2015 ZiPS Projections – St. Louis Cardinals

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

Other Projections: Atlanta / Chicago AL / Colorado / Los Angeles AL / Miami / Milwaukee / Oakland / San Francisco / Tampa Bay / Washington.

Batters
Cardinal batters produced the best strikeout rate and second-best defensive-runs figure in the National League last year. The club’s ZiPS projections suggest that they might approximate those sorts of results in 2015. Neither Matt Adams nor Mark Reynolds will be much help in that regard, but the rest of the team’s starters are all above-average by one, if not both, of those measures.

Nor will Jason Heyward change the club’s dynamic at all in this regard. He’s projected to save 18 runs in right field (which equates to about 10-11 runs above average overall after the positional adjustment) while recording walk and strikeout rates both better than league average. Less publicized acquisitions by the club — like of Dean Anna (14.9% K and -1 run at shortstop) and Ty Kelly (16.2% K and -1 run at second base) — also offer strong contact rates and average to above-average defensive skills.

Pitchers
The Cardinals rotation this April will, it appears, very much resemble the one deployed by the club last September. John Lackey, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, and Adam Wainwright recorded 24 of the team’s 26 starts during that month. Miller, largely on account of how he’s been traded to Atlanta, won’t be available to the Cardinals. The other four, however, are expected to occupy he top-four slots in the rotation, with Carlos Martinez filling the fifth role. ZiPS projects each of them to produce league-average numbers or better.

Closer Trevor Rosenthal walked batters at exactly twice the rate in 2014 as he had in 2012-13 combined — this, while also striking out fewer batters. Not a great confluence of events, that, but also not one that spells imminent doom, according to ZiPS, which projects Rosenthal to regress positively by both metrics. New acquisitions Matt Belisle and Jordan Walden, meanwhile, are forecast to produce the fourth- and third-best FIPs among all Cardinals pitchers — behind only Rosenthal and Wainwright.

Bench/Prospects
The Cardinals feature not only a deep rotation — insofar, that is, as their fifth starter is projected to produce two wins — but also substantial depth behind that rotation. Tim Cooney, Marco Gonzales, Tyler Lyons, and Zachary Petrick are all forecast to record at least a win — or the major-league equivalent of a win — in 2015. Among field players, Randal Grichuk is expected to occupy a bench role for the parent club. He’s exhibited above-average power, but a lack of plate discipline (he’s projected to post 4.0% and 21.4% walk and strikeout rates, respectively) limits his ceiling for now.

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.

Cards 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 32 C 508 50 136 29 0 11 55 5 2
Jason Heyward L 25 RF 597 83 142 28 3 16 63 14 4
Jhonny Peralta R 33 SS 543 53 131 31 1 15 61 2 2
Matt Carpenter L 29 3B 630 88 150 35 4 9 62 4 3
Matt Holliday R 35 LF 584 79 140 30 1 20 80 4 2
Kolten Wong L 24 2B 552 65 135 21 5 11 50 21 5
Jon Jay L 30 CF 530 61 133 21 3 5 50 10 5
Ty Kelly B 26 2B 555 67 125 20 2 9 53 7 3
Peter Bourjos R 28 CF 311 40 70 11 5 6 29 9 2
Matt Adams L 26 1B 501 54 132 28 2 17 64 2 1
Cody Stanley L 26 C 385 36 87 14 2 6 34 5 1
Dean Anna L 28 SS 424 54 90 19 4 5 40 2 3
Ed Easley R 29 C 310 33 71 14 1 6 30 1 2
Pete Kozma R 27 SS 490 52 99 24 2 5 45 7 4
Randal Grichuk R 23 LF 593 73 139 31 5 20 67 8 7
Thomas Pham R 27 CF 284 32 66 11 5 5 26 8 2
Greg Garcia L 25 2B 479 52 98 19 3 5 34 8 4
Scott Moore L 31 3B 481 52 101 25 1 11 48 1 1
Mike O’Neill L 27 LF 500 55 123 18 4 1 33 8 6
Aledmys Diaz R 24 SS 567 61 129 27 3 14 60 15 6
Stephen Piscotty R 24 RF 547 59 134 30 1 8 47 10 5
Mark Ellis R 38 2B 293 27 61 9 1 2 27 4 1
Breyvic Valera B 23 2B 603 61 158 17 6 0 43 11 11
Jacob Wilson R 24 2B 363 37 74 19 1 7 34 3 3
Rafael Ortega L 24 CF 420 43 91 12 4 5 30 17 11
Greg Miclat B 27 2B 300 29 64 10 1 1 17 14 3
Luis Mateo R 25 SS 390 37 84 16 1 4 30 9 7
Mark Reynolds R 31 1B 479 57 91 17 0 20 59 3 2
Joey Butler R 29 LF 396 43 87 18 1 8 33 2 2
Tony Cruz R 28 C 155 13 32 7 1 1 18 0 2
Patrick Wisdom R 23 3B 530 49 100 20 4 11 47 5 1
Xavier Scruggs R 27 1B 535 56 103 23 2 15 54 5 4

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Yadier Molina 508 6.3% 11.0% .134 .310 .292 .340 .426 .332
Jason Heyward 597 10.1% 17.3% .155 .306 .269 .348 .424 .344
Jhonny Peralta 543 7.9% 17.7% .158 .301 .265 .326 .423 .329
Matt Carpenter 630 11.0% 15.6% .128 .317 .276 .360 .404 .337
Matt Holliday 584 10.4% 16.6% .181 .304 .275 .348 .456 .359
Kolten Wong 552 5.6% 15.2% .125 .297 .264 .310 .389 .310
Jon Jay 530 6.6% 15.3% .090 .332 .284 .352 .374 .318
Ty Kelly 555 10.1% 16.2% .104 .294 .254 .333 .358 .312
Peter Bourjos 311 6.1% 24.1% .140 .320 .251 .310 .391 .310
Matt Adams 501 5.0% 22.2% .176 .332 .281 .317 .457 .335
Cody Stanley 385 4.4% 22.3% .100 .297 .242 .276 .342 .273
Dean Anna 424 9.4% 14.9% .113 .276 .243 .322 .356 .300
Ed Easley 310 6.1% 18.1% .119 .289 .249 .301 .368 .296
Pete Kozma 490 7.3% 18.8% .098 .269 .223 .284 .321 .266
Randal Grichuk 593 4.0% 21.4% .181 .287 .248 .285 .429 .310
Thomas Pham 284 6.7% 26.4% .137 .333 .252 .306 .389 .312
Greg Garcia 479 8.4% 21.7% .095 .295 .232 .312 .327 .286
Scott Moore 481 6.7% 22.5% .139 .283 .233 .300 .372 .298
Mike O’Neill 500 9.8% 9.6% .065 .307 .278 .349 .343 .308
Aledmys Diaz 567 3.0% 22.9% .142 .294 .244 .276 .386 .290
Stephen Piscotty 547 5.9% 12.4% .111 .293 .266 .319 .377 .308
Mark Ellis 293 5.5% 17.7% .064 .277 .231 .287 .295 .258
Breyvic Valera 603 4.8% 7.3% .051 .301 .279 .314 .330 .283
Jacob Wilson 363 6.6% 20.9% .128 .268 .225 .285 .353 .282
Rafael Ortega 420 6.9% 19.0% .091 .286 .238 .293 .329 .274
Greg Miclat 300 7.7% 21.0% .056 .306 .237 .302 .293 .273
Luis Mateo 390 3.6% 20.8% .081 .284 .230 .265 .311 .251
Mark Reynolds 479 11.3% 28.4% .184 .268 .218 .311 .402 .316
Joey Butler 396 9.6% 26.5% .125 .329 .248 .328 .373 .313
Tony Cruz 155 5.2% 19.4% .084 .272 .222 .266 .306 .246
Patrick Wisdom 530 5.8% 33.0% .124 .287 .203 .251 .327 .259
Xavier Scruggs 535 8.8% 32.7% .151 .304 .216 .297 .367 .298

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Yadier Molina 508 5.6 111 9 4.5 Terry Steinbach
Jason Heyward 597 5.6 114 18 4.4 Rusty Greer
Jhonny Peralta 543 5.0 106 6 3.7 Rich Aurilia
Matt Carpenter 630 5.4 112 -2 3.2 Denis Menke
Matt Holliday 584 6.2 126 -3 2.9 Dusty Baker
Kolten Wong 552 4.7 93 5 2.4 Martin Prado
Jon Jay 530 5.0 102 0 2.3 Del Unser
Ty Kelly 555 4.3 92 -1 1.7 Roger Holt
Peter Bourjos 311 4.6 94 5 1.6 Kenny Kelly
Matt Adams 501 5.5 112 1 1.4 Rico Brogna
Cody Stanley 385 3.5 71 6 1.4 Bob Kearney
Dean Anna 424 4.0 88 -1 1.3 Mike Moriarty
Ed Easley 310 3.9 85 0 1.1 Damian Miller
Pete Kozma 490 3.1 68 6 0.9 Nick Ortiz
Randal Grichuk 593 4.3 95 1 0.9 Edgard Clemente
Thomas Pham 284 4.5 92 -1 0.8 Herm Winningham
Greg Garcia 479 3.6 78 1 0.7 Jorge Sequea
Scott Moore 481 3.9 86 -3 0.7 Mike Pagliarulo
Mike O’Neill 500 4.4 94 0 0.7 Jim Eppard
Aledmys Diaz 567 3.9 82 -7 0.6 Danny Klassen
Stephen Piscotty 547 4.4 93 -1 0.5 John Barnes
Mark Ellis 293 3.1 63 6 0.4 Pete Suder
Breyvic Valera 603 3.7 79 -2 0.3 Ismael Gallo
Jacob Wilson 363 3.4 76 0 0.2 Ronald Garth
Rafael Ortega 420 3.3 73 1 0.2 Jamie Hoffmann
Greg Miclat 300 3.4 66 0 0.2 Doug Baker
Luis Mateo 390 2.8 60 4 0.1 Larry Infante
Mark Reynolds 479 4.3 96 -4 0.0 Ty Van Burkleo
Joey Butler 396 4.3 95 -7 -0.1 Russ Morman
Tony Cruz 155 2.5 59 -2 -0.2 Brandon Marsters
Patrick Wisdom 530 2.8 59 0 -0.6 Brad Harman
Xavier Scruggs 535 3.7 83 -3 -0.8 Mel Wearing

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP K BB HR H R ER
Adam Wainwright R 33 30 30 203.7 175 42 13 182 71 66
Lance Lynn R 28 33 31 192.7 184 69 14 173 75 70
John Lackey R 36 28 27 175.7 143 38 21 171 76 71
Michael Wacha R 23 25 23 129.3 119 38 11 115 50 47
Carlos Martinez R 23 28 28 150.0 128 51 9 146 65 61
Marco Gonzales L 23 22 18 108.3 93 36 11 103 48 45
Trevor Rosenthal R 25 75 0 77.7 103 32 5 58 24 22
Tyler Lyons L 27 26 22 132.3 103 36 14 131 62 58
Tim Cooney L 24 25 25 149.3 105 39 17 155 73 68
Zachary Petrick R 25 29 19 118.0 87 38 12 118 57 53
Boone Whiting R 25 22 20 101.3 83 40 11 99 49 46
Jaime Garcia L 28 13 13 77.7 62 19 9 79 37 35
Mike Mayers R 23 25 25 147.7 95 40 17 161 78 73
Jordan Walden R 27 57 0 49.7 59 22 4 40 18 17
Samuel Tuivailala R 22 44 0 54.7 67 29 4 44 21 20
Matt Belisle R 35 64 0 65.7 52 17 5 63 27 25
Kevin Siegrist L 25 57 0 52.0 62 23 5 42 20 19
Seth Maness R 26 76 0 78.3 53 15 7 78 33 31
Sam Freeman L 28 61 0 68.0 59 29 5 63 29 27
Joseph Donofrio R 26 42 0 55.3 52 22 5 50 24 22
Ryan Sherriff L 25 30 10 81.0 45 27 8 87 42 39
Dixon Llorens R 22 39 0 47.7 62 33 4 36 20 19
John Gast L 26 16 16 82.7 51 33 9 87 45 42
Miguel Socolovich R 28 39 0 49.3 46 17 5 46 21 20
Tyler Waldron R 26 22 9 69.3 44 23 7 74 36 34
Dean Kiekhefer L 26 49 0 66.7 44 11 6 69 30 28
Randy Choate L 39 54 0 30.0 26 10 2 26 13 12
Lee Stoppelman L 25 46 0 52.0 49 25 5 47 25 23
Keith Butler R 26 34 0 38.0 32 17 3 36 18 17
Jeremy Berg R 28 53 0 73.0 51 21 7 74 35 33
Marcus Hatley R 27 47 0 55.7 51 26 6 52 28 26
David Aardsma R 33 35 0 35.3 31 19 4 33 18 17
Heath Wyatt R 26 51 0 66.0 38 22 6 70 33 31
Jose Almarante R 26 28 0 40.7 30 18 4 41 21 20
Nick Greenwood L 27 43 8 84.0 43 26 10 92 47 44
Justin Wright L 25 50 0 58.7 44 31 6 59 32 30

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Adam Wainwright 203.7 835 21.0% 5.0% .282 2.92 2.90 79 79
Lance Lynn 192.7 820 22.4% 8.4% .292 3.27 3.36 89 91
John Lackey 175.7 736 19.4% 5.2% .282 3.64 3.75 99 102
Michael Wacha 129.3 541 22.0% 7.0% .283 3.27 3.39 89 92
Carlos Martinez 150.0 647 19.8% 7.9% .302 3.66 3.22 100 88
Marco Gonzales 108.3 464 20.0% 7.8% .288 3.74 3.84 102 104
Trevor Rosenthal 77.7 323 31.9% 9.9% .298 2.55 2.62 69 71
Tyler Lyons 132.3 564 18.3% 6.4% .290 3.94 3.92 107 107
Tim Cooney 149.3 642 16.4% 6.1% .292 4.10 4.14 112 113
Zachary Petrick 118.0 510 17.1% 7.5% .289 4.04 4.01 110 109
Boone Whiting 101.3 443 18.7% 9.0% .291 4.09 4.23 111 115
Jaime Garcia 77.7 331 18.7% 5.7% .293 4.06 3.85 110 105
Mike Mayers 147.7 644 14.7% 6.2% .297 4.45 4.31 121 117
Jordan Walden 49.7 211 27.9% 10.4% .285 3.08 3.00 84 82
Samuel Tuivailala 54.7 237 28.3% 12.2% .298 3.29 3.33 90 91
Matt Belisle 65.7 277 18.8% 6.1% .287 3.43 3.22 93 88
Kevin Siegrist 52.0 221 28.1% 10.4% .287 3.29 3.43 90 93
Seth Maness 78.3 328 16.2% 4.6% .283 3.56 3.39 97 92
Sam Freeman 68.0 296 19.9% 9.8% .293 3.57 3.85 97 105
Joseph Donofrio 55.3 238 21.9% 9.2% .289 3.58 3.72 97 101
Ryan Sherriff 81.0 357 12.6% 7.6% .290 4.33 4.41 118 120
Dixon Llorens 47.7 212 29.2% 15.6% .291 3.59 3.82 98 104
John Gast 82.7 368 13.9% 9.0% .289 4.57 4.65 124 126
Miguel Socolovich 49.3 211 21.8% 8.1% .291 3.65 3.73 99 102
Tyler Waldron 69.3 305 14.4% 7.5% .295 4.41 4.34 120 118
Dean Kiekhefer 66.7 280 15.7% 3.9% .293 3.78 3.60 103 98
Randy Choate 30.0 126 20.6% 7.9% .282 3.60 3.46 98 94
Lee Stoppelman 52.0 228 21.5% 11.0% .288 3.98 4.05 108 110
Keith Butler 38.0 167 19.2% 10.2% .295 4.03 3.97 110 108
Jeremy Berg 73.0 314 16.2% 6.7% .290 4.07 3.96 111 108
Marcus Hatley 55.7 245 20.8% 10.6% .289 4.20 4.09 114 111
David Aardsma 35.3 158 19.6% 12.0% .287 4.33 4.46 118 121
Heath Wyatt 66.0 290 13.1% 7.6% .291 4.23 4.20 115 114
Jose Almarante 40.7 181 16.6% 9.9% .293 4.43 4.40 121 120
Nick Greenwood 84.0 370 11.6% 7.0% .286 4.71 4.65 128 126
Justin Wright 58.7 266 16.5% 11.6% .293 4.60 4.69 125 128

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Adam Wainwright 203.7 7.73 1.86 0.57 129 5.0 Rick Reuschel
Lance Lynn 192.7 8.59 3.22 0.65 115 3.8 Tom Gordon
John Lackey 175.7 7.32 1.95 1.08 103 2.6 Scott Sanderson
Michael Wacha 129.3 8.28 2.65 0.77 115 2.5 Roy Oswalt
Carlos Martinez 150.0 7.68 3.06 0.54 103 2.2 Matt Clement
Marco Gonzales 108.3 7.73 2.99 0.91 100 1.5 Blaise Ilsley
Trevor Rosenthal 77.7 11.93 3.71 0.58 147 1.5 Mark Wohlers
Tyler Lyons 132.3 7.01 2.45 0.95 95 1.4 Matt Ruebel
Tim Cooney 149.3 6.33 2.35 1.02 92 1.4 Derrin Ebert
Zachary Petrick 118.0 6.64 2.90 0.92 93 1.1 Jackie Davidson
Boone Whiting 101.3 7.37 3.55 0.98 92 0.9 Greg Aquino
Jaime Garcia 77.7 7.18 2.20 1.04 93 0.7 Mike Sirotka
Mike Mayers 147.7 5.79 2.44 1.04 84 0.7 Mike Christopher
Jordan Walden 49.7 10.68 3.98 0.72 122 0.6 Ryne Duren
Samuel Tuivailala 54.7 11.02 4.77 0.66 114 0.5 Eric Cammack
Matt Belisle 65.7 7.12 2.33 0.68 110 0.5 Mark Williamson
Kevin Siegrist 52.0 10.73 3.98 0.87 114 0.5 Darren Oliver
Seth Maness 78.3 6.09 1.72 0.80 105 0.4 Jeff Tam
Sam Freeman 68.0 7.81 3.84 0.66 105 0.4 Matt Dunbar
Joseph Donofrio 55.3 8.46 3.58 0.81 105 0.3 Kevin Barry
Ryan Sherriff 81.0 5.00 3.00 0.89 87 0.3 Mike Gallo
Dixon Llorens 47.7 11.70 6.23 0.75 105 0.2 Brian Bruney
John Gast 82.7 5.55 3.59 0.98 82 0.2 John Courtright
Miguel Socolovich 49.3 8.40 3.10 0.91 103 0.2 Jose Veras
Tyler Waldron 69.3 5.71 2.99 0.91 85 0.2 Juan Sandoval
Dean Kiekhefer 66.7 5.94 1.48 0.81 99 0.2 Chris Key
Randy Choate 30.0 7.80 3.00 0.60 104 0.2 Brian Shouse
Lee Stoppelman 52.0 8.48 4.33 0.87 94 0.0 Scott Wiggins
Keith Butler 38.0 7.58 4.03 0.71 93 0.0 Steve LaRose
Jeremy Berg 73.0 6.29 2.59 0.86 92 -0.1 Dennis Tafoya
Marcus Hatley 55.7 8.24 4.20 0.97 89 -0.2 Doug Robertson
David Aardsma 35.3 7.90 4.84 1.02 87 -0.2 Archie Corbin
Heath Wyatt 66.0 5.18 3.00 0.82 89 -0.2 Robert Paulk
Jose Almarante 40.7 6.63 3.98 0.88 85 -0.2 Paul Schneider
Nick Greenwood 84.0 4.61 2.79 1.07 80 -0.3 Corey Hamman
Justin Wright 58.7 6.75 4.75 0.92 82 -0.5 Mike Venafro

***

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 – 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.

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Doesn’t Def include the positional adjustment? Because Heyward is projected for 18 Def.