Archive for 2017 ZiPS Projections

2017 ZiPS Projections – Cincinnati Reds

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 Cincinnati Reds. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Colorado / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / Oakland / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Texas / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
Cincinnati produced the worst BaseRuns record in the majors last year, tied with a very rebuilding Philadelphia team. The club’s field players weren’t really the problem, however, recording just a few wins less than a league-average unit.

The projections here reflect the general competence of the club’s position players. After Joey Votto (592 PA, 4.6 zWAR), who unsuprisingly receives the top wins forecast in the organization, there exists a collection of reasonably useful pieces. The front office probably deserves credit, in fact, for some of its discoveries. Adam Duvall (549, 1.9), Scott Schebler (564, 1.7), and Eugenio Suarez (608, 2.3) all profile as roughly league-average types, for example, despite having appeared on zero top-100 lists collectively as prospects.

This isn’t to suggest that there’s no room for improvement among the batting types here, but rather that “average” is probably not an unreasonable outcome for this group.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – New York Mets

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

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Colorado / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / Oakland / Pittsburgh / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Texas / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
Only four Mets field players recorded a WAR figure of 2.0 or greater in 2016. According to Dan Szymborski’s computer, six different Mets might be expected to reach that mark in 2017. Yoenis Cespedes (596 PA, 4.1 zWAR) receives the club’s top projection by a full win — and three of the club’s top-four forecasts overall belong to outfielders. One of those additional outfielders is Curtis Granderson (538, 2.3). The other isn’t presumptive right-field starter Jay Bruce (583, 1.2) but rather Michael Conforto (558, 3.0). Conforto, in other words, appears to be a markedly superior option.

ZiPS doesn’t account for the nature of David Wright‘s (331, 1.1) injury over the past couple seasons, only that he’s missed time because of it. Following two abbreviated seasons, Wright unsurprisingly earns a muted playing-time projection for 2017. The rate numbers are predictably modest relative to Wright’s best seasons. He still appears to profile as an average player, though, when he’s on the field.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Colorado Rockies

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 Colorado Rockies. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / Oakland / Pittsburgh / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Texas / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
Colorado field players produced slightly fewer wins than the average unit in 2016. The numbers here suggest that, given reasonable health, that same group ought to rate as something slightly better than average in 2017. Unsurprisingly, Nolan Arenado (646 PA, 4.7 zWAR) receives the club’s top wins projection. ZiPS calls for Arenado not only to produce the top batting line on the team (.374 wOBA), but also — after accounting for the third-base positional adjustment — to produce more than a win with his glove.

Of some interest here is the projection for Ian Desmond (639, 1.7). He’s forecast to record +6 runs at first base, a position he’s played zero times as a professional. Of course, one would expect a former shortstop to handle first base with some ease; however, those curious about Szymborski’ methodology should definitely, definitely, definitely contact him definitely at @DSzymborski.

Finally, a brief examination of things reveals that Colorado employs not one, but two, Gerardo Parras: Parra himself and also Raimel Tapia. Tapia’s No. 1 comp is the 23-year-old version of Parra.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Texas Rangers

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 Texas Rangers. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / Miami / Oakland / Pittsburgh / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
The Texas Rangers added catcher Jonathan Lucroy (510 PA, 3.7 zWAR) at the trade deadline last year. A brief examination of the projections below reveals that Lucroy is forecast to produce more wins than any other Rangers field player in 2017. This would seem to be a harbinger of good things for Texas: a club that won its division by nine games just a year ago, and which has retained basically all its principal characters from the previous season, will now benefit from an even better principal character.

None of that is actually false. What that line of reasoning fails to acknowledge, however, is that the 2016 edition of the Texas Rangers was very likely the most fortunate club in the majors. On the one hand, they won 95 games. On the other, the salient indicators — in this case, represented by BaseRuns — suggest they played more like an 82-win club.

Unsurprisingly, the ZiPS projections here seem to call for something more like an average team than an elite one. Only three starting field players besides Lucroy receive a forecast for more than two wins. Three positions — first base, left field, and right field — are expected to contribute just a single win each.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Oakland Athletics

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 Oakland Athletics. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / Miami / Pittsburgh / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
Yesterday, in these pages, Jeff Sullivan wrote a brief post entitled “How Much Hope Do the Bad Teams Have?” In it, he examined the end-of-season outcomes for clubs that had received uninspiring preseason projections. It’s likely that Sullivan’s post has some relevance to this Oakland club as it’s currently constructed.

According to Dan Szymborski’s computer, only two field players, Marcus Semien (627 PA, 2.7 zWAR) and Stephen Vogt (467, 2.1), are expected to exceed the two-win threshold, typically the mark of an average player. By comparison, the Milwaukee Brewers — a club definitively in the midst of a rebuild — feature six field players forecast for two or more wins. Minnesota also has six. San Diego, five.

One, searching for optimism, might note that a number of Oakland’s starters — Rajai Davis (410, 1.1) and Jed Lowrie (399, 0.4), for instance — receive only modest plate-appearance projections, and thus better prorated figures. That said, the playing-time numbers are based on sums from previous seasons, too, which themselves have been modest due either to injury or role.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Pittsburgh Pirates

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 Pittsburgh Pirates. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / Miami / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
The projected starting lineup for the 2017 edition of the Pirates bears a strong resemblance to the one with which the club entered last season. The only substantive difference, actually, occurs at first base, where some combination of Josh Bell (612 PA, 1.6 zWAR) and David Freese (469, 1.9) appear likely to receive the bulk of plate appearances. On the whole, the result is an above-average squad. A group of eight average players would produce something like 16 wins; this group, meanwhile, is forecast for about 21.

Despite a poor 2016 campaign, Andrew McCutchen (641, 4.1) receives the club’s top wins projection for this next season. Much of that is due to positive regression on the offensive front, ZiPS calling for a 128 OPS+ after last season’s 103 mark. The defensive prognosis is less enthusiastic: McCutchen is forecast by Dan Szymborski’s computer for -10 runs in center field.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Baltimore Orioles

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 Baltimore Orioles. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / Miami / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
A few years ago, I experimented idly with a toy stat called Reckless Power (RECK, for short), calculated by dividing isolated slugging (SLG – AVG) by what’s sometimes called isolated patience (OBP – AVG). It identifies players whose power on contact far exceeds their selectivity. To get a sense of the scale, here’s a collection of the top 10 batters by RECK from 2016:

RECK Leaderboard, 2016
Name Team PA AVG OBP SLG RECK
Rougned Odor Rangers 632 .271 .296 .502 9.2
Matt Kemp – – – 672 .268 .304 .499 6.4
Didi Gregorius Yankees 597 .276 .304 .447 6.1
Jonathan Schoop Orioles 647 .267 .298 .454 6.0
Daniel Murphy Nationals 582 .347 .390 .595 5.8
Yasmany Tomas Diamondbacks 563 .272 .313 .508 5.8
Evan Longoria Rays 685 .273 .318 .521 5.5
Starlin Castro Yankees 610 .270 .300 .433 5.4
Carlos Beltran – – – 593 .295 .337 .513 5.2
Manny Machado Orioles 696 .294 .343 .533 4.9
Of 146 qualified batters.
RECK is (SLG – AVG) / (OBP – AVG).

League average is about 2.5. A score of 5.0 or higher typically earns a player a spot among the league’s top 10. Baltimore, one finds, placed two batters in the top 10 this past season. Another, Mark Trumbo, was 16th of 146 qualifiers. The Orioles, as a club, produced the highest RECK score in the majors, at 3.0.

The projections from Dan Szymborski’s computer suggest that Baltimore is likely to compete for that distinction again in 2017. Adam Jones (635 PA, .267/.304/.450, 5.0 RECK) and Jonathan Schoop (530, .264/.297.453, 5.8) are both forecast, essentially, to produce top-10 figures. Manny Machado (646, .289/.349/.511, 3.7) and Mark Trumbo (557, .251/.307/.491, 4.3) would both finish above the 75th percentile given their respective numbers.

In terms of wins and losses, this isn’t particularly illuminating. What it does illustrate, though, is how the Orioles have gone about scoring runs — and how they’ll score runs in 2017. By virtue largely of power on contact, is how.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Philadelphia Phillies

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 Philadelphia Phillies. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / Miami / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
The advantage, for a club, of embracing mediocrity is that it permits them to allocate plate appearances and innings to players who possess both clear strengths and obvious weaknesses. Odubel Herrera (609 PA, 3.6 zWAR) is perhaps the purest expression of this strategy and its benefits in all of baseball. Acquired by the Phillies in the Rule 5 draft and promptly handed a starting role at a position he’d basically never played, Herrera has produced roughly four wins each of the last two seasons. Szymborski’s computer suggests something approximating a third consecutive four-win campaign is probable. He’s an unambiguous success story.

Beyond Herrera, there isn’t much in the way of present impact talent. Maikel Franco (581, 2.6) is the only other likely starter to receive a projection better than two wins. Of some interest perhaps is the forecast for Cesar Hernandez (541, 1.7). The author of a four-win season in 2016, he’s forecast for only about half that in 2017. This isn’t surprising, necessarily: a not insignificant portion of Hernandez’s value last season was the product of a .363 BABIP and +13.9 UZR. ZiPS calls for a .340 BABIP and -1 fielding mark, instead.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Miami Marlins

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 Miami Marlins. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
In every season from 2011 to 2014, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (484 PA, 3.8 zWAR) produced the highest WAR total among Miami’s field players. In 2015, he produced the second-highest WAR total on the club — less due to his own shortcomings, however, and more to the .383 BABIP that allowed Dee Gordon (606, 2.1) to record a career-best offensive season. Stanton was almost unassailably the club’s top position player for a period of five years.

The 2016 campaign marked a departure for Stanton, however, from the top of the club’s leaderboard. Limited by injury to just 470 plate appearances, Statnton also produced the worst offensive season of his career. He finished sixth on the team in wins. At the same time, Christian Yelich (638 PA, 3.8) recorded his second four-win season over the last three years. Now the two receive the same win projection, is the point of these whole two paragraphs.

One note: Yelich is located at center field on the depth-chart image below, Marcell Ozuna (602, 2.5) in left — because that seems like the club’s probable alignment in 2017. The two are projected at the opposite positions, however. Generally speaking, there’s about a 10-run difference in the positional adjustment between left and center over the course of a full season. That would render Yelich (projected for +6 runs in left) about a -4 defender in center; Ozuna (projected for -3 runs in center), a +7 fielder in left.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – St. Louis Cardinals

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 St. Louis Cardinals. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
On Monday, the author of this post published the ZiPS projections for the Milwaukee Brewers. Among the findings one might have extracted from that document? No Brewers position player receives a forecast greater than 2.8 wins for 2017. Not much better than average, in other words.

Examining the numbers presented here, one finds a similar trend. Among those players currently employed by the St. Louis Cardinals, no batter is projected by Dan Szymborski’s computer to record more than 3.1 wins in 2017. Which is to say, not much better than average.

This might comes as a surprise. While the Brewers weren’t particularly good in 2016 and aren’t expected to be particularly good in 2017, the Cardinals missed the playoffs by a single game in 2016 and have comported themselves this offseason — as they have in many other, recent offseasons — as a team that intends to compete for a World Championship.

Pitching is one variable that separates the Cardinals and Brewers, of course. Another is sheer volume of competent pieces, though. The Cardinals appear to have a distinctly egalitarian approach to roster construction. While none of their starting field players is projected for more than 3.1 wins, all of them are forecast for more than 2.2 wins. They are infested with competence.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Los Angeles Dodgers

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

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager (675 PA, 5.4 zWAR) won the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award with ease in 2016. Were a similar award to exist for second-year players, Seager would be the favorite to win that, as well. ZiPS calls for Seager to record less gaudy BABIP and fielding numbers in 2017, but that’s to be expected. At the most basic level, a projection system is a regression machine. BABIP and fielding runs require large samples before they begin to represent true talent. As a second-year player, Seager lacks that kind of sample by definition.

Here’s some other news, though: ZiPS also projects a nearly three-point improvement in Seager’s strikeout rate, from 19.4% this past season to 16.7% in 2017. This does not appear to be a product of regression to the mean. It can’t really: the lowest strikeout rate National League batters have produced over the last three seasons is 19.9%. Szymborski’s computer, in other words, appears to be calling for actual improvement. Or perhaps a different sort of regression — regression to Seager’s 2015 numbers, when he made more contact in the minors and (for a brief stretch) majors. In any case, two propositions are true: both (a) Corey Seager is very good and (b) this section, which is intended to provide a brief overview of all the club’s starting field players, has failed to do that.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Milwaukee Brewers

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 Milwaukee Brewers. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / New York AL / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
Milwaukee general manager David Stearns has dedicated the first year-plus of his tenure with the Brewers to a pursuit of affordable pieces that might contribute to the club’s next winning season, while trading away the most valuable pieces of its most recent one. The ZiPS projections here reflect the results of that endeavor. On the one hand, no field player is projected to record more than three wins in 2017. (Jonathan Villar, at 2.8 zWAR, is best acquitted by that measure.) On the other hand, 20 positions players receive a forecast of 1.0 WAR or better.

For context, consider: three of the National League’s playoff clubs from 2016 have been included thus far in this series of ZiPS posts. By comparison, only 16 of the Cubs’ position players receive a projection of one win or better. Only 13 of Washington‘s do. And only 10 field players for the San Francisco Giants are expected to cross the one-win threshold, per ZiPS. Milwaukee, in other words, has gathered a large collection of players whose median probable outcome is slightly below average. Given the youth of that group, however, and the vagaries of the world, some of those players will develop into average or better players.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Minnesota Twins

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

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / New York AL / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
If you were to travel back to the winter of 2013-14 and inform the earlier version of yourself that, in just three years time, Joe Mauer (532 PA, 0.9 zWAR) would receive the worst projected WAR among all Twins starters, the young iteration of you would slap the older one right in the mouth. After that, he’d have some pretty understandable questions about how your journey to the recent past has been made possible and why you’ve chosen to make it. In that intial moment, however, the absurdity of your comments regarding Joe Mauer would overcome him.

On the one hand, this is a negative development for Minnesota. For the past couple years, they’ve typically run payrolls of about $100 million. Allocating nearly a quarter of that to a single win isn’t helpful.

On the other hand, this represents a very positive development for Minnesota — because Mauer’s projection isn’t that bad. Rather, a number of the other projections are just better. For the past couple years, the Twins have lacked an adequate supply of competent hitters and fielders. Regard: last season, their position players ranked 25th by WAR. The season before that? 27th. What the ZiPS numbers here depict is something much more like an average group — with serviceable depth, too.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Chicago White 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 Chicago White Sox. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / New York AL / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
The White Sox have dealt two of their best players this offseason, and reports indicate that at least one more trade is likely. As a result, these ZiPS projections serve not only as a preview for the 2017 edition of the club but also as an instrument to better evaluate trade value. Corner infielders Jose Abreu (652 PA, 2.9 zWAR) and Todd Frazier (634 PA, 3.4 zWAR) would appear to be most appealing in this regard. Both receive above-average win projections (the top-two figures among Chicago field players) while also featuring contracts that compensate them at something less than market rate.

Among those members of the team who are almost certain to return in 2017, shortstop Tim Anderson (586, 2.2) earns the top forecast. ZiPS offers little encouragement regarding Anderson’s plate discipline — calling for a walk and strikeout rate of 2.7% and 27.8%, respectively — but projects sufficiently strong batted-ball skill (.348 BABIP) and defense (+4 runs at short) to render Anderson a solidly average player.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – New York Yankees

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

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
This Yankees club — on the field-playing side, at least — offers an almost perfect case study in the Completely Average. Five of the club’s nine likely starters — Starlin Castro (624 PA, 2.1 zWAR), Jacoby Ellsbury (561, 2.1), Brett Gardner (587, 2.0), Chase Headley (531, 2.2), and Aaron Judge (522, 2.2) — are projected by Dan Szymborski’s computer to produce between 2.0 and 2.2 wins in 2017. A sixth, Didi Gregorius (586, 2.5), is only a tenth of a win from rounding down to two.

Even the more extremes cases preserve the equilibrium. On the strength both of his youth and a fantastic debut, catcher Gary Sanchez (499, 4.0) earns the club’s top projection. The team’s array of first basemen and DHs, meanwhile, offset whatever surplus wins Sanchez provides. The result, once again, is vehemently average.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Kansas City Royals

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 Kansas City Royals. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Los Angeles AL / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
As noted over the last month in these pages both by Jeff Sullivan and then Craig Edwards, the Kansas City Royals currently employ a number of players who are likely to become free agents after the 2017 season. What the ZiPS projections featured here do is reinforce the relative importance of those pending free agents to Kansas City’s likelihood of winning games. Because, consider: of the nine field players forecast to record a 1.0 WAR or better in 2017, five of them — Lorenzo Cain (503 PA, 3.1 zWAR), Jarrod Dyson (303, 1.9), Alcides Escobar (652, 1.3), Eric Hosmer (648, 1.3), and Mike Moustakas (381, 1.6) — aren’t signed by the club past next year. Over half the team’s core, in other words, is likely to depart.

That adds some urgency to the 2017 campaign. Unfortunately, Dan Szymborski’s computer doesn’t offer much grounds for optimism. Besides Cain, only Alex Gordon (529, 2.1) and Salvador Perez (561, 3.3) are projected to break the two-win threshold among the team’s position players. The prospective starters at second base and designated hitter, meanwhile — Raul Mondesi (410, -0.3) and Jorge Soler (346, 0.2), respectively — mostly profile as replacement-level types.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Seattle Mariners

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

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Boston / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Detroit / Houston / Los Angeles AL / San Diego / San Francisco / Tampa Bay / Toronto / Washington.

Batters
Here’s the very easiest way to determine if a club is likely to possess at least an average collection of field players: determine if all the field players in question receive a forecast of two wins or better. Where the Seattle Mariners are concerned, that’s more or less the case.

The hypothetical right-field platoon of Seth Smith (410 PA, 1.4 zWAR) and Guillermo Heredia (523, 0.9) might represent a weak spot — as might a platoon of Dan Vogelbach (508, 1.0) and Danny Valencia (419, 1.4) at first. In both instances, however, there’s at least a path to competence. Beyond that, basically every other position in the starting lineup — including a left field occupied by the recently acquired Mitch Haniger (517, 1.9) — is average or better. Nor does this account for the nearly elite contributions of Robinson Cano (644, 4.2) and Kyle Seager (653, 4.8).

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2017 ZiPS Projections – San Francisco Giants

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 San Francisco Giants. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

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

Batters
A cursory examination of the club’s field players reveals a theme: almost all of them receive both a better-than-averge (a) strikeout and (b) fielding-runs projection. Nor should this be very surprising: Giants batters produced the second-lowest strikeout rate in the majors last year and the second-most defensive runs. Buster Posey (512 PA, 5.1 zWAR) is well acquitted by both measures. Brandon Crawford (575, 4.3) receives something closer to a league-average strikeout-rate projection; on the defensive side, however, the combination of his fielding mark (+9) and hypothetical positional adjustment (something like +7, probably) produce about 1.5 wins, rendering him league-average player almost without any consideration of his offensive skills.

Overall, the position-player side of things appears well suited to avoiding the awful. If an area of weakness remains, it’s in left field, where Jarrett Parker (449, 1.4) and Mac Williamson (389, 0.6) are expected to form a platoon. Even that combination, though, appears capable of providing wins at a league-average rate.

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2017 ZiPS Projections – Los Angeles Angels

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

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

Batters
Most everyone has become comfortable with the fact that Mike Trout (680 PA, 9.0 zWAR) is the world’s best living ballplayer. Merely because one has grown accustomed to his excellence, however, doesn’t preclude one from wanting to have that greatness illustrated periodically. Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections facilitate an opportunity to do that. ZiPS, like other projection systems, is inherently conservative. Despite that, Trout is forecast for nine wins. For reference, consider that, since 2011, a player has reached the nine-win threshold on just six occasions. (On four of those occasions, of course, the player in question was Trout himself.) By definition, a nine-win season is an outlier. Nevertheless, Szymborski’s computer has suggested that as the median outcome for Trout in 2017.

Beyond Trout, unfortunately, there’s little reason for enthusiasm here. Kole Calhoun (620, 3.0) and Andrelton Simmons (574, 3.4) offer some promise. Of the remaining six positions on the club’s offensive depth chart, though, five of them are expected to produce only about a win.

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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.

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