2015 ZiPS Projections – Oakland Athletics

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 Oakland Athletics. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta / Colorado / Los Angeles AL / Miami / Milwaukee / Tampa Bay.

Batters
Oakland catchers combined for the fourth-highest offensive and absolute lowest defensive run totals in the majors last year. In part, the poor defensive record was a result of both John Jaso and Derek Norris making starts at DH (and thereby receiving the attendant negative positional adjustment). In part, it’s because Jaso and Norris aren’t particularly excellent defensive catchers. For ZiPS, at least, the strengths compensate for the weaknesses sufficiently to make catcher the club’s likely most productive position.

Elsewhere, one finds more optimism regarding Marcus Semien’s 2015 season. Not regarding his shortstop defense, of course. ZiPS projects him to concede seven runs there in roughly a full season (which is almost precisely Steamer’s estimate, as well). However, both systems have Semien producing a roughly league-average batting line with roughly league-average (position agnostic) defense. Those estimates conspire to produce a nearly league-average projected WAR.

Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester produced the fourth- and fifth-highest WAR totals, respectively, among all Oakland pitchers in 2014. Not surprising, that, on account of how they’re talented pitchers. Perhaps more surprising, however, when one considers that neither played even half a season with the club. Their departures, along with Jason Hammel’s, create a lack of serviceable depth within the rotation. Not included on the depth-chart image below but likely to contribute in 2015 are A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker. Neither is elite per ZiPS’ computer math, but both would appear to constitute improvements over some of the pieces currently expected to start.

One of those top-five pitchers for the A’s in 2014 — in addition to Samardzija and Lester, that is — was left-hander Sean Doolittle, who actually produced the fifth-best WAR among all major-league relievers. ZiPS anticipates Doolittle more or less repeating that feat: he’s projected to record the fourth-highest WAR among all Oakland pitchers in 2015.

Bench/Prospects
Not included within the depth chart below, but likely relevant to the team’s success, is Stephen Vogt. He’s capable of playing catcher, first base, and either corner-outfield spot — and will probably find time in each capacity, even if he’s never considered a “starter,” per se. Outfielder Billy Burns does a lot of what Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry do. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him earn more than the six plate appearances he received in 2014. Otherwise, the top prospect by projected WAR for 2015 is shortstop Daniel Robertson. A well-rounded offensive player with an above-average defensive profile, too, Robertson nevertheless has made zero appearances above High-A, suggesting his move to the majors is something less than imminent.

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

Oakland 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
Josh Reddick L 28 RF 506 64 112 22 5 18 66 6 2
Marcus Semien R 24 SS 625 80 131 28 4 16 71 12 4
Brett Lawrie R 25 3B 450 48 104 18 2 12 51 8 3
Derek Norris R 26 C 420 46 84 17 1 12 49 5 2
Coco Crisp B 35 CF 505 67 113 21 4 11 49 22 5
John Jaso L 31 C 316 37 70 15 2 7 36 2 1
Stephen Vogt L 30 C 448 45 104 19 3 11 50 1 1
Craig Gentry R 31 CF 286 35 65 9 2 1 18 18 4
Jed Lowrie B 31 SS 526 56 118 26 2 10 52 1 0
Josh Phegley R 27 C 484 56 103 24 2 11 64 2 1
Billy Butler R 29 DH 641 61 156 30 0 15 82 1 0
Daniel Robertson R 21 SS 602 66 131 25 1 9 46 3 6
Billy Burns B 25 CF 519 55 108 13 4 1 33 38 6
Sam Fuld L 33 CF 287 31 59 9 3 3 24 13 4
Eric Sogard L 29 2B 362 40 79 14 1 3 29 9 4
Daric Barton L 29 1B 470 51 94 21 1 7 44 2 1
Adam Dunn L 35 DH 499 50 87 15 0 21 66 1 1
Geovany Soto R 32 C 235 24 45 11 0 6 26 0 1
Andy Parrino B 29 SS 471 44 91 19 2 5 37 4 1
Mark Canha R 26 LF 522 60 109 23 2 11 55 3 2
Ike Davis L 28 1B 441 50 83 19 0 16 59 1 3
Conner Crumbliss L 28 2B 533 56 97 19 3 9 41 10 3
Jose Martinez R 29 3B 487 48 109 18 1 7 45 2 2
Luis Martinez R 30 C 263 22 54 13 0 2 19 0 1
Luke Montz R 31 C 214 23 38 9 0 7 28 1 1
Kyle Blanks R 28 1B 246 35 51 10 1 9 26 1 0
Rangel Ravelo R 23 1B 525 58 120 27 2 9 53 8 4
Shane Peterson L 27 CF 536 58 109 24 3 9 51 9 2
Carson Blair R 25 C 257 25 41 10 2 6 22 0 1
Hiroyuki Nakajima R 32 2B 431 43 96 15 1 5 38 5 4
Alden Carrithers L 30 3B 376 36 80 11 1 1 25 9 3
Nate Freiman R 28 1B 454 47 98 22 1 14 60 0 1
Renato Nunez R 21 3B 590 58 125 22 1 16 60 1 1
Matt Olson L 21 1B 620 70 112 25 0 22 66 2 1
Nick Punto B 37 2B 239 22 45 8 1 2 15 2 2
Jonny Gomes R 34 LF 322 35 61 9 0 10 42 1 0
Tyler Ladendorf R 27 SS 386 36 72 15 2 5 31 3 1
Bryan Anderson L 28 C 321 32 63 12 1 7 31 1 1
Andrew Brown R 30 RF 471 54 93 20 2 15 60 2 1
Colin Walsh B 25 2B 410 38 76 13 2 5 29 5 2
Chad Pinder R 23 2B 375 33 76 16 2 6 29 7 8
Anthony Aliotti L 27 1B 523 49 97 21 1 8 42 1 1

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Josh Reddick 506 8.5% 19.8% .188 .273 .245 .308 .433 .324
Marcus Semien 625 9.8% 21.1% .152 .282 .237 .317 .389 .314
Brett Lawrie 450 6.7% 16.7% .141 .283 .254 .314 .395 .316
Derek Norris 420 11.9% 24.5% .151 .287 .231 .327 .382 .318
Coco Crisp 505 10.1% 12.3% .138 .269 .253 .326 .391 .321
John Jaso 316 11.1% 16.5% .147 .292 .256 .349 .403 .334
Stephen Vogt 448 6.3% 15.4% .139 .275 .251 .298 .390 .300
Craig Gentry 286 6.6% 17.1% .062 .309 .254 .322 .316 .291
Jed Lowrie 526 8.4% 14.8% .127 .278 .250 .315 .377 .304
Josh Phegley 484 4.1% 18.0% .135 .256 .228 .267 .363 .277
Billy Butler 641 8.9% 15.6% .131 .304 .272 .340 .403 .323
Daniel Robertson 602 6.8% 19.9% .099 .290 .239 .303 .338 .285
Billy Burns 519 7.9% 18.5% .052 .292 .234 .305 .286 .278
Sam Fuld 287 9.4% 14.6% .095 .267 .232 .307 .327 .285
Eric Sogard 362 7.7% 11.6% .077 .269 .242 .304 .319 .278
Daric Barton 470 11.7% 15.1% .109 .262 .232 .328 .341 .303
Adam Dunn 499 13.2% 31.1% .183 .261 .204 .315 .387 .311
Geovany Soto 235 8.1% 26.8% .136 .269 .211 .278 .347 .275
Andy Parrino 471 7.4% 25.3% .088 .281 .213 .279 .301 .261
Mark Canha 522 8.2% 25.9% .129 .302 .235 .307 .364 .300
Ike Davis 441 13.2% 24.7% .177 .261 .219 .322 .396 .314
Conner Crumbliss 533 11.3% 20.6% .113 .255 .211 .308 .324 .287
Jose Martinez 487 5.1% 10.7% .092 .259 .244 .288 .336 .274
Luis Martinez 263 6.1% 20.9% .079 .280 .223 .279 .302 .261
Luke Montz 214 8.9% 29.4% .157 .252 .199 .276 .356 .279
Kyle Blanks 246 8.1% 28.5% .179 .296 .234 .309 .413 .318
Rangel Ravelo 525 7.4% 17.1% .123 .292 .253 .314 .376 .305
Shane Peterson 536 9.0% 25.4% .119 .298 .229 .301 .348 .289
Carson Blair 257 9.7% 39.7% .140 .285 .179 .261 .319 .261
Hiroyuki Nakajima 431 5.1% 19.7% .081 .291 .241 .286 .322 .271
Alden Carrithers 376 8.5% 11.7% .047 .271 .240 .312 .287 .275
Nate Freiman 454 6.8% 21.4% .160 .275 .238 .297 .398 .306
Renato Nunez 590 3.9% 27.6% .129 .287 .225 .264 .354 .275
Matt Olson 620 11.0% 30.3% .166 .265 .204 .295 .370 .298
Nick Punto 239 10.0% 24.3% .076 .283 .213 .292 .289 .262
Jonny Gomes 322 11.5% 28.0% .142 .285 .223 .323 .365 .307
Tyler Ladendorf 386 7.5% 22.8% .098 .260 .206 .273 .304 .261
Bryan Anderson 321 6.9% 26.5% .119 .276 .215 .275 .334 .273
Andrew Brown 471 7.6% 27.4% .162 .273 .219 .283 .381 .293
Colin Walsh 410 9.5% 24.6% .088 .272 .209 .289 .297 .266
Chad Pinder 375 3.7% 26.1% .108 .280 .216 .257 .324 .254
Anthony Aliotti 523 9.6% 33.7% .100 .312 .208 .287 .308 .269

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Josh Reddick 506 4.8 107 9 2.4 Robin Jennings
Marcus Semien 625 4.4 98 -7 2.3 Dick Schofield
Brett Lawrie 450 4.5 99 4 2.2 Arquimedez Pozo
Derek Norris 420 4.4 100 -3 2.2 George Williams
Coco Crisp 505 4.9 102 -5 1.8 Kenny Lofton
John Jaso 316 5.1 112 -6 1.6 Johnny Roseboro
Stephen Vogt 448 4.2 93 -4 1.6 Benito Santiago
Craig Gentry 286 4.1 82 9 1.6 Greg Tubbs
Jed Lowrie 526 4.3 95 -5 1.5 Brook Jacoby
Josh Phegley 484 3.4 76 3 1.5 Mike Ryan
Billy Butler 641 5.1 109 0 1.4 Ollie Brown
Daniel Robertson 602 3.5 81 -3 1.1 Glenn Hubbard
Billy Burns 519 3.7 69 3 1.0 Joey Gathright
Sam Fuld 287 3.7 80 1 0.7 Eddie Milner
Eric Sogard 362 3.5 77 1 0.5 Rusty Hamric
Daric Barton 470 3.9 90 3 0.5 Mike Twardoski
Adam Dunn 499 4.1 97 0 0.5 Lee Stevens
Geovany Soto 235 3.2 76 -1 0.5 Chad Moeller
Andy Parrino 471 2.9 64 3 0.4 Keith Johns
Mark Canha 522 3.9 89 0 0.4 Jeremy Slayden
Ike Davis 441 4.3 102 -1 0.4 Pat Dodson
Conner Crumbliss 533 3.5 79 -5 0.4 Tony Schrager
Jose Martinez 487 3.4 76 1 0.3 Pete Rose Jr.
Luis Martinez 263 2.8 64 1 0.3 Mike DiFelice
Luke Montz 214 3.3 77 -2 0.3 Steve Yeager
Kyle Blanks 246 4.5 102 -1 0.3 Josh Phelps
Rangel Ravelo 525 4.3 94 0 0.2 Juan Tejeda
Shane Peterson 536 3.8 83 -8 0.2 Ryan Spilborghs
Carson Blair 257 2.7 63 0 0.2 Steve Lomasney
Hiroyuki Nakajima 431 3.2 72 0 0.0 Marty Perez
Alden Carrithers 376 3.3 71 -2 0.0 Dave Rohde
Nate Freiman 454 4.1 94 -1 0.0 Nate Gold
Renato Nunez 590 3.2 73 -3 0.0 Aaron Herr
Matt Olson 620 3.7 87 1 0.0 Kevin Burns
Nick Punto 239 2.8 65 0 -0.1 Craig Counsell
Jonny Gomes 322 4.1 94 -5 -0.1 Benny Agbayani
Tyler Ladendorf 386 2.9 63 -2 -0.1 Keith Johns
Bryan Anderson 321 3.1 71 -7 -0.1 Chad Moeller
Andrew Brown 471 3.7 86 -3 -0.2 John-Ford Griffin
Colin Walsh 410 3.0 66 -3 -0.4 Nate Frese
Chad Pinder 375 2.6 63 -2 -0.7 Glenn Williams
Anthony Aliotti 523 3.0 69 0 -1.3 Glenn Carpenter

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP K BB HR H R ER
Sonny Gray R 25 33 32 198.0 169 70 15 179 79 74
Scott Kazmir L 31 24 24 134.3 116 39 14 126 59 55
Jarrod Parker R 26 23 23 142.0 102 49 15 138 67 63
Sean Doolittle L 28 63 0 64.7 81 14 5 48 18 17
Drew Pomeranz L 26 27 21 117.3 106 54 15 107 57 53
A.J. Griffin R 27 23 23 134.3 104 37 21 131 67 63
Jesse Chavez R 31 33 15 116.7 99 39 14 115 57 53
Kendall Graveman R 24 25 21 118.0 64 34 12 124 60 56
Ryan Cook R 28 65 0 61.0 64 25 5 49 22 21
Sean Nolin L 25 21 20 98.3 75 38 11 97 50 47
Fernando Abad L 29 63 0 54.0 47 15 5 48 20 19
Dan Otero R 30 63 0 74.0 40 14 5 75 30 28
Evan Scribner R 29 52 0 62.3 58 16 7 57 27 25
Joe Blanton R 34 15 12 81.7 63 18 13 88 45 42
Eric O’Flaherty L 30 34 0 30.7 24 9 3 29 13 12
Raul Alcantara R 22 20 20 100.7 49 26 14 112 57 53
Fernando Rodriguez R 31 45 0 49.3 45 21 5 45 22 21
Rudy Owens L 27 19 17 104.0 61 33 13 112 59 55
Arnold Leon R 26 25 25 136.3 81 42 18 150 78 73
Brad Mills L 30 21 18 102.0 71 39 14 108 59 55
Taylor Thompson R 28 42 0 59.3 47 28 5 57 29 27
Pat Venditte B 30 25 1 43.7 35 17 5 42 22 21
Jeff Urlaub L 28 32 0 41.0 28 14 5 42 21 20
Zachary Neal R 26 27 23 139.3 71 34 22 158 83 78
Ryan Verdugo L 28 21 15 81.7 59 44 12 84 50 47
Chris Bassitt R 26 24 16 95.0 64 59 12 99 59 55
Kevin Whelan R 31 39 0 39.0 39 27 6 36 24 22
Philip Humber R 32 35 9 83.0 59 33 12 88 50 47
Matt Buschmann R 31 24 23 125.7 80 66 19 138 82 77
Tim Alderson R 26 36 6 87.3 58 33 16 97 57 53

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Sonny Gray 198.0 843 20.0% 8.3% .282 3.36 3.48 88 91
Scott Kazmir 134.3 568 20.4% 6.9% .283 3.68 3.60 97 94
Jarrod Parker 142.0 613 16.6% 8.0% .278 3.99 4.07 105 107
Sean Doolittle 64.7 256 31.6% 5.5% .277 2.37 2.20 62 58
Drew Pomeranz 117.3 513 20.7% 10.5% .276 4.07 4.39 107 115
A.J. Griffin 134.3 571 18.2% 6.5% .272 4.22 4.43 111 116
Jesse Chavez 116.7 504 19.6% 7.7% .292 4.09 4.00 107 105
Kendall Graveman 118.0 512 12.5% 6.6% .283 4.27 4.31 112 113
Ryan Cook 61.0 257 24.9% 9.7% .275 3.10 3.30 81 87
Sean Nolin 98.3 430 17.4% 8.8% .286 4.30 4.30 113 113
Fernando Abad 54.0 225 20.9% 6.7% .277 3.17 3.41 83 89
Dan Otero 74.0 311 12.9% 4.5% .281 3.41 3.38 89 89
Evan Scribner 62.3 260 22.3% 6.2% .284 3.61 3.57 95 94
Joe Blanton 81.7 351 17.9% 5.1% .294 4.63 4.28 121 112
Eric O’Flaherty 30.7 130 18.4% 6.9% .279 3.52 3.64 92 96
Raul Alcantara 100.7 440 11.1% 5.9% .284 4.74 4.84 124 127
Fernando Rodriguez 49.3 214 21.0% 9.8% .282 3.83 3.70 100 97
Rudy Owens 104.0 457 13.3% 7.2% .288 4.76 4.60 125 121
Arnold Leon 136.3 601 13.5% 7.0% .291 4.82 4.66 126 122
Brad Mills 102.0 453 15.7% 8.6% .291 4.85 4.77 127 125
Taylor Thompson 59.3 263 17.9% 10.7% .291 4.10 4.18 108 110
Pat Venditte 43.7 190 18.4% 8.9% .282 4.33 4.18 114 110
Jeff Urlaub 41.0 179 15.6% 7.8% .285 4.39 4.30 115 113
Zachary Neal 139.3 610 11.6% 5.6% .287 5.04 4.99 132 131
Ryan Verdugo 81.7 373 15.8% 11.8% .284 5.18 5.32 136 140
Chris Bassitt 95.0 443 14.4% 13.3% .289 5.21 5.40 137 142
Kevin Whelan 39.0 180 21.7% 15.0% .286 5.08 5.36 133 141
Philip Humber 83.0 370 15.9% 8.9% .289 5.10 4.74 134 124
Matt Buschmann 125.7 581 13.8% 11.4% .292 5.51 5.51 145 145
Tim Alderson 87.3 392 14.8% 8.4% .289 5.46 5.31 143 139

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Sonny Gray 198.0 7.68 3.18 0.68 113 3.9 Jason Jennings
Scott Kazmir 134.3 7.77 2.61 0.94 103 2.1 Jon Matlack
Jarrod Parker 142.0 6.46 3.11 0.95 96 1.6 Mike Thurman
Sean Doolittle 64.7 11.27 1.95 0.70 161 1.4 Dan Plesac
Drew Pomeranz 117.3 8.13 4.14 1.15 94 1.2 David West
A.J. Griffin 134.3 6.97 2.48 1.41 90 1.1 Kevin McGehee
Jesse Chavez 116.7 7.63 3.01 1.08 93 1.0 Victor Santos
Kendall Graveman 118.0 4.88 2.59 0.92 89 0.9 Ismael Ramirez
Ryan Cook 61.0 9.44 3.69 0.74 123 0.8 Bryce Florie
Sean Nolin 98.3 6.87 3.48 1.01 89 0.7 John Barfield
Fernando Abad 54.0 7.83 2.50 0.83 120 0.6 Ed Olwine
Dan Otero 74.0 4.86 1.70 0.61 112 0.6 Ron Taylor
Evan Scribner 62.3 8.38 2.31 1.01 106 0.4 Pete Ladd
Joe Blanton 81.7 6.94 1.98 1.43 82 0.2 Kevin Jarvis
Eric O’Flaherty 30.7 7.04 2.64 0.88 108 0.2 Brian Shouse
Raul Alcantara 100.7 4.38 2.32 1.25 80 0.2 Ben Callahan
Fernando Rodriguez 49.3 8.22 3.83 0.91 100 0.1 Gregg Olson
Rudy Owens 104.0 5.28 2.86 1.13 80 0.1 Omar Daal
Arnold Leon 136.3 5.35 2.77 1.19 79 0.1 Cameron Reimers
Brad Mills 102.0 6.26 3.44 1.24 79 0.0 Rick Krivda
Taylor Thompson 59.3 7.13 4.25 0.76 93 0.0 William Vaughan
Pat Venditte 43.7 7.21 3.50 1.03 88 -0.1 Bill Pulsipher
Jeff Urlaub 41.0 6.15 3.07 1.10 87 -0.2 Allen McDill
Zachary Neal 139.3 4.59 2.20 1.42 76 -0.3 Daniel Griffin
Ryan Verdugo 81.7 6.50 4.85 1.32 74 -0.4 Mike Spiegel
Chris Bassitt 95.0 6.06 5.59 1.14 73 -0.5 Steve Sparks
Kevin Whelan 39.0 9.00 6.23 1.38 75 -0.5 Ryan Bukvich
Philip Humber 83.0 6.40 3.58 1.30 75 -0.5 Ken Ray
Matt Buschmann 125.7 5.73 4.73 1.36 69 -1.1 Ryan Jensen
Tim Alderson 87.3 5.98 3.40 1.65 70 -1.1 Ken Ryan

***

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.

We hoped you liked reading 2015 ZiPS Projections – Oakland Athletics 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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Daryl
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Daryl

There are players missing after Nunez in the 2nd graph.