Dan Szymborski FanGraphs Chat – 1/21/19


Sunday Notes: Blue Jays Prospect Chavez Young is a Bahamian On the Rise

It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Chavez Young came out of nowhere to become one of the hottest prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. But he is following an atypical path. The 21-year-old outfielder grew up in the Bahamas before moving stateside as a teen, and going on to be selected in the 39th round of the 2016 draft out of Faith Baptist Christian Academy, in Ludowici, Georgia.

Since that time he’s become a shooting star. Playing for the Lansing Lugnuts in the Low-A Midwest League this past season, Young stroked 50 extra-base hits, stole 44 bases, and slashed a rock-solid .285/.363/.445.

How did a player with his kind of talent last until the 1,182nd pick of the draft?

“I wasn’t a person to go to All-American Games, Perfect Game, or showcases like that,” Young told me late in the 2018 season. “Growing up, we didn’t have money enough for me to get that kind of exposure. It was just, ‘If a scout sees me, a scout sees me.’ The Blue Jays scout, Mike Tidick came from something like three hours away. He heard about me (in 2014) and decided to see where I was at.”

Tidick received the tip from Gene Reynolds, who now runs Georgia Premier Academy but at the time was coaching Young at Faith Baptist Christian School in Brandon, Florida.

“Gene knew I was with the Blue Jays,” explained Tidick, who resides in Statesboro, Georgia. “He said, ‘Hey, why don’t you take a ride down here and I’ll work these guys out for you.’ I did, and was like, ‘Whoa, OK.’ This kid was running around with his hair on fire. He had tools. He was playing center field. He was a switch-hitter who could run. There was a lot to like. I followed him all that spring.”

Other teams weren’t onto the young Bahamian until much later. It wasn’t until he moved to Georgia for his senior year — he was in Florida for two years — that his name was garnering any appreciable attention. Young eventually ended up talking to “10 or 12 different scouts,” with most of those conversations coming closer to the draft.

It’s still somewhat of a mystery how he ended up lasting until the 39th round. Young had college plans, but it’s not as though he had Kyler Murray-type leverage. Regardless of where he went, inking him to a contract wasn’t going to break anyone’s bank.

“We didn’t know what to expect with him — the draft is hard to predict — but I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d have been gone by the fifth round,” Tidick told me. “He’s a good story so far, and I have no doubt that he’s going to continue to keep doing what he’s doing. His makeup and work ethic are off the charts, and he’s got a chip on his shoulder because of when he got drafted. He wants to prove something.”

The chip on the youngster’s shoulder may be sturdy, but it isn’t engrained with anger. Having spent his formative years in a country where track and field is king — Young excelled in both the 400 and the 800 meters — and baseball almost an afterthought, he’s mostly just happy to be getting an opportunity.

“I picture it as, ‘It was a blessing to be drafted,’” said Young, who according to Tidick was planning to attend Polk State College if he didn’t sign professionally. “A lot of kids in the world want to play professional baseball. I got picked up by the Blue Jays. I’m grateful to be able to play the game I love, and want to make my family proud.”

——

Will Benson hasn’t lacked for opportunities. Athletically gifted, he grew up in Atlanta excelling on both the hardwood and the diamond. Academically, he would have matriculated from the prestigious Westminster School to Duke University had he not signed with the Cleveland Indians after being taken 14th overall in the 2016 draft.

He recognizes that many others — particularly young African-Americans — don’t have the same opportunities he’s had. That’s particularly true when it comes to his chosen sport.

“A lot of guys I knew growing up were good at baseball, but they didn’t stick with baseball,” Benson told me last summer. “They chose football instead. Going back and talking to them, one thing they’ve told me about not continuing to play baseball is that they couldn’t afford to pay for it. It costs $300 for a bat. It costs thousands of dollars to go to tournaments. There are lessons — batting lessons, pitching lessons — and people don’t have the funds to pay for all of that. Baseball is an expensive sport. It’s a sport that a lot of people in the African-American community look at like, ‘OK, I can go out and play football and all my equipment is paid for. I can get a full scholarship. Basketball is kind of the same thing. All you really need is sneakers and a basketball. It would be great to get the best athletes out there on a baseball field, but for a lot of families the economics make that almost impossible.”

Benson went from playing on almost-exclusively-African-American teams from ages 7-12 to an Atlanta public schools system “where baseball isn’t really heavy.” He had the wherewithal to get into “the high-level travel circuit at East Cobb, but you don’t really see too many black guys there.”

The same is true for professional baseball, most notably MLB. On opening day last year, African-American players made up just 8.4% of big-league rosters. In the early 1980s, that number was a little over 18%. The downturn obviously isn’t good for the game. As the 20-year-old Indians prospect put it, “People want to see the best out there, and the more people we can get into baseball, the better it’s going to be.”

———

RANDOM HITTER-PITCHER MATCHUPS

Otto Knabe went 2 for 2 against King Bader.

Kitty Bransfield went 2 for 7 against King Cole.

Queenie O’Rourke went 3 for 4 against King Brady.

Chief Wilson went 3 for 12 against King Lear.

Johnny Temple went 5 for 11 against Nellie King.

———

Joy In Tigertown, by Mickey Lolich (with Tom Gage), contains an interesting what-could-have-been-trade story. According to the former pitcher, his longtime team was intent on trading Jim Bunning following the 1963 season. They ultimately did, and it turned out to be a disastrous deal. Detroit swapped Bunning to the Phillies in exchange for Don Demeter and Jack Hamilton.

That less-then-dynamic duo wasn’t who the Tigers were originally targeting. Per Lolich, the Detroit front office was looking to acquire Felipe Alou from the Giants, only to have San Francisco trade him to the Milwaukee Braves instead. A few days later, Bunning went to Philadelphia for what turned out to be pennies on the dollar. Alou went on to have several stellar seasons with the Braves.

Which beings us to Felipe Alou’s autobiography, which he co-wrote with Peter Kerasotis. Chapter One of Alou: My Baseball Journey begins with the sentence: “My last name is not Alou.”

The native of Santo Domingo explained that when he began his professional career in 1956, “the Latin tradition of placing the mother’s maiden name after the family name wasn’t well known.” As a result, he received a uniform with ‘F. Alou’ on the back. The son of Jose Rojas didn’t yet know enough English to explain the error.

Ozzie Virgil became the first Dominican-born player to reach the big leagues when he debuted with the New York Giants in September 1956. Alou debuted with Giants — newly relocated to San Francisco — in June 1958.

———

NEWSY STUFF

Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, Hiroshi Gondo, and Haruo Wakimura have been elected to the Japanese Hall of Fame. Tatsunami played 22 seasons as an infielder with the Chunichi Dragons. Gondo played just five seasons — he was a 30-game winner in two of them — also with Chunichi. He later managed the Yokohama BayStars. Wakimura is a former chairman of the Japan High School Baseball Federation.

Craig Breslow has been hired by the Chicago Cubs as their new Director of Strategic Initiatives for Baseball Operations. The 38-year-old veteran of 12 MLB seasons will reportedly, “help to evaluate and implement data-based processes… (and) support the organization’s pitching infrastructure.”

The Tampa Bay Rays announced several promotions within their baseball operations department on Friday. Notable among them were Cole Figueroa to Assistant Director, Hitting Development, and Jeremy Sowers to Coordinator, Major League Operations. On the coaching front, Brady North will join the staff of the club’s Gulf Coast League affiliate. The 27-year-old Cumberland University graduate had been the director of hitting and mental performance at Top Level Athletes, in Orlando.

Jason Bourgeois is joining the coaching ranks. An outfielder for six teams from 2008-20015, the 37-year-old Bourgeois will be on the coaching staff of the Dodgers’ Midwest League affiliate, the Great Lakes Loons.

Wayne Randazzo, who had been serving as a pregame and postgame host, will join Howie Rose in the New York Mets radio booth this coming season. Randazzo replaces Josh Lewin, who will now be a part of the San Diego Padres broadcast team.

Anders Jorstad been hired by the Lynchburg Hillcats as a Broadcast and Media Relations Assistant. A 2018 graduate of Hofstra University, Jorstad will join Max Gun, a 2015 graduate of Michigan State University, in the radio booth. The Hillcats are the High-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.

———

Eli Grba died earlier this week at age 84. The former big-leaguer had an unremarkable career on the mound — 28 wins over parts of five seasons — but he does hold a unique set of distinctions. In December 1960, Grba became the first player ever chosen in an expansion draft. By dint of that occurrence, he also became the first player in Los Angeles Angels franchise history. A third first followed, four months later. In April 1960, the then-26-year-old right-hander starter and won the first game in Angels history.

While Grba is otherwise a footnote, two other players the Angels acquired in the 1960 expansion draft went on to have standout careers.

Jim Fregosi, who was just 18 years old when he was selected from the Red Sox organization, went on to play 18 big-league seasons and made six All-Star teams as a shortstop. Dean Chance, selected from the Orioles organization as a 19-year-old, went on to pitch 11 seasons, make two All-Star teams, and win a Cy Young award.

———

Steve Pearce wasn’t a free agent for long this offseason. Only weeks removed from being named World Series MVP, the 35-year-old journeyman re-upped with the Red Sox on November 16. Others haven’t been so fortunate. For the second winter in a row, the free agency process has moved along like molasses. Pearce is sympathetic to what many members of his baseball brethren are going through.

“It’s not fun when the market moves this slow,” said Pearce, who has signed multiple free agent contracts over the years. “I know that a lot of players are frustrated right now. I’m glad I had the opportunity to sign fast so I don’t have to go through what they’re going through. You get to this point and think that it’s going to be an easy process, but it’s not.”

———

LINKS YOU’LL LIKE

Former Pawtucket Red Sox broadcaster — and all-around good guy — Steve Hyder is in serious need of a life-saving kidney transplant. Kevin McNamara has the story at The Providence Journal.

Matt Shephard used to call games in his backyard; now he’s the TV voice of the Tigers. Anthony Fenech gave us the particulars at The Detroit Free Press.

At The Athletic, Kaitlyn McGrath told us about how new Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann wants to give his pitchers the data he wishes he’d had.

Over at ESPN Seattle, Shannon Drayer wrote about how additions to the minor league staff continues the Mariners’ technology focus.

Tuffy Rhodes and Masahiro Doi have the credentials, but are yet to be — and perhaps never will be — voted into the Japanese Hall of Fame. Jim Allen wrote about that curious issue at jballallen.com.

RANDOM FACTS AND STATS

Jackie Robinson had 1,518 hits, a 132 adjusted OPS, and was worth 57.2 WAR. He was an All-Star six times. Larry Doby had 1,515 hits, a 136 adjusted OPS, and was worth 51.1 WAR. He was an All-Star seven times.

Josh Gibson, who some feel is the greatest catcher in baseball history, died on this date in 1947. The Negro League legend was just 35 years old. Fifty years later, on January 20, 1997, Curt Flood died at age 59. Every free agent who signs a contract owes a debt of gratitude to the seven-time Gold Glove outfielder.

Tony Lazzeri had 7,315 plate appearances and 1,840 hits. Dick Allen had 7,315 plate appearances and 1,848 hits. Lazzeri had 178 home runs and a 121 adjusted OPS. Allen had 351 home runs and a 156 adjusted OPS. Lazzeri is in the Hall of Fame. Allen isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

Andruw Jones had 3,690 total bases, a 111 adjusted OPS, 10 Gold Gloves, and was worth 66.9 WAR. He received 7.3% support in his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot. Dwight Evans had 4,230 total bases, a 127 adjusted OPS, eight Gold Gloves, and was worth 65.1 WAR. He topped out at 10.4% before falling off the ballot after his third year.

Scott Rolen had 2,077 hits, 316 home runs, seven All-Star berths, and was worth 69.9 WAR. Graig Nettles had 2,225 hits, 390 home runs, six All-Star berths, and was worth 65.7 WAR. Nettles topped out at 8.3% in his four years on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Reggie Jackson had 563 home runs and a 139 adjusted OPS. David Ortiz had 541 home runs and a 141 adjusted OPS. Jackson had 18 home runs and an .885 OPS in the postseason. Ortiz had 17 home runs and a .947 OPS in the postseason.

Kirby Puckett played 1,783 games and had a 124 adjusted OPS. Bill Madlock played 1,806 games and had a 123 adjusted OPS. Puckett played 24 post-season games and batted .309 with an .897 OPS. Madlock played 17 post-season games and batted .308 with an .898 OPS.

John Olerud had 500 doubles and a 129 adjusted OPS. Goose Goslin had 500 doubles and a 128 adjusted OPS.

In 1996, Mariano Rivera fanned a career-high 130 batters in 107-and-two-thirds innings. In 1999, Billy Wagner fanned a career-high 124 batters in 74-and-two-thirds innings.

A total of 247 players made their big-league debuts in 2018. Per our friends at B-Ref, there have now been 19,420 players in MLB history.


Effectively Wild Episode 1324: The Salary Trap

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about Willians Astudillo’s final winter league stats, the retirement of Ricky Romero, the upside of a slow market, and the anticlimax of a big free-agent signing, then (11:25) bring on Baseball Prospectus director of editorial content Patrick Dubuque to talk about why we know how much players make, how knowing players’ financial information but not owners’ affects the way we talk about baseball, whether opportunity cost still matters, whether casual fans will ever sympathize with players over owners, how to analyze transactions without fixating on salary, talking about money vs. talking about games, finishing Baseball Prospectus 2019, how the Annual has evolved over time, why we still want the paperbound Annual in the digital age, and more.

Audio intro: Prince, "Money Don’t Matter 2 Night"
Audio interstitial: Built to Spill, "Pat"
Audio outro: Sonic Youth, "That’s All I Know (Right Now)"

Link to Patrick’s article
Link to preorder Baseball Prospectus 2019
Link to preorder The MVP Machine

 iTunes Feed (Please rate and review us!)
 Sponsor Us on Patreon
 Facebook Group
 Effectively Wild Wiki
 Twitter Account
 Get Our Merch!
 Email Us: podcast@fangraphs.com


Effectively Wild Episode 1323: Bed God

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the Yankees signing Adam Ottavino and the Angels signing Cody Allen, super-pens vs. improvised pens, and Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Trout, then (15:19) bring on Baseball Prospectus writer Sung Min Kim to talk about how the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) has increased its popularity among young people and women, why its in-game experience is so scintillating, how it differs in style and quality from MLB, following two brands of baseball in dramatically different time zones, Korean nicknames for MLB players, players who might make the leap from KBO to MLB, and more.

Audio intro: Dave Rawlings Machine, "Bells of Harlem"
Audio interstitial: Atlas Sound, "Mona Lisa"
Audio outro: The Inbreds, "Oliver"

Link to Sung Min’s KBO primer
Link to Sung Min’s article on KBO’s popularity
Link to preorder The MVP Machine

 iTunes Feed (Please rate and review us!)
 Sponsor Us on Patreon
 Facebook Group
 Effectively Wild Wiki
 Twitter Account
 Get Our Merch!
 Email Us: podcast@fangraphs.com


FanGraphs Audio: Craig Edwards Notes Several Coincidences

Episode 850

FanGraphs writer Craig Edwards joins the program to discuss this offseason’s chilly free agent market, what Yasmani Grandal’s deal may signal about the state of labor going forward, the decoupling of winning and profit in baseball, and what (apart from a strike) we might write about in the event of a labor stoppage.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @megrowler on Twitter.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or other feeder things.

Audio after the jump. (Approximate 47 min play time.)

Read the rest of this entry »


Let’s Fix MLB’s Salary Arbitration System: The Arbitrators

In the last installment of this series, we explored the issues posed by the form the arbitration system takes, as well as the constraints a requirement to make an either/or decision when assessing player and team salary figures puts on arbitrators. Today we’ll take a look at the arbitrators themselves, and how they go about their work. To begin, we know that salary arbitrators are typically labor lawyers.

Salary arbitration cases are presented before a panel of three arbitrators, all of whom are among the top labor arbitrators in the country. Why labor? Because the relationship between the Players Association and the Clubs is grounded in labor law and governed by a collective bargaining agreement. When not hearing salary arbitration cases over the first three weeks of February, the panel arbitrators are presiding over arbitrations in the service industry, the building trades and in various other private and public unionized sectors.

Against that backdrop, it makes some sense that the information that helps determine the outcome of an arbitration hearing is typically more in line with “baseball card” statistics than advanced metrics. Lawyers aren’t supposed to be baseball experts, right?

Hitters are typically evaluated using batting average, home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases and plate appearances. There are some positional adjustments, but typically the added defensive value of a shortstop relative to a first baseman is not as important in arbitration hearings as it is on the free agent market. Hitters also can receive larger arbitration awards if they have unique accomplishments, such as winning an MVP award. Pitchers typically are evaluated using innings pitched and earned run average. Starting pitchers are rewarded for wins, and relievers are rewarded for saves and holds. Unique accomplishments, such as Cy Young Awards, matter for pitchers as well.

At the same time, however, it’s unfair – and inaccurate – to say that home runs and runs batted in are all that’s presented in an arbitration. As Jeff Passan relates:

The arguments throughout a case run the gamut. Arbitrators have long rewarded home runs and saves, so they are featured prominently among the players with them, like Oakland’s Khris Davis, who could seek a raise from $10.5 million into the $18 million range. At the same time, the arbitration system is not the antediluvian, abacus-using Luddite-fest it has been portrayed as. The wins above replacement metric is used extensively. So are fielding independent pitching for starters and leverage index for relievers. Statcast data is not allowed in cases, mainly because the league has a far greater plethora of it than the union; and in 2016, when the CBA was signed, the accuracy of spin-rate and launch-angle metrics so vital to modern baseball was not tested out over a large enough sample to warrant their inclusion.

So advanced metrics are making their way into hearing rooms, but are they swaying case outcomes? It doesn’t seem so. MLB Trade Rumors’ arbitration model, which is based on those “baseball card” numbers, remains remarkably accurate – suggesting that advanced metrics, to the extent they’re used, aren’t yet carrying as much weight as they perhaps should. Read the rest of this entry »


After a Bad 2018, Cody Allen Heads to Angels

After he signed with the Yankees, Adam Ottavino became the ninth reliever on our Top 50 Free Agent list to get a contract for next season. The Yankees taking Ottavino off the board meant there were just two relievers to go. One is Craig Kimbrel, who has been one of the better relievers in baseball over the last half-dozen seasons. The other is Cody Allen, who was one of the better relievers in baseball in 2015, solid in 2016 and 2017, and not very good last year. His poor 2018 season showing plunged him down our rankings and left him as one of the less desirable proven-reliever types available this offseason. His track record did mean something, though, and per Ken Rosenthal, he’s landed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Angels that has the chance of being worth $11 million based on games finished.

Allen, picked in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft, moved quickly through the Cleveland system as a reliever, reaching Double-A a year after he was drafted and hitting the majors one year later. He was a good reliever in 2013 and 2014, with sub-3.00 FIPs and ERAs better than that. He took over the closer role in 2014 and had his best season the following year, striking out 35% of batters, walking 9% and giving up just two home runs all season, to go along with a 15% infield fly rate. When Cleveland acquired Andrew Miller in 2015, the club could afford to put the lefty in high leverage situations in the middle of games without worrying about the ninth because Allen was closing. He didn’t give up a run during their playoff run to the World Series and struck out 24 of the 55 batters he faced.

Allen had another solid season in 2017, though not as good as his 2015 peak due to a slight decline in strikeouts and an increase in homers. In 2018, Allen started off the first two months of the season pitching much like he had his prior two years. His strikeout rate had dipped to 25%, but his walk rate was good and he only gave up two homers on his way to a 3.54 FIP and 3.00 ERA. He wasn’t great, but he was getting the job done. From June to the end of the season, his strikeout rate was up at 29%, but his walk rate went up to 13% and his home run rate more than doubled. He had a 5.14 FIP and 5.65 ERA the last four months of the season, leading to an overall replacement-level campaign. In the playoffs, he faced nine batters and retired just three of them. Read the rest of this entry »


Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 1/18/19

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:04

Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:05

Mookie Butts: Why are the Yankees trying to win so much?  It feels like a personal attack.

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: It should feel like a personal attack

9:05

Jeff Sullivan: Do you remember what happened in 2018

9:06

Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think the Yankees liked that very much

Read the rest of this entry »


2019 ZiPS Projections – St. Louis Cardinals

After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for more than half a decade. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Batters

Yeah, there’s a Paul Goldschmidt on the roster now, but the thing that jumps out at me the most is just how deep the Cardinals’ bench is. You essentially have a spare league-averageish right fielder (ZiPS sees Dexter Fowler bouncing back to a degree) and an above-average spare infielder in Jedd Gyorko, so long as you don’t get the idea that he should be playing shortstop. ZiPS gives 10 two-WAR projections to St. Louis. Quite obviously, the Cardinals won’t actually have that many two-win players, simply because there aren’t enough at-bats for all of them to hit that threshold. Even among the fringe minor leaguers — like Rangel Ravelo, who ZiPS never really cared much for with the A’s or White Sox — there are a lot of players who, while not actually projected to be viable starters, wouldn’t be disastrous fill-in candidates.

As a thought exercise, imagine that St. Louis’s starting lineup comes down with some violent illness that involves projectile vomit (gross) and 180 days of bed rest. Such maladies would leave St. Louis with a lineup looking like this:

Cardinals Outbreak Lineup
Position Player(s)
C Andrew Knizner/Jose Godoy
1B Rangel Ravelo
2B Ramon Urias
SS Tommy Edman
3B Jedd Gyorko
LF Tyler O’Neill
CF Lane Thomas/Drew Robinson
RF Justin Williams

Even in this absolutely absurd scenario — with this many players injured so severely, and the Cards content to stand pat, and not make any moves to compensate — the lineup still projects to be worth 14 WAR given assumed full-season playing time. That’s more or less what Kansas City’s projected starters are pegged for if everyone’s healthy (I’m picking on the Royals simply because I just wrote them up and had them handy; I could have chosen other dreadful teams as well). Using the WAR Add ’em Up technique that you should never, ever use, the outbreak lineup would still leave the Cardinals with an 80-win team.

Pitchers

Here you can see the consequences of the Paul Goldschmidt trade in terms of the team’s pitching depth. Luke Weaver wasn’t a star, but he was also an extra arm at the back-end of the rotation, one that will be needed because Carlos Martinez, Alex Reyes, Michael Wacha, and Adam Wainwright have all missed significant time recently due to injury (and with Waino, there’s a quality concern). That isn’t to say the Cardinals shouldn’t have made the Goldschmidt trade – he’s a giant short-term addition to the offense and the domino effect gives the team additional depth. It simply means that St. Louis ought to address their pitching issue over the rest of the offseason. Now, they don’t need to convince the Mets to trade them Jacob deGrom; a move of that magnitude isn’t necessary, though it would certainly be nice. But a No. 3 or 4 starter who can eat some innings would be good. J.A. Happ or a returning Lance Lynn would have been ideal for this, but Gio Gonzalez remains available. It’s weird to think about, but Mike Leake actually would be quite useful right now.

With the team apparently not spending money on Manny Machado or Bryce Harper (though I guess that still isn’t certain), they ought to be going after Dallas Keuchel. Yes, there’s a risk of over-engineering your rotation and ending up with too many starting pitchers, but has that ever truly been a problem for any team in baseball history? The Astros figured out what to do with their extra starters just last year. Serious, contending teams ought to be more open to depth of this kind and avoid getting too hung up on efficiency.

Bench and Prospects

Dagnabit, I already talked about the bench quite a bit up top, so I kind of broke the rules that I’m in no way obligated to follow, so nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, Carson!

The top of the minors has a lot of players who look like they will be useful role players, but outside of possibly Alex Reyes, who would fall out of the prospect list with just an additional out, the system’s largely missing that zing, zazz, zork, kapowza, the mazuma in the bank. Kiley and Eric only give eight players in the farm system a future value above 40 and ZiPS doesn’t offer a ton of disagreement. ZiPS does like Elehuris Montero’s power potential (so does McDongenhagen), but his defense is a worry, and based on what rudimentary minor league data is available, ZiPS is a bit concerned as well. If he is a -6 right now, it may be enough to require a move off of third by the time he’s 25, meaning he’ll need another bump in his offense to avoid becoming a tweener.

One pedantic note for 2019: for the WAR graphic, I’m using FanGraphs’ depth chart playing time, not the playing time ZiPS spits out, so there will be occasional differences in WAR totals.

Ballpark graphic courtesy Eephus League. Depth charts constructed by way of those listed here at site.

Batters – Counting Stats
Player B Age PO G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Paul Goldschmidt R 31 1B 149 549 91 148 28 3 27 89 93 160 13 4
Matt Carpenter L 33 3B 138 496 90 125 33 2 26 75 90 141 3 2
Marcell Ozuna R 28 LF 153 589 74 164 27 3 24 97 44 126 2 2
Paul DeJong R 25 SS 132 503 68 124 26 2 22 77 36 151 2 2
Yadier Molina R 36 C 122 449 46 119 22 1 12 66 27 65 4 3
Harrison Bader R 25 CF 140 446 62 108 19 3 15 50 33 146 14 7
Jedd Gyorko R 30 3B 124 386 47 98 16 1 16 58 40 90 2 1
Tyler O’Neill R 24 LF 130 452 74 114 20 2 29 83 39 157 7 1
Kolten Wong L 28 2B 124 379 49 97 20 3 9 44 35 69 8 4
Jose Martinez R 30 RF 144 480 61 137 26 1 15 71 43 93 3 2
Andrew Knizner R 24 C 95 351 40 91 16 1 6 35 22 59 0 1
Rangel Ravelo R 27 1B 101 358 48 96 21 2 10 48 31 63 1 1
Ramon Urias R 25 2B 98 335 46 86 19 2 10 43 24 77 3 4
Dexter Fowler R 33 RF 104 370 58 88 17 4 11 44 52 99 8 3
Tommy Edman B 24 SS 122 493 56 121 20 5 5 41 36 96 17 5
Lane Thomas R 23 CF 127 498 59 117 18 7 14 59 39 149 12 11
John Nogowski R 26 1B 89 325 39 87 12 0 5 31 30 39 1 1
Wilfredo Tovar R 27 SS 116 398 41 99 17 2 4 34 23 58 15 7
Evan Mendoza R 23 3B 129 507 52 124 20 3 8 44 30 119 3 2
Yairo Munoz R 24 SS 129 435 51 110 21 2 11 55 29 99 9 6
Max Schrock L 24 2B 112 448 49 113 17 1 7 39 28 61 3 2
Jose Godoy L 24 C 81 276 28 63 11 1 3 23 22 55 1 1
Elehuris Montero R 20 3B 127 480 58 115 27 3 14 58 32 126 2 1
Justin Williams L 23 RF 119 453 52 116 22 1 12 55 27 99 4 4
Drew Robinson L 27 CF 109 380 50 77 16 3 15 45 44 156 8 6
Jeremy Martinez R 24 C 65 211 22 46 8 0 2 16 19 35 1 0
Edmundo Sosa R 23 SS 126 463 48 109 23 2 8 42 21 102 6 4
Chase Pinder R 23 CF 91 327 38 70 12 2 4 27 39 91 3 6
Joe Hudson R 28 C 64 205 20 40 11 0 4 18 19 61 0 0
Adolis Garcia R 26 RF 125 451 56 107 23 2 16 61 22 119 10 7
Dylan Carlson B 20 RF 120 448 57 97 20 3 12 50 50 131 6 5
Francisco Pena R 29 C 65 198 20 46 9 0 4 19 9 47 1 0
Alex Mejia R 28 SS 115 368 38 90 14 1 4 31 20 68 4 2
Randy Arozarena R 24 LF 118 402 50 93 21 2 9 42 31 105 18 8
Stefan Trosclair R 24 1B 112 409 46 86 14 3 11 43 32 140 5 4
Johan Mieses R 23 RF 125 465 50 91 17 2 17 54 29 158 2 0
Conner Capel L 22 CF 123 471 53 105 20 4 10 46 39 122 12 13
Victor Roache R 27 LF 110 384 36 67 13 2 11 38 31 174 3 1

Batters – Rate Stats
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Paul Goldschmidt .270 .379 .479 130 .209 .334 6.8 4 4.4 Kevin Youkilis
Matt Carpenter .252 .371 .484 129 .232 .301 6.5 -3 4.2 Eddie Mathews
Marcell Ozuna .278 .330 .457 110 .178 .319 5.6 4 3.0 Rick Reichardt
Paul DeJong .247 .306 .437 98 .191 .309 4.8 0 2.5 Brook Jacoby
Yadier Molina .265 .310 .399 90 .134 .288 4.5 5 2.3 Paul Lo Duca
Harrison Bader .242 .307 .399 89 .157 .326 4.4 8 2.2 Mark Whiten
Jedd Gyorko .254 .324 .425 100 .171 .293 5.0 4 2.2 Tim Naehring
Tyler O’Neill .252 .315 .498 115 .246 .320 5.8 -3 2.1 Jesse Barfield
Kolten Wong .256 .336 .396 97 .140 .292 4.8 4 2.1 Rob Wilfong
Jose Martinez .285 .345 .438 110 .152 .328 5.7 -2 2.0 Ollie Brown
Andrew Knizner .259 .312 .362 81 .103 .297 4.0 2 1.3 Joe Azcue
Rangel Ravelo .268 .334 .422 103 .154 .302 5.2 1 1.2 Mike Brown
Ramon Urias .257 .327 .415 99 .158 .306 4.8 -4 1.2 Brendan Harris
Dexter Fowler .238 .337 .395 97 .157 .296 4.8 -1 1.1 Michael Tucker
Tommy Edman .245 .298 .337 71 .091 .296 3.7 2 1.0 Kurt Stillwell
Lane Thomas .235 .293 .384 81 .149 .307 3.8 2 1.0 Xavier Paul
John Nogowski .268 .334 .351 86 .083 .292 4.3 6 0.9 Mike Eylward
Wilfredo Tovar .249 .292 .332 68 .083 .283 3.5 4 0.8 Alex Prieto
Evan Mendoza .245 .290 .343 70 .099 .305 3.5 6 0.7 Aurelio Rodriguez
Yairo Munoz .253 .304 .386 85 .133 .305 4.2 -5 0.7 Jose Castro
Max Schrock .252 .301 .342 73 .089 .279 3.7 1 0.6 Jack Brohamer
Jose Godoy .228 .296 .308 64 .080 .275 3.2 3 0.5 Tom Wieghaus
Elehuris Montero .240 .294 .396 84 .156 .297 4.1 -6 0.5 Jeff Hamilton
Justin Williams .256 .302 .389 85 .132 .304 4.2 1 0.4 Andre Ethier
Drew Robinson .203 .286 .379 78 .176 .297 3.6 -1 0.4 Jon VanEvery
Jeremy Martinez .218 .286 .284 55 .066 .253 2.9 4 0.4 Mike Nickeas
Edmundo Sosa .235 .274 .346 66 .110 .286 3.3 2 0.3 Dean DeCillis
Chase Pinder .214 .305 .300 64 .086 .284 2.9 4 0.3 David Howell
Joe Hudson .195 .267 .307 55 .112 .257 2.7 4 0.3 Tom Nieto
Adolis Garcia .237 .277 .404 81 .166 .288 3.9 2 0.2 Ken Ford
Dylan Carlson .217 .302 .355 77 .138 .279 3.6 2 0.2 Kurt Bierek
Francisco Pena .232 .268 .338 62 .106 .286 3.2 0 0.0 Mike DiFelice
Alex Mejia .245 .287 .321 64 .076 .291 3.3 -2 -0.1 Ray Olmedo
Randy Arozarena .231 .304 .361 79 .129 .292 3.9 -3 -0.1 Jordan Parraz
Stefan Trosclair .210 .281 .340 67 .130 .291 3.2 6 -0.3 Rich Murray
Johan Mieses .196 .250 .351 60 .155 .255 3.0 6 -0.6 John Lindsey
Conner Capel .223 .284 .346 69 .123 .280 3.1 -5 -0.7 Karl Herren
Victor Roache .174 .241 .305 46 .130 .281 2.4 4 -1.3 Nick Wilfong

Pitchers – Counting Stats
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO
Carlos Martinez R 27 12 9 3.53 29 29 168.3 153 66 15 68 163
Miles Mikolas R 30 12 8 3.59 29 29 175.7 177 70 18 38 135
Jack Flaherty R 23 12 9 3.62 32 32 169.0 146 68 22 59 192
Daniel Poncedeleon R 27 8 7 4.15 28 22 119.3 112 55 12 61 109
Dakota Hudson R 24 11 11 4.32 44 23 150.0 153 72 13 64 99
Andrew Miller L 34 4 2 2.77 49 0 48.7 37 15 4 17 65
Michael Wacha R 27 8 7 4.26 23 22 120.3 121 57 15 45 104
Giovanny Gallegos R 27 3 2 3.02 39 0 59.7 50 20 6 17 73
Mike Hauschild R 29 7 7 4.54 22 21 111.0 115 56 13 50 86
Williams Perez R 28 6 6 4.35 20 19 103.3 109 50 11 34 72
Austin Gomber L 25 8 9 4.49 35 22 132.3 133 66 18 55 121
Adam Wainwright R 37 6 6 4.30 19 18 96.3 102 46 11 32 79
Alex Reyes R 24 4 3 4.08 12 12 64.0 58 29 6 38 66
Jordan Hicks R 22 4 3 3.79 75 0 76.0 67 32 3 48 67
John Brebbia R 29 4 3 3.46 57 0 65.0 57 25 9 18 75
Harold Arauz R 24 7 8 4.76 26 22 126.7 136 67 19 44 97
John Gant R 26 8 9 4.64 31 24 137.7 139 71 19 61 116
Luke Gregerson R 35 3 2 3.54 45 0 40.7 36 16 5 12 44
Tyler Webb L 28 2 2 3.99 47 1 58.7 55 26 8 21 60
Bud Norris R 34 4 4 3.83 60 0 51.7 46 22 7 22 61
Ryan Meisinger R 25 3 3 4.14 48 1 67.3 63 31 8 28 65
Tommy Layne L 34 1 1 3.48 37 0 31.0 28 12 2 13 29
Anthony Shew R 25 8 9 4.85 25 24 133.7 150 72 20 42 92
Genesis Cabrera L 22 8 9 5.00 26 24 122.3 127 68 15 72 100
Ryan Helsley R 24 5 6 4.76 18 17 87.0 84 46 11 50 81
Chasen Shreve L 28 4 3 4.17 58 0 54.0 47 25 8 28 64
Connor Jones L 24 6 7 4.80 22 19 95.7 104 51 10 45 63
Derian Gonzalez R 24 4 4 4.56 25 11 53.3 54 27 5 30 41
Seth Elledge R 23 6 5 4.13 47 0 52.3 47 24 5 28 55
Austin Warner L 25 6 7 4.92 23 22 120.7 130 66 16 53 86
Mike Mayers R 27 2 2 4.29 58 0 63.0 64 30 8 23 56
Dominic Leone R 27 3 3 4.33 52 0 52.0 50 25 7 21 53
Evan Kruczynski L 24 5 7 4.99 20 20 97.3 108 54 14 37 68
Brett Cecil L 32 2 2 4.47 53 0 44.3 46 22 5 19 37
Andrew Morales R 26 3 3 4.40 48 0 59.3 56 29 7 33 59
Edward Mujica R 35 2 2 4.56 45 0 47.3 53 24 8 7 32
Hunter Cervenka L 29 2 2 4.62 40 0 37.0 34 19 4 23 36
Chris Beck R 28 1 2 5.00 48 1 63.0 65 35 8 35 45
Roel Ramirez R 24 2 3 5.10 41 2 60.0 64 34 9 28 49
Will Latcham R 23 4 5 4.96 42 0 49.0 48 27 6 31 45
Landon Beck R 26 3 3 4.91 45 0 58.7 61 32 8 31 47
Junior Fernandez R 22 2 3 5.40 21 8 53.3 57 32 5 39 32
Jake Woodford R 22 8 11 5.32 27 26 133.7 153 79 17 67 76
Casey Meisner R 24 5 8 5.80 23 22 111.7 126 72 18 62 73

Pitchers – Rate Stats
Player TBF K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA+ ERA- FIP WAR No. 1 Comp
Carlos Martinez 724 8.71 3.64 0.80 .295 113 88 3.76 3.2 Bob Gibson
Miles Mikolas 737 6.92 1.95 0.92 .296 112 90 3.73 3.0 Frank Sullivan
Jack Flaherty 711 10.22 3.14 1.17 .290 111 90 3.79 2.9 Aaron Sele
Daniel Poncedeleon 529 8.22 4.60 0.91 .293 96 104 4.31 1.3 Kirby Higbe
Dakota Hudson 662 5.94 3.84 0.78 .292 93 108 4.38 1.3 George Culver
Andrew Miller 201 12.02 3.14 0.74 .297 149 67 2.84 1.3 Randy Myers
Michael Wacha 520 7.78 3.37 1.12 .299 94 107 4.21 1.2 Ed Wojna
Giovanny Gallegos 245 11.01 2.56 0.91 .301 137 73 3.02 1.1 Rollie Fingers
Mike Hauschild 497 6.97 4.05 1.05 .299 91 110 4.66 0.9 Don Schwall
Williams Perez 451 6.27 2.96 0.96 .299 92 109 4.30 0.9 Jim Bagby
Austin Gomber 583 8.23 3.74 1.22 .301 89 112 4.50 0.9 Terry Mulholland
Adam Wainwright 419 7.38 2.99 1.03 .310 93 107 4.08 0.9 Mel Harder
Alex Reyes 287 9.28 5.34 0.84 .299 98 102 4.23 0.8 Tim Birtsas
Jordan Hicks 345 7.93 5.68 0.36 .291 106 95 4.07 0.8 Turk Farrell
John Brebbia 269 10.38 2.49 1.25 .293 116 86 3.61 0.8 Rod Beck
Harold Arauz 557 6.89 3.13 1.35 .300 87 115 4.78 0.7 Michael Macdonald
John Gant 609 7.58 3.99 1.24 .295 86 116 4.72 0.7 Mike Dunne
Luke Gregerson 168 9.74 2.66 1.11 .292 117 86 3.54 0.5 Joe Borowski
Tyler Webb 251 9.20 3.22 1.23 .296 104 97 4.10 0.5 Mike Gallo
Bud Norris 224 10.63 3.83 1.22 .300 104 96 4.06 0.5 Kane Davis
Ryan Meisinger 291 8.69 3.74 1.07 .294 100 100 4.15 0.5 Keith Shepherd
Tommy Layne 133 8.42 3.77 0.58 .295 119 84 3.47 0.4 Luis Arroyo
Anthony Shew 589 6.19 2.83 1.35 .304 83 121 4.82 0.4 Nate Cornejo
Genesis Cabrera 564 7.36 5.30 1.10 .303 83 121 5.05 0.4 Greg Kubes
Ryan Helsley 394 8.38 5.17 1.14 .296 84 119 4.83 0.4 Preston Hanna
Chasen Shreve 235 10.67 4.67 1.33 .291 99 101 4.32 0.3 Ron Villone
Connor Jones 434 5.93 4.23 0.94 .303 83 120 4.79 0.3 Derek Thompson
Derian Gonzalez 243 6.92 5.06 0.84 .299 88 114 4.69 0.3 Foster Edwards
Seth Elledge 232 9.46 4.82 0.86 .298 97 103 4.07 0.3 Anthony Chavez
Austin Warner 543 6.41 3.95 1.19 .299 81 123 4.94 0.3 Jeff Kaiser
Mike Mayers 274 8.00 3.29 1.14 .304 93 107 4.26 0.2 Ehren Wassermann
Dominic Leone 224 9.17 3.63 1.21 .303 92 108 4.13 0.1 Miguel Saladin
Evan Kruczynski 435 6.29 3.42 1.29 .303 80 125 4.95 0.1 Ryan Spille
Brett Cecil 196 7.51 3.86 1.02 .306 93 108 4.30 0.1 Mike Venafro
Andrew Morales 266 8.95 5.01 1.06 .299 91 110 4.52 0.1 Marc Pisciotta
Edward Mujica 200 6.08 1.33 1.52 .298 91 110 4.57 0.1 Dick Hall
Hunter Cervenka 167 8.76 5.59 0.97 .294 87 115 4.64 0.0 Matt Whisenant
Chris Beck 287 6.43 5.00 1.14 .291 83 121 5.18 -0.1 Bobby Reis
Roel Ramirez 272 7.35 4.20 1.35 .302 81 123 5.07 -0.2 Jason Szuminski
Will Latcham 226 8.27 5.69 1.10 .298 81 124 4.99 -0.2 Rick Greene
Landon Beck 267 7.21 4.76 1.23 .298 82 123 5.06 -0.2 Barry Hertzler
Junior Fernandez 256 5.40 6.58 0.84 .295 74 135 5.59 -0.2 Mike Thompson
Jake Woodford 618 5.12 4.51 1.14 .302 75 133 5.35 -0.3 Jake Dittler
Casey Meisner 521 5.88 5.00 1.45 .299 69 145 5.79 -0.9 Jason Standridge

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 2019. 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 I have made a mistake. This is very possible, as a lot of minor-league signings go generally unreported in the offseason.

ZiPS’ projections are based on the American League having a 4.29 ERA and the National League having a 4.15 ERA.

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

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


Contract Crowdsourcing Results: Bryce Harper and Manny Machado

In October, we asked you what contracts you expected Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to sign. Months later, Harper and Machado are still looking for an employer, and so on Wednesday, we asked you about the contracts again. The idea was to see whether the community has lost a little faith in the agents or the market. Do you still see the same big contracts, or do you expect smaller terms? What have you made of all the recent reports?

As you all know, you are (probably) not Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Scott Boras, or Dan Lozano. This is just a fun exercise that means literally nothing in the end. But, it might not surprise you to learn that FanGraphs readers don’t see quite the same dollars anymore. After running the project again yesterday, we’ve received thousands of entries, so everything ought to be stabilized. The results are posted in the table below.

Read the rest of this entry »