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  1. Sure hope that Chapman comp isn’t prophetic.

    Comment by Pete — January 21, 2013 @ 9:12 am

  2. Hoping the Chad Reineke one is.

    Comment by MDL — January 21, 2013 @ 9:31 am

  3. Honestly, that’s what I expect from Chapman and I’d take it. Rather than getting shutdown like Strasburg, they can move him back to the bullpen for the playoffs, where he with fortify what should already be a pretty decent relief corps.

    This is a really good team.

    Comment by BaseClogger — January 21, 2013 @ 9:54 am

  4. That’s a 100+ win team. Bailey’s projection is too low. He’s entering his prime and has improved in each of the past two seasons. I don’t see why he would take a step back from his 2012 numbers. He is one of my favorite fantasy pickups this year as I see him competing with cueto and latos for best of the staff. I see Votto hitting 25-35 points higher than his 300 avg projection. He hit 337 with a bum knee last year.

    Comment by Haastile — January 21, 2013 @ 10:35 am

  5. It’s pretty unbelievable that projecting a .338 BABIP for Votto is pessimistic. In fact, it’s pretty unlikely to be that low, as it’s only dropped below .340 once in his 5-year career. Once! That man is good at baseball.

    Comment by Matt Hunter — January 21, 2013 @ 10:37 am

  6. Why the huge drop-off for Ryan Ludwick? He posted a 161 OPS+ over the second half of 2012 and now he is suddenly a league average hitter?

    Comment by KJ — January 21, 2013 @ 10:41 am

  7. If you’re (1) a below average hitter in the previous season, (2) an average hitter in the season before that and (3) born before 1980, a good projection system is probably going to see the previous season as flukey rather than as a real improvement. So, he comes out the average of his last three seasons.

    Comment by philosofool — January 21, 2013 @ 11:04 am

  8. He’s been around a league average outfielder for a few years now… just happened to have a great second half, aided by a BABIP far about what he’s had over the last 2 or 3 seasons before that. It’s even actually a pretty similar projection to BJ’s! lol

    Comment by BobbyS — January 21, 2013 @ 11:05 am

  9. Anyone else surprised Hamilton’s offensive projection is that optimistic?

    Comment by REM — January 21, 2013 @ 11:11 am

  10. 100 wins? My back of the envelope WAR math has them around 91. Still a very good projection coming from ZiPS. As for Bailey, ZiPS is projecting him for a lower FIP than he’s posted any year but 2010. I don’t think you can really quibble with that. I agree with you on Votto, but ZiPS is notoriously conservative on batting averages. I think Votto may be the first .300 projection of the year.

    Comment by Jay — January 21, 2013 @ 11:15 am

  11. Sid Fernandez (mid-late 80s version) looks much better by eyeball test for the rates posted here for Chapman.

    Comment by lexomatic — January 21, 2013 @ 11:22 am

  12. That was my second thought upon seeing it. My first thought was, “Herb Score!”

    Comment by Baltar — January 21, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  13. Your back of the envelope calculation is correct based on 45 for replacement level and 46 for the depth chart (Note: Zym says that this calculation is invalid as a team projection.)
    I think the only higher one in the NL so far was Washington with 96.

    Comment by Baltar — January 21, 2013 @ 11:47 am

  14. This makes sense, unless there is a good explanation for your “flukey” season. In Ludwick’s case there is. Ludwick changed his approach when he was in pitcher-friendly San Diego leading to his mid-career struggles at the plate. When he returned to a hitter-friendly park he was able to find the mojo that he lost when he left St. Louis. As the season progressed he found more and more of that mojo.

    I don’t expect a 1.000 OPS season from Ludwick in 2013, but he is also not a league-average hitter at this point in his career. I think a realistic projection is something between .850-.900 in 2013.

    Comment by KJ — January 21, 2013 @ 11:47 am

  15. Based on Dusty’s track record, he will more likely be overworked than shutdown. I hope Dusty receives orders to be cautious with him.

    Comment by Baltar — January 21, 2013 @ 11:50 am

  16. KJ, ZiPS doesn’t take subjective factors into account, and rightly so. Your projection is extremely optimistic.

    Comment by Baltar — January 21, 2013 @ 11:53 am

  17. Yes, extremely surprised.

    Comment by Baltar — January 21, 2013 @ 11:55 am

  18. KJ, a good explanation would be one that was independent from the results, not one cobbled together ex post facto based on the results. If you have evidence *before* his huge 6 week run that his 4 *year* mojo disappearance was magically going to end, that would be something.

    (and he didn’t “get better” as the season went, he sucked for a few months, had an amazing 6-8 weeks, and then sucked again)

    If ZiPS spat out an .850-.900 OPS as a *mean projection* for Ryan Ludwick based on the facts in evidence, I would have deleted ZiPS and started over from scratch.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 21, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  19. What about the Rolen to Blum comp?
    Rolen’s career numbers 281/364/490 with 316 HR
    Blum’s career 250/310/384 with 99 HR.

    How about this comp: Ryan Zimmerman – 287/353/479 with 153 HR.
    Plus they both play(ed) great defense.

    Comment by Jimmy D — January 21, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

  20. It wasn’t a 6-week run, more like a 18-week run. He had a bad April/March, got a little better in May and then was an allstar-caliber player from June through the rest of the regular season and through the playoffs when he hit 3 HRs and batted .333. I understand that ZIPS doesnt factor in the impact making a move to a different home ballpark, but I just don’t see any way that Ludwick OPS’es less than .800 OPS.

    Comment by KJ — January 21, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

  21. Three. Hundred. Innings.

    Comment by gnomez — January 21, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

  22. I think the most surprising thing is it only projects 54 SBs!

    Comment by BaseClogger — January 21, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

  23. If Ludwick meets that projection I wouldn’t be disappointed. He’s there to provide a little power.

    The real key to this team is that there are a lot of solid players and not many major weakpoints so long as health holds. Even with regression in terms of IP by the starters they have Cingriani to be a capable reinforcement.

    Comment by Colin P — January 21, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

  24. My username is “BaseClogger” for chrissakes and I still think the Dusty jokes are overplayed.

    Comment by BaseClogger — January 21, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

  25. Ludwick certainly wasn’t hot in September.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 21, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

  26. Amen, BaseClogger!

    Also, it’s no longer true: Baker has gradually “improved” his pitcher usage over the years and has been around league average in terms of “pitcher abuse” since 2009:

    That article doesn’t include all of 2011 or any of 2012, but he had only 3 starts over 120 pitches in 2011 (1.9%) and only 2 in 2012 (1.2%), which is below average according to article.

    Comment by gweedoh565 — January 21, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

  27. ZiPS projected 340 hitters in 2012 that ended up getting 200 plate appearances. ZiPS projected them to hit 262/328/414, they hit 262/329/418.

    Looking at BA title qualifiers, ZiPS projected, based on the .300 BA ODDIBE odds, that on average, that 24 of them would .300 hitters on average, 26 did.

    The reasons ZiPS projects so few .300 *mean* projections is that league BAs have dropped considerably, from .269 in 2006 to .268, .264, .262, .257, and in the last 2 years, .255. 2011-2012 (and ZiPS presumes, 2013) is a much worse BA environment than all average environment that all career .300 hitters have had.

    ZiPS has 4 players with a mean projection of .300 or higher (Cabrera, Braun, Cano, Votto). That’s a completely different thing than saying “ZiPS only projects there to be 4 .300 hitters in 2013.” That’s just not how probability works. Mauer’s at 48%, Posey 46%, Cargo 44%, Beltre 45%, Butler 41%, Ortiz 42%, Tulo 43%, Castro 38%, Reyes 37%, Kemp 36%, Molina 33% – obviously a lot of those guys *are* going to hit .300.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 21, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

  28. The Mesoraco to Charles Johnson comp is amusing. Could not be more different behind the dish and from what the scouting reports said up to last year could not be more different when at the plate either. Maybe the sum is an equally valuable player? Just very different routes of acheiving said value?

    Comment by Matt — January 21, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

  29. It’s offense (I haven’t found much use for defensive comps)

    When you combine minor league translations (neutral league, neutral park), ZiPS’ best guess for Devin Mesoraco’s currentl level of offensive ability at this minute at 237/310/399. The best guess for Johnson after 1996 was 234/312/409. There’s a lot more in it, but comps will tend to be pretty close BA/OBP/SLG wise.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 21, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

  30. Why don’t you guys do 95% confidence intervals rather than the mean projection? Do people get more confused than they are by the mean projections since your average sports fan doesn’t understand a normal distribution?

    Additionally, is there anywhere I could see your confidence intervals?

    Comment by Ben Brennan — January 21, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

  31. He can’t steal first.

    Comment by chuckb — January 21, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

  32. I certainly didn’t mean to offend your system Dan. I am a very big fan of ZiPS. Thank you for the primer though. When viewing ZiPS projections I must constantly remind myself to think probabilistically. Just as a poker player who plays all night would be lucky if he never took a single bad beat (despite having favorable odds in each of his particular hands), a projection system such as ZiPS would be “surprised” if only 4 players topped .300 despite ostensibly predicting it.

    Comment by Jay — January 21, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

  33. Jay, it was more a general description while I was there, in addition to responding to your post. The “pessimistic!” comments are always lurking ’round the corner.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 21, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

  34. I’ll have the usual ODDIBE stuff in the spreadsheet.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 21, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

  35. Well, yes and no. The depth chart summation is indeed 46 WAR. However, when you add up the individual position players and individual rotation pieces, you get 40 rather than 42 wins, due to so many more values being rounded up, rather than down.

    So, 89 as opposed to 91 (by this methodology, anyway). If they win more than 90, I’d be surprised. More than 92-or-3, I’d be shocked. Last year, the Reds were the “secret Orioles” of the N.L., as they won a hugely disproportionate number of close games (1 or 2 runs), and so vastly exceeded their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-order win totals.

    1st order 90 wins in 2012
    2nd order 88 wins
    3rd order 86 wins

    Jocketty has been properly aggressive in his off-season moves, and there’s no way this team will backslide, a la 2011. But Chapman and Choo are dicerolls, and they’d both have to turn out almost perfectly (like combining for double-digit WAR) for this team to equal last year’s W/L record, much less win 100 games.

    Comment by Bob — January 21, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

  36. They’re not career comps, but recent history comps – performance that happened 10 years ago is worthless in a projection.

    And given that Rolen turns 38 near the beginning of the season, his late 30s can’t be comparable to Ryan Zimmerman’s late 30s, considering Zim hasn’t sniffed 30 yet.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 21, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

  37. I think the projection is a little light for Frazier. Not sure I like using minor league historical stats for projecting future MLB performance, especially for someone like Frazier who spent the minors roaming from position to position. I think a 2.7 WAR average is much more in line with what folks should expect, with the potential of a 4.0 if things break right.

    Comment by wanderin — January 21, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

  38. True, but it does have him down for a .330 OBP in 650 PA. I think that if he’s on base more than 200 times that he’s going to have more than 54 SB.

    Comment by RMR — January 21, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

  39. The problem with Dusty isn’t the 120+ pitch counts, its the games when he leaves a kid in to throw 35+ pitches in the 2nd inning. The tires out, his mechanics go out the window, and he puts undue stress on his arm, but old DB doesn’t want to call a long reliever for some random April game…

    Comment by MLB Rainmaker — January 21, 2013 @ 11:37 pm

  40. Dont you usually try to use same position players for the comps?
    Jay Bruce comp is Carlos Pena?

    Comment by DoubleDave — January 22, 2013 @ 9:11 am

  41. (This is a reply to Dan, but there’s no “Reply” button under his post)

    I just looked at Score’s BBRef page, and I can’t believe that’s Chapman’s #1 comp. Starting in his age-25 season (Chapman this coming season will be 25) Score was no longer any good – 86 ERA+, 1.55 WHIP, 1.1 k/bb.

    If it’s based on his age-24 season, Score was already an established starter, but that was the season he was hit and only pitched 36 innings (and Chapman doubled that last season). If it’s based on career through 24, that doesn’t make sense either, as Score already had 70 starts and 512 IP before his age-25 season (compared to only 135 IP for Chapman).

    Comment by Pete — January 22, 2013 @ 10:13 am

  42. Bailey’s ERA last year was more luck based than peripheral based so ZIPS is just assuming he pitches to the peripherals. If you buy into his 2nd half surge I could see him being a really good pitcher but it is pretty hard for a computer to just assume that is a new level given how few innings it was in.

    Comment by Ender — January 22, 2013 @ 10:49 am

  43. Rickie Weeks looks like a HOF player for months at a time too, he still ends up being Rickie Weeks by the end of the season. Trying to assume a lot from a small sample is dangerous and would lead to a really bad projection system.

    Comment by Ender — January 22, 2013 @ 10:51 am

  44. Dan,

    Is the Latos comp. correct? John Thomson had a career K/9 of less than 6, which just makes the comparison seem quite odd given Latos’s K/9 prowess to-date.

    Comment by Marver — January 22, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

  45. It’s closer than it looks – Coors is a rough park for strikeouts while Petco is very good (Great American about average). Add in that the Thomson years being compared to also include his final year in the minor (when it still looked like he’d be a better strikeout pitcher than he turned out to be) and NL average K/9 is nearly an entire strikeout a game higher than the mid-late 90s and the disparity gets trimmed down.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 22, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

  46. ZiPS tries, but if a player at a nearby position is significantly closer offensively you’ll see a corner outfielder get compared to a 1B, a 2B to a 3B or SS, etc.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 22, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

  47. Simply put, it’s much less accurate if your ignore minor league data. I’ve encountered this argument since the moment I started doing basic projections in the late 90s, for example, with Chris Singleton. Most sophomore slumps are, in fact, simply a player that was performing at a higher-than-expected level regressing to a more typical place in the career patterns.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 22, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

  48. I’m mainly concerned with the defensive projection. I also wonder if the ZIPS projection is weighing his performance at 1B and the OF too heavily, when it is generally assumed that he will spend most of his time at 3B (his best position IMO) next season.

    Let’s not forget that he split time between four positions last year, but should be able to concentrate on 3B this season. He passes my eye test for the position, especially when one compares him to rest of the ineptness at 3B found across the league.

    Furthermore, I have to wonder why Broxton is only projected to throw 48 IP, when he should clearly set for 60-80 IP. He’s fully recovered from his injury.

    Between Frazier and Broxton, I think another 2 WAR is a conservative addition to the overall projection.

    Comment by wanderin — January 23, 2013 @ 1:00 am

  49. Well that makes too much sense, Dan!

    Comment by Jimmy D — January 23, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

  50. And then he gets people bitching and moaning that he over-works his long relievers. Dusty get more unreasonable complaints than anyone outside of New York.

    Comment by Jason — February 15, 2013 @ 11:07 am

  51. Kanekoa Texeira’s comp is Ed Sprague. Position change in his future?

    Comment by ColonelTom — February 16, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

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