2016 ZiPS Projections – Houston Astros

After having typically appeared in the very hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have been released at FanGraphs the past couple years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Houston Astros. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

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

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

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

Pitchers
With regard to the rotation, the Astros enter the 2016 season much as they did the 2015 one: heavily dependent on two starters who’ve experienced considerable success in recent years despite average fastball velocities that might relegate them to the later rounds were they to enter this next June’s amateur draft. Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh produced either 10 wins or 12 wins collectively in 2015, depending on how one chooses to calculate WAR. They’re not forecast to match either total in 2016, although that’s mostly because of how projection systems are informed largely by regression. The prognosis is positive, regardless.

As for the bullpen, it has benefited this offseason by losing roughly no one of import and gaining one of the top-five relievers in baseball. The departure of Vincent Velasquez might ultimately prove troublesome to a rotation that’s once again dependent on the arm of Scott Feldman. There are few pitchers in the league, however, who can equal Ken Giles (72.0 IP, 69 ERA- 64 FIP-) on a per-inning basis. Only a small handful of pitchers (Aroldis Chapman, Wade Davis) from the clubs already considered in this series have received better projected FIP- figures than Houston’s prospective closer.

Bench/Prospects
Per Dan Szymborski’s computer, the player likely to produce the fifth-best season among Houston’s position players is one who’s compiled precisely zero plate appearances above Double-A. Selected 42nd overall out of the University of Kentucky in 2014, first baseman A.J. Reed was drafted later than any Golden Spikes winner since Kip Bouknight in 2000. The power he exhibited as an amateur seems to have translated well to the professional game, however: despite his lack of experience even in the high minors, Reed is projected to record the sixth-best isolated-power figure (.195) on the club — and to produce nearly three wins overall. Shortstop Alex Bregman (502 PA, 1.3 zWAR) and third baseman Colin Moran (489 PA, 1.0 zWAR) also both receive promising forecasts relative to age and experience. Right-handed reliever James Hoyt (55.1 IP, 0.4 zWAR), a 29-year-old who played in the Mexican league as recently as 2012, receives the best prognosis for rookie-eligible pitchers.

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

Astros Depth Chart

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
Carlos Correa R 21 SS 556 71 136 28 3 25 88 23 4
Jose Altuve R 26 2B 693 85 199 38 4 11 64 40 11
Carlos Gomez R 30 CF 542 72 128 27 4 17 66 23 9
George Springer R 26 RF 503 70 108 19 2 23 63 17 4
A.J. Reed L 23 1B 633 86 146 23 4 26 84 0 0
Luis Valbuena L 30 3B 473 57 98 21 1 18 54 1 2
Jason Castro L 29 C 416 44 86 21 1 12 45 1 0
Matt Duffy R 27 3B 564 67 125 23 2 16 66 2 2
Colby Rasmus L 29 LF 457 58 100 22 2 21 58 3 1
Jake Marisnick R 25 CF 492 55 110 20 4 11 47 24 8
Alex Bregman R 22 SS 502 52 123 19 4 7 43 10 6
Tyler Heineman B 25 C 332 38 69 16 1 4 32 2 2
Marwin Gonzalez B 27 SS 363 40 87 17 1 8 30 4 4
Colin Moran L 23 3B 489 49 114 24 2 10 51 1 1
Max Stassi R 25 C 376 40 75 14 1 11 40 1 1
Evan Gattis R 29 DH 485 54 114 20 5 22 71 0 1
Jon Singleton L 24 1B 500 64 93 21 1 22 68 3 2
Tyler White R 25 3B 456 54 100 20 1 10 49 1 1
Tony Kemp L 24 2B 532 60 120 17 4 5 40 22 11
Andrew Aplin L 25 CF 486 53 101 14 4 4 39 19 8
Preston Tucker L 25 LF 515 62 117 23 0 19 62 2 2
J.D. Davis R 23 3B 480 55 98 18 1 15 54 4 1
Alfredo Gonzalez R 23 C 258 26 54 4 0 2 15 4 3
Derek Fisher L 22 CF 507 59 105 13 4 13 49 17 6
Jon Kemmer L 25 RF 377 43 81 18 2 11 40 4 2
Joe Sclafani B 26 2B 360 38 78 10 3 2 26 7 3
Nolan Fontana L 25 SS 403 42 65 15 3 3 28 6 7
Leo Heras L 26 LF 388 40 75 14 5 5 32 11 3
Conrad Gregor L 24 1B 483 50 99 22 2 8 48 2 2
Teoscar Hernandez R 23 CF 532 60 103 18 3 15 52 21 7
Chan Moon B 25 2B 382 36 75 10 2 3 26 14 7
Telvin Nash R 25 LF 251 26 36 5 0 10 27 1 0
Danry Vasquez L 22 LF 510 48 115 23 3 3 37 5 8

***

Batters, Rates and Averages
Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Carlos Correa 556 8.8% 19.6% .219 .301 .273 .340 .492 .365
Jose Altuve 693 4.9% 9.7% .123 .329 .309 .346 .432 .348
Carlos Gomez 542 5.9% 23.6% .174 .315 .259 .317 .433 .338
George Springer 503 10.9% 30.6% .211 .324 .248 .341 .459 .355
A.J. Reed 633 10.1% 25.0% .195 .315 .261 .338 .456 .342
Luis Valbuena 473 11.4% 21.4% .187 .270 .238 .330 .425 .329
Jason Castro 416 8.7% 28.6% .158 .302 .231 .303 .389 .302
Matt Duffy 564 5.1% 23.0% .146 .291 .242 .297 .388 .301
Colby Rasmus 457 9.2% 30.2% .217 .312 .244 .316 .461 .334
Jake Marisnick 492 4.7% 26.2% .136 .315 .244 .292 .380 .304
Alex Bregman 502 5.6% 10.6% .103 .283 .263 .307 .366 .302
Tyler Heineman 332 5.1% 12.3% .099 .250 .228 .283 .327 .271
Marwin Gonzalez 363 4.4% 18.5% .128 .300 .257 .295 .385 .298
Colin Moran 489 6.1% 23.1% .128 .311 .252 .299 .380 .296
Max Stassi 376 5.1% 31.1% .142 .290 .217 .265 .359 .270
Evan Gattis 485 5.2% 20.6% .213 .276 .252 .297 .465 .323
Jon Singleton 500 12.8% 32.8% .206 .285 .216 .316 .422 .323
Tyler White 456 9.9% 18.2% .130 .290 .251 .336 .381 .317
Tony Kemp 532 7.7% 15.8% .085 .296 .253 .319 .338 .305
Andrew Aplin 486 10.5% 16.9% .080 .284 .238 .319 .318 .296
Preston Tucker 515 6.6% 22.5% .168 .286 .246 .299 .414 .310
J.D. Davis 480 6.7% 33.5% .147 .312 .223 .283 .370 .290
Alfredo Gonzalez 258 7.8% 22.1% .043 .299 .234 .298 .277 .266
Derek Fisher 507 7.7% 28.6% .129 .300 .227 .290 .356 .295
Jon Kemmer 377 5.8% 27.6% .159 .302 .235 .293 .394 .301
Joe Sclafani 360 7.8% 17.2% .069 .291 .241 .306 .310 .280
Nolan Fontana 403 13.9% 30.0% .089 .291 .195 .311 .284 .279
Leo Heras 388 8.5% 27.1% .112 .293 .216 .288 .328 .279
Conrad Gregor 483 8.3% 24.2% .115 .290 .228 .295 .343 .283
Teoscar Hernandez 532 5.3% 32.9% .139 .287 .209 .254 .348 .273
Chan Moon 382 6.8% 25.9% .066 .291 .217 .271 .283 .259
Telvin Nash 251 8.0% 53.0% .156 .313 .160 .240 .316 .248
Danry Vasquez 510 4.9% 18.4% .079 .292 .240 .280 .319 .271

***

Batters, Assorted Other
Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Carlos Correa 556 6.6 128 0 4.9 Troy Tulowitzki
Jose Altuve 693 6.2 115 -3 4.2 Harvey Kuenn
Carlos Gomez 542 5.1 106 6 3.4 Aaron Rowand
George Springer 503 5.8 120 2 2.9 Ron Swoboda
A.J. Reed 633 5.6 119 2 2.6 Jason Thompson
Luis Valbuena 473 4.9 108 -2 2.2 Wayne Gross
Jason Castro 416 4.2 91 2 2.2 Russ McGinnis
Matt Duffy 564 4.1 89 5 2.0 Jose Castillo
Colby Rasmus 457 5.2 113 -2 1.6 Franklin Stubbs
Jake Marisnick 492 4.2 85 3 1.6 Xavier Paul
Alex Bregman 502 4.1 87 -3 1.3 Frankie Gustine
Tyler Heineman 332 3.2 69 5 1.2 Brian Moon
Marwin Gonzalez 363 4.0 87 -1 1.1 Mendy Lopez
Colin Moran 489 4.1 87 -1 1.0 Aurelio Rodriguez
Max Stassi 376 3.3 72 2 1.0 Joe Depastino
Evan Gattis 485 4.9 108 0 1.0 Mark Saccomanno
Jon Singleton 500 4.6 103 1 1.0 Stanton Cameron
Tyler White 456 4.6 99 -8 1.0 Rick Stromer
Tony Kemp 532 3.9 83 -2 0.9 Mike Sharperson
Andrew Aplin 486 3.7 79 0 0.8 J.T. Bruett
Preston Tucker 515 4.4 96 -1 0.8 Danny Lewis
J.D. Davis 480 3.7 80 -2 0.6 Josh Fields
Alfredo Gonzalez 258 2.8 62 2 0.5 Andy Allanson
Derek Fisher 507 3.7 79 -5 0.2 Fredrick Tiburcio
Jon Kemmer 377 4.1 89 -1 0.2 Josh Kroeger
Joe Sclafani 360 3.4 72 -1 0.1 Joey Hammond
Nolan Fontana 403 2.7 68 -3 0.1 Karl Allaire
Leo Heras 388 3.4 71 4 0.1 Adam Greenberg
Conrad Gregor 483 3.5 77 3 -0.4 Andy Barkett
Teoscar Hernandez 532 3.2 65 -4 -0.5 Junior Brignac
Chan Moon 382 2.7 55 -3 -1.0 Jonathan Malo
Telvin Nash 251 2.5 53 -5 -1.4 Dan Trumble
Danry Vasquez 510 2.9 67 -6 -2.0 Robin Jennings

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats
Player T Age G GS IP K BB HR H R ER
Dallas Keuchel L 28 30 30 202.3 177 50 18 185 79 74
Collin McHugh R 29 30 29 178.0 160 48 18 168 78 73
Lance McCullers R 22 27 26 150.7 155 63 13 136 65 61
Mike Fiers R 31 29 26 157.7 144 48 22 150 78 73
Ken Giles R 25 71 0 72.0 87 25 5 59 24 22
Scott Feldman R 33 22 22 130.0 87 40 17 134 70 65
Tony Sipp L 32 60 0 54.7 69 17 6 43 19 18
Luke Gregerson R 32 64 0 59.0 57 14 6 53 24 22
Will Harris R 31 65 0 63.3 65 21 8 54 26 24
Pat Neshek R 35 63 0 53.3 54 10 6 48 21 20
Josh Fields R 30 56 0 53.7 64 21 5 46 22 21
James Hoyt R 29 49 0 55.3 61 17 6 50 24 22
Mike Hauschild R 26 26 21 123.7 86 38 14 137 71 66
David Paulino R 22 11 11 53.0 44 19 7 55 29 27
Thomas Shirley L 27 21 10 67.0 51 23 9 71 37 35
Jordan Jankowski R 27 55 0 62.7 69 33 6 56 30 28
Brendan McCurry R 24 53 0 60.7 62 22 7 57 29 27
Samuel Deduno R 32 15 12 66.7 49 36 8 69 40 37
Juan Minaya R 25 37 0 55.7 52 24 6 54 28 26
Dan Straily R 27 28 26 150.0 137 49 25 157 89 83
Francis Martes R 20 18 18 99.0 78 37 15 108 60 56
Kevin Chapman L 28 60 0 63.0 66 36 6 58 32 30
Joe Musgrove R 23 18 14 85.3 64 13 15 96 51 48
Darin Downs L 31 33 0 33.7 29 13 4 34 18 17
Jake Buchanan R 26 33 14 110.0 59 29 14 127 65 61
Jandel Gustave R 23 38 5 66.7 48 31 7 73 40 37
Michael Feliz R 23 26 17 102.7 82 42 15 111 63 59
Tyson Perez R 26 43 0 48.3 36 19 6 52 28 26
Danny Reynolds R 25 45 0 54.3 46 29 5 54 30 28
Brad Peacock R 28 18 15 83.3 73 39 14 86 52 49
Brady Rodgers R 25 25 20 117.3 79 27 21 139 78 73
Asher Wojciechowski R 27 22 20 113.0 81 43 20 130 77 72
Chris Devenski R 25 25 16 110.3 79 37 21 130 77 72

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages
Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Dallas Keuchel 202.3 842 21.0% 5.9% .282 3.29 3.28 82 81
Collin McHugh 178.0 750 21.3% 6.4% .291 3.69 3.55 92 88
Lance McCullers 150.7 651 23.8% 9.7% .300 3.64 3.58 91 88
Mike Fiers 157.7 671 21.5% 7.2% .283 4.17 4.04 104 100
Ken Giles 72.0 300 29.0% 8.3% .297 2.75 2.59 69 64
Scott Feldman 130.0 564 15.4% 7.1% .282 4.50 4.48 112 111
Tony Sipp 54.7 224 30.8% 7.6% .282 2.96 2.94 74 73
Luke Gregerson 59.0 244 23.4% 5.7% .285 3.36 3.21 84 79
Will Harris 63.3 265 24.5% 7.9% .271 3.41 3.69 85 91
Pat Neshek 53.3 218 24.8% 4.6% .288 3.37 3.16 84 78
Josh Fields 53.7 228 28.1% 9.2% .299 3.52 2.99 88 74
James Hoyt 55.3 233 26.2% 7.3% .302 3.58 3.29 89 81
Mike Hauschild 123.7 546 15.7% 7.0% .307 4.80 4.25 120 105
David Paulino 53.0 233 18.9% 8.2% .300 4.58 4.41 114 109
Thomas Shirley 67.0 295 17.3% 7.8% .297 4.70 4.49 117 111
Jordan Jankowski 62.7 277 24.9% 11.9% .301 4.02 3.78 100 93
Brendan McCurry 60.7 261 23.7% 8.4% .299 4.01 3.70 100 91
Samuel Deduno 66.7 305 16.1% 11.8% .296 4.99 5.08 124 125
Juan Minaya 55.7 245 21.2% 9.8% .298 4.20 4.04 105 100
Dan Straily 150.0 656 20.9% 7.5% .301 4.98 4.55 124 112
Francis Martes 99.0 442 17.6% 8.4% .304 5.09 4.80 127 118
Kevin Chapman 63.0 283 23.3% 12.7% .302 4.29 4.06 107 100
Joe Musgrove 85.3 365 17.5% 3.6% .302 5.06 4.52 126 112
Darin Downs 33.7 148 19.6% 8.8% .300 4.54 4.17 113 103
Jake Buchanan 110.0 486 12.1% 6.0% .299 4.99 4.59 124 113
Jandel Gustave 66.7 304 15.8% 10.2% .308 4.99 4.56 124 112
Michael Feliz 102.7 461 17.8% 9.1% .304 5.17 4.81 129 119
Tyson Perez 48.3 216 16.7% 8.8% .303 4.84 4.35 121 107
Danny Reynolds 54.3 246 18.7% 11.8% .301 4.64 4.32 116 107
Brad Peacock 83.3 375 19.5% 10.4% .294 5.29 5.01 132 124
Brady Rodgers 117.3 518 15.3% 5.2% .307 5.60 4.90 140 121
Asher Wojciechowski 113.0 512 15.8% 8.4% .304 5.73 5.25 143 129
Chris Devenski 110.3 498 15.9% 7.4% .307 5.87 5.32 146 131

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other
Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Dallas Keuchel 202.3 7.87 2.22 0.80 120 4.5 Tom Glavine
Collin McHugh 178.0 8.09 2.43 0.91 107 3.1 Todd Stottlemyre
Lance McCullers 150.7 9.26 3.76 0.78 108 2.6 Steve Bedrosian
Mike Fiers 157.7 8.22 2.74 1.26 95 1.7 Jackson Todd
Ken Giles 72.0 10.88 3.13 0.63 143 1.3 Gregg Olson
Scott Feldman 130.0 6.02 2.77 1.18 88 0.8 Aaron Sele
Tony Sipp 54.7 11.35 2.80 0.99 133 0.8 Brian Fuentes
Luke Gregerson 59.0 8.69 2.14 0.92 117 0.6 Mike Maddux
Will Harris 63.3 9.24 2.99 1.14 115 0.6 Kerry Ligtenberg
Pat Neshek 53.3 9.12 1.69 1.01 117 0.5 Rick Aguilera
Josh Fields 53.7 10.73 3.52 0.84 112 0.4 Bart Miadich
James Hoyt 55.3 9.93 2.77 0.98 110 0.4 Jason Bulger
Mike Hauschild 123.7 6.26 2.76 1.02 82 0.3 Michael Macdonald
David Paulino 53.0 7.47 3.23 1.19 86 0.2 Arnie Munoz
Thomas Shirley 67.0 6.85 3.09 1.21 84 0.2 Trever Miller
Jordan Jankowski 62.7 9.90 4.74 0.86 98 0.1 Ryan Bukvich
Brendan McCurry 60.7 9.19 3.26 1.04 98 0.1 Andy Ghelfi
Samuel Deduno 66.7 6.61 4.86 1.08 79 0.0 Mark Thompson
Juan Minaya 55.7 8.40 3.88 0.97 94 0.0 Anthony Chavez
Dan Straily 150.0 8.22 2.94 1.50 79 0.0 Gil Meche
Francis Martes 99.0 7.09 3.36 1.36 77 -0.1 Brandon Backe
Kevin Chapman 63.0 9.43 5.14 0.86 92 -0.1 Kevin Tolar
Joe Musgrove 85.3 6.75 1.37 1.58 78 -0.2 Dave Geeve
Darin Downs 33.7 7.74 3.47 1.07 87 -0.2 Joey Eischen
Jake Buchanan 110.0 4.83 2.37 1.15 79 -0.2 Steve Lemke
Jandel Gustave 66.7 6.48 4.18 0.94 79 -0.3 Brett Merriman
Michael Feliz 102.7 7.19 3.68 1.31 76 -0.4 Rich DePastino
Tyson Perez 48.3 6.71 3.54 1.12 81 -0.4 Thad Markray
Danny Reynolds 54.3 7.62 4.81 0.83 85 -0.4 Pete Sikaras
Brad Peacock 83.3 7.89 4.21 1.51 74 -0.4 Joel Bennett
Brady Rodgers 117.3 6.06 2.07 1.61 70 -1.0 Matt Vasquez
Asher Wojciechowski 113.0 6.45 3.42 1.59 69 -1.1 Kip Bouknight
Chris Devenski 110.3 6.45 3.02 1.71 67 -1.4 Mike Redding

***

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 2016. 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 3.93 ERA and the NL having a 3.75 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 2016 ZiPS Projections – Houston Astros 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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ptullar2
Member
ptullar2

Link is to the Giants Matt Duffy. Is the projection for him as well?

Hemo_jr
Member
Member
Hemo_jr

Astros’ Duffy should be referred to as ‘Mad Dog’ Duffy from now on so’s to eliminate the confusion.