2014 ZiPS Projections – Detroit Tigers

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 Detroit Tigers. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Cleveland / Los Angeles NL / Miami / Minnesota / New York AL / Philadelphia / San Diego / Seattle / St. Louis.

Batters
Each of the four positions within Detroit’s opening-day infield this coming season will very likely be occupied by a different player than on opening day in 2013. Part of the reason for that is because of how Miguel Cabrera returns to first base, a role to which his defensive abilities are more well suited. Another part of the reason is owing to the departures both of Prince Fielder (via trade) and Omar Infante (via free agency) this offseason. Despite the changes, the probable infield contingent for 2014 (as depicted in the depth-chart image below) ought to rival, in terms of wins, any of those belonging to the last three iterations of the Detoit Tigers, each of which has qualified for the playoffs.

In a recent piece here, Jeff Sullivan explored possible destinations for free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz. Detroit he classified as a “stretch” — making it actually one of the more likely clubs, relatively speaking, to sign Cruz. So far as ZiPS is concerned, corner outfield and designated hitter are the only positions at which Detroit is likely to receive below-average production.

Pitchers
There are few, if any, clubs which could have dealt a four-win pitcher this offseason, made basically no other alterations to its starting rotation, and still appeared likely to enter the 2014 season with a rotation full only of league-average starters or better. It appears as though Detroit is such a club, however. This isn’t to suggest, of course, that the trade of Doug Fister wasn’t curious in its way. It does suggest, though, that Detroit was working from a position of strength in this regard.

There is likely something to be learned about human behavior from Detroit’s relationship with Jose Valverde over the last year-plus. The club signed the gentleman reliever to a minor-league contract at the beginning of April, promoted him to the majors after just 3.0 innings of work at High-A Lakeland, and then re-installed him as closer before the beginning of May — this after Valverde demonstrated all manner of warning sign in 2012. None of this immediately concerns the Tigers bullpen in 2014 — unless Detroit acquires Valverde again, of course. Which, if they do that, he’ll pitch at replacement level, according to ZiPS.

Bench/Prospects
The Tigers aren’t presently teeming with what anyone would call a “surplus” of young talent. Nick Castellanos is decidedly the most impressive prospect in the system, and he’ll very likely be starting the season with the parent club. After Castellanos, there’s less in the way of impact talent, however. Catcher Bryan Holaday is rookie-eligible and looks promising as a backup catcher. Shortstop Eugenio Suarez is also not entirely without merit — but also unlikely to produce anything much in the majors in 2014.

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

Tigers 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
Miguel Cabrera R 31 1B 648 92 177 32 1 38 119 3 1
Ian Kinsler R 32 2B 629 84 151 32 3 15 68 16 9
Austin Jackson R 27 CF 662 91 154 28 9 14 54 13 6
Alex Avila L 27 C 455 43 92 19 2 13 55 1 0
Nick Castellanos R 22 3B 643 67 166 31 3 18 64 5 3
Jose Iglesias R 24 SS 520 48 126 15 2 5 38 11 5
Torii Hunter R 38 RF 586 71 156 28 3 14 76 4 2
Andy Dirks L 28 LF 455 57 111 19 3 11 41 9 2
Bryan Holaday R 26 C 346 30 75 15 1 5 27 2 1
Ramon Cabrera B 24 C 498 48 119 25 3 2 48 3 2
Victor Martinez B 35 DH 516 52 137 27 0 12 69 1 1
Eugenio Suarez R 22 SS 633 58 138 26 4 8 48 11 13
Steve Lombardozzi B 25 2B 483 52 119 20 4 4 38 10 5
James Mccann R 24 C 394 33 90 19 1 5 37 3 3
Don Kelly L 34 3B 236 28 51 6 1 6 22 2 0
Daniel Fields L 23 CF 508 49 120 21 4 7 42 20 8
Hernan Perez R 23 2B 527 52 132 21 3 5 41 21 6
Rajai Davis R 33 LF 410 52 98 18 3 5 33 39 10
Ronny Paulino R 33 C 199 16 46 9 0 2 15 0 0
Ben Guez R 27 RF 489 50 101 19 3 12 47 9 9
Ramon Santiago B 34 2B 253 23 54 8 1 3 19 0 1
Mike Cervenak R 37 3B 350 35 86 14 0 6 31 1 1
Danny Worth R 28 2B 374 33 73 16 2 4 26 9 4
Craig Albernaz R 31 C 122 10 23 4 0 1 7 1 0
Matt Tuiasosopo R 28 LF 371 42 71 12 1 9 44 3 2
Brad Davis R 31 C 249 21 49 11 1 3 22 2 0
Tyler Collins L 24 LF 522 49 115 25 2 12 57 8 4
Steven Moya L 22 RF 399 38 88 17 3 12 44 6 2
Mike Hessman R 36 1B 416 49 78 20 0 20 59 0 1
Jordan Lennerton L 28 1B 585 55 116 23 1 14 53 0 2
Francisco Martinez R 23 3B 479 44 105 17 1 3 31 18 5
Kevin Russo R 29 3B 457 38 96 20 2 3 32 10 5

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Miguel Cabrera 648 12.5% 14.8% .264 .324 .317 .404 .581 .403
Ian Kinsler 629 9.1% 11.0% .149 .285 .271 .344 .420 .335
Austin Jackson 662 9.4% 23.6% .150 .333 .262 .335 .412 .327
Alex Avila 455 13.2% 27.3% .160 .311 .237 .340 .397 .325
Nick Castellanos 643 5.6% 18.2% .152 .316 .277 .320 .429 .327
Jose Iglesias 520 4.8% 14.2% .071 .303 .265 .311 .336 .286
Torii Hunter 586 4.6% 18.9% .140 .334 .287 .325 .427 .328
Andy Dirks 455 6.8% 17.6% .139 .305 .266 .320 .405 .318
Bryan Holaday 346 4.9% 19.9% .102 .287 .237 .285 .339 .273
Ramon Cabrera 498 7.4% 12.2% .082 .297 .262 .319 .344 .293
Victor Martinez 516 7.4% 9.3% .134 .300 .291 .341 .425 .328
Eugenio Suarez 633 6.3% 23.2% .100 .305 .239 .297 .339 .279
Steve Lombardozzi 483 4.8% 13.7% .090 .303 .267 .307 .357 .288
James Mccann 394 3.6% 20.8% .097 .296 .243 .277 .340 .271
Don Kelly 236 8.5% 14.4% .124 .262 .243 .312 .367 .302
Daniel Fields 508 5.7% 26.2% .107 .339 .255 .304 .362 .296
Hernan Perez 527 3.0% 14.8% .084 .302 .265 .288 .349 .281
Rajai Davis 410 5.1% 17.3% .103 .302 .257 .301 .360 .300
Ronny Paulino 199 5.5% 18.6% .080 .295 .246 .286 .326 .269
Ben Guez 489 7.8% 25.6% .140 .295 .231 .305 .371 .296
Ramon Santiago 253 7.5% 14.6% .086 .277 .243 .309 .329 .278
Mike Cervenak 350 5.1% 12.6% .098 .286 .265 .303 .363 .291
Danny Worth 374 7.5% 26.2% .095 .290 .215 .278 .310 .263
Craig Albernaz 122 5.7% 25.4% .063 .275 .207 .258 .270 .237
Matt Tuiasosopo 371 10.0% 29.6% .126 .295 .217 .303 .343 .290
Brad Davis 249 5.2% 26.1% .095 .277 .211 .254 .306 .250
Tyler Collins 522 6.1% 20.9% .135 .283 .239 .291 .374 .293
Steven Moya 399 3.3% 31.8% .155 .311 .230 .261 .385 .283
Mike Hessman 416 6.7% 33.9% .210 .260 .205 .264 .415 .294
Jordan Lennerton 585 9.6% 28.9% .128 .297 .221 .297 .349 .287
Francisco Martinez 479 5.0% 25.5% .063 .316 .235 .278 .298 .260
Kevin Russo 457 5.0% 20.8% .078 .283 .227 .271 .305 .256

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Miguel Cabrera 648 9.3 164 -4 5.3 Manny Ramirez
Ian Kinsler 629 5.3 106 4 3.5 Bill Doran
Austin Jackson 662 5.1 101 0 2.8 Marlon Byrd
Alex Avila 455 4.8 100 -3 2.4 Chris Iannetta
Nick Castellanos 643 5.1 101 -6 2.0 Joe Crede
Jose Iglesias 520 3.9 76 7 1.7 Gary DiSarcina
Torii Hunter 586 5.3 102 -1 1.3 Lee Lacy
Andy Dirks 455 4.9 95 4 1.3 Dave Martinez
Bryan Holaday 346 3.4 69 5 1.1 Matt Morgan
Ramon Cabrera 498 4.0 80 -5 1.0 Steven Clevenger
Victor Martinez 516 5.5 107 0 0.9 David Segui
Eugenio Suarez 633 3.3 72 3 0.9 Marcus Lemon
Steve Lombardozzi 483 4.0 80 1 0.7 Alberto Gonzalez
James Mccann 394 3.3 67 2 0.6 Eli Whiteside
Don Kelly 236 4.2 84 -1 0.4 Dan Rohn
Daniel Fields 508 4.1 80 -4 0.4 Mike Neill
Hernan Perez 527 3.9 72 1 0.3 Gary Cates
Rajai Davis 410 4.5 79 1 0.3 Calvin Murray
Ronny Paulino 199 3.4 66 -1 0.1 Shawn W00t3n
Ben Guez 489 3.8 82 2 0.0 Mike Berger
Ramon Santiago 253 3.5 74 -1 0.0 Edgar Caceres
Mike Cervenak 350 4.0 80 -5 -0.2 Frank Malzone
Danny Worth 374 3.0 60 2 -0.2 Scott Sheldon
Craig Albernaz 122 2.5 44 -1 -0.3 Charlie Greene
Matt Tuiasosopo 371 3.5 75 0 -0.4 Mike Richardson
Brad Davis 249 2.8 51 -2 -0.4 Frank Charles
Tyler Collins 522 3.9 79 -2 -0.5 Rafael Alvarez
Steven Moya 399 3.6 72 -1 -0.7 Doug Frobel
Mike Hessman 416 3.7 81 -1 -0.7 Deron Johnson
Jordan Lennerton 585 3.5 75 3 -0.8 Todd Mensik
Francisco Martinez 479 3.1 57 -3 -0.9 Danny Ainge
Kevin Russo 457 2.9 56 -2 -1.0 Jhonny Carvajal

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
Justin Verlander R 31 32 32 216.7 225 60 19 186 79 74
Max Scherzer R 29 31 31 193.7 225 55 21 165 77 72
Anibal Sanchez R 30 30 30 184.3 186 52 18 175 77 72
Rick Porcello R 25 32 29 175.7 129 41 18 194 91 85
Drew Smyly L 25 25 25 135.0 127 41 16 130 65 61
Joe Nathan R 39 57 0 52.7 61 16 4 43 18 17
Drew VerHagen R 23 20 18 87.7 45 40 8 100 52 49
Al Alburquerque R 28 48 0 49.0 71 33 6 38 22 21
Kyle Lobstein L 24 27 27 139.3 99 64 16 158 87 81
Bruce Rondon R 23 63 0 57.0 59 29 5 53 28 26
Ian Krol L 23 60 0 56.3 51 17 7 56 28 26
Luke Putkonen R 28 50 0 62.3 52 28 6 63 31 29
Octavio Dotel R 40 27 0 26.0 24 8 2 25 12 11
Jose Valverde R 36 49 0 45.7 40 21 5 44 24 22
Phil Coke L 31 57 0 46.3 40 18 5 48 25 23
Blaine Hardy L 27 36 4 72.0 60 32 10 76 42 39
Joba Chamberlain R 28 38 0 37.7 33 15 5 39 21 20
Justin Miller R 27 40 0 47.7 40 24 6 49 27 25
Jose Valdez R 24 42 0 36.3 36 28 4 34 21 20
Jon Link R 30 29 6 59.0 31 21 9 70 39 36
Jose Ortega R 25 47 0 56.7 58 38 8 57 34 32
Melvin Mercedes R 23 48 0 55.7 30 22 7 64 34 32
Evan Reed R 28 43 0 55.7 41 30 6 61 34 32
Eduardo Sanchez R 25 41 0 43.3 34 30 5 44 28 26
Michael Morrison R 26 39 0 53.3 40 35 6 56 34 32
Jair Jurrjens R 28 23 23 123.0 56 45 19 155 86 80
Jose Alvarez L 25 28 23 131.3 78 44 24 159 91 85
Will Startup L 29 32 0 52.3 28 19 9 63 36 34
Jeremy Bonderman R 31 25 17 111.7 52 44 18 138 81 76
Robbie Weinhardt R 28 38 0 63.0 36 31 10 75 45 42
Casey Crosby L 25 19 19 87.7 61 75 13 100 68 64
Pat Misch L 32 18 16 90.3 44 30 21 120 74 69
Shawn Hill R 33 20 19 108.3 41 47 23 146 92 86

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Justin Verlander 216.7 896 25.1% 6.7% .284 3.07 3.36 75 81
Max Scherzer 193.7 801 28.1% 6.9% .291 3.35 3.42 81 83
Anibal Sanchez 184.3 780 23.8% 6.7% .301 3.52 3.52 85 85
Rick Porcello 175.7 762 16.9% 5.4% .309 4.35 4.02 106 97
Drew Smyly 135.0 576 22.0% 7.1% .294 4.07 4.06 99 98
Joe Nathan 52.7 217 28.1% 7.4% .289 2.91 2.95 71 71
Drew VerHagen 87.7 403 11.2% 9.9% .302 5.03 5.08 122 123
Al Alburquerque 49.0 218 32.6% 15.1% .302 3.86 4.07 94 99
Kyle Lobstein 139.3 640 15.5% 10.0% .314 5.23 5.06 127 123
Bruce Rondon 57.0 253 23.3% 11.5% .304 4.11 4.12 100 100
Ian Krol 56.3 242 21.1% 7.0% .295 4.15 4.13 101 100
Luke Putkonen 62.3 278 18.7% 10.1% .300 4.19 4.45 102 108
Octavio Dotel 26.0 111 21.6% 7.2% .299 3.81 3.38 92 82
Jose Valverde 45.7 202 19.8% 10.4% .293 4.34 4.54 105 110
Phil Coke 46.3 205 19.5% 8.8% .303 4.47 3.87 108 94
Blaine Hardy 72.0 324 18.5% 9.9% .304 4.87 5.06 118 123
Joba Chamberlain 37.7 167 19.7% 9.0% .301 4.78 4.59 116 111
Justin Miller 47.7 216 18.5% 11.1% .300 4.72 5.01 115 122
Jose Valdez 36.3 171 21.1% 16.4% .297 4.95 5.27 120 128
Jon Link 59.0 268 11.6% 7.8% .300 5.49 5.57 133 135
Jose Ortega 56.7 265 21.9% 14.3% .312 5.08 5.27 123 128
Melvin Mercedes 55.7 253 11.9% 8.7% .300 5.17 5.38 125 130
Evan Reed 55.7 258 15.9% 11.6% .311 5.17 5.13 125 124
Eduardo Sanchez 43.3 204 16.7% 14.7% .296 5.40 5.43 131 132
Michael Morrison 53.3 251 15.9% 13.9% .300 5.40 5.52 131 134
Jair Jurrjens 123.0 569 9.8% 7.9% .308 5.85 5.76 142 140
Jose Alvarez 131.3 597 13.1% 7.4% .305 5.82 5.80 141 141
Will Startup 52.3 239 11.7% 8.0% .300 5.85 5.79 142 141
Jeremy Bonderman 111.7 517 10.1% 8.5% .302 6.13 5.82 149 141
Robbie Weinhardt 63.0 295 12.2% 10.5% .304 6.00 6.01 146 146
Casey Crosby 87.7 438 13.9% 17.1% .307 6.57 6.69 159 162
Pat Misch 90.3 421 10.5% 7.1% .309 6.87 6.63 167 161
Shawn Hill 108.3 518 7.9% 9.1% .308 7.14 6.92 173 168

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Justin Verlander 216.7 9.34 2.49 0.79 138 6.1 Roger Clemens
Max Scherzer 193.7 10.45 2.56 0.98 126 4.8 Kevin Appier
Anibal Sanchez 184.3 9.08 2.54 0.88 120 4.2 Rick Sutcliffe
Rick Porcello 175.7 6.61 2.10 0.92 97 2.2 Chris Holt
Drew Smyly 135.0 8.47 2.73 1.07 104 2.2 Jeff Francis
Joe Nathan 52.7 10.42 2.73 0.68 146 1.0 Larry Andersen
Drew VerHagen 87.7 4.62 4.10 0.82 84 0.4 Mike Torrez
Al Alburquerque 49.0 13.04 6.06 1.10 110 0.4 Ryne Duren
Kyle Lobstein 139.3 6.40 4.13 1.03 81 0.3 Harold Allen
Bruce Rondon 57.0 9.32 4.58 0.79 103 0.3 Saul Rivera
Ian Krol 56.3 8.15 2.72 1.12 102 0.2 Tom Gorman
Luke Putkonen 62.3 7.51 4.04 0.87 101 0.2 Roy Corcoran
Octavio Dotel 26.0 8.31 2.77 0.69 111 0.2 Doug Brocail
Jose Valverde 45.7 7.88 4.14 0.98 98 0.1 Rich DeLucia
Phil Coke 46.3 7.78 3.50 0.97 95 0.0 Eric Gunderson
Blaine Hardy 72.0 7.50 4.00 1.25 87 0.0 C.J. Nitkowski
Joba Chamberlain 37.7 7.88 3.58 1.19 89 -0.1 Derrick Turnbow
Justin Miller 47.7 7.55 4.53 1.13 90 -0.1 Matt Palmer
Jose Valdez 36.3 8.93 6.94 0.99 85 -0.2 Josh Banks
Jon Link 59.0 4.73 3.20 1.37 77 -0.3 Bob Scanlan
Jose Ortega 56.7 9.21 6.03 1.27 83 -0.4 Chris Schroder
Melvin Mercedes 55.7 4.85 3.55 1.13 82 -0.5 Jose Santiago
Evan Reed 55.7 6.62 4.85 0.97 82 -0.5 Ryan Baker
Eduardo Sanchez 43.3 7.07 6.24 1.04 78 -0.5 Jeff Smith
Michael Morrison 53.3 6.75 5.91 1.01 78 -0.6 Pete Sikaras
Jair Jurrjens 123.0 4.10 3.29 1.39 72 -0.7 Nelson Figueroa
Jose Alvarez 131.3 5.35 3.02 1.65 73 -0.7 John Shea
Will Startup 52.3 4.82 3.27 1.55 72 -0.9 Juan Alvarez
Jeremy Bonderman 111.7 4.19 3.55 1.45 69 -1.1 Ryan Jensen
Robbie Weinhardt 63.0 5.14 4.43 1.43 71 -1.1 Ryan Cummings
Casey Crosby 87.7 6.26 7.70 1.33 64 -1.2 Mike King
Pat Misch 90.3 4.39 2.99 2.09 62 -1.6 Rick Krivda
Shawn Hill 108.3 3.41 3.91 1.91 59 -2.3 Bill Dietrich

***

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 – Detroit Tigers 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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IZZY2112
Member
IZZY2112

I think Miggy and Verlander have the second best ZIPS projection for a position player and pitcher respectively so far.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

Cabrera is not long for that spot, as we all know.

(I have Cano and Kershaw as the top players to this point.)

IZZY2112
Member
IZZY2112

Yep, I have the same. Darvish may top Verlander but I think he’ll be the only one. Decent number of people who could top Cabrera: Trout, McCutchen, Wright, Longoria, Posey, Votto, etc.