2016 ZiPS Projections – Chicago Cubs

After having typically appeared in the very hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have been released at FanGraphs the past couple years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Chicago Cubs. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Cincinnati / Kansas City / New York AL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / Seattle / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
About two weeks ago, Jeff Sullivan wrote a piece for this site examining the very real possibility that, as presently constituted, the Chicago Cubs are the best team in the majors. That claim was based, in no small part, on how the club possessed then — and still possesses today — the league’s best collective Steamer WAR projection. Given the numbers one finds below, it wouldn’t be surprising to find — when the present series of forecasts is complete — that the Cubs possess the top projected record by ZiPS, as well.

Among position players, the strengths are unsurprising. Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, and Anthony Rizzo amassed a total of 18 wins between them in 2015. Because negative regression is the rule, and not the exception, with regard to these sorts of star-level performances, ZiPS doesn’t call for an exact repeat of last year’s production. As a trio, however, that group is expected to log around 15 wins. That figure alone would represent a better mark than the overall totals posted by the position players of eight clubs in 2015.

Elsewhere, it isn’t entirely clear where Joe Maddon et al. will deploy Javier Baez. After recording starts at second, third, and short this past season both in Chicago and at Triple-A Iowa, Baez has recently made appearances in center field with Santurce, his Puerto Rican winter league club. He appears, within the depth chart below, as a platoon partner with Kyle Schwarber — although that’s a product more of “idle speculation” than “actual facts.” Whatever the particulars, ZiPS is optimistic regarding Baez’s 2016 campaign, calling for slightly more than two wins.

Pitchers
The current post represents the 12th out of 30 such team-specific projections scheduled to appear here this offseason. Among those 12, right-hander Jake Arrieta‘s marks (186.1 IP, 5.4 zWAR) represent the best thus far among all pitchers — ahead, for example, both of Felix Hernandez and David Price. Based solely on 2015’s numbers, that’s not surprising, of course. But consider the ZiPS forecasts from as recently as the 2013-14 offseason:

2014 ZiPS Projections: Arrieta, Hernandez, Price
Player Club IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA- FIP- zWAR
Jake Arrieta CHN 139.2 7.4 4.5 1.1 117 117 0.6
Felix Hernandez SEA 211.1 9.4 2.1 0.7 76 73 4.2
David Price TBA 198.0 8.6 2.1 0.8 81 78 4.3

At this same time two years ago, Hernandez and Price were still considered stars; Arrieta, on the other hand, more or less a replacement-level end-of-the-rotation starter. He’s accounted for more than 12 wins in the meantime.

The back end of the bullpen is composed of pitchers who, while lacking Arrieta’s upside, at least possess similar trajectories. Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, and Pedro Strop are all cast-offs of one sort or another and will make less than $10 million collectively — this, while handling the highest-leverage innings with (what is expected to be) aplomb.

Bench/Prospects
Given the uncertainties present on an otherwise strong Cubs roster — the question of Jason Heyward’s center-field defense, the relatively modest outlook for Jorge Soler, the depth of the rotation — it’s possible that the club will be compelled to exchange some extra pieces for another key player. Until then, however, there remains a collection of useful reserves and prospects. Infielder/outfielder Arismendy Alcantara (585 PA, 1.6 zWAR), outfielder Albert Almora (523 PA, 1.4 zWAR), and corner infielder Christian Villanueva (539 PA, 1.4 zWAR), among others, all profile as serviceable replacements for an injured or ineffective starter. Among pitchers, the recently acquired Adam Warren (101.2 IP, 1.9 zWAR) receives a markedly optimistic projection.

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

Cubs 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
Kris Bryant R 24 3B 658 94 148 28 5 29 106 14 4
Anthony Rizzo L 26 1B 674 94 156 33 2 32 99 10 5
Jason Heyward L 26 CF 613 85 149 29 3 17 66 18 4
Ben Zobrist B 35 2B 560 76 133 31 4 14 56 7 4
Addison Russell R 22 SS 500 61 116 26 3 14 59 7 3
Kyle Schwarber L 23 LF 586 98 128 22 4 32 100 4 2
Dexter Fowler B 30 CF 574 76 126 22 6 13 43 14 6
Javier Baez R 23 SS 526 66 120 22 3 22 71 18 6
Austin Jackson R 29 CF 611 72 146 29 7 10 52 14 8
Miguel Montero L 32 C 458 38 92 14 0 12 54 0 2
Arismendy Alcantara B 24 2B 585 69 124 26 9 16 63 19 6
Christian Villanueva R 25 3B 539 59 120 28 2 15 65 4 4
Albert Almora R 22 CF 523 60 127 25 4 8 52 6 5
Willson Contreras R 24 C 438 48 98 20 3 8 44 4 4
Chris Denorfia R 35 LF 325 39 77 14 2 6 29 5 2
Jeimer Candelario B 22 3B 546 60 124 31 4 12 63 0 3
Jorge Soler R 24 RF 385 47 90 21 2 14 55 3 1
Tommy La Stella L 27 2B 343 32 82 17 2 4 36 4 1
Chris Coghlan L 31 LF 435 49 94 20 4 10 37 8 3
Matt Szczur R 26 CF 482 52 110 18 3 6 40 20 7
John Andreoli R 26 CF 424 47 91 14 5 3 29 26 6
Chris Valaika R 30 SS 387 37 83 17 1 8 39 2 2
Billy McKinney L 21 RF 504 52 110 25 4 10 51 3 3
David Freitas R 27 C 298 31 65 14 0 8 29 1 0
David Ross R 39 C 160 9 25 7 0 4 12 1 0
Taylor Davis R 26 C 251 28 56 14 1 5 28 0 1
Luke Carlin B 35 C 207 20 37 10 1 2 16 1 1
Dan Vogelbach L 23 1B 445 54 95 19 1 12 50 2 3
Taylor Teagarden R 32 C 188 18 35 6 0 5 20 0 0
Jonathan Mota R 29 SS 311 29 69 11 2 4 27 2 1
Kelly Dugan L 25 RF 397 43 85 16 2 8 38 1 1
Mike O’Neill L 28 LF 428 45 101 12 2 1 27 7 5
Brendan Ryan R 34 SS 213 19 41 9 1 1 17 2 1
Juan Perez R 29 LF 410 44 94 24 3 8 38 12 4
Adron Chambers L 29 LF 308 30 65 12 2 4 24 6 4
Jonathan Herrera B 31 2B 170 20 37 5 1 1 14 2 2
Gleyber Torres R 19 SS 550 49 111 18 4 5 45 14 15
Jacob Hannemann L 25 CF 555 53 105 20 5 7 44 18 4

***

Batters, Rates and Averages
Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Kris Bryant 658 12.2% 30.2% .222 .350 .263 .362 .485 .370
Anthony Rizzo 674 11.0% 17.8% .231 .289 .271 .369 .502 .375
Jason Heyward 613 10.1% 17.0% .159 .311 .274 .352 .433 .349
Ben Zobrist 560 11.4% 12.5% .166 .291 .273 .356 .439 .346
Addison Russell 500 6.8% 25.2% .161 .317 .252 .307 .413 .316
Kyle Schwarber 586 11.1% 26.8% .246 .294 .250 .337 .496 .358
Dexter Fowler 574 12.4% 22.1% .148 .317 .255 .352 .403 .340
Javier Baez 526 5.9% 28.9% .195 .313 .248 .301 .443 .330
Austin Jackson 611 7.0% 22.6% .131 .328 .261 .315 .392 .317
Miguel Montero 458 11.1% 23.4% .126 .284 .232 .325 .358 .298
Arismendy Alcantara 585 6.3% 28.4% .171 .301 .231 .280 .402 .302
Christian Villanueva 539 5.4% 23.0% .155 .289 .242 .289 .397 .299
Albert Almora 523 3.6% 15.3% .115 .290 .257 .286 .372 .289
Willson Contreras 438 7.1% 21.7% .125 .302 .246 .307 .371 .303
Chris Denorfia 325 7.1% 19.4% .121 .307 .258 .312 .379 .305
Jeimer Candelario 546 5.9% 21.4% .147 .292 .243 .289 .390 .296
Jorge Soler 385 8.8% 27.3% .194 .330 .261 .327 .455 .335
Tommy La Stella 343 8.5% 10.5% .108 .289 .267 .333 .375 .313
Chris Coghlan 435 9.9% 19.3% .151 .287 .244 .323 .395 .316
Matt Szczur 482 6.0% 18.9% .096 .300 .249 .300 .345 .296
John Andreoli 424 9.2% 25.5% .088 .330 .242 .317 .330 .303
Chris Valaika 387 4.9% 22.2% .121 .282 .233 .279 .354 .276
Billy McKinney 504 7.5% 22.0% .138 .294 .242 .302 .380 .300
David Freitas 298 6.0% 19.1% .139 .271 .238 .293 .377 .293
David Ross 160 10.0% 36.3% .135 .263 .177 .259 .312 .232
Taylor Davis 251 5.6% 16.3% .132 .268 .238 .280 .370 .284
Luke Carlin 207 10.1% 20.8% .100 .255 .204 .293 .304 .270
Dan Vogelbach 445 10.6% 23.1% .145 .295 .242 .324 .387 .315
Taylor Teagarden 188 7.4% 35.6% .123 .297 .203 .266 .326 .259
Jonathan Mota 311 4.2% 22.5% .093 .294 .235 .269 .328 .260
Kelly Dugan 397 5.3% 29.7% .121 .322 .234 .293 .355 .285
Mike O’Neill 428 10.0% 9.3% .050 .296 .268 .343 .318 .301
Brendan Ryan 213 6.1% 22.5% .072 .272 .210 .265 .282 .247
Juan Perez 410 3.7% 20.2% .139 .289 .243 .275 .382 .291
Adron Chambers 308 7.5% 21.8% .101 .293 .236 .298 .337 .283
Jonathan Herrera 170 4.7% 17.1% .064 .283 .237 .277 .301 .253
Gleyber Torres 550 6.4% 30.0% .080 .309 .218 .268 .298 .266
Jacob Hannemann 555 5.0% 30.6% .100 .290 .205 .250 .305 .251

***

Batters, Assorted Other
Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Kris Bryant 658 6.5 130 2 5.7 Harlond Clift
Anthony Rizzo 674 6.9 137 5 4.8 Boog Powell
Jason Heyward 613 5.9 115 6 4.7 Von Hayes
Ben Zobrist 560 5.8 117 -3 3.2 Tony Phillips
Addison Russell 500 4.6 96 4 2.8 Jeff Blauser
Kyle Schwarber 586 6.0 126 -9 2.4 Greg Vaughn
Dexter Fowler 574 5.2 107 -8 2.4 Jim Russell
Javier Baez 526 4.9 101 -6 2.3 Tony Batista
Austin Jackson 611 4.5 93 0 2.1 Cesar Geronimo
Miguel Montero 458 4.0 88 1 2.0 Ed Bailey
Arismendy Alcantara 585 4.1 85 1 1.6 Jose Uribe
Christian Villanueva 539 4.0 86 2 1.4 Lou Lucca
Albert Almora 523 3.8 80 7 1.4 Glenn Wilson
Willson Contreras 438 4.0 85 -5 1.3 Dave Sax
Chris Denorfia 325 4.3 89 7 1.1 Milt Thompson
Jeimer Candelario 546 3.9 85 0 1.1 Dale Sveum
Jorge Soler 385 5.5 113 -4 1.1 Ron Swoboda
Tommy La Stella 343 4.7 95 -3 1.0 Ken Boswell
Chris Coghlan 435 4.6 97 0 0.9 Ryan Spilborghs
Matt Szczur 482 3.9 77 1 0.8 Lemmie Miller
John Andreoli 424 4.1 78 -2 0.8 Kevin Rhomberg
Chris Valaika 387 3.4 73 0 0.5 Jason Wood
Billy McKinney 504 4.0 86 2 0.5 Nick Markakis
David Freitas 298 4.0 83 -7 0.4 Dave Van Gorder
David Ross 160 2.7 57 3 0.3 Raul Chavez
Taylor Davis 251 3.6 77 -4 0.3 Mark Parent
Luke Carlin 207 3.0 65 -2 0.1 Chad Kreuter
Dan Vogelbach 445 4.4 95 -3 0.1 Don Barbara
Taylor Teagarden 188 2.9 62 -1 0.1 George Mitterwald
Jonathan Mota 311 3.1 63 0 0.1 Johnnie LeMaster
Kelly Dugan 397 3.6 77 2 0.0 Rick Sofield
Mike O’Neill 428 3.9 84 -2 0.0 Jim Eppard
Brendan Ryan 213 2.6 51 2 0.0 Chris Petersen
Juan Perez 410 3.9 79 -2 -0.3 Kyle Logan
Adron Chambers 308 3.5 75 -2 -0.5 Jeff Wetherby
Jonathan Herrera 170 2.8 59 -3 -0.6 Edgar Caceres
Gleyber Torres 550 2.4 56 -2 -0.9 Felipe Lopez
Jacob Hannemann 555 2.8 52 -3 -1.2 Norm Hutchins

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats
Player T Age G GS IP K BB HR H R ER
Jake Arrieta R 30 30 30 186.3 194 50 13 145 57 53
Jon Lester L 32 30 30 199.0 194 46 17 174 71 66
John Lackey R 37 28 28 183.0 156 42 20 170 73 68
Kyle Hendricks R 26 28 28 159.7 125 40 14 154 68 64
Adam Warren R 28 47 8 101.7 92 31 7 87 36 34
Jason Hammel R 33 26 25 144.3 125 39 19 138 67 63
Dan Haren R 35 27 27 152.7 123 32 23 149 73 68
Travis Wood L 29 40 19 135.7 127 52 14 125 62 58
Ryan Williams R 24 27 25 134.3 89 30 13 136 64 60
Dallas Beeler R 27 22 22 120.3 82 39 10 122 58 54
Pedro Strop R 31 67 0 59.0 71 24 5 43 19 18
Hector Rondon R 28 64 0 64.0 62 18 5 55 22 21
Justin Grimm R 27 69 0 59.0 71 25 5 46 20 19
Tsuyoshi Wada L 35 22 22 115.3 89 37 15 117 59 55
Tommy Hunter R 29 60 0 65.3 57 14 6 59 25 23
Trevor Cahill R 28 36 18 115.0 99 53 12 112 60 56
Eric Jokisch L 26 22 21 117.3 82 38 14 123 62 58
Neil Ramirez R 27 40 0 33.7 39 14 3 27 12 11
Pierce Johnson R 25 19 19 97.3 83 47 11 94 51 48
Rex Brothers L 28 68 0 58.3 70 42 5 45 25 23
Carl Edwards R 24 39 0 47.0 59 31 3 36 19 18
Zac Rosscup L 28 51 0 46.7 59 24 5 37 19 18
Jean Machi R 34 61 0 58.7 49 18 6 54 26 24
Brandon Gomes R 31 56 0 57.7 53 16 7 53 26 24
Clayton Richard L 32 20 10 67.0 37 17 8 73 36 34
Rafael Soriano R 36 25 0 24.0 21 7 3 23 11 10
Blake Cooper R 28 51 0 64.3 55 30 5 60 30 28
Spencer Patton R 28 52 0 64.3 73 26 9 55 30 28
Drew Rucinski R 27 21 19 105.0 81 41 15 110 60 56
Armando Rivero R 28 43 0 53.3 58 26 6 47 26 24
Fernando Rodney R 39 58 0 55.3 54 25 6 49 27 25
Daniel Schlereth L 30 15 0 16.0 13 11 2 15 9 8
Edgar Olmos L 26 39 2 58.7 44 29 6 58 31 29
Frank Batista R 27 39 9 83.3 55 33 10 89 47 44
Scott Barnes L 28 30 3 48.0 42 20 8 48 28 26
Andury Acevedo R 25 35 0 45.0 38 30 6 43 26 24
Corey Black R 24 32 15 94.3 97 56 15 90 57 53
P.J. Francescon R 27 41 4 68.7 53 32 10 71 41 38
Rob Zastryzny L 24 19 19 86.3 67 36 17 96 59 55

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages
Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Jake Arrieta 186.3 754 25.7% 6.6% .269 2.56 2.87 65 73
Jon Lester 199.0 817 23.7% 5.6% .283 2.98 3.11 76 79
John Lackey 183.0 761 20.5% 5.5% .278 3.34 3.58 85 91
Kyle Hendricks 159.7 673 18.6% 5.9% .289 3.61 3.66 92 93
Adam Warren 101.7 423 21.7% 7.3% .278 3.01 3.28 77 83
Jason Hammel 144.3 610 20.5% 6.4% .283 3.93 4.06 100 103
Dan Haren 152.7 639 19.2% 5.0% .276 4.01 4.18 103 106
Travis Wood 135.7 584 21.7% 8.9% .287 3.85 3.80 98 96
Ryan Williams 134.3 569 15.6% 5.3% .286 4.02 3.92 103 99
Dallas Beeler 120.3 522 15.7% 7.5% .291 4.04 3.93 103 99
Pedro Strop 59.0 244 29.1% 9.8% .273 2.75 3.13 70 79
Hector Rondon 64.0 265 23.4% 6.8% .281 2.95 3.08 75 78
Justin Grimm 59.0 248 28.6% 10.1% .283 2.90 3.18 74 80
Tsuyoshi Wada 115.3 500 17.8% 7.4% .288 4.29 4.35 110 110
Tommy Hunter 65.3 269 21.2% 5.2% .278 3.17 3.21 81 81
Trevor Cahill 115.0 510 19.4% 10.4% .292 4.38 4.26 112 108
Eric Jokisch 117.3 513 16.0% 7.4% .292 4.45 4.42 114 112
Neil Ramirez 33.7 142 27.4% 9.9% .282 2.94 3.34 75 85
Pierce Johnson 97.3 433 19.2% 10.9% .290 4.44 4.56 114 115
Rex Brothers 58.3 262 26.7% 16.0% .280 3.55 4.14 91 105
Carl Edwards 47.0 208 28.4% 14.9% .292 3.45 3.52 88 89
Zac Rosscup 46.7 201 29.3% 11.9% .288 3.47 3.63 89 92
Jean Machi 58.7 248 19.8% 7.3% .276 3.68 3.74 94 95
Brandon Gomes 57.7 242 21.9% 6.6% .280 3.75 3.73 96 95
Clayton Richard 67.0 291 12.7% 5.8% .286 4.57 4.42 117 112
Rafael Soriano 24.0 102 20.6% 6.9% .282 3.75 3.91 96 99
Blake Cooper 64.3 283 19.4% 10.6% .290 3.92 3.86 100 98
Spencer Patton 64.3 274 26.7% 9.5% .284 3.92 4.06 100 103
Drew Rucinski 105.0 466 17.4% 8.8% .294 4.80 4.82 123 122
Armando Rivero 53.3 233 24.9% 11.2% .293 4.05 4.03 104 102
Fernando Rodney 55.3 240 22.5% 10.4% .291 4.07 4.19 104 106
Daniel Schlereth 16.0 74 17.6% 14.9% .277 4.50 5.23 115 132
Edgar Olmos 58.7 263 16.7% 11.0% .287 4.45 4.53 114 115
Frank Batista 83.3 372 14.8% 8.9% .294 4.75 4.74 121 120
Scott Barnes 48.0 212 19.8% 9.4% .288 4.87 5.02 125 127
Andury Acevedo 45.0 208 18.3% 14.4% .282 4.80 5.34 123 135
Corey Black 94.3 429 22.6% 13.1% .294 5.06 5.15 129 130
P.J. Francescon 68.7 309 17.1% 10.4% .290 4.98 5.00 127 126
Rob Zastryzny 86.3 391 17.1% 9.2% .297 5.73 5.60 147 142

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other
Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Jake Arrieta 186.3 9.37 2.42 0.63 148 5.4 Orel Hershiser
Jon Lester 199.0 8.77 2.08 0.77 127 4.6 Jimmy Key
John Lackey 183.0 7.67 2.07 0.98 114 3.4 Tim Belcher
Kyle Hendricks 159.7 7.04 2.25 0.79 105 2.5 Mike Scott
Adam Warren 101.7 8.14 2.74 0.62 126 1.9 Julian Tavarez
Jason Hammel 144.3 7.80 2.43 1.19 97 1.6 Mike Smithson
Dan Haren 152.7 7.25 1.89 1.36 95 1.5 Bill Gullickson
Travis Wood 135.7 8.42 3.45 0.93 99 1.4 Rafael Roque
Ryan Williams 134.3 5.96 2.01 0.87 95 1.3 Tim Kester
Dallas Beeler 120.3 6.13 2.92 0.75 94 1.2 Chris Beasley
Pedro Strop 59.0 10.83 3.66 0.76 138 0.9 Dwayne Henry
Hector Rondon 64.0 8.72 2.53 0.70 129 0.9 Danys Baez
Justin Grimm 59.0 10.83 3.81 0.76 131 0.8 Hipolito Pichardo
Tsuyoshi Wada 115.3 6.95 2.89 1.17 89 0.8 Jim Deshaies
Tommy Hunter 65.3 7.86 1.93 0.83 120 0.7 Julio Mateo
Trevor Cahill 115.0 7.75 4.15 0.94 87 0.5 Steve Green
Eric Jokisch 117.3 6.29 2.92 1.07 85 0.5 Travis Baptist
Neil Ramirez 33.7 10.42 3.74 0.80 129 0.5 Derrick Turnbow
Pierce Johnson 97.3 7.68 4.35 1.02 86 0.4 Jose Oyervidez
Rex Brothers 58.3 10.81 6.48 0.77 107 0.3 Armando Almanza
Carl Edwards 47.0 11.30 5.94 0.57 110 0.3 Santiago Casilla
Zac Rosscup 46.7 11.37 4.63 0.96 109 0.3 Greg McCarthy
Jean Machi 58.7 7.51 2.76 0.92 103 0.3 Dave Wainhouse
Brandon Gomes 57.7 8.27 2.50 1.09 101 0.2 Greg Jones
Clayton Richard 67.0 4.97 2.28 1.07 83 0.1 Tony Fossas
Rafael Soriano 24.0 7.88 2.63 1.13 101 0.1 Matt Whiteside
Blake Cooper 64.3 7.70 4.20 0.70 97 0.0 Jake Robbins
Spencer Patton 64.3 10.22 3.64 1.26 97 0.0 Jonah Bayliss
Drew Rucinski 105.0 6.94 3.51 1.29 79 0.0 Joe Law
Armando Rivero 53.3 9.79 4.39 1.01 94 0.0 Calvin Jones
Fernando Rodney 55.3 8.79 4.07 0.98 93 0.0 Don McMahon
Daniel Schlereth 16.0 7.31 6.19 1.13 84 -0.1 Mike Barlow
Edgar Olmos 58.7 6.75 4.45 0.92 85 -0.2 Dean Brueggemann
Frank Batista 83.3 5.94 3.57 1.08 80 -0.2 Kevin Vent
Scott Barnes 48.0 7.88 3.75 1.50 78 -0.3 Scott Watkins
Andury Acevedo 45.0 7.60 6.00 1.20 79 -0.4 Agustin Montero
Corey Black 94.3 9.26 5.34 1.43 75 -0.4 Jeremy Guthrie
P.J. Francescon 68.7 6.94 4.19 1.31 76 -0.6 Mumba Rivera
Rob Zastryzny 86.3 6.99 3.75 1.77 66 -1.0 Mike Raczka

***

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 2016. 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 3.93 ERA and the NL having a 3.75 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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Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ruben Amaro Jr.
Member
Ruben Amaro Jr.
5 months 48 minutes ago

All that tanking, just to use a prime draft pick on the next Harland Clift lol.

campbrice
Member
campbrice
4 months 29 days ago

Harland Clift was a pretty solid player until he fell off a cliff at age 28. I think Cubs fans would be ok with his age 24-25 seasons

wily mo
Member
4 months 29 days ago

ron karkovice was also a fine hitter until he fell off a precipice

Senor_Met
Member
Senor_Met
4 months 29 days ago

Hell, he was more than pretty solid. He had 18 WAR from ages 23-25

MonkeyMan
Member
Member
MonkeyMan
4 months 29 days ago

RAJ: I think we all secretly hope you’ll get another opportunity to be a GM.

apbadogs
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apbadogs
5 months 47 minutes ago

If the Cubs get 32 HRs and 100 RBI from Schwarber, wow.

Jason B
Member
Jason B
5 months 2 minutes ago

I’ll take the under! But you’re right, it does seem quite the ambitious projection.

Curious Gorge
Member
Curious Gorge
4 months 29 days ago

I mean he hit 16hr & 43rbi in 69 games, and then a handful more in the playoffs, so there’s that… but you guys are right, he couldn’t possibly hit 32… that’s just fucking crazy.

Richie
Member
Richie
4 months 29 days ago

Also shows him getting (OK, barely) more runs and rbis than Rizzo in 88 fewer plate appearances. Sorry. Bimbo-ski, but something smells re this Schwarber projection.

jgiegel01
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jgiegel01
5 months 19 minutes ago

How the heck is Arrieta getting a Hershiser comparable? They seem to share zero similarities other then maybe an age comp?

maguro
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Member
maguro
4 months 29 days ago

Well, they’re both really good.

MonkeyMan
Member
Member
MonkeyMan
4 months 29 days ago

I believe comps are based solely on stats/projections. A flamethrower and knuckle-baller with the same stats would be comps.

jgiegel01
Member
jgiegel01
4 months 29 days ago

Well, not sure if you looked at Hershiser’s numbers at a similar age, but other than ERA, there is likely no discernible similarity in any of their numbers.

shoewizard
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Member
shoewizard
4 months 29 days ago

Arrietta projected for 148 ERA+, Heshiser age 30 put up a 149 ErA+

Huron
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Huron
5 months 10 minutes ago

I don’t understand the order these are being released in.

Jason B
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Jason B
5 months 2 minutes ago

Does it matter? All 30 teams will be done eventually, and well before the season starts.

Otter
Member
Member
Otter
4 months 29 days ago

Bryant .350 BABIP. Wow.

Also not sure about the Tony Batista comp for Baez, Batista only strike out 15% of the time!

Anyway, the Cubs are good.

UncrunchyTaco
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Member
UncrunchyTaco
4 months 29 days ago

Fowler might set a record for plate appearances on a team he isn’t signed to.

UncrunchyTaco
Member
Member
UncrunchyTaco
4 months 29 days ago

Also, Dan Haren has retired.

Dan Szymborski
Member
Dan Szymborski
4 months 29 days ago

Neither of these things are news to me, nor are Fowler or Haren in the projections accidentally.

UncrunchyTaco
Member
Member
UncrunchyTaco
4 months 29 days ago

Yes, I saw read the disclaimer after posting these. I am sorry for being an insufferable malcontent.

BlueBlooded
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BlueBlooded
4 months 29 days ago

Any indication from Szymborski why certain former players are included?

phillipmike02
Member
phillipmike02
4 months 29 days ago

Free agents who have yet to sign with another team…

Jeffrey Gross
Member
4 months 29 days ago

FYI – Dexter Fowler is included in your charts

wily mo
Member
4 months 29 days ago

everybody chill out

Brent Henry
Member
Brent Henry
4 months 29 days ago

I wish Chris Coghlan circa 2010-2013 didn’t exist because the Chris Coghlan I’ve watched over the past two years is the best 4th outfielder in baseball. I could smash my coffee cup into pieces.

maxwell537
Member
maxwell537
4 months 29 days ago

Do the full ZiPS projections for each player get posted in the “Projections” section of this site in the same form as the Steamer projections where they can be exported to excel?

Richie
Member
Richie
4 months 29 days ago

Yup, when all done. And Fangraphs then gets around to it.

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
4 months 29 days ago

I think Bryant is going to have a major sophomore slump next year. People don’t seem to realize that not only is his .378 BABIP completely unsustainable, he’s not even a high BABIP player. He’s an extreme fly ball hitter, which counteracts the fact that he hits the ball hard.

Given how much he strikes out, I’m not sure he can survive as a .300 BABIP guy. He definitely can’t have a 5 or 6 WAR season.

Jorge Fabregas
Member
Member
Jorge Fabregas
4 months 29 days ago

1. He could survive just fine with a .300 BABIP. He wouldn’t be a superstar, but with his power and glove (surprise) he’d be a solid player.

2. He may not be a high BABIP guy (minor league BABIPs don’t always translate even after adjusting for level), but he has a .399 BABIP in the minors and .378 BABIP in the majors, so I don’t think fly ball rate is enough to definitively conclude that he is not.

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
4 months 27 days ago

Sure. It’s just my personal opinion that he’s a .300 BABIP guy, based on his xBABIP (and in general understanding where high BABIPs comes from).

If you keep his HR rate constant and use his 2015 line with a .300 BABIP, it comes out to around a .330 wOBA. A nice young third basemen, no doubt, but not a 5-6 WAR player. More like a 3 WAR player.

alexohconnor
Member
alexohconnor
4 months 29 days ago

You’re absolutely right, he’s not capable of having a 5 or 6 WAR season. As proof, just look at his sub-par 6.5 WAR season from last year

inTIMidation
Member
inTIMidation
4 months 29 days ago

Read the sentence right before that. He meant if Bryant has a .300 BABIP, there is no way he is reaching 5 or 6 WAR, like he did when his BABIP was .370+. I’m a Cubs fan and I love Bryant but he has a point-Bryant has to maintain his high BABIP to continue being a superstar-tier player. I am more bullish on the prospect of Bryant being a high BABIP player however, and I expect his dominance to continue.

pitnick
Member
pitnick
4 months 29 days ago

If he meant that, he should have said that. This is why dependent clauses were invented.

wily mo
Member
4 months 29 days ago

he did say that. it’s clear enough, if you don’t read each sentence in a total and complete contextual vacuum. which you shouldn’t

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
4 months 27 days ago

Wow, some of you FanGraphs commenters are ridiculously condescending. Why don’t you go and read the comment again.

Notice how I said “AS A .300 BABIP GUY”. That’s the operative phrase here. He’d still be a solid player with the power and defense at 3rd base, but I have a hard time seeing him hit above .250 next year.

MonkeyMan
Member
Member
MonkeyMan
4 months 29 days ago

“He definitely can’t have a 5 or 6 WAR season.” Uh, he already did.

Moar Baesball
Member
Moar Baesball
4 months 29 days ago

He is an excellent base runner that hits the ball hard. This gets him extra hits on balls in play as fielders have to play him deep. This helped him lead the league in infield hit % http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=2&season=2015&month=0&season1=2015&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=11,d

More importantly, babip doesn’t matter on balls that are not in play. While the k% isn’t great, the bb% is elite, as is the power. Bryant will do fine in the TTO. Add in his value on the bases and in the field and it is little surprise that he racked up 6+ wins this year.

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
4 months 27 days ago

I still think he’ll be a good player, but it’s pretty hard to find 130 wRC+ players who strike out more than 30% of the time.

Of course, he could cut down on his strikeouts and make all of this moot. I just don’t see him having a high BABIP next year.

allangustafson
Member
allangustafson
4 months 29 days ago

Ha! Tony Phillips. I was young Angel fan rooting for my boys to make the playoffs in 95. Then bam …. Tony Phillips nailed or crack.

s_zissou
Member
s_zissou
4 months 29 days ago

As Carson mentioned, Adam Warren with a nice optimistic projection. Looking at his numbers he has a FIP weighted over his 286 innings with the Yankees of 3.59. Quite a nice under the radar get for Castro and opening up room in the infield.

TPC
Member
TPC
4 months 28 days ago

Not to mention getting rid of Castro is addition by subtraction. Anything they get out of Warren is gravy.

Richie
Member
Richie
4 months 28 days ago

Yeah, which they then spent $56 mill to fill. Rather than give Baez a shot and have a whole lotta money to spend elsewhere as needs (undoubtedly will) arise.

Radermecher
Member
Radermecher
4 months 28 days ago

I have Bryce Harpers world series rings ready,the ones he ordered after the Matt Scherzer trade.
Should we begin work on Joe Maddens next?

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