2019 ZiPS Projections – Kansas City Royals

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 Kansas City Royals.

Batters

The Royals have an extremely bifurcated offense, with three players projected to be solidly above league-average in Adalberto Mondesi, Salvador Perez, and Whit Merrifield, and a fairly large gulf before the next tier of KC hitters. If the Royals were really going the full rebuild route, you’d see Perez and Merrifield — entering their age-29 and -30 seasons respectively — on other teams’ lists, but the Royals seem content to go the “sorta” rebuild route.

Given how thin their talent is, it’s hard to see them having much success going this route and as such, Perez and Merrifield are likely to be either in their declines or in other organizations by the time the performance matters. Winning 72 games instead of 64 in 2019 isn’t going to jumpstart anything.

I’m sure there will be some gnashed teeth about O’Hearn’s projection, given that he hit .262/.353/.597 in the majors in 170 plate appearances in 2018. He also had a .713 OPS in 406 PA in the Pacific Coast League, which is abysmal for an offensive prospect.

Pitchers

This group won’t be as bad as some people think in 2019, and it wouldn’t take a lot of breaks for the team to achieve their pointless Quest for 75 Wins, which is a little like bragging to your drinking buddies that you can deadlift 125 pounds. Danny Duffy isn’t a lost cause and Brad Keller was good enough in 2018 that it couldn’t all have been a fluke. ZiPS absolutely loves Richard Lovelady, but the rest of the bullpen is a big digital yawn. The Trevor Oaks projection isn’t exactly impressive, but I can’t remember the last time ZiPS didn’t actually hate a pitcher with as low a strikeout rate as he is projected to have.

Bench and Prospects

Troubling and not seen in full here is that ZiPS simply projects very few of the hitting prospects in the upper levels of the organization as good bets to be relevant by the time the Royals are good again. It’s essentially Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez. Khalil Lee and Emmanuel Rivera are the only two other offensive prospects on this list for whom ZiPS gives even an over/under of three WAR over their major league careers. Now, it’s not quite as bad as that considering a couple of the names I’m not yet projecting are Seuly Matias and Nick Pratto, but it’s certainly less than ideal for a team that really ought to be 2 1/2 years into a rebuild by now.

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
Whit Merrifield R 30 2B 153 614 81 172 36 4 13 61 44 108 35 9
Adalberto Mondesi B 23 SS 118 437 62 114 22 6 18 58 20 118 39 7
Salvador Perez R 29 C 136 513 55 130 26 1 24 77 18 104 1 1
Nicky Lopez L 24 SS 127 511 60 133 15 5 6 40 43 61 12 6
Billy Hamilton R 28 CF 139 500 74 121 18 7 4 27 42 117 45 10
Alex Gordon L 35 LF 128 443 50 102 19 1 11 44 47 120 9 2
Xavier Fernandez R 23 C 88 318 34 79 17 1 6 30 18 56 3 3
Jorge Soler R 27 RF 90 307 38 76 15 0 13 37 40 107 3 1
Meibrys Viloria L 22 C 113 409 41 91 19 1 7 38 27 104 2 2
Emmanuel Rivera R 23 3B 120 466 50 120 23 5 7 49 23 92 3 6
Ryan O’Hearn L 25 1B 144 509 64 115 29 3 20 67 57 152 2 0
Jecksson Flores R 25 2B 126 460 47 110 22 3 5 37 22 92 16 6
Cheslor Cuthbert R 26 3B 109 377 41 91 18 1 11 40 30 84 1 1
Brian Goodwin L 28 CF 107 340 41 76 17 1 11 40 30 112 9 3
Cam Gallagher R 26 C 97 329 33 74 14 0 5 31 24 54 1 0
Donnie Dewees L 25 CF 132 518 54 119 22 7 7 45 30 111 15 6
Frank Schwindel R 27 1B 136 524 58 134 32 1 17 65 19 92 1 2
Jorge Bonifacio R 26 RF 110 401 51 93 19 2 12 43 38 124 1 1
Brett Phillips L 25 RF 124 439 52 88 15 6 12 46 43 186 10 3
Kelvin Gutierrez R 24 3B 118 460 48 107 16 5 7 39 28 125 12 4
Chris Owings R 27 SS 125 419 49 101 23 4 7 40 24 104 15 5
Kort Peterson L 25 RF 101 365 41 82 19 3 9 39 20 129 7 4
Nick Dini R 25 C 90 317 33 73 14 0 6 28 13 68 6 1
Bubba Starling R 26 CF 86 306 32 61 16 1 7 27 20 106 5 3
Hunter Dozier R 27 3B 135 499 58 113 29 2 15 51 41 160 4 3
Khalil Lee L 21 CF 113 426 51 90 19 4 10 43 46 164 14 13
Erick Mejia B 24 2B 134 530 57 123 22 6 5 42 35 128 22 12
Alex Liddi R 30 1B 107 406 48 89 19 3 17 53 25 146 5 2
Blake Perkins R 22 CF 131 514 63 104 21 2 5 33 64 162 20 11
Chris Owings R 27 RF 123 412 48 99 22 4 7 39 24 103 14 4
Brewer Hicklen R 23 LF 100 384 43 79 16 2 11 39 20 150 21 7
Corey Toups R 26 3B 103 374 42 76 17 2 7 31 33 140 12 3
Humberto Arteaga R 25 3B 125 465 41 108 15 2 4 32 16 88 5 6
Jack Lopez R 26 2B 110 399 38 86 11 2 7 30 15 113 11 6
Taylor Featherston R 29 2B 108 337 36 64 12 3 7 31 23 129 8 2
Ramon Torres B 26 2B 113 431 44 103 17 2 4 31 20 69 10 6
Sebastian Rivero R 20 C 76 287 27 62 12 0 5 24 11 77 0 1
Samir Duenez L 23 1B 112 429 49 98 20 2 12 50 32 113 6 1
Anderson Miller L 25 LF 115 437 43 97 18 3 8 39 27 120 9 5
MJ Melendez L 20 C 106 410 41 76 17 4 13 46 32 184 4 7
Parker Morin L 27 C 58 179 16 35 7 1 2 13 9 49 1 0
D.J. Burt R 23 2B 113 434 47 92 15 5 3 32 43 121 21 11
Terrance Gore R 28 CF 94 216 24 43 3 1 0 9 16 61 26 5
Nick Heath L 25 CF 84 303 30 59 8 2 2 18 27 112 22 9
Manny Olloque R 23 3B 92 332 32 69 14 2 6 30 15 121 4 4
Elier Hernandez R 24 RF 126 481 43 103 23 3 4 38 21 132 6 7

Batters – Rate Stats
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Whit Merrifield .280 .331 .415 105 .135 .323 5.5 6 3.4 Gene Alley
Adalberto Mondesi .261 .295 .462 105 .201 .319 5.6 2 2.7 Cristian Guzman
Salvador Perez .253 .289 .448 100 .195 .275 4.7 6 2.6 Ramon Hernandez
Nicky Lopez .260 .321 .344 85 .084 .286 4.0 4 1.5 Jeff Huson
Billy Hamilton .242 .300 .330 75 .088 .309 4.1 9 1.4 Freddy Guzman
Alex Gordon .230 .317 .352 85 .122 .292 4.0 10 1.1 Derek Bell
Xavier Fernandez .248 .291 .365 80 .116 .285 3.7 2 0.6 Richard Suomi
Jorge Soler .248 .340 .423 110 .176 .337 5.2 -5 0.6 Jeremy Giambi
Meibrys Viloria .222 .277 .325 66 .103 .282 3.1 6 0.5 John Mizerock
Emmanuel Rivera .258 .296 .373 84 .116 .308 3.8 2 0.5 Greg LaRocca
Ryan O’Hearn .226 .307 .413 97 .187 .282 4.5 -2 0.4 Eric Valent
Jecksson Flores .239 .279 .333 68 .093 .289 3.4 7 0.4 Kenny Perez
Cheslor Cuthbert .241 .299 .382 87 .141 .284 4.0 -3 0.3 Bobby Holley
Brian Goodwin .224 .288 .376 82 .153 .300 3.9 -1 0.3 Orsino Hill
Cam Gallagher .225 .279 .313 64 .088 .256 3.1 4 0.3 Drew Butera
Donnie Dewees .230 .276 .340 69 .110 .280 3.3 5 0.2 Joe Mathis
Frank Schwindel .256 .286 .418 91 .162 .282 4.3 1 0.1 Leo Hernandez
Jorge Bonifacio .232 .302 .379 87 .147 .306 4.0 0 0.1 Bill McCarthy
Brett Phillips .200 .275 .344 70 .144 .315 3.3 10 0.1 Brad Snyder
Kelvin Gutierrez .233 .279 .335 69 .102 .305 3.4 4 0.0 Edwin Rodriguez
Chris Owings .241 .283 .365 78 .124 .305 3.8 -5 -0.1 Thomas Manzella
Kort Peterson .225 .285 .367 79 .142 .322 3.6 3 -0.1 Brian Brady
Nick Dini .230 .274 .331 67 .101 .276 3.3 -2 -0.1 Omir Santos
Bubba Starling .199 .255 .327 59 .127 .280 2.8 4 -0.2 John Giudice
Hunter Dozier .226 .285 .383 83 .156 .302 3.8 -7 -0.2 Rey Palacios
Khalil Lee .211 .298 .345 78 .134 .317 3.2 -4 -0.3 Mel Hall
Erick Mejia .232 .281 .325 67 .092 .297 3.2 2 -0.4 Ramon Caraballo
Alex Liddi .219 .267 .406 82 .187 .296 3.8 0 -0.4 John Cotton
Blake Perkins .202 .294 .280 60 .078 .285 2.7 3 -0.6 Tony Miller
Chris Owings .240 .283 .364 78 .124 .305 3.8 -1 -0.6 Drew Anderson
Brewer Hicklen .206 .261 .344 66 .138 .305 3.2 3 -0.6 Wilkin Ramirez
Corey Toups .203 .275 .316 63 .112 .304 3.1 -2 -0.6 Sean Berry
Humberto Arteaga .232 .259 .299 54 .067 .279 2.6 9 -0.6 Jim Scranton
Jack Lopez .216 .250 .306 53 .090 .283 2.6 5 -0.7 Wade Robinson
Taylor Featherston .190 .251 .306 53 .116 .284 2.7 2 -0.7 Chris Petersen
Ramon Torres .239 .273 .316 63 .077 .277 3.0 1 -0.7 Dave Myers
Sebastian Rivero .216 .245 .310 52 .094 .278 2.5 -1 -0.7 Kurt Brown
Samir Duenez .228 .281 .368 78 .140 .283 3.7 -1 -0.8 Alex Hernandez
Anderson Miller .222 .269 .332 65 .110 .288 3.1 4 -0.9 Jonathan Johnson
MJ Melendez .185 .249 .341 61 .156 .296 2.6 -3 -0.9 Brandon Yarbrough
Parker Morin .196 .240 .279 43 .084 .258 2.3 -3 -1.0 Dave Ullery
D.J. Burt .212 .284 .290 60 .078 .287 2.8 -2 -1.1 Adam Davis
Terrance Gore .199 .264 .222 37 .023 .277 2.7 -4 -1.1 Craig Griffey
Nick Heath .195 .261 .254 44 .059 .302 2.4 0 -1.2 Jeff Conger
Manny Olloque .208 .245 .316 54 .108 .307 2.5 -2 -1.3 Mario Ramirez
Elier Hernandez .214 .254 .299 53 .085 .287 2.4 2 -2.1 Rick Bernardo

Pitchers – Counting Stats
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO
Jake Junis R 26 10 10 4.37 29 28 164.7 172 80 26 38 143
Brad Keller R 23 9 9 4.20 43 24 156.3 168 73 15 46 97
Danny Duffy L 30 10 9 4.37 26 26 148.3 151 72 19 51 129
Trevor Oaks R 26 9 9 4.41 25 24 136.7 158 67 13 38 72
Ben Lively R 27 7 8 4.35 25 21 120.0 128 58 14 38 88
Richard Lovelady L 23 4 3 3.52 54 0 71.7 68 28 4 26 59
Jesse Hahn R 29 5 5 4.52 18 17 87.7 92 44 8 38 60
Glenn Sparkman R 27 6 7 4.79 29 19 118.3 139 63 17 27 70
Sam McWilliams R 23 6 8 4.74 23 20 108.3 123 57 12 42 71
Arnaldo Hernandez R 23 7 8 4.95 26 22 120.0 137 66 16 41 69
Nate Karns R 31 3 3 4.57 14 12 69.0 69 35 10 29 65
Jonathan Dziedzic L 28 7 8 4.98 22 22 115.7 132 64 14 44 66
Jason Hammel R 36 7 9 4.83 30 20 123.0 140 66 18 35 91
Heath Fillmyer R 25 6 8 5.09 28 26 138.0 152 78 18 58 85
Brian Flynn L 29 4 4 4.19 42 1 68.7 72 32 6 27 44
Pedro Fernandez R 25 4 4 4.52 33 4 65.7 70 33 6 29 41
Ian Kennedy R 34 7 9 4.99 24 24 128.0 132 71 24 44 106
Jake Kalish L 27 4 5 4.93 30 11 95.0 108 52 12 31 57
Gabe Speier L 24 1 1 4.39 45 1 65.7 71 32 4 28 37
Jake Newberry R 24 4 4 4.33 56 0 62.3 63 30 6 29 46
Tim Hill L 29 2 2 4.33 57 0 54.0 55 26 6 21 45
Wily Peralta R 30 4 5 4.82 40 11 89.7 96 48 11 44 75
Jason Adam R 27 3 3 4.35 46 0 51.7 47 25 7 27 56
Kevin McCarthy R 27 4 5 4.56 64 0 73.0 81 37 9 24 44
Foster Griffin L 23 9 12 5.31 27 26 142.3 168 84 22 52 84
Eric Skoglund L 26 4 6 5.24 21 20 99.7 114 58 17 30 68
Josh Staumont R 25 5 7 5.18 35 14 92.0 84 53 9 80 97
Kyle Zimmer R 27 1 1 4.94 11 4 31.0 32 17 4 16 27
Kevin Lenik R 27 1 1 4.66 31 0 46.3 47 24 4 26 36
Sam Selman L 28 3 3 4.73 37 0 45.7 40 24 4 38 49
Jorge Lopez R 26 6 8 5.11 37 13 98.7 107 56 14 42 77
Scott Barlow R 25 5 8 5.31 25 25 120.3 124 71 20 68 118
Seth Maness R 30 2 2 4.64 33 0 42.7 51 22 6 8 23
Enny Romero L 28 2 3 4.91 44 0 44.0 45 24 6 22 41
Conner Greene R 24 5 6 5.40 36 15 95.0 100 57 6 80 61
Zach Lovvorn R 25 6 9 5.50 27 22 126.0 153 77 17 50 62
Walker Sheller R 24 3 4 5.01 40 0 55.7 63 31 6 25 30
Scott Blewett R 23 6 8 5.55 25 25 136.3 161 84 19 58 73
Michael Ynoa R 27 1 1 5.13 27 0 33.3 34 19 3 22 25
Grant Gavin R 23 1 2 5.05 36 0 51.7 52 29 6 32 46
Yunior Marte R 24 4 4 5.01 42 0 73.7 75 41 8 44 58
Brandon Maurer R 28 4 4 4.91 60 0 58.7 62 32 7 28 49
Blaine Boyer R 37 2 2 5.18 35 0 41.7 47 24 5 18 27
Chris Ellis R 26 4 7 5.62 20 15 81.7 92 51 14 41 64
Burch Smith R 29 3 4 5.58 32 7 69.3 74 43 11 38 60
Kyle Lohse R 40 5 9 5.62 23 18 112.0 132 70 21 35 67
Andres Machado R 26 4 6 5.82 33 13 85.0 100 55 14 40 56
Ofreidy Gomez R 23 6 10 5.82 27 21 123.7 148 80 18 65 67
Gerson Garabito R 23 5 8 6.12 24 24 114.7 131 78 19 72 70

Pitchers – Rate Stats
Player TBF K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA+ ERA- FIP WAR No. 1 Comp
Jake Junis 704 7.82 2.08 1.42 .301 98 102 4.38 2.0 Ed Lynch
Brad Keller 675 5.58 2.65 0.86 .299 99 101 4.14 1.9 Lindy McDaniel
Danny Duffy 642 7.83 3.09 1.15 .302 98 102 4.23 1.8 Kent Mercker
Trevor Oaks 602 4.74 2.50 0.86 .307 94 106 4.32 1.4 Jack Russell
Ben Lively 524 6.60 2.85 1.05 .302 96 104 4.33 1.3 Howie Fox
Richard Lovelady 308 7.41 3.27 0.50 .298 122 82 3.48 1.1 Pat Clements
Jesse Hahn 390 6.16 3.90 0.82 .300 95 105 4.40 0.9 Don Schwall
Glenn Sparkman 517 5.32 2.05 1.29 .307 90 111 4.67 0.9 John Doherty
Sam McWilliams 488 5.90 3.49 1.00 .312 88 114 4.64 0.8 Mark Cahill
Arnaldo Hernandez 535 5.18 3.08 1.20 .301 87 115 4.93 0.7 Michael Macdonald
Nate Karns 302 8.48 3.78 1.30 .301 94 106 4.50 0.7 Ryan Glynn
Jonathan Dziedzic 519 5.14 3.42 1.09 .303 86 116 4.88 0.7 Jimmy Anderson
Jason Hammel 540 6.66 2.56 1.32 .312 86 116 4.55 0.6 Mickey Weston
Heath Fillmyer 620 5.54 3.78 1.17 .296 85 118 5.03 0.6 Steve Falteisek
Brian Flynn 302 5.77 3.54 0.79 .297 103 97 4.32 0.6 Tom Burgmeier
Pedro Fernandez 295 5.62 3.97 0.82 .298 95 105 4.60 0.5 Jim McDonald
Ian Kennedy 556 7.45 3.09 1.69 .286 83 120 5.08 0.5 Dennis Springer
Jake Kalish 422 5.40 2.94 1.14 .304 87 115 4.76 0.5 Pat Clements
Gabe Speier 295 5.07 3.84 0.55 .302 98 102 4.28 0.4 Mike Cosgrove
Jake Newberry 277 6.64 4.19 0.87 .295 99 101 4.47 0.4 Hal Reniff
Tim Hill 237 7.50 3.50 1.00 .302 99 101 4.26 0.4 Todd Rizzo
Wily Peralta 405 7.53 4.42 1.10 .313 86 116 4.64 0.3 Blue Moon Odom
Jason Adam 230 9.75 4.70 1.22 .294 99 101 4.54 0.3 Bryce Florie
Kevin McCarthy 321 5.42 2.96 1.11 .299 94 106 4.66 0.3 Lew Burdette
Foster Griffin 643 5.31 3.29 1.39 .306 81 123 5.24 0.3 Jason Dickson
Eric Skoglund 441 6.14 2.71 1.54 .303 82 122 5.09 0.3 Eric Knott
Josh Staumont 440 9.49 7.83 0.88 .302 83 121 5.12 0.2 Chad Reineke
Kyle Zimmer 141 7.84 4.65 1.16 .304 87 115 4.83 0.1 Lou Kretlow
Kevin Lenik 211 6.99 5.05 0.78 .303 92 108 4.60 0.1 Ken Wright
Sam Selman 215 9.66 7.49 0.79 .298 91 110 4.84 0.1 Mike Kinnunen
Jorge Lopez 443 7.02 3.83 1.28 .305 82 123 4.86 0.1 Tim Crabtree
Scott Barlow 552 8.83 5.09 1.50 .307 79 127 5.22 0.1 Elvin Nina
Seth Maness 184 4.85 1.69 1.27 .308 90 111 4.53 0.1 Tony Arnold
Enny Romero 197 8.39 4.50 1.23 .307 88 114 4.63 0.0 Joey Long
Conner Greene 463 5.78 7.58 0.57 .303 80 126 5.40 0.0 Walt Masterson
Zach Lovvorn 577 4.43 3.57 1.21 .308 78 128 5.28 0.0 Mark Cahill
Walker Sheller 253 4.85 4.04 0.97 .302 86 117 4.98 -0.1 Bob Miller
Scott Blewett 625 4.82 3.83 1.25 .304 78 129 5.34 -0.1 Frank Castillo
Michael Ynoa 157 6.75 5.94 0.81 .301 84 119 5.16 -0.1 Ken Wright
Grant Gavin 238 8.01 5.57 1.05 .305 85 117 4.91 -0.1 Pete Sikaras
Yunior Marte 338 7.09 5.38 0.98 .299 86 116 4.94 -0.1 Joe Hudson
Brandon Maurer 264 7.52 4.30 1.07 .309 85 118 4.56 -0.1 Jose Segura
Blaine Boyer 188 5.83 3.89 1.08 .307 83 121 4.78 -0.1 Bob Scanlan
Chris Ellis 379 7.05 4.52 1.54 .308 76 132 5.57 -0.1 Mark Woodyard
Burch Smith 318 7.79 4.93 1.43 .306 75 134 5.26 -0.3 Marty McLeary
Kyle Lohse 498 5.38 2.81 1.69 .299 74 135 5.44 -0.4 Ed Riley
Andres Machado 393 5.93 4.24 1.48 .309 74 135 5.56 -0.4 Mark Woodyard
Ofreidy Gomez 582 4.88 4.73 1.31 .307 74 135 5.73 -0.5 Clint Sodowsky
Gerson Garabito 545 5.49 5.65 1.49 .297 70 142 6.15 -0.8 Jake Robbins

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 – Kansas City Royals by Dan Szymborski!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




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.

newest oldest most voted
Trey Baughn
Member
Member
Trey Baughn

The aggregate OBP of this team could be historically bad.

Jetsy Extrano
Member
Jetsy Extrano

Pretty amazing when two of their three *best* hitters are sub-.300 OBP.