2019 ZiPS Projections – Boston Red Sox

After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for more than half a decade. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Boston Red Sox.

Batters

Obviously, the top of the offense is extremely strong, with reigning MVP Mookie Betts and one of the most dangerous hitters today, J.D. Martinez, who can be forgiven for being relatively one-dimensional when that one dimension involves a 170 wRC+ and an OPS over 1.000. But there were some cracks in the back-end in 2018, with Eduardo Núñez a stretch as a full-time second baseman and Mitch Moreland inevitably cooling off after a hot start to finish with the Usual Mitch Moreland Stats. The team brought in Steve Pearce and Ian Kinsler to dampen these issues. Pearce’s tenure was much more successful, but he also remains a role player heading into his late-30s, albeit a very good one. I remain hopeful about Rafael Devers‘ future given that most players his age are still in the minors, but you can’t just wave away the fact that he regressed significantly both at the plate and in the field in 2018. Boston’s three-headed catcher-beast contributed defensively, and did a better job framing than dirty cops in a Brian De Palma movie, but you’d still like their bats to improve to a more normal version of terrible than we saw last season.

The good news is that when your highs are high and your lows are low, it’s easier to make a significant addition than it is if you have a team that’s fairly average from top to bottom. J.T. Realmuto would be just about the perfect fit for the team if the Marlins were motivated to make a reasonable trade. I suspect the Red Sox will be content with Moreland and Pearce at first as they more pressing needs on the roster. And Pearce probably was the best first baseman available in free agency, unless you’ve received some weird news from the future about how 2019 was the The Summer of Duda.

Pitchers

There’s not a lot to complain about in the rotation, so long as everyone is healthy. All five starters are projected to have ERAs better than league-average, and ZiPS, like Steamer, is cautiously optimistic about Nathan Eovaldi’s future, even though 200 innings shouldn’t be the default expectation for a pitcher with his injury history. Some depth would be nice, but Steven Wright is likely a perfectly capable emergency option and the bullpen, as constituted, is probably a below-average group. Even a diminished Craig Kimbrel is a tough reliever to lose. ZiPS thinks a lot of the no-name relievers can be adequate, especially Colten Brewer, a hard cutter/curve hurler picked up from the Padres a few weeks ago.

Bench and Prospects

The problem with the Red Sox farm system is that while it’s far from empty, trades and successful graduations have depleted the upper minors considerably, to the point that if the team is looking for a mid-season reinforcement, they’re more likely to call up a prospect rather than trade them for a more veteran solution. Sam Travis now has a .713 OPS in nearly a thousand Triple-A plate appearances; ZiPS has almost written him completely off as a prospect at this point. And there are no starting pitching prospects that are all that interesting for 2019. That Rusney Castillo has one of the best projections of the players currently at Triple A at .269/.304/.370 is a pretty good example of just how thin the high minors currently are. The big exception here is Michael Chavis, who ZiPS sees developing into an average third baseman with power upside, though not intriguing enough to be a better option than Devers in 2019, or a good enough hitter in the short-term to make Moreland and Pearce uncomfortable.

One pedantic note for 2019: for the WAR graphic, I’m using FanGraphs’ depth chart playing time, not the playing time ZiPS spits out, so there will be occasional differences in WAR totals.

Ballpark graphic courtesy Eephus League. Depth charts constructed by way of those listed here at site.

Batters – Counting Stats
Player B Age PO G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Mookie Betts R 26 RF 148 591 114 177 43 4 28 94 75 91 29 6
J.D. Martinez R 31 DH 140 529 88 153 32 2 36 106 59 151 4 1
Xander Bogaerts R 26 SS 150 584 91 166 37 3 20 91 56 117 11 2
Andrew Benintendi L 24 LF 153 582 95 165 38 6 18 91 70 110 21 5
Jackie Bradley Jr. L 29 CF 138 479 73 118 28 4 17 68 49 133 12 2
Rafael Devers L 22 3B 140 525 75 139 30 1 27 84 44 135 6 3
Ian Kinsler R 37 2B 115 448 64 113 25 1 11 46 38 64 13 6
Dustin Pedroia R 35 2B 96 384 47 104 17 0 7 44 38 51 3 3
Eduardo Nunez B 32 3B 128 479 57 134 27 2 10 54 19 69 14 5
Michael Chavis R 23 3B 94 363 49 88 22 1 17 54 24 117 3 1
Mitch Moreland L 33 1B 124 409 50 98 23 1 16 64 42 109 1 0
Brock Holt! L 31 2B 109 335 40 89 18 2 6 43 38 77 7 7
Rusney Castillo R 31 CF 111 435 48 117 24 1 6 42 19 81 9 5
Steve Pearce R 36 LF 77 239 32 61 13 1 10 36 25 51 0 1
Tzu-Wei Lin L 25 SS 111 386 44 95 17 4 5 32 30 90 7 6
Bobby Dalbec R 24 3B 116 435 56 87 23 2 21 62 42 212 3 3
Hanley Ramirez R 35 1B 102 386 49 97 18 0 16 61 38 88 5 2
Christian Vazquez R 28 C 89 293 34 75 15 1 4 25 16 54 5 1
Sandy Leon B 30 C 91 285 33 63 13 1 6 30 20 79 1 0
Brandon Phillips R 38 2B 92 355 46 93 20 0 7 36 16 59 4 4
Dan Butler R 32 C 66 217 23 48 12 0 3 21 21 54 0 0
Mike Miller R 29 SS 98 332 35 83 15 1 3 26 23 59 8 5
Tony Renda R 28 2B 92 338 38 87 20 2 4 31 20 54 9 3
Blake Swihart B 27 C 73 220 28 49 10 1 3 20 19 67 4 1
Jantzen Witte R 29 3B 102 371 41 87 22 2 7 38 29 102 4 3
Adam Lind L 35 1B 92 291 35 73 14 0 10 44 25 66 0 1
Ivan De Jesus R 32 2B 107 352 34 87 16 2 3 31 25 82 2 3
Marco Hernandez L 26 2B 72 246 27 62 11 2 5 23 9 65 2 2
Chad de la Guerra L 26 2B 99 385 43 82 16 2 10 39 27 131 5 2
Sam Travis R 25 1B 113 402 46 98 20 1 8 38 31 104 4 3
Austin Rei R 25 C 87 302 31 57 15 1 5 26 26 109 1 3
Juan Centeno L 29 C 74 252 24 63 12 1 3 24 13 46 0 1
Jeremy Barfield R 30 LF 65 233 28 48 9 0 9 28 18 83 0 0
Mike Ohlman R 28 C 79 268 31 53 10 0 9 30 29 112 1 0
Josh Ockimey L 23 1B 123 447 55 98 21 1 16 55 53 182 1 2
C.J. Chatham R 24 SS 113 437 42 105 17 3 5 36 18 110 7 5
Mike Olt R 30 3B 84 291 33 57 13 0 10 32 30 118 0 0
Cole Sturgeon L 27 RF 110 405 39 94 17 2 6 35 23 105 9 4
Kyle Wren L 28 LF 109 385 41 88 13 4 3 33 34 98 14 6
Aneury Tavarez L 27 RF 102 382 39 86 16 3 7 32 23 110 9 5
Tyler Hill R 23 RF 127 472 53 112 20 2 4 37 37 87 22 11
Victor Acosta R 23 RF 111 399 39 96 25 2 6 38 20 62 4 5
Brett Netzer L 23 2B 120 477 42 108 24 2 2 36 26 137 3 10
Tate Matheny R 25 CF 111 419 41 86 17 3 3 31 28 161 11 9

Batters – Rate Stats
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Mookie Betts .299 .379 .528 138 .228 .316 8.0 17 6.7 Al Kaline
J.D. Martinez .289 .361 .561 140 .272 .342 7.7 0 4.0 Tony Perez
Xander Bogaerts .284 .351 .461 114 .176 .327 6.2 -2 3.8 Alan Trammell
Andrew Benintendi .284 .360 .462 117 .179 .324 6.5 2 3.4 John Kruk
Jackie Bradley Jr. .246 .326 .428 99 .182 .307 5.2 5 2.5 Lloyd Moseby
Rafael Devers .265 .320 .480 109 .215 .309 5.6 -6 1.9 Fernando Tatis
Ian Kinsler .252 .317 .386 86 .134 .273 4.4 8 1.8 Ray Durham
Dustin Pedroia .271 .336 .370 88 .099 .298 4.5 3 1.3 Mark Loretta
Eduardo Nunez .280 .310 .407 89 .127 .310 4.8 0 1.1 Julian Javier
Michael Chavis .242 .299 .449 95 .207 .310 4.8 -1 1.1 Mark Reynolds
Mitch Moreland .240 .314 .418 93 .178 .289 4.7 4 0.9 Kevin Barker
Brock Holt! .266 .349 .385 96 .119 .329 4.7 -5 0.7 Pete Runnels
Rusney Castillo .269 .304 .370 78 .101 .319 4.1 1 0.5 Ken Berry
Steve Pearce .255 .336 .444 105 .188 .287 5.3 -3 0.5 Dusty Baker
Tzu-Wei Lin .246 .301 .350 73 .104 .309 3.6 2 0.5 Scott Leius
Bobby Dalbec .200 .280 .407 80 .207 .327 3.8 0 0.5 Jared Sandberg
Hanley Ramirez .251 .325 .422 97 .171 .287 5.0 -2 0.4 Cliff Floyd
Christian Vazquez .256 .300 .355 74 .099 .302 4.0 -1 0.4 Angelo Encarnacion
Sandy Leon .221 .277 .337 63 .116 .285 3.3 4 0.4 Chad Moeller
Brandon Phillips .262 .302 .377 79 .115 .298 4.0 -2 0.2 Frank White
Dan Butler .221 .296 .318 64 .097 .281 3.3 -1 0.0 Keith McDonald
Mike Miller .250 .302 .328 68 .078 .296 3.5 -1 0.0 Ever Magallanes
Tony Renda .257 .305 .364 77 .107 .296 4.1 -4 0.0 William Bergolla
Blake Swihart .223 .286 .318 61 .095 .307 3.3 -1 -0.1 Tony DeFrancesco
Jantzen Witte .235 .297 .361 74 .127 .305 3.7 -4 -0.2 Rodney Nye
Adam Lind .251 .307 .402 87 .151 .293 4.4 -3 -0.3 Glenn Adams
Ivan De Jesus .247 .306 .330 70 .082 .315 3.5 -3 -0.3 Marty Perez
Marco Hernandez .252 .280 .374 72 .122 .324 3.7 -5 -0.5 Juan Melo
Chad de la Guerra .213 .270 .343 62 .130 .295 3.2 0 -0.5 Chris Saunders
Sam Travis .244 .301 .358 75 .114 .310 3.8 0 -0.5 Juan Tejeda
Austin Rei .189 .272 .295 51 .106 .277 2.5 0 -0.5 Brian Moon
Juan Centeno .250 .290 .341 67 .091 .296 3.5 -6 -0.5 Ken Huckaby
Jeremy Barfield .206 .270 .361 66 .155 .277 3.3 -1 -0.5 Jeremy Ware
Mike Ohlman .198 .277 .336 62 .138 .299 3.2 -6 -0.6 Henry Mercedes
Josh Ockimey .219 .302 .378 80 .159 .329 3.9 -3 -0.6 Nate Rolison
C.J. Chatham .240 .273 .327 59 .087 .311 3.1 -1 -0.6 Eddie Zosky
Mike Olt .196 .274 .344 63 .148 .288 3.2 -4 -0.7 Jose Santos
Cole Sturgeon .232 .277 .328 61 .096 .299 3.2 3 -0.8 Greg Thomson
Kyle Wren .229 .292 .306 60 .078 .299 3.2 2 -0.8 Jason Maas
Aneury Tavarez .225 .273 .338 62 .113 .298 3.2 2 -0.9 Greg Thomson
Tyler Hill .237 .303 .314 65 .076 .283 3.4 0 -1.0 Stephen Kirkpatrick
Victor Acosta .241 .281 .358 69 .118 .272 3.4 -2 -1.0 Rod Bair
Brett Netzer .226 .270 .298 51 .071 .314 2.4 4 -1.2 Demetrish Jenkins
Tate Matheny .205 .258 .282 44 .076 .325 2.3 -2 -1.9 Kevin Batiste

Pitchers – Counting Stats
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO
Chris Sale L 30 15 5 2.62 29 29 182.0 144 53 16 34 225
David Price L 33 13 8 3.78 28 28 164.3 158 69 20 42 157
Eduardo Rodriguez L 26 10 7 3.99 29 26 144.3 134 64 18 49 153
Rick Porcello R 30 13 10 4.36 30 30 175.3 186 85 27 40 158
Nathan Eovaldi R 29 8 5 3.98 23 22 110.7 118 49 14 26 96
Craig Kimbrel R 31 4 2 2.68 60 0 57.0 36 17 5 26 89
Matthew Kent L 26 7 6 4.79 27 27 150.3 179 80 17 45 91
Drew Pomeranz L 30 8 7 4.60 28 21 115.3 115 59 15 54 103
Chandler Shepherd R 26 8 8 4.79 23 23 124.0 144 66 17 31 81
Matt Barnes R 29 5 3 3.54 62 0 61.0 51 24 6 30 80
Joe Kelly R 31 4 2 3.58 65 0 60.3 54 24 4 29 60
Dedgar Jimenez L 23 9 9 4.92 25 24 130.0 146 71 16 52 88
Steven Wright R 34 4 4 4.46 21 11 82.7 85 41 11 32 59
Hector Velazquez R 30 4 4 4.58 34 14 96.3 108 49 13 32 64
Justin Haley R 28 7 7 4.88 25 21 107.0 121 58 14 37 75
Heath Hembree R 30 3 2 3.84 61 0 58.7 54 25 8 22 67
Ryan Brasier R 31 5 3 3.79 57 0 57.0 56 24 6 15 45
Carson Smith R 29 2 1 3.00 33 0 30.0 25 10 2 11 34
Mike Shawaryn R 24 9 9 5.18 26 25 133.7 148 77 23 47 104
Colten Brewer R 26 4 3 3.86 49 0 58.3 55 25 5 23 58
Marcus Walden R 30 4 3 4.36 29 8 66.0 69 32 5 28 45
William Cuevas R 28 8 9 5.14 28 22 126.0 139 72 19 52 96
Travis Lakins R 25 4 3 4.62 29 11 62.3 66 32 7 29 50
Brandon Workman R 30 5 4 4.30 54 0 60.7 61 29 8 22 54
Bobby Poyner L 26 1 1 4.33 50 0 62.3 66 30 9 16 52
Fernando Rodriguez Jr. R 35 3 3 4.70 31 4 51.7 50 27 7 22 49
Robby Scott L 29 3 3 4.47 53 0 52.3 50 26 7 23 51
Darwinzon Hernandez L 22 6 6 5.31 26 22 95.0 92 56 10 74 89
Bryan Mata R 20 5 5 5.27 18 18 68.3 71 40 4 59 46
Mark Montgomery R 28 4 4 4.57 46 0 45.3 45 23 6 21 43
Denyi Reyes R 22 8 9 5.49 19 19 101.7 118 62 18 34 59
Josh Taylor L 26 4 4 4.63 55 0 58.3 61 30 6 29 48
Trevor Kelley R 25 2 2 4.80 40 0 54.3 60 29 6 20 36
Matthew Gorst R 24 4 4 4.97 40 0 63.3 71 35 10 22 42
Tyler Thornburg R 30 3 3 4.86 48 0 46.3 45 25 7 23 41
Domingo Tapia R 27 4 5 5.12 44 5 65.0 73 37 8 31 43
Tanner Houck R 23 8 10 5.84 22 22 103.3 115 67 15 68 75
Teddy Stankiewicz R 25 8 10 5.95 25 21 134.7 168 89 28 42 82

Pitchers – Rate Stats
Player TBF K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA+ ERA- FIP WAR No. 1 Comp
Chris Sale 727 11.13 1.68 0.79 .292 168 59 2.61 5.9 Johan Santana
David Price 689 8.60 2.30 1.10 .298 117 86 3.72 3.3 Frank Viola
Eduardo Rodriguez 611 9.54 3.06 1.12 .301 110 91 3.77 2.5 Chris Nabholz
Rick Porcello 748 8.11 2.05 1.39 .309 101 99 4.19 2.3 Moose Haas
Nathan Eovaldi 470 7.81 2.11 1.14 .313 111 90 3.82 1.9 Carl Pavano
Craig Kimbrel 233 14.05 4.11 0.79 .282 159 63 2.69 1.7 Greg Harris
Matthew Kent 672 5.45 2.69 1.02 .318 92 109 4.49 1.3 Jeff Johnson
Drew Pomeranz 510 8.04 4.21 1.17 .299 96 104 4.54 1.2 Rich Robertson
Chandler Shepherd 543 5.88 2.25 1.23 .311 92 109 4.52 1.1 Lary Sorensen
Matt Barnes 262 11.80 4.43 0.89 .313 124 80 3.38 1.1 Ryne Duren
Joe Kelly 263 8.95 4.33 0.60 .299 123 81 3.61 1.0 Jim Hughes
Dedgar Jimenez 585 6.09 3.60 1.11 .308 90 112 4.76 1.0 Wes Whisler
Steven Wright 363 6.42 3.48 1.20 .288 99 101 4.76 1.0 Diego Segui
Hector Velazquez 427 5.98 2.99 1.21 .304 96 104 4.76 0.9 Dallas Green
Justin Haley 477 6.31 3.11 1.18 .310 90 111 4.65 0.8 Bill Swift
Heath Hembree 249 10.28 3.38 1.23 .305 115 87 3.81 0.8 Jay Powell
Ryan Brasier 240 7.11 2.37 0.95 .291 116 86 3.83 0.8 Kent Tekulve
Carson Smith 126 10.20 3.30 0.60 .299 147 68 3.05 0.7 Danny Kolb
Mike Shawaryn 594 7.00 3.16 1.55 .303 85 118 5.07 0.6 Andy Taulbee
Colten Brewer 252 8.95 3.55 0.77 .307 111 90 3.61 0.6 Jose Rodriguez
Marcus Walden 293 6.14 3.82 0.68 .302 98 102 4.18 0.6 Ed Klieman
William Cuevas 566 6.86 3.71 1.36 .306 86 117 4.99 0.6 Jeremy Guthrie
Travis Lakins 281 7.22 4.19 1.01 .309 95 105 4.59 0.6 Tim Byron
Brandon Workman 263 8.01 3.26 1.19 .299 102 98 4.27 0.5 Kenny Greer
Bobby Poyner 267 7.51 2.31 1.30 .305 102 98 4.27 0.5 Chris Key
Fernando Rodriguez Jr. 225 8.54 3.83 1.22 .297 94 107 4.41 0.3 Don Aase
Robby Scott 230 8.77 3.96 1.20 .297 99 101 4.49 0.3 Scott Wiegandt
Darwinzon Hernandez 450 8.43 7.01 0.95 .303 83 120 5.17 0.3 Bryan Clark
Bryan Mata 335 6.06 7.77 0.53 .303 84 120 5.37 0.3 Rick Berg
Mark Montgomery 201 8.54 4.17 1.19 .302 97 104 4.50 0.2 Greg Bauer
Denyi Reyes 458 5.22 3.01 1.59 .296 80 125 5.56 0.2 Bob Tewksbury
Josh Taylor 264 7.41 4.47 0.93 .309 92 108 4.49 0.2 Philip Barzilla
Trevor Kelley 242 5.96 3.31 0.99 .305 92 109 4.53 0.1 Bob Miller
Matthew Gorst 282 5.97 3.13 1.42 .299 89 113 5.11 0.0 Rich DeLosSantos
Tyler Thornburg 206 7.96 4.47 1.36 .286 88 114 4.96 0.0 Craig McMurtry
Domingo Tapia 298 5.95 4.29 1.11 .307 83 120 5.04 0.0 Barry Hertzler
Tanner Houck 491 6.53 5.92 1.31 .306 76 132 5.73 -0.2 Randy Nosek
Teddy Stankiewicz 611 5.48 2.81 1.87 .310 74 135 5.75 -0.5 Cameron Reimers

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 2019. 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 I have made a mistake. This is very possible, as a lot of minor-league signings go generally unreported in the offseason.

ZiPS’ projections are based on the American League having a 4.29 ERA and the National League having a 4.15 ERA.

Players who are expected to be out due to injury are still projected. More information is always better than less information, and a computer isn’t the tool that should project the injury status of, for example, a pitcher who has had Tommy John surgery.

Both hitters and pitchers are ranked by projected zWAR — which is to say, WAR values as calculated by me, Dan Szymborski, whose surname is spelled with a z. WAR values might differ slightly from those which appear in full release of ZiPS. Finally, I will advise anyone against — and might karate chop anyone guilty of — merely adding up WAR totals on a depth chart to produce projected team WAR.

We hoped you liked reading 2019 ZiPS Projections – Boston Red Sox by Dan Szymborski!

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Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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kdallas
Member
kdallas

“Brock Holt!” ftw

Mike D
Member
Member
Mike D

I’d much prefer “Brock, Holt!” or even “Brock: Holt!”