Author Archive

2016 ZiPS Projections – Los Angeles Dodgers

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 Los Angeles Dodgers. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Houston / Kansas City / Minnesota / New York AL / New York NL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / San Diego / Seattle / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
It’s not particularly common for one of the strongest teams in the majors to acquire a new best position player. Theoretically, such a club already features an assortment of talented players; otherwise, it wouldn’t have been one of the strongest teams in the majors. And yet, this is effectively what the Dodgers — who recorded the third-best Base Runs record in the league last year — it’s effectively what they’ll have done by deploying Corey Seager (643 PA, 3.9 zWAR) as their opening-day shortstop this spring. A projection represents an attempt to estimate a player’s true-talent level. Seager’s true talent appears to be more talented than everyone else’s.

There’s some uncertainty at the moment regarding new manager Dave Roberts‘ plans for the outfield. According to Dan Szymborski’s computer, allowing Joc Pederson (571 PA, 3.1 zWAR) to retain his starting center-field role would be part of the club’s optimal arrangement. As for second base, there doesn’t appear to be an optimal arrangement yet: both Enrique Hernandez (437 PA, 1.3 zWAR) and Chase Utley (464 PA, 1.1 zWAR) receive rather modest forecasts.

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FanGraphs Audio: Doctor of Jurisprudence Nathaniel Grow

Episode 624
Nathaniel Grow is a contributor to the electronic pages of FanGraphs and also a doctor of jurisprudence, by virtue of which latter distinction he serves as a professor at the University of Georgia. Here he discusses certain issues wherein baseball and the law meet — including, but not limited to, the class-action suit which challenges Major League Baseball’s practice of assigning exclusive local broadcast territories and also the recent case of Chris Correa, the Astros’ Ground Control database, and the hacking of the latter by the former.

This edition of the program is sponsored by Draft, the first truly mobile fantasy sports app. Compete directly against idiot host Carson Cistulli by clicking here.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 47 min play time.)

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2016 ZiPS Projections – Houston Astros

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 Houston Astros. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Kansas City / Minnesota / New York AL / New York NL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / San Diego / Seattle / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
Whether by accident or design, the current iteration of the Astros does appear nevertheless to reveal a clue as to the method by which the club’s roster has been constructed. Per ZiPS, there are two sorts of player among Houston’s starting nine: those whose projected WAR figures can be rounded comfortably to three wins or higher, and those whose forecasts are rounded merely to a single win. Only two players (Evan Gattis and Jon Singleton) occupy the latter group and — again, whether by coincidence or not — they also happen to occupy those positions which require the least defensive skill (or, in the case of designated hitter, no defensive skill at all). One could reasonably make a case that the club has prioritized acquiring and/or developing players with some manner of defensive value. The case may not be correct, but at least it’s capable of being presented with tolerable credulity.

One player who possesses considerable offensive and defensive talent — and who was also a rookie in 2015 — is shortstop Carlos Correa. On the verge of entering just his age-21 season, Correa is the recipient of the top projection among the club’s entire roster, forecast to produce roughly five wins in 2016 on the strength not merely of average shortstop defense but also the team’s best batting line. Owing to how none of us is immune from the icy grip of the Reaper, Correa won’t be great forever. That said, he appears entirely capable of approximating those early versions of Troy Tulowitzki who avoided injury.

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FanGraphs Audio: Dave Cameron on the 2016 Win Projections

Episode 623
Dave Cameron is both (a) the managing editor of FanGraphs and (b) the guest on this particular edition of FanGraphs Audio, during which edition he considers, among other sundry topics, the first iteration of FanGraphs’ 2016 win projections and also what one might learn about Mike Trout‘s future by inspecting Ken Griffey Jr.‘s past.

This edition of the program is sponsored by Draft, the first truly mobile fantasy sports app. Compete directly against idiot host Carson Cistulli by clicking here.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 41 min play time.)

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Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 1/11/16

12:05
Dan Szymborski: Noon: A Time for Chats.
12:05
Dan Szymborski: Welcome to the Dan Szymborsk Hour of Glower, in which all questions will be answered by flippant remarks!
12:05
Dan Szymborski: You know it’s quality when the host can’t spell his own last name.
12:06
Dan Szymborski: Chatter? Chatatrix? Chat Chairman? Commission of Chat?
12:06
Tim O.: The zips for the Mets has a lot of power projected for Michael Conforto (26 HR) – most of us has him pegged in the 18-20 area. Why the divergence?
12:06
Dan Szymborski: Well, I don’t know exact process most of you used because I’m not in your brains! That would be weird.

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2016 ZiPS Projections – New York Mets

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 New York Mets. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Kansas City / Minnesota / New York AL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / San Diego / Seattle / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
While not particularly relevant to the 2016 edition of the Mets, it’s difficult to examine the ZiPS projections below without also acknowledging the system’s relative optimism concerning free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (629 PA, 4.4 zWAR). The gap between Cespedes’s forecasted win total and Michael Conforto‘s second-best mark is equivalent to the gap between Conforto’s mark and the average of the club’s 11th- and 12th-best hitter projections. In other words: for whatever Cespedes’s flaws, his strengths appear capable of compensating for them at the moment.

Which isn’t to ignore another of the system’s perhaps surprsing outputs — namely, the projection for Conforto himself. Entering just his age-23 season, Conforto began the 2015 campaign as the left fielder for the High-A St. Lucie Mets. He’s expected to play that same position for the actual New York version of the team on opening day this year — and, it would seem, is a candidate to produce wins at a higher rate than any of his teammates.

In general, what the Mets feature is essentially the antithesis of a stars-and-scrubs configuration. The success of the club relies not on elite performances by one or two players, but rather the competence of the entire starting eight.

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FanGraphs Audio: Dayn Perry in Late Afternoon Beans, Part II

Episode 622
Dayn Perry is a contributor to CBS Sports’ Eye on Baseball and the author of three books — one of them not very miserable. He’s also the guest on this edition of FanGraphs Audio.

This edition of the program is sponsored by Draft, the first truly mobile fantasy sports app. Compete directly against idiot host Carson Cistulli by clicking here.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 1 hr 10 min play time.)

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2016 ZiPS Projections – San Diego Padres

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 San Diego Padres. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Kansas City / Minnesota / New York AL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / Seattle / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
The Padres entered the 2015 season having placed a sizable wager against the importance of outfield defense, choosing to deploy a unit consisting of Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton. It didn’t pay off particularly well: San Diego outfielders produced a collective -23.6 UZR, third-worst among all major-league clubs, while recording merely the 12th-best offensive line (107 wRC+) — i.e. not enough to compensate for the unit’s defensive shortcomings. Overall, the aforementioned triumvirate posted a combined 4.6 WAR, or 1.8 WAR per 600 plate appearances. Not terrible, that, but also not commensurate with the club’s financial investment in them.

Defense will be less of an issue for the team this year, according to Dan Szymborski’s computer. Jon Jay and Melvin Upton are both projected to provide slightly above-average defense as center fielders — and, owing to how the game is traditionally played, only one of them is likely to occupy center at any given time, meaning the second will probably be playing a very capable left field alongside the first. Travis Jankowski (439 PA, +8 DEF in CF) and the newly acquired Manuel Margot (518 PA, +7 DEF in CF) are also candidates to prevent runs at an above-average rate.

The flaw for the current iteration of the Padres isn’t so much outfield defense as it is almost all the other aspects of the club. This is perhaps best expressed by observing how Derek Norris (468 PA, 2.9 zWAR) receives the top projection among San Diego’s position players. Norris absolutely has his virtues. To say that he’s not an ideal franchise cornerstone, however, is to say a correct thing.

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2016 ZiPS Projections – Minnesota Twins

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 Minnesota Twins. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Kansas City / New York AL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / Seattle / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
At some level, the ZiPS projections for Minnesota — and, in particular, for the positional corps of the club — represent a best-case scenario: despite having dealt with injury in recent years, wunderkind prospects Byron Buxton and third baseman/left fielder Miguel Sano already possess two of the top-three WAR forecasts on the team. This is, in a sense, a desirable outcome: the organization’s most promising young players have developed, it would seem, into its most productive contributors.

Unfortunately, Buxton and Sano receive merely three-win projections — as opposed to, like, five-win ones. Which means that, if those two are the club’s “most productive contributors,” then the other contributors profile as roughly average or below that. The Twins actually do seem to possess quite a few players (Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Joe Mauer, Byung-ho Park, Trevor Plouffe) in the dependably average range — and in the era of two wild cards, average isn’t entirely undesirable. Given the current roster, however, it would appear as though “sneaking” into the postseason represents the team’s upside.

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2016 ZiPS Projections – Arizona Diamondbacks

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 Arizona Diamondbacks. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Kansas City / New York AL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / Seattle / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
Given the moves made by general manager Dave Stewart et al. this offseason — the signing of Zack Greinke, the exchange with Atlanta of three promising and cost-controlled pieces for Shelby Miller — it’s pretty clear that the club’s ambition is to win now. Of great assistance to that particular cause are Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock, both of whom had great seasons in 2015 and are projected by ZiPS to produce just over nine wins in 2016. They form a strong nucleus for the club.

Less strong are the parts surrounding that nucleus — the club’s figurative cytoplasm, to extend the metaphor clumsily. With the exception of indy league success story David Peralta, no other position player receives a forecast from ZiPS of two wins or more. The departure of Ender Inciarte appears to have created no little difficulty. The author of consecutive three-win seasons for Arizona, his absence compels the team to rely heavily on Yasmany Tomas, the author of one negative-wins season, to rebound from his difficult rookie campaign. ZiPS is pessimistic about Tomas offering anything much better than a replacement-level performance.

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FanGraphs Audio: Dave Cameron Really Analyzes It (Baseball)

Episode 621
Dave Cameron is both (a) the managing editor of FanGraphs and (b) the guest on this particular edition of FanGraphs Audio, during which edition he considers, for example, the Dodgers’ signings both of Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda (the latter pending a physical) and also a single, lonely rumor that has Alex Gordon going to the White Sox.

This edition of the program is sponsored by Draft, the first truly mobile fantasy sports app. Compete directly against idiot host Carson Cistulli by clicking here.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 42 min play time.)

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2016 ZiPS Projections – Cleveland Indians

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 Cleveland Indians. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Kansas City / New York AL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / Seattle / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
One challenge to understanding how ZiPS’ position-player forecasts reveal Cleveland’s actual strength as a club — one challenge to understanding that hinges upon the health of Michael Brantley. The left fielder underwent surgery on his right shoulder following the season. The original prognosis called for Brantley to return in mid-April. More recent reports, however, suggest that the 28-year-old might not be ready until June. ZiPS has no knowledge of Brantley’s injury either way, projecting the him to record more than three wins over the the course of a full season. He might be capable only of producing half that total.

Very probably because his club reached the postseason — and because he recorded a number of home runs in support of that particular cause — Houston shortstop Carlos Correa won the American League’s rookie of the year award in 2015. By WAR, it wasn’t particularly close. Which is to say: by WAR, Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor (and not Correa) was pretty clearly the AL’s top rookie. ZiPS is less optimistic about Lindor’s 2016 campaign, calling for regression in the 22-year-old’s plate-discipline and batted-ball numbers. Still, the computer expects Lindor to lead Cleveland’s field players in wins.

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FanGraphs Audio: The Dave Cameron Food Metaphor Episode

Episode 620
Dave Cameron is both (a) the managing editor of FanGraphs and (b) the guest on this particular edition of FanGraphs Audio, during which edition he employs no fewer than one (1) food metaphor while discussing, at different points, the Aroldis Chapman trade, the signing of Daniel Murphy, and the prospect of the Cubs as the league’s best team.

This edition of the program is sponsored by Draft, the first truly mobile fantasy sports app. Compete directly against idiot host Carson Cistulli by clicking here.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 37 min play time.)

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2016 ZiPS Projections – Chicago Cubs

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 Chicago Cubs. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Cincinnati / Kansas City / New York AL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / Seattle / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
About two weeks ago, Jeff Sullivan wrote a piece for this site examining the very real possibility that, as presently constituted, the Chicago Cubs are the best team in the majors. That claim was based, in no small part, on how the club possessed then — and still possesses today — the league’s best collective Steamer WAR projection. Given the numbers one finds below, it wouldn’t be surprising to find — when the present series of forecasts is complete — that the Cubs possess the top projected record by ZiPS, as well.

Among position players, the strengths are unsurprising. Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, and Anthony Rizzo amassed a total of 18 wins between them in 2015. Because negative regression is the rule, and not the exception, with regard to these sorts of star-level performances, ZiPS doesn’t call for an exact repeat of last year’s production. As a trio, however, that group is expected to log around 15 wins. That figure alone would represent a better mark than the overall totals posted by the position players of eight clubs in 2015.

Elsewhere, it isn’t entirely clear where Joe Maddon et al. will deploy Javier Baez. After recording starts at second, third, and short this past season both in Chicago and at Triple-A Iowa, Baez has recently made appearances in center field with Santurce, his Puerto Rican winter league club. He appears, within the depth chart below, as a platoon partner with Kyle Schwarber — although that’s a product more of “idle speculation” than “actual facts.” Whatever the particulars, ZiPS is optimistic regarding Baez’s 2016 campaign, calling for slightly more than two wins.

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2016 ZiPS Projections – Boston Red Sox

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 Boston Red Sox. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta / Baltimore / Cincinnati / Kansas City / New York AL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / Seattle / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
The object of considerable attention among the authors of this site, it’s probably not inaccurate to suggest that infielder/outfielder Mookie Betts is riddled with virtue. Or perhaps, afflicted by virtue. In either case, what he’s done is to parlay wide-ranging competence into a star-level profile. He’s projected to produce nearly a 20-20 season while also recording a strikeout rate of about 12%. He certainly doesn’t possess the skill set typical of a right fielder, but he’s equipped to produce wins anywhere, given an opportunity.

Elsewhere, one finds that (a) the second-best projection among Boston’s field players belongs to another 23-year-old, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, (b) ZiPS forecasts a slightly above-average season for Jackie Bradley Jr., and (c) Hanley Ramirez receives a defensive projection for first base!

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Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 12/28/15

12:15
Derek Carr: Kenta to the Dodgers is all but done, right? He was visiting the stadium over the weekend
12:15
Dan Szymborski: While it seems likely, lots of things have seemed likely.
12:16
Dan Szymborski: Remember when everybody in the world was 100% sure Bernie Williams was going to sign with the Diamonbdbacks?
12:16
Dan Szymborski: And I’m saving the off-topic questions for the Lightning ROund
12:16
Dan Szymborski: Unless it looks like nobody’s here, possibly caused by the weird time we started.
12:16
BK: Simply looking for a gut reaction here: If you were Carlos Correa, what number would it take for you to sign a lifetime contract right now (same AAV every year, deal pays until you’re 38)?

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FanGraphs Audio: An Intimate Hour with Jeff Sullivan

Episode 619
Jeff Sullivan is a senior editor at FanGraphs. He’s also the only guest on this edition of FanGraphs Audio.

This edition of the program is sponsored by Draft, the first truly mobile fantasy sports app. Compete directly against idiot host Carson Cistulli by clicking here.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 58 min play time.)

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2016 ZiPS Projections – Seattle Mariners

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 Seattle Mariners. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta / Baltimore / Cincinnati / Kansas City / New York AL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / Texas / Toronto.

Batters
The arrival of Jerry Dipoto in Seattle has been accompanied by considerable turnover within the club’s roster — some of which is represented in the major-league depth chart. Nori Aoki, Chris Iannetta, and Adam Lind all receive projections in the one-win range. Not unexpected, that, but also not a source of great inspiration to the people of Seattle. Then there’s the case of Leonys Martin. Rendered more or less redundant in Texas, the center fielder is projected to produce 2.5 wins in roughly two-thirds playing time, one of the best marks among the club’s position players.

Elsewhere, the strengths of the club remain the same. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager are all forecast to record three or more wins. This is particularly encouraging for Cano. After posting a 2.1 WAR in nearly 700 plate appearances this past season, Cano is expected to approach the four-win threshold in 2016.

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FanGraphs Audio: Dave Cameron Opts to Analyze All Baseball

Episode 618
Dave Cameron is both (a) the managing editor of FanGraphs and (b) the guest on this particular edition of FanGraphs Audio, during which edition he examines the utility — both for player and club — of the opt-outs appearing in recent free-agent contracts.

This edition of the program is sponsored by Draft, the first truly mobile fantasy sports app. Compete directly against idiot host Carson Cistulli by clicking here.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximately 39 min play time.)

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Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 12/21/15

12:05
Dan Szymborski: There are already 50 questions!
12:05
Dan Szymborski: I blame Cistulli for this somehow.
12:05
Jones: Braves have done a great job restocking their farm system. However, I feel like they only have maybe a couple actual elite prospects (Swanson, maybe Newcome & Albies). Would you agree, or are there some others in the system you think are elite prospects?
12:06
Dan Szymborski: While they’re nto overflowing with elites, they have a lot of *upside* guys, like some of the lower-level pitching they’ve stocked. They’re going to hit on some of those out of quantity.
12:06
David: What’s the biggest amount you earn on a bet?
12:07
Dan Szymborski: 4400. Bet on Scherzer to win the Cy Young before 2013.

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