2017 ZiPS Projections – Boston Red Sox

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

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / San Diego / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
The presence of Mike Trout in the American League renders Mookie Betts‘ (710 PA, 5.9 zWAR) odds of ever winning an MVP award in that same league lower than if Mike Trout were not present in it. This is what’s known in the life as “baleful reality.” That said, Trout’s mere existence doesn’t alter some inalienable facts regarding Betts as a player. Like, for example, how he’s projected to record a 20-20 season in 2017. Or like, for another example, how he’s projected to save 13 runs in right field.

According to ZiPS, Betts is the strongest of Boston’s field players. As for the weakest, this appears to be whatever’s happening at first base. The club recently signed Mitch Moreland (427, 0.5) to a one-year, $5.5 million deal — presumably with the intention of deploying him at first against right-handed pitching. Moreland’s forecast calls for him to hit roughly 10% worse than a league-average batter, though — which isn’t ideal at all for a club that otherwise possesses the requisite talent to win the division.

Pitchers
The top rotation of 2016 (in this case, belonging to the Mets) produced just over 18 wins as a group. The top rotation of 2015 (the Cubs) crossed just over the 19-win threshold. In 2014, it was the Nationals — also with about 18 wins. From this collection of three data points, one concludes that the league’s top rotation generally accumulates about 18-19 WAR. By comparison, one notes that the top-five Boston starters in 2017 are projected to record 20 wins as a group. Unsurprisingly, the addition of Chris Sale (199.2 IP, 6.2 zWAR) is largely responsible for that. Even the club’s “worst” starter, though — Eduardo Rodriguez (146.2, 2.2) — still profiles as slightly above average.

As for the bullpen, the departure of Koji Uehara represents a decided net-loss for the club. Fortunately, the addition of Tyler Thornburg (60.0 IP, 0.9 zWAR) appears likely to compensate for Uehara’s absence. The right-hander is projected to record the club’s third-best park-adjusted era (71 ERA-) behind Sale (63 ERA-) and closer Craig Kimbrel (67 ERA-).

Bench/Prospects
It was almost certainly never the plan for Boston when they acquired him before the 2013 season that Brock Holt (463 PA, 1.1 zWAR) would receive something close to starter-type playing time over the course of three years. That’s nevertheless what happened. He’s likely to occupy a more appropriate utility role in 2017. Rusney Castillo (372, 0.8) isn’t technically a prospect, but he (a) remains employed by the Red Sox and (b) receives a more encouraging projection than basically all the club’s other bench options.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright (122.0 IP, 2.0 zWAR) was, by at least one reasonable measure, Boston’s top starter over the first half of the 2016 season. He doesn’t appear to have a role in the rotation at the moment, but he represents excellent depth. ZiPS doesn’t account for the particulars of Carson Smith‘s (45.1, 0.7) injury. It does account for Smith’s almost total absence in 2016, though — and has assessed the club’s fourth-best park-adjusted ERA (72 ERA-) to Smith, anyway.

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

bos-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
Mookie Betts R 24 RF 710 101 198 43 6 24 95 27 6
Xander Bogaerts R 24 SS 681 87 179 35 2 17 81 10 3
Jackie Bradley Jr. L 27 CF 564 71 128 30 5 18 72 8 2
Dustin Pedroia R 33 2B 580 66 153 29 1 10 56 6 4
Andrew Benintendi L 22 LF 535 62 134 31 7 12 68 13 8
Hanley Ramirez R 33 1B 533 62 132 28 1 20 86 9 3
Sandy Leon B 28 C 276 27 61 13 1 5 24 0 1
Christian Vazquez R 26 C 357 34 80 18 1 4 31 2 1
Brock Holt! L 29 3B 463 53 114 23 3 5 42 9 3
Matt Dominguez R 27 3B 543 55 127 24 0 17 68 0 0
Rusney Castillo R 29 CF 372 37 90 17 3 5 31 8 4
Chris B. Young R 33 LF 292 35 63 18 1 10 32 4 2
Jake Romanski R 26 C 315 27 74 16 0 3 27 3 3
Mitch Moreland L 31 1B 427 40 95 22 0 15 62 1 0
Pablo Sandoval B 30 3B 441 41 107 21 2 11 52 0 0
Sam Travis R 23 1B 368 38 89 20 2 9 40 8 5
Bryan Holaday R 29 C 206 20 46 11 1 3 24 1 1
Ryan Hanigan R 36 C 195 17 38 7 0 3 21 0 0
Jake DePew R 25 C 256 24 51 9 1 6 25 0 1
Dan Butler R 30 C 260 24 55 16 0 3 23 0 0
Aaron Hill R 35 2B 393 39 89 18 1 7 43 4 2
Rafael Devers L 20 3B 558 53 128 30 4 14 60 10 6
Jantzen Witte R 27 3B 418 38 94 27 2 5 38 3 3
Mike Miller R 27 2B 358 31 83 17 1 3 27 10 4
Deven Marrero R 26 SS 454 40 95 17 1 5 33 12 4
Josh Rutledge R 28 3B 287 30 63 14 2 4 23 4 2
Bryce Brentz R 28 LF 306 31 68 18 1 9 34 1 0
Junior Lake R 27 RF 377 38 78 18 2 9 36 10 5
Blake Swihart B 25 LF 342 37 78 15 3 5 30 4 2
Marco Hernandez L 24 2B 426 43 105 17 5 7 42 7 4
Cody Decker R 30 1B 400 46 78 19 2 18 56 1 1
Nate Freiman R 30 1B 359 33 77 17 2 10 41 0 1
Ali Solis R 29 C 177 12 33 5 0 2 12 0 1
Allen Craig R 32 1B 323 28 68 14 1 5 27 1 0
Chris Dominguez R 30 1B 378 39 84 18 2 13 46 7 4
Brennan Boesch L 32 LF 252 24 56 11 1 7 27 3 2

***

Batters, Rates and Averages
Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Mookie Betts 710 7.9% 12.0% .197 .321 .307 .361 .504 .378
Xander Bogaerts 681 7.0% 17.9% .144 .333 .288 .343 .432 .339
Jackie Bradley Jr. 564 9.0% 24.3% .188 .315 .255 .332 .443 .334
Dustin Pedroia 580 8.4% 11.0% .117 .314 .291 .351 .408 .334
Andrew Benintendi 535 8.2% 14.4% .168 .307 .278 .341 .446 .345
Hanley Ramirez 533 9.9% 18.8% .191 .316 .280 .358 .471 .358
Sandy Leon 276 8.0% 23.6% .121 .313 .246 .311 .367 .294
Christian Vazquez 357 6.7% 20.4% .099 .302 .245 .299 .344 .281
Brock Holt! 463 8.0% 18.4% .106 .330 .273 .335 .379 .317
Matt Dominguez 543 4.4% 17.9% .148 .276 .250 .288 .398 .293
Rusney Castillo 372 5.1% 16.9% .110 .302 .259 .302 .369 .300
Chris B. Young 292 8.9% 21.9% .192 .282 .241 .316 .433 .325
Jake Romanski 315 3.8% 17.5% .084 .295 .249 .281 .333 .270
Mitch Moreland 427 6.8% 24.1% .171 .292 .244 .304 .415 .307
Pablo Sandoval 441 6.1% 14.5% .142 .287 .264 .313 .406 .306
Sam Travis 368 7.6% 20.9% .152 .317 .266 .323 .418 .330
Bryan Holaday 206 4.4% 21.8% .116 .299 .242 .284 .358 .279
Ryan Hanigan 195 9.2% 19.5% .093 .265 .221 .304 .314 .273
Jake DePew 256 5.9% 30.5% .123 .290 .215 .260 .338 .259
Dan Butler 260 7.7% 24.2% .107 .306 .235 .301 .342 .283
Aaron Hill 393 7.4% 15.8% .115 .281 .250 .308 .365 .296
Rafael Devers 558 4.7% 24.2% .152 .300 .243 .281 .395 .297
Jantzen Witte 418 6.7% 20.1% .120 .301 .247 .304 .367 .296
Mike Miller 358 5.3% 14.5% .084 .288 .251 .294 .335 .283
Deven Marrero 454 6.4% 25.6% .081 .300 .227 .279 .308 .268
Josh Rutledge 287 6.3% 26.8% .115 .324 .241 .298 .356 .288
Bryce Brentz 306 6.2% 30.1% .166 .321 .239 .291 .405 .300
Junior Lake 377 7.7% 31.0% .143 .315 .227 .290 .370 .298
Blake Swihart 342 7.6% 23.4% .116 .320 .251 .309 .367 .296
Marco Hernandez 426 4.2% 24.2% .119 .332 .261 .292 .380 .294
Cody Decker 400 6.5% 36.0% .209 .287 .213 .268 .422 .295
Nate Freiman 359 7.0% 23.4% .157 .284 .237 .295 .394 .298
Ali Solis 177 2.8% 30.5% .065 .274 .198 .223 .263 .213
Allen Craig 323 8.4% 23.8% .107 .300 .234 .307 .341 .288
Chris Dominguez 378 3.2% 30.7% .170 .305 .234 .265 .404 .291
Brennan Boesch 252 5.6% 23.8% .145 .288 .238 .282 .383 .289

***

Batters, Assorted Other
Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Mookie Betts 710 7.4 129 13 5.9 Buddy Lewis
Xander Bogaerts 681 5.7 106 -3 3.8 Troy Tulowitzki
Jackie Bradley Jr. 564 5.4 105 5 3.2 Oddibe McDowell
Dustin Pedroia 580 5.4 103 6 3.2 Bill Madlock
Andrew Benintendi 535 5.6 109 5 2.2 John Kruk
Hanley Ramirez 533 6.4 120 -4 1.8 Geronimo Berroa
Sandy Leon 276 4.0 81 4 1.3 Dave Parrish
Christian Vazquez 357 3.7 72 4 1.1 Nelson Santovenia
Brock Holt! 463 4.8 91 -3 1.1 Ernest Riles!
Matt Dominguez 543 4.1 81 3 1.1 Blair Barbier
Rusney Castillo 372 4.1 79 4 0.8 Charles Thomas
Chris B. Young 292 4.9 98 2 0.8 Adam Hyzdu
Jake Romanski 315 3.3 64 3 0.6 Raul Chavez
Mitch Moreland 427 4.5 90 4 0.5 Daryle Ward
Pablo Sandoval 441 4.7 91 -6 0.5 Geoff Blum
Sam Travis 368 4.9 97 1 0.4 Conor Jackson
Bryan Holaday 206 3.6 71 0 0.4 Mike DiFelice
Ryan Hanigan 195 3.3 67 0 0.3 Rick Ferrell
Jake DePew 256 2.9 59 3 0.3 Alan Probst
Dan Butler 260 3.6 72 -3 0.3 Dave Parrish
Aaron Hill 393 4.1 80 -2 0.3 Keith Ginter
Rafael Devers 558 3.9 79 -3 0.2 Trevor Plouffe
Jantzen Witte 418 3.9 79 -2 0.2 Ryan Hankins
Mike Miller 358 3.6 68 2 0.2 Alex Prieto
Deven Marrero 454 3.1 57 4 0.2 Larry Klein
Josh Rutledge 287 3.8 75 -1 0.1 Nick Green
Bryce Brentz 306 4.2 84 0 0.0 Chris Maples
Junior Lake 377 3.8 75 3 -0.1 Randy Salava
Blake Swihart 342 4.1 80 1 -0.1 Roy Silver
Marco Hernandez 426 4.0 78 -5 -0.1 Ronny Cedeno
Cody Decker 400 3.9 81 1 -0.4 John Nelson
Nate Freiman 359 4.1 83 0 -0.4 Mike Bell
Ali Solis 177 1.9 30 1 -0.6 Dave Ullery
Allen Craig 323 3.7 74 0 -0.6 Chris Pritchett
Chris Dominguez 378 3.7 76 0 -0.8 John Cotton
Brennan Boesch 252 3.8 76 -9 -1.3 Dann Howitt

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats
Player T Age G GS IP K BB HR H R ER
Chris Sale L 28 29 29 199.7 226 40 19 171 66 62
David Price L 31 32 32 218.0 221 43 26 211 90 84
Rick Porcello R 28 30 30 195.3 159 35 22 196 82 77
Drew Pomeranz L 28 26 26 136.7 141 50 16 124 60 56
Eduardo Rodriguez L 24 27 27 146.7 125 45 19 149 72 67
Steven Wright R 32 21 18 122.0 95 42 15 125 58 54
Clay Buchholz R 32 27 20 126.7 98 40 16 133 66 62
Roenis Elias L 28 26 24 137.3 118 66 17 141 76 71
Craig Kimbrel R 29 60 0 54.7 80 25 6 40 19 18
Tyler Thornburg R 28 58 0 60.0 68 26 6 51 22 21
Brian Johnson L 26 20 20 98.0 79 45 13 104 55 51
Heath Hembree R 28 53 0 60.0 62 22 7 56 25 23
Carson Smith R 27 46 0 45.3 51 16 4 40 17 16
Joe Kelly R 29 60 0 60.3 65 25 6 56 26 24
Henry Owens L 24 29 29 151.7 136 96 21 153 90 84
Matt Barnes R 27 63 0 68.0 71 30 7 64 31 29
Robby Scott L 27 38 4 71.0 59 22 10 75 36 34
Noe Ramirez R 27 46 0 58.3 55 23 7 58 27 25
Robbie Ross L 28 46 0 51.0 47 19 6 50 24 22
Sean O’Sullivan R 29 23 23 125.3 77 40 18 147 76 71
Edgar Olmos L 27 40 1 61.7 54 28 8 63 32 30
Jacob Dahlstrand R 25 12 7 49.7 29 19 7 59 30 28
Ben Taylor R 24 35 0 40.0 35 17 5 43 20 19
Chandler Shepherd R 24 40 0 62.3 53 19 8 65 32 30
Kyle Martin R 26 35 0 62.7 59 23 9 65 33 31
Brandon Workman R 28 17 10 65.0 49 28 9 74 41 38
Mitch Atkins R 31 25 18 110.3 85 44 19 126 70 65
Roman Mendez R 26 43 0 58.3 48 27 8 61 32 30
Luis Ysla L 25 35 8 75.3 64 46 12 82 48 45
Williams Jerez L 25 35 0 64.0 54 33 9 68 37 35
Jalen Beeks L 23 25 25 124.3 82 50 24 148 83 78

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages
Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Chris Sale 199.7 810 27.9% 4.9% .297 2.79 2.88 63 69
David Price 218.0 908 24.3% 4.7% .302 3.47 3.29 79 79
Rick Porcello 195.3 817 19.5% 4.3% .294 3.55 3.62 80 87
Drew Pomeranz 136.7 584 24.1% 8.6% .288 3.69 3.66 84 88
Eduardo Rodriguez 146.7 634 19.7% 7.1% .295 4.11 4.09 93 98
Steven Wright 122.0 533 17.8% 7.9% .293 3.98 4.30 90 103
Clay Buchholz 126.7 553 17.7% 7.2% .298 4.41 4.27 100 102
Roenis Elias 137.3 619 19.1% 10.7% .303 4.65 4.57 105 110
Craig Kimbrel 54.7 229 34.9% 10.9% .295 2.96 3.14 67 75
Tyler Thornburg 60.0 257 26.5% 10.1% .290 3.15 3.49 71 84
Brian Johnson 98.0 443 17.8% 10.2% .302 4.68 4.75 106 114
Heath Hembree 60.0 258 24.0% 8.5% .297 3.45 3.66 78 88
Carson Smith 45.3 192 26.6% 8.3% .308 3.18 3.19 72 77
Joe Kelly 60.3 262 24.8% 9.5% .307 3.58 3.64 81 87
Henry Owens 151.7 704 19.3% 13.6% .298 4.98 5.15 113 124
Matt Barnes 68.0 298 23.8% 10.1% .305 3.84 3.77 87 90
Robby Scott 71.0 310 19.0% 7.1% .301 4.31 4.33 98 104
Noe Ramirez 58.3 256 21.5% 9.0% .306 3.86 4.12 87 99
Robbie Ross 51.0 222 21.2% 8.6% .303 3.88 4.15 88 100
Sean O’Sullivan 125.3 563 13.7% 7.1% .306 5.10 4.85 115 116
Edgar Olmos 61.7 276 19.6% 10.1% .300 4.38 4.50 99 108
Jacob Dahlstrand 49.7 227 12.8% 8.4% .308 5.07 5.10 115 122
Ben Taylor 40.0 180 19.4% 9.4% .314 4.27 4.41 97 106
Chandler Shepherd 62.3 271 19.6% 7.0% .303 4.33 4.09 98 98
Kyle Martin 62.7 276 21.4% 8.3% .308 4.45 4.29 101 103
Brandon Workman 65.0 297 16.5% 9.4% .313 5.26 4.83 119 116
Mitch Atkins 110.3 501 17.0% 8.8% .309 5.30 5.19 120 125
Roman Mendez 58.3 263 18.3% 10.3% .300 4.63 4.74 105 114
Luis Ysla 75.3 354 18.1% 13.0% .309 5.38 5.51 122 132
Williams Jerez 64.0 293 18.4% 11.3% .306 4.92 4.93 111 118
Jalen Beeks 124.3 571 14.4% 8.8% .305 5.65 5.70 128 137

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other
Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Chris Sale 199.7 10.19 1.80 0.86 151 6.2 C.C. Sabathia
David Price 218.0 9.12 1.78 1.07 122 5.0 Frank Viola
Rick Porcello 195.3 7.33 1.61 1.01 119 4.3 Brad Radke
Drew Pomeranz 136.7 9.28 3.29 1.05 114 2.7 Bob Ojeda
Eduardo Rodriguez 146.7 7.67 2.76 1.17 103 2.2 Jarrod Washburn
Steven Wright 122.0 7.01 3.10 1.11 106 2.0 Scott Kamieniecki
Clay Buchholz 126.7 6.96 2.84 1.14 96 1.3 Kirk McCaskill
Roenis Elias 137.3 7.73 4.33 1.11 91 1.1 Damian Moss
Craig Kimbrel 54.7 13.16 4.11 0.99 142 1.0 Ryne Duren
Tyler Thornburg 60.0 10.20 3.90 0.90 134 0.9 Rich Garces
Brian Johnson 98.0 7.26 4.13 1.19 90 0.8 Kelly Wunsch
Heath Hembree 60.0 9.30 3.30 1.05 122 0.7 Danny Kolb
Carson Smith 45.3 10.13 3.18 0.79 133 0.7 Francisco Cordero
Joe Kelly 60.3 9.70 3.73 0.90 118 0.6 Bryce Florie
Henry Owens 151.7 8.07 5.70 1.25 85 0.6 Brian O’Connor
Matt Barnes 68.0 9.40 3.97 0.93 110 0.5 Todd Wellemeyer
Robby Scott 71.0 7.48 2.79 1.27 98 0.4 Renay Bryand
Noe Ramirez 58.3 8.49 3.55 1.08 109 0.4 Heathcliff Slocumb
Robbie Ross 51.0 8.29 3.35 1.06 109 0.3 Tom Martin
Sean O’Sullivan 125.3 5.53 2.87 1.29 83 0.3 Ricardo Rodriguez
Edgar Olmos 61.7 7.88 4.08 1.17 96 0.1 Scott Wiegandt
Jacob Dahlstrand 49.7 5.25 3.44 1.27 83 0.1 William Cooper
Ben Taylor 40.0 7.88 3.83 1.13 99 0.1 Nick DeBarr
Chandler Shepherd 62.3 7.66 2.74 1.16 97 0.1 Larry Gura
Kyle Martin 62.7 8.47 3.30 1.29 95 0.0 Josh Perrault
Brandon Workman 65.0 6.78 3.88 1.25 80 0.0 Rafael Lopez
Mitch Atkins 110.3 6.94 3.59 1.55 80 -0.1 Nerio Rodriguez
Roman Mendez 58.3 7.41 4.17 1.23 91 -0.2 Mike Zimmerman
Luis Ysla 75.3 7.65 5.50 1.43 78 -0.4 Paulino Reynoso
Williams Jerez 64.0 7.59 4.64 1.27 86 -0.4 Jason Hill
Jalen Beeks 124.3 5.94 3.62 1.74 75 -0.5 Doug Lindsey

***

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 2017. 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 4.05 ERA and the NL having a 3.97 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.



Print This Post



Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


Comments Are Loading Now!