2016 ZiPS Projections for Red Sox

pokey_reese

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I'm pretty sure that we have a thread about this each year, so pardon me if this doesn't belong on the main board, but it's something to discuss during these coldest, longest days.

Anyhow, full list and write up is here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2016-zips-projections-boston-red-sox/

This thread is to discuss reactions to the scores themselves, and the greater context in the AL East (luckily, even though there are only 10 other teams done, NYY, TOR, and BAL are among them). Do we think that the individual players are being over, under, or properly projected? Obviously, ZiPS loved the Red Sox last year, too, and look how that turned out (link to last year: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2015-zips-projections-boston-red-sox/).

Once again, Dan's computer loves the Sox, and our starters look to challenge the Blue Jays for most zWAR in the division, led by Mookie and Price. Pablo and Hanley, who were projected to provide 6 zWAR last season, come in at 2.6 this year, so expectations are pretty reasonable for them this time around, which should help with the floor for this projection. Kimbrel and Smith are also projected much more conservatively this year, so the bullpen may have more upside than this set of numbers is giving it credit for, especially if Koji can stay healthy and keep dipping into the fountain of youth. Porcello has gone from 3.5 projected zWAR to 2.3, but he is no longer expected to lead the rotation, so that's not a huge problem.

Most importantly, Brock Holt(!) is the only player in the ZiPS projections list to have an exclamation point after his name in the data tables.
 

pokey_reese

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Yeah, he really is down on the pitching. Price's numbers are inflated from last year and every other starter with a projected ERA of near 4. He also is down on the pen.
I don't think he is too down on the pitching, relatively speaking. He expects EdRo to perform at about the same level, but for 45 more innings, to add about 3/4 of a win. A bit down on Buchholz from a WAR standpoint, but only because the system only projects him to throw about 120 innings, and it's hard to find fault with that. Porcello gets a full win upgrade over his 2015 performance, which might be a little conservative, but given how tough a year he had I don't think that it's too unreasonable. I think that Koji and Taz are both probably a little underrated here, but Koji has to be really tough for the computer, given his abnormal aging curve. I agree that Kimbrel and Smith seem a little low though, as does Carson Cistulli who did the write up for Fangraphs, and I am less clear on why ZiPS is down on those guys. It does seem that 'conservative' is a good description of how it is treating our staff (except for Price), but few of the individual projections seem to be inexplicably way too low.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Yeah, he really is down on the pitching. Price's numbers are inflated from last year and every other starter with a projected ERA of near 4. He also is down on the pen.
A projected ERA of "near 4" is not bad at all, especially for guys who start half their games in Fenway. I'm looking at projected ERA- numbers of 79, 93, 94, 99, and 101 for the probable season-opening starting five. That's an ace, a couple of above-average guys, and a couple of average guys. Nothing wrong with that.
 
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Rasputin

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A projected ERA of "near 4" is not bad at all, especially for guys who start half their games in Fenway. I'm looking at projected ERA- numbers of 79, 93, 94, 99, and 101 for the probable season-opening starting five. That's an ace, a couple of above-average guys, and a couple of average guys. Nothing wrong with that.
If our worst starting pitcher is about average, we're gonna do just fine. We should have a better than average back end of the pen and a better than average offense. We may not be the best team in baseball, but we should be in the playoff hunt.
 

nvalvo

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Bradley's projection is weird. It seems conservative about his glove.

If he actually puts up 531 PA of .720 OPS baseball, that would have to be worth more than 2 WAR, right? Is he being projected in LF or something?
 

pokey_reese

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It looks like ZiPS is either less impressed with his past defense in terms of measurement, or considers it to be a bit of a SSS fluke that will regress to well above average but not otherworldly, because it's projecting him defensively as about equivalent of Pedroia and Mookie.
 

simplicio

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Those defense ratings look suspect. Not sure how Rusney has the highest rating on the team, Leon comes in higher than Vazquez and both Bogaerts and BrockHolt! are negatives.

Also, if Hanley switches to first base and can only offer a regression from his 2014 line offensively, I think we may be in trouble.
 

Sprowl

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Yeah, he really is down on the pitching. Price's numbers are inflated from last year and every other starter with a projected ERA of near 4. He also is down on the pen.
But he sees a breakout for Heath Hembree, a resurgence by Anthony Varvaro, and solid performances by Robbie Ross and Tommy Layne.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Those defense ratings look suspect. Not sure how Rusney has the highest rating on the team, Leon comes in higher than Vazquez and both Bogaerts and BrockHolt! are negatives.
For what it's worth, certain defensive statistics loved Rusney. E.g., from this artticle: http://bosoxinjection.com/2015/12/12/red-sox-what-jason-heywards-deal-with-chicago-cubs-means-to-boston/

As great as we know Bradley is in the outfield, Rusney Castillo may have been even better last season. The 28-year old Cuban native was 7th among major league outfielders with 15 defensive runs saved despite starting only 67 games
By comparison, Jason Heyward had 24 defensive runs saved for the entire season and JBJ had 8 runs saved in 73 games.
 

Sprowl

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For what it's worth, certain defensive statistics loved Rusney. E.g., from this artticle: http://bosoxinjection.com/2015/12/12/red-sox-what-jason-heywards-deal-with-chicago-cubs-means-to-boston/
Toolsney picked up quickly on how to play the carom on wallballs, and his arm is excellent, with never a bounce to second base. His arm is off the charts in LF; his range is off the charts in RF. He could be a true monster whisperer.

He looked good in rightfield too, and his arm is better than Mookie's, but with not quite the range. The 2016 Red Sox should have an outstanding defensive outfield (another good reason to de-emphasize Cherington's 2015 approach to assembling a groundball-heavy starting staff.