2014 ZiPS Projections – Kansas City Royals

After having typically appeared in the entirely venerable pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections were released at FanGraphs last year. 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 / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Colorado / Detroit / Los Angeles NL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / New York NL / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / San Diego / Seattle / St. Louis / Tampa Bay.

Batters
To the extent that any team lacking the nine best field players in the major leagues can be upgraded, so can the Royals be upgraded. What the projections below suggest, however, is that the club likely won’t be entering the season with any positional black holes. The numbers indicate that perhaps neither Norichika Aoki nor Alcides Escobar are ideal starting options for a club with playoff ambitions. That they’re probably something better than replacement level is also apparent.

Of some interest is how manager Ned Yost might contend with the third-base position in 2014. The offseason trade to acquire Danny Valencia suggests that Yost and/or the club are concerned about Mike Moustakas’s capacity to hit left-handers. It’s true: Valencia probably hits them better. Whether that slight upgrade was worth all of David Lough is less probable.

Pitchers
The reader will note that the starting pitchers in the depth-chart graphic below are arranged not in precise order of expected rotational slot, but rather by projected WAR. The reader will also note that, were that same graphic to include pitchers expected to begin the season in the minor leagues, then Yordano Ventura’s name would appear just below James Shields‘. This is perhaps more of an indictment of Kansas City’s rotation than a celebration of Ventura’s skills. Still, he’s promising, is the point.

After five merely tolerable seasons in the rotation, former first-overall pick Luke Hochevar was entirely excellent in a relief capacity last year, basically doubling his career strikeout rate, recording a 73 xFIP-, and producing a a comparable WAR to that from previous seasons in basically just a third of the innings. Still, he’s expected to compete for a spot in the back of the rotation with Wade Davis, who has also showed promise out of the bullpen before.

Bench/Prospects
Second baseman Johnny Giavotella hasn’t yet become the player he seemed likely to become based on the maturity of his plate approach in the minors even while often skewing young for his levels. He’s projected to produce something between a replacement-level and league-average season, given the opportunity. Among pitchers, Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer were recently ranked as the top-two prospects in the organization by Baseball America. They also appear to be the rookie-eligible pitchers most likely to succeed in the majors this season.

Depth Chart
Below is a rough depth chart for the present incarnation of the Kansas Citizens, with rounded projected WAR totals for each player. For caveats regarding WAR values see disclaimer at bottom of post. Click to embiggen image.

Royals Depth

Ballpark graphic courtesy Eephus League. Depth charts constructed by way of those listed here at site and author’s own haphazard reasoning.

Batters, Counting Stats

Player B Age PO PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS
Salvador Perez R 24 C 517 51 140 25 3 13 67 0 0
Alex Gordon L 30 LF 691 90 165 35 5 19 73 11 5
Eric Hosmer L 24 1B 657 81 177 31 3 20 77 14 4
Billy Butler R 28 DH 653 66 166 32 0 19 85 1 0
Mike Moustakas L 25 3B 598 59 140 33 1 18 62 4 3
Omar Infante R 32 2B 559 55 146 25 4 8 46 7 3
Lorenzo Cain R 28 CF 477 54 110 21 4 7 49 15 4
Alcides Escobar R 27 SS 625 65 151 24 6 5 51 23 3
Norichika Aoki L 32 RF 638 76 161 25 4 5 41 17 8
Johnny Giavotella R 26 2B 601 64 145 28 3 8 55 8 4
Brandon Laird R 26 3B 604 64 136 31 1 17 71 1 0
Jarrod Dyson L 29 CF 377 48 81 12 4 2 22 36 6
Danny Valencia R 29 3B 513 53 124 30 2 14 61 2 4
Justin Maxwell R 30 RF 325 43 64 14 2 11 36 9 3
Christian Colon R 25 2B 529 54 123 13 2 7 42 11 5
Emilio Bonifacio B 29 2B 451 53 105 16 4 3 25 31 8
Francisco Pena R 24 C 348 33 73 17 1 6 34 2 1
Pedro Ciriaco R 28 SS 432 44 105 17 3 4 33 16 6
Orlando Caxito R 22 SS 556 53 117 24 4 8 42 10 11
Brett Hayes R 30 C 232 24 50 13 0 7 22 1 0
Gorkys Hernandez R 26 CF 492 54 101 16 4 4 36 20 9
Chris Getz L 30 2B 328 37 76 10 2 1 25 15 4
Carlos Pena L 36 1B 436 51 79 16 1 15 46 2 2
Lane Adams R 24 CF 588 61 119 23 3 10 46 18 5
Adam Moore R 30 C 171 16 34 7 0 4 11 1 0
Brian Bocock R 29 SS 298 25 57 11 1 3 21 6 3
Jason Donald R 29 2B 373 39 79 16 2 4 26 6 3
Edinson Rincon R 23 3B 319 32 79 16 0 5 30 2 3
Cheslor Cuthbert R 21 3B 556 53 118 28 1 9 50 6 5
Miguel Tejada R 40 2B 150 13 36 4 0 2 14 1 0
Brett Eibner R 25 CF 471 45 77 16 4 12 36 4 3
Brian Fletcher R 25 LF 444 42 98 19 1 12 42 6 4
Chase Lambin B 34 2B 277 23 56 9 2 4 21 1 3
Jorge Bonifacio R 21 RF 458 47 102 20 3 7 41 4 4
Ben Broussard L 37 1B 277 23 59 11 0 2 18 0 1
Willy Taveras R 32 RF 297 27 62 9 2 2 18 8 2

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Salvador Perez 517 4.1% 12.0% .144 .305 .287 .320 .431 .325
Alex Gordon 691 9.0% 20.1% .165 .315 .267 .339 .432 .336
Eric Hosmer 657 8.2% 15.1% .163 .325 .296 .353 .459 .352
Billy Butler 653 10.3% 15.2% .154 .317 .288 .363 .442 .344
Mike Moustakas 598 6.0% 17.2% .161 .281 .255 .305 .416 .313
Omar Infante 559 4.3% 10.0% .108 .297 .279 .309 .387 .302
Lorenzo Cain 477 6.3% 21.6% .115 .312 .252 .307 .367 .300
Alcides Escobar 625 3.8% 13.4% .087 .293 .259 .291 .346 .280
Norichika Aoki 638 6.6% 7.5% .083 .295 .279 .336 .362 .309
Johnny Giavotella 601 7.0% 14.1% .105 .297 .263 .317 .368 .303
Brandon Laird 604 4.1% 19.7% .148 .272 .240 .276 .388 .290
Jarrod Dyson 377 7.4% 17.2% .077 .289 .240 .300 .317 .283
Danny Valencia 513 4.9% 17.5% .157 .286 .256 .290 .413 .304
Justin Maxwell 325 8.9% 31.1% .175 .293 .220 .295 .395 .307
Christian Colon 529 5.5% 10.8% .079 .276 .256 .303 .335 .279
Emilio Bonifacio 451 7.5% 19.3% .081 .319 .258 .315 .339 .295
Francisco Pena 348 5.2% 19.3% .115 .266 .226 .272 .341 .270
Pedro Ciriaco 432 2.8% 16.7% .085 .300 .256 .279 .341 .269
Orlando Caxito 556 5.6% 25.9% .108 .296 .226 .271 .334 .263
Brett Hayes 232 3.9% 26.3% .155 .281 .227 .260 .382 .277
Gorkys Hernandez 492 6.9% 26.8% .082 .313 .227 .290 .309 .268
Chris Getz 328 6.1% 9.5% .057 .282 .257 .304 .314 .272
Carlos Pena 436 13.5% 27.5% .171 .272 .215 .331 .386 .314
Lane Adams 588 6.5% 27.2% .108 .291 .220 .274 .328 .271
Adam Moore 171 5.8% 26.9% .120 .275 .215 .265 .335 .266
Brian Bocock 298 6.4% 21.8% .080 .261 .209 .261 .289 .243
Jason Donald 373 5.9% 24.7% .094 .304 .231 .286 .325 .272
Edinson Rincon 319 3.8% 17.9% .101 .302 .258 .285 .359 .282
Cheslor Cuthbert 556 5.9% 20.1% .110 .273 .228 .276 .338 .271
Miguel Tejada 150 4.0% 14.0% .072 .288 .257 .291 .329 .269
Brett Eibner 471 8.3% 39.3% .141 .283 .181 .255 .322 .258
Brian Fletcher 444 4.1% 28.6% .137 .306 .234 .275 .371 .284
Chase Lambin 277 5.8% 24.2% .099 .283 .222 .276 .321 .259
Jorge Bonifacio 458 5.9% 23.6% .111 .304 .239 .288 .350 .282
Ben Broussard 277 5.1% 26.0% .067 .308 .230 .275 .297 .254
Willy Taveras 297 3.7% 16.5% .068 .263 .224 .259 .292 .246

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Salvador Perez 517 5.2 104 8 4.0 Sandy Alomar
Alex Gordon 691 5.4 110 10 3.5 Gary Matthews
Eric Hosmer 657 6.3 121 -2 2.7 Whitey Lockman
Billy Butler 653 6.1 120 0 2.5 Mike Sweeney
Mike Moustakas 598 4.6 96 3 2.3 Andy Marte
Omar Infante 559 4.5 90 2 1.7 Manny Trillo
Lorenzo Cain 477 4.2 84 5 1.7 Brian McRae
Alcides Escobar 625 4.0 74 3 1.5 Cristian Guzman
Norichika Aoki 638 4.6 93 5 1.5 Lloyd Waner
Johnny Giavotella 601 4.3 88 -2 1.3 Todd Haney
Brandon Laird 604 3.8 80 2 1.1 Josh Klimek
Jarrod Dyson 377 4.1 70 4 1.0 Rich Thompson
Danny Valencia 513 4.2 91 -3 0.9 Juan Uribe
Justin Maxwell 325 4.2 88 5 0.9 Chris Jones
Christian Colon 529 3.7 75 3 0.8 Benjamin Perez
Emilio Bonifacio 451 4.3 80 -2 0.7 Nelson Liriano
Francisco Pena 348 3.2 67 0 0.5 Jeff Winchester
Pedro Ciriaco 432 3.6 70 1 0.4 Aaron Holbert
Orlando Caxito 556 2.9 65 4 0.4 Sean Mcnally
Brett Hayes 232 3.5 74 -2 0.3 Brandon Marsters
Gorkys Hernandez 492 3.2 65 4 0.3 Herm Winningham
Chris Getz 328 3.7 71 0 0.2 Paul Faries
Carlos Pena 436 4.3 97 -2 0.2 Robin Ventura
Lane Adams 588 3.3 65 1 0.0 Charles Peterson
Adam Moore 171 3.1 64 -3 -0.1 Dane Sardinha
Brian Bocock 298 2.6 51 3 -0.1 Les Dennis
Jason Donald 373 3.3 68 -2 -0.2 Nick Green
Edinson Rincon 319 3.6 76 -5 -0.4 Kennedy Infante
Cheslor Cuthbert 556 3.2 68 -3 -0.4 Vicente Garcia
Miguel Tejada 150 3.6 70 -4 -0.5 Pete Suder
Brett Eibner 471 2.7 57 1 -0.5 Mike Rosamond
Brian Fletcher 444 3.5 75 -2 -0.7 Angelo Logrande
Chase Lambin 277 2.9 64 -5 -0.8 Dave McKay
Jorge Bonifacio 458 3.5 75 -3 -0.9 Brandon Snyder
Ben Broussard 277 2.8 58 -1 -1.2 Tom Paciorek
Willy Taveras 297 2.8 52 -3 -1.5 Manny Martinez

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
James Shields R 32 31 31 212.0 194 59 22 204 91 85
Ervin Santana R 31 29 29 185.7 147 55 27 184 94 88
Yordano Ventura R 23 26 26 137.3 114 57 14 137 68 64
Greg Holland R 28 66 0 69.3 100 26 5 49 19 18
Jeremy Guthrie R 35 28 26 166.0 96 48 22 184 90 84
Danny Duffy L 25 16 16 94.0 90 47 9 89 46 43
Jason Vargas L 31 30 30 191.0 123 50 33 198 107 100
Wade Davis R 28 27 23 140.3 118 54 16 151 76 71
Luke Hochevar R 30 61 0 70.7 83 20 8 56 26 24
Bruce Chen L 37 26 19 120.0 85 37 16 124 63 59
Kelvin Herrera R 24 74 0 79.7 93 26 8 68 31 29
Louis Coleman R 28 53 0 69.3 75 31 7 59 29 27
Tim Collins L 24 70 0 61.3 73 30 5 52 26 24
Luis Mendoza R 30 25 17 114.7 68 48 12 125 65 61
Kyle Zimmer R 22 23 23 104.7 98 47 16 103 60 56
Aaron Crow R 27 63 0 57.3 59 24 6 53 26 24
Andrew Triggs R 25 37 0 60.0 43 18 5 62 29 27
Brian Sanches R 35 31 6 67.7 37 23 7 76 39 36
Everett Teaford L 30 31 11 82.7 56 38 11 89 49 46
George Sherrill L 37 20 0 16.7 15 9 2 17 10 9
Francisley Bueno L 33 43 0 63.3 39 27 7 68 36 34
Dan Wheeler R 36 28 0 31.7 19 12 5 36 20 19
Cory Wade R 31 49 2 65.0 41 24 9 73 40 37
Donnie Joseph L 26 56 0 59.3 58 44 7 58 36 34
Jason Bergmann R 32 21 3 40.0 24 26 6 46 29 27
John Lamb L 23 17 17 72.7 41 24 13 91 51 48
Maikel Cleto R 25 49 5 76.7 65 58 9 79 49 46
Michael Mariot R 25 39 7 81.7 49 37 11 94 54 50
Clayton Mortensen R 29 42 4 70.3 51 43 10 75 46 43
P.J. Walters R 29 26 25 122.7 76 63 17 143 83 78
Justin Marks L 26 24 20 111.3 72 62 16 128 77 72
Zach Jackson L 31 29 12 87.7 34 44 13 109 64 60
Ryan Verdugo L 27 23 19 93.0 61 61 17 106 71 66
Jason Adam R 22 25 25 131.3 77 69 23 156 97 91
Chris Dwyer L 26 27 25 128.3 74 90 21 148 97 91
Noel Arguelles L 24 26 17 79.3 46 71 13 96 70 65
Sugar Ray Marimon R 25 23 21 107.3 60 60 26 136 92 86

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
James Shields 212.0 899 21.6% 6.6% .295 3.61 3.72 88 90
Ervin Santana 185.7 796 18.5% 6.9% .280 4.27 4.53 104 110
Yordano Ventura 137.3 606 18.8% 9.4% .299 4.19 4.35 102 106
Greg Holland 69.3 283 35.3% 9.2% .290 2.34 2.31 57 56
Jeremy Guthrie 166.0 730 13.2% 6.6% .291 4.55 4.81 110 117
Danny Duffy 94.0 418 21.5% 11.2% .299 4.12 4.19 100 102
Jason Vargas 191.0 821 15.0% 6.1% .270 4.71 5.04 114 122
Wade Davis 140.3 626 18.9% 8.6% .313 4.55 4.33 110 105
Luke Hochevar 70.7 288 28.8% 6.9% .274 3.06 3.28 74 80
Bruce Chen 120.0 521 16.3% 7.1% .285 4.42 4.53 107 110
Kelvin Herrera 79.7 333 27.9% 7.8% .295 3.28 3.18 80 77
Louis Coleman 69.3 298 25.2% 10.4% .286 3.50 3.71 85 90
Tim Collins 61.3 266 27.5% 11.3% .300 3.52 3.27 85 79
Luis Mendoza 114.7 517 13.2% 9.3% .295 4.79 4.83 116 117
Kyle Zimmer 104.7 464 21.1% 10.1% .293 4.82 4.90 117 119
Aaron Crow 57.3 249 23.7% 9.6% .296 3.77 3.72 91 90
Andrew Triggs 60.0 260 16.5% 6.9% .300 4.05 3.97 98 96
Brian Sanches 67.7 302 12.2% 7.6% .299 4.79 4.62 116 112
Everett Teaford 82.7 375 14.9% 10.1% .294 5.01 5.16 122 125
George Sherrill 16.7 76 19.7% 11.8% .305 4.86 4.64 118 113
Francisley Bueno 63.3 285 13.7% 9.5% .293 4.83 4.84 117 118
Dan Wheeler 31.7 143 13.3% 8.4% .292 5.40 5.25 131 127
Cory Wade 65.0 292 14.0% 8.2% .298 5.12 5.00 124 121
Donnie Joseph 59.3 280 20.7% 15.7% .306 5.16 5.17 125 125
Jason Bergmann 40.0 192 12.5% 13.5% .301 6.07 6.12 147 148
John Lamb 72.7 333 12.3% 7.2% .312 5.94 5.66 144 137
Maikel Cleto 76.7 367 17.7% 15.8% .306 5.40 5.56 131 135
Michael Mariot 81.7 376 13.0% 9.8% .304 5.51 5.32 134 129
Clayton Mortensen 70.3 329 15.5% 13.1% .296 5.50 5.67 133 138
P.J. Walters 122.7 574 13.2% 11.0% .306 5.72 5.51 139 134
Justin Marks 111.3 524 13.7% 11.8% .306 5.82 5.73 141 139
Zach Jackson 87.7 416 8.2% 10.6% .301 6.16 6.13 149 149
Ryan Verdugo 93.0 446 13.7% 13.7% .296 6.39 6.46 155 157
Jason Adam 131.3 619 12.4% 11.1% .302 6.24 6.13 151 149
Chris Dwyer 128.3 623 11.9% 14.4% .296 6.38 6.55 155 159
Noel Arguelles 79.3 405 11.4% 17.5% .309 7.37 7.11 179 173
Sugar Ray Marimon 107.3 518 11.6% 11.6% .302 7.21 7.20 175 175

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
James Shields 212.0 8.24 2.50 0.93 114 4.2 Bob Welch
Ervin Santana 185.7 7.12 2.67 1.31 96 2.2 Ramon Ortiz
Yordano Ventura 137.3 7.47 3.74 0.92 98 1.7 Matt Clement
Greg Holland 69.3 12.99 3.38 0.65 175 1.7 Bryan Harvey
Jeremy Guthrie 166.0 5.20 2.60 1.19 90 1.3 Walt Terrell
Danny Duffy 94.0 8.62 4.50 0.86 100 1.3 Erik Bedard
Jason Vargas 191.0 5.80 2.36 1.55 87 1.2 Scott McGregor
Wade Davis 140.3 7.57 3.46 1.03 90 1.1 Victor Santos
Luke Hochevar 70.7 10.57 2.55 1.02 134 1.1 Trevor Hoffman
Bruce Chen 120.0 6.38 2.78 1.20 93 1.1 Paul Splittorff
Kelvin Herrera 79.7 10.50 2.94 0.90 125 1.0 Jonathan Broxton
Louis Coleman 69.3 9.74 4.03 0.91 117 0.7 Brad Lidge
Tim Collins 61.3 10.72 4.40 0.73 116 0.6 Randy Myers
Luis Mendoza 114.7 5.34 3.77 0.94 86 0.5 Omar Olivares
Kyle Zimmer 104.7 8.42 4.04 1.38 85 0.5 John Patterson
Aaron Crow 57.3 9.27 3.77 0.94 109 0.4 Karl Best
Andrew Triggs 60.0 6.45 2.70 0.75 101 0.2 David Wilhelmi
Brian Sanches 67.7 4.92 3.06 0.93 86 0.1 Bob Scanlan
Everett Teaford 82.7 6.09 4.14 1.20 82 0.0 Chris Cumberland
George Sherrill 16.7 8.08 4.85 1.08 84 -0.1 Norm Charlton
Francisley Bueno 63.3 5.55 3.84 1.00 85 -0.4 Darold Knowles
Dan Wheeler 31.7 5.39 3.41 1.42 76 -0.4 Ernie Johnson
Cory Wade 65.0 5.68 3.32 1.25 80 -0.5 Brandon Puffer
Donnie Joseph 59.3 8.80 6.68 1.06 79 -0.6 Kevin Lovingier
Jason Bergmann 40.0 5.40 5.85 1.35 67 -0.6 Elmer Riddle
John Lamb 72.7 5.08 2.97 1.61 69 -0.6 Joe Saunders
Maikel Cleto 76.7 7.63 6.81 1.06 76 -0.6 Ryan Henderson
Michael Mariot 81.7 5.40 4.08 1.21 74 -0.6 Gerrit Simpson
Clayton Mortensen 70.3 6.53 5.50 1.28 74 -0.7 Jake Robbins
P.J. Walters 122.7 5.57 4.62 1.25 72 -0.7 Robert Ellis
Justin Marks 111.3 5.82 5.01 1.29 70 -0.8 Sebern Wright
Zach Jackson 87.7 3.49 4.52 1.33 67 -1.2 Chris Peters
Ryan Verdugo 93.0 5.90 5.90 1.65 64 -1.3 Chris Waters
Jason Adam 131.3 5.28 4.73 1.58 66 -1.6 Keith Bucktrot
Chris Dwyer 128.3 5.19 6.31 1.47 64 -1.8 Chris Waters
Noel Arguelles 79.3 5.22 8.06 1.48 56 -2.1 Rejino Gonzalez
Sugar Ray Marimon 107.3 5.03 5.03 2.18 57 -2.6 Bryan Corey

***

Disclaimer: ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors — many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2014. ZiPS is projecting equivalent production — a .240 ZiPS projection may end up being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example. Whether or not a player will play is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting the future.

Players are listed with their most recent teams unless Dan has made a mistake. This is very possible as a lot of minor-league signings are generally unreported in the offseason.

ZiPS is projecting based on the AL having a 4.04 ERA and the NL having a 3.81 ERA.

Players that are expected to be out due to injury are still projected. More information is always better than less information and a computer isn’t what should be projecting the injury status of, for example, a pitcher with Tommy John surgery.

Regarding ERA+ vs. ERA- (and FIP+ vs. FIP-) and the differences therein: as Patriot notes here, they are not simply mirror images of each other. Writes Patriot: “ERA+ does not tell you that a pitcher’s ERA was X% less or more than the league’s ERA. It tells you that the league’s ERA was X% less or more than the pitcher’s ERA.”

Both hitters and pitchers are ranked by projected zWAR — which is to say, WAR values as calculated by Dan Szymborski, whose surname is spelled with a z. WAR values might differ slightly from those which appear in full release of ZiPS. Finally, Szymborski will advise anyone against — and might karate chop anyone guilty of — merely adding up WAR totals on depth chart to produce projected team WAR.

We hoped you liked reading 2014 ZiPS Projections – Kansas City Royals by Carson Cistulli!

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Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Poor Moustakas gets the dreaded Andy Marte comp.