2017 ZiPS Projections – Washington Nationals

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 Washington Nationals. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Batters
Even without the benefit yet of having acquired new talent through free agency, the 2017 edition of the Nationals looks strong. There are promising young field players in Bryce Harper (5.1 zWAR), Anthony Rendon (4.1), and Trea Turner (4.4), while all five members of the likely Opening Day rotation earn a projection of 2.5 wins or better.

The club’s greatest weakness appears to come in the form of two previous strengths: Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. Expected to earn about $35 million between them in 2017, they’re projected to produce roughly zero wins. Of course, that’s oversimplifying matters: players are often compensated for wins on the back end of a deal that they probably supplied at the beginning of it. That doesn’t change the situation facing the Nats, however — namely, that left field and first base might offer little for the club this next season.

Pitchers
Washington starters recorded the second-highest collective WAR among all rotations in 2016 — and finished behind the first-place Mets by a more or less negligible figure. The five main constituents of last year’s group all return in 2017 and appear capable of approximating their 2016 effort. Indeed, the sum of their projected win figures (17.2 zWAR) is just slightly less than what the Cubs produced as a group this year.

As for the bullpen, the departure of midseason acquisition Mark Melancon leaves them without a proper relief ace. That said, Shawn Kelley remains a competent bullpen arm. Having recorded at least 50 innings and a 30% strikeout rate each of the past four seasons, the right-hander is forecast to make 2017 his fifth such campaign. Sammy Solis (76 ERA-) and Blake Treinen (82 ERA-) also remain capable options.

Bench/Prospects
A rookie in 2016, Trea Turner appears to be a candidate to improve on a three-win season. Unsurprisingly, the combination of his line-drive approach and elite footspeed, Turner is projected to record the highest BABIP on the club (.346) by over 20 points.

In terms of actual rookie-eligible players, the club features a promising collection of catchers (Spencer Kieboom, Raudy Read, Pedro Severino) but no other field players who (like Turner last year) appear ready to contribute immediately. Lucas Giolito (1.9 zWAR), meanwhile, is one of four young pitchers — along with Erick Fedde, Reynaldo Lopez, and Austin Voth — projected to record at least a win.

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

nats-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
Bryce Harper L 24 RF 600 88 136 26 2 29 86 14 8
Trea Turner R 24 CF 594 77 154 27 10 14 66 35 7
Anthony Rendon R 27 3B 587 80 140 33 3 17 70 10 4
Daniel Murphy L 32 2B 586 78 165 39 4 16 84 9 3
Wilson Ramos R 29 C 465 44 118 19 0 17 70 0 0
Danny Espinosa B 30 SS 475 52 91 16 1 15 48 7 2
Raudy Read R 23 C 420 44 99 23 1 8 43 5 4
Pedro Severino R 23 C 382 37 92 16 0 5 30 3 4
Wilmer Difo B 25 SS 331 37 78 14 3 5 34 15 3
Spencer Kieboom R 26 C 306 29 66 13 1 4 23 1 1
Brian Goodwin L 26 CF 469 48 97 18 4 10 47 10 5
Michael A. Taylor R 26 CF 470 50 97 18 2 13 47 22 6
Stephen Drew L 34 2B 295 30 59 15 2 10 34 1 1
Ben Revere L 29 CF 508 63 133 14 7 2 34 26 6
Andrew Stevenson L 23 CF 566 56 134 17 7 3 40 31 15
Matt Skole L 27 1B 542 62 109 21 1 20 65 2 1
Jose Lobaton B 32 C 164 14 33 6 1 3 15 0 0
Chris Heisey R 32 LF 249 31 49 8 1 10 27 2 1
Scott Sizemore R 32 2B 272 30 53 11 1 5 25 2 0
Brian Jeroloman L 32 C 171 15 30 5 1 1 10 0 1
Matt den Dekker L 29 LF 434 47 88 18 3 9 43 12 4
Rafael Bautista R 24 CF 510 52 119 13 4 3 33 40 9
Adrian Sanchez R 26 3B 380 33 87 15 2 2 28 7 3
Brandon Snyder R 30 RF 246 27 52 13 1 8 28 2 0
Jason Martinson R 28 3B 506 47 89 16 4 14 49 9 2
Jayson Werth R 38 LF 466 60 95 21 0 14 54 3 1
Ryan Zimmerman R 32 1B 413 48 89 20 1 13 57 2 1
Drew Ward L 22 3B 491 50 99 20 1 12 48 1 2
Osvaldo Abreu R 23 SS 552 58 117 22 4 6 45 16 12
Clint Robinson L 32 1B 324 33 70 12 1 7 37 0 0
Jose Marmolejos L 24 1B 502 52 111 28 4 9 53 1 2
Neftali Soto R 28 1B 392 37 89 19 0 6 37 1 0
Jose Lozada S 31 2B 160 12 31 3 1 0 9 2 2
Drew Vettleson L 25 RF 344 29 62 12 2 6 30 5 4
Steve Lombardozzi S 28 2B 326 28 76 12 1 0 20 6 2
Caleb Ramsey L 28 RF 483 44 106 16 3 3 35 8 3

***

Batters, Rates and Averages
Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Bryce Harper 600 17.3% 20.7% .241 .316 .280 .406 .521 .388
Trea Turner 594 6.9% 22.1% .163 .346 .282 .331 .445 .347
Anthony Rendon 587 9.4% 17.9% .173 .305 .270 .343 .443 .342
Daniel Murphy 586 5.6% 10.8% .175 .317 .304 .345 .479 .347
Wilson Ramos 465 5.6% 16.1% .161 .292 .272 .312 .433 .316
Danny Espinosa 475 7.6% 29.5% .151 .285 .217 .297 .368 .284
Raudy Read 420 5.5% 17.6% .125 .292 .253 .298 .378 .298
Pedro Severino 382 5.5% 16.8% .087 .303 .261 .303 .348 .289
Wilmer Difo 331 4.5% 19.9% .112 .302 .251 .290 .363 .294
Spencer Kieboom 306 7.8% 21.2% .098 .294 .237 .301 .335 .283
Brian Goodwin 469 8.5% 29.0% .133 .312 .229 .298 .362 .295
Michael A. Taylor 470 7.4% 33.4% .142 .322 .226 .288 .368 .296
Stephen Drew 295 9.2% 20.3% .187 .251 .225 .299 .412 .305
Ben Revere 508 4.1% 8.5% .071 .301 .278 .312 .349 .302
Andrew Stevenson 566 5.5% 19.1% .076 .313 .254 .298 .330 .296
Matt Skole 542 10.9% 29.3% .174 .296 .229 .315 .403 .312
Jose Lobaton 164 9.1% 22.6% .116 .280 .226 .301 .342 .278
Chris Heisey 249 9.2% 25.7% .182 .264 .223 .302 .405 .306
Scott Sizemore 272 10.7% 25.4% .118 .291 .224 .311 .342 .290
Brian Jeroloman 171 11.7% 26.3% .069 .287 .205 .304 .274 .263
Matt den Dekker 434 8.1% 26.3% .131 .292 .224 .293 .355 .293
Rafael Bautista 510 5.3% 18.6% .063 .309 .253 .299 .316 .293
Adrian Sanchez 380 3.9% 16.3% .070 .288 .244 .279 .314 .263
Brandon Snyder 246 5.7% 32.9% .170 .312 .227 .276 .397 .291
Jason Martinson 506 6.7% 40.3% .143 .305 .193 .256 .336 .263
Jayson Werth 466 10.3% 23.6% .154 .278 .232 .313 .386 .308
Ryan Zimmerman 413 7.5% 21.5% .163 .273 .238 .295 .401 .300
Drew Ward 491 7.7% 33.6% .130 .320 .221 .287 .351 .281
Osvaldo Abreu 552 6.7% 24.3% .095 .302 .232 .289 .327 .286
Clint Robinson 324 9.3% 18.8% .122 .283 .243 .318 .365 .298
Jose Marmolejos 502 6.8% 25.7% .137 .313 .242 .297 .379 .292
Neftali Soto 392 5.1% 22.2% .100 .300 .242 .283 .342 .272
Jose Lozada 160 5.6% 24.4% .034 .290 .214 .263 .248 .232
Drew Vettleson 344 5.5% 36.0% .107 .292 .194 .240 .301 .241
Steve Lombardozzi 326 4.9% 13.2% .046 .289 .250 .288 .296 .260
Caleb Ramsey 483 6.6% 20.5% .069 .298 .238 .289 .307 .266

***

Batters, Assorted Other
Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Bryce Harper 600 7.9 147 1 5.1 Rusty Staub
Trea Turner 594 6.0 106 6 4.4 Adam Jones
Anthony Rendon 587 5.7 110 6 4.1 Todd Zeile
Daniel Murphy 586 6.5 119 -7 3.2 Charlie Gehringer
Wilson Ramos 465 5.0 98 1 2.9 Shanty Hogan
Danny Espinosa 475 3.8 78 3 1.5 Cody Ransom
Raudy Read 420 4.0 80 -1 1.4 Neil Wilson
Pedro Severino 382 3.7 75 1 1.2 Roger Hansen
Wilmer Difo 331 4.1 75 2 1.1 Bill Spiers
Spencer Kieboom 306 3.5 71 2 1.1 Dave Parrish
Brian Goodwin 469 3.8 76 2 1.0 Randy Salava
Michael A. Taylor 470 3.9 75 1 1.0 Mario Encarnacion
Stephen Drew 295 4.3 89 0 1.0 Marlon Anderson
Ben Revere 508 4.4 78 -2 0.9 Lance Johnson
Andrew Stevenson 566 3.6 69 3 0.6 Trench Davis
Matt Skole 542 4.4 92 0 0.5 Damon Minor
Jose Lobaton 164 3.6 73 0 0.5 Keith McDonald
Chris Heisey 249 4.3 88 1 0.4 Darrell Whitmore
Scott Sizemore 272 3.8 76 -1 0.4 Dave Matranga
Brian Jeroloman 171 2.7 57 2 0.4 Clay Dalrymple
Matt den Dekker 434 3.7 73 4 0.3 Nate Murphy
Rafael Bautista 510 3.9 66 -3 0.3 Leo Sutherland
Adrian Sanchez 380 3.2 59 5 0.3 Jon Shave
Brandon Snyder 246 3.9 79 2 0.2 Darrell Whitmore
Jason Martinson 506 3.0 58 5 0.2 Kody Kirkland
Jayson Werth 466 4.3 87 -6 0.0 Bob Brenly
Ryan Zimmerman 413 4.2 85 -1 -0.1 Chris Widger
Drew Ward 491 3.4 71 -6 -0.2 Steve Mena
Osvaldo Abreu 552 3.2 66 -6 -0.2 Jerry Bertolani
Clint Robinson 324 4.1 83 -2 -0.3 Ryan McGuire
Jose Marmolejos 502 3.9 80 0 -0.5 Brandon Gemoll
Neftali Soto 392 3.5 67 2 -0.7 Glenn Carpenter
Jose Lozada 160 2.1 39 -1 -0.7 Pablo Martinez
Drew Vettleson 344 2.3 44 5 -1.1 Mike Conroy
Steve Lombardozzi 326 3.1 58 -8 -1.2 Bien Figueroa
Caleb Ramsey 483 3.2 61 -5 -1.6 Ron Gooch

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats
Player T Age G GS IP K BB HR H R ER
Max Scherzer R 32 31 31 210.7 251 56 22 169 75 70
Stephen Strasburg R 28 27 27 159.3 189 38 17 136 59 55
Tanner Roark R 30 28 28 170.7 126 50 20 165 78 73
Gio Gonzalez L 31 29 29 163.3 156 58 15 157 75 70
Joe Ross R 24 27 26 133.0 120 35 13 127 57 53
Mark Melancon R 32 70 0 65.0 62 13 5 55 19 18
Lucas Giolito R 22 20 20 136.0 124 49 17 130 65 61
Erick Fedde R 24 24 23 121.3 105 34 16 123 60 56
Austin Voth R 25 26 24 136.7 117 52 18 134 70 65
Reynaldo Lopez R 23 26 23 128.7 126 51 18 126 68 64
Jaron Long R 25 24 21 129.3 82 29 17 141 71 66
A.J. Cole R 25 26 25 136.0 114 42 24 140 75 70
Jonathan Papelbon R 36 47 0 46.0 40 13 5 43 18 17
Shawn Kelley R 33 58 0 51.0 65 15 6 40 19 18
Blake Treinen R 29 68 0 70.7 68 31 6 63 29 27
Mat Latos R 29 23 20 108.0 78 38 13 110 59 55
Trevor Gott R 24 59 0 64.3 48 24 5 62 28 26
Taylor Hill R 28 26 23 137.0 82 35 21 153 78 73
Aaron Laffey L 32 26 14 99.3 62 34 12 108 55 51
Mitch Lively R 31 40 6 67.0 63 30 7 63 33 31
Matt Belisle R 37 43 0 46.7 35 12 4 46 19 18
Yusmeiro Petit R 32 36 3 72.3 64 17 11 72 35 33
Matt Grace L 28 51 0 61.0 43 19 5 62 28 26
Oliver Perez L 35 60 0 42.0 47 17 4 37 18 17
Sammy Solis L 28 43 0 51.0 55 20 5 44 19 18
Marc Rzepczynski L 31 69 0 43.7 44 20 3 39 19 18
Aaron Barrett R 29 40 0 32.7 35 11 3 29 14 13
Koda Glover R 24 53 0 68.7 71 18 9 62 30 28
Rafael Martin R 33 51 0 53.0 59 22 8 47 26 24
Sean Burnett L 34 36 0 31.0 23 10 3 31 15 14
Sam Runion R 28 37 0 54.3 41 20 6 55 28 26
Nick Masset R 35 42 0 39.7 31 20 4 41 22 21
Justin De Fratus R 29 54 0 66.3 49 26 8 68 36 34
Bryan Harper L 27 41 0 46.7 37 24 7 48 28 26
Boone Whiting R 27 22 19 106.3 65 43 19 121 72 67

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages
Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Max Scherzer 210.7 857 29.3% 6.5% .282 2.99 3.03 72 73
Stephen Strasburg 159.3 652 29.0% 5.8% .294 3.11 2.95 75 72
Tanner Roark 170.7 727 17.3% 6.9% .277 3.85 4.20 92 102
Gio Gonzalez 163.3 705 22.1% 8.2% .302 3.86 3.61 93 87
Joe Ross 133.0 561 21.4% 6.2% .295 3.59 3.53 86 86
Mark Melancon 65.0 263 23.6% 4.9% .276 2.49 2.93 60 71
Lucas Giolito 136.0 587 21.1% 8.3% .288 4.04 4.18 97 101
Erick Fedde 121.3 521 20.2% 6.5% .298 4.15 4.18 99 101
Austin Voth 136.7 596 19.6% 8.7% .288 4.28 4.44 103 107
Reynaldo Lopez 128.7 563 22.4% 9.1% .297 4.48 4.31 107 104
Jaron Long 129.3 558 14.7% 5.2% .293 4.59 4.44 110 107
A.J. Cole 136.0 590 19.3% 7.1% .288 4.63 4.84 111 117
Jonathan Papelbon 46.0 194 20.6% 6.7% .286 3.33 3.77 80 91
Shawn Kelley 51.0 208 31.3% 7.2% .279 3.18 2.87 76 70
Blake Treinen 70.7 306 22.2% 10.1% .285 3.44 3.47 82 84
Mat Latos 108.0 472 16.5% 8.1% .284 4.58 4.39 110 106
Trevor Gott 64.3 279 17.2% 8.6% .288 3.64 3.87 87 94
Taylor Hill 137.0 599 13.7% 5.8% .291 4.80 4.90 115 119
Aaron Laffey 99.3 440 14.1% 7.7% .294 4.62 4.63 111 112
Mitch Lively 67.0 294 21.4% 10.2% .295 4.16 4.14 100 100
Matt Belisle 46.7 198 17.7% 6.1% .287 3.47 3.51 83 85
Yusmeiro Petit 72.3 306 20.9% 5.6% .285 4.11 3.98 99 96
Matt Grace 61.0 264 16.3% 7.2% .294 3.84 3.83 92 93
Oliver Perez 42.0 180 26.1% 9.4% .311 3.64 3.69 87 89
Sammy Solis 51.0 217 25.3% 9.2% .289 3.18 3.48 76 84
Marc Rzepczynski 43.7 190 23.1% 10.5% .300 3.71 3.30 89 80
Aaron Barrett 32.7 138 25.3% 8.0% .299 3.58 3.43 86 83
Koda Glover 68.7 286 24.8% 6.3% .286 3.67 3.70 88 89
Rafael Martin 53.0 228 25.9% 9.6% .285 4.08 4.17 98 101
Sean Burnett 31.0 134 17.2% 7.5% .289 4.06 3.93 97 95
Sam Runion 54.3 238 17.2% 8.4% .292 4.31 4.27 103 103
Nick Masset 39.7 180 17.2% 11.1% .303 4.76 4.67 114 113
Justin De Fratus 66.3 293 16.7% 8.9% .291 4.61 4.54 110 110
Bryan Harper 46.7 212 17.4% 11.3% .291 5.01 5.22 120 126
Boone Whiting 106.3 483 13.5% 8.9% .292 5.67 5.67 136 137

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other
Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Max Scherzer 210.7 10.72 2.39 0.94 134 5.5 Roger Clemens
Stephen Strasburg 159.3 10.68 2.15 0.96 129 3.9 Curt Schilling
Tanner Roark 170.7 6.64 2.64 1.05 104 2.7 Kirk McCaskill
Gio Gonzalez 163.3 8.60 3.20 0.83 104 2.6 Shawn Estes
Joe Ross 133.0 8.12 2.37 0.88 112 2.5 Carl Pavano
Mark Melancon 65.0 8.58 1.80 0.69 161 2.0 Carl Willis
Lucas Giolito 136.0 8.21 3.24 1.13 99 1.9 Freddy Garcia
Erick Fedde 121.3 7.79 2.52 1.19 97 1.5 Dicky Gonzalez
Austin Voth 136.7 7.70 3.42 1.19 94 1.4 Jeff Bittiger
Reynaldo Lopez 128.7 8.81 3.57 1.26 90 1.0 Wascar Serrano
Jaron Long 129.3 5.71 2.02 1.18 87 0.9 Tim Kester
A.J. Cole 136.0 7.54 2.78 1.59 87 0.8 Rich DeLucia
Jonathan Papelbon 46.0 7.83 2.54 0.98 121 0.8 LaTroy Hawkins
Shawn Kelley 51.0 11.47 2.65 1.06 126 0.8 Kiko Calero
Blake Treinen 70.7 8.66 3.95 0.76 117 0.7 Jose Paniagua
Mat Latos 108.0 6.50 3.17 1.08 88 0.7 Dennis Burtt
Trevor Gott 64.3 6.72 3.36 0.70 110 0.6 Lloyd Allen
Taylor Hill 137.0 5.39 2.30 1.38 84 0.5 Brad Ziegler
Aaron Laffey 99.3 5.62 3.08 1.09 87 0.5 Doug Johns
Mitch Lively 67.0 8.46 4.03 0.94 96 0.5 Marc Wilkins
Matt Belisle 46.7 6.75 2.31 0.77 116 0.4 Paul Quantrill
Yusmeiro Petit 72.3 7.97 2.12 1.37 98 0.4 Bob Wells
Matt Grace 61.0 6.34 2.80 0.74 105 0.3 Dave Von Ohlen
Oliver Perez 42.0 10.07 3.64 0.86 110 0.3 Tim Byrdak
Sammy Solis 51.0 9.71 3.53 0.88 126 0.3 Jeff Little
Marc Rzepczynski 43.7 9.06 4.12 0.62 108 0.3 Marshall Bridges
Aaron Barrett 32.7 9.63 3.03 0.83 112 0.3 Jay Powell
Koda Glover 68.7 9.30 2.36 1.18 109 0.2 Santos Hernandez
Rafael Martin 53.0 10.02 3.74 1.36 98 0.1 Frank LaCorte
Sean Burnett 31.0 6.68 2.90 0.87 99 0.0 Morrie Martin
Sam Runion 54.3 6.80 3.31 0.99 93 0.0 Scott Munter
Nick Masset 39.7 7.03 4.53 0.91 84 -0.2 Ernie Camacho
Justin De Fratus 66.3 6.65 3.53 1.09 87 -0.3 Weston Weber
Bryan Harper 46.7 7.13 4.63 1.35 80 -0.4 Carl Keliipuleole
Boone Whiting 106.3 5.50 3.64 1.61 71 -0.8 Kirk McDonald

***

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 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.



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