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  9. RT says:

    Kendrys isn’t on the Mariners.

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  10. maguro says:

    Now I know who Javier Cardona is.

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  11. MFG says:

    Someone talk me out of my optimism over Erasmo Ramirez. I should stop thinking he’ll be a good SP this year, right?

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    • Rockstar Parking says:

      Erasmo will be a decent SP this year, however, he’ll likely have periods of being good, periods of being not as good, and periods of not being entirely healthy. He’s probably best suited as an SP6/swingman, serving as the long-man out of the bullpen and giving the occasional spot start when needed. It’s a great roll for him, and hopefully he won’t be relied upon as an integral part of the rotation. The M’s will bring another starter bumping Ramirez from the rotation. However, given that Walker and Paxton will likely be slated for SP4 and SP5, there will be plenty of starts available for Erasmo as well throughout the year.

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    • Balthazar says:

      If Ramirez is healthy, I think he crushes that projection. Erasmo hasn’t thrown like he’s fully healthy for the last year and a half, and one can’t presume he can perform at the level until he does. But he won’t have a starting slot to get in the groove, either. In some respects, I’m hoping that Ramirez is dealt in a modest package deal for a good outfielder, for Erasmo’s sake. The Mariners don’t know that they have in him, and are jerking him around, and he won’t get an opportunity to develop here. I don’t want to see him go, but the Mariners simply aren’t going to utilize him in a way that helps either themselves of him, as far as I can tell.

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  12. Marcus Tullius Cicero says:

    Clearly ZiPS doesn’t incorporate body type, given the Iwakuma comp.

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  13. Cano’s projections tells me he won’t be the top fantasy second baseman in 2014.

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    • Kipnis ZIPS=17 HRs, 88 runs, 83 RBI, 25 SBs, .263 BA…..

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    • Bret says:

      A 131 OPS+ is a very strong hitter. At 2B, it is elite.

      You did say “fantasy” so I will grant you that I would prefer Kipnis to Cano based on the ZIPs projections. You could make a case for Pedroia being a better pick, but I am not a believer there. I think that makes him a “top fantasy” 2B to me.

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    • lesmash says:

      I don’t own Cano in fantasy baseball so it isn’t my concern, but were I a Cano owner I would be seeing what I could get on the trade front. Someone out there will still probably pay full price, and I’d take that in a heartbeat under the circumstances.

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    • The Typical Idiot Fan says:

      Well he IS 31 and heading into his pre-Fangraphs-recent-article-about-decline-phase decline phase, while Kipnis is still in his prime, so some disparity should be expected.

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  14. Matthew Swinkey says:

    Anybody notice those are the old Safeco dimensions?

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  15. Spit Ball says:

    Do you guys really have to start hawking Sox tickets on Kevin Tolar’s page? I realize good sabremetric analysis comes at a price but good lordy. Coulda walked down to Landsdowne for that crap.

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  16. cs3 says:

    How in the world are Cano, Miller, Franklin, Ackley, and Seager all going to get over 590 PA’s?
    No way that group averages 650 PA’s like ZIPs suggests.

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    • TheGrandslamwich says:

      That is clearly explained in the second sentence in the disclaimer.

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    • The Typical Idiot Fan says:

      Why not? Cano, Miller, and Seager will play full time at second, short, and third respectively, while Ackley can hold down center full time. The only question mark is Franklin, but there are conceivable scenarios where he could play corner outfield and any infield position enough times a week to get that many plate appearances.

      Or, as Spongebob put it, you have to use your imagination!

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  17. Erik says:

    “This next paragraph is a very short one in which the Mariners bullpen is invoked, because such a thing seems integral to this kind of post.”

    Never got around to adding that paragraph?

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  18. Erik says:

    This could be a really good team if they could track down a 1B, LF, and a #3 & #4 starter.

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    • champion88 says:

      That’s a LOT of if’s though.

      Plus the Mariners have a tendency to find a way to lose.

      I think they will win 75-80 games this year though.

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  19. Just a fan says:

    Edwin Encarnacion, Derek Lee, Jay Bell, Todd Zeile, David Segui, Troy O’Leary, Joe Oliver… that comparison team got alot of grit, maybe they will pull something together.

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  20. Malcolm Shelley says:

    Hi. Why is Manny Pina on this list?

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  21. dave says:

    possible projection for Dominic Leone?

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  22. Seattleslew says:

    This team is SUPER weak against southpaws. If they don’t sign another solid right handed bat lefty pitchers are going to look forward to facing them.

    I really hope Felix, Hisashi, and Taijuan do pitch like their no. 1 comparisons(Roy Oswalt, Bartolo Colon, Jason Schmidt)when they were in their prime, because with only half a rotation its going to hard to get anywhere.

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  23. cody says:

    Does anyone else notice that Trout is projected for the same value as the M’s bullpen + 3rd, 4th, and 5th starters + 1B + DH + LF + CF + RF? Depending on how much playing time the bullpen gets that is between 2/3rds and 3/4ths of the Mariners team. M’s have all their value tied up in 4 players…

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  24. Seattleslew says:

    Any ideas for another lefty in the bullpen? Oliver Perez? Mike Gonzalez?

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