The Team Projections and You (National League)

Hello and welcome to the second half of this exercise, in which I do some of the work and you also do some of the work. Here’s a link to the first part, going over the American League. I think this is all pretty simple to understand. I’ll probably also do something like this again just before the season, when rosters are complete and we have more information in general, but we can still learn something from this, which asks you about the present situations, presently. And maybe any kinks experienced through these posts will be smoothed out by the time we re-visit in March. Are you ready to vote in 15 polls? Or, are you ready to vote in up to 15 polls?

Information’s based on the Steamer projections and the team depth charts. While free agents are still available, and while players will still get traded, this is asking about the roster situations right now, and not what you anticipate the roster situations to be by the end of spring training. Thank you all for your participation!

In, again, alphabetical order:

Braves

Reasons for optimism

The Braves seem to believe that Nick Markakis is actually a pretty good defender, so perhaps he’s actually a pretty good defender. Freddie Freeman is basically a star, and Andrelton Simmons is basically a different kind of star, and the pitching picture looks stronger if Shelby Miller actually did figure something out down the stretch last season. Mike Minor‘s just a year removed from being excellent.

Reasons for pessimism

The starting outfield right now is Markakis, Evan Gattis, and B.J. Upton. Alberto Callaspo might be a starter. Jace Peterson might be a starter. The rotation drops off fast, and the holes in the lineup are evident. The Braves deny that they’re totally rebuilding, and no one really needs to totally rebuild anymore, but boy do the Braves seem not on the verge of anything particularly good.

Brewers

Reasons for optimism

As quiet as the Brewers have been, remember how long they were in or near first place just a season ago. Don’t confuse inactivity for a lack of competitiveness. Carlos Gomez is tremendous, Jonathan Lucroy is tremendous, and Ryan Braun has the ability to be tremendous when he has full use of his hands. The rotation is competent all the way through, so on the 25-man level, the ingredients are present for a playoff team.

Reasons for pessimism

This isn’t the deepest team, and Braun’s wRC+ has dropped three seasons in a row. Yovani Gallardo‘s strikeouts keep dropping, and Matt Garza‘s own K-BB% has been taking steps back. Wily Peralta serves up homers. Kyle Lohse has posted consecutive worse-than-average FIPs. Do you want Mike Fiers to be the best one? Mike Fiers might be the best one.

Cardinals

Reasons for optimism

There’s someone pretty good seemingly everywhere. What’s the question mark on the position-player side — Kolten Wong? Last year, Wong was a two-win player in 113 games. The big question mark in the rotation is Carlos Martinez, who has obvious talent, and even if Martinez ultimately can’t cut it for 160 innings or so, there’s organizational depth in place to make a move back to the bullpen easily feasible.

Reasons for pessimism

In a lot of areas, the Cardinals keep getting older. It’s not clear how much longer Adam Wainwright will be great. Same goes for Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday. If Jason Heyward‘s power keeps going in the opposite direction from the one expected, maybe he won’t be the impact player the Cardinals thought they were acquiring.

Cubs

Reasons for optimism

Here’s a team to dream on. There are prospects almost everywhere, big-league-ready prospects, and who has more sudden breakout potential than really super talented prospects? The rotation’s not a weakness, with Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta at the front, and the position players are incredibly intriguing even before you fold in the Kris Bryant factor. The Cubs are upside. Maybe not totally rationally, but people don’t always have to be rational.

Reasons for pessimism

As fun as it is to dream on big-time prospects, that also makes it easy to overrate them. Right now the Cubs have a pretty weak outfield. Meanwhile, Javier Baez has obvious bust potential, and Miguel Montero hasn’t hit for a few years, and what if Starlin Castro gets in one of his moods? You also have to wonder about almost everyone in the rotation behind Lester. Even though Arrieta was great, what if that was simply a career year, the perfect blend of all circumstances?

Diamondbacks

Reasons for optimism

Everyone who’s made it to the major leagues has done so because that individual has exceptional talent. These are all among the thousand or so best baseball players in the world. With that in mind, the difference between the best players and the worst players in the major leagues is actually surprisingly small. They’re all amazing. You’re just observing a slice of the very most amazing. The Diamondbacks, to be honest, are composed exclusively of amazing baseball players. There is nothing incorrect about that sentence.

Reasons for pessimism

The main guy to dream on is Archie Bradley. Last year Bradley finished with 75 strikeouts and 49 walks. Our projections don’t yet include Yasmany Tomas, but even if they did, there are no guarantees Tomas is any better than Dayan Viciedo, and Dayan Viciedo is bad. (Although he is, removed from context, an amazingly skilled baseball player! Wow!)

Dodgers

Reasons for optimism

In a world in which Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson both stay mostly healthy, this starting rotation would be basically unfair. They’ll also benefit from an improved defensive outfield, and instead of worrying about a weak middle infield, now there are Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins. The Dodgers did everything. Everything is done. The Dodgers are essentially finished, and boy, the Dodgers look great.

Reasons for pessimism

So, about McCarthy, and about Anderson. Track records are track records, and Joe Wieland isn’t Brandon McCarthy or Brett Anderson. Joc Pederson is an outstanding rookie but he’s also big-league unproven, and the gap between Triple-A and the majors might be the biggest it’s ever been. While Yasmani Grandal is better than A.J. Ellis, an injured Grandal isn’t better than a healthy Ellis, and Grandal seems to have this thing about getting injured sometimes.

Giants

Reasons for optimism

It’s easy to worry about the departure of Pablo Sandoval, but Casey McGehee isn’t actually a bad player, at least judging from recent versions. Few players are more valuable than Buster Posey, and few first basemen are more valuable than a healthy version of Brandon Belt. Don’t forget that Matt Cain is returning to this starting rotation, and this edition of Cain shouldn’t have the health problems of the previous edition of same.

Reasons for pessimism

Not that you can just count on Cain. Not that you can just count on a healthy Belt. It would be easy to understand how McGehee would turn into a problem, and the rotation depth is still Tim Lincecum and Yusmeiro Petit, which doesn’t seem like it’s good enough. The bullpen’s hardly outstanding, and though the Giants might be counting on Hunter Strickland to occupy a more significant role, who could forget October?

Marlins

Reasons for optimism

This is where Giancarlo Stanton is. He plays the outfield with two of his friends, who are less obviously terrific, and then just imagine a rotation where Mat Latos and Jose Fernandez are really and truly healthy. Toss in the possibility of Dee Gordon really having learned something in 2014, and you have the very model of an exciting team. Few elements of these Marlins are dull.

Reasons for pessimism

Latos is projected to be barely better than one of the players the Marlins gave up to get him. Dan Haren might not pitch here at all, and we don’t actually know what Fernandez is going to be, or how soon he’s going to be it. Dee Gordon is an obvious regression candidate, and if he regresses hard enough, the Marlins will have a backup starting in front of other backups.

Mets

Reasons for optimism

When Matt Harvey was last healthy, he was as good as any other pitcher in the whole entire world. He’s healthy now, again, and this should be the year that Noah Syndergaard arrives. Throw in an improving Zack Wheeler and a breakout Jacob deGrom and there’s plenty to hang your hat on. On the position-player side, one hopes that rest and recovery will allow David Wright to return to being a force, and Juan Lagares is perhaps baseball’s best example of a guy who contributes star-level performance while leading with his defense.

Reasons for pessimism

The same concerns that apply to Jose Fernandez apply to Matt Harvey, and Wheeler still has issues with his walks. deGrom might get worse just as fast as he got better, and it’s not like Wright is certain to get back to what he was when he was younger and awesome. If Lagares is the most exciting position player, he’s also a position player who projects to be a below-average hitter. It’s a poor man’s boom-or-bust ballclub. Does that still count as a boom-or-bust ballclub?

Nationals

Reasons for optimism

Perhaps you have seen the Nationals’ roster? Find the bad bit. Except for the one bad bit. Everyone knows about that.

Reasons for pessimism

Among the position players projected to be best, pretty much all of them have had very real and very legitimate injury problems in the not-so-distant past. There’s not a whole lot of depth, so an injury would cause things to drop off fast, and, well, that’s what I’ve got for this section.

Padres

Reasons for optimism

It’s hard not to get swept up by the blur of activity. The Padres, at least, ought to hit. The catcher should hit. The outfield should hit. There are actually too many hitters, which allows for a very strong bench. Imagine this rotation if they can actually stay fairly healthy. Where’s the best landing spot for a pitcher trying to recover past value? San Diego. Say hello to Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow. The Padres don’t need those pitchers to be healthy, but if they are, this gets a lot better fast.

Reasons for pessimism

Johnson isn’t such a big fan of health. Neither is Morrow. Tyson Ross seems like an injury candidate, given all the sliders he throws, and oh, by the way, Wil Myers wasn’t a good hitter a year ago, and Matt Kemp might be one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game. The defense on this team is not going to be good, and it’s by no means clear the offensive upgrade will be worthwhile. It’ll be interesting to see to what degree the pitchers suffer from the departures of Rene Rivera and Yasmani Grandal.

Phillies

Reasons for optimism

In the grand scheme of things, 2011 was practically yesterday, so would it be so crazy to think the Phillies might play as well as they played yesterday? This is a team with Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Chase Utley on it. What’s that? No. No, a baseball team consists of only three players. What do you mean other players?

Reasons for pessimism

The other players. Also, Lee was just hurt, and Utley doesn’t have the most durable track record. Ben Revere stopped being interesting the very moment he hit his first home run. Now he’s not so much a novelty as he is an unimpressive center fielder. Plenty of those around. I shouldn’t be picking on Revere. Relative to a lot of the others, Revere is more than okay.

Pirates

Reasons for optimism

This projection doesn’t even project much from Gregory Polanco, who a year ago looked like one of the most valuable assets in the game. Andrew McCutchen is about as close to as good as Mike Trout as it gets, and Starling Marte is a star player who gets to exist in McCutchen’s giant shadow. The Pirates have done a good job of amassing roster depth, which is one way for a lower-budget team to try to avoid getting hurt by too much adversity.

Reasons for pessimism

It’s tough to lose a Russell Martin. So much of Josh Harrison‘s value came from BABIP, and we know how that usually goes. The rotation starts to get shaky behind Gerrit Cole, and those haven’t been the most steady pitchers year to year. Though the Pirates have collected depth, they might ultimately suffer from not getting enough above-average performances.

Reds

Reasons for optimism

This one’s simple. Joey Votto ought to be healthier. Jay Bruce ought to be healthier. Homer Bailey ought to be healthier, and Billy Hamilton ought to be better, and Johnny Cueto keeps beating the hell out of his peripherals. On the surface, the Reds have borderline playoff-caliber talent. They have maybe the best relief pitcher in baseball slamming doors left and right. The issue will be one of keeping the roster as intact as possible for as long as possible.

Reasons for pessimism

The currently-listed starting left fielder is Brennan Boesch. The shortstop just had a 56 wRC+. A roster with injury questions is a roster that can get badly wounded in the blink of an eye, and if Votto or Cueto is forced to miss much time, there’s not enough here. The Reds occupy an extremely difficult position on the longer-term win curve. They’re too talented to tear it apart but they’re too mediocre to run with the big boys. Also they don’t have much money.

Rockies

Reasons for optimism

That thing about Andrew McCutchen is also a thing about Troy Tulowitzki. The healthy Tulowitzki is seriously about as good as Mike Trout. So the Rockies are in a high-risk/high-reward position, where so much depends on the health of their shortstop. Tulowitzki can’t make the Rockies contenders by himself, but as long as he’s on the field, that’s an enormous advantage. To a lesser magnitude, Carlos Gonzalez is like this — when he’s on the field, the Rockies are a lot better. Nolan Arenado, quietly, is a real good third baseman, and the rotation might not be dreadful for a rotation you’d think might be dreadful. Mostly, the Tulowitzki thing.

Reasons for pessimism

The Tulowitzki thing. And the Gonzalez thing. What do you do when your best starter might be Jorge de la Rosa? It’s really hard to pitch well in Colorado, and Colorado has a history of pitching like it. With just a little bit of predictable injury, the Rockies look like a last-place team. How long can you put off injury, really?



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
Guest
Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
1 year 5 months ago

I’m surprised by the results of the Marlins poll. To me, they look like they added a pair of massive regression candidates (Gordon + Latos) and have perhaps the worst infield in baseball.

BaseballGuy
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BaseballGuy
1 year 5 months ago

Don’t get the dislike of Gordon. Guy killed it all the way through the minors, then in the majors, outside of a one and a half year adjustment period, has been exactly as expected. Most of his value is on the bases, but he’s a league average hitter, and an OK defender (who could get better because the elite range is there). He’s just entering his age prime. I don’t see much regression there at all.

John C.
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John C.
1 year 5 months ago

I’m agnostic on Gordon, although I think his floor is low and his ceiling is pretty high. My questions about the Marlins has to do with the fact that they have less depth than the Nationals, and both of their power bats (Stanton and Morse) have pretty bad injury histories.

Stephen
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Stephen
1 year 4 months ago

I just don’t like that Gordon is basically a one dimensional player. He doesn’t bring much in the way of defense.

Joel
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Joel
1 year 4 months ago

Gordon started playing baseball later then most (senior year HS). He was a bad short stop by any metric but once he switched to second I saw significant improvement. The second half of last year I thought he was becoming one of the better defensive second basemen in baseball. His offensive skill set is acceptable if he plays a good second base.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

The Marlins being overrated is an annual event.

Why is that?

Look at the projection for the Cubs.

There is a massive bias in favor of optimism for youth and pessimism for age.

The Marlins will suck. They will again have a losing record. Jeffrey Loria will continue to suck the blood of anyone he can touch and next year the projections for the Marlins will again be fabulously optimistic as Loria covets and traffics in young players like a boy lover traffics in flesh.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

The Marlins are overrated annually? Whaaaa? By how many wins did they exceed their projections last year? 10? 15?

This team was an unmitigated dumpster fire for years, and last year’s exciting (read: not at all exciting) signings included the barely upright corpses of Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones (read: not young players).

Highlight and google: NO ONE EVER EXPECTS MUCH OF ANYTHING FROM THE MARLINS.

abc
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abc
1 year 4 months ago

I can’t wait until “dumpster fire” is no longer used in sports contexts.

Joel
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Joel
1 year 4 months ago

I am a huge Cubs fan and love the approach they have taken. Right now they are a .500 ball club, which when you consider they have barely been watchable for the last few years is a huge step up. Sure could they have everything go right and contend this year…..anything is possible….but I will be content with the arrow pointing up and a .500 year.

Baltar
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Baltar
1 year 4 months ago

I agree.
The Marlins and Mets fans are way too optimistic about their teams.

Dovif
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

So the mets was a 79 win team last year and was a 82 win team by Pythagorean standing. They are a team of young (improving) players and gets a healthy(?) wright and harvey back this season. What do you think their record will be

Anon21
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Anon21
1 year 5 months ago

Nationals fans, steady not understanding the function of a central-tendency projection

John C.
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John C.
1 year 5 months ago

Ah, Anon21, how I’ve missed your commentary :)

Jason B
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Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

Hey, gotta flail at somebody when your own team is projected to win 73… :)

M. Incandenza
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M. Incandenza
1 year 5 months ago

I feel like 70% of Jeff Sullivan’s value – and this is not a criticism, it’s a compliment – that 70% of his value is his sort of mastery of the desultory writing style.

Randy Jones
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Randy Jones
1 year 5 months ago

Might be even closer to 80%.

arc
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arc
1 year 5 months ago

70% is low by up to 3%.

BaseballGuy
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BaseballGuy
1 year 5 months ago

It’s called “ironic distance,” if you’re interested. It is fun. Gets old after a while though.

Avattoir
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Avattoir
1 year 5 months ago

Yes, but some portion of the remaining 30% is simultaneously reduced a pint or more in irony yet way up in hi-octane constancy, in a way reminiscent of a flawlessly balanced nubile with a cheekful of chaw, pawing reflexively at the nether regions.

jordo2323
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jordo2323
1 year 5 months ago

The projection on the Brewers is low to me. They are a better team with Lind, have a reportedly healed superstar, and bullpen depth that’s returning in Thornburg and Henderson who have been dominant at times.

oh Hal
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oh Hal
1 year 5 months ago

I don’t get trashing Fiers and Peralta.

ybor
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ybor
1 year 5 months ago

The Brewers are terrible, and will be for some time. :(

LG
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LG
1 year 5 months ago

78 wins for Colorado? the most since 2010 after doing essentially nothing to improve on a 66 win team? Take the under, folks

BaseballGuy
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BaseballGuy
1 year 5 months ago

Rockies always underperform their projections. A big part of that is injuries, but also something about the altitude/non-altitude adjustment seems to hurt them badly. Teams that score 7 runs half the time, and 2-3 runs the other half, are just going to come out worse than teams that score 4-5 runs everyday.

Matthew
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Matthew
1 year 5 months ago

I know it is rejected by some, but look at it this way. Moreneu..bad 2B, Tulo, Arenado is a very good infield. Cargo plus options is an average OF with upside. Next year, you could have Gray, Butler, De La Rosa, Chacin, and Matzek in the rotation…Not great but not awful. It looks like a true .500 level team to me.

Dovif
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

The Rockies are what they were last year and the year before. If tulo and cargo stay healthy had been written 1 billion times but they are never healthy. The pitching is the worst it had been in the last 3 years with the least amount of hope entering the season. The Rockies are a bad team who did not get better.

Jim S.
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Jim S.
1 year 5 months ago

So, Jeff, are you going to DO anything with this? Of course, I’m not sure what that would be.

Randy Jones
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Randy Jones
1 year 5 months ago

I took the well over 3+ on the Pads because, well, I’m Randy Jones and I’m hoping lesser pitch framing doesn’t ruin our pitching and because I believe my own eyes when I saw Kemp play a halfway decent right field last year. Not to mention it’s Upton’s FA year and he’s going to go off.

KDL
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KDL
1 year 5 months ago

In an environment like San Diego Upton might have a killer season just like Beltre did in his contract year….in Seattle.

Will the contract year thing ever be fully debunked? Or is the confirmation bias just too strong at this point.?

circlechange11
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circlechange11
1 year 5 months ago

Cardinal fans have been hearing this “getting older” stuff since the Edmonds, Carpenter, etc days.

They get older, they get injured, they replace players, call up others, and they keep winning.

A Real Small-Market Team
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A Real Small-Market Team
1 year 5 months ago

Helps to have a good payroll in addition to good team personnel.

BaseballGuy
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BaseballGuy
1 year 5 months ago

Having a lucky stretch is a possibility, as well. Recently, they’ve rarely missed on their upper-tier prospects. That sort of thing doesn’t last, no matter how good your development system.

Lanidrac
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Lanidrac
1 year 5 months ago

That has little to nothing to do with 2015 projections, though.

circlechange11
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circlechange11
1 year 5 months ago

Luck is getting 300 plus million in performance value from a 14th rounder that was just a fat juco shortstop.

Couple of years ago they had the best minor league system.

Garcia has been injured a ton, rasmus didn’t workout, Oscar is dead.

One of the big reasons why the cards keep winning is they keep finding guys like ludwicl, freeze, jay, Adams … The “non-prospect prospects. Matt carpenter as well.

STL has made some good deals, drew for waino, rasmus for role parts, miller for heyward, etc. Throw in smart 2-year deals for berkman and Beltran and you get a team that doesn’t break the bank to reload.

I’m not one of those cardinal fans that thinks there’s something magical about the franchise. They’re just smart and well run.

Some of the years they’ve won have been years they’ve had many injuries. They find a way to win, without overextending.

Someday their stars will be old. They’ll find new players.

Ben Cerutti
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Ben Cerutti
1 year 4 months ago

Lucky is a bit of an overstatement. Saying that they haven’t missed on an upper-tier prospect might be as well.

In 2013, their top prospects were:
Taveras – RIP after a “meh” start (generously)
Miller – has been great or terrible (and now traded)
Martinez – has been a reliever with promise but nothing more
Rosenthal – incredible 2013, slightly above mediocre 2014
Wacha – injury prone already, apparently
Wong – good start, but needs to be better
Adams – ditto Wong

In 2012, additional top prospects were:
Jenkins – injury prone, young, never saw time in STL, traded
Lynn – quite good
Zack Cox – traded and never lived up to hype
Eduardo Sanchez – released after not living up to hype
Jordan Swagerty – is he still playing?

In 2011, it looked like this (in addition to those above):
Seth Blair – ditto Swagerty?
Matt Carpenter – big hit!
Deryk Hooker – who?
Craig – hit on this one as well until he fell apart
Kelly – league average (not replacement)

I don’t follow enough farm teams to know how well this is getting lucky and “rarely miss(ing) on their upper-tier prospects” but it’s not like they had all-stars around the field coming from those upper tier prospects.

Plenty came from further down the ranks to help out as well. Every team has a player step in and play above their heads. Look at Betts in Boston last year.

Yes, the Cardinals draft and develop well. To call that simply a “lucky stretch” is absurd.

Jon L.
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Jon L.
1 year 4 months ago

I think you mean Holt rather than Betts.

Joe Buck
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Joe Buck
1 year 5 months ago

That’s a great point Harold, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Antonio Bananas
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1 year 5 months ago

Three guys on the Cards are “older” (Waino, Holliday, Molina). The rest are on the upswing.

hogan
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hogan
1 year 5 months ago

Peralta is old, lackey is old

Lanidrac
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Lanidrac
1 year 5 months ago

I’ll give you Peralta to some degree, but Lackey’s only here for one more year at the league minimum (or at least very cheaply if they rework his contract) with some excellent youth headlined by Marco Gonzales projected to eventually replace him.

Beyond that, we also have Carpenter, Heyward, and Jay in their primes; budding young stars in Adams and Wong; and a couple of very talented nearly ready outfield prospects in Piscotty and Grichuk. Losing Taveras to the Angels (so to speak) was a big blow, but we’ve still got a lot of talented youth to go with our aging veterans.

Lanidrac
Guest
Lanidrac
1 year 5 months ago

I forgot to mention the pitching where the future looks even brighter. In the rotation, Lynn is an excellent #2 starter just getting into his prime, Wacha looks like a future ace, while Martinez and Gonzales both have the potential to be the same, and that’s even before getting into prospects like Kaminsky.

In the bullpen, Rosenthal is a good young closer who would be elite if he could cut down on the walks, Walden is a good setup man in his prime (although he also has some control issues), Maness is an very good young goundball specialist, the left side is loaded between the consistant veteran LOOGY (Choate) and a bunch of talented youngsters (Freeman, Siegrist, Lyons, and Greenwood), and this is once again before we get into the other prospects who could contribute in 2015 like Tuivailala and Cooney.

Mitch
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Mitch
1 year 4 months ago

This is a picture of me when I was younger.

Jason B
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Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

“Three guys on the Cards are “older” (Waino, Holliday, Molina).”

I’m pretty sure 100% of the Cardinals are older. If not then I would like some of their tonic that they got from Grandpa Simpson.

Or Satan.

Or both.

mutant beast
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mutant beast
1 year 4 months ago

who replaces Yadi? Wainwright, even? Holliday, OK, I can see Piscotty or Grichuk someday coming close, but I just see the Pirates and Cubs younsters as likely being more impact type players.

arc
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Thorough, informed, and insightful.

@outfieldgrass24
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

I agree with all of your reasons for D-backs optimism. Very analysis, indeed. And I could argue that your words were kind.

Gerald
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Gerald
1 year 5 months ago

The Twins projection is a liiiiiitle high methinks.

Brian
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

YAY THE METS

Not sure about the biases inherent in the polling #’s here on Fangraphs but a strong plurality thinks their forecast is low by 3 or more.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

_

a strong plurality thinks their forecast is low by 3 or more

ROFLOL!

Lucas Duda for MVP!

Mr. Met

Meet the Mets!

Greet the Mets!

Co-owned by Bernie Madoff.

The Mets will avoid last place because John Middleton stole the Phillies fans billion$.
_

Highlight and Google: John Powers Middleton Felony Fraud

_

LG
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LG
1 year 4 months ago

You’re still doing this, huh?

metsican
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metsican
1 year 4 months ago

The projections are obviously conservative, but the Youngs were replaced with Cuddyer, Harvey’s back*, and Wright should be a bit healthier. On that alone, one could reasonably expect the team to outperform their 2014 W-L record.

Lanidrac
Guest
Lanidrac
1 year 5 months ago

I wouldn’t put too much stock into Kyle Lohse’s below-average FIP. He’s known for consistantly outperforming his FIP (aside from his injury-plagued years of ’09-’10) by getting lots of groundballs by pitching to contact (which also keeps his pitch counts very low, thereby allowing him to eat a lot of innings). Not that Lohse is anywhere near the same level, but it was the same pitching style that allowed Greg Maddux to become a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
1 year 5 months ago

These projections are all pretty terrible. And this is coming from a sabermetric point of view. Does any reasonable stathead actually think that the Marlins are better than the Mets? Seriously?

scoko
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scoko
1 year 4 months ago

Steamer does.

Dovif
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

I would bet on the massive edge the mets pitchers have over then marlins then the small edge the Marlins have over the mets pitchers. I bet if wright and harvey are healthy the whole year. It would not be close

ArsAryc
Guest
ArsAryc
1 year 4 months ago

“Lanidrac says:
December 30, 2014 at 12:44 am
I’ll give you Peralta to some degree, but Lackey’s only here for one more year at the league minimum (or at least very cheaply if they rework his contract) with some excellent youth headlined by Marco Gonzales projected to eventually replace him.

Beyond that, we also have Carpenter, Heyward, and Jay in their primes; budding young stars in Adams and Wong; and a couple of very talented nearly ready outfield prospects in Piscotty and Grichuk. Losing Taveras to the Angels (so to speak) was a big blow, but we’ve still got a lot of talented youth to go with our aging veterans.”

Jon Jay in his prime should not exactly be a bragging point. I might be able to hit LHP as well as Adams, which points towards budding young platoon guy with subpar range at a position where it does not take much range to be par. Molina, Holiday, and Wainwright are all starting their declines, and with Wainwright’s abusive inning totals the last 3-4 years his poor arm’s demise will likely be sooner than later. Grichuk has not shown any indication that he has the ability to make acceptable contact, and Piscotty has not shown anywhere near the power expected of a corner outfielder in the bigs, even though scouts do think it is in there somewhere.

All of this being said The Cardinals have done a great job retooling when needed to stay very competitive for quite some time now, and for that I will give credit where credit is due. I just feel like the original post painted the entire team in their best-case scenarios with no acknowledgement that the chances of everyone being a best-case scenario is slim to none.

mutant beast
Guest
mutant beast
1 year 4 months ago

theyd better pray Yadi and Wainwright stay healthy. Yadi cant be an all-star forever at his age, and your right, Wainwrights arm is going to gop south if he keeps throwing 50% breaking balls. The Pirates and Cubs have better young talent right now. This might be there last hurrah.

Lukas
Guest
Lukas
1 year 4 months ago

The Mets are getting way undersold. I’d guess the issues with fWAR, particularly the park factors applied when using FIP in WAR, are once again the main culprit. This was outlined here: http://www.fangraphs.com/community/trying-to-improve-fwar-part-1/

Joseph
Guest
Joseph
1 year 4 months ago

It could be, maybe just a wee bit influenced by offense still counting. If offense didn’t count, the Mets would be looking a lot better.

Martin
Guest
Martin
1 year 4 months ago

Underrated post.

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
1 year 4 months ago

I do think WAR underestimates the Mets pitching for the reasons cited in Noah’s community research. I also think steamer underestimates the Mets hitting, but that’s just my take. I don’t see any real sinkholes relative to the position in their line-up. D’Arnaud hit well when he came back. Duda I think can repeat. Murphy is an above average hitter for a 2b. Flores I think will be an above average hitter for a ss. Wright should bounce back some, Cuddyer can hit and I think Granderson can bounce back some. Lagares isn’t a great hitter but has some potential there as well. Aside from D’Arnaud, who seems ok, and Lagares, who is awesome, I am more worried about the fielding. 2b-ss fielding and the corner outfield aren’t exactly gold glove or + UZR guys. Hopefully Harvey, DeGrom, Wheeler, Syndergaard (eventually) et al strike out enough guys it won’t matter as much.

I think they are about an 84-85 win team and with breaks and luck could push 90. But I’m a total homer.

Senor_Met
Member
Senor_Met
1 year 4 months ago

The Mets non-pitchers had a 100 wRC+ last year, 8th in the NL. They were 8th in runs scored, as well, and they had the 3rd lowest BABIP. Their offense was bay all measures exactly average in 2014.

When you take an offense that was average last season, and then add a healthy Wright, a full season of the d’Arnaud who had a 128 wRC+ after being brought back up in June, the relative upgrades of Cuddyer and Flores over the Youngs and Tejada, a full season of Lagares, get the returns of Parnell and Harvey, a full season of deGrom (who, although a potential regression candidate, will still very likely be an above average starter,) a developing Wheeler, and an improving bullpen, I don’t get how you could possibly justify this team not improving a single win.

Jeffrey Griffin
Guest
Jeffrey Griffin
1 year 4 months ago

Exactly.

Zen Madman
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Well, their baseruns suggested they only should have won 73 games last year, so in essence, this projects them to improve by 6 wins in terms of quality. It just doesn’t project them to be as lucky (because it doesn’t project luck).

Warren
Guest
Warren
1 year 4 months ago

How improved will be the play of Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte and Pedro Alvarez? How improved will be the pitching of Gerrit Cole? How many more wins than last year (87) for the Pirates? I’m sensing in the low 90s.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

No one will do worse! MAGIC!

mutant beast
Guest
mutant beast
1 year 4 months ago

I have 2 words for you. Russell Martin. Better hope Cervelli can do for Locke and Liriano what Martin did for them. Martin made Volquez and Liriano better pitchers by himself. I just dont see Cervelli doing that.

olethros
Guest
olethros
1 year 4 months ago

I find it amusing that the Rockies are the only team for which the great unwashed masses believe the projection isn’t “good.”

Hurtlocker
Guest
Hurtlocker
1 year 4 months ago

Padres only projected for one more win?? I’ll eat an anchovy infested pizza if they don’t win at least 80 games.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
1 year 4 months ago

Anchovies on pizza are better than you might think. Not saying they’re more than +3 better, but between 1 and 3 better.

mutant beast
Guest
mutant beast
1 year 4 months ago

There OF as projected is Terrible defensively. Better pray Kemp and Myers stay healthy, and dont trade Maybin because hes the only guy out there who can play defense if you have a late lead. Your SPs are going to hate these guys by the all-star break, providing they even stay on the field, something always an issue with Kemp and Myers.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 4 months ago

I have a hard time envisioning a scenario where Ryan Zimmerman is a 3.1 WAR player.

Even if you throw out his injury plagued 2014, he was a 3.1 WAR player from age 27-29. I have a hard timing thinking he’ll stay healthy and maintain that level of production at 31 after his arm all but fell off last season.

JCCfromDC
Guest
JCCfromDC
1 year 4 months ago

Technically 2015 will be Zimmerman’s age 30 season, not his age 31 season. He doesn’t turn 31 until 28 Sept.

You may have a hard time envisioning a scenario where Zimmerman is a 3.1 WAR player, but I’ll point out that Steamer projects him to be a 3.4 WAR player. So there’s that.

And there are solid reasons for Steamer’s projection. Zimmerman’s arm was a problem for his fielding, not for his hitting. Pretty much no matter what stat you look at (OPS+, wRC+, ISO), outside of his two year peak of 2009-2010 Zimmerman has been remarkably consistent with the bat. His ISO did slip a bit last year, but that likely was due to recovering from his broken thumb, not the shoulder issue (which he’s had for the past three seasons). His ISO slipped further in 2008 (broken hamate bone) and 2011 (abdominal surgery) and rebounded to career norms when he was healthy.

There is a school of thought that by moving to first and thus being largely free of the throwing issues that have plagued him since 2012 (and even before that, really) Zimmerman will be even better with the bat in 2015 then he has been in recent years (essentially going from very good to excellent). I think that’s overly optimistic, but I do expect that he will hit like, well, like Ryan Zimmerman. I also expect that he will play over 90% of the Nationals’ games – as he did in four of the five seasons prior to last year.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 4 months ago

As a Nats season ticket holder, I really hope so. But I just don’t see him improving on his last 3 healthy seasons average. Guys usually regress after their late 20s, not improve.

But now that I’m looking at the Steamer projections more closely, they are predicting his batting WAR to drop considerably, he just won’t be such a defensive liability at 1B so he won’t be taking that big defensive WAR hit

LG
Guest
LG
1 year 4 months ago

What’s ~130-140 games of 120 wRC+ worth at first base? If not about 3 wins, then definitely not a lot more

Lefty
Guest
Lefty
1 year 4 months ago

I have to question the “hardly outstanding” characterization of the Giants’ bullpen, which was third in the NL in ERA and first in MLB in WHIP and batting average against in the regular season. In 17 postseason games, they went 7-1 with a 2.11 ERA, which trailed only the Nationals (who only played four games), and an 0.92 WHIP. In all of these categories, both regular and postseason, they were better than the much-hyped KC bullpen.

The Giants’ “core four” of Romo, Affeldt, Casilla, and Lopez has been together since 2010 and won three World Series. Petit is arguably the best long reliever in the game. As for “Bombs Away” Strickland, he’s likely to start the season in Sacramento, where hopefully he’ll learn both a change-up and some self-control.

Martin
Guest
Martin
1 year 4 months ago

They went 7-1? As relievers??? I’ll hack the system and change these projections myself!!!

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
1 year 4 months ago

I was surprised that the Giants’ write-up didn’t mention that bum Madison. He was sort of ok in the playoffs, if my memory serves correct.

That said, that panda bear was magical, and portends the end of the Giants’ dynasty.

Nate
Guest
Nate
1 year 4 months ago

Wait, Ben Revere shows he has the ability to hit home runs for the first time and this is a reason for pessimism? That doesn’t make any sense.

bvillebaron
Guest
bvillebaron
1 year 4 months ago

The Braves rotation drops off pretty fast? what from the 4th starter to the 5th? Nice analysis.

Bob
Guest
Bob
1 year 4 months ago

As currently constituted, I don’t see the Rockies winning 78 games. The rotation depth clearly isn’t there, and the bullpen is essentially the same as last season.

Senor_Met
Member
Senor_Met
1 year 4 months ago

So much was left out of the Mets writeup.

* Travis d’Arnaud had a 128 wRC+ after being called back up in June. A full season of him would easily be a 3 WAR player.

* Lucas Duda was 3rd in the NL in HR, and nothing points to regression. He has one of the leagues highest hard-hit rates, and this was really his first season being an everyday player, so it’s not like it was much of a fluke.

* Daniel Murphy is pretty much a shoe-in for 2.5-3 wins

* Cuddyer, even with regression, is still a significant upgrade over Chris and Eric Young.

* No mention of Bobby Parnell

* Granderson would have hit 29 home runs last year with the new Citi Field dimensions, and his overall value was hurt by his defensive metrics. I think it’s reasonable to expect him to be an average player next year.

Combine all that with the stellar rotation, and I don’t see how this team wouldn’t improve at all upon their 2014 record (and a DOWNGRADE from their pythag W-L of 82-80.)

metsican
Guest
metsican
1 year 4 months ago

Longest 2014 homers in 3 different stadiums for Duda, too, leading baseball in that category.

Senor_Met
Member
Senor_Met
1 year 4 months ago

Yeah, he did not hit any cheapies. His strength has always been legit, he’s just never had a chance to put it all together and play at his natural position.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

But keep in mind, also, that players will inevitably get hurt. Lots of players *could* outperform their projections, but you’ll also have some players play 100 games rather than 160, or make 20 starts rather than 35.

Have a few non-major injuries and none to key performers? Your team might surprise! Have a key player or players miss significant amounts of time? Could be a lost season, if not an outright dumpster fire.

Senor_Met
Member
Senor_Met
1 year 4 months ago

But we have the depth. If d’Arnaud gets hurt, we have Plawecki. If/when Cuddyer gets hurt, we have Mayberry and den Dekker, who would make a perfectly cromulent platoon. If someone in the infield gets hurt, we have Flores (2B/3B/SS), Murphy (2B/3B/1B), Tejada (SS/2B), Campbell (1B/3B), and Reynolds (SS/2B) who are all extremely flexible, and we could just play Herrera. And don’t even get me started on our pitching depth.

Jeffrey Griffin
Guest
Jeffrey Griffin
1 year 4 months ago

I’m not sold on our position player depth. den Dekker/Mayberry is not a cromulent platoon. There’s a reason Mayberry was willing to sign with the Mets as a bench bat.

LG
Guest
LG
1 year 4 months ago

Jason this is madness. Everything will go right for my team and they will beat the projections, while everything will go wrong for all the other teams.

Jeffrey Griffin
Guest
Jeffrey Griffin
1 year 4 months ago

It seems like this stuff is left out of every Mets write-up.

Harrumph
Guest
Harrumph
1 year 4 months ago

Of course, Fangraphs/Mr. Sullivan *would* leave all of this out, as they always do with the Mets. Why didn’t he specifically write an extra three paragraphs to cover all of the possible positive occurrences that might make this an 84 win team instead of an 79 win one? Because of the FG conspiracy, I say. The conspiracy to write at best lukewarm things about every team that objectively isn’t that good but maybe could get a few lucky breaks.

abc
Guest
abc
1 year 4 months ago

These posts are starting to get more annoying than the posts they’re trying so hard to parody. Just…stop.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

_

Combine all that with the stellar rotation

Yeah, and the Wilpons are losing money.

Everyone in the New York media belongs in prison for conspiring with the Wilpons to brainwash the mental defectives in the New York metro area who are not Yankees fans.

The Mets rotation stinks. Every baseball fan outside the NY metro area (and all Yankees fans in the NY area) understand this.

The Mets ace was some guy named Jacob deGrom. His ERA+ was 130 over just 140 innings, the only 140 innings he has pitched in MLB. Jon Niese was the Mets #2 who was no more than a legit #4 with his 102 ERA+.

Then you have three guys – 41yr old Colon, Wheeler and little Dillion Gee – who posted ERA+ numbers of – respectively – 85, 98 and 87.

I guess Matt Harvey is going to pick up where he left off and pitch 220 innings. Even then the Mets rotation wouldn’t be anything resembling “stellar“.

The Mets stink. The Mets are going nowhere. Their farm stinks too. Nothing but more replacement level garbage on the way.
_

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

I’m confused. What shall we HIGHLIGHT AND GOOGLE ?

LG
Guest
LG
1 year 4 months ago

Gotta check that guy’s blog out, it’s pretty hilarious

mutant beast
Guest
mutant beast
1 year 4 months ago

SFG has lost a lot. They really havent replaced Sandoval either offensively or defensively, still have shallow SP depth, there dreaming if they get anything close to Jake Peavy 5 yrs ago. Cain hasnt pitched in a year, they have no LF to speak highly of(Morse stinks defensively, but he did con tribute with his bat) and no one knows if Pagan and Sanchez will ever be what they were in 2012. Maybe a 75 win team as now constituted that will struggle on offense. Cubs will be a team to watch. Last yrs team was terrible on offense before mid June, and were much better from June 15th on. Soler/Bryant/Baez cant be any worse than Barney/SheerHoles/Sweeney were last yr, and theyve subtracted Jose Veras from the closers role, where he costed them about 5 wins or so last year. Cubs fans should have an enjoyable year, right now they kind of remind me of the 1993-94 Cleveland Indians teams of Belle, Baerga, ManRam and Thome.

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