2021 ZiPS Projections: San Francisco Giants

After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for nine years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the San Francisco Giants.

Batters

There have been many unpleasant stories in baseball over the last year, but Mike Yastrzemski’s tale is one of the exceptions. Never really considered a prospect — not even close enough to the fringe for a legendary last name to get him undeserved chances — Yastrzemski had to sweat out his opportunities the old-fashioned way, slowly improving his game in the minors. Hard work can always use a bit of good fortune, and Little Yaz got it when the Orioles traded him to the Giants, a team that has generally needed two or three starting outfielders. The best defensive corner outfielder in the minors in 2017-2018 according to the Gameday-based coordinate system ZiPS uses for minor league defense, he hit enough to earn a starting job in 2019. 2020 saw Yastrzemski get MVP votes, and if there had been an All-Star Game, he likely would have added that accolade as well. There’s a real disagreement between ZiPS and Steamer over just how good he is — ZiPS projects him for a 120 OPS+ while Steamer foresees a more modest 101 wRC+ — but he’s a real major leaguer and one of the few current starters who seems likely to be on the team in a few years.

But what will the Giants look like in a few years? The crystal ball is rather foggy on this point. While San Francisco has been surprisingly competitive the last two seasons, flirting with playoff contention both times, it hasn’t actually been a good team. Ownership not blowing up the entire organization has given the franchise breathing room to improve from the 2017 nadir, but it’s still hard to see a lot of short-term upside. There are more adequate starters in the lineup than a couple of years ago, but the offense remains very, very old. Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, and Brandon Crawford all project to still have their moments, but they’re the past, not the future.

Short of a huge spending spree, the offense’s future rests largely on the team’s much improved but top-heavy farm system. The problem is none of the young hitters are really finished products at this point, even the well-considered Joey Bart. Heliot Ramos is very young and talented, but he’s lost a year and has yet to master Double-A pitchers. Marco Luciano could quickly burst through the upper minors, but it’s likely going to be a few years. Bart’s 2019 performance was likely suppressed by a hand injury, but 2020 didn’t wipe away the worries; even as a young hitter skipping levels and with limited professional experience, you don’t want to see a 23-year-old rookie strike out 41 times against just three walks in 111 plate appearances. Not to be too doom-and-gloom, but he would be far from the first hot young catching prospect to break your heart.

Can the Giants make some big signings and contend for a Wild Card spot? Absolutely. There hasn’t been much buzz connecting the Giants with George Springer or DJ LeMahieu, but if they sign, say, Marcell Ozuna and improve the depth in the rotation, they could win 85 games or so, enough to be interesting. I just don’t think their talent is likely to be deep enough to make this roster a consistent winner until possible reinforcements from the minors.

Pitchers

On my list of projections coming into 2020 that had the potential to come back to haunt me was forecasting Kevin Gausman a better pitcher over the next five years than Madison Bumgarner. But for season one at least, that projection didn’t bite me on the rear as Bumgarner apparently misplaced his velocity on the drive down I-5. It would have been tempting to use Gausman in the bullpen due to his fairly narrow repertoire and his success in that role with the Reds in 2019 after struggling as a starter. But the upside was always reliant on him being in the rotation, and the team needed that upside given its shallowness there. This was a gamble that worked out well as Gausman had a terrific 2020 campaign, besting his career strikeout rate as a starter by 50% and even finding velocity that had been missing for years. Back on a Qualifying Offer that benefits both Gausman and the Giants, I’m comfortable saying I rather have Gausman than Bumgarner at this point, even if their contracts were identical, and their contracts are not.

Gausman had an exciting 2020, but sadly the rest of the pitching staff isn’t nearly as fascinating. Johnny Cueto hasn’t been healthy or good since 2016, and even if he can maintain, say, a 96 ERA+, I’m not banking on him matching the 184 innings he’s projected for in our depth chart. That said, ZiPS is optimistic about Logan Webb, who had a 5.47 ERA in his first “full” season in the majors but was dragged down by a .345 BABIP, which ought to improve significantly going forward. If ZiPS is anything to go by, the Giants ought to be fast-tracking Sean Hjelle; his stuff doesn’t match his towering presence (6-foot-11), but that kind of pitcher can thrive in Oracle Park. I personally think the Giants made a mistake in non-tending Tyler Anderson; it’s not that Anderson’s a top pitcher, but he’s a perfect fit on a club trying to make a low-upside playoff run.

The bullpen’s -0.6 WAR in 2020 was the worst showing by a San Francisco relief corps since the 1996 team that had little more than Rod Beck and Jose Bautista for the late innings. The Giants will be better than that in 2021, but based on their current roster, it will not be a major source of value for the team. Most of the relievers project with an ERA+ better than 100, but all are perilously close to that line, with Reyes Moronta’s 114 being rather weak for the best projection for a team.

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

Batters – Standard
Player B Age PO PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Mike Yastrzemski L 30 LF 550 488 76 129 28 5 22 78 52 138 5 4
Brandon Belt L 33 1B 469 401 56 98 23 2 15 58 64 108 2 1
Buster Posey R 34 C 450 407 43 109 21 1 6 45 37 65 2 1
Austin Slater R 28 RF 452 393 56 101 20 3 12 51 48 116 13 3
Wilmer Flores R 29 2B 460 427 52 117 25 1 16 65 24 62 1 0
Mauricio Dubón R 26 2B 565 524 62 136 21 2 12 55 32 98 12 8
Brandon Crawford L 34 SS 506 457 53 109 23 1 12 62 39 112 3 4
Evan Longoria R 35 3B 498 457 52 113 22 2 14 65 30 96 2 2
Donovan Solano R 33 2B 413 389 40 109 22 1 4 41 18 72 1 0
Daniel Robertson R 27 3B 333 289 37 68 12 1 5 29 35 80 2 2
Alex Dickerson L 31 LF 349 315 46 82 17 3 11 49 26 68 1 0
Jason Vosler L 27 3B 491 441 55 98 19 3 14 54 39 139 1 1
Joey Bart R 24 C 364 339 40 79 14 4 10 36 15 109 2 3
Zack Cozart R 35 3B 332 298 36 71 14 3 6 33 25 53 1 0
Justin Smoak B 34 1B 464 403 47 86 20 0 16 61 55 121 0 0
Joey Rickard R 30 LF 379 343 39 80 18 2 6 31 28 82 5 2
Cristhian Adames B 29 3B 399 363 40 87 17 4 7 40 29 76 3 3
Luis Alexander Basabe B 24 CF 415 369 45 77 13 4 7 33 38 141 14 8
Steven Duggar L 27 CF 389 355 40 83 20 3 6 39 30 118 8 5
Jason Krizan L 32 2B 436 397 43 96 22 2 8 46 35 65 2 1
Mitchell Tolman L 27 2B 463 407 45 81 15 2 6 37 44 137 8 5
Darin Ruf 러프 R 34 RF 472 427 50 99 21 0 16 61 37 124 2 1
Chadwick Tromp R 26 C 255 235 31 52 8 0 8 29 15 64 0 1
Chris Herrmann L 33 C 233 207 25 41 7 1 5 24 23 72 1 0
Jaylin Davis R 26 RF 502 462 54 102 17 2 16 52 32 163 7 4
Drew Robinson L 29 CF 362 321 39 63 13 2 10 34 37 131 8 5
Brandon Guyer R 35 RF 233 204 23 42 9 1 4 20 14 50 1 1
Heliot Ramos R 21 CF 528 481 55 107 21 3 16 57 36 179 7 14
Jose Siri R 25 CF 512 473 49 94 15 6 11 52 31 200 24 8
Vince Fernandez L 25 LF 424 376 44 66 14 3 13 40 42 193 5 6
David Villar R 24 3B 497 455 47 86 19 1 11 47 31 177 2 1
Hunter Pence R 38 LF 295 275 31 58 9 2 9 38 17 73 3 1
Ryan Howard R 26 SS 540 505 47 118 21 2 6 45 25 95 7 3
Sandro Fabian R 23 RF 421 385 41 79 13 3 9 40 24 107 4 2
Jacob Heyward R 25 LF 477 410 45 69 15 0 9 38 59 178 7 7
Fabian Pena R 24 C 242 224 21 44 13 0 6 26 12 55 2 2
Bryce Johnson B 25 RF 527 476 49 100 16 4 3 34 42 154 21 12
Heath Quinn R 26 RF 397 359 35 68 13 1 8 34 32 144 2 1

Batters – Advanced
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Mike Yastrzemski .264 .341 .477 120 .213 .326 5.9 4 3.2 John Rodriguez
Brandon Belt .244 .350 .424 110 .180 .299 5.3 5 2.3 Richie Hebner
Buster Posey .268 .333 .369 91 .101 .307 4.5 2 2.0 Earl Battey
Austin Slater .257 .348 .415 107 .158 .336 5.4 1 1.9 Ryan Spilborghs
Wilmer Flores .274 .315 .450 105 .176 .289 5.3 -4 1.7 Tracy Woodson
Mauricio Dubón .260 .304 .376 84 .116 .300 4.1 6 1.7 Greg Legg
Brandon Crawford .239 .302 .372 83 .133 .291 3.9 2 1.2 Leo Cardenas
Evan Longoria .247 .297 .396 87 .149 .285 4.2 2 1.2 Rich Aurilia
Donovan Solano .280 .315 .373 87 .093 .335 4.4 1 1.1 Freddy Sanchez
Daniel Robertson .235 .333 .336 84 .100 .309 3.9 2 1.0 Mark Naehring
Alex Dickerson .260 .324 .438 105 .178 .301 5.2 -2 0.9 Dave Clark
Jason Vosler .222 .293 .374 80 .152 .292 3.8 1 0.9 Wayne Garrett
Joey Bart .233 .283 .386 80 .153 .314 3.7 -1 0.7 Kelly Stinnett
Zack Cozart .238 .304 .366 82 .128 .272 4.0 0 0.6 Spike Owen
Justin Smoak .213 .313 .382 88 .169 .263 4.1 0 0.5 Roy Smalley
Joey Rickard .233 .299 .350 76 .117 .290 3.7 5 0.4 Ira Smith
Cristhian Adames .240 .294 .366 79 .127 .286 3.7 0 0.4 Eddie Pye
Luis Alexander Basabe .209 .285 .322 65 .114 .317 3.1 4 0.3 Brad Snyder 스나이더
Steven Duggar .234 .296 .358 77 .124 .333 3.7 -1 0.2 Cesar Geronimo
Jason Krizan .242 .302 .368 81 .126 .272 4.0 -6 0.2 P.J. Forbes
Mitchell Tolman .199 .283 .290 57 .091 .284 2.7 7 0.2 Nate Frese
Darin Ruf .232 .301 .393 87 .162 .289 4.2 -3 0.2 Eddie Williams 윌리엄스
Chadwick Tromp .221 .271 .357 69 .136 .270 3.3 0 0.2 Dann Bilardello
Chris Herrmann .198 .280 .314 62 .116 .277 3.0 0 0.1 Jerry Goff
Jaylin Davis .221 .279 .370 75 .149 .304 3.6 4 0.0 Wil Culmer
Drew Robinson .196 .280 .343 69 .146 .294 3.2 0 0.0 Kevin Koslofski
Brandon Guyer .206 .297 .319 68 .113 .253 3.2 0 -0.3 Mike Devereaux
Heliot Ramos .222 .286 .378 79 .156 .318 3.3 -7 -0.5 Pedro Munoz
Jose Siri .199 .250 .326 55 .127 .317 2.9 2 -0.6 Luis Terrero
Vince Fernandez .176 .265 .332 61 .157 .312 2.7 5 -0.6 Juan Williams
David Villar .189 .247 .308 50 .119 .281 2.5 5 -0.7 Tom Schmidt
Hunter Pence .211 .261 .356 66 .145 .254 3.2 -2 -0.7 Gerald Williams
Ryan A. Howard .234 .272 .319 60 .085 .277 3.1 -4 -0.7 Dave Myers
Sandro Fabian .205 .264 .325 59 .119 .260 2.9 3 -0.8 Kris Harvey
Jacob Heyward .168 .281 .271 52 .102 .269 2.3 3 -1.2 Alex Miranda
Fabian Pena .196 .242 .335 55 .138 .233 2.6 -12 -1.5 Jeff Winchester
Bryce Johnson .210 .280 .279 54 .069 .304 2.6 2 -1.5 Cornelio Garcia
Heath Quinn .189 .262 .298 52 .109 .290 2.6 -5 -1.8 Simon Klink

Pitchers – Standard
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO FIP
Kevin Gausman R 30 10 7 3.93 27 26 151.3 142 66 19 41 160 3.61
Logan Webb R 24 7 6 4.00 26 23 117.0 115 52 12 41 104 3.99
Sean Hjelle R 24 9 8 4.25 29 29 142.0 145 67 16 45 109 4.21
Matt Wisler R 28 5 4 4.21 40 13 94.0 93 44 13 27 94 3.94
Tyler Anderson L 31 6 6 4.67 24 23 121.3 120 63 20 41 109 4.64
Trevor Cahill R 33 6 5 4.29 25 14 84.0 78 40 10 35 79 4.28
Anthony Banda L 27 5 4 4.26 18 12 74.0 72 35 9 30 69 4.27
Rico Garcia R 27 7 7 4.61 27 19 105.3 109 54 15 44 92 4.71
Johnny Cueto R 35 5 5 4.66 18 18 100.3 102 52 16 31 85 4.64
Tyler Rogers R 30 5 4 3.71 62 1 70.3 68 29 5 26 56 3.83
Conner Menez L 26 6 6 4.74 29 22 114.0 106 60 18 59 121 4.82
Andrew Suárez L 28 7 7 4.69 29 17 113.3 120 59 16 38 85 4.63
Tyler Beede R 28 8 9 4.85 28 22 120.7 120 65 18 57 120 4.70
Matt Frisbee R 24 7 7 4.70 22 15 90.0 91 47 13 34 73 4.74
Tristan Beck R 25 3 3 4.39 12 12 55.3 53 27 6 27 51 4.37
Jeff Samardzija R 36 7 7 4.88 20 20 110.7 112 60 20 30 89 4.84
Reyes Moronta R 28 5 3 3.70 59 0 56.0 43 23 6 34 71 3.97
Shaun Anderson R 26 5 5 4.85 35 19 111.3 117 60 17 41 94 4.72
Melvin Adon R 27 4 4 4.71 33 9 70.7 68 37 7 44 67 4.61
Tyson Ross R 34 4 5 5.03 16 13 77.0 78 43 11 34 60 5.00
Sam Selman L 30 3 3 4.10 49 0 52.7 41 24 6 30 65 4.07
Trevor Gott R 28 3 3 4.11 47 0 46.0 42 21 6 19 46 4.31
Enderson Franco R 28 6 7 5.15 27 20 110.0 121 63 19 40 86 5.12
Wandy Peralta L 29 3 2 4.14 64 0 58.7 57 27 5 24 49 3.95
Tony Watson L 36 3 2 4.18 54 0 47.3 47 22 6 14 38 4.30
Sam Coonrod R 28 3 3 4.19 61 0 53.7 48 25 5 28 53 4.26
Silvino Bracho R 28 2 2 4.24 38 0 40.3 37 19 6 15 44 4.27
Jarlin García L 28 4 4 4.74 50 5 68.3 67 36 11 25 53 4.95
Dedniel Núñez R 25 3 4 5.25 14 12 61.7 63 36 10 28 56 5.03
Trenton Toplikar R 25 4 4 5.25 18 13 70.3 75 41 9 38 48 5.27
Sam Wolff R 30 3 3 4.43 34 0 40.7 37 20 6 20 45 4.51
Dominic Leone R 29 1 1 4.45 54 0 56.7 51 28 8 27 64 4.24
Sam Long L 25 4 5 5.23 24 10 63.7 67 37 9 29 45 5.16
Caleb Baragar L 27 5 6 5.33 33 17 96.3 100 57 16 43 79 5.22
Aaron Phillips R 24 7 9 5.42 25 21 108.0 118 65 19 45 80 5.40
Frank Rubio R 26 3 3 4.65 44 0 60.0 63 31 8 23 43 4.83
Daniel Alvarez R 25 4 4 4.72 47 0 55.3 53 29 8 27 52 4.81
Yunior Marte R 26 3 3 4.74 47 0 68.3 66 36 9 41 66 4.94
Ronnie Williams R 25 4 4 4.89 45 0 57.0 56 31 6 37 50 4.90
Camilo Doval R 23 3 3 5.21 41 0 48.3 44 28 6 38 48 5.35
Raffi Vizcaíno R 25 3 5 5.84 35 6 61.7 60 40 9 51 59 5.84

Pitchers – Advanced
Player K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BB% K% BABIP ERA+ ERA- WAR No. 1 Comp
Kevin Gausman 9.5 2.4 1.1 6.5% 25.3% .302 107 93 2.5 Moose Haas
Logan Webb 8.0 3.2 0.9 8.1% 20.5% .301 105 95 1.8 Jake Westbrook
Sean Hjelle 6.9 2.9 1.0 7.4% 17.8% .297 99 101 1.8 Larry Christenson
Matt Wisler 9.0 2.6 1.2 6.8% 23.6% .305 100 100 1.0 Tony Arnold
Tyler Anderson 8.1 3.0 1.5 7.9% 21.0% .289 90 111 1.0 Kent Mercker
Trevor Cahill 8.5 3.8 1.1 9.6% 21.7% .289 98 102 1.0 Bruce Dal Canton
Anthony Banda 8.4 3.6 1.1 9.3% 21.4% .299 99 101 0.9 Andy Hassler
Rico Garcia 7.9 3.8 1.3 9.4% 19.7% .303 91 110 0.8 Erv Palica
Johnny Cueto 7.6 2.8 1.4 7.2% 19.7% .292 90 111 0.8 Bob Milacki
Tyler Rogers 7.2 3.3 0.6 8.5% 18.4% .296 113 88 0.8 Dick Hyde
Conner Menez 9.6 4.7 1.4 11.7% 24.0% .292 89 113 0.7 Zane Smith
Andrew Suárez 6.8 3.0 1.3 7.7% 17.2% .297 90 112 0.7 Wade Blasingame
Tyler Beede 9.0 4.3 1.3 10.6% 22.3% .304 87 115 0.7 Don Black
Matt Frisbee 7.3 3.4 1.3 8.7% 18.6% .291 89 112 0.6 Lew Krausse
Tristan Beck 8.3 4.4 1.0 11.0% 20.8% .297 96 105 0.6 Blue Moon Odom
Jeff Samardzija 7.2 2.4 1.6 6.4% 18.9% .281 86 116 0.6 Bob Forsch
Reyes Moronta 11.4 5.5 1.0 13.9% 29.1% .282 114 88 0.6 Mark Acre
Shaun Anderson 7.6 3.3 1.4 8.4% 19.2% .301 87 116 0.5 Howie Fox
Melvin Adon 8.5 5.6 0.9 13.6% 20.7% .303 89 112 0.3 Barry Hertzler
Tyson Ross 7.0 4.0 1.3 9.9% 17.5% .289 84 120 0.3 Ray Moore
Sam Selman 11.1 5.1 1.0 13.1% 28.4% .280 102 98 0.2 Jeremy Affeldt
Trevor Gott 9.0 3.7 1.2 9.5% 23.1% .288 102 98 0.2 Greg Minton
Enderson Franco 7.0 3.3 1.6 8.2% 17.6% .302 81 123 0.2 Pat Ahearne
Wandy Peralta 7.5 3.7 0.8 9.4% 19.2% .297 101 99 0.2 Jim Roland
Tony Watson 7.2 2.7 1.1 6.9% 18.8% .291 100 100 0.2 Joe Grzenda
Sam Coonrod 8.9 4.7 0.8 11.8% 22.3% .293 100 100 0.2 Horacio Pina
Silvino Bracho 9.8 3.3 1.3 8.7% 25.4% .295 99 101 0.1 Brian Edmondson
Jarlin García 7.0 3.3 1.4 8.5% 18.0% .276 89 113 0.1 Fred Scherman
Dedniel Núñez 8.2 4.1 1.5 10.1% 20.3% .298 80 125 0.1 Melqui Torres 토레스
Trenton Toplikar 6.1 4.9 1.2 11.8% 14.9% .296 80 125 0.1 Mike Torrez
Sam Wolff 10.0 4.4 1.3 11.2% 25.3% .295 95 105 0.0 Michael Bumstead
Dominic Leone 10.2 4.3 1.3 11.0% 26.1% .297 94 106 0.0 Ruddy Lugo
Sam Long 6.4 4.1 1.3 10.1% 15.7% .291 80 125 0.0 Ted Bowsfield
Caleb Baragar 7.4 4.0 1.5 10.0% 18.3% .293 79 127 -0.1 Rich Rundles
Aaron Phillips 6.7 3.8 1.6 9.3% 16.5% .296 78 129 -0.1 Mark Cahill
Frank Rubio 6.5 3.5 1.2 8.7% 16.2% .294 90 111 -0.1 Scott Rose
Daniel Alvarez 8.5 4.4 1.3 11.0% 21.2% .290 89 112 -0.2 Scott Munter
Yunior Marte 8.7 5.4 1.2 13.2% 21.2% .298 89 113 -0.2 Joe Hudson
Ronnie Williams 7.9 5.8 0.9 14.1% 19.0% .299 86 117 -0.3 Lloyd Allen
Camilo Doval 8.9 7.1 1.1 16.7% 21.1% .288 81 124 -0.5 Jake Robbins
Raffi Vizcaíno 8.6 7.4 1.3 17.2% 19.9% .295 72 139 -0.6 Ken Wright

Players are listed with their most recent teams wherever possible. This includes players who are unsigned, players who will miss 2021 due to injury, and players who were released in 2020. So yes, if you see Joe Schmoe, who quit baseball back in August to form a Finnish industrial death metal fourth-wave ska J-pop band, he’s still listed here intentionally.

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 the 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. ZiPS is assuming that the designated hitter will continue in force in 2021; if it does not, there will be widespread minor adjustments across the board come April.

ZiPS is agnostic about future playing time by design. For more information about ZiPS, please refer to this article, or get angry at Dan on Twitter or something.





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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hombremomento
Member
hombremomento

Hey, what gives? Boats doesn’t have a WAR projection!

Beer
Member

If Boats is a pitcher, then look under the projection for Samardzija.

Nats Fan
Member
Member
Nats Fan

Boats will be catching a lot of balls this season when the dodgers and Padres are in town.