2014 ZiPS Projections – St. Louis Cardinals

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 St. Louis Cardinals. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Boston / Philadelphia.

Batters
There are obvious caveats one should append to the sentence which follows, and yet it’s also true. The St. Louis Cardinals, who’ve just been to the World Series, are likely to enter the 2014 season with a better complement of position players than with which they entered 2013.

Part of that, of course, is having a shortstop at all. Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma, combined, were never an ideal substitute for Rafael Furcal. That next year’s shortstop is Jhonny Peralta — about whom ZiPS is fairly optimistic — represents a decided advantage. That Matt Carpenter emerged as very possibly an above-average major leaguer has also benefited the club.

In terms of who precisely will play where precisely in 2014, there are some uncertainties regarding that. For the purposes of the depth chart below, I’ve put Allen Craig in right field and Matt Adams at first base. In reality, Jon Jay and (possibly) Oscar Taveras will also play roles with the club, however.

Pitchers
Adam Wainwright was as good in 2013, and perhaps better, as/than he’d ever been prior to the season he missed from Tommy John surgery, almost halving his career walk rate (down to 3.7%) while striking out batters at a pace similar to past seasons. Behind him in the rotation will almost certainly be, in whichever order, young right-handers Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha. The former’s conspicuous absence during the playoffs remains something of a mystery, but ZiPS remains optimistic enough about Miller based on the entirety of his resume.

After that triumvirate, St. Louis features a second threesome, any of whom could positively contribute to the rotation: Jaime Garcia, Joe Kelly, and Lance Lynn. The latter two have pitched out of the bullpen before, and could once again join a relief corps whose fastballs — much like late-90s hip hop group The Hot Boy$ — are on fire. Because they’re thrown with “heat,” is what the author means to say.

Bench/Prospects
Because he’s both (a) good and also (b) likely to receive quite a lot in the way of playing time, it’s probably fair to regard second baseman Kolten Wong as a preseason contender for the NL Rookie of the Year award. ZiPS and Steamer, both, regard him as an average major-leaguer already. Beyond Wong is, of course, highly praised outfield prospect Oscar Taveras, who lost much of his 2013 to injury. Taveras and Jon Jay are both candidates to record a non-negligible amount of plate appearances despite their absence from the depth chart below. Less celebrated prospects Jermaine Curtis, Greg Garcia, and Randal Grichuk (acquired along with Peter Bourjos from the Angels) — along with on-base-magician and Fringe Five regular Mike O’Neill — are all potential contributors.

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

Cardinals 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
Yadier Molina R 31 C 546 54 147 31 0 13 73 6 3
Matt Carpenter L 28 3B 615 79 146 36 5 10 69 4 3
Matt Holliday R 34 LF 577 79 140 30 2 21 85 5 2
Jhonny Peralta R 32 SS 520 49 127 29 2 12 64 2 2
Peter Bourjos R 27 CF 385 54 90 14 8 9 41 12 3
Kolten Wong L 23 2B 555 60 136 22 6 8 49 19 5
Jon Jay L 29 CF 570 64 137 25 3 7 54 12 6
Oscar Taveras L 22 CF 388 45 103 23 4 9 50 7 1
Allen Craig R 29 1B 503 61 130 26 2 16 84 3 0
Carlos Beltran B 37 RF 548 64 133 24 3 23 82 5 3
Randal Grichuk R 22 RF 585 69 139 28 8 17 68 9 6
Scott Moore L 30 3B 474 50 103 25 1 12 56 1 2
Rafael Furcal B 36 SS 328 40 77 13 2 5 30 8 3
Greg Garcia L 24 SS 482 51 99 22 4 3 35 10 4
Matt Adams L 25 1B 382 45 95 20 0 17 56 1 1
Jermaine Curtis R 26 3B 440 42 98 16 2 3 34 5 1
Stephen Piscotty R 23 RF 508 52 125 25 2 10 44 10 5
Mike O’Neill L 26 LF 476 52 114 16 2 1 31 11 4
Audry Perez R 25 C 339 26 79 15 0 4 35 0 1
Thomas Pham R 26 CF 237 24 49 9 4 4 21 4 3
Pete Kozma R 26 SS 522 50 104 21 2 5 52 5 2
Tony Cruz R 27 C 193 18 43 10 1 2 22 0 1
Daniel Descalso L 27 SS 418 47 92 21 3 5 41 6 3
Starlin Rodriguez R 24 2B 471 44 103 19 4 6 40 10 7
Ruben Gotay B 31 3B 490 48 101 17 1 7 43 8 4
Shane Robinson R 29 RF 230 27 52 8 2 3 23 5 1
Chad Huffman R 29 LF 387 39 80 19 1 8 40 2 0
Rob Johnson R 31 C 252 22 51 10 2 4 23 1 2
Brock Peterson R 30 1B 399 40 85 18 1 14 46 1 1
James Ramsey L 24 CF 503 51 92 14 4 8 38 9 4
Luis Mateo R 24 SS 405 41 87 13 1 5 34 12 7
Joey Butler R 28 RF 557 55 121 24 2 10 48 4 3
Justin Christian R 34 LF 444 52 99 18 3 4 35 18 4
Ty Wigginton R 36 1B 264 26 53 10 0 6 29 2 1
Anthony Garcia R 22 LF 443 42 86 19 2 13 47 5 5
Xavier Scruggs R 26 1B 532 47 92 18 1 16 53 6 4

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Yadier Molina 546 6.4% 10.1% .140 .307 .293 .342 .433 .334
Matt Carpenter 615 10.1% 16.4% .142 .314 .272 .351 .413 .334
Matt Holliday 577 10.4% 17.3% .192 .307 .277 .360 .468 .359
Jhonny Peralta 520 7.3% 18.1% .145 .307 .267 .320 .412 .317
Peter Bourjos 385 5.5% 21.8% .164 .315 .259 .314 .424 .321
Kolten Wong 555 6.3% 14.1% .114 .299 .266 .316 .380 .309
Jon Jay 570 7.2% 15.3% .103 .314 .272 .339 .375 .309
Oscar Taveras 388 5.7% 12.4% .162 .308 .287 .331 .448 .334
Allen Craig 503 7.0% 17.5% .170 .318 .284 .338 .454 .346
Carlos Beltran 548 7.8% 17.7% .199 .287 .267 .324 .466 .335
Randal Grichuk 585 3.6% 18.1% .172 .282 .252 .286 .424 .306
Scott Moore 474 7.2% 21.9% .148 .288 .241 .304 .389 .303
Rafael Furcal 328 7.3% 11.9% .107 .281 .258 .316 .366 .301
Greg Garcia 482 9.1% 19.5% .093 .295 .235 .320 .328 .289
Matt Adams 382 6.0% 26.2% .198 .322 .265 .309 .464 .336
Jermaine Curtis 440 8.9% 13.9% .075 .293 .255 .336 .330 .301
Stephen Piscotty 508 5.7% 12.2% .126 .288 .266 .318 .391 .312
Mike O’Neill 476 11.6% 9.0% .056 .304 .275 .360 .331 .312
Audry Perez 339 1.5% 18.6% .082 .285 .240 .257 .322 .254
Thomas Pham 237 8.0% 29.1% .136 .317 .229 .297 .364 .291
Pete Kozma 522 7.5% 21.3% .084 .273 .219 .277 .304 .254
Tony Cruz 193 4.7% 20.2% .099 .291 .238 .276 .337 .264
Daniel Descalso 418 7.4% 17.0% .112 .289 .246 .308 .358 .284
Starlin Rodriguez 471 4.9% 24.8% .104 .311 .238 .289 .343 .277
Ruben Gotay 490 9.2% 22.0% .091 .287 .230 .301 .320 .279
Shane Robinson 230 8.3% 12.2% .102 .277 .254 .319 .356 .299
Chad Huffman 387 8.3% 22.7% .130 .283 .231 .301 .360 .295
Rob Johnson 252 6.3% 19.8% .112 .260 .219 .270 .330 .262
Brock Peterson 399 6.5% 26.6% .169 .285 .232 .288 .401 .303
James Ramsey 503 10.1% 31.2% .105 .302 .209 .297 .314 .274
Luis Mateo 405 3.7% 21.5% .079 .282 .228 .264 .306 .252
Joey Butler 557 8.4% 28.5% .116 .330 .241 .311 .357 .297
Justin Christian 444 5.2% 13.5% .087 .271 .240 .286 .328 .276
Ty Wigginton 264 7.6% 22.0% .118 .266 .223 .288 .340 .276
Anthony Garcia 443 5.2% 31.2% .152 .281 .210 .265 .362 .274
Xavier Scruggs 532 9.4% 38.9% .145 .305 .196 .284 .341 .281

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Yadier Molina 546 5.7 114 9 5.0 Thurman Munson
Matt Carpenter 615 5.3 112 0 3.4 Lou Whitaker
Matt Holliday 577 6.3 128 -3 3.0 Bob Elliott
Jhonny Peralta 520 4.8 102 2 2.8 Travis Fryman
Peter Bourjos 385 5.0 103 5 2.3 Deion Sanders
Kolten Wong 555 4.6 93 3 2.3 Dalton Jones
Jon Jay 570 4.7 98 -3 1.8 Del Unser
Oscar Taveras 388 5.8 114 -4 1.8 Shawn Green
Allen Craig 503 5.9 118 -1 1.8 Lamar Johnson
Carlos Beltran 548 5.5 116 -5 1.7 Bobby Bonilla
Randal Grichuk 585 4.3 94 6 1.4 Chris James
Scott Moore 474 4.1 91 -5 1.3 Mike Pagliarulo
Rafael Furcal 328 4.3 89 -4 1.2 Jose Vizcaino
Greg Garcia 482 3.8 81 -4 1.0 Sam Khalifa
Matt Adams 382 5.2 111 -1 1.0 Reggie Jefferson
Jermaine Curtis 440 4.1 87 -3 1.0 Scott Campbell
Stephen Piscotty 508 4.6 96 0 0.9 Ron MacDonald
Mike O’Neill 476 4.5 94 -1 0.9 Greg Gross
Audry Perez 339 2.9 60 5 0.7 Hector Kuilan
Thomas Pham 237 3.7 83 1 0.5 Damon Mashore
Pete Kozma 522 2.9 62 5 0.5 Marc Mirizzi
Tony Cruz 193 3.2 70 2 0.5 Carlos Corporan
Daniel Descalso 418 4.0 85 -6 0.5 Vance Law
Starlin Rodriguez 471 3.4 75 1 0.5 Vance Law
Ruben Gotay 490 3.4 73 -4 0.4 Dave Rohde
Shane Robinson 230 4.3 88 1 0.4 Bubba Carpenter
Chad Huffman 387 3.9 83 -1 0.1 Mike Colangelo
Rob Johnson 252 2.9 66 -2 0.1 Henry Blanco
Brock Peterson 399 4.0 89 0 0.0 Chris Widger
James Ramsey 503 3.2 70 -3 0.0 Mike Neill
Luis Mateo 405 2.8 58 1 -0.1 Diory Hernandez
Joey Butler 557 3.9 85 -5 -0.2 Jeremy Slayden
Justin Christian 444 3.6 70 1 -0.4 Thomas Johnson
Ty Wigginton 264 3.4 74 -4 -1.0 Todd Zeile
Anthony Garcia 443 3.1 72 -4 -1.1 Brandon Sing
Xavier Scruggs 532 3.2 73 -3 -1.3 Benji Simonton

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
Adam Wainwright R 32 31 31 208.3 183 39 15 197 79 74
Shelby Miller R 23 31 31 174.7 171 55 18 154 68 64
Lance Lynn R 27 33 27 173.7 166 62 13 160 73 68
Michael Wacha R 22 28 24 155.3 135 45 15 142 65 61
Trevor Rosenthal R 24 75 0 79.7 103 24 5 60 22 21
Joe Kelly R 26 33 22 146.7 97 51 12 150 67 63
Jaime Garcia L 27 19 19 116.3 93 29 10 119 52 49
Carlos Martinez R 22 32 18 108.3 84 39 8 106 48 45
Tyler Lyons L 26 28 21 127.0 88 41 14 132 66 62
Jason Motte R 32 52 0 49.7 50 14 5 42 18 17
Kevin Siegrist L 24 58 0 55.3 58 26 4 45 21 20
John Axford R 31 71 0 66.0 72 26 6 59 28 26
Edward Mujica R 30 64 0 63.0 47 10 7 61 27 25
Boone Whiting R 24 22 21 102.7 72 39 12 107 56 52
Randy Choate L 38 63 0 31.0 26 11 2 28 13 12
Lee Stoppelman L 24 44 0 51.0 48 24 4 46 22 21
Seth Maness R 25 76 0 78.3 45 14 8 83 36 34
John Gast L 25 19 19 100.7 62 41 10 108 57 53
Chris Carpenter R 39 2 2 9.3 6 4 1 10 5 5
Victor Marte R 33 51 0 54.0 40 26 5 55 28 26
Keith Butler R 25 52 0 56.0 48 29 6 53 29 27
Sam Freeman L 27 63 0 70.7 50 35 6 71 36 34
Barret Browning L 29 35 0 40.7 27 19 4 42 22 21
Kevin Thomas R 27 49 0 63.7 49 30 8 65 35 33
Eric Fornataro R 26 51 0 63.3 36 29 6 68 35 33
Scott McGregor R 27 21 20 107.7 56 42 15 123 67 63
Jorge Rondon R 26 52 0 60.3 36 41 6 65 39 36

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Adam Wainwright 208.3 861 21.2% 4.5% .294 3.20 2.93 87 79
Shelby Miller 174.7 733 23.3% 7.5% .281 3.30 3.57 89 97
Lance Lynn 173.7 743 22.4% 8.4% .297 3.52 3.41 95 92
Michael Wacha 155.3 654 20.7% 7.0% .280 3.53 3.65 96 99
Trevor Rosenthal 79.7 322 31.9% 7.4% .293 2.37 2.51 64 68
Joe Kelly 146.7 640 15.2% 7.9% .290 3.87 3.93 105 106
Jaime Garcia 116.3 497 18.6% 5.8% .299 3.79 3.42 103 93
Carlos Martinez 108.3 470 17.9% 8.3% .297 3.74 3.79 101 102
Tyler Lyons 127.0 554 15.9% 7.5% .293 4.39 4.33 119 117
Jason Motte 49.7 205 24.5% 6.8% .279 3.08 3.27 83 89
Kevin Siegrist 55.3 237 24.6% 10.9% .280 3.25 3.50 88 95
John Axford 66.0 283 25.5% 9.2% .296 3.55 3.32 96 90
Edward Mujica 63.0 260 18.0% 3.9% .276 3.57 3.54 97 96
Boone Whiting 102.7 455 15.8% 8.6% .295 4.56 4.54 123 123
Randy Choate 31.0 132 19.4% 8.5% .287 3.48 3.65 94 99
Lee Stoppelman 51.0 224 21.2% 10.9% .292 3.71 3.79 100 103
Seth Maness 78.3 332 13.5% 4.2% .290 3.91 3.77 106 102
John Gast 100.7 451 13.7% 9.0% .295 4.74 4.59 128 124
Chris Carpenter 9.3 41 13.9% 8.4% .293 4.82 4.93 130 133
Victor Marte 54.0 243 16.4% 10.7% .299 4.33 4.20 117 114
Keith Butler 56.0 251 19.3% 11.6% .292 4.34 4.42 117 120
Sam Freeman 70.7 317 15.7% 10.9% .289 4.33 4.44 117 120
Barret Browning 40.7 183 14.9% 10.6% .290 4.65 4.54 126 123
Kevin Thomas 63.7 286 17.1% 10.5% .295 4.66 4.74 126 128
Eric Fornataro 63.3 288 12.4% 10.2% .294 4.69 4.67 127 126
Scott McGregor 107.7 488 11.4% 8.5% .294 5.27 5.19 142 140
Jorge Rondon 60.3 287 12.7% 14.3% .294 5.37 5.40 145 146

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Adam Wainwright 208.3 7.88 1.67 0.66 117 4.0 Mike Mussina
Shelby Miller 174.7 8.80 2.83 0.95 114 3.2 Jack McDowell
Lance Lynn 173.7 8.60 3.21 0.68 106 2.6 Darryl Kile
Michael Wacha 155.3 7.83 2.64 0.89 106 2.3 Jose Guzman
Trevor Rosenthal 79.7 11.63 2.68 0.61 158 1.6 Antonio Osuna
Joe Kelly 146.7 5.95 3.12 0.71 97 1.5 Aaron Cook
Jaime Garcia 116.3 7.16 2.25 0.79 99 1.4 John Halama
Carlos Martinez 108.3 7.00 3.25 0.65 100 1.3 Jose Capellan
Tyler Lyons 127.0 6.23 2.93 0.98 85 0.5 Jeff Urban
Jason Motte 49.7 9.09 2.51 0.84 122 0.5 Jerry Spradlin
Kevin Siegrist 55.3 9.50 4.23 0.71 115 0.5 Darren Oliver
John Axford 66.0 9.84 3.53 0.87 106 0.4 Frank LaCorte
Edward Mujica 63.0 6.69 1.45 1.02 105 0.3 Joseph Haines
Boone Whiting 102.7 6.31 3.44 1.02 82 0.3 Nick DeBarr
Randy Choate 31.0 7.44 3.24 0.56 108 0.2 Brian Shouse
Lee Stoppelman 51.0 8.38 4.31 0.68 101 0.2 Darren Oliver
Seth Maness 78.3 5.16 1.59 0.88 96 0.1 Randy Graham
John Gast 100.7 5.52 3.64 0.92 79 0.1 John Courtright
Chris Carpenter 9.3 5.57 3.38 1.11 78 0.0 Steve Ontiveros
Victor Marte 54.0 6.65 4.35 0.77 87 -0.2 David Lee
Keith Butler 56.0 7.78 4.68 0.94 86 -0.2 Pete Sikaras
Sam Freeman 70.7 6.33 4.42 0.78 87 -0.3 Philip Barzilla
Barret Browning 40.7 6.04 4.28 0.87 81 -0.3 Ken Vining
Kevin Thomas 63.7 6.92 4.24 1.07 80 -0.5 Paul Wilmet
Eric Fornataro 63.3 5.07 4.19 0.78 80 -0.5 Scott Munter
Scott McGregor 107.7 4.65 3.48 1.23 71 -0.6 Kirk McDonald
Jorge Rondon 60.3 5.41 6.11 0.93 70 -1.0 Darin Moore

***

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 – St. Louis Cardinals by Carson Cistulli!

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

newest oldest most voted
semperty
Member
semperty

Understandably there are health concerns surrounding Bourjos and Garcia – so no issue there – but I feel as though Lynn’s projections (from ZiPS, Marcel, and Steamer) all seem pretty low and I’m not sure why most of them assume he’ll get worse in his run production. Not complaining, or feel the systems are “against” him, I just don’t quite understand it.

rusty
Guest
rusty

Lynn’s projection looks very similar his 2012 (176 IP, 99 ERA-, 92 FIP-), which produced 2.7 WAR, so the projected 2.6 seems pretty much in-line.

SocraticGadfly
Guest

I’d give Adams 1 more WAR, and if we say Craig/(others) in RF, give that position 1 more WAR. I’m pretty much OK with the other guesstimates.

Adams has said he’s lost weight, and he intends to work on lefty slider-throwers in extra-preseason work, hence my thoughts there.

Since Craig will still get some spotting at 1B, and Tavares or whomever will play RF, that’s the extra 1 WAR out there.

I’m OK with Carpenter at 3, though a 4 wouldn’t surprise me.

Otherwise, estimates are generally OK.