2014 ZiPS Projections – Tampa Bay Rays

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 Tampa Bay Rays. 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 / Seattle / St. Louis.

Batters
Certain clubs over the past 20 or so years have featured celebrated pairs of teammates: Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire*, for example, who played together on the late-80s Oakland clubs or David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez on the mid-aught Boston ones or, more recently, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder with Detroit. It’s entirely possible, however, that the combination of Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist is more formidable than any of those in terms of all-around production. Defensively, based on their ZiPS projections, each is at least as valuable afield as a league-average shortstop (and a bit more than that, in Longoria’s case).

With regard to the precise location of certain players on the depth-chart graphic below, one is compelled to acknowledge that, as in recent seasons, manager Joe Maddon is likely both to utilize platoons more than is suggested by that same graphic and also probably to use the DH slot for the sake of flexibility rather than as a lineup spot merely for, say, Matt Joyce alone. It would be interesting to see outfielder and right-handed-batting Brandon Guyer receive a substantive number of at-bats after several decent offensive seasons at Triple-A.

Pitchers
For reasons that are pretty obvious, Seattle has been rumored to have interest in left-hander David Price, whose contract demands Tampa Bay might have some difficulty meeting in the near future. To get a sense of the Rays relative depth, however, consider this possibly spurious claim: were they to deal Price to Seattle, Tampa Bay’s rotation would have a total projected zWAR of only about two fewer wins than the latter club’s rotation to begin the 2014 season (about 13 vs. 11, assuming Jake Odorizzi claimed the fifth-starter spot).

With the acquisition this offseason of Heath Bell (in the three-team deal, incidentally, that also produced for them Ryan Hanigan), Tampa Bay now offers beaucoup de options for high-leverage innings in its bullpen, which also features Jake McGee and Juan Oviedo, the latter of whom re-signed this offseason with a Rays club for whom he has yet to record an inning, owing to injury.

Bench/Prospects
ZiPS — or, at least, the computer math which informs ZiPS — isn’t particularly optimistic about the capacity for any of Tampa Bay’s prospects to make a substantial impact in 2014. Among field players, Hak-Ju Lee possesses perhaps the most interesting combination of present ability and youth; however, he missed almost the entirety of the 2013 season with a knee injury. Ryan Brett, meanwhile, is probably not considered the jewel of the minor-league system, and yet he also has received rather an encouraging projection for his age. Alex Colome (25), Jake Odorizzi (24), Enny Romero (23) all recorded major-league appearances in 2014, although none is likely to prevent runs at a league-average rate yet, according to ZiPS.

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

Rays 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
Evan Longoria R 28 3B 588 77 133 29 2 26 85 4 2
Ben Zobrist B 33 2B 647 81 146 33 4 15 72 14 5
Desmond Jennings R 27 CF 633 92 139 27 7 15 54 27 6
Yunel Escobar R 31 SS 576 59 131 22 1 8 48 4 3
Wil Myers R 23 RF 659 83 156 28 3 23 83 9 3
Matt Joyce L 29 LF 471 59 100 23 2 16 56 7 3
Ryan Hanigan R 33 C 297 21 64 10 0 2 25 0 0
Jose Molina R 39 C 274 24 56 11 0 4 21 2 1
Hak-Ju Lee L 23 SS 294 31 65 8 4 3 21 17 6
Jose Lobaton B 29 C 294 28 60 13 1 6 30 0 1
Curt Casali R 25 C 360 39 75 16 0 6 34 1 0
Sean Rodriguez R 29 LF 318 35 65 15 2 7 31 5 3
David DeJesus L 34 CF 466 56 100 22 3 8 40 5 4
James Loney L 30 1B 569 51 141 29 0 10 65 3 2
Tim Beckham R 24 SS 521 59 114 19 4 6 42 12 4
Cole Figueroa L 27 3B 538 59 123 18 4 3 45 7 4
Kevin Kiermaier L 24 CF 489 51 109 14 8 4 36 16 9
Ryan Brett B 22 2B 441 50 105 17 3 6 35 27 9
Rich Thompson L 35 CF 355 40 75 11 4 2 22 23 4
Brandon Guyer R 28 RF 386 50 89 18 4 7 35 14 3
Sam Fuld L 32 LF 239 31 50 7 4 2 18 10 5
Luke Scott L 36 DH 317 32 66 15 1 11 42 2 1
Jake Hager R 21 SS 543 51 118 17 2 3 36 12 11
Richie Shaffer R 23 3B 548 52 113 25 0 11 54 5 0
Vince Belnome L 26 1B 466 53 96 20 1 8 45 1 2
Mike Fontenot L 34 2B 324 29 70 14 1 3 22 3 1
Todd Glaesmann R 23 LF 558 56 123 24 3 11 52 6 3
Delmon Young R 28 RF 536 51 125 23 1 15 63 1 1
Mikie Mahtook R 24 RF 580 58 127 25 5 6 49 18 8
Freddy Guzman B 33 LF 364 39 73 12 4 3 27 28 7
Jesus Flores R 29 C 282 21 54 13 0 4 23 0 1
Leslie Anderson L 32 1B 482 44 111 19 1 8 44 1 3
Shelley Duncan R 34 1B 363 36 69 15 0 10 42 1 1
Drew Vettleson L 22 RF 566 55 125 23 4 7 49 8 11

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Evan Longoria 588 11.2% 21.4% .217 .292 .260 .345 .477 .349
Ben Zobrist 647 11.7% 15.8% .154 .292 .261 .350 .415 .335
Desmond Jennings 633 9.5% 20.2% .154 .296 .249 .326 .403 .324
Yunel Escobar 576 8.3% 12.3% .093 .280 .255 .321 .348 .295
Wil Myers 659 8.3% 24.7% .174 .321 .263 .326 .437 .330
Matt Joyce 471 11.7% 20.6% .184 .281 .246 .338 .430 .334
Ryan Hanigan 297 11.1% 11.1% .062 .278 .249 .342 .311 .280
Jose Molina 274 6.9% 21.5% .092 .277 .225 .283 .317 .265
Hak-Ju Lee 294 7.5% 22.8% .093 .312 .242 .301 .335 .287
Jose Lobaton 294 10.2% 22.4% .127 .286 .232 .312 .359 .295
Curt Casali 360 7.2% 19.4% .104 .274 .229 .295 .333 .281
Sean Rodriguez 318 7.5% 23.6% .143 .291 .233 .310 .376 .298
David DeJesus 466 8.6% 18.7% .125 .286 .241 .317 .366 .302
James Loney 569 7.0% 12.5% .113 .294 .270 .320 .382 .302
Tim Beckham 521 6.1% 23.2% .095 .306 .239 .289 .334 .275
Cole Figueroa 538 7.4% 9.1% .072 .275 .254 .314 .326 .283
Kevin Kiermaier 489 5.9% 21.9% .094 .311 .244 .298 .338 .280
Ryan Brett 441 5.0% 18.8% .099 .303 .254 .295 .353 .290
Rich Thompson 355 5.1% 18.6% .078 .286 .233 .289 .311 .272
Brandon Guyer 386 4.9% 18.7% .134 .298 .253 .306 .386 .307
Sam Fuld 239 8.8% 14.2% .099 .270 .235 .305 .333 .283
Luke Scott 317 8.2% 23.3% .177 .272 .233 .303 .410 .309
Jake Hager 543 5.3% 20.3% .060 .292 .235 .278 .294 .252
Richie Shaffer 548 4.6% 27.4% .113 .285 .221 .259 .334 .264
Vince Belnome 466 11.6% 26.4% .113 .315 .235 .325 .348 .302
Mike Fontenot 324 6.2% 20.4% .084 .293 .236 .292 .321 .272
Todd Glaesmann 558 3.8% 26.0% .120 .301 .235 .273 .356 .275
Delmon Young 536 4.3% 20.7% .139 .288 .249 .285 .388 .294
Mikie Mahtook 580 5.3% 23.4% .099 .304 .237 .288 .336 .279
Freddy Guzman 364 6.3% 25.5% .086 .289 .217 .268 .304 .262
Jesus Flores 282 3.5% 25.9% .094 .260 .202 .235 .296 .231
Leslie Anderson 482 5.0% 13.9% .100 .273 .247 .293 .347 .280
Shelley Duncan 363 8.3% 24.2% .138 .254 .211 .281 .349 .279
Drew Vettleson 566 5.7% 22.8% .098 .298 .237 .280 .335 .267

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Evan Longoria 588 6.0 130 9 5.2 Scott Rolen
Ben Zobrist 647 5.4 116 5 4.6 Lou Whitaker
Desmond Jennings 633 5.0 105 -2 3.1 Mike Cameron
Yunel Escobar 576 4.0 90 4 2.6 Edgardo Alfonzo
Wil Myers 659 5.3 114 -1 2.5 Danny Tartabull
Matt Joyce 471 5.2 115 0 2.0 Josh Willingham
Ryan Hanigan 297 3.8 87 3 1.5 Gene Desautels
Jose Molina 274 3.1 70 6 1.2 Elston Howard
Hak-Ju Lee 294 3.8 80 3 1.2 Juan Bell
Jose Lobaton 294 3.9 89 -1 1.2 Chad Moeller
Curt Casali 360 3.5 78 -2 1.0 Wyatt Toregas
Sean Rodriguez 318 4.1 93 4 1.0 Jeff Guiel
David DeJesus 466 4.1 93 -5 0.9 Andy Van Slyke
James Loney 569 4.5 98 4 0.9 Sean Casey
Tim Beckham 521 3.5 76 -2 0.9 Royce Clayton
Cole Figueroa 538 3.7 82 -1 0.9 Luis Figueroa
Kevin Kiermaier 489 3.5 80 0 0.8 Bubba Crosby
Ryan Brett 441 4.0 82 -2 0.8 Juan Bell
Rich Thompson 355 3.7 70 2 0.7 Vince Coleman
Brandon Guyer 386 4.5 95 -2 0.6 Mariano Duncan
Sam Fuld 239 3.6 81 5 0.6 Alex Cora
Luke Scott 317 4.4 99 0 0.4 Chris Richard
Jake Hager 543 2.7 62 4 0.4 Fred Manrique
Richie Shaffer 548 3.1 66 3 0.2 Glenn Williams
Vince Belnome 466 3.9 91 0 0.2 Don Barbara
Mike Fontenot 324 3.3 73 -2 0.0 Dave Berg
Todd Glaesmann 558 3.4 76 4 0.0 Francisco Batista
Delmon Young 536 4.0 88 -6 -0.3 Ken Harvey
Mikie Mahtook 580 3.5 76 0 -0.3 Darnell McDonald
Freddy Guzman 364 3.2 62 2 -0.4 Mark Budzinski
Jesus Flores 282 2.3 49 -2 -0.5 Charlie Greene
Leslie Anderson 482 3.5 80 0 -0.7 Jim Bowie
Shelley Duncan 363 3.3 77 -2 -0.8 Jody Davis
Drew Vettleson 566 3.0 73 -4 -1.3 Rich Butler

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
David Price L 28 30 30 198.0 189 46 18 174 73 68
Matt Moore L 25 31 30 171.3 180 75 16 144 70 65
Alex Cobb R 26 27 27 157.7 140 53 13 142 62 58
Chris Archer R 25 30 29 152.3 131 60 15 141 67 63
Jeremy Hellickson R 27 29 29 164.0 126 53 22 157 80 75
Jake McGee L 27 70 0 61.0 75 20 7 48 22 21
Jeff Niemann R 31 14 14 72.0 53 23 9 71 35 33
Fernando Rodney R 37 57 0 53.3 60 24 4 41 19 18
Joel Peralta R 38 69 0 59.3 68 23 7 46 22 21
Jesse Crain R 32 47 0 45.7 52 17 4 37 16 15
Jake Odorizzi R 24 27 25 136.0 100 62 17 135 74 69
Jamey Wright R 39 55 0 58.7 51 22 4 54 25 23
Alex Torres L 26 61 0 65.0 69 43 5 53 29 27
Heath Bell R 36 62 0 59.0 56 19 7 56 27 25
Josh Lueke R 29 53 0 72.0 61 29 6 70 34 32
Merrill Kelly R 25 28 20 117.0 80 58 12 123 67 63
Brandon Gomes R 29 50 0 52.3 53 20 7 48 26 24
Juan Oviedo R 32 18 0 16.7 14 6 2 16 9 8
Jeff Beliveau L 27 51 0 57.7 58 32 7 53 29 27
Cesar Ramos L 30 48 2 65.3 50 26 8 64 34 32
Kirby Yates R 27 51 0 59.0 59 38 6 52 30 28
Mark Lowe R 31 43 0 45.7 41 21 6 43 24 22
Alex Colome R 25 20 20 96.7 67 62 11 98 58 54
Felipe Rivero L 22 25 21 109.7 68 56 13 117 65 61
J.D. Martin R 31 26 20 122.3 61 28 20 140 73 68
Sam Runion R 25 39 0 60.3 35 23 6 63 32 30
Steve Geltz R 26 43 0 56.0 52 30 8 53 31 29
C.J. Riefenhauser L 24 54 0 65.7 51 30 9 66 36 34
Enny Romero L 23 26 26 119.7 98 90 14 118 75 70
Adam Liberatore L 27 44 0 67.3 43 38 6 70 39 36
Mike Montgomery L 24 23 22 118.3 65 63 18 131 79 74
Victor Mateo R 24 27 21 119.0 57 71 22 137 90 84

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
David Price 198.0 814 23.3% 5.6% .281 3.09 3.01 81 78
Matt Moore 171.3 733 24.5% 10.2% .280 3.41 3.52 89 92
Alex Cobb 157.7 668 21.0% 7.9% .283 3.31 3.34 86 87
Chris Archer 152.3 658 19.9% 9.1% .284 3.72 3.95 97 103
Jeremy Hellickson 164.0 703 17.9% 7.6% .272 4.12 4.22 107 110
Jake McGee 61.0 251 29.9% 7.8% .279 3.10 2.81 81 73
Jeff Niemann 72.0 310 17.3% 7.4% .279 4.12 4.22 107 110
Fernando Rodney 53.3 226 26.6% 10.8% .277 3.04 3.11 79 81
Joel Peralta 59.3 248 27.6% 9.5% .265 3.19 3.29 83 86
Jesse Crain 45.7 190 27.4% 8.7% .280 2.96 2.93 77 76
Jake Odorizzi 136.0 604 16.6% 10.2% .282 4.57 4.72 119 123
Jamey Wright 58.7 253 20.0% 8.8% .293 3.53 3.33 92 87
Alex Torres 65.0 291 23.5% 14.9% .283 3.74 4.05 97 106
Heath Bell 59.0 252 22.2% 7.5% .290 3.81 3.67 99 96
Josh Lueke 72.0 315 19.4% 9.3% .295 4.00 3.81 104 99
Merrill Kelly 117.0 532 15.0% 10.9% .297 4.85 4.70 126 122
Brandon Gomes 52.3 225 23.7% 8.7% .292 4.13 3.80 108 99
Juan Oviedo 16.7 72 19.0% 8.8% .275 4.32 4.05 113 106
Jeff Beliveau 57.7 257 22.5% 12.3% .292 4.21 4.28 110 112
Cesar Ramos 65.3 286 17.7% 9.1% .280 4.41 4.21 115 110
Kirby Yates 59.0 268 21.9% 14.3% .288 4.27 4.38 111 114
Mark Lowe 45.7 201 20.6% 10.4% .281 4.34 4.26 113 111
Alex Colome 96.7 450 14.9% 13.7% .287 5.03 5.22 131 136
Felipe Rivero 109.7 502 13.5% 11.2% .290 5.01 5.02 130 131
J.D. Martin 122.3 535 11.4% 5.2% .288 5.00 4.96 130 129
Sam Runion 60.3 267 13.1% 8.7% .285 4.48 4.45 117 116
Steve Geltz 56.0 250 20.7% 11.8% .285 4.66 4.76 121 124
C.J. Riefenhauser 65.7 293 17.3% 10.1% .287 4.66 4.85 121 126
Enny Romero 119.7 567 17.3% 15.9% .293 5.26 5.32 137 139
Adam Liberatore 67.3 310 13.8% 12.3% .291 4.81 4.82 125 126
Mike Montgomery 118.3 549 11.9% 11.6% .286 5.63 5.68 147 148
Victor Mateo 119.0 565 10.1% 12.5% .284 6.35 6.36 166 166

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
David Price 198.0 8.61 2.08 0.82 124 4.3 Denny Neagle
Matt Moore 171.3 9.44 3.92 0.86 112 3.0 Mark Langston
Alex Cobb 157.7 8.00 3.03 0.73 115 3.0 Jason Schmidt
Chris Archer 152.3 7.73 3.53 0.91 103 2.1 Ken Hill
Jeremy Hellickson 164.0 6.90 2.92 1.22 93 1.5 Al Nipper
Jake McGee 61.0 11.06 2.88 1.00 123 0.7 Mark Guthrie
Jeff Niemann 72.0 6.68 2.88 1.12 93 0.7 Chris Oxspring
Fernando Rodney 53.3 10.14 4.12 0.64 126 0.7 Jeff Nelson
Joel Peralta 59.3 10.37 3.56 1.00 120 0.6 Greg Harris
Jesse Crain 45.7 10.27 3.26 0.82 129 0.6 Jeff Nelson
Jake Odorizzi 136.0 6.63 4.09 1.14 84 0.5 Kirt Ojala
Jamey Wright 58.7 7.77 3.42 0.63 108 0.4 Jose Mesa
Alex Torres 65.0 9.49 6.02 0.67 102 0.3 Armando Almanza
Heath Bell 59.0 8.52 2.88 1.11 100 0.2 Rick White
Josh Lueke 72.0 7.64 3.64 0.81 96 0.1 Mike Bumstead
Merrill Kelly 117.0 6.12 4.47 0.94 79 0.0 Tim Byron
Brandon Gomes 52.3 9.16 3.37 1.19 93 0.0 Jeff Austin
Juan Oviedo 16.7 7.40 3.43 1.07 89 -0.1 Kirk Bullinger
Jeff Beliveau 57.7 9.04 4.93 1.07 91 -0.1 Greg McCarthy
Cesar Ramos 65.3 6.95 3.56 1.15 87 -0.1 Pat Clements
Kirby Yates 59.0 8.93 5.85 0.90 90 -0.2 Calvin Jones
Mark Lowe 45.7 8.15 4.11 1.17 88 -0.2 Mike Cook
Alex Colome 96.7 6.24 5.74 1.02 76 -0.2 Edwin Morel
Felipe Rivero 109.7 5.56 4.60 1.07 76 -0.2 Matt Coenen
J.D. Martin 122.3 4.49 2.06 1.44 76 -0.2 Dave Johnson
Sam Runion 60.3 5.22 3.46 0.90 85 -0.3 Andy Nezelek
Steve Geltz 56.0 8.33 4.74 1.29 82 -0.4 Craig Dingman
C.J. Riefenhauser 65.7 6.95 4.07 1.25 82 -0.5 Steve Stowell
Enny Romero 119.7 7.39 6.80 1.03 73 -0.6 Jordan Pals
Adam Liberatore 67.3 5.71 5.08 0.84 79 -0.6 Brian Adams
Mike Montgomery 118.3 4.96 4.83 1.36 68 -1.1 Mike Hinckley
Victor Mateo 119.0 4.33 5.33 1.67 60 -2.2 Brian Adams

***

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.


21 Responses to “2014 ZiPS Projections – Tampa Bay Rays”

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  1. _Adam says:

    Wil Myers’s number one comp is Danny Tartabull? Even ZIPS is trolling Royals fans now.

    +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Rays' 7th Infielder says:

    Luke Scott and Sam Fuld are gone…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. HawkeyeCub says:

    How did the Rays get Ben Zobrist forever for little money?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jtmorgan says:

      That is great. It was Zobrist’s contract keeping the Rays from re-signing Crawford all along.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bip says:

      It’s amazing the Zobrist is still so damn underrated. He’s like the perfect storm of underrated traits.

      -Plays in smallest market
      -Generates most offensive value through taking walks
      -Very valuable defender at less flashy positions
      -Well-rounded tools, good at everything without excelling at any one thing.
      -Doesn’t have one settled position, making him seem like some sort of super-utility player
      -Somewhat late bloomer, never made prospect lists

      The only things working in his favor is that the Rays have been very good while he has been good, but even then, maybe he would gain recognition as a possible trade target if he was on a bad team.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brandon says:

      The Joel Kennedy Ramos replies were pretty spot-on..

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Baltar says:

    Ignoring all the warnings (please forgive me, Mighty Zim), these projections add up to about 90 wins for the Rays, a very high number indeed.
    Nevertheless, this jibes with my completely subjective analysis. If Price is not traded (a very big “if”) and they add a decent middle-infield backup, the Rays should be very formidable indeed.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Hank says:

    Tampa Bay’s rotation would have a total projected zWAR of only about two fewer wins than the latter club’s rotation to begin the 2014 season (about 13 vs. 11, assuming Jake Odorizzi claimed the fifth-starter spot).

    With Price projected at 4.3zWAR and Odorizzi at 0.5, that’s nearly a 4 win difference. Even if you project for someone else picking up some innings, I’m not sure how you get just a 2 win difference out of this.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. newcomer says:

    Hi guys, I’m pretty new here :P
    Can anyone tell me what no.1 comp means?
    no.1 comparison? no.1 compensation? no.1 competition? no.1 computers?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nimzel says:

      Comparison. The player most statistically similar to the one listed. Surprised that DeJesus’ best comp is Andy Van Slyke. I remember AVS as a superstar.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. tomfromnorton says:

    HawkeyeCub I can tell you why Tampa gets away with paying Ben Zobrist such a low salary…because he’s not all that great! He is the perfect poster child for you WAR fanatics who talk like WAR is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Get over yourselves, though he has been a solid player for the last few years, he certainly doesn’t warrant being regarded as one of the best players in the league but if you look at his WAR numbers he appears to be an elite player. But in this day and age, his salary of $5.5M is that of average players or even backup one so maybe you WAR heads should revisit your numbers and admit the statistic is currently not a valid measure of a player’s ability.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • pft says:

      I think WAR is probably a better measure of a players ability than value. I suspect teams don’t attach the same value to the various components of WAR, offense and defense. Offense is more rare and harder to come by so it pays more than defense. There are a lot of good defensive who can not hit. Also, I don’t think teams pay more for offense just because it comes at a position where offense is relatively rare.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jtmorgan says:

      The only reason he is making a relatively little amount is because he’s never been a free agent and took a team-friendly deal early on during a breakout season that bought out his team control and a couple free agency years. It would have been interesting to see what kind of contract he could have gotten on the free market if he would be a free agent around 30 or so, but we’ll never know.

      His counting stats suffer offensively playing in a pitcher’s park, but park adjusted he’s a very good offensive player. He just doesn’t receive as much credit, because it’s a less flashy profile involving walks and contact hitting.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike says:

      He’s the best 2b on this side of the mississippi

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. tomfromnorton says:

    My point isn’t that Zobrist isn’t a good player or is vastly underpaid, it’s that the WAR stat is not a good measure of a player’s ability or value in it’s current state. It’s a somewhat useful tool in analyzing players but it needs to be tweaked, and tweaked a lot. Just looking at 2 player’s, 1 Zobrist, statistics / WAR score I came across what I feel is a great example of why it’s not an accurate measure;
    G PA AB Runs Hits Db Tr HR RBI
    150 652 548 104 157 25 8 48 121
    156 674 588 99 158 46 6 20 91

    SB CS BBs SO Ave OBP Slgng OPS TB
    12 5 89 119 0.286 0.38 0.624 1.004 342
    19 6 77 128 0.269 0.353 0.469 0.822 276

    The top statistics belong to Mike Schmidt and is from 1980, he won the MVP and gold glove that year plus lead the league in many offensive and defensive categories. 1980 was not an offensive year as only 2 other players hit 30+ HRs and 3 others had 100+ RBIs and Schmidt hit 13 more HRS than the next player. Amazingly, both players came up with the same WAR number of 8.8, which I find incredulous! This isn’t the only example I found when comparing player’s WAR numbers across decades, there are many that fit the same scenario.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike says:

      Defense and versatility also have to be taken into account. Also the fact that you had to compare him to arguably the greatest third baseman of all time kind of proves everybody’s point about how great Ben Zobrist really is.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

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