2022 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 a decade. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Boston Red Sox.

Batters

By winning 92 games, the Red Sox comfortably exceeded most expectations for the team in 2021. How do they do it again? There’s a path available, though not all the elements are in the organization right now.

The part Boston already has sorted is the offensive players who did the most to push the team to fourth in the American League in runs scored. Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Enrique Hernández are back, and there’s no reason to expect any kind of decline from the first two, while Hernández isn’t remotely in the steep decline phase yet. Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, and the catcher tandem are projected to give roughly league-average performances, hardly surprising results. There may be some grumbling about JDM’s projection, but even if ZiPS can mostly overlook his mess of a 2020 — wouldn’t it be nice if we could all forget that year? — it can’t forget that he’s also a 34-year-old designated hitter. Yes, David Ortiz aged incredibly well (and ZiPS was weirdly optimistic he would), but most players of the type do not. Martinez shouldn’t be a problem in 2022, but the day when that will become likely is coming.

The weakest parts of the lineup, at least if you agree with the projections, are apparent: center field, left field, and first base. Yes, Jackie Bradley Jr. had a terrific short 2020 (ZiPS saw that season as a drastic over-performance of his peripheral data from that campaign), but before that season, it looked like he was in steady decline, and he was abysmal for the Brewers last year. Bobby Dalbec has flashed considerable power at first base, but there’s just not much else there. And if you’re going to be competitive as a one-dimensional hitter at first, that dimension better be universe-shaking, not just merely good. If the Red Sox don’t make a short-term move here, I hope Triston Casas is called up very quickly if he’s hitting in Triple-A; ZiPS isn’t projecting him to be amazing, but his upside is much higher than Dalbec’s.

I’m less worried about the hole in left, because while I can imagine the Red Sox just rolling with JBJ and Dalbec, I don’t believe that they’d actually enter the season with Jarren Duran and Christin Stewart getting the at-bats in left. Honestly, I think they’d put Hernández out there and start Christian Arroyo at second before doing that. This is one place I expect them to be active when the offseason resumes, and I’ll be very disappointed if they are not.

There’s not much excitement in the high minors here, and the bench is a little light, though that’s another place I expect the Red Sox to make some low-key additions.

Pitchers

One of the keys to the Red Sox exceeding expectations in 2021 was the rotation’s health. With only Nick Pivetta spared some kind of significant injury history, the ability of the team to use their desired starting pitchers was easily the most significant source of variation in Boston’s preseason projections. In the simulations where they got lucky with the health of pitchers like Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Richards, and Chris Sale, the Red Sox frequently won around 90 games. When they didn’t, the organization’s lack of impact high-level arms caused the wheels to come off very quickly.

In 2021, the team got the health they needed. Only seven pitchers received multiple starts for Boston, and while not all of them were great, the rotation was stable. And it was enough. But it’s a hard thing to count on for a second straight season; my cats don’t push a glass balanced on the edge of the counter to the kitchen floor every time, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to entrust them with the care of those glasses. James Paxton was a fun pickup, but he’s yet another pitcher with an injury history. The projections are more stable this year because ZiPS is simply more sold on some of the backup plans, but it still would be nice if the Red Sox had another durable pitcher on the roster.

Another element of Boston’s 2021 success was a very solid bullpen, and that’s one thing ZiPS sees persisting into the coming season. A lot of the pitchers on the team improved their long-term projected outlook (Garrett Whitlock, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor), and while no one gets the kind of dominating projection to put them in elite territory, there’s a lot of very good performance expected from bow to almost stern. Perhaps an additional arm at the back of the rotation would help, but with the Red Sox accumulating a lot of maybe-healthy starting pitchers, they may have one or two of those names to fatten the relief corps in a swing role.

I’m calling the Red Sox for mid-80s wins as of right now, but I think they’ll likely add two or three wins in left, and either something more creative in center or another workhorse starter before it’s all said and done.

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
Rafael Devers L 25 3B 672 607 107 172 41 2 37 116 57 141 6 5
Xander Bogaerts R 29 SS 622 550 88 158 38 1 26 89 62 113 7 1
Enrique Hernández R 30 2B 540 477 75 126 28 3 22 67 50 105 2 0
Kyle Schwarber L 29 LF 497 424 72 109 23 2 30 81 66 130 2 2
Alex Verdugo L 26 LF 568 514 76 150 33 2 13 57 46 89 7 2
J.D. Martinez R 34 LF 591 527 78 143 32 2 25 86 55 136 1 0
José Iglesias R 32 SS 510 482 58 138 32 3 7 54 19 67 6 3
Christian Vazquez R 31 C 486 448 52 116 22 1 11 50 31 87 6 4
Yairo Muñoz R 27 3B 385 359 43 102 20 2 8 36 19 68 12 4
David Hamilton L 24 SS 481 445 48 102 21 4 8 35 32 108 33 5
Bobby Dalbec R 27 1B 489 438 56 100 20 3 25 71 39 172 3 1
Triston Casas L 22 1B 433 385 58 97 19 2 16 51 39 101 5 2
Christian Arroyo R 27 2B 222 203 26 51 12 1 7 28 12 52 2 0
Jarren Duran L 25 CF 481 443 55 113 19 5 11 41 30 122 22 6
Jonathan Araúz B 23 2B 401 359 51 84 17 1 10 42 33 81 2 1
Travis Shaw L 32 3B 363 316 36 70 16 0 13 48 40 94 1 1
Christin Stewart L 28 RF 439 393 48 96 22 3 20 68 37 116 1 1
Christian Koss R 24 SS 457 422 49 102 19 3 10 40 25 100 7 3
Rob Refsnyder R 31 CF 274 245 33 62 14 1 6 28 25 69 1 1
Kevin Plawecki R 31 C 183 164 17 42 10 1 3 19 14 31 0 0
Jackie Bradley Jr. L 32 CF 458 410 53 90 24 3 10 44 35 128 8 2
Danny Santana B 31 1B 391 360 52 89 19 4 16 50 23 110 13 5
Connor Wong R 26 C 351 328 38 74 16 3 12 41 19 122 7 2
Chad De La Guerra L 29 3B 231 212 24 48 11 1 7 21 17 68 4 1
Taylor Motter R 32 3B 326 289 37 63 14 2 11 35 32 81 2 2
Ronaldo Hernández R 24 C 423 397 44 95 21 2 12 47 15 87 2 1
Joey Meneses R 30 RF 416 382 49 97 20 1 12 49 26 92 0 0
Ryan Fitzgerald L 28 SS 438 402 45 93 20 3 9 41 28 107 4 5
Franchy Cordero L 27 LF 428 389 57 92 23 3 12 50 35 137 9 2
Jack López R 29 2B 338 310 41 75 14 1 7 32 17 80 10 2
Nick Sogard B 24 2B 352 317 37 76 12 1 7 29 25 72 8 4
Jeter Downs R 23 SS 454 409 51 87 18 2 14 45 32 130 17 4
Grant Williams L 26 2B 368 343 33 85 15 2 3 24 18 48 7 6
Ricardo Cubillan B 24 2B 101 89 10 19 3 1 1 5 10 24 1 1
Michael Gettys R 26 CF 412 379 46 76 20 3 14 50 24 149 10 4
Chris Herrmann L 34 C 166 147 17 31 6 1 4 16 16 51 0 0
Cameron Cannon R 24 2B 427 402 49 99 24 1 8 39 18 70 5 3
Josh Ockimey L 26 1B 402 343 51 71 15 1 15 44 51 136 0 1
Jett Bandy R 32 C 198 180 21 38 7 0 6 19 10 54 0 1
Jeremy Rivera B 27 SS 329 305 31 71 11 1 5 21 18 74 6 2
Devlin Granberg R 26 RF 443 407 52 100 21 2 10 44 24 96 4 2
Hudson Potts R 23 3B 381 350 39 77 16 1 10 37 19 118 0 0
Kole Cottam R 25 C 302 271 30 57 14 1 7 26 22 98 0 1
Johan Mieses R 26 RF 387 350 42 74 13 1 14 43 27 105 3 1
Pedro Castellanos R 24 LF 439 403 49 100 19 1 10 42 23 86 4 5
Tyreque Reed R 25 1B 403 362 47 79 19 0 12 42 31 125 2 2
Tanner Nishioka R 27 2B 234 213 23 47 11 0 4 20 11 72 2 1
Tate Matheny R 28 RF 316 293 32 61 13 1 7 28 19 109 7 3
Wil Dalton R 24 RF 369 340 39 62 13 1 9 33 24 110 2 2
Jeisson Rosario L 22 CF 452 404 59 88 16 2 6 34 41 122 9 5

Batters – Advanced
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Rafael Devers .283 .348 .540 131 .257 .315 7.0 -7 3.7 Eric Chavez
Xander Bogaerts .287 .360 .502 125 .215 .321 6.9 -6 3.6 Ken McMullen
Enrique Hernández .264 .339 .474 113 .210 .297 5.9 4 2.8 Mark Ellis
Kyle Schwarber .257 .360 .533 133 .276 .299 6.9 -1 2.5 Mike Epstein
Alex Verdugo .292 .350 .440 108 .148 .333 5.9 4 1.9 Ryan Sweeney
J.D. Martinez .271 .342 .482 115 .211 .322 6.1 -2 1.7 Jim Rice
José Iglesias .286 .320 .409 92 .122 .321 5.0 0 1.3 Freddy Sanchez
Christian Vazquez .259 .308 .386 83 .127 .300 4.3 5 1.3 Cody Mckay
Yairo Muñoz .284 .324 .418 95 .134 .332 5.2 1 1.0 Omar Infante
David Hamilton .229 .283 .348 67 .119 .286 4.0 7 0.9 Zach Sorensen
Bobby Dalbec .228 .303 .459 98 .231 .311 4.9 2 0.7 Kevin Witt
Triston Casas .252 .325 .436 100 .184 .302 5.1 1 0.7 Chris Pritchett
Christian Arroyo .251 .309 .424 92 .172 .306 4.8 2 0.7 Bret Boone
Jarren Duran .255 .308 .395 85 .140 .329 4.7 -2 0.6 Bubba Crosby
Jonathan Araúz .234 .298 .370 76 .136 .276 3.9 5 0.6 Jason Bates
Travis Shaw .222 .315 .396 87 .174 .273 4.3 0 0.6 Wayne Gross
Christin Stewart .244 .317 .468 104 .224 .296 5.3 -4 0.5 John-Ford Griffin
Christian Koss .242 .289 .372 74 .130 .295 3.8 3 0.5 Ron Gardenhire
Rob Refsnyder .253 .325 .392 89 .139 .329 4.6 0 0.4 Shane Spencer
Kevin Plawecki .256 .330 .384 89 .128 .300 4.6 -2 0.4 Jerry Grote
Jackie Bradley Jr. .220 .293 .366 74 .146 .294 3.8 3 0.3 Eric Fox
Danny Santana .247 .297 .456 96 .208 .312 4.9 -1 0.2 Chris Jones
Connor Wong .226 .274 .402 76 .177 .320 3.9 -2 0.2 Lee Evans
Chad De La Guerra .226 .290 .387 78 .160 .299 4.0 1 0.2 Seth Bynum
Taylor Motter .218 .298 .394 82 .176 .264 4.0 0 0.2 Tom Brookens
Ronaldo Hernández .239 .275 .393 74 .154 .279 3.8 -2 0.1 Scott Ackerman
Joey Meneses .254 .303 .406 86 .152 .306 4.4 2 0.1 Tim Costo
Ryan Fitzgerald .231 .286 .363 71 .132 .294 3.5 1 0.0 Tripp Cromer
Franchy Cordero .237 .304 .404 86 .167 .333 4.5 -2 0.0 Marvin Garrison
Jack López .242 .287 .361 71 .119 .305 3.9 0 -0.1 Steve Sisco
Nick Sogard .240 .298 .350 72 .110 .290 3.7 1 -0.1 Erik Laseke
Jeter Downs .213 .273 .369 68 .156 .275 3.7 -2 -0.1 Jayson Nix
Grant Williams .248 .290 .329 64 .082 .281 3.3 4 -0.2 Luis Ordaz
Ricardo Cubillan .213 .297 .303 61 .090 .281 3.0 0 -0.2 Manuel Ferrer
Michael Gettys .201 .254 .380 65 .179 .287 3.3 4 -0.2 Barry Wesson
Chris Herrmann .211 .291 .347 69 .136 .293 3.5 -2 -0.2 Jerry Goff
Cameron Cannon .246 .289 .371 73 .124 .281 3.8 -2 -0.2 Brent Butler
Josh Ockimey .207 .313 .388 85 .181 .292 4.1 -1 -0.2 Steve Carver
Jett Bandy .211 .274 .350 64 .139 .267 3.2 -2 -0.3 Chad Moeller
Jeremy Rivera .233 .279 .325 60 .092 .292 3.3 0 -0.3 Milko Jaramillo
Devlin Granberg .246 .301 .381 80 .135 .299 4.1 -1 -0.4 Dionys Cesar
Hudson Potts .220 .265 .357 63 .137 .302 3.3 2 -0.4 Matthew Moses
Kole Cottam .210 .280 .347 65 .137 .301 3.2 -4 -0.5 Yohanny Valera
Johan Mieses .211 .278 .374 71 .163 .260 3.6 1 -0.5 Garrick Haltiwanger
Pedro Castellanos .248 .297 .375 77 .127 .293 3.8 -2 -0.7 Sergio Cairo
Tyreque Reed .218 .287 .370 73 .152 .298 3.6 0 -0.8 Dustin Brisson
Tanner Nishioka .221 .275 .329 59 .108 .314 3.1 -6 -1.0 Chad Spann
Tate Matheny .208 .260 .331 56 .123 .305 3.0 0 -1.1 Jamar Hill
Wil Dalton .182 .242 .306 44 .124 .240 2.4 3 -1.6 B.J. Garbe
Jeisson Rosario .218 .293 .312 61 .094 .297 3.1 -12 -1.8 Jason Denham

Pitchers – Standard
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO FIP
Nathan Eovaldi R 32 11 6 3.73 29 27 154.3 149 64 18 37 166 3.38
Chris Sale L 33 7 4 3.53 18 18 91.7 80 36 11 25 116 3.29
Nick Pivetta R 29 9 8 4.89 32 27 143.7 137 78 23 58 148 4.52
James Paxton L 33 6 5 4.47 17 17 86.7 86 43 13 30 95 4.01
Garrett Whitlock R 26 7 4 3.87 37 5 76.7 72 33 8 25 77 3.66
Tanner Houck R 26 6 5 4.62 27 20 97.3 92 50 14 38 105 4.25
Rich Hill L 42 6 6 4.93 25 24 118.7 119 65 20 40 103 4.90
Garrett Richards R 34 6 5 4.84 31 18 109.7 116 59 17 41 94 4.68
Bryan Mata R 23 8 7 4.88 22 22 101.3 103 55 13 50 86 4.81
Josh Winckowski R 24 7 7 5.06 24 23 112.0 124 63 15 40 77 4.78
Victor Santos R 21 6 5 4.70 24 13 84.3 91 44 12 24 62 4.56
Kutter Crawford R 26 7 7 4.98 22 22 97.7 101 54 14 43 97 4.53
Adam Ottavino R 36 6 3 3.65 63 0 56.7 46 23 5 33 70 3.82
Matt Barnes R 32 7 4 3.79 60 1 54.7 42 23 7 28 78 3.64
Michael Wacha R 30 5 4 5.21 27 22 112.3 127 65 20 34 100 4.70
Raynel Espinal R 30 7 7 5.20 23 18 98.7 104 57 16 37 84 4.83
Martín Pérez L 31 8 7 5.28 32 22 116.0 132 68 18 46 89 4.98
Zack Kelly R 27 4 3 4.28 32 4 54.7 52 26 6 24 54 4.11
John Schreiber R 28 4 3 4.54 43 6 67.3 70 34 9 25 62 4.32
Brayan Bello R 23 5 5 5.43 21 21 111.0 123 67 19 43 79 5.28
Jay Groome L 23 6 6 5.30 20 20 88.3 94 52 14 38 74 5.03
Connor Seabold R 26 4 4 5.15 16 16 71.7 76 41 11 25 60 4.71
Josh Taylor L 29 2 1 3.93 61 0 52.7 46 23 6 22 64 3.65
Darwinzon Hernandez L 25 3 2 3.97 54 0 45.3 34 20 5 29 65 3.93
Chris Murphy L 24 6 6 5.44 21 20 91.0 99 55 17 37 77 5.33
Hirokazu Sawamura R 34 3 2 4.06 51 0 51.0 44 23 6 28 60 4.18
Andrew Politi R 26 7 7 5.28 24 13 75.0 78 44 10 42 66 4.99
Ryan Brasier R 34 3 2 3.96 42 0 38.7 37 17 5 13 37 4.03
Zac Grotz R 29 3 3 4.83 23 5 50.3 53 27 7 17 41 4.61
Hansel Robles R 31 4 3 4.50 67 0 64.0 60 32 10 27 68 4.45
Alex Claudio L 30 2 1 4.50 57 1 50.0 54 25 5 18 37 4.26
Eduard Bazardo R 26 3 3 4.86 24 3 46.3 48 25 8 17 42 4.91
Frank German R 24 6 6 5.62 24 18 83.3 96 52 14 35 54 5.51
Austin Davis L 29 2 2 4.56 47 0 51.3 48 26 6 25 54 4.23
Rio Gomez L 27 2 1 4.59 32 0 49.0 50 25 6 20 43 4.42
Seth Blair R 33 3 2 4.71 27 1 36.3 36 19 5 17 34 4.67
Daniel Gossett R 29 5 6 5.75 18 16 81.3 94 52 14 37 58 5.50
Brandon Workman R 33 3 3 4.63 46 0 44.7 40 23 7 27 49 4.90
Brian Keller R 28 3 4 5.64 23 13 67.0 73 42 11 35 57 5.36
Michael Feliz R 29 3 2 4.78 49 1 49.0 48 26 7 20 51 4.30
Dominic LoBrutto L 26 2 2 4.70 34 0 44.0 48 23 5 16 33 4.45
Brad Peacock R 34 3 4 5.63 22 11 54.3 57 34 11 22 51 5.31
Austin Brice R 30 2 2 5.01 41 2 46.7 46 26 7 21 44 4.98
Kyle Hart L 29 7 9 5.89 23 20 107.0 125 70 20 46 78 5.58
Jose Adames R 29 1 1 4.78 32 0 32.0 31 17 5 15 31 4.87
Matt Hall L 28 4 4 5.50 34 6 73.7 81 45 11 37 66 5.00
Caleb Simpson R 30 2 2 4.91 21 0 22.0 20 12 3 14 24 4.82
Brandon Brennan R 30 3 3 5.01 38 0 46.7 48 26 6 21 38 4.70
Geoff Hartlieb R 28 3 3 5.11 40 0 49.3 50 28 5 29 48 4.50
Durbin Feltman R 25 4 4 5.14 42 0 49.0 49 28 7 25 46 4.87
Kaleb Ort R 30 2 2 5.16 40 0 45.3 43 26 6 28 50 4.75
Joan Martinez R 25 2 2 5.22 34 0 39.7 38 23 5 27 40 5.00
Phillips Valdez R 30 3 3 5.65 41 6 71.7 78 45 12 37 61 5.45
Bobby Poyner L 29 2 2 5.48 34 1 42.7 46 26 9 16 39 5.43
Colten Brewer R 29 2 3 5.74 33 1 42.3 45 27 8 23 38 5.61

Pitchers – Advanced
Player K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BB% K% BABIP ERA+ ERA- WAR No. 1 Comp
Nathan Eovaldi 9.7 2.2 1.0 5.7% 25.7% .313 126 80 3.2 Shane Reynolds
Chris Sale 11.4 2.5 1.1 6.5% 30.3% .309 133 75 2.1 Dutch Leonard
Nick Pivetta 9.3 3.6 1.4 9.3% 23.8% .295 96 104 1.4 Kevin Foster
James Paxton 9.9 3.1 1.4 8.1% 25.6% .315 105 95 1.4 Andy Pettitte
Garrett Whitlock 9.0 2.9 0.9 7.7% 23.6% .302 121 83 1.3 Brad Clontz
Tanner Houck 9.7 3.5 1.3 9.0% 24.9% .301 101 99 1.2 Joe Cowley
Rich Hill 7.8 3.0 1.5 7.8% 20.0% .289 95 105 1.2 Tim Wakefield
Garrett Richards 7.7 3.4 1.4 8.5% 19.5% .304 97 103 1.1 Mike Boddicker
Bryan Mata 7.6 4.4 1.2 11.0% 18.9% .299 96 104 1.1 Mike Payne
Josh Winckowski 6.2 3.2 1.2 8.0% 15.5% .304 93 108 1.0 Cha Seung Baek
Victor Santos 6.6 2.6 1.3 6.6% 16.9% .299 100 100 1.0 John Hope
Kutter Crawford 8.9 4.0 1.3 9.9% 22.3% .315 94 106 0.9 Angel Guzman
Adam Ottavino 11.1 5.2 0.8 13.2% 28.0% .297 128 78 0.8 Jeff Nelson
Matt Barnes 12.8 4.6 1.2 12.0% 33.5% .297 124 81 0.8 Mark Clear
Michael Wacha 8.0 2.7 1.6 6.9% 20.3% .318 90 111 0.8 Brian Sweeney
Raynel Espinal 7.7 3.4 1.5 8.5% 19.4% .300 90 111 0.7 Chris Brock
Martín Pérez 6.9 3.6 1.4 8.8% 17.0% .313 89 112 0.7 Kent Mercker
Zack Kelly 8.9 4.0 1.0 10.0% 22.6% .303 110 91 0.6 Jay Robertson
John Schreiber 8.3 3.3 1.2 8.5% 21.0% .311 103 97 0.6 Hipolito Pichardo
Brayan Bello 6.4 3.5 1.5 8.7% 16.0% .298 86 116 0.6 Nate Minchey
Jay Groome 7.5 3.9 1.4 9.6% 18.7% .302 89 113 0.6 Justin Thompson
Connor Seabold 7.5 3.1 1.4 7.9% 19.0% .302 91 110 0.6 Felix Diaz
Josh Taylor 10.9 3.8 1.0 9.7% 28.3% .305 119 84 0.6 Will Ohman
Darwinzon Hernandez 12.9 5.8 1.0 14.4% 32.3% .296 118 85 0.5 John Rocker
Chris Murphy 7.6 3.7 1.7 9.1% 18.9% .303 86 116 0.5 Scott Lewis
Hirokazu Sawamura 10.6 4.9 1.1 12.4% 26.7% .297 116 87 0.5 Jason Kershner
Andrew Politi 7.9 5.0 1.2 12.2% 19.2% .306 89 113 0.4 Clint Nageotte
Ryan Brasier 8.6 3.0 1.2 7.9% 22.6% .296 119 84 0.4 Donn Pall
Zac Grotz 7.3 3.0 1.3 7.7% 18.6% .303 97 103 0.4 Jack Cressend
Hansel Robles 9.6 3.8 1.4 9.7% 24.5% .294 104 96 0.3 Richie Lewis
Alex Claudio 6.7 3.2 0.9 8.1% 16.7% .310 104 96 0.3 Jason Kershner
Eduard Bazardo 8.2 3.3 1.6 8.3% 20.6% .299 97 104 0.3 Mark Brandenburg
Frank German 5.8 3.8 1.5 9.2% 14.2% .303 84 120 0.3 Dan Smith
Austin Davis 9.5 4.4 1.1 11.0% 23.8% .302 103 97 0.2 Ed Glynn
Rio Gomez 7.9 3.7 1.1 9.3% 19.9% .306 102 98 0.2 Wilson Guzman
Seth Blair 8.4 4.2 1.2 10.6% 21.1% .301 100 100 0.2 Bryce Florie
Daniel Gossett 6.4 4.1 1.5 9.9% 15.5% .308 82 123 0.2 Dennis Tankersley
Brandon Workman 9.9 5.4 1.4 13.6% 24.6% .287 101 99 0.2 John Hudek
Brian Keller 7.7 4.7 1.5 11.4% 18.5% .308 83 120 0.2 Mike York
Michael Feliz 9.4 3.7 1.3 9.3% 23.8% .306 98 102 0.1 Greg Jones
Dominic LoBrutto 6.8 3.3 1.0 8.2% 16.8% .309 100 100 0.1 Dana Allison
Brad Peacock 8.4 3.6 1.8 9.1% 21.2% .299 83 120 0.1 Craig McMurtry
Austin Brice 8.5 4.1 1.4 10.0% 21.0% .295 94 107 0.1 Mike Butcher
Kyle Hart 6.6 3.9 1.7 9.4% 16.0% .309 80 126 0.1 Huck Flener
Jose Adames 8.7 4.2 1.4 10.6% 21.8% .292 98 102 0.1 Chad Harville
Matt Hall 8.1 4.5 1.3 10.9% 19.5% .318 85 117 0.0 Dennis Powell
Caleb Simpson 9.8 5.7 1.2 14.0% 24.0% .293 96 105 0.0 John Briscoe
Brandon Brennan 7.3 4.1 1.2 10.1% 18.3% .298 94 107 0.0 John Kiely
Geoff Hartlieb 8.8 5.3 0.9 12.8% 21.1% .317 92 109 -0.1 Mike MacDougal
Durbin Feltman 8.4 4.6 1.3 11.3% 20.8% .300 91 110 -0.1 Blaine Neal
Kaleb Ort 9.9 5.6 1.2 13.5% 24.2% .308 91 110 -0.1 Reggie Harris
Joan Martinez 9.1 6.1 1.1 14.8% 21.9% .303 90 111 -0.1 Josh Banks
Phillips Valdez 7.7 4.6 1.5 11.2% 18.4% .307 83 120 -0.1 William Ormond
Bobby Poyner 8.2 3.4 1.9 8.4% 20.5% .301 86 117 -0.1 Shawn Barton
Colten Brewer 8.1 4.9 1.7 11.9% 19.6% .301 82 122 -0.2 Keith Shepherd

Players are listed with their most recent teams wherever possible. This includes players who are unsigned, players who will miss 2022 due to injury, and players who were released in 2021. So yes, if you see Joe Schmoe, who quit baseball back in August to form a big band orchestra that only plays nu-metal versions of baroque cantatas, he’s still listed here intentionally. ZiPS is assuming a league with an ERA of 4.36, similar to the post-June substance-enforcement environment.

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 that 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 2022.

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.





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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sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

I don’t know what Tanner Houck has to do to convince everyone that he should get a rotation slot, but ZiPs is down on him, Eric thought his splitter wasn’t good enough for him to start and the Red Sox signed the Rays’ leftovers from last year (Hill, Wacha) which means there’s a decent chance he won’t start in the rotation. Normally you would think that this means he hasn’t shown results but he has fairly regularly gone 4-5 innings and done well. So I guess we’ll have to wait to find out how he would hold up over a full season.

I also suspect that Whitlock might be capable of starting long-term. I would guess they’re probably not going to experiment with that this year because they went ahead and signed a bunch of depth options but he has three functional pitches.

Ivan_Grushenko
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Ivan_Grushenko

Didn’t they say they were going to prepare them both to start through at least part of ST? It’s not like Wacha is much of an impediment

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

I’m still a little surprised that Wacha got a raise from last year. Dude had a 5.51 xERA. So you’d think he wouldn’t be an impediment but $7M is standard money for a 5th starter.

tstats123
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tstats123

I have a feeling Wacha was surprised too…

Matt
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Matt

Wacha dropped his cutter, changing his pitch mix, at the end of the season. His peripherals after the change improved greatly.

I too was surprised by the large raise, but I’m sure the late season change of results was the reason.

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

Eventually, if we keep predicting breakouts based on small samples, we’ll be right. But it’s also true that if we want to slice up someone’s season into roughly 5-week chunks, we can find a lot of small samples to bolster whatever theory we want.

ginaroyalsfan
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ginaroyalsfan

True, but pitchers can and have made dramatic improvements in their results by figuring out how to mix their pitches properly or by picking up a new pitch that works well, The trick is to identify those pitchers getting results because they figured out how to better use their stuff as opposed to those who just had a good run for a bit.

clance
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clance

I have a feeling the Sox might try and leverage a lot of their high variability or high injury risk potential starters in shorter bursts in tandem with each other. It seems like a natural progression in the pretty consistent decreasing workload of starters.

Have Eovaldi, Sale and Pivetta getting 5-7 innings (Pivetta likely on the lower end) and then have Houck and Whitlock who the team seems to plan on starting throw 3-5 innings with guys like Wacha, Hill and Paxton once healthy coming in relief with 2-4 innings of their own. It could let guys stuff play up and help manage workloads for injury risks or guys like Houck and Whitlock who aren’t used to running super high pitch counts.

This can be done without putting too much strain on the bullpen since when healthy you’d have 3 guys functioning as extended relievers to account for the starters eating fewer innings.

LMOTFOTE
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LMOTFOTE

How many roster spots would this plan need?

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

This is something I have often wondered about. The Rays keep pushing the limits on it and I assume it’s going to blow up on them but it hasn’t yet. This year there is going to be a 13-pitcher limit, too.

clance
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clance

It’s interesting because I actually feel like this seems more intuitive than what the Rays are doing. That potentially comes at the cost of several roster spots while this in theory can take up fewer while boosting flexibility because 3 spots typically filled by single inning relievers are instead filled by multi inning guys. If you pick the right players whose stuff will play up that could be extremely useful.

Even on nights with a normal start this could be extremely useful since the Sox can be much more conservative knowing they’ve got several guys who keep themselves prepared for multi inning stints mid game.

It also provides a convenient path for high level prospects to be more easily integrated into the major league team, they still get multiple innings but aren’t actually expected to give a full start.

The big potential negatives I see are performance and injuries since more innings are tied up by guys who fill multiple. I think there is some legitimacy to the performance question since not every mediocre starter will actually be able to be solid in relief. This isn’t a plan for a team with a great rotation though, it’s one for a team with solid pitching depth that either has a high ceiling with high variability that can be brought down in lower inning stints or is relatively mediocre in talent but also capable of playing up in those low inning stints. On injuries I think it’s unlikely to blow up enough to be a significant problem, but if it did I actually think that might be more easily handled for the same reason it is a convenient path to start getting prospects chances against major league talent. It also pretty much guarantees good starting depth since you’d have 3 active players capable of spot starts.

clance
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clance

I think it comes down to how many innings you get out of each guy. I see 5 guys in the low pitch count multi inning group and ordinarily those spots would be filled by 2 starters and 3 relievers. For your 4 and 5 starters I’d say 5 innings is a fair standard estimate and for the 3 relievers you get an inning each, so in total you could expect about 13 innings from those spots. If everyone averaged their low end innings expectation I listed this would fill 12 innings, so even conservatively (with health) it only requires 1 extra single inning reliever while in practice I’d expect you’d realistically save roster spots since guys are likely to at least be in the middle of those estimates (again, with health).

There would be an added issue that the team would have more players who cost them a chunk of innings if they get hurt or underperformed which could either require greater strain on the bullpen. If we assume guys average the middle of the innings estimates I gave but remove one of the 2-4 innings pitchers that actually covers 14 innings, so assuming guys throw more than a very conservative estimate you’d actually need multiple players hurt before this plan started making roster building more challenging.

What that leaves out is I also think this plan would make multi inning guys/starters much more easily replaceable than they are currently. Now when a starter gets hurt if you don’t have the active depth you need to call someone up, with this plan if a top end starter gets hurt you’ve got several legit major league pitchers to stretch out for spot starts. To replace them you would then call someone up, but instead of expecting a start from them all you really need is something in that 2-4 inning range which will likely be easier for an inexperienced player.

rounders
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rounders

The greatest waste of arms is the up and down in bullpens. The Sox largly avoided that with Whitlock and Houck, all credit to the plan but it spoke for their success also. To extend them out to more innings they could schedule them to pitch, even start, three or four innings. Thee every fourth game, adding in scheduled days off, is 8 plus appearances a month, 25 innings, 48 appearances 150 controlled innings for the season, providing regularity plus only one time plus through the lineup. Four innings every fifth game gives similar innings. The three top starters are unlikely to get well beyond 150 innings, and the next lesser three will go well below that, so 300 innings from the two would take pressure off the bullpen by itself and give Houck and Whitlock opportunity to develop.