2015 ZiPS Projections – Boston Red Sox

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

Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cleveland / Colorado / Detroit / Houston / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York NL / Oakland / San Diego / San Francisco / St. Louis / Tampa Bay / Washington

Batters
Despite the considerable investments made by the club both in Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval this offseason — amounting to nearly $200 million collectively, those contracts — the top WAR projection among all Red Sox players belongs to their second-round pick from the 2004 draft. Dustin Pedroia produced the lowest slugging and isolated-power figures (.376 and .098, respectively) of his career last year, while also recording a career-worst strikeout rate (12.3%). ZiPS calls for Pedroia to find some positive regression in all three areas while still retaining his elite second-base defense.

Probably also capable of providing if not elite, then at least above-average, second-base defense is Mookie Betts. Owing to the continued employment by the club of Pedroia, however, Betts will be forced to supply above-average defense elsewhere. In this case, the most likely destination is right field. It would fair to say that Betts doesn’t possess the typical right-field profile, featuring less power and size than most who play the position. He has excellent plate-discipline skills, however, plus speed and non-negligible power on contact. Note that Betts’ defensive projection below (of -1 runs) is for center field. The equivalent in right would be about +6 or +7 runs saved.

Pitchers
As noted by Dave Cameron last Thursday, Rick Porcello isn’t necessarily the pitcher one conjures up when endeavoring to identify an obvious No. 1 starter for a postseason contender. ZiPS is optimistic that he can at least fake it for the time being, however. Despite having never posted above a 3.2 WAR in any season, Porcello is projected to produce a 3.5 WAR for Boston in 2015. This is unusual, of course. Projections systems are marked, if anything, by the application of regression to a player’s performances. To project a career year, then, is by definition atypical.

A hasty inspection of the ZiPS projections published here at the site so far reveals only two pitchers — Clayton Kershaw (60 ERA-) and Craig Kimbrel (42 ERA-) — to receive a better ERA forecast relative to park and league than Koji Uehara. That group will likely receive at least one more member — after Cincinnati’s projections are published, for example — but the point remains that Uehara continues to profile as one of the league’s best pitchers on a per-inning basis.

Bench/Prospects
Outfielder Shane Victorino (402 PA, 1.2 WAR) is omitted from the depth-chart image below, but will almost certainly play something larger than a typical bench role. The same sentiment probably applies to Allen Craig (506 PA, 0.5 WAR) and, merely because his defense is so good, Jackie Bradley Jr. (505 PA, 0.7 WAR). Catcher Blake Swihart (461 PA, 1.9 WAR) receives the top WAR projection among batting prospects. Rookie-eligible pitchers Matt Barnes, Edwin Escobar, Henry Owens, and Eduardo Rodriguez — all four of them — receive a projection better than 1.0 WAR.

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

Boston Depth Chart

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
Dustin Pedroia R 31 2B 642 75 161 34 1 10 62 12 6
Mookie Betts R 22 CF 653 88 156 36 4 13 65 30 8
David Ortiz L 39 DH 537 59 129 27 1 29 88 1 0
Pablo Sandoval B 28 3B 588 70 150 31 3 19 83 0 1
Hanley Ramirez R 31 LF 495 67 120 31 1 16 70 14 5
Rusney Castillo R 27 CF 583 66 144 24 3 11 50 21 9
Xander Bogaerts R 22 SS 607 69 144 30 4 14 53 5 3
Mike Napoli R 33 1B 467 50 95 20 1 19 54 2 1
Blake Swihart B 23 C 461 47 105 25 3 8 45 5 4
Christian Vazquez R 24 C 460 44 102 22 0 4 38 2 3
Ryan Hanigan R 34 C 286 21 59 11 0 4 29 0 0
Garin Cecchini L 24 3B 541 59 125 28 3 6 47 16 5
Shane Victorino R 34 RF 402 47 95 18 3 8 37 15 2
Daniel Nava B 32 RF 455 49 103 23 0 7 44 3 2
Brock Holt! L 27 3B 581 69 141 25 5 4 43 14 6
Sean Coyle R 23 2B 376 45 79 17 1 14 40 10 2
Deven Marrero R 24 SS 468 46 99 21 1 4 34 16 6
Jackie Bradley Jr. L 25 CF 505 58 103 25 2 7 41 10 5
Jemile Weeks B 28 2B 496 56 108 22 6 2 31 13 4
Allen Craig R 30 RF 506 55 119 26 1 13 64 2 1
Luke Montz R 31 C 214 23 39 10 0 7 27 1 1
Ryan Roberts R 34 2B 365 38 77 17 1 7 34 5 4
Manuel Margot R 20 CF 503 52 113 22 3 9 43 29 21
Bryce Brentz R 26 LF 419 46 95 20 1 13 45 2 2
Mike McCoy R 34 SS 360 35 67 14 1 2 24 12 5
Travis Shaw L 25 1B 550 57 112 27 2 14 52 6 3
Justin Henry L 30 2B 387 34 84 14 3 1 26 9 5
Jeff Bianchi R 28 SS 321 28 69 13 1 3 28 6 3
Brandon Snyder R 28 1B 242 24 51 12 0 7 24 1 0
Keury de la Cruz L 23 LF 437 40 99 22 2 8 41 7 6
Henry Ramos B 23 RF 370 35 79 15 2 7 31 5 9
Blake Tekotte L 28 RF 379 38 72 20 3 8 34 8 6

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Dustin Pedroia 642 8.6% 11.5% .114 .301 .278 .340 .392 .323
Mookie Betts 653 9.2% 13.0% .142 .292 .266 .336 .408 .335
David Ortiz 537 11.9% 16.4% .249 .282 .277 .363 .526 .361
Pablo Sandoval 588 6.6% 14.5% .175 .297 .279 .328 .454 .335
Hanley Ramirez 495 9.3% 19.2% .184 .312 .271 .345 .455 .351
Rusney Castillo 583 5.8% 14.1% .117 .300 .269 .326 .386 .320
Xander Bogaerts 607 7.2% 21.4% .146 .317 .263 .322 .409 .321
Mike Napoli 467 13.9% 29.1% .200 .314 .241 .353 .441 .350
Blake Swihart 461 5.4% 21.0% .128 .294 .242 .284 .370 .287
Christian Vazquez 460 7.6% 19.6% .082 .302 .246 .305 .328 .280
Ryan Hanigan 286 11.2% 12.9% .093 .266 .240 .335 .333 .292
Garin Cecchini 541 8.3% 22.7% .107 .330 .256 .325 .363 .311
Shane Victorino 402 6.0% 14.7% .132 .291 .261 .317 .393 .318
Daniel Nava 455 8.6% 20.2% .110 .316 .258 .339 .368 .316
Brock Holt! 581 6.5% 17.7% .088 .321 .267 .318 .355 .299
Sean Coyle 376 7.2% 32.4% .179 .313 .232 .293 .411 .312
Deven Marrero 468 6.8% 22.4% .082 .294 .230 .285 .312 .271
Jackie Bradley Jr. 505 8.1% 25.7% .111 .302 .228 .302 .339 .288
Jemile Weeks 496 8.9% 16.1% .092 .296 .247 .321 .339 .296
Allen Craig 506 6.7% 21.3% .145 .307 .258 .314 .403 .317
Luke Montz 214 8.9% 29.9% .162 .262 .204 .280 .366 .285
Ryan Roberts 365 7.7% 21.1% .120 .280 .232 .292 .352 .284
Manuel Margot 503 6.0% 19.1% .119 .289 .244 .292 .363 .284
Bryce Brentz 419 6.2% 29.1% .157 .322 .245 .296 .402 .307
Mike McCoy 360 9.4% 19.2% .070 .264 .213 .292 .283 .259
Travis Shaw 550 9.1% 26.0% .147 .288 .227 .300 .374 .301
Justin Henry 387 7.5% 15.0% .066 .282 .239 .299 .305 .270
Jeff Bianchi 321 5.0% 22.1% .080 .291 .231 .270 .311 .258
Brandon Snyder 242 5.0% 30.6% .147 .303 .228 .277 .375 .290
Keury de la Cruz 437 3.7% 27.5% .120 .311 .237 .263 .357 .270
Henry Ramos 370 5.7% 24.6% .117 .291 .230 .277 .347 .270
Blake Tekotte 379 6.6% 30.3% .145 .286 .209 .269 .354 .274

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Dustin Pedroia 642 5.0 101 12 3.8 Billy Herman
Mookie Betts 653 5.3 104 -1 3.1 Andrew McCutchen
David Ortiz 537 7.2 141 0 2.9 Rafael Palmeiro
Pablo Sandoval 588 5.5 112 -1 2.8 Aramis Ramirez
Hanley Ramirez 495 5.9 118 4 2.7 Bernard Gilkey
Rusney Castillo 583 4.7 100 3 2.4 Mike Devereaux
Xander Bogaerts 607 4.8 100 -5 2.3 Jhonny Peralta
Mike Napoli 467 5.5 117 4 2.0 Greg Luzinski
Blake Swihart 461 3.7 78 7 1.9 Tim Laker
Christian Vazquez 460 3.5 74 6 1.6 Maxim St. Pierre
Ryan Hanigan 286 4.0 85 3 1.4 Gene Desautels
Garin Cecchini 541 4.4 89 -2 1.3 Ernest Riles
Shane Victorino 402 4.9 94 4 1.2 Dan Gladden
Daniel Nava 455 4.5 95 4 1.1 Jason Michaels
Brock Holt! 581 4.2 85 0 1.1 Jose Vizcaino
Sean Coyle 376 4.4 91 -1 1.0 Gary Gaetti
Deven Marrero 468 3.2 64 6 0.9 Andre Wood
Jackie Bradley Jr. 505 3.6 76 3 0.7 Kevin Romine
Jemile Weeks 496 4.0 82 -3 0.6 Nelson Liriano
Allen Craig 506 4.6 96 -2 0.5 Rondell White
Luke Montz 214 3.4 76 -2 0.3 Steve Yeager
Ryan Roberts 365 3.5 76 0 0.2 Webster Garrison
Manuel Margot 503 3.5 79 -2 0.1 Lou Collier
Bryce Brentz 419 4.2 90 -3 0.0 Walter Young
Mike McCoy 360 2.9 59 -1 -0.1 Rabbit Warstler
Travis Shaw 550 3.9 84 3 -0.2 Chris Weinke
Justin Henry 387 3.2 67 0 -0.2 Chris DeLaCruz
Jeff Bianchi 321 3.0 60 0 -0.2 Steve Sisco
Brandon Snyder 242 3.7 77 1 -0.3 Fred McNair
Keury de la Cruz 437 3.2 69 1 -1.0 James Hall
Henry Ramos 370 3.0 70 -2 -1.2 Felix Jose
Blake Tekotte 379 3.1 69 -4 -1.2 James Clifford

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP K BB HR H R ER
Rick Porcello R 26 31 29 183.7 131 42 17 185 81 76
Wade Miley L 28 31 30 186.7 155 63 19 184 87 81
Clay Buchholz R 30 25 25 153.3 118 50 17 152 76 71
Edwin Escobar L 23 26 24 138.3 113 39 17 138 67 63
Justin Masterson R 30 29 26 157.7 134 71 14 150 80 75
Henry Owens L 22 26 26 138.7 132 70 17 130 71 66
Joe Kelly R 27 28 20 124.0 83 49 12 125 62 58
Matt Barnes R 25 25 22 121.7 94 46 13 124 62 58
Eduardo Rodriguez R 22 23 23 122.7 89 44 12 128 63 59
Koji Uehara R 40 59 0 56.7 69 9 7 44 17 16
Anthony Ranaudo R 25 24 24 125.3 82 52 16 129 68 64
Dana Eveland L 31 34 10 85.0 67 31 9 85 42 39
Junichi Tazawa R 29 69 0 68.0 68 19 6 62 27 25
Brandon Workman R 26 30 22 130.7 106 44 20 135 72 67
Brian Johnson L 24 23 23 108.3 81 47 14 109 59 55
Zeke Spruill R 25 30 19 120.7 75 42 13 131 66 62
Burke Badenhop R 32 65 0 63.0 42 15 5 64 27 25
Ryan Dempster R 38 18 16 93.3 77 41 15 96 54 50
Tom Layne L 30 62 0 59.0 51 29 5 54 27 25
Anthony Varvaro R 30 57 0 58.7 46 24 5 56 27 25
Heath Hembree R 26 57 0 57.7 55 23 6 54 27 25
Edward Mujica R 31 63 0 58.7 43 12 7 60 28 26
Noe Ramirez R 25 42 0 62.0 46 20 6 62 30 28
Steven Wright R 30 22 19 113.7 72 57 15 123 70 65
Drake Britton L 26 41 10 94.0 62 48 10 99 55 51
Jandel Gustave R 22 19 13 70.3 47 35 9 76 43 40
Craig Breslow L 34 59 0 55.0 40 24 6 56 29 27
Ryan Verdugo L 28 21 15 81.3 60 44 12 85 50 47
Mike Augliera R 25 23 22 114.7 52 27 17 136 72 67
Robby Scott L 25 30 0 50.3 34 21 6 53 29 27
Casey Crosby L 26 15 10 53.0 36 44 8 57 39 36
Mitchell Boggs R 31 52 0 61.7 33 31 7 68 39 36
Nestor Molina R 26 32 7 68.0 37 27 13 82 48 45

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Rick Porcello 183.7 778 16.8% 5.4% .288 3.72 3.59 91 88
Wade Miley 186.7 807 19.2% 7.8% .291 3.91 3.82 96 93
Clay Buchholz 153.3 662 17.8% 7.6% .287 4.17 4.13 102 101
Edwin Escobar 138.3 592 19.1% 6.6% .291 4.10 4.07 100 100
Justin Masterson 157.7 694 19.3% 10.2% .295 4.28 4.18 105 102
Henry Owens 138.7 616 21.4% 11.4% .290 4.28 4.51 105 110
Joe Kelly 124.0 546 15.2% 9.0% .285 4.21 4.33 103 106
Matt Barnes 121.7 535 17.6% 8.6% .295 4.29 4.26 105 104
Eduardo Rodriguez 122.7 540 16.5% 8.1% .299 4.33 4.17 106 102
Koji Uehara 56.7 223 30.9% 4.0% .270 2.54 2.78 62 68
Anthony Ranaudo 125.3 557 14.7% 9.3% .281 4.60 4.85 113 119
Dana Eveland 85.0 371 18.1% 8.4% .296 4.13 4.20 101 103
Junichi Tazawa 68.0 285 23.9% 6.7% .293 3.31 3.12 81 76
Brandon Workman 130.7 571 18.6% 7.7% .290 4.61 4.60 113 113
Brian Johnson 108.3 481 16.8% 9.8% .286 4.57 4.81 112 118
Zeke Spruill 120.7 535 14.0% 7.8% .296 4.62 4.46 113 109
Burke Badenhop 63.0 268 15.7% 5.6% .288 3.57 3.35 87 82
Ryan Dempster 93.3 417 18.5% 9.8% .288 4.82 4.98 118 122
Tom Layne 59.0 260 19.6% 11.2% .285 3.81 4.08 93 100
Anthony Varvaro 58.7 256 18.0% 9.4% .283 3.84 3.85 94 94
Heath Hembree 57.7 250 22.0% 9.2% .293 3.90 3.82 95 94
Edward Mujica 58.7 248 17.3% 4.8% .286 3.99 3.83 98 94
Noe Ramirez 62.0 268 17.2% 7.5% .290 4.06 4.02 99 98
Steven Wright 113.7 521 13.8% 10.9% .291 5.15 5.24 126 128
Drake Britton 94.0 429 14.5% 11.2% .292 4.88 4.79 119 117
Jandel Gustave 70.3 322 14.6% 10.9% .295 5.12 5.12 125 125
Craig Breslow 55.0 245 16.3% 9.8% .289 4.42 4.46 108 109
Ryan Verdugo 81.3 373 16.1% 11.8% .290 5.20 5.38 127 132
Mike Augliera 114.7 507 10.3% 5.3% .294 5.26 5.04 129 123
Robby Scott 50.3 225 15.1% 9.3% .292 4.83 4.70 118 115
Casey Crosby 53.0 260 13.8% 16.9% .292 6.11 6.45 149 158
Mitchell Boggs 61.7 284 11.6% 10.9% .292 5.25 5.09 128 125
Nestor Molina 68.0 313 11.8% 8.6% .297 5.96 5.76 146 141

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Rick Porcello 183.7 6.42 2.06 0.83 109 3.5 Chris Holt
Wade Miley 186.7 7.47 3.04 0.92 104 3.1 Chris Hammond
Clay Buchholz 153.3 6.93 2.94 1.00 97 2.0 Scott Kamieniecki
Edwin Escobar 138.3 7.35 2.54 1.11 99 1.9 Patrick Misch
Justin Masterson 157.7 7.65 4.05 0.80 95 1.8 Bobby Witt
Henry Owens 138.7 8.57 4.54 1.10 95 1.6 Jim Deshaies
Joe Kelly 124.0 6.02 3.56 0.87 96 1.5 Chris Hook
Matt Barnes 121.7 6.95 3.40 0.96 95 1.4 Brad Rigby
Eduardo Rodriguez 122.7 6.53 3.23 0.88 94 1.4 Clemente Nunez
Koji Uehara 56.7 10.95 1.43 1.11 160 1.3 Trevor Hoffman
Anthony Ranaudo 125.3 5.89 3.74 1.15 88 1.0 Mike Fyhrie
Dana Eveland 85.0 7.09 3.28 0.95 98 0.9 Terry Burrows
Junichi Tazawa 68.0 9.00 2.51 0.79 123 0.9 Donnie Moore
Brandon Workman 130.7 7.30 3.03 1.38 88 0.9 Shane Bowers
Brian Johnson 108.3 6.73 3.91 1.16 89 0.9 Dave Otto
Zeke Spruill 120.7 5.59 3.13 0.97 88 0.7 Tim Drew
Burke Badenhop 63.0 6.00 2.14 0.71 114 0.6 Ron Taylor
Ryan Dempster 93.3 7.43 3.95 1.45 84 0.4 Ed Riley
Tom Layne 59.0 7.78 4.42 0.76 106 0.4 Matt Whisenant
Anthony Varvaro 58.7 7.05 3.68 0.77 106 0.4 Jason Bullard
Heath Hembree 57.7 8.58 3.59 0.94 104 0.3 Todd Bussa
Edward Mujica 58.7 6.59 1.84 1.07 102 0.2 Kenny Greer
Noe Ramirez 62.0 6.68 2.90 0.87 100 0.2 Jerry Spradlin
Steven Wright 113.7 5.70 4.51 1.19 79 0.0 Giovanni Carrara
Drake Britton 94.0 5.94 4.60 0.96 83 0.0 Brian Matz
Jandel Gustave 70.3 6.02 4.48 1.15 79 0.0 Jon Asahina
Craig Breslow 55.0 6.55 3.93 0.98 92 -0.1 Mike Venafro
Ryan Verdugo 81.3 6.64 4.87 1.33 78 -0.1 Mike Spiegel
Mike Augliera 114.7 4.08 2.12 1.33 77 -0.1 Ryan Cox
Robby Scott 50.3 6.08 3.76 1.07 84 -0.3 Al Levine
Casey Crosby 53.0 6.11 7.47 1.36 66 -0.7 Bill White
Mitchell Boggs 61.7 4.81 4.52 1.02 77 -0.8 Mike Sullivan
Nestor Molina 68.0 4.90 3.57 1.72 68 -1.0 Steven Rowe

***

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 3.93 ERA and the NL having a 3.75 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.

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

newest oldest most voted
Brock Holt!
Guest
Brock Holt!

I’m glad you’re so excited about me!

PWR
Guest
PWR

is there some inside joke about the exclamation from Zips?

Rob
Guest
Rob

I believe it is in reference to the character Steve Holt from Arrested Development who would exclaim, “Steve Holt!” regularly as a catch phrase and a form of self-congratulation.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Steve Holt!

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

Arrested Development was a good show.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Has anyone in this family ever seen a chicken?

Baltar
Guest
Baltar

Yes, it was. What a shame that the new Netflix version, even with all the same actors, isn’t.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles

The new format following one character for an episode really disrupted the strength of the ensemble cast. Still worth watching, but yeah, not great.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

It sounds like they are recutting it as a proper show, though.

I really think that all the component parts were there, so I’m excited.

Andrew
Guest

BEES?

BEADS?!?!