2017 ZiPS Projections – Pittsburgh Pirates

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

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

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

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

Pitchers
The depth-chart image below features the club’s starting pitchers listed not in the order in which they’re likely to be deployed by manager Clint Hurdle, but rather in order of their ZiPS WAR projection. Why that point’s relevant here is because of Tyler Glasnow (122.1 IP, 2.1 zWAR). Reports from this winter — such as this one from MLB.com’s Adam Berry — suggest that Glasnow is likely to compete for a spot in the rotation. Were Szymborski’s cold, dispassionate algorithm tasked with setting the rotation, it would probably give Glasnow the No. 2 role.

As for the bullpen, it appears as though it might benefit from the addition of another piece or two. Tony Watson (65.1 IP, 76 ERA-, 0.9 zWAR) earns the top ERA and WAR projections among relievers, while Felipe Rivero (66.1, 85, 0.6) also looks promising. They’re the only two relievers, however, forecast for an ERA more than 10% lower than (i.e. better than) league average. Juan Nicasio’s (99.1, 102, 0.7) numbers might look better were he projected for relief work exclusively.

Bench/Prospects
Pittsburgh’s top prospect also receives the club’s top projection among those players not expected to open the season among the starting eight. Per ZiPS, Austin Meadows (474 PA, 2.0 zWAR) is already prepared to produce wins at a league-average rate or better, by virtue of almost precisely league-average offensive (102 OPS+) and defensive (-3 runs, but with a center-field positional adjustment) value. Infielders Alen Hanson (533, 1.5) and Kevin Newman (434, 1.7), a total of 33 major-league plate appearances between them, both profile as nearly average players, as well.

Less depth exists on the pitching side, it would appear. Drew Hutchison (154.0 IP, 0.8 zWAR) and Wade LeBlanc (109.0, 1.2) are both possible starting options. Lisalverto Bonilla (95.0, 0.7) isn’t entirely without merit, either.

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

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
Andrew McCutchen R 30 CF 641 83 152 29 4 24 87 11 6
Starling Marte R 28 LF 585 78 151 31 5 14 59 38 12
Jung Ho Kang R 30 3B 458 58 105 22 2 20 67 3 3
Gregory Polanco L 25 RF 612 82 143 31 5 16 75 20 8
Josh Harrison R 29 2B 517 62 138 29 5 7 53 15 6
Francisco Cervelli R 31 C 349 38 81 13 2 3 30 3 1
Austin Meadows L 22 CF 474 57 116 24 6 12 59 15 6
David Freese R 34 3B 469 54 108 22 0 12 54 0 1
Kevin Newman R 23 SS 434 46 107 18 3 5 38 8 4
Josh Bell B 24 1B 612 73 145 27 6 15 74 4 5
Alen Hanson B 24 2B 533 58 120 19 11 11 53 25 11
Jordy Mercer R 30 SS 521 53 121 22 2 10 53 2 1
Jason Rogers R 29 3B 445 49 99 18 3 10 47 2 0
John Jaso L 33 1B 323 35 75 18 2 6 33 1 2
Elias Diaz R 26 C 274 27 62 12 2 4 27 1 2
Danny Ortiz L 27 CF 487 53 110 24 4 11 62 4 4
Eury Perez R 27 LF 321 33 75 11 4 3 25 19 6
Adam Frazier L 25 LF 466 49 113 20 4 2 34 12 10
Barrett Barnes R 25 LF 349 38 74 17 3 7 34 7 4
Max Moroff B 24 2B 548 57 102 20 5 9 47 10 10
Jacob Stallings R 27 C 279 24 55 13 0 6 26 2 1
Kevin Kramer L 23 2B 538 52 122 23 5 3 43 5 9
Jin-De Jhang L 24 C 319 31 77 14 1 3 27 2 1
Gift Ngoepe R 27 SS 392 36 66 15 3 8 33 6 4
Chris Stewart R 35 C 170 13 37 5 0 1 11 0 0
Chris Bostick R 24 2B 560 56 121 23 6 10 53 14 9
Ed Easley R 31 C 239 24 52 8 0 4 21 0 1
Eric Wood R 24 3B 455 47 91 18 3 10 44 4 5
Erich Weiss L 25 2B 498 47 102 18 4 4 41 7 5
Jackson Williams R 31 C 287 22 56 11 1 2 18 1 2
Jose Osuna R 24 1B 517 56 122 29 3 12 60 4 4
Joey Terdoslavich B 28 1B 454 50 99 20 2 10 47 1 2
Christian Kelley R 23 C 307 26 60 9 0 1 18 0 5

***

Batters, Rates and Averages
Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Andrew McCutchen 641 12.0% 20.1% .198 .318 .276 .370 .474 .361
Starling Marte 585 4.6% 21.4% .155 .343 .281 .336 .436 .351
Jung Ho Kang 458 8.1% 24.9% .212 .310 .259 .338 .472 .350
Gregory Polanco 612 8.7% 19.6% .161 .302 .259 .322 .420 .326
Josh Harrison 517 3.9% 14.3% .124 .323 .286 .320 .410 .323
Francisco Cervelli 349 11.2% 18.3% .086 .331 .269 .362 .355 .322
Austin Meadows 474 6.5% 20.3% .166 .314 .267 .316 .433 .329
David Freese 469 8.1% 24.1% .138 .323 .257 .330 .395 .318
Kevin Newman 434 6.2% 10.6% .098 .292 .270 .320 .368 .305
Josh Bell 612 10.5% 14.7% .156 .296 .270 .347 .426 .332
Alen Hanson 533 5.6% 19.3% .151 .287 .244 .288 .395 .305
Jordy Mercer 521 7.1% 15.5% .119 .289 .256 .314 .375 .289
Jason Rogers 445 9.0% 20.4% .135 .295 .248 .317 .383 .305
John Jaso 323 10.5% 17.3% .141 .309 .264 .350 .405 .334
Elias Diaz 274 6.2% 17.5% .111 .286 .246 .293 .357 .285
Danny Ortiz 487 4.1% 22.6% .142 .289 .240 .272 .381 .281
Eury Perez 321 4.0% 17.8% .095 .306 .254 .299 .349 .298
Adam Frazier 466 6.7% 13.9% .080 .308 .266 .319 .346 .304
Barrett Barnes 349 6.9% 26.6% .139 .307 .234 .297 .373 .297
Max Moroff 548 11.1% 28.6% .120 .297 .214 .304 .334 .291
Jacob Stallings 279 5.0% 29.0% .120 .283 .213 .257 .333 .257
Kevin Kramer 538 6.9% 15.8% .086 .296 .251 .307 .337 .288
Jin-De Jhang 319 4.1% 12.5% .084 .286 .258 .290 .341 .276
Gift Ngoepe 392 7.7% 37.2% .128 .291 .188 .256 .315 .254
Chris Stewart 170 7.6% 14.7% .053 .286 .245 .315 .298 .270
Chris Bostick 560 5.5% 26.1% .126 .305 .234 .284 .360 .289
Ed Easley 239 7.5% 17.6% .093 .279 .241 .303 .333 .279
Eric Wood 455 7.5% 27.3% .131 .287 .220 .283 .351 .281
Erich Weiss 498 7.0% 24.7% .084 .299 .226 .285 .310 .266
Jackson Williams 287 7.3% 21.6% .073 .271 .215 .274 .287 .250
Jose Osuna 517 5.0% 21.1% .147 .301 .253 .293 .400 .300
Joey Terdoslavich 454 9.0% 21.1% .132 .292 .243 .313 .375 .300
Christian Kelley 307 6.5% 22.8% .043 .282 .216 .274 .259 .242

***

Batters, Assorted Other
Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Andrew McCutchen 641 6.5 128 -10 4.1 Dale Murphy
Starling Marte 585 5.8 109 10 3.8 Cleon Jones
Jung Ho Kang 458 5.7 118 1 3.2 Mike Blowers
Gregory Polanco 612 5.0 101 7 2.6 Von Hayes
Josh Harrison 517 5.0 97 0 2.2 Mariano Duncan
Francisco Cervelli 349 4.8 97 -2 2.0 Geno Petralli
Austin Meadows 474 5.1 102 -3 2.0 Rondell White
David Freese 469 4.7 97 -2 1.9 Travis Fryman
Kevin Newman 434 4.4 87 1 1.7 Ronny Cedeno
Josh Bell 612 5.3 110 -2 1.6 Orlando Merced
Alen Hanson 533 4.1 84 2 1.5 Ramon Caraballo
Jordy Mercer 521 4.3 87 -3 1.4 Jose Castro
Jason Rogers 445 4.4 90 -5 1.0 Ray Giannelli
John Jaso 323 5.1 105 -2 0.7 Rusty Greer
Elias Diaz 274 3.6 76 0 0.7 Guillermo Garcia
Danny Ortiz 487 3.6 76 1 0.6 Ray Ortiz
Eury Perez 321 4.0 76 4 0.5 Sherwin Cijntje
Adam Frazier 466 3.8 82 3 0.5 Bruce Fields
Barrett Barnes 349 3.9 82 3 0.5 Jeff Hermann
Max Moroff 548 3.3 74 -1 0.5 Jeff Patzke
Jacob Stallings 279 2.9 60 2 0.5 Chris Curry
Kevin Kramer 538 3.4 76 -1 0.4 Martin Prado
Jin-De Jhang 319 3.6 72 -3 0.4 Ken Huckaby
Gift Ngoepe 392 2.6 55 5 0.4 Jake Wald
Chris Stewart 170 3.4 69 0 0.3 Spud Davis
Chris Bostick 560 3.5 74 -3 0.3 Elliot Johnson
Ed Easley 239 3.5 74 -3 0.3 Dave Toth
Eric Wood 455 3.3 72 -1 0.2 Craig Kuzmic
Erich Weiss 498 3.0 63 3 0.1 Demetrish Jenkins
Jackson Williams 287 2.6 54 1 0.0 Chris Tremie
Jose Osuna 517 4.1 87 -1 0.0 Mike Morse
Joey Terdoslavich 454 4.1 87 -3 -0.1 Howard Prager
Christian Kelley 307 2.1 47 -1 -0.5 Wally Rosa

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats
Player T Age G GS IP K BB HR H R ER
Gerrit Cole R 26 27 27 159.3 146 41 14 155 65 61
Tyler Glasnow R 23 27 25 122.3 146 69 11 102 52 49
Jameson Taillon R 25 19 19 112.3 89 25 12 114 49 46
Ivan Nova R 30 20 20 119.7 87 28 12 125 57 53
Steven Brault L 25 28 28 144.3 104 47 15 151 72 67
Wade LeBlanc L 32 24 17 109.0 83 32 12 112 52 49
Tony Watson L 32 69 0 65.3 59 17 6 58 24 22
Drew Hutchison R 26 31 27 154.0 140 54 20 155 82 77
Chad Kuhl R 24 28 28 143.7 103 40 20 155 77 72
Lisalverto Bonilla R 27 38 9 95.0 91 38 10 92 46 43
Juan Nicasio R 30 48 10 99.3 101 39 11 96 48 45
Felipe Rivero L 25 67 0 66.3 69 24 5 58 27 25
Frank Duncan R 25 24 21 123.3 83 30 17 139 67 63
Trevor Williams R 25 26 23 125.7 81 40 16 141 70 65
Nick Kingham R 25 14 14 74.0 53 21 9 79 40 37
Jared Hughes R 31 69 0 63.3 36 21 6 68 28 26
A.J. Schugel R 28 56 0 67.3 55 20 6 66 30 28
Phil Coke L 34 34 5 57.3 41 22 5 60 29 27
Antonio Bastardo L 31 64 0 58.3 62 27 6 51 27 25
Tyler Eppler R 24 23 22 124.0 72 32 17 143 72 67
Tyler Webb L 26 37 2 62.3 62 23 8 60 31 29
Curtis Partch R 30 45 0 56.0 56 30 5 51 27 25
Brandon Cumpton R 28 15 14 83.0 47 33 9 95 48 45
Daniel Hudson R 30 53 0 51.0 47 17 5 50 25 23
Brandon Waddell L 23 26 24 132.0 98 63 17 141 77 72
Dovydas Neverauskas R 24 47 0 54.7 52 27 6 53 27 25
Jason Stoffel R 28 53 0 58.7 59 25 7 55 29 27
Jim Fuller L 30 20 0 26.7 24 16 3 27 15 14
Nefi Ogando R 28 41 0 42.0 29 23 5 41 22 21
Casey Sadler R 26 15 13 79.0 46 23 13 91 48 45
Justin Masterson R 32 24 12 78.3 62 41 9 83 47 44
Jared Lakind L 25 36 0 45.0 37 22 5 46 25 23
Montana DuRapau R 25 42 3 56.7 47 17 9 60 32 30
Josh Lindblom R 30 25 24 143.0 104 53 23 157 87 81
Dan Runzler L 32 29 0 31.3 27 24 3 31 18 17
Clay Holmes R 24 20 20 95.0 62 47 12 105 59 55
Edgar Santana R 25 37 0 64.0 51 20 10 68 35 33
Brett McKinney R 26 44 0 60.0 48 29 10 65 37 35
Cody Dickson L 25 26 25 121.3 80 79 16 135 82 77

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages
Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Gerrit Cole 159.3 674 21.7% 6.1% .303 3.45 3.38 86 84
Tyler Glasnow 122.3 538 27.1% 12.8% .298 3.60 3.83 90 95
Jameson Taillon 112.3 476 18.7% 5.3% .296 3.69 3.77 92 93
Ivan Nova 119.7 512 17.0% 5.5% .300 3.99 3.91 100 97
Steven Brault 144.3 631 16.5% 7.4% .298 4.18 4.26 104 105
Wade LeBlanc 109.0 471 17.6% 6.8% .294 4.05 4.06 101 100
Tony Watson 65.3 271 21.8% 6.3% .281 3.03 3.49 76 86
Drew Hutchison 154.0 671 20.9% 8.0% .301 4.50 4.28 112 106
Chad Kuhl 143.7 626 16.5% 6.4% .297 4.51 4.56 113 113
Lisalverto Bonilla 95.0 415 21.9% 9.2% .303 4.07 3.93 102 97
Juan Nicasio 99.3 433 23.3% 9.0% .306 4.08 3.80 102 94
Felipe Rivero 66.3 281 24.6% 8.5% .294 3.39 3.17 85 78
Frank Duncan 123.3 539 15.4% 5.6% .303 4.60 4.51 115 111
Trevor Williams 125.7 558 14.5% 7.2% .301 4.66 4.63 116 114
Nick Kingham 74.0 322 16.5% 6.5% .298 4.50 4.31 112 106
Jared Hughes 63.3 279 12.9% 7.5% .295 3.69 4.42 92 109
A.J. Schugel 67.3 288 19.1% 6.9% .294 3.74 3.69 93 91
Phil Coke 57.3 254 16.1% 8.7% .301 4.24 4.09 106 101
Antonio Bastardo 58.3 253 24.5% 10.7% .290 3.86 3.84 96 95
Tyler Eppler 124.0 547 13.2% 5.9% .301 4.86 4.75 121 117
Tyler Webb 62.3 270 23.0% 8.5% .299 4.19 4.12 105 102
Curtis Partch 56.0 249 22.5% 12.0% .297 4.02 4.06 100 100
Brandon Cumpton 83.0 377 12.5% 8.8% .304 4.88 4.80 122 119
Daniel Hudson 51.0 220 21.4% 7.7% .302 4.06 3.62 101 89
Brandon Waddell 132.0 600 16.3% 10.5% .299 4.91 4.94 123 122
Dovydas Neverauskas 54.7 244 21.3% 11.1% .301 4.12 4.19 103 104
Jason Stoffel 58.7 256 23.0% 9.8% .296 4.14 4.00 103 99
Jim Fuller 26.7 123 19.5% 13.0% .308 4.72 4.87 118 120
Nefi Ogando 42.0 190 15.3% 12.1% .273 4.50 5.07 112 125
Casey Sadler 79.0 351 13.1% 6.6% .294 5.13 5.19 128 128
Justin Masterson 78.3 359 17.3% 11.4% .310 5.06 4.97 126 123
Jared Lakind 45.0 203 18.2% 10.8% .301 4.60 4.65 115 115
Montana DuRapau 56.7 247 19.0% 6.9% .298 4.76 4.65 119 115
Josh Lindblom 143.0 639 16.3% 8.3% .297 5.10 5.10 127 126
Dan Runzler 31.3 149 18.1% 16.1% .298 4.88 4.91 122 121
Clay Holmes 95.0 437 14.2% 10.8% .299 5.21 5.13 130 127
Edgar Santana 64.0 280 18.2% 7.1% .297 4.64 4.70 116 116
Brett McKinney 60.0 274 17.5% 10.6% .301 5.25 5.35 131 132
Cody Dickson 121.3 578 13.8% 13.7% .301 5.71 5.71 143 141

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other
Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Gerrit Cole 159.3 8.25 2.32 0.79 111 3.1 Charles Nagy
Tyler Glasnow 122.3 10.74 5.08 0.81 106 2.1 Jason Bere
Jameson Taillon 112.3 7.13 2.00 0.96 104 1.8 Jon Lieber
Ivan Nova 119.7 6.54 2.11 0.90 96 1.5 Ismael Valdez
Steven Brault 144.3 6.48 2.93 0.94 92 1.4 Jeff Mutis
Wade LeBlanc 109.0 6.85 2.64 0.99 95 1.2 Brian Mazone
Tony Watson 65.3 8.13 2.34 0.83 126 0.9 Tony Castillo
Drew Hutchison 154.0 8.18 3.16 1.17 85 0.8 Kevin Hart
Chad Kuhl 143.7 6.45 2.51 1.25 85 0.8 Jerry Kutzler
Lisalverto Bonilla 95.0 8.62 3.60 0.95 94 0.7 Mike Villano
Juan Nicasio 99.3 9.15 3.53 1.00 94 0.7 Brian Boehringer
Felipe Rivero 66.3 9.36 3.26 0.68 113 0.6 Yorkis Perez
Frank Duncan 123.3 6.06 2.19 1.24 83 0.5 Ryan Cox
Trevor Williams 125.7 5.80 2.86 1.15 82 0.4 Bill King
Nick Kingham 74.0 6.45 2.55 1.09 85 0.4 DeWayne Vaughn
Jared Hughes 63.3 5.12 2.98 0.85 104 0.3 Jack Aker
A.J. Schugel 67.3 7.35 2.67 0.80 102 0.3 Mike DeJean
Phil Coke 57.3 6.44 3.45 0.78 90 0.2 Darold Knowles
Antonio Bastardo 58.3 9.57 4.17 0.93 99 0.2 Kevin Tolar
Tyler Eppler 124.0 5.23 2.32 1.23 79 0.1 Nick Blackburn
Tyler Webb 62.3 8.95 3.32 1.16 91 0.1 Scott Watkins
Curtis Partch 56.0 9.00 4.82 0.80 95 0.1 David Holdridge
Brandon Cumpton 83.0 5.10 3.58 0.98 78 0.0 Dennis Burtt
Daniel Hudson 51.0 8.29 3.00 0.88 94 0.0 Gregg Olson
Brandon Waddell 132.0 6.68 4.30 1.16 78 0.0 Jeremy Affeldt
Dovydas Neverauskas 54.7 8.56 4.45 0.99 93 0.0 Anthony Chavez
Jason Stoffel 58.7 9.05 3.84 1.07 92 0.0 Marc Deschenes
Jim Fuller 26.7 8.10 5.40 1.01 81 -0.2 Mike Kinnunen
Nefi Ogando 42.0 6.21 4.93 1.07 85 -0.2 Fred Lasher
Casey Sadler 79.0 5.24 2.62 1.48 75 -0.2 Brandon Emanuel
Justin Masterson 78.3 7.12 4.71 1.03 76 -0.2 Jarod Juelsgaard
Jared Lakind 45.0 7.40 4.40 1.00 83 -0.3 Jake Benz
Montana DuRapau 56.7 7.46 2.70 1.43 80 -0.3 Julio Mateo
Josh Lindblom 143.0 6.55 3.34 1.45 75 -0.3 Kip Bouknight
Dan Runzler 31.3 7.76 6.89 0.86 78 -0.3 Marshall Bridges
Clay Holmes 95.0 5.87 4.45 1.14 73 -0.3 Cristobal Correa
Edgar Santana 64.0 7.17 2.81 1.41 82 -0.4 Toby Larson
Brett McKinney 60.0 7.20 4.35 1.50 73 -0.9 Tracy Thorpe
Cody Dickson 121.3 5.93 5.86 1.19 67 -1.2 Mark Williams

***

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 2017. 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 4.05 ERA and the NL having a 3.97 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 2017 ZiPS Projections – Pittsburgh Pirates by Carson Cistulli!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




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

newest oldest most voted
Shauncore
Member
Shauncore

“Dude nobody knows who Von Hayes is…”