2015 ZiPS Projections – Tampa Bay Rays

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 Tampa Bay Rays. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta.

Batters
Ben Zobrist remains the very quietest superstar, probably, in baseball. Since 2009 — which is to say, over the last six years — only Miguel Cabrera (37.9) has produced a higher WAR than Zobrist (35.4). Just behind him: Robinson Cano (34.6), Evan Longoria (34.0), and Andrew McCutchen (33.9). Were he compensated according to this his actual value, Ben Zobrist wouldn’t be a Tampa Bay Ray. ZiPS calls for the Zobrist’s lowest WAR since 2008, but that’s unsurprising considering where he is on the age curve.

The club’s other underpaid — but probably more famous — star, Evan Longoria, had a difficult 2014 season by his standards, producing a batting line just above league average and a 3.4 WAR overall in a full complement of plate appearances. His WAR projection in this iteration of ZiPS is a win-and-a-half lower than last year’s.

Pitchers
Per ZiPS’ computer math, the Rays feature a strong triumvirate at the top of their rotation in Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, and Drew Smyly, the last of whom was acquired this previous season in the deal that sent David Price to Detroit. Should Smyly produce the three wins for which ZiPS calls at the league minimum, that would be a marginal value of something like $17 million. Important, that sort of thing, for a club with as little fiscal might as the Rays have.

Just after left-hander and relief ace Jake McGee, one finds Brad Boxberger, who’s emerged from anonymity with a relatively pedestrian fastball — for a reliever, at least — to become one of the league’s most dominant relief pitchers. In 2014, Boxberger recorded the third-highest strikeout rate (42.1%) among all pitchers with 50-plus innings — just ahead of the much harder throwing Dellin Betances, Wade Davis, and Craig Kimbrel.

Bench/Prospects
Two of Tampa Bay’s six most productive players according to ZiPS — outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and infielder Nick Franklin — actually don’t appear on the depth chart below. That’s not to say that they won’t record a significant number of plate appearances between them. What it is to say is that the Rays have customarily employed a number of platoons and other manner of timesharing situations and that attempting to account for their usage patterns in a traditional depth chart is difficult. It doesn’t alter the fact that Kiermaier and Franklin are useful pieces, of course. Elsewhere, one finds that ZiPS’ projection of infielder Ryan Brett (1.4 WAR in 457 PA) is encouraging. Brett spent all of 2014 at Double-A Montgomery.

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

Rays 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
Ben Zobrist B 34 2B 633 81 143 32 3 14 59 11 5
Evan Longoria R 29 3B 609 76 137 27 2 23 80 3 1
Desmond Jennings R 28 CF 591 81 127 27 4 13 45 20 6
Kevin Kiermaier L 25 CF 497 53 115 18 9 9 41 15 7
Wil Myers R 24 RF 546 65 125 25 1 19 59 9 2
Nick Franklin B 24 2B 565 64 118 23 3 11 53 10 3
Ryan Hanigan R 34 C 286 20 58 9 0 4 27 0 0
Matt Joyce L 30 LF 473 56 98 21 2 14 52 5 4
Ryan Brett B 23 2B 457 50 109 18 4 7 36 20 7
Yunel Escobar R 32 SS 552 48 126 21 1 8 42 3 2
Justin O’Conner R 23 C 444 41 89 19 1 10 39 2 0
Curt Casali R 26 C 360 38 67 15 0 5 27 1 0
David DeJesus L 35 LF 391 44 81 18 3 7 29 4 4
James Loney L 31 1B 584 52 148 26 0 9 60 3 1
Brandon Guyer R 29 LF 336 43 77 15 3 4 28 9 2
Cole Figueroa L 28 3B 458 49 104 16 3 3 36 5 2
Logan Forsythe R 28 2B 357 41 71 12 2 7 30 6 1
Mikie Mahtook R 25 CF 568 57 124 24 5 7 47 16 5
Hak-Ju Lee L 24 SS 343 34 68 8 2 4 22 14 6
Tim Beckham R 25 2B 346 38 76 12 2 4 25 7 3
Jose Molina R 40 C 251 11 46 6 0 1 12 2 1
Andrew Toles L 23 CF 420 41 100 17 3 2 28 30 16
Richie Shaffer R 24 3B 443 43 81 19 2 10 39 3 0
Jake Hager R 22 SS 534 45 112 19 3 2 32 6 6
Justin Christian R 35 LF 449 49 96 19 3 5 30 14 4
Allan Dykstra L 28 1B 423 48 69 13 1 11 41 1 0
Mike Fontenot L 35 2B 359 31 75 14 1 2 23 3 1
Ali Solis R 27 C 253 20 47 9 1 3 18 1 1
Jerry Sands R 27 RF 393 42 71 13 1 11 39 1 1
Vince Belnome L 27 1B 460 51 91 19 1 7 38 1 1
Ray Olmedo B 34 3B 383 33 75 10 2 0 20 6 3
Jeremy Moore L 28 LF 369 38 67 11 3 10 34 6 4
Wilson Betemit B 33 1B 317 30 59 11 0 7 25 1 0

***

Batters, Rates and Averages

Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA
Ben Zobrist 633 11.4% 15.0% .145 .289 .260 .345 .405 .330
Evan Longoria 609 9.5% 20.0% .186 .285 .255 .330 .441 .330
Desmond Jennings 591 9.1% 20.8% .142 .294 .243 .320 .385 .314
Kevin Kiermaier 497 6.0% 20.7% .139 .308 .253 .305 .392 .305
Wil Myers 546 9.0% 26.6% .172 .320 .255 .322 .427 .328
Nick Franklin 565 9.0% 23.7% .123 .295 .234 .305 .357 .294
Ryan Hanigan 286 11.2% 13.3% .085 .262 .236 .331 .321 .286
Matt Joyce 473 11.8% 21.8% .164 .284 .241 .334 .405 .324
Ryan Brett 457 3.9% 19.5% .110 .304 .253 .289 .363 .289
Yunel Escobar 552 7.8% 12.0% .094 .277 .254 .316 .348 .294
Justin O’Conner 444 3.6% 31.8% .121 .289 .211 .245 .332 .257
Curt Casali 360 8.9% 24.2% .094 .272 .210 .293 .304 .273
David DeJesus 391 9.5% 18.4% .131 .277 .235 .321 .366 .305
James Loney 584 6.5% 12.5% .098 .302 .275 .322 .373 .304
Brandon Guyer 336 5.4% 17.9% .109 .305 .255 .317 .364 .305
Cole Figueroa 458 7.4% 9.2% .076 .272 .252 .309 .328 .284
Logan Forsythe 357 8.7% 23.0% .117 .277 .224 .301 .341 .289
Mikie Mahtook 568 5.6% 25.7% .105 .312 .237 .289 .342 .282
Hak-Ju Lee 343 7.6% 25.7% .077 .290 .217 .279 .294 .261
Tim Beckham 346 5.8% 23.7% .088 .308 .240 .287 .328 .273
Jose Molina 251 6.0% 22.7% .039 .260 .201 .254 .240 .225
Andrew Toles 420 2.9% 23.1% .073 .323 .250 .278 .323 .266
Richie Shaffer 443 6.8% 31.8% .131 .276 .200 .260 .331 .264
Jake Hager 534 4.7% 23.0% .062 .292 .225 .263 .287 .242
Justin Christian 449 5.1% 15.1% .096 .264 .231 .278 .327 .272
Allan Dykstra 423 13.5% 35.7% .135 .293 .193 .312 .328 .294
Mike Fontenot 359 6.1% 20.6% .067 .286 .228 .281 .295 .258
Ali Solis 253 2.4% 33.2% .083 .282 .194 .219 .277 .219
Jerry Sands 393 9.2% 31.0% .136 .270 .202 .277 .338 .277
Vince Belnome 460 11.1% 27.6% .103 .307 .225 .311 .328 .289
Ray Olmedo 383 5.2% 19.3% .040 .268 .212 .256 .252 .227
Jeremy Moore 369 4.9% 35.5% .135 .275 .194 .236 .329 .250
Wilson Betemit 317 7.3% 33.1% .111 .286 .203 .259 .314 .255

***

Batters, Assorted Other

Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Ben Zobrist 633 5.1 113 4 3.8 Ray Durham
Evan Longoria 609 5.3 117 3 3.7 Ken McMullen
Desmond Jennings 591 4.6 100 0 2.5 Eric Byrnes
Kevin Kiermaier 497 4.4 97 6 2.3 Steve Finley
Wil Myers 546 5.1 111 -2 1.6 Ron Swoboda
Nick Franklin 565 3.9 88 2 1.6 Glenn Hubbard
Ryan Hanigan 286 3.8 87 3 1.4 Gene Desautels
Matt Joyce 473 4.7 109 0 1.4 Josh Willingham
Ryan Brett 457 3.9 84 5 1.4 Tony Abreu
Yunel Escobar 552 4.0 89 -6 1.2 Chico Carrasquel
Justin O’Conner 444 2.8 62 6 1.1 Joe Ayrault
Curt Casali 360 3.1 70 0 0.8 Matt Treanor
David DeJesus 391 4.0 95 2 0.7 Bud Stewart
James Loney 584 4.5 97 2 0.6 Sean Casey
Brandon Guyer 336 4.4 93 0 0.6 Alex Ochoa
Cole Figueroa 458 3.7 81 -2 0.5 Alex Cora
Logan Forsythe 357 3.7 82 -3 0.3 Dave Edler
Mikie Mahtook 568 3.6 79 -4 0.3 Xavier Paul
Hak-Ju Lee 343 2.9 63 1 0.2 Edwin Rodriguez
Tim Beckham 346 3.4 74 0 0.2 Vance Law
Jose Molina 251 2.1 42 4 0.1 Tony Pena
Andrew Toles 420 3.2 70 1 0.0 Leo Garcia
Richie Shaffer 443 3.0 67 -1 -0.2 Greg Jelks
Jake Hager 534 2.5 56 3 -0.3 Yamaico Navarro
Justin Christian 449 3.3 71 3 -0.3 Gerald Williams
Allan Dykstra 423 3.5 82 -2 -0.4 Josh Whitesell
Mike Fontenot 359 2.9 64 -1 -0.4 Ron Oester
Ali Solis 253 2.0 40 1 -0.4 Pascual Matos
Jerry Sands 393 3.1 74 0 -0.5 Paul Torres
Vince Belnome 460 3.5 82 -1 -0.5 Todd Self
Ray Olmedo 383 2.2 45 -1 -1.3 Willy Miranda
Jeremy Moore 369 2.6 59 -1 -1.3 Jason Ross
Wilson Betemit 317 2.8 62 -4 -1.7 Alan Cockrell

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats

Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER
Alex Cobb R 27 29 29 171.7 152 54 13 153 65 61
Chris Archer R 26 31 30 170.0 150 65 14 154 71 66
Drew Smyly L 26 27 26 145.7 139 40 16 125 57 53
Matt Moore L 26 23 23 126.3 117 64 14 113 60 56
Jake McGee L 28 71 0 63.7 81 17 5 47 18 17
Brad Boxberger R 27 65 0 74.7 103 32 8 53 25 23
Jake Odorizzi R 25 28 27 147.3 130 59 18 140 74 69
Nate Karns R 27 26 24 133.0 125 59 18 124 67 63
Matt Andriese R 25 26 24 138.3 93 44 16 142 72 67
Alex Colome R 26 20 19 101.7 69 50 8 100 51 48
Merrill Kelly R 26 28 16 111.0 79 46 11 112 58 54
Erik Bedard L 36 20 18 97.7 85 44 12 96 51 48
Grant Balfour R 37 60 0 56.7 58 28 5 46 24 22
Jeff Beliveau L 28 55 0 56.3 60 28 5 48 24 22
Grayson Garvin L 25 18 18 61.7 41 22 6 64 32 30
Jose Dominguez R 24 38 0 41.0 46 22 3 34 17 16
Kirby Yates R 28 54 0 59.3 63 33 6 51 27 25
Bryce Stowell R 28 35 0 43.0 43 20 4 38 19 18
Enny Romero L 24 25 25 123.7 93 62 16 126 71 66
Ernesto Frieri R 29 61 0 58.3 75 25 9 48 27 25
Steve Geltz R 27 44 0 55.0 56 28 7 49 27 25
Brandon Gomes R 30 50 0 59.0 52 21 8 56 30 28
Mike Montgomery L 25 24 23 119.7 71 55 15 126 71 66
Josh Lueke R 30 54 0 69.3 54 23 8 71 35 33
Michael Kohn R 29 61 0 55.0 54 37 7 48 29 27
C.J. Riefenhauser L 25 51 0 64.3 48 30 7 64 34 32
Jake Thompson R 25 49 0 61.3 40 27 6 63 33 31
Blake Snell L 22 24 24 101.0 82 75 13 100 63 59
Doug Mathis R 32 23 11 81.3 47 48 11 89 52 49

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages

Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Alex Cobb 171.7 722 21.0% 7.5% .283 3.20 3.25 86 87
Chris Archer 170.0 729 20.6% 8.9% .285 3.49 3.56 93 95
Drew Smyly 145.7 602 23.1% 6.6% .269 3.27 3.31 88 89
Matt Moore 126.3 556 21.0% 11.5% .277 3.99 4.13 107 111
Jake McGee 63.7 255 31.8% 6.7% .278 2.40 2.15 64 58
Brad Boxberger 74.7 309 33.3% 10.4% .278 2.77 3.01 74 81
Jake Odorizzi 147.3 641 20.3% 9.2% .286 4.21 4.14 113 111
Nate Karns 133.0 582 21.5% 10.1% .285 4.26 4.36 114 117
Matt Andriese 138.3 601 15.5% 7.3% .286 4.36 4.24 117 113
Alex Colome 101.7 455 15.2% 11.0% .286 4.25 4.29 114 115
Merrill Kelly 111.0 491 16.1% 9.4% .290 4.38 4.27 117 114
Erik Bedard 97.7 433 19.6% 10.2% .291 4.42 4.27 118 114
Grant Balfour 56.7 244 23.8% 11.5% .270 3.49 3.50 93 94
Jeff Beliveau 56.3 245 24.5% 11.4% .291 3.51 3.64 94 98
Grayson Garvin 61.7 271 15.1% 8.1% .293 4.38 4.12 117 110
Jose Dominguez 41.0 179 25.7% 12.3% .295 3.51 3.51 94 94
Kirby Yates 59.3 262 24.1% 12.6% .289 3.79 3.93 102 105
Bryce Stowell 43.0 187 23.0% 10.7% .288 3.77 3.64 101 98
Enny Romero 123.7 559 16.6% 11.1% .289 4.80 4.82 129 129
Ernesto Frieri 58.3 248 30.3% 10.1% .287 3.86 3.74 103 100
Steve Geltz 55.0 242 23.1% 11.6% .286 4.09 4.33 110 116
Brandon Gomes 59.0 254 20.5% 8.3% .282 4.27 4.04 114 108
Mike Montgomery 119.7 540 13.1% 10.2% .283 4.96 4.97 133 133
Josh Lueke 69.3 302 17.9% 7.6% .296 4.28 4.04 115 108
Michael Kohn 55.0 250 21.6% 14.8% .277 4.42 4.79 118 128
C.J. Riefenhauser 64.3 287 16.7% 10.5% .288 4.48 4.43 120 119
Jake Thompson 61.3 274 14.6% 9.9% .289 4.55 4.41 122 118
Blake Snell 101.0 478 17.2% 15.7% .288 5.26 5.43 141 145
Doug Mathis 81.3 381 12.3% 12.6% .289 5.42 5.45 145 146

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other

Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Alex Cobb 171.7 7.97 2.83 0.68 119 3.7 Bob Walk
Chris Archer 170.0 7.94 3.44 0.74 108 3.0 Jason Jennings
Drew Smyly 145.7 8.59 2.47 0.99 116 3.0 Ted Lilly
Matt Moore 126.3 8.34 4.56 1.00 95 1.4 Tim Birtsas
Jake McGee 63.7 11.44 2.40 0.71 158 1.3 Rob Murphy
Brad Boxberger 74.7 12.41 3.86 0.96 137 1.2 Brad Lidge
Jake Odorizzi 147.3 7.94 3.60 1.10 90 1.2 Blake Stein
Nate Karns 133.0 8.46 3.99 1.22 89 1.0 Eric Hetzel
Matt Andriese 138.3 6.05 2.86 1.04 87 0.8 Greg Field
Alex Colome 101.7 6.11 4.42 0.71 89 0.8 Mike Torrez
Merrill Kelly 111.0 6.41 3.73 0.89 87 0.5 Sean White
Erik Bedard 97.7 7.83 4.05 1.11 86 0.5 Mark Langston
Grant Balfour 56.7 9.21 4.44 0.79 108 0.4 Ryne Duren
Jeff Beliveau 56.3 9.59 4.48 0.80 108 0.4 Armando Almanza
Grayson Garvin 61.7 5.98 3.21 0.88 87 0.4 Danny Borrell
Jose Dominguez 41.0 10.10 4.83 0.66 108 0.3 Santiago Casilla
Kirby Yates 59.3 9.56 5.01 0.91 100 0.2 Calvin Jones
Bryce Stowell 43.0 9.00 4.19 0.84 101 0.1 Franklyn German
Enny Romero 123.7 6.77 4.51 1.16 79 0.1 Mike Matthews
Ernesto Frieri 58.3 11.58 3.86 1.39 98 0.1 Mike Armstrong
Steve Geltz 55.0 9.16 4.58 1.15 93 0.0 Brian Mallette
Brandon Gomes 59.0 7.93 3.20 1.22 89 -0.2 Tom Niedenfuer
Mike Montgomery 119.7 5.34 4.14 1.13 76 -0.2 Chad Zerbe
Josh Lueke 69.3 7.01 2.99 1.04 88 -0.2 Rob Marquez
Michael Kohn 55.0 8.84 6.05 1.15 86 -0.3 Archie Corbin
C.J. Riefenhauser 64.3 6.72 4.20 0.98 85 -0.4 Anthony Rawson
Jake Thompson 61.3 5.87 3.96 0.88 83 -0.4 Joe Davenport
Blake Snell 101.0 7.31 6.68 1.16 72 -0.5 Nate Cromwell
Doug Mathis 81.3 5.20 5.31 1.22 70 -0.7 Ken Ray

***

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 – Tampa Bay Rays 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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Pure
Guest
Pure

I gotta be honest, and I think I speak for many, when I say that I’m getting a bit fed up with how hard Fangraphs is pushing projections on us. It comes across as intellectually lazy.

Pale Hose
Guest
Pale Hose

Um…the primary driver of fan conversation usually boils down to some sort of who is the best. When the season is over projections are a natural way to view that discussion.

Shep
Guest
Shep

Ummm…you don’t speak for me. I like them, but as always, there’s a great opportunity for all of us to ignore them, by, you know, ignoring them.

Sam Fuld
Guest
Sam Fuld

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……………………………………..

Pure
Guest
Pure

Was the opinion I offered really that negative? I think it was reasonable and presented in a docile manner, so the downvotes confuddle me.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles

Well, the recent work done here suggests that projections like Steamer and ZiPS are better predictors of future production than anything we have right now. Since we are very interested in predicting future outcomes when evaluating trades, signings, and team performance, predictions are paramount to that task.

Besides, ZiPS and Steamer have been here for years, its not like it is a new feature. Just skip ahead if you are more interested in Sabr approaches to assess past performance.

Pale Hose
Guest
Pale Hose

A selection of words that may not be taken as reasonable and docile: fed up, pushing, and intellectually lazy.

AC
Guest
AC

when ZiPS starts up, every other day during the week is like Christmas. the best off-season feature of fangraphs. imo.