2022 ZiPS Projections: St. Louis Cardinals

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 St. Louis Cardinals.

Batters

Can we just say 87 wins and call it a day? It feels like that’s what I’ve been projecting for the Cardinals for the last 15 years or so. That’s an exaggeration, but not an extreme one: ZiPS hasn’t projected St. Louis outside the 85–90 win range in a full season since 2011. Going back to the first official ZiPS team standings in 2005 — I only did players in the first couple of years — the team’s projections have been below .500 once (2008) and above 90 wins once (2010).

The lineup rarely has superstars at the top, but the Cards have a knack for keeping their floor incredibly high. Does that line sound familiar? It might; it’s what I wrote last year. And it still applies today. For a while, it looked like it wouldn’t happen in 2021, with the team 44-47 right around the All-Star break. Now, if you still considered the Cardinals an 89-win team or thereabouts, the normal thinking would have been to say, “Oh, OK, so they’ll play at an 89-win pace the rest of the way and finish around .500.” But the Cards care not for you and your fancy-pants Gambler’s Fallacy. After a loss against the Kansas City Royals on August 8, St. Louis stood at 55-56. This was the last time they were below .500, as they went 35-16 the rest of the way, capped by a 17-game winning streak in mid-September. The Cards didn’t just sneak back into the Wild Card conversation; they talked over the Padres and Reds and flipped the table, spilling all the hors d’oeuvres onto the floor. In the end, they made the playoffs with seven games to spare.

If anything, the lineup looks more stable than it did last year at this point. The outfield looks pretty clearly set with Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, and Dylan Carlson, with no Dexter Fowler hanging around trying to finish out a long-term deal. The uncertainty surrounding Matt Carpenter has cleared up. He never played well enough in 2021 to cause any positional controversy and was basically reduced to pinch-hitting duties by the end of the season. I’m still not sure how shortstop will shake out, but I’m happy with either Paul DeJong or Edmundo Sosa there next year. In DeJong’s case, his overall 2021 season was much better than the common perception. There isn’t even a will they/won’t they about bringing back Yadier Molina; he signed in August for a farewell campaign in 2022.

While the lineup is basically set, the Cardinals wouldn’t be hurt by adding a role player or two to the roster. The cupboard in that department looks relatively thin, especially for this organization.

Pitchers

This is probably the weaker part of the team right now, and I hope they’re not done investing. Adam Wainwright basically held the rotation together for large parts of the season, and that was with 106 2/3 quality innings out of Kwang Hyun Kim. The addition of Steven Matz and the return of Dakota Hudson from Tommy John surgery will buttress the rotation, but with Jack Flaherty seemingly unlucky at times health-wise, it still feels like they’re short another starter. I’m not necessarily talking about a long-term addition, but I’d rather Matthew Liberatore and Connor Thomas be Plan Bs, at least for 2022.

The computer is not terribly keen on the bullpen once you get past Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes. In most systems, ZiPS finds an intriguing Triple-A reliever or two but here there’s a real shortage of bullpen arms who would cause the Rays to salivate should they be able to swipe them out of the minors. Let’s call that the Chaz Roe Zone. This is really the only area of the team where ZiPS is significantly less confident than it was last year. It should be noted, however, that Steamer is much more optimistic about the relief corps as a whole.

Call the Cards an 85-90 win team. That shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point.

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
Nolan Arenado R 31 3B 623 562 78 148 29 2 29 96 51 95 2 1
Tommy Edman B 27 2B 667 617 88 170 32 6 13 60 37 101 29 5
Tyler O’Neill R 27 LF 554 497 90 132 25 2 35 89 41 174 15 4
Paul Goldschmidt R 34 1B 625 552 83 148 28 2 25 83 67 140 7 1
Harrison Bader R 28 CF 441 392 57 96 21 2 16 51 36 111 10 3
Dylan Carlson B 23 RF 632 555 81 148 33 6 20 75 58 144 4 2
Paul DeJong R 28 SS 505 447 63 100 21 1 20 64 43 130 5 2
Nolan Gorman L 22 3B 548 512 62 128 25 2 21 64 29 120 5 0
Edmundo Sosa R 26 SS 432 394 48 99 15 4 9 38 18 88 4 4
Juan Yepez R 24 1B 419 372 52 89 21 0 19 59 34 93 1 2
Brendan Donovan L 25 3B 478 429 64 105 19 1 9 45 35 94 9 4
Yadier Molina R 39 C 421 393 37 96 16 0 9 54 19 70 3 0
Andrew Knizner R 27 C 309 280 35 67 11 0 8 31 21 55 3 0
Lars Nootbaar L 24 RF 351 316 42 77 8 2 11 37 32 72 4 4
Matt Koperniak L 24 LF 428 393 55 102 21 0 8 39 22 66 3 2
Matt Carpenter L 36 2B 373 316 41 64 16 1 9 38 49 108 3 0
José Rondón R 28 3B 214 197 25 45 8 1 9 27 14 52 3 1
Alec Burleson L 23 RF 528 493 66 120 18 0 17 63 29 107 2 1
Conner Capel L 25 RF 432 395 46 89 16 2 10 40 30 99 6 4
Ben DeLuzio R 27 CF 338 309 32 66 12 4 3 21 20 92 14 6
Max Moroff B 29 2B 181 158 21 33 7 0 6 20 20 53 2 1
Justin Toerner L 25 CF 372 329 41 64 10 1 7 28 34 112 5 4
Ali Sánchez R 25 C 324 305 31 71 13 0 3 22 16 61 1 2
Kramer Robertson R 27 2B 466 408 59 88 17 2 9 41 44 91 9 4
Nick Raposo R 24 C 150 135 20 30 4 1 1 10 11 32 1 0
Malcom Nunez R 21 3B 414 388 48 90 15 1 9 36 23 84 6 2
Matt Szczur R 32 CF 135 124 12 25 5 1 4 13 8 33 0 1
Aaron Antonini L 23 C 249 216 30 34 6 0 6 20 20 67 0 0
Iván Herrera R 22 C 437 387 54 79 12 0 13 45 36 101 1 2
Evan Mendoza R 26 SS 420 385 43 85 11 1 2 23 25 103 9 3
Rayder Ascanio R 26 3B 298 275 26 58 9 0 6 23 19 64 2 2
Irving Lopez L 27 3B 337 308 34 64 11 3 4 24 18 77 1 1
Delvin Perez R 23 SS 469 442 38 99 11 3 3 21 19 106 18 6
Luken Baker R 25 1B 445 409 42 90 21 0 14 47 30 126 0 0
Chandler Redmond L 25 1B 373 342 42 72 14 0 13 41 27 135 2 1
Clint Coulter R 28 LF 178 163 17 31 6 0 7 20 11 64 0 0
Scott Hurst L 26 CF 337 306 28 55 11 1 4 19 26 113 4 3
Chase Pinder R 26 RF 312 273 26 51 5 0 6 17 29 101 1 3
Nick Dunn L 25 2B 394 363 43 78 14 1 4 29 22 69 2 2
Anderson Tejeda B 24 SS 340 318 28 54 11 1 9 29 20 142 10 3
Justin Williams R 22 RF 186 173 17 31 6 0 7 18 11 67 3 3
Jonah Davis L 24 CF 380 343 34 55 10 2 11 32 30 179 4 8

Batters – Advanced
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Nolan Arenado .263 .324 .477 116 .214 .272 5.7 8 4.2 Vern Stephens
Tommy Edman .276 .322 .410 99 .135 .312 5.3 8 3.9 Tony Fernandez
Tyler O’Neill .266 .334 .535 133 .270 .337 6.7 0 3.9 Rick Reichardt
Paul Goldschmidt .268 .349 .462 120 .194 .318 6.0 3 3.4 Bill White
Harrison Bader .245 .322 .431 104 .186 .302 5.1 11 3.1 Michael Cuddyer
Dylan Carlson .267 .342 .456 116 .189 .327 5.7 0 2.9 Daryl Sconiers
Paul DeJong .224 .303 .409 93 .186 .269 4.3 7 2.7 Steve Buechele
Nolan Gorman .250 .293 .430 95 .180 .288 4.6 7 2.5 David Bell
Edmundo Sosa .251 .307 .378 87 .127 .303 4.1 5 1.7 Ronny Cedeno
Juan Yepez .239 .310 .449 105 .210 .269 4.9 3 1.4 Brad Bouras
Brendan Donovan .245 .313 .357 83 .112 .294 4.0 3 1.3 Vance Law
Yadier Molina .244 .286 .354 74 .109 .277 3.7 3 1.1 Chris Coste
Andrew Knizner .239 .304 .364 82 .125 .272 4.0 1 1.0 Bill McGuire
Lars Nootbaar .244 .314 .386 91 .142 .283 4.2 5 1.0 Ron Jones
Matt Koperniak .260 .312 .374 87 .115 .295 4.2 5 0.9 Casey Kotchman
Matt Carpenter .203 .319 .345 82 .142 .276 3.8 -4 0.5 Marty McManus
José Rondón .228 .280 .416 88 .188 .265 4.1 -1 0.4 Howard Nichols
Alec Burleson .243 .284 .383 81 .140 .279 3.9 3 0.4 Jim Bowie
Conner Capel .225 .281 .352 72 .127 .276 3.4 8 0.3 Theron Todd
Ben DeLuzio .214 .273 .307 59 .094 .294 2.9 7 0.3 Adrian Myers
Max Moroff .209 .306 .367 84 .158 .273 3.8 -1 0.3 Shanie Dugas
Justin Toerner .195 .283 .295 59 .100 .271 2.7 6 0.3 Billy Deck
Ali Sánchez .233 .272 .305 58 .072 .282 2.8 4 0.2 Chairon Isenia
Kramer Robertson .216 .305 .333 75 .118 .256 3.5 -5 0.2 Mike Moriarty
Nick Raposo .222 .289 .289 59 .067 .284 3.0 1 0.1 Edwin Marquez
Malcom Nunez .232 .280 .345 70 .113 .275 3.5 -1 0.1 Joe Dunlap
Matt Szczur .202 .246 .355 62 .153 .241 2.8 2 0.1 Scott Wade
Aaron Antonini .157 .262 .269 46 .111 .196 2.3 1 -0.2 Dave Liddell
Iván Herrera .204 .277 .336 67 .132 .242 3.1 -5 -0.2 Scott Heard
Evan Mendoza .221 .269 .270 49 .049 .296 2.6 5 -0.2 Adam Haley
Rayder Ascanio .211 .266 .309 57 .098 .254 2.7 2 -0.3 Gera Alvarez
Irving Lopez .208 .269 .302 56 .094 .264 2.7 2 -0.3 Tom Nevers
Delvin Perez .224 .263 .283 50 .059 .288 2.7 3 -0.3 Esteban Beltre
Luken Baker .220 .275 .374 76 .154 .283 3.6 -1 -0.5 Mark Fleisher
Chandler Redmond .211 .273 .365 73 .155 .304 3.4 -1 -0.5 Mark Hamilton
Clint Coulter .190 .249 .356 63 .166 .261 2.9 -1 -0.5 Troy Farnsworth
Scott Hurst .180 .245 .261 39 .082 .270 2.0 6 -0.7 Russ Quetti
Chase Pinder .187 .275 .271 51 .084 .271 2.3 3 -0.8 Roger Haggerty
Nick Dunn .215 .263 .292 52 .077 .255 2.6 -1 -0.9 Chad Tredaway
Anderson Tejeda .170 .221 .296 40 .126 .269 2.2 -1 -1.1 Robert McIntyre
Justin Williams .179 .237 .335 54 .156 .242 2.4 -4 -1.1 Maximo Rodriguez
Jonah Davis .160 .239 .297 46 .137 .288 2.0 -8 -2.1 Gary Hust

Pitchers – Standard
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO FIP
Jack Flaherty R 26 9 6 3.46 26 25 130.0 105 50 17 42 149 3.72
Adam Wainwright R 40 11 10 4.10 27 27 162.3 156 74 22 47 131 4.33
Steven Matz L 31 10 9 4.11 29 28 144.7 144 66 20 46 130 4.26
Dakota Hudson R 27 8 7 4.01 26 20 112.3 105 50 11 47 84 4.37
Connor Thomas L 24 7 6 4.17 28 19 127.3 131 59 16 36 99 4.25
Miles Mikolas R 33 7 6 4.12 21 21 111.3 114 51 16 22 82 4.33
Matthew Liberatore L 22 9 9 4.30 22 18 119.3 121 57 17 34 101 4.34
Giovanny Gallegos R 30 6 3 3.14 67 0 71.7 53 25 8 20 90 3.12
Kwang Hyun Kim L 33 7 7 4.39 27 22 108.7 107 53 15 38 84 4.59
J.A. Happ L 39 8 8 4.63 26 26 136.0 138 70 21 43 105 4.68
Ljay Newsome R 25 6 6 4.47 20 17 92.7 100 46 17 15 77 4.52
Angel Rondon R 24 6 6 4.48 23 16 92.3 96 46 14 29 72 4.70
Johan Oviedo R 24 6 7 4.73 26 24 118.0 117 62 16 59 105 4.92
Andre Pallante R 23 5 5 4.66 22 21 94.7 101 49 11 38 63 4.72
Jon Lester L 38 6 7 4.82 25 25 127.0 139 68 20 46 90 4.99
Carlos Martínez R 30 5 6 4.64 19 16 83.3 82 43 11 35 70 4.69
Austin Warner L 28 6 6 4.56 34 13 96.7 97 49 14 35 82 4.61
Alex Reyes R 27 9 7 3.74 66 0 67.3 49 28 8 40 95 3.77
Génesis Cabrera L 25 6 5 4.18 62 6 84.0 73 39 12 40 94 4.44
Daniel Ponce de Leon R 30 4 5 4.63 28 15 79.7 71 41 11 45 81 4.82
Domingo Robles L 24 6 8 4.91 24 22 102.7 117 56 16 27 63 4.91
Thomas Parsons R 26 5 5 4.76 24 12 85.0 91 45 15 24 67 4.92
Tyler Pike L 28 4 4 4.66 15 9 63.7 67 33 8 24 47 4.66
Jake Walsh R 26 4 4 4.68 20 10 65.3 65 34 10 26 59 4.70
Dalton Roach R 26 7 8 4.97 22 18 105.0 113 58 16 40 78 4.99
Wade LeBlanc L 37 4 4 4.87 22 14 85.0 92 46 14 25 62 4.85
Evan Kruczynski L 27 4 5 4.99 22 15 88.3 90 49 14 43 77 5.13
Kodi Whitley R 27 3 3 4.13 45 1 52.3 47 24 7 22 54 4.23
T.J. Zeuch R 26 5 6 5.07 24 18 110.0 119 62 18 38 72 5.17
Jordan Hicks R 25 1 1 4.13 30 0 28.3 23 13 3 17 32 4.20
Grant Black R 27 2 2 4.72 30 6 61.0 62 32 7 30 48 4.72
Andrew Miller L 37 1 1 4.19 45 1 38.7 36 18 5 18 42 4.55
Alex FaGalde R 28 4 6 5.09 20 13 76.0 80 43 12 32 55 5.25
Junior Fernández R 25 3 2 4.24 42 0 51.0 47 24 5 26 48 4.34
Ryan Helsley R 27 5 5 4.55 46 3 55.3 50 28 8 30 57 4.68
Jake Woodford R 25 6 7 5.14 33 17 112.0 115 64 20 48 87 5.45
Jacob Bosiokovic R 28 4 4 4.39 37 0 53.3 50 26 6 26 51 4.36
Freddy Pacheco R 24 1 1 4.44 43 0 50.7 44 25 6 34 57 4.66
Seth Elledge R 26 3 3 4.55 45 1 55.3 52 28 8 29 55 4.81
Edgar Escobar R 25 2 2 4.47 31 0 46.3 44 23 6 20 44 4.39
Garrett Williams L 27 3 4 4.99 34 7 70.3 68 39 9 44 62 5.13
Cory Thompson R 27 3 3 4.50 34 0 50.0 52 25 6 19 37 4.58
Kyle Ryan L 30 2 2 4.54 43 0 41.7 42 21 6 18 35 4.74
T.J. McFarland L 33 3 3 4.50 54 0 60.0 63 30 8 19 38 4.65
Justin Miller R 35 2 3 4.59 27 0 33.3 34 17 5 12 28 4.71
Kyle Leahy R 25 4 6 5.27 24 13 95.7 108 56 13 39 54 5.23
Tyler Webb L 31 1 1 4.67 46 0 44.3 41 23 6 23 42 4.67
Connor Jones R 27 4 5 4.85 44 3 65.0 66 35 6 39 48 4.89
Johan Quezada R 27 2 3 5.13 23 1 33.3 35 19 4 18 25 5.04
Brandon Waddell L 28 4 5 5.37 27 10 70.3 74 42 11 39 57 5.43
Jesus Cruz R 27 3 3 5.07 41 2 49.7 50 28 8 29 49 5.23
Edgar Gonzalez R 25 6 8 5.59 19 18 85.3 96 53 15 38 58 5.62
Griffin Roberts R 26 2 4 6.18 11 9 43.7 50 30 6 31 21 6.34
James Naile R 29 5 7 5.46 39 11 94.0 109 57 17 32 57 5.50

Pitchers – Advanced
Player K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BB% K% BABIP ERA+ ERA- WAR No. 1 Comp
Jack Flaherty 10.3 2.9 1.2 7.8% 27.8% .274 119 84 2.4 Pete Harnisch
Adam Wainwright 7.3 2.6 1.2 6.9% 19.1% .280 101 99 2.0 Orel Hershiser
Steven Matz 8.1 2.9 1.2 7.4% 21.0% .297 101 99 1.8 Jon Matlack
Dakota Hudson 6.7 3.8 0.9 9.7% 17.3% .278 103 97 1.5 Russ Bauers
Connor Thomas 7.0 2.5 1.1 6.6% 18.2% .296 99 101 1.4 Steve Trout
Miles Mikolas 6.6 1.8 1.3 4.7% 17.6% .287 100 100 1.4 Bob Tewksbury
Matthew Liberatore 7.6 2.6 1.3 6.7% 19.8% .295 96 104 1.2 Butch Henry
Giovanny Gallegos 11.3 2.5 1.0 6.9% 31.3% .271 132 76 1.2 J.J. Putz
Kwang Hyun Kim 7.0 3.1 1.2 8.1% 18.0% .282 94 106 1.0 Kenny Rogers
J.A. Happ 6.9 2.8 1.4 7.4% 18.0% .285 89 112 0.9 Jerry Reuss
Ljay Newsome 7.5 1.5 1.7 3.8% 19.7% .300 92 108 0.7 Andy Sonnanstine
Angel Rondon 7.0 2.8 1.4 7.3% 18.0% .293 92 109 0.7 Steve Crawford
Johan Oviedo 8.0 4.5 1.2 11.1% 19.7% .295 87 114 0.7 Matt Albers
Andre Pallante 6.0 3.6 1.0 9.0% 15.0% .297 89 113 0.6 Al Santorini
Jon Lester 6.4 3.3 1.4 8.2% 16.1% .298 86 117 0.6 Jerry Reuss
Carlos Martínez 7.6 3.8 1.2 9.5% 19.1% .290 89 112 0.6 Ryan Glynn
Austin Warner 7.6 3.3 1.3 8.3% 19.5% .292 91 110 0.6 Buddy Groom
Alex Reyes 12.7 5.3 1.1 13.8% 32.9% .285 110 91 0.6 Eric Plunk
Génesis Cabrera 10.1 4.3 1.3 10.9% 25.7% .285 99 101 0.5 Ken Brett
Daniel Ponce de Leon 9.2 5.1 1.2 12.7% 22.8% .282 89 112 0.4 Victor Zambrano
Domingo Robles 5.5 2.4 1.4 6.0% 14.0% .299 84 119 0.4 Bobby Livingston
Thomas Parsons 7.1 2.5 1.6 6.5% 18.2% .295 87 115 0.4 Josh Stevens
Tyler Pike 6.6 3.4 1.1 8.5% 16.7% .298 89 113 0.4 Lenny DiNardo
Jake Walsh 8.1 3.6 1.4 9.1% 20.7% .294 88 113 0.3 Ben Simon
Dalton Roach 6.7 3.4 1.4 8.6% 16.7% .298 83 120 0.3 Jason Johnson
Wade LeBlanc 6.6 2.6 1.5 6.8% 16.8% .295 85 118 0.3 Chris Michalak
Evan Kruczynski 7.8 4.4 1.4 10.8% 19.4% .295 83 121 0.2 Bryan Price
Kodi Whitley 9.3 3.8 1.2 9.8% 24.1% .288 100 100 0.2 Derrick Turnbow
T.J. Zeuch 5.9 3.1 1.5 7.9% 14.9% .289 81 123 0.2 Jason McCommon
Jordan Hicks 10.2 5.4 1.0 13.7% 25.8% .282 100 100 0.2 Brad Voyles
Grant Black 7.1 4.4 1.0 11.0% 17.6% .297 88 114 0.1 William Vaughan
Andrew Miller 9.8 4.2 1.2 10.4% 24.3% .304 99 101 0.1 Norm Charlton
Alex FaGalde 6.5 3.8 1.4 9.4% 16.2% .289 81 123 0.1 Sean Lowe
Junior Fernández 8.5 4.6 0.9 11.5% 21.2% .294 98 103 0.1 Bill Snyder
Ryan Helsley 9.3 4.9 1.3 12.3% 23.5% .286 91 110 0.1 Todd Wellemeyer
Jake Woodford 7.0 3.9 1.6 9.6% 17.4% .283 80 124 0.0 Cliff Speck
Jacob Bosiokovic 8.6 4.4 1.0 11.1% 21.7% .295 94 106 0.0 Gerry Hannahs
Freddy Pacheco 10.1 6.0 1.1 14.8% 24.8% .292 93 107 0.0 Rafael Pimentel
Seth Elledge 8.9 4.7 1.3 11.8% 22.4% .291 91 110 0.0 Roy Corcoran
Edgar Escobar 8.5 3.9 1.2 9.9% 21.8% .292 92 108 0.0 Todd Erdos
Garrett Williams 7.9 5.6 1.2 13.7% 19.3% .291 83 121 0.0 Mike Williams
Cory Thompson 6.7 3.4 1.1 8.6% 16.8% .297 92 109 -0.1 Ehren Wassermann
Kyle Ryan 7.6 3.9 1.3 9.8% 19.1% .293 91 110 -0.1 Pete Burnside
T.J. McFarland 5.7 2.9 1.2 7.4% 14.7% .286 92 109 -0.1 Chad Zerbe
Justin Miller 7.6 3.2 1.4 8.2% 19.2% .293 90 111 -0.1 Mike James
Kyle Leahy 5.1 3.7 1.2 9.0% 12.5% .297 78 128 -0.1 Yoel Hernandez
Tyler Webb 8.5 4.7 1.2 11.8% 21.5% .285 88 113 -0.1 Matt Whisenant
Connor Jones 6.6 5.4 0.8 13.0% 16.1% .297 85 117 -0.1 Ryan Henderson
Johan Quezada 6.8 4.9 1.1 11.8% 16.4% .301 81 124 -0.2 Rick Greene
Brandon Waddell 7.3 5.0 1.4 12.1% 17.6% .297 77 130 -0.2 Matt White
Jesus Cruz 8.9 5.3 1.4 12.7% 21.5% .302 81 123 -0.3 Mike MacDougal
Edgar Gonzalez 6.1 4.0 1.6 9.8% 14.9% .298 74 135 -0.3 Patrick Coogan
Griffin Roberts 4.3 6.4 1.2 14.7% 10.0% .293 67 150 -0.5 Rob Purvis
James Naile 5.5 3.1 1.6 7.6% 13.6% .298 76 132 -0.5 Carl Willis

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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Uncle Spikemember
9 months ago

I’m really curious to see if the Cardinals have something in Juan Yepez. I was surprised to see him grade out positively on the defensive side as most scouting reports I’ve read portray him as a poor defender. It’s also worth noting that Steamer has him at 117 wRC+ vs 105 for Zips. He’s only 23 and had a dominant statistical year between AA/AAA last year. Seems like there’s some really solid upside there and if he can play solid defense, that raises his floor significantly.

weinventyou
9 months ago
Reply to  Uncle Spike

The fact that they put him on the playoff roster (for the wild card) without him every playing in MLB shows they have some confidence in him, too. If/when there’s a DH in the NL in 2022, I’m guessing first dibs will belong to Yepez as long as he has a decent Spring

nb
9 months ago
Reply to  weinventyou

As I recall he would’ve batted in the top of the 10th, if McFarland/Reyes could’ve gotten through the bottom of the 9th with the game still tied.

Lanidrac
9 months ago
Reply to  weinventyou

They’ll sign at least a platoon option for DH rather than relying entirely on internal options there. Maybe we’ll see a Yepez/Pujols platoon?

tdouglas
9 months ago
Reply to  Lanidrac

I’m not sure that makes sense. Pujols was a below-average hitter last season and has been since 2017. Even with his decent start in LA, he was barely average there, and he’s gonna be another year older. Yepez and Pujols are both righties, so I dunno how a platoon would work. Steamer has Yepez at a 117 wRC+ and Pujols at a 98 wRC+, so I’d just stick with Yepez and pick up a lefty. Brad Miller just put up a 123 wRC+ against righties, has made a career of hitting righties well, and has some positional versatility.

Wu-Bacca
9 months ago
Reply to  tdouglas

Agree all around, tdouglas. Another problem with Pujols is if he becomes totally unplayable you can’t really cut him (or even hide him on the bench) without creating a fair amount of controversy.

Lanidrac
9 months ago
Reply to  Wu-Bacca

No, Pujols is absolutely a bench bat if he can’t platoon, just like he was with the Dodgers last year after their starters got healthy. Nobody would have any problem with that at all!

Lanidrac
9 months ago
Reply to  tdouglas

Pujols has not been a below average hitter against lefties, though. He works just fine as a platoon bat.

Ah, I thought Yepez was a lefty. Well, he’s still unproven to the point that I’ll still put the odds on Pujols having a better offensive 2022 if he’s kept in a strict platoon.

Either way, the Cardinals do at the very least need a lefty bench bat even if the DH doesn’t come to the NL next year.

tdouglas
9 months ago
Reply to  Uncle Spike

I wouldn’t put too much stock in ZiPS defensive projections. For example, Gorman rates really high, but we know he’s not good. He has the same Def projection as Dejong and a better projection than Sosa, which is absurd. The 105 wRC+ projection for Yepez is really good, though. There aren’t too many rookies who get that kind of projection, especially when they aren’t lauded prospects.

A Brad Miller return could give STL a bomb-ass DH platoon for cheap. It at least gives them a solid pinch hitter, which has been a big weakness over the years.