2016 ZiPS Projections – Kansas City Royals

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 Kansas City Royals. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.

Other Projections: Atlanta.

Batters
If the depth chart below seems to depict a more dismal situation than one might expect from a club that’s appeared in each of the last two World Series, note that it excludes at least one player (Alex Gordon) who’s been instrumental to the team’s recent success and another (Ben Zobrist) who benefited the 2015 edition of the club after arriving at the July trade deadline.

It’s not surprising, in light of Gordon and Zobrist’s respective departures, that corner outfield and second base are the team’s two weakest positions according to ZiPS. One assumes that the front office regards these as priorities for the offseason.

Pitchers
It’s not typical for a player to receive a projected WAR that would also represent his career-high mark by that measure. That’s the case here, though, for right-hander Yordano Ventura, whose 2.7-win mark in 2015 represented not only his personal best but also the best figure among all Royals pitchers. The 2.8 WAR projected for him in 2016 is also the highest among Kansas City pitchers.

With regard to the bullpen, most of 2015’s principals return. Wade Davis occupies a place among Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel, and maybe a few others, as one of the league’s obviously elite relievers. Right-hander Kelvin Herrera is also markedly above average, although the loss of Greg Holland to injury — plus the departure of Ryan Madson — might create more difficulties here than those which recent iterations of the club have been forced to contend.

Bench/Prospects
If some combination of Jarrod Dyson, Jose Martinez, or Paulo Orlando fails — or if they all fail simultaneously — outfielder Reymond Fuentes would appear to be a possible candidate to provide value in the outfield. While he doesn’t possess the sort of power typically associated with a corner-outfield spot, he’s exhibited the precise combination of speed and defense that’s defined the Royals in recent years.

Among Kansas City’s rookie-eligible pitchers, left-hander Alec Mills receives the top WAR projection from ZiPS. Mills recorded strikeout and walk rates of 23.5% and 3.0% this year over 21 starts and 113.1 innings at High-A Wilmington.

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

Royals 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
Lorenzo Cain R 30 CF 549 70 144 30 5 9 62 23 6
Salvador Perez R 26 C 555 54 143 26 2 18 71 1 0
Alex Gordon L 32 LF 589 68 134 29 2 16 62 7 4
Ben Zobrist B 35 2B 560 74 135 35 4 12 55 7 4
Mike Moustakas L 27 3B 577 58 134 30 1 19 66 2 2
Eric Hosmer L 26 1B 653 82 170 34 3 16 83 9 3
Jarrod Dyson L 31 CF 273 33 61 8 5 2 20 29 5
Alcides Escobar R 29 SS 651 73 162 27 6 4 53 21 4
Kendrys Morales B 33 DH 565 63 142 30 1 18 79 0 0
Reymond Fuentes L 25 CF 477 54 111 17 4 6 41 24 5
Christian Colon R 27 SS 434 44 106 16 1 5 33 11 4
Francisco Pena R 26 C 364 37 81 17 1 8 39 2 2
Cheslor Cuthbert R 23 3B 524 54 124 25 2 11 53 6 3
Jose Martinez R 27 RF 404 43 104 19 2 6 39 5 4
Whit Merrifield R 27 2B 531 53 122 26 4 5 41 17 7
Alex Rios R 35 RF 490 54 126 27 5 7 51 16 4
Ramon Torres B 23 2B 541 50 129 21 4 5 40 15 13
Brett Eibner R 27 CF 430 44 85 17 3 11 40 6 2
Lane Adams R 26 CF 530 53 111 22 3 10 45 20 6
Paulo Orlando R 30 RF 441 43 102 17 4 6 37 12 4
Omar Infante R 34 2B 488 44 117 22 5 5 50 5 2
Drew Butera R 32 C 148 11 27 5 1 2 9 0 0
Angel Franco B 26 2B 364 33 83 15 2 3 27 4 4
Raul Mondesi Jr. B 20 SS 434 40 85 12 5 12 40 15 6
Orlando Calixte R 24 SS 463 42 95 16 2 8 34 14 6
Parker Morin L 24 C 261 21 52 9 2 3 20 1 2
Rafael Furcal B 38 SS 58 6 13 1 0 0 3 1 0
Gabriel Noriega R 25 3B 334 30 76 12 2 1 23 3 2
Jonny Gomes R 35 LF 278 31 56 9 0 8 34 1 0
Bubba Starling R 23 CF 483 48 94 20 3 11 42 8 4
J.C. Boscan R 36 C 158 12 31 5 0 1 9 1 1
Dusty Coleman R 29 SS 468 40 80 18 2 8 37 8 5
Ryan O’Hearn L 22 1B 547 55 114 18 0 23 59 6 3
Terrance Gore R 25 LF 348 33 64 5 1 0 14 32 5
Balbino Fuenmayor R 26 1B 324 33 75 16 1 9 36 1 0
Hunter Dozier R 24 3B 496 46 92 24 1 9 42 5 3
Jorge Bonifacio R 23 RF 564 51 114 25 3 12 53 4 3
Alex Liddi R 27 1B 461 44 93 21 3 10 44 5 3

***

Batters, Rates and Averages
Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Lorenzo Cain 549 5.6% 18.4% .132 .337 .284 .332 .416 .333
Salvador Perez 555 3.4% 13.9% .159 .286 .271 .299 .430 .311
Alex Gordon 589 10.2% 21.4% .158 .315 .261 .350 .419 .336
Ben Zobrist 560 10.9% 12.5% .161 .297 .275 .354 .436 .344
Mike Moustakas 577 6.6% 15.1% .170 .272 .256 .313 .426 .320
Eric Hosmer 653 8.1% 16.5% .149 .326 .288 .347 .437 .340
Jarrod Dyson 273 7.0% 17.9% .098 .303 .249 .307 .347 .311
Alcides Escobar 651 3.4% 12.4% .084 .300 .266 .298 .350 .287
Kendrys Morales 565 7.6% 18.1% .168 .312 .276 .336 .444 .335
Reymond Fuentes 477 6.5% 22.2% .100 .328 .258 .313 .358 .303
Christian Colon 434 6.2% 10.6% .083 .291 .268 .318 .351 .301
Francisco Pena 364 4.1% 18.4% .126 .271 .238 .273 .364 .277
Cheslor Cuthbert 524 6.3% 16.6% .127 .289 .255 .302 .382 .302
Jose Martinez 404 6.9% 17.1% .111 .328 .280 .330 .391 .321
Whit Merrifield 531 4.9% 16.4% .099 .288 .246 .287 .345 .285
Alex Rios 490 4.3% 16.5% .125 .315 .273 .306 .398 .314
Ramon Torres 541 3.5% 13.1% .088 .288 .255 .285 .343 .283
Brett Eibner 430 7.2% 30.7% .143 .294 .216 .276 .359 .280
Lane Adams 530 6.0% 26.6% .118 .295 .227 .278 .345 .285
Paulo Orlando 441 3.6% 18.6% .103 .291 .246 .277 .349 .278
Omar Infante 488 3.5% 12.5% .101 .279 .253 .278 .354 .275
Drew Butera 148 6.1% 22.3% .098 .253 .203 .262 .301 .246
Angel Franco 364 4.9% 14.6% .083 .285 .248 .287 .331 .271
Raul Mondesi Jr. 434 3.5% 32.0% .143 .283 .209 .238 .352 .262
Orlando Calixte 463 5.2% 26.6% .103 .291 .222 .265 .325 .266
Parker Morin 261 4.2% 26.4% .091 .282 .214 .251 .305 .243
Rafael Furcal 58 5.2% 17.2% .018 .289 .241 .276 .259 .243
Gabriel Noriega 334 2.4% 23.4% .060 .314 .241 .260 .301 .245
Jonny Gomes 278 10.4% 28.1% .137 .302 .232 .320 .369 .301
Bubba Starling 483 5.8% 31.3% .132 .289 .211 .263 .343 .271
J.C. Boscan 158 5.1% 24.1% .055 .275 .209 .255 .264 .235
Dusty Coleman 468 5.6% 39.7% .107 .305 .187 .244 .294 .245
Ryan O’Hearn 547 6.9% 34.0% .173 .304 .226 .280 .399 .295
Terrance Gore 348 6.3% 27.0% .023 .292 .204 .270 .227 .249
Balbino Fuenmayor 324 2.5% 27.8% .145 .308 .241 .265 .386 .280
Hunter Dozier 496 6.9% 30.8% .116 .279 .201 .260 .317 .259
Jorge Bonifacio 564 5.7% 27.0% .129 .281 .218 .266 .347 .271
Alex Liddi 461 4.6% 34.9% .132 .313 .214 .253 .346 .263

***

Batters, Assorted Other
Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def zWAR No.1 Comp
Lorenzo Cain 549 5.5 104 10 3.6 Roberto Kelly
Salvador Perez 555 4.8 97 3 3.2 Sandy Alomar
Alex Gordon 589 5.3 110 10 3.1 J.T. Snow
Ben Zobrist 560 5.7 115 -3 2.9 Bill Mueller
Mike Moustakas 577 4.8 100 3 2.5 Joe Crede
Eric Hosmer 653 5.8 113 2 2.1 Whitey Lockman
Jarrod Dyson 273 4.7 79 8 1.7 Dave Roberts
Alcides Escobar 651 4.1 77 2 1.6 Alfredo Griffin
Kendrys Morales 565 5.6 112 0 1.6 Kevin Millar
Reymond Fuentes 477 4.4 84 3 1.5 Herm Winningham
Christian Colon 434 4.2 84 -1 1.2 Jeff Keppinger
Francisco Pena 364 3.5 73 4 1.1 Joe Depastino
Cheslor Cuthbert 524 4.2 86 -2 0.9 Craig Worthington
Jose Martinez 404 4.8 97 0 0.7 Mike Brown
Whit Merrifield 531 3.6 73 3 0.5 Mel Houston
Alex Rios 490 4.7 91 -1 0.5 Pete Fox
Ramon Torres 541 3.3 71 4 0.2 Billy Ripken
Brett Eibner 430 3.5 72 0 0.2 Jason Michaels
Lane Adams 530 3.5 70 0 0.2 Tito Nanni
Paulo Orlando 441 3.6 70 8 0.2 Manny Martinez
Omar Infante 488 3.6 72 1 0.1 Craig Reynolds
Drew Butera 148 2.7 54 0 -0.1 Chad Moeller
Angel Franco 364 3.3 69 1 -0.1 Michael Cockrell
Raul Mondesi Jr. 434 2.9 59 -2 -0.4 Preston Mattingly
Orlando Calixte 463 3.0 61 -4 -0.4 Andres Duncan
Parker Morin 261 2.5 52 -2 -0.5 Tony Garcia
Rafael Furcal 58 2.7 48 -4 -0.5 Casey Candaele
Gabriel Noriega 334 2.7 53 2 -0.5 Freddie Benavides
Jonny Gomes 278 4.2 89 -7 -0.5 Jeff Manto
Bubba Starling 483 3.1 65 -3 -0.6 Hipolito Martinez
J.C. Boscan 158 2.2 43 -3 -0.6 Frank Charles
Dusty Coleman 468 2.3 47 2 -0.7 Cody Ransom
Ryan O’Hearn 547 3.9 83 -3 -0.8 Brad Pounders
Terrance Gore 348 2.8 39 4 -0.9 Ramon Gomez
Balbino Fuenmayor 324 3.7 76 -3 -1.0 Morgan Walker
Hunter Dozier 496 2.8 58 -3 -1.1 Lee Mitchell
Jorge Bonifacio 564 3.2 67 0 -1.3 Jonas Hamlin
Alex Liddi 461 3.0 62 -3 -2.0 Justin Sherrod

***

Pitchers, Counting Stats
Player T Age G GS IP K BB HR H R ER
Johnny Cueto R 30 30 30 203.7 156 50 19 186 85 79
Yordano Ventura R 25 30 29 175.0 164 63 17 163 77 72
Edinson Volquez R 32 30 29 175.3 131 68 19 170 85 79
Danny Duffy L 27 28 21 125.0 100 47 13 118 57 53
Wade Davis R 30 66 0 66.0 84 23 4 48 18 17
Kelvin Herrera R 26 72 0 72.0 77 25 5 59 25 23
Greg Holland R 30 56 0 52.3 70 21 4 38 16 15
Chris Young R 37 25 20 110.7 73 41 15 105 56 52
Alec Mills R 24 20 20 96.7 66 20 11 105 49 46
Jason Vargas L 33 19 19 112.0 72 28 17 118 60 56
Kris Medlen R 30 21 17 109.0 76 28 15 118 59 55
Buddy Baumann L 28 35 6 73.3 60 28 7 71 35 33
Kyle Zimmer R 24 20 8 56.3 47 20 7 57 30 28
Luke Hochevar R 32 41 0 45.3 43 15 6 41 20 19
Ryan Madson R 35 32 0 29.7 29 8 3 27 13 12
Louis Coleman R 30 48 0 66.3 59 27 7 62 31 29
Jonathan Dziedzic L 25 22 21 106.7 63 36 14 120 62 58
Brian Flynn L 26 16 15 85.7 55 33 10 95 49 46
Yohan Pino R 32 25 16 103.0 77 30 16 110 59 55
Jeremy Guthrie R 37 25 23 143.3 81 40 20 163 83 78
Franklin Morales L 30 66 0 67.7 50 23 7 68 33 31
Tim Collins L 26 45 0 47.0 45 22 5 44 24 22
Troy Patton L 30 30 0 33.0 25 10 4 34 17 16
Brian Broderick R 29 42 0 59.0 34 17 6 64 30 28
Christian Binford R 23 24 22 126.7 71 35 18 147 77 72
Benino Pruneda R 27 36 0 45.3 35 24 4 45 25 23
Scott Alexander L 26 45 0 66.3 45 28 7 68 35 33
Casey Coleman R 28 37 4 78.0 46 37 8 84 45 42
Clayton Mortensen R 31 24 13 83.3 57 43 11 88 51 48
Chris Dwyer L 28 30 12 92.3 57 55 10 98 57 53
Sam Selman L 25 35 11 81.0 64 59 9 81 49 46
Miguel Almonte R 23 31 22 104.0 79 43 17 112 65 61
Andy Ferguson R 27 26 19 109.3 80 39 20 119 68 64
Matthew Strahm L 24 22 7 59.3 60 28 12 60 39 36
J.C. Sulbaran R 26 28 19 105.3 66 61 29 132 94 88

***

Pitchers, Rates and Averages
Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP-
Johnny Cueto 203.7 847 18.4% 5.9% .272 3.49 3.64 86 92
Yordano Ventura 175.0 751 21.8% 8.4% .292 3.70 3.68 91 93
Edinson Volquez 175.3 764 17.1% 8.9% .282 4.06 4.29 100 108
Danny Duffy 125.0 540 18.5% 8.7% .281 3.82 4.11 94 103
Wade Davis 66.0 269 31.2% 8.6% .280 2.32 2.39 57 60
Kelvin Herrera 72.0 300 25.7% 8.3% .284 2.87 2.99 71 75
Greg Holland 52.3 216 32.4% 9.7% .281 2.58 2.57 64 65
Chris Young 110.7 478 15.3% 8.6% .259 4.23 4.63 104 117
Alec Mills 96.7 415 15.9% 4.8% .300 4.28 4.00 106 101
Jason Vargas 112.0 482 14.9% 5.8% .279 4.50 4.60 111 116
Kris Medlen 109.0 473 16.1% 5.9% .294 4.54 4.38 112 110
Buddy Baumann 73.3 319 18.8% 8.8% .291 4.05 3.94 100 99
Kyle Zimmer 56.3 246 19.1% 8.1% .296 4.47 4.28 110 108
Luke Hochevar 45.3 192 22.4% 7.8% .276 3.77 3.92 93 99
Ryan Madson 29.7 124 23.4% 6.4% .289 3.64 3.27 90 82
Louis Coleman 66.3 288 20.5% 9.4% .287 3.93 3.92 97 99
Jonathan Dziedzic 106.7 476 13.2% 7.6% .297 4.89 4.81 121 121
Brian Flynn 85.7 385 14.3% 8.6% .300 4.83 4.60 119 116
Yohan Pino 103.0 449 17.1% 6.7% .293 4.81 4.65 119 117
Jeremy Guthrie 143.3 633 12.8% 6.3% .296 4.90 4.77 121 120
Franklin Morales 67.7 294 17.0% 7.8% .290 4.12 4.12 102 104
Tim Collins 47.0 207 21.7% 10.6% .293 4.21 3.98 104 100
Troy Patton 33.0 143 17.5% 7.0% .291 4.36 4.08 108 103
Brian Broderick 59.0 258 13.2% 6.6% .293 4.27 4.19 105 105
Christian Binford 126.7 562 12.6% 6.2% .299 5.12 4.78 126 120
Benino Pruneda 45.3 205 17.1% 11.7% .293 4.57 4.30 113 108
Scott Alexander 66.3 295 15.3% 9.5% .289 4.48 4.52 111 114
Casey Coleman 78.0 355 13.0% 10.4% .292 4.85 4.80 120 121
Clayton Mortensen 83.3 381 15.0% 11.3% .291 5.18 5.15 128 130
Chris Dwyer 92.3 430 13.3% 12.8% .291 5.17 5.23 128 132
Sam Selman 81.0 383 16.7% 15.4% .293 5.11 5.34 126 134
Miguel Almonte 104.0 467 16.9% 9.2% .295 5.28 5.12 130 129
Andy Ferguson 109.3 486 16.5% 8.0% .291 5.27 5.26 130 132
Matthew Strahm 59.3 266 22.6% 10.5% .296 5.46 5.33 135 134
J.C. Sulbaran 105.3 509 13.0% 12.0% .298 7.52 7.37 186 185

***

Pitchers, Assorted Other
Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ zWAR No. 1 Comp
Johnny Cueto 203.7 6.89 2.21 0.84 115 3.8 Tim Hudson
Yordano Ventura 175.0 8.43 3.24 0.87 109 2.8 Mike Bielecki
Edinson Volquez 175.3 6.73 3.49 0.98 99 2.1 Omar Olivares
Danny Duffy 125.0 7.20 3.38 0.94 105 1.8 Trevor Wilson
Wade Davis 66.0 11.45 3.14 0.55 174 1.5 Francisco Cordero
Kelvin Herrera 72.0 9.63 3.13 0.63 140 1.2 Bryan Harvey
Greg Holland 52.3 12.05 3.61 0.69 156 1.0 Ryne Duren
Chris Young 110.7 5.93 3.33 1.22 95 1.0 Bob Forsch
Alec Mills 96.7 6.14 1.86 1.02 94 0.8 Gil Heredia
Jason Vargas 112.0 5.79 2.25 1.37 89 0.7 Blaine Beatty
Kris Medlen 109.0 6.28 2.31 1.24 89 0.5 Geoff Grenert
Buddy Baumann 73.3 7.37 3.44 0.86 99 0.5 Matt Dunbar
Kyle Zimmer 56.3 7.51 3.20 1.12 90 0.2 David Cone
Luke Hochevar 45.3 8.54 2.98 1.19 107 0.1 Mark Wohlers
Ryan Madson 29.7 8.79 2.42 0.91 111 0.1 Donn Pall
Louis Coleman 66.3 8.01 3.67 0.95 102 0.1 David Lee
Jonathan Dziedzic 106.7 5.31 3.04 1.18 82 0.1 Marty Reed
Brian Flynn 85.7 5.78 3.47 1.05 83 0.1 John Courtright
Yohan Pino 103.0 6.73 2.62 1.40 84 0.1 Nerio Rodriguez
Jeremy Guthrie 143.3 5.09 2.51 1.26 82 0.1 Dennis Springer
Franklin Morales 67.7 6.65 3.06 0.93 98 0.0 Todd Rizzo
Tim Collins 47.0 8.62 4.21 0.96 96 -0.1 Thomas Hart
Troy Patton 33.0 6.82 2.73 1.09 92 -0.1 Bryan Eversgerd
Brian Broderick 59.0 5.19 2.59 0.92 94 -0.2 Scott Rose
Christian Binford 126.7 5.04 2.49 1.28 79 -0.3 Jason Jones
Benino Pruneda 45.3 6.95 4.77 0.79 88 -0.3 Ken Wright
Scott Alexander 66.3 6.11 3.80 0.95 90 -0.3 Brian Adams
Casey Coleman 78.0 5.31 4.27 0.92 83 -0.3 Mike Bumstead
Clayton Mortensen 83.3 6.16 4.65 1.19 78 -0.3 Jarod Juelsgaard
Chris Dwyer 92.3 5.56 5.36 0.98 78 -0.4 Eddie Oropesa
Sam Selman 81.0 7.11 6.56 1.00 79 -0.4 Miguel Asencio
Miguel Almonte 104.0 6.84 3.72 1.47 76 -0.4 Bryan Corey
Andy Ferguson 109.3 6.59 3.21 1.65 76 -0.5 Giovanni Carrara
Matthew Strahm 59.3 9.11 4.25 1.82 74 -0.5 Angel Ortiz
J.C. Sulbaran 105.3 5.64 5.21 2.48 54 -3.5 Mike Romano

***

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 2016. 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 3.95 ERA and the NL having a 3.79 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 2016 ZiPS Projections – Kansas City Royals 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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