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  1. But will Trevor Rosenthal ever have an opportunity to start??

    Comment by Ziggy — January 25, 2013 @ 8:05 am

  2. Kolten Wong seems to be ranked fairly high – a result of his defense entering the equation? I like the optimism with Wong, however he has never been projected to have much pop. How different do you anticipate his ceiling being from the numbers listed here? 10-15 HR a year max? Jose Altuve is already nearing those numbers for power… seems to reason Wong might have more pop than him, no?

    Please rank over the next 5 years: Altuve, Wong, Segura, Kipnis, Espinosa, Profar. Thanks!

    Comment by Ziggy — January 25, 2013 @ 8:11 am

  3. Oscar Taveras’ top comp is Ken Griffey Jr. Woah!

    Comment by Go-Toba — January 25, 2013 @ 8:25 am

  4. What sort of team win probability can you take from ZIPs? The reason I ask, is the Cardinals total WAR tally of 31 seems low, especially compared to the Reds and their WAR tally of 44. Could this indicate that the Reds are more heavily favored than most people thought?

    Comment by Haastile — January 25, 2013 @ 8:31 am

  5. They got hurt by some rounding. Molina is projected to be worth 4.4 and Holliday 3.4 and both of those are rounded down so thats almost a whole extra win right there.

    Comment by Tim — January 25, 2013 @ 8:49 am

  6. 2010 AAA is really messing with Lynn…

    Oscar, nice!

    Comment by BobbyS — January 25, 2013 @ 8:57 am

  7. The projections for Taveras and Wong are very encouraging. As for everyone else… I’ll take the over. The Cardinals posted the highest WAR total in the NL last year with 52+. Some regression is expected, but 20 WAR?

    Also, while of course ZiPS shouldn’t account for this, the reason Lynn has seen his strikeout rate go up is due to an increase in velocity. He’s throwing much harder now than he was when he was drafted. There’s actually an upward trend in his minor league strikeout numbers as he added velocity.

    Comment by Jay — January 25, 2013 @ 9:14 am

  8. I called that before I opened the link.

    Comment by d_i — January 25, 2013 @ 9:20 am

  9. So does ZiPS ever come around on guys with high BABIPs? I know the Coors issue complicates things, but Holliday’s career marks are quite consistent, and even using his career road BABIP and adjusting the few points for a standard home/away BABIP split will put him in the mid .330s.

    Comment by Sparkles Peterson — January 25, 2013 @ 9:51 am

  10. Wasn’t there an article on fangraphs last year indicating that the cardinals high bapips were largely based on their approach and the fact that they consistently crush the ball on the ground? Zips is using bapip numbers far below career averages for almost every player. I”m aware that no one particularly cares about my math, but with conservative projections on playing time and using career bapips I came up with around 42-43 WAR…

    Comment by john joe — January 25, 2013 @ 9:57 am

  11. One thing that ZiPS doesn’t know about Lance Lynn is that some time around the latter third of 2010, he suddenly found about 4 extra mph on his fastball. That transformed him in 2011 from a workmanlike back-of-the-rotation guy to a fire-breathing reliever who was able to carry the velocity upgrade over into the starting rotation in 2012. There is every reason that that upgrade is here to stay.

    A shortcoming of ZiPS — no criticism implied, it’s the nature of the beast — is that it cannot deal accurately with someone who has, as they say, “figured something out.” Lynn seems to qualify. I will be very interested to see this year whether Pete Kozma has figured something out too. No way will he be as good as his magical month of September 2012, but there may be other explanations than (or on top of) small sample size. If so, a 50-point upgrade in his OPS might be coming, which still leaves him well short of stardom but at least promotes him into the realm of the useful.

    Comment by Bad Bill — January 25, 2013 @ 10:27 am

  12. So you and ZiPS are both a little weird?

    Comment by philosofool — January 25, 2013 @ 10:39 am

  13. So what is the plan for Taveras? Another full year in the minors?

    Comment by TKDC — January 25, 2013 @ 11:04 am

  14. The Cardinals never profile very well with projection systems because they have a typically high amount of guys with significant injury risk. Obviously no different this year.

    Wonder why Holliday isn’t highly regarded. He’s typically one of the most consistent players in MLB.

    Comment by Matt — January 25, 2013 @ 11:05 am

  15. Yeah, these projections look terrible, especially for the hitters. Molina’s dropping back down to 4 WAR? Jay’s average is going to drop 20 points? Holliday and Beltran are going to lose all their power?


    Comment by Evan — January 25, 2013 @ 11:57 am

  16. Holliday’s power looks about the same (22 HR in 609 PA ZiPS vs 27 HR in 688 PA 2012), ISO isn’t fair for regression. Same with Beltran.

    Molina has a 4.4 WAR as a mean projection… which is very solid, and of course there are good odds he can out perform that.


    Comment by BobbyS — January 25, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  17. *isn’t unfair.

    Comment by BobbyS — January 25, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  18. I’d probably take the over on Holliday too, but not to an extreme.

    I’ll reiterate what I said in the Mets comments. Take a 33-year-old, solidly above-average player. Put an X where his recent play has been and draw a distribution curve for what you expect his possible projected results should be. If the curve you’ve drawn is symmetrical, you’ve missed the plot.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 25, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

  19. The comments on these projections are consistently hilarious.

    Comment by Baron Samedi — January 25, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

  20. Blocked?

    Comment by philosofool — January 25, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

  21. How crazy is it that the comps for both Freese and Jackson are Tim Naehring?

    Comment by stan — January 25, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

  22. Probably a dumb question but I’ll ask anyway. Does a ‘final review’ of ZIPS get published in terms of comparing actual and projected production somewhere? I Would be curious to see this.

    Comment by MSom13 — January 25, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

  23. I take Carlos Martinez’s absence to indicate ZiPS thinks he’d be a trainwreck in the majors this year?

    Comment by byron — January 25, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

  24. So, lemme get this straight.

    Cubs = 30 WAR according to ZiPS.

    StL = 31 WAR.

    That’s hucking filarious.

    Tell you what, Dan. How much do you trust your system? I’ll give you the Cubs and 5 games in the standings for $100. And you get 2-1 odds. Whadda ya say? How about 10 games in the standings, even-up, for $200?

    Or to put it another way, I believe one of your co-workers quoted Sky K. as putting the Cubs’ chances of 91 wins at 3%. I’m guessing the Cardinals’ odds are roughly 30-40%. St. Louis has apparently broken your system. ;)

    Comment by Bob — January 25, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

  25. still, if the replacement level team is 49 or 50 wins or so, then the cards are projected to be just barely at .500. if the replacement level team is 47 wins (which i thought i saw somewhere), then they are projected to lose more than win. they seem like a better team than that.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — January 25, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

  26. The problem is, you don’t have it straight. Insert winky face.

    Comment by BobbyS — January 25, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

  27. I love these projections. The comps section is the most fun for me. One of the takeaways I got from these is that Ellis Burks is very underrated. I saw the comp next to Beltran and thought Beltran was better, until I looked at Burks page. 48.2 career WAR , .379 wOBA and 126 wRC+. Obviously the run environment is different now but look at some of his individual years. Baseball continues to surprise me.

    Comment by Atari — January 25, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

  28. You also have to remember that playing time isn’t factored in to the ‘rough’ depth chart. So players who play more than the projected amount will see their WAR increase, or be complimented by the value of whoever is taking up the missing playing time. Only one player is projected at 600 PA, and then if somebody like Carpenter manages 180 IP, he’s doubling his surface value here.

    Comment by BobbyS — January 25, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

  29. There are only 19 players listed in the depth chart above. The sum of the 2013 Cardinals will be greater than those 19.

    Freese is projected at 2WAR in under 500 PA. Ditto Furcal, Descalso, Craig, Beltran. In those five positions there are > 750 PA unaccounted for. Either those players are healthy, play more, and produce more, or they are hurt and subs fill in and produce something. There are only five RP listed above, and STL will use at least twice that many, with the others having some value.

    Comment by themiddle54 — January 25, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

  30. Please ;) feel free ;) to elaborate. ;)

    Comment by Bob — January 25, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

  31. Bob, see my post above.

    Comment by themiddle54 — January 25, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

  32. Let’s count the fails.

    1. Let’s add up the rounded WARs! Not actual WARs.
    2. Let’s only count the starters and ignore PAs and replacements!
    3. Let’s simply add up mean WARs and count that a projection!

    ZiPS actually projects the Cardinals, as of now, to win 86 games.

    Power tip for dealing with projections: bothering to understand what they actually are is more than half the battle.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 25, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

  33. I don’t publish anything as I have an obvious conflict of interest.

    Someone’s done an independent look every year. The only one I’ve seen this year is the one that Geoff Buchan did. If Tango’s done a 2012, I missed it.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 25, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

  34. The total from the depth chart is 31 WAR, not 20. Still, the number is shockingly low. The post explains much of this.
    I’m sure the Cards will come out better when Zym does the team projections.

    Comment by Baltar — January 25, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

  35. Your estimate sounds about right.

    Comment by Baltar — January 25, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

  36. I meant a drop of 20. 52 – 31 = 21. Poor phrasing on my part.

    Comment by Jay — January 25, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

  37. These are not his team projections. Zym does not regard these WAR totals as valid for team projection. He will do that separately later.
    Still, the Cards will probably come out lower than any of us would have expected.
    I will bet you a large amount at very high odds that if you project WAR for all teams or all players, that ZiPS will be far closer to correct in aggregate.

    Comment by Baltar — January 25, 2013 @ 2:32 pm


    Comment by Anon — January 25, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

  39. Ellis Burks is one of those guys you could make a sketchy Hall of Fame case for if you argued that the league averages were distorted by PEDs but presumed (Very probably unwisely) that Burks was clean for that stellar run in the second half of his career. Underrated while he was playing, and definitely now.

    Comment by Sparkles Peterson — January 25, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

  40. “In 414.1 minor-league innings, Lynn posted strikeout and walk rates of 7.8 and 3.3, respectively, per nine innings. As a major leaguer, in fewer (210.2) innings, he’s posted strikeout and walk rates of 9.4 and 3.2, respectively, per nine innings. It’s generally not the case that pitchers’ raw numbers improve with a promotion to a higher level.”

    Clearly, he’s not a minor league pitcher, he’s a major league pitcher.

    Comment by Joe Morgan — January 25, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

  41. Can someone tell me what the base number of wins expected from a replacement level team? I’m sure its somewhere, I just can’t find it.

    For example, this reports shows all the Cardinal regulars (no bench players) adding up to 31 WAR. What number is that added to to estimate their projected number of team wins for the year?


    Comment by Sabean Wannabe — January 26, 2013 @ 11:39 am

  42. For entertainment purposes only, the following shows the number of wins that would be projected for a team using Dan Szymborski’s projection of 45 for an all-replacement level team and the total rounded WAR from the depth chart for each team whose ZiPS have been published so far.
    Note: this calculation is not valid, for reasons Dan has written many times, but it is interesting to me as a very rough indication, and perhaps it will be for some of you.

    AL East

    Blue Jays 90

    AL Central

    Tigers 92
    White Sox 84
    Royals 83
    Astros 61

    AL West

    Angels 96
    Rangers 88
    Athletics 78

    NL East

    Nationals 92
    Phillies 80
    Mets 64

    NL Central

    Reds 91
    Brewers 80
    Cardinals 76
    Cubs 75
    Pirates 75

    NL West

    Giants 88
    D’backs 81
    Rockies 78

    Comment by Baltar — January 26, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

  43. Blocked by injury prone players though… I think he’s up after the ASB

    Comment by AJ — January 26, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

  44. Thanks. I realize the caveats – rounding, PAs, no numbers from reserve among others, etc. Its just an interesting talking point. I had thought the replacement level team number was 51 or 54 or something like that. I guess I was wrong.

    Comment by Sabean Wannabe — January 26, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

  45. I didn’t know the Astros were in the AL Central

    Comment by Dave S — January 26, 2013 @ 11:37 pm

  46. You’re right–they are in the West. I will change them to the correct division before I post this chart again.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Baltar — January 27, 2013 @ 11:07 am

  47. Considering the misuse of WAR in this context (not you, you clearly outlined why it doesn’t work), I’m probably only going to release WAR in the final spreadsheet next year. Despite my non-stop statements that it’s an invalid method for calculating the projected wins, I’m getting non-stop angry emails and tweets from people who do it anyway, and then blame me when the result from an invalid method isn’t what they wanted. I prefer my normal level of grief reception.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 27, 2013 @ 11:24 am

  48. I think it is perceptive that you have lowered expectations for Cards’ hitters BABIP based on some limited MLB samples. You obviously anticipate a correction with projected lower hitting performances. I noted this last year with your projections and Steamers, too. However, another season went by and the same hitters in question duplicated their previous successes.

    I looked over your talking points. I then looked over the minor league BABIP’s of the players you mentioned, and their minor BABIPs were practically the same as the MLB performance.

    It appears to me that these guys are wonderfully consistent and have translated their high MiLB BABIP into MLB output.

    In watching most of these players, I note they frequently use all fields in their hitting approach. The memory of David Freese drive to the RF corner eluding Nelson Cruz in the 2011 playoff game 6 was not an anomaly for him. Freese seems to drive the ball to RF alot along with Craig and Holliday.

    Maybe there is something to this approach that defies the conventional wisdom that BABIP has to revert to mean.

    Otherwise, thanks for your great projections and hard work.

    Comment by allan — January 27, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

  49. Dan, don’t weenie out like that. There’s a fraction of people who will always ignore and/or misuse the results. Just explain the caveats enough to refer wingnuts back to some key text, and let the other 98% enjoy and peruse the results on a realistic, useful schedule.

    I get the same thing all the time in my day job. It sucks, but I can’t hobble my analyses to suit the lower common denominator.

    Comment by psuedoscience — January 27, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

  50. Exactly. Study spray charts of abnormally high BABIP performers; check for correlation. Do this, some industrious person!


    Comment by Ichiro! — January 27, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

  51. Psuedo, I’m sure I won’t wuss out in the end. It’s just especially frustrating at times.

    Comment by Dan Szymborski — January 27, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

  52. Oscar Taveras is 20. He doesn’t turn 21 until June.

    Comment by wobatus — January 27, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

  53. OK.

    I checked out Freese’s home season hit chart.

    Here is what I found unless I got the count wrong a little after staring at the blue and red boxes for awhile.

    Freese had 74 hits at home, 73 hits away. At home, he had 33 hits to left and left-center, 16 hits up the middle, and 25 to right center and right field. Despite Freese being a RH hitter, he only “pulled” 45% of his hits
    while going up the middle or going the “other way” 55% of his hits.

    The breakdown is this:
    Left- 45%
    Center- 21%
    Right – 34%

    Despite Freese’s fairly high K-rate, he is a hitter who has a disciplined approach to use the whole field. This seems to be reflected in his batting average, as he has hit above .290 in all three of his last seasons, and is a .296 career hitter. He appears pretty consistent.

    His HR numbers were even better going the opposite way.

    Of his eight home runs at home, he hit five of them to Right, and three to left, none to center, during the 2012 regular season. The breakdown:

    LF- 37.5%
    CF- 0%
    RF- 62.5%

    Perhaps, as I speculated, being able to use all fields, increases the chances of a higher BABIP and may prevent a regression to a mean BABIP. If Freese decides to hit more HR’s, which he hit the ’20’ plateau for the first time this past season, and becomes more “pull happy,” no doubt, his BABIP will suffer.

    Projection systems however, do not seem tailored to determine whether hitters use all fields consistently to determine BABIP on the high side, as such systems rely on numerical and statistical data. If this should stand as a reliable supposition, then such accounting of hit direction may contribute to a more subtle adjustment to BABIP and batting average projection.

    I am not sure yet how this correlates with the whole spectrum at all as I have only time to do one sample, David Freese, but having watched Craig and Holliday some, I have seen them use RF fairly well too, with Craig getting the big hit off Obando in the ’06 Series… to right field.

    The trend with the Cardinals’ hitters is that they have been taught to use
    “patience.” Translated, this means to go with what is being pitched rather than get frustrated looking for something you like, get behind in the count, and then be forced to hit the pitcher’s best offerings. Mark McGwire was the hitting coach and despite his HR proclivities, was a fairly patient hitter.

    Again, though, more samples would be ideal to make this more credible.

    Comment by allan — January 27, 2013 @ 8:51 pm

  54. I don’t understand the comps.

    Are those comps for the players to perform like those players did in those specific years?

    Or are they comps for the players career?

    The Griffey one seems kind of out there, and I love Taveras! But I don’t see him having 50 home run power and being able to stay in center like Griffey…or eventually show 600 home runs.

    I think he is more like a Vlad Guerrero personally.

    Comment by Jeffrey — January 27, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

  55. * but a little less power

    Comment by Jeffrey — January 27, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

  56. Comment by Zach — January 28, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

  57. ok, HTML fail. See the definition of “baseball age” –

    Comment by Zach — January 28, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

  58. Could you expand the depth chart to include first two guys off the bench? Would like you to make a judgment call and just show the WAR projections of who the PH/def replacement/supersubs if possible. Don’t need a section for it every time as I like the bench/prospects section. I just think the depth chart needs to reveal a little more about the actual depth of the team…

    Comment by mike — January 28, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

  59. Yeah, I know, although the article says he is 21. This may be defined as his age 21 season coming up, but since he won’t turn 21 for more than 6 months into this year, I would just call him 20. It’s a quibble, I know.

    Comment by wobatus — January 28, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

  60. Oh, and just to clarify, I don’t take issue with his “age” being listed as 21 in the spreadsheet. It is the reference in the article that he and Wong are “21 and 22 years old.” Wong is 22 years old. Taveras is 20 years old for 6 more months. Even though this is his age 21 season in baseball terms.

    How’s that for picayune?

    Comment by wobatus — January 29, 2013 @ 11:01 am

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