2016 ZiPS Projections – Pittsburgh Pirates

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 Pittsburgh Pirates. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta / Cincinnati / Kansas City / Philadelphia / Toronto.

Batters
Andrew McCutchen has produced between -15 and -20 fielding runs in center field over the past two seasons, according both to Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). It’s not ideal, that, but it also represents basically all the flaws in McCutchen’s current profile. Indeed, ZiPS projects the Pirates’ center fielder to improve slightly on his WAR total this coming year in slightly fewer plate appearances.

Because his role was unclear entering 2015, Jung-ho Kang was omitted from the infield portion of last year’s Pittsburgh depth chart; this year, he’s the centerpiece of it. The algorithm in Dan Szymborski’s computer doesn’t account specifically for how Kang’s season ended with a torn meniscus and fractured tibia. What it does account for is how Kang recorded something less than a full complement of plate appearances. Projected to miss all or some of April, Kang’s projected plate-appearance total (494) seems reasonable.

The most notable weakness among the club’s positional projections appears to be first base, currently occupied by Michael Morse. It would be a surprise to find that position occupied by Morse on opening day.

Pitchers
Pittsburgh pitchers recorded the third-highest WAR figure among all 30 staffs in the league last year. A.J. Burnett and J.A. Happ, whose first names are palindromes of each other, were responsible for roughly five of those approximately 22 wins. They’ve departed this offseason, however, replaced (for the moment) by Jon Niese and maybe Allen Webster. Niese and Webster are projected for only about two wins. Which is to say, three fewer. That seems dire. On the positive side, Burnett and Happ themselves were also projected for only two wins before the 2015 season — which is to say, before profiting from the tender ministrations of pitching coach Ray Searage.

The gold standard for bullpen construction over the last two seasons has been supplied by the Kansas City Royals. It’s notable, then, that Pittsburgh’s top-five relievers receive a better collective wins projection for 2016 than Kansas City’s. Mark Melancon and Tony Watson are responsible for much of that. Not inessential, however, is the newly acquired Juan Nicasio (101.2 IP, 0.7 zWAR), who signed for merely $3 million after being non-tendered by the Dodgers.

Bench/Prospects
Pittsburgh’s greatest holes currently reside in the infield and at the end of the starting rotation. Serendipitously, these are also the positions at which their two top prospects (by the projections) are most qualified. Alen Hanson didn’t receive a major-league call-up last year but did record 529 plate appearances at Triple-A Indianapolis in just his age-22 season. He’s forecast to provide roughly average major-league production this next season. Among the pitchers, right-hander Tyler Glasnow also ascended to Triple-A this past year — in this case, as just a 21-year-old. His plus raw stuff is complemented by an encouraging statistical projection (116.0 IP, 1.5 zWAR), as well.

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

Pirates 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
Andrew McCutchen R 29 CF 651 89 161 33 4 23 89 14 6
Starling Marte R 27 LF 620 85 157 29 7 17 69 33 12
Jung-ho Kang R 29 SS 494 60 112 25 2 16 61 5 3
Francisco Cervelli R 30 C 326 35 79 12 3 4 28 1 0
Josh Harrison R 28 3B 480 63 126 29 4 8 42 14 7
Gregory Polanco L 24 RF 627 82 144 31 5 12 63 25 10
Alen Hanson B 23 2B 547 58 124 20 13 11 59 23 10
Austin Meadows L 21 CF 478 53 118 19 4 8 47 11 6
Jordy Mercer R 29 SS 472 43 110 23 2 7 43 3 2
Keon Broxton R 26 CF 495 53 95 18 7 11 48 18 7
Jake Goebbert L 28 LF 444 54 92 17 4 11 51 3 2
Danny Ortiz L 26 RF 510 54 115 26 3 14 58 3 3
Cole Figueroa L 29 3B 473 46 113 18 3 4 39 4 2
Aramis Ramirez R 38 3B 470 38 109 23 1 11 62 2 0
Deibinson Romero R 29 3B 456 47 97 23 1 11 47 1 1
Willy Garcia R 23 RF 518 57 116 21 5 18 62 4 6
Josh Bell B 23 1B 582 65 137 22 8 10 64 6 3
Harold Ramirez R 21 RF 377 41 92 14 4 5 36 16 14
Elias Diaz R 25 C 358 35 78 16 3 4 34 2 4
Gorkys Hernandez R 28 CF 395 41 83 15 3 5 33 14 5
Travis Snider L 28 LF 334 34 74 14 2 9 36 2 1
Chris Stewart R 34 C 201 14 45 7 0 1 15 1 1
Max Moroff B 23 2B 584 57 119 23 5 6 47 12 12
Adam Frazier L 24 SS 456 46 108 17 3 2 33 8 8
Pedro Florimon B 29 SS 355 35 68 14 3 5 30 12 3
Jaff Decker L 26 LF 349 40 69 15 2 6 30 8 4
Barrett Barnes R 24 LF 291 34 62 13 1 6 28 10 6
Tony Sanchez R 28 C 377 39 76 20 1 8 41 1 2
Reese McGuire L 21 C 445 39 102 15 2 2 33 9 7
Sebastian Valle R 25 C 314 29 66 14 1 6 31 1 2
Michael Morse R 34 1B 355 33 79 15 1 12 37 0 0
Sean Rodriguez R 31 2B 250 28 54 13 2 5 28 2 2
Wilkin Castillo B 32 C 123 11 26 5 1 1 10 1 0
Gift Ngoepe R 26 SS 412 36 69 13 4 5 30 7 6
Daniel Gamache L 25 3B 397 38 87 18 2 5 34 3 5
Corey Hart R 34 1B 254 28 57 11 1 9 34 2 0
Travis Ishikawa L 32 1B 289 27 58 12 1 6 31 0 0
Gustavo Nunez B 28 SS 297 28 64 8 1 2 19 9 6
Mel Rojas Jr. B 26 CF 469 43 95 17 5 5 37 8 5
Hunter Morris L 27 1B 349 33 73 16 2 8 35 1 0
John Bowker L 32 1B 329 31 73 17 1 8 35 1 1

***

Batters, Rates and Averages
Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Andrew McCutchen 651 12.9% 18.1% .200 .332 .293 .392 .493 .379
Starling Marte 620 4.8% 21.9% .166 .337 .278 .334 .444 .352
Jung-ho Kang 494 6.9% 27.3% .173 .324 .252 .322 .425 .329
Francisco Cervelli 326 8.6% 18.4% .104 .333 .274 .352 .378 .321
Josh Harrison 480 4.2% 15.0% .136 .320 .282 .321 .418 .329
Gregory Polanco 627 8.3% 18.5% .135 .298 .254 .317 .389 .319
Alen Hanson 547 5.1% 19.6% .156 .289 .245 .284 .401 .305
Austin Meadows 478 5.9% 20.1% .115 .322 .266 .311 .381 .310
Jordy Mercer 472 6.1% 16.9% .111 .295 .254 .303 .365 .282
Keon Broxton 495 8.1% 34.3% .145 .311 .213 .279 .358 .290
Jake Goebbert 444 9.9% 21.2% .148 .278 .235 .315 .383 .307
Danny Ortiz 510 3.9% 22.0% .153 .280 .238 .269 .391 .286
Cole Figueroa 473 6.8% 7.0% .084 .274 .263 .313 .347 .291
Aramis Ramirez 470 4.9% 13.4% .133 .268 .250 .296 .383 .294
Deibinson Romero 456 7.9% 20.4% .142 .277 .237 .303 .379 .298
Willy Garcia 518 3.7% 30.1% .173 .307 .236 .269 .409 .296
Josh Bell 582 8.9% 14.6% .131 .295 .266 .331 .397 .315
Harold Ramirez 377 5.0% 20.2% .107 .325 .265 .316 .372 .325
Elias Diaz 358 6.4% 17.3% .104 .279 .239 .289 .343 .282
Gorkys Hernandez 395 6.8% 24.6% .100 .301 .231 .289 .331 .284
Travis Snider 334 9.3% 23.1% .149 .301 .246 .317 .395 .311
Chris Stewart 201 5.5% 15.4% .055 .289 .247 .298 .302 .267
Max Moroff 584 8.0% 26.2% .097 .306 .227 .290 .324 .280
Adam Frazier 456 5.5% 14.5% .069 .299 .256 .302 .325 .285
Pedro Florimon 355 7.0% 27.6% .108 .284 .211 .268 .319 .265
Jaff Decker 349 10.9% 21.8% .122 .281 .228 .315 .350 .301
Barrett Barnes 291 7.6% 23.0% .127 .298 .238 .311 .365 .311
Tony Sanchez 377 8.2% 24.7% .136 .285 .226 .300 .362 .293
Reese McGuire 445 4.5% 13.7% .060 .281 .246 .281 .306 .266
Sebastian Valle 314 4.1% 26.8% .115 .288 .223 .256 .338 .258
Michael Morse 355 6.5% 26.2% .163 .302 .243 .301 .406 .309
Sean Rodriguez 250 4.0% 24.4% .140 .297 .236 .280 .376 .286
Wilkin Castillo 123 5.7% 16.3% .089 .269 .230 .279 .319 .258
Gift Ngoepe 412 7.8% 34.7% .098 .288 .187 .257 .285 .247
Daniel Gamache 397 5.5% 25.7% .101 .313 .238 .284 .339 .279
Corey Hart 254 5.5% 24.0% .170 .289 .243 .295 .413 .304
Travis Ishikawa 289 7.6% 27.3% .123 .294 .223 .292 .346 .279
Gustavo Nunez 297 4.4% 18.9% .058 .284 .233 .269 .291 .257
Mel Rojas Jr. 469 6.4% 25.4% .098 .291 .220 .275 .318 .267
Hunter Morris 349 4.9% 26.9% .134 .284 .222 .261 .356 .267
John Bowker 329 3.6% 24.6% .138 .288 .233 .264 .371 .275

***

Batters, Assorted Other
Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Andrew McCutchen 651 7.4 146 -4 6.0 Dale Murphy
Starling Marte 620 5.7 116 10 4.0 Steve Henderson
Jung-ho Kang 494 4.9 107 -3 2.7 Mike Blowers
Francisco Cervelli 326 5.0 105 2 2.5 Buddy Rosar
Josh Harrison 480 5.1 105 1 2.4 Joe Randa
Gregory Polanco 627 4.6 97 10 2.4 Von Hayes
Alen Hanson 547 4.1 90 4 1.9 Jose Reyes
Austin Meadows 478 4.3 93 2 1.7 Rick Manning
Jordy Mercer 472 4.0 86 1 1.4 Christian Colonel
Keon Broxton 495 3.5 77 5 1.2 John Denman
Jake Goebbert 444 4.2 95 3 1.1 Pat Brady
Danny Ortiz 510 3.7 82 10 0.9 Kevin Reimer
Cole Figueroa 473 4.0 85 -2 0.9 Chip Hale
Aramis Ramirez 470 4.1 89 -4 0.8 Cal Ripken
Deibinson Romero 456 4.0 90 -5 0.7 Josh Klimek
Willy Garcia 518 3.7 87 6 0.7 Jim Lindeman
Josh Bell 582 4.8 103 -2 0.7 Gerald Perry
Harold Ramirez 377 3.9 92 4 0.7 David Green
Elias Diaz 358 3.3 76 -2 0.6 Guillermo Garcia
Gorkys Hernandez 395 3.5 74 2 0.6 Damon Mashore
Travis Snider 334 4.5 98 -1 0.6 Jeff Wetherby
Chris Stewart 201 3.2 69 2 0.6 Hector Ortiz
Max Moroff 584 3.0 72 4 0.5 Manuel Francois
Adam Frazier 456 3.4 76 -2 0.5 Ronny Cedeno
Pedro Florimon 355 3.1 64 2 0.5 Jake Wald
Jaff Decker 349 3.9 86 2 0.4 Jeff Corsaletti
Barrett Barnes 291 4.0 89 1 0.4 Richard Johnson
Tony Sanchez 377 3.7 85 -10 0.4 Del Rice
Reese McGuire 445 3.0 65 -1 0.4 Pat Dempsey
Sebastian Valle 314 2.9 65 -1 0.2 Alvin Colina
Michael Morse 355 4.4 96 -2 0.2 Jim Fregosi
Sean Rodriguez 250 3.6 82 -2 0.2 Dan DeMent
Wilkin Castillo 123 3.2 67 -2 0.0 Joe Kmak
Gift Ngoepe 412 2.3 52 5 0.0 Bryan Bass
Daniel Gamache 397 3.2 74 -2 0.0 Jeff Moronko
Corey Hart 254 4.4 96 -4 -0.2 Jim Fregosi
Travis Ishikawa 289 3.5 78 -1 -0.5 Ryan McGuire
Gustavo Nunez 297 2.6 57 -4 -0.6 Vance McHenry
Mel Rojas Jr. 469 3.0 66 -4 -0.6 Dustin Martin
Hunter Morris 349 3.3 71 -2 -1.0 Craig Cooper
John Bowker 329 3.4 76 -5 -1.2 Tom Nevers

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats
Player T Age G GS IP K BB HR H R ER
Gerrit Cole R 25 30 30 190.0 180 46 13 172 70 65
Francisco Liriano L 32 28 28 166.3 175 65 13 140 63 59
A.J. Burnett R 39 24 24 154.7 124 55 12 156 73 68
Tyler Glasnow R 22 24 24 116.0 130 64 11 95 51 48
Charlie Morton R 32 24 24 138.7 103 45 11 138 65 61
Mark Melancon R 31 71 0 68.0 64 12 4 57 20 19
Jon Niese L 29 30 25 157.7 105 45 13 167 76 71
Jeff Locke L 28 28 28 162.7 123 61 16 162 80 75
Steven Brault L 24 26 26 139.0 97 42 13 142 67 63
Tony Watson L 31 72 0 70.0 63 15 4 60 22 21
Radhames Liz R 32 25 16 94.3 80 39 8 90 44 41
Nick Kingham R 24 15 15 88.7 68 27 9 89 43 40
Juan Nicasio R 29 43 13 101.7 86 41 9 98 48 45
Antonio Bastardo L 30 60 0 53.3 60 24 4 42 19 18
Joe Blanton R 35 24 9 78.0 72 18 9 77 36 34
Allen Webster R 26 26 24 131.0 91 49 14 133 68 64
Arquimedes Caminero R 29 71 0 73.3 71 27 7 64 30 28
Wilfredo Boscan R 26 23 15 95.3 58 32 9 102 49 46
Chris Volstad R 29 25 22 133.7 66 44 11 147 72 67
Jared Hughes R 30 65 0 62.7 38 20 4 63 27 25
Chad Kuhl R 23 25 25 135.7 84 44 16 145 74 69
Curtis Partch R 29 47 0 60.3 60 27 5 53 26 24
A.J. Morris R 29 38 4 68.7 49 27 5 69 33 31
John Holdzkom R 28 30 0 31.0 36 19 2 25 13 12
Jorge Rondon R 28 49 0 67.3 51 23 4 66 30 28
Trevor Williams R 24 25 24 129.0 82 40 14 143 71 66
Jeff Inman R 28 26 0 32.0 25 10 2 31 14 13
Josh Wall R 29 37 0 44.7 39 17 3 43 20 19
Jameson Taillon R 24 12 11 67.0 43 27 6 72 36 34
Rob Scahill R 29 43 0 60.7 47 22 6 60 29 27
Jeremy Bleich L 29 31 7 70.3 48 30 6 72 37 35
Charlie Leesman L 29 15 10 55.7 44 29 7 57 32 30
Bobby LaFromboise L 30 62 0 61.3 52 22 7 60 30 28
Casey Sadler R 25 20 19 107.7 65 30 15 116 61 57
Guido Knudson R 26 44 1 65.3 56 29 7 65 33 31
Brad Lincoln R 31 36 8 76.3 63 39 8 75 42 39
Adam Miller R 31 18 2 37.3 25 13 5 40 21 20
Angel Sanchez R 26 25 23 124.7 81 48 18 138 77 72

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages
Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Gerrit Cole 190.0 788 22.8% 5.8% .294 3.08 3.01 82 79
Francisco Liriano 166.3 704 24.9% 9.2% .284 3.19 3.28 85 87
A.J. Burnett 154.7 675 18.4% 8.1% .304 3.96 3.81 105 100
Tyler Glasnow 116.0 507 25.6% 12.6% .285 3.72 3.99 99 105
Charlie Morton 138.7 599 17.2% 7.5% .298 3.96 3.92 105 103
Mark Melancon 68.0 273 23.4% 4.4% .277 2.51 2.62 67 69
Jon Niese 157.7 685 15.3% 6.6% .299 4.05 3.87 108 102
Jeff Locke 162.7 711 17.3% 8.6% .289 4.15 4.11 111 108
Steven Brault 139.0 601 16.1% 7.0% .293 4.08 4.06 109 107
Tony Watson 70.0 285 22.1% 5.3% .283 2.70 2.92 72 77
Radhames Liz 94.3 412 19.4% 9.5% .294 3.91 3.97 104 105
Nick Kingham 88.7 382 17.8% 7.1% .293 4.06 4.00 108 105
Juan Nicasio 101.7 444 19.4% 9.2% .292 3.98 3.77 106 99
Antonio Bastardo 53.3 226 26.6% 10.6% .280 3.04 3.24 81 85
Joe Blanton 78.0 329 21.9% 5.5% .298 3.92 3.47 104 91
Allen Webster 131.0 575 15.8% 8.5% .288 4.40 4.47 117 118
Arquimedes Caminero 73.3 311 22.8% 8.7% .285 3.44 3.74 92 98
Wilfredo Boscan 95.3 420 13.8% 7.6% .294 4.34 4.27 116 113
Chris Volstad 133.7 592 11.1% 7.4% .293 4.51 4.34 120 115
Jared Hughes 62.7 271 14.0% 7.4% .290 3.59 3.88 96 102
Chad Kuhl 135.7 596 14.1% 7.4% .290 4.58 4.61 122 121
Curtis Partch 60.3 261 23.0% 10.3% .291 3.58 3.74 95 99
A.J. Morris 68.7 302 16.2% 8.9% .295 4.06 4.04 108 106
John Holdzkom 31.0 137 26.3% 13.9% .291 3.48 3.61 93 95
Jorge Rondon 67.3 291 17.5% 7.9% .295 3.74 3.53 100 93
Trevor Williams 129.0 570 14.4% 7.0% .302 4.60 4.40 123 116
Jeff Inman 32.0 137 18.2% 7.3% .296 3.66 3.54 97 93
Josh Wall 44.7 194 20.1% 8.8% .303 3.83 3.50 102 92
Jameson Taillon 67.0 300 14.3% 9.0% .300 4.57 4.39 122 116
Rob Scahill 60.7 264 17.8% 8.3% .290 4.01 3.99 107 105
Jeremy Bleich 70.3 313 15.3% 9.6% .293 4.48 4.31 119 114
Charlie Leesman 55.7 253 17.4% 11.5% .294 4.85 4.94 129 130
Bobby LaFromboise 61.3 266 19.6% 8.3% .291 4.11 4.08 109 107
Casey Sadler 107.7 469 13.9% 6.4% .285 4.76 4.71 127 124
Guido Knudson 65.3 290 19.3% 10.0% .298 4.27 4.17 114 110
Brad Lincoln 76.3 343 18.4% 11.4% .293 4.60 4.49 123 118
Adam Miller 37.3 165 15.2% 7.9% .292 4.82 4.69 128 124
Angel Sanchez 124.7 560 14.5% 8.6% .295 5.20 5.06 138 133

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other
Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Gerrit Cole 190.0 8.53 2.18 0.62 118 4.2 Jason Schmidt
Francisco Liriano 166.3 9.47 3.52 0.70 114 3.5 Ted Lilly
A.J. Burnett 154.7 7.21 3.20 0.70 92 1.6 Rick Sutcliffe
Tyler Glasnow 116.0 10.09 4.97 0.85 98 1.5 A.J. Burnett
Charlie Morton 138.7 6.68 2.92 0.71 92 1.4 Andy Hawkins
Mark Melancon 68.0 8.47 1.59 0.53 145 1.3 Jeff Shaw
Jon Niese 157.7 5.99 2.57 0.74 90 1.3 Horacio Ramirez
Jeff Locke 162.7 6.80 3.37 0.89 88 1.2 Don Collins
Steven Brault 139.0 6.28 2.72 0.84 89 1.1 Gavin Osteen
Tony Watson 70.0 8.10 1.93 0.51 135 1.1 Steve Kline
Radhames Liz 94.3 7.64 3.72 0.76 93 0.9 Dan Petry
Nick Kingham 88.7 6.90 2.74 0.91 90 0.8 Chris Bosio
Juan Nicasio 101.7 7.61 3.63 0.80 91 0.7 Anastacio Martinez
Antonio Bastardo 53.3 10.13 4.05 0.68 120 0.7 Greg McCarthy
Joe Blanton 78.0 8.31 2.08 1.04 93 0.6 John Wasdin
Allen Webster 131.0 6.25 3.37 0.96 83 0.5 Kip Bouknight
Arquimedes Caminero 73.3 8.72 3.32 0.86 106 0.5 Pat Flury
Wilfredo Boscan 95.3 5.48 3.02 0.85 84 0.3 Preston Larrison
Chris Volstad 133.7 4.44 2.96 0.74 81 0.3 Dana Kiecker
Jared Hughes 62.7 5.45 2.87 0.57 101 0.3 Jack Aker
Chad Kuhl 135.7 5.57 2.92 1.06 80 0.2 Doug Vanderweele
Curtis Partch 60.3 8.96 4.03 0.75 102 0.2 Doug Robertson
A.J. Morris 68.7 6.42 3.54 0.66 90 0.2 Marty McLeary
John Holdzkom 31.0 10.45 5.52 0.58 105 0.2 Calvin Jones
Jorge Rondon 67.3 6.82 3.08 0.53 97 0.2 Weston Weber
Trevor Williams 129.0 5.72 2.79 0.98 79 0.2 Luis Mendoza
Jeff Inman 32.0 7.03 2.81 0.56 100 0.1 Humberto Robinson
Josh Wall 44.7 7.85 3.42 0.60 95 0.1 Keith Shepherd
Jameson Taillon 67.0 5.78 3.63 0.81 80 0.1 C.J. Wilson
Rob Scahill 60.7 6.97 3.26 0.89 91 -0.1 Jamie Emiliano
Jeremy Bleich 70.3 6.15 3.84 0.77 81 -0.1 Scott Forster
Charlie Leesman 55.7 7.11 4.69 1.13 75 -0.1 Adrian Burnside
Bobby LaFromboise 61.3 7.63 3.23 1.03 89 -0.2 Bobby Bevel
Casey Sadler 107.7 5.43 2.51 1.25 76 -0.2 Apolinar Garcia
Guido Knudson 65.3 7.72 4.00 0.96 85 -0.2 John Thompson
Brad Lincoln 76.3 7.43 4.60 0.94 79 -0.2 Ken Ray
Adam Miller 37.3 6.03 3.14 1.21 76 -0.3 Elmer Riddle
Angel Sanchez 124.7 5.85 3.46 1.30 70 -0.9 Mike Romano

***

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
Joe
Guest
Joe
5 months 14 days ago

That is one rosy projection for Hanson. The guy hit 6 HRs in AAA last year, but is projected for 11 in MLB. Is Indianapolis a pitcher’s park that suppressed homers?

matt w
Guest
matt w
5 months 13 days ago

Looking at park factors, yes (so is Altoona).

Eddy
Guest
Eddy
5 months 14 days ago

Shoutout to Tyler Glasnow, who has teammate AJ Burnett as a comp.

matt w
Guest
matt w
5 months 14 days ago

Seems pretty harsh to comp Jordy Mercer to a third baseman who topped out in AAA.

dan
Guest
dan
5 months 14 days ago

Also, it seems pretty generous to comp Aramis Ramirez to Cal Ripken

matt w
Guest
matt w
5 months 14 days ago

Well, they’re both retired.

Zach
Guest
Zach
5 months 14 days ago

Just curious, why is your projected depth chart for catcher Cervelli/Tony Sanchez? It very clearly will be Cervelli/Chris Stewart.

pitnick
Guest
pitnick
5 months 13 days ago

And Diaz has leapfrogged Sanchez on the depth charts.

I’m assuming there’s a computer somewhere that doesn’t know Sanchez can’t reliably throw baseballs to targets 90 or even 60 feet away.

Grant
Guest
Grant
5 months 14 days ago

Polanco’s ISO and wOBA projecting to skyrocket from last year. Can’t imagine his baserunning and defense will hold him back from being a 4 WAR player.

Those two metrics should improve, not regress.

Shauncore
Member
Shauncore
5 months 14 days ago

Steamer and ZiPS both see Polanco as roughly the same production.

Psy Jung
Guest
Psy Jung
5 months 14 days ago

that merely reflects the fact that the two share more or less the same projection system DNA.

Shauncore
Member
Shauncore
5 months 14 days ago

My point was more so he stated:

“Polanco’s ISO and wOBA projecting to skyrocket from last year.”

Based on what projection system? Seems like it’s his own projections, which kinda is hard to really say “projecting to skyrocket” and rather “I think it’s going to skyrocket.”

Grant
Guest
Grant
5 months 13 days ago

Steamer has a .10 increase in the power numbers I referenced.

The human element here is that Polanco will have more ABs in the 4-5-6 range with Alvarez and Walker gone, and Kang potentially missing time. Something I don’t believe gets factored in.

He won’t be slotted in 1 or 7 nearly as much with this year’s lineup and him entering his 2nd full season

Nate
Guest
Nate
5 months 14 days ago

Polanco has yet to prove that he can be anything other than an average defensive outfielder, so for him to hit 4 WAR, he would have to put up a performance that aligns with 120+ wRC+, just looking at last years OF WAR leaders…. thats a tough ask. If his Defensive Rating ended positive (which would be drastically outperforming both projection systems), then maybe he could hit the mid threes.

Jack
Guest
Jack
5 months 14 days ago

Unless Polanco dramatically improves his coordination and ability to read balls off the bat, he will never be more than average on defense. He is fast enough to make catches that other outfielders wouldn’t be close too but he is also clumsy enough to bobble a single and turn it into a triple

pitnick
Guest
pitnick
5 months 13 days ago

He dramatically improved his routes over the course of last year.

matt w
Guest
matt w
5 months 14 days ago

Polanco had +6.4 UZR and a +11 DRS last year, so I’d say he’s proven he can be more than an average defensive outfielder, at least in right field. His 13 outfield assists were also pretty good in case you take the metrics with a grain of salt.

Craig
Guest
Craig
5 months 14 days ago

Is Aramis Ramirez coming back for another season

matt w
Guest
matt w
5 months 14 days ago

No, but players who aren’t signed with another ML team tend to get projected with their last team, including free agents, retired players like Ramirez, and some players who’ve gone overseas like Deibinson Romero.

aflorimonte
Member
aflorimonte
5 months 13 days ago

Gaby Sanchez still shows up on Steamer.

Leez
Guest
Leez
5 months 13 days ago

Weird to me that Pedro isn’t on this list. Or is that a different scenario?

Bukanier
Guest
Bukanier
5 months 13 days ago

And Joe “Cupcakes” Blanton’s comparison is John “Wayback” Wasdin. Ah, the halcyon days of 06-07

Humorless Pedant
Guest
Humorless Pedant
5 months 13 days ago

“whose first names are palindromes of each other”

Palindrome is not a relational term. Their first names combine to form a palindrome. There’s no such thing as two things being “palindromes of each other.”

Anagram Man
Guest
Anagram Man
5 months 13 days ago

Humorless pedant = Mr. Ed’s houseplant

epoc
Member
epoc
5 months 13 days ago

The thing that stands out on the hitters’ side is Kang’s projected 27% k rate. His k rate in MLB was 21%, and it was roughly the same in his last two seasons in KBO. It seems like Zips is putting way more emphasis on its own KBO->MLB translation formula than on Kang’s actual MLB performance. That doesn’t seem right to me. Not only is KBO->MLB translation far less reliable, given the dearth of players who’ve made the transition one way or another, but the MLB performance is more recent, and K rate is a stat that stabilizes relatively quickly.

On the pitchers’ side, it’s sort of frustrating to see that Morton projects better than Niese. Morton is also cheaper in dollars and of course didnt cost an above-average 2b to acquire. Not sure I understand that series of moves at all.

Dan, if you read the comments at all, I wonder if you’d be interested in providing a projection for reliever Montana Durapau. He’s only pitched 1 inning above A-ball, but his performance has been astonishing since entering pro ball and he’s moving quickly through the system. I won’t be totally shocked if he’s added to the MLB roster in September.

Dan Szymborski
Guest
Dan Szymborski
5 months 13 days ago

I will add him to the to-do list.

epoc
Member
epoc
5 months 13 days ago

Thanks, Dan. Youre the best. As always, I appreciate you doing all this.

pitnick
Guest
pitnick
5 months 13 days ago

Niese projects as having a better FIP and more innings pitched, so it’s odd that Morton comes out ahead in WAR. Seems to be based on Niese’s ERA being worse than his FIP. For his career there isn’t a big gap, and moving to an Alvarez- and Walker-free Pirates seems like it should help him outperform his peripherals, if anything. Morton actually has a much more notable history of underperforming FIP.

Joe
Guest
Joe
5 months 13 days ago

I feel bad for Morton. Philly is an awful place for him to pitch.

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