2014 ZiPS Projections – Minnesota Twins

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

Other Projections: Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Cleveland / Philadelphia / St. Louis.

Batters
“How will Joe Mauer’s move from catcher to first base affect the Twins?” is likely a question that a number of people have asked this offseason, either aloud or just to themselves. The answer, at least so far as ZiPS is concerned, is probably “Not much.” In either case, that is, Minnesota doesn’t resemble anything much like a club that’ll find itself in playoff contention during the waning months of baseball’s regular season. That’s not to say it won’t affect Mauer’s production, personally. After receiving a projection of four-plus wins from ZiPS last winter and then actually outproducing that figure during 2013, the erstwhile backstop receives here a projection of fewer than three wins as a first baseman.

Part of that appears to be adjustment for BABIP: no player is reasonably forecast to record one above .350, even though Mauer has exceeded that figure each of the last two seasons. Part of that is likely a product of whatever aging curve Dan Szymborski’s math computer utilizes. But a third part of it is due, also, to the positional adjustment for a first basemen relative to a catcher. Whether projected to record a 125 OPS+ (as he was last year) or 121 OPS+ (as with this one), that’s a less formidable number when it’s being produced by a first baseman.

An encouraging development, on the other hand, is the projection for Mauer’s replacement at catcher, Josmil Pinto, about whom Steamer is also rather optimistic.

Pitchers
It’s a credit to GM Terry Ryan that his two most notable free-agent signings of the offseason thus far, Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco, are also likely to be Minnesota’s two best starting pitchers in 2014. That it’s because they’re the only two starting pitchers likely to produce at something better than replacement level, however, probably isn’t what one might call an “indicator for great success.” Not included among the starting pitchers on the depth chart are Mike Pelfrey (0.1 ZiPS WAR) and Vance Worley (0.3 ZiPS WAR), the former of whom is a free agent; the latter, on his way back from injuries that prevented him from pitching after May.

With regard to the bullpen, left-hander Glen Perkins remains probably the best Twins pitcher on a per-inning basis.

Bench/Prospects
It isn’t great for the 2014 Twins that many of the best projections below are assigned to players unlikely to begin the season on the 25-man roster. What it is good for is the 2015 and 2016 and 2017 Twins, probably. Outfielder Byron Buxton and corner-type Miguel Sano, who ranked first and second on Marc Hulet’s organizational prospect list published here yesterday, are both regarded by ZiPS as possessing league-average talent already. A nearly similar thing can be said for top pitching prospect Alex Meyer, for whom the concerns momentarily regard his health more than his ability.

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

Twins 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
Joe Mauer L 31 1B 582 71 148 30 1 10 60 3 3
Josmil Pinto R 25 C 563 64 131 26 2 14 59 0 1
Miguel Sano R 21 3B 556 77 112 24 3 30 81 8 4
Byron Buxton R 20 CF 531 64 122 16 6 9 45 30 15
Brian Dozier R 27 2B 618 73 138 28 5 12 59 14 7
Alex Presley L 28 CF 612 77 144 21 8 13 55 16 9
Oswaldo Arcia L 23 LF 551 65 130 25 4 20 68 3 4
Josh Willingham R 35 LF 478 55 94 20 0 20 66 2 1
Chris Herrmann L 26 C 508 52 100 17 2 8 44 3 2
Trevor Plouffe R 28 3B 537 59 120 24 2 18 56 3 3
Jorge Polanco B 20 2B 453 51 107 22 4 4 41 4 5
Pedro Florimon B 27 SS 515 50 108 19 2 8 47 15 8
Aaron Hicks B 24 CF 509 65 97 19 5 10 42 15 7
Eric Fryer R 28 C 273 31 52 9 1 5 23 5 0
Chris Colabello R 30 1B 558 66 125 24 0 21 69 1 1
Chris Parmelee L 26 RF 569 54 123 26 2 13 55 1 1
Eduardo Escobar B 25 SS 461 50 105 18 4 5 35 8 5
Eddie Rosario L 22 2B 539 60 128 26 4 10 54 8 12
Danny Santana B 23 SS 599 61 143 20 6 5 45 20 11
Jason Bartlett R 34 SS 375 44 79 15 2 2 28 9 5
Deibinson Romero R 27 3B 481 49 96 17 2 11 47 2 1
Ryan Doumit B 33 DH 455 44 105 23 1 12 51 0 0
Jermaine Mitchell L 29 CF 481 55 96 17 7 7 37 14 9
Max Kepler L 21 1B 333 40 73 14 2 10 37 3 0
Jamey Carroll R 40 3B 331 38 71 12 0 0 19 4 2
Brandon Waring R 28 3B 488 49 85 18 1 16 47 0 0
Wilkin Ramirez R 28 CF 328 32 68 13 2 8 30 8 5
Eric Farris R 28 2B 503 44 112 17 2 4 30 19 6
Darin Mastroianni R 28 LF 358 38 73 11 3 2 24 21 4
Doug Bernier R 34 SS 323 31 61 12 2 1 20 3 2
Kennys Vargas B 23 1B 434 51 91 20 0 14 50 0 0
James Beresford L 25 2B 502 48 114 13 2 0 30 6 6
Ray Olmedo B 33 3B 402 39 86 14 1 1 25 6 3
Jeff Clement L 30 1B 411 40 83 22 1 11 48 1 1
Brian Dinkelman L 30 RF 391 36 80 16 1 4 29 5 2
Chris Rahl R 30 RF 426 42 94 17 4 6 37 14 6

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Joe Mauer 582 12.0% 14.9% .122 .334 .292 .378 .414 .340
Josmil Pinto 563 7.6% 21.7% .140 .307 .255 .314 .395 .313
Miguel Sano 556 9.4% 34.9% .244 .300 .227 .308 .471 .337
Byron Buxton 531 8.5% 26.9% .115 .342 .254 .321 .369 .307
Brian Dozier 618 7.0% 17.8% .132 .284 .246 .303 .378 .298
Alex Presley 612 6.7% 19.4% .135 .303 .256 .309 .391 .306
Oswaldo Arcia 551 7.3% 27.0% .185 .327 .259 .319 .444 .331
Josh Willingham 478 12.1% 25.7% .198 .279 .233 .343 .431 .339
Chris Herrmann 508 8.5% 23.2% .099 .275 .218 .287 .317 .269
Trevor Plouffe 537 6.9% 21.6% .168 .285 .246 .305 .414 .314
Jorge Polanco 453 5.7% 16.6% .100 .299 .257 .299 .357 .286
Pedro Florimon 515 7.0% 28.0% .101 .315 .232 .289 .333 .273
Aaron Hicks 509 9.6% 27.5% .130 .285 .215 .292 .345 .283
Eric Fryer 273 9.2% 25.3% .108 .278 .216 .295 .324 .281
Chris Colabello 558 7.3% 25.8% .171 .301 .247 .308 .418 .319
Chris Parmelee 569 9.3% 21.1% .136 .290 .243 .316 .379 .306
Eduardo Escobar 461 5.0% 20.8% .097 .306 .246 .287 .343 .274
Eddie Rosario 539 5.0% 20.6% .127 .303 .254 .290 .381 .288
Danny Santana 599 3.3% 18.4% .083 .306 .254 .285 .337 .272
Jason Bartlett 375 8.0% 17.9% .074 .287 .237 .303 .311 .273
Deibinson Romero 481 7.9% 24.7% .124 .277 .222 .290 .346 .282
Ryan Doumit 455 7.5% 18.5% .147 .289 .254 .312 .401 .310
Jermaine Mitchell 481 8.1% 28.7% .119 .305 .220 .287 .339 .277
Max Kepler 333 6.3% 20.4% .156 .274 .238 .294 .394 .306
Jamey Carroll 331 7.9% 13.9% .040 .281 .240 .303 .280 .263
Brandon Waring 488 6.6% 39.1% .153 .288 .191 .257 .344 .266
Wilkin Ramirez 328 4.6% 30.8% .133 .299 .221 .260 .354 .268
Eric Farris 503 4.2% 14.1% .071 .273 .239 .276 .310 .261
Darin Mastroianni 358 7.8% 22.1% .072 .293 .227 .294 .299 .273
Doug Bernier 323 7.4% 25.7% .066 .293 .212 .278 .278 .248
Kennys Vargas 434 7.4% 27.9% .157 .293 .231 .293 .388 .299
James Beresford 502 5.4% 15.5% .037 .295 .247 .291 .284 .254
Ray Olmedo 402 5.2% 16.7% .052 .281 .232 .277 .284 .246
Jeff Clement 411 6.1% 26.0% .149 .270 .217 .265 .366 .276
Brian Dinkelman 391 6.4% 18.9% .084 .270 .223 .280 .307 .260
Chris Rahl 426 3.1% 29.3% .106 .319 .233 .262 .339 .264

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Joe Mauer 582 5.9 121 6 2.8 Keith Hernandez
Josmil Pinto 563 4.5 96 -3 2.7 John Ramos
Miguel Sano 556 5.1 113 -4 2.6 Danny Tartabull
Byron Buxton 531 4.3 92 6 2.3 Bernie Williams
Brian Dozier 618 4.1 88 1 1.7 Mike Dzurilla
Alex Presley 612 4.3 93 -3 1.6 Steve Finley
Oswaldo Arcia 551 5.1 110 -3 1.5 Mel Hall
Josh Willingham 478 5.2 114 -6 1.4 Jay Buhner
Chris Herrmann 508 3.1 68 1 1.1 Andy Skeels
Trevor Plouffe 537 4.5 98 -8 1.0 Jason Wood
Jorge Polanco 453 3.7 82 3 0.9 Mark Lewis
Pedro Florimon 515 3.4 73 1 0.9 Doug Baker
Aaron Hicks 509 3.5 77 1 0.7 Lee Tinsley
Eric Fryer 273 3.5 72 -1 0.6 Tony DeFrancesco
Chris Colabello 558 4.6 100 -1 0.6 Nate Gold
Chris Parmelee 569 4.3 93 -1 0.6 Mike Robertson
Eduardo Escobar 461 3.5 75 -1 0.6 Curtis Wilkerson
Eddie Rosario 539 3.7 85 -1 0.6 Brad Wellman
Danny Santana 599 3.5 73 -1 0.6 Carlos Garcia
Jason Bartlett 375 3.3 72 -1 0.5 Royce Clayton
Deibinson Romero 481 3.5 76 -1 0.4 Brad Seitzer
Ryan Doumit 455 4.5 97 0 0.3 Carl Everett
Jermaine Mitchell 481 3.3 74 0 0.3 Herm Winningham
Max Kepler 333 4.2 90 0 0.1 Scott Hatteberg
Jamey Carroll 331 3.0 64 0 -0.1 Ossie Bluege
Brandon Waring 488 3.0 65 -3 -0.1 Ryan Minor
Wilkin Ramirez 328 3.1 69 -1 -0.2 Sean Barker
Eric Farris 503 3.2 63 -1 -0.2 Donovan Mitchell
Darin Mastroianni 358 3.5 66 2 -0.3 Rich Amaral
Doug Bernier 323 2.6 56 -1 -0.3 Steve Scarsone
Kennys Vargas 434 4.0 88 -3 -0.5 Felix Colon
James Beresford 502 2.8 61 1 -0.5 John Skorochocki
Ray Olmedo 402 2.8 57 -1 -0.6 Alfredo Griffin
Jeff Clement 411 3.3 73 -2 -0.9 Les Wallin
Brian Dinkelman 391 3.0 64 -2 -0.9 Marc Sagmoen
Chris Rahl 426 3.2 66 2 -0.9 Sean Barker

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
Ricky Nolasco R 31 30 30 177.7 139 39 20 189 89 83
Alex Meyer R 24 21 21 100.7 92 47 9 98 50 47
Glen Perkins L 31 62 0 61.3 74 17 6 50 20 19
Phil Hughes R 28 27 26 141.7 118 39 20 152 78 73
Anthony Swarzak R 28 48 0 88.7 68 23 9 88 40 37
Jared Burton R 33 63 0 59.0 56 19 6 54 26 24
Samuel Deduno R 30 21 21 110.0 79 60 12 112 63 59
Vance Worley R 26 23 22 127.0 88 42 15 146 74 69
Michael Tonkin R 24 56 0 68.7 65 26 6 66 32 30
Mike Pelfrey R 30 22 21 118.7 77 39 14 137 71 66
Casey Fien R 30 58 0 55.3 58 17 8 52 27 25
Caleb Thielbar L 27 60 0 70.0 60 27 8 67 34 32
Brian Duensing L 31 69 0 63.3 55 21 6 65 31 29
Kevin Correia R 33 26 25 145.7 82 40 22 170 88 82
Trevor May R 24 26 26 140.3 127 68 21 146 86 80
Ryan Pressly R 25 52 0 73.7 52 29 8 76 39 36
Scott Diamond L 27 29 29 167.0 83 45 23 199 103 96
Kyle Davies R 30 17 14 70.3 53 26 10 79 44 41
Kyle Gibson R 26 21 20 97.3 65 40 13 111 61 57
Andrew Albers L 28 28 21 124.0 73 33 18 145 77 72
Lester Oliveros R 26 27 0 33.3 28 16 4 34 19 18
Deolis Guerra R 25 17 0 29.0 23 13 4 31 17 16
Liam Hendriks R 25 27 26 149.7 88 42 22 179 96 90
Aaron Thompson L 27 35 8 76.0 41 27 10 91 49 46
Kris Johnson L 29 25 14 90.3 53 46 12 103 60 56
Nick Blackburn R 32 15 15 81.0 36 24 12 102 56 52
Edgar Ibarra L 25 46 0 64.3 48 35 8 69 40 37
Logan Darnell L 25 26 25 136.7 78 51 21 164 92 86
Cole DeVries R 29 23 21 111.7 61 30 21 136 78 73
Shairon Martis R 27 35 13 100.3 68 51 20 118 76 71

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Ricky Nolasco 177.7 761 18.3% 5.1% .304 4.20 4.10 104 101
Alex Meyer 100.7 447 20.6% 10.5% .304 4.20 4.35 104 108
Glen Perkins 61.3 251 29.5% 6.8% .290 2.79 3.13 69 77
Phil Hughes 141.7 616 19.2% 6.3% .304 4.64 4.50 115 111
Anthony Swarzak 88.7 377 18.0% 6.1% .287 3.76 4.04 93 100
Jared Burton 59.0 250 22.4% 7.6% .293 3.66 3.93 91 97
Samuel Deduno 110.0 502 15.7% 12.0% .292 4.83 5.30 120 131
Vance Worley 127.0 569 15.5% 7.4% .313 4.89 4.65 121 115
Michael Tonkin 68.7 298 21.8% 8.7% .303 3.93 3.91 97 97
Mike Pelfrey 118.7 532 14.5% 7.3% .309 5.01 4.71 124 117
Casey Fien 55.3 235 24.7% 7.2% .292 4.07 4.04 101 100
Caleb Thielbar 70.0 304 19.7% 8.9% .286 4.11 4.33 102 107
Brian Duensing 63.3 276 19.9% 7.6% .307 4.12 3.83 102 95
Kevin Correia 145.7 647 12.7% 6.2% .295 5.07 5.12 125 127
Trevor May 140.3 635 20.0% 10.7% .303 5.13 5.18 127 128
Ryan Pressly 73.7 326 15.9% 8.9% .288 4.40 4.62 109 114
Scott Diamond 167.0 745 11.1% 6.0% .299 5.17 5.08 128 126
Kyle Davies 70.3 316 16.8% 8.2% .310 5.25 5.02 130 124
Kyle Gibson 97.3 443 14.7% 9.0% .308 5.27 5.29 130 131
Andrew Albers 124.0 550 13.3% 6.0% .303 5.23 5.12 129 127
Lester Oliveros 33.3 150 18.7% 10.7% .300 4.86 4.76 120 118
Deolis Guerra 29.0 131 17.6% 9.9% .303 4.97 5.20 123 129
Liam Hendriks 149.7 670 13.1% 6.3% .308 5.41 5.16 134 128
Aaron Thompson 76.0 346 11.8% 7.8% .308 5.45 5.33 135 132
Kris Johnson 90.3 420 12.6% 11.0% .300 5.58 5.69 138 141
Nick Blackburn 81.0 369 9.8% 6.5% .306 5.78 5.44 143 135
Edgar Ibarra 64.3 297 16.2% 11.8% .302 5.18 5.29 128 131
Logan Darnell 136.7 625 12.5% 8.2% .306 5.66 5.59 140 138
Cole DeVries 111.7 501 12.2% 6.0% .301 5.88 5.76 146 143
Shairon Martis 100.3 470 14.5% 10.9% .302 6.37 6.35 158 157

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Ricky Nolasco 177.7 7.04 1.98 1.01 95 1.9 Kevin Tapani
Alex Meyer 100.7 8.22 4.20 0.80 95 1.1 Dustin Nippert
Glen Perkins 61.3 10.86 2.50 0.88 143 1.1 Arthur Rhodes
Phil Hughes 141.7 7.49 2.48 1.27 86 0.8 Roy Smith
Anthony Swarzak 88.7 6.90 2.33 0.91 106 0.5 Jose Santiago
Jared Burton 59.0 8.54 2.90 0.92 109 0.4 Jerry Spradlin
Samuel Deduno 110.0 6.46 4.91 0.98 83 0.4 Joe Decker
Vance Worley 127.0 6.24 2.98 1.06 82 0.3 Mike LaCoss
Michael Tonkin 68.7 8.52 3.41 0.79 102 0.3 Alejandro Pena
Mike Pelfrey 118.7 5.84 2.96 1.06 80 0.1 Joey Hamilton
Casey Fien 55.3 9.44 2.77 1.30 98 0.1 Jeff Austin
Caleb Thielbar 70.0 7.71 3.47 1.03 97 0.1 Mike Mohler
Brian Duensing 63.3 7.82 2.99 0.85 97 0.1 Randy Flores
Kevin Correia 145.7 5.07 2.47 1.36 79 0.1 Dave Johnson
Trevor May 140.3 8.15 4.36 1.35 78 0.0 Matt Kinney
Ryan Pressly 73.7 6.35 3.54 0.98 91 -0.1 Frank Lankford
Scott Diamond 167.0 4.47 2.43 1.24 77 -0.1 Mike Maroth
Kyle Davies 70.3 6.79 3.33 1.28 76 -0.1 Evan Thomas
Kyle Gibson 97.3 6.01 3.70 1.20 76 -0.2 Kane Davis
Andrew Albers 124.0 5.30 2.40 1.31 76 -0.2 Scott Downs
Lester Oliveros 33.3 7.57 4.32 1.08 82 -0.2 Matt Palmer
Deolis Guerra 29.0 7.14 4.03 1.24 81 -0.3 Brandon Puffer
Liam Hendriks 149.7 5.29 2.53 1.32 74 -0.6 Bill King
Aaron Thompson 76.0 4.86 3.20 1.18 73 -0.6 Phil Devey
Kris Johnson 90.3 5.28 4.58 1.20 72 -0.6 Eddie Oropesa
Nick Blackburn 81.0 4.00 2.67 1.33 69 -0.7 Brian Moehler
Edgar Ibarra 64.3 6.72 4.90 1.12 77 -0.7 Chad Brown
Logan Darnell 136.7 5.14 3.36 1.38 71 -0.9 Jason Cromer
Cole DeVries 111.7 4.91 2.42 1.69 68 -1.1 Steve Ellsworth
Shairon Martis 100.3 6.10 4.58 1.79 63 -1.8 R.A. Dickey

***

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 – Minnesota Twins by Carson Cistulli!

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

newest oldest most voted
sportznut
Guest
sportznut

How does a guy with 233 ABs above A ball (Sano) end up with a better projection than Adam Jones, who gets a lower projection than the numbers he’s posted in MLB for years?

Makes no sense to me at all.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Weird, but perhaps because he has more power and patience then Jones? Already Sano is noteworthy for both, and Jones already strikes out plenty which is Sano’s biggest weakness.

Pitnick
Guest
Pitnick

Jones’ projection is right around his career averages. A little higher in fact. Down a tad from the last two years, but that’s to be expected with almost any projection. Unless the player is very young, you count on regression not improvement.