After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for eight years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
ZiPS projects Ketel Marte to regress a bit towards the mean, but not by enough to prevent him from remaining a star center fielder. The outfield corners remain more troublesome, and I believe it is extremely dodgy to assume that a healthier shoulder will be enough to return David Peralta to his career-best 2018 form. Peralta’s quite old for a player with just five years’ worth of playing time — he’ll turn 33 late in 2020 — and it’s quite likely that some age-related decline will counteract a portion of the benefits of (hopefully) avoiding further injury. I’m a fan of Josh Rojas, but I’m not sure his value will really come as a starter in a corner outfield position, where I think his bat will be stretched a bit.
I really would have liked to see Arizona go after Marcell Ozuna, who may actually be underrated at this point, including by me; I was leery of a team chasing after two seasons after him failing to hit the three-win line, but after running his ZiPS projection and looking at my BABIP model (zBABIP), I may have been too hasty to dismiss him. ZiPS thinks Ozuna should have had a .316 BABIP in 2019 based on his profile (his actual was .259) and gives him a .281/.346/.509, 3.1 WAR projection in 141 projected games in Arizona.
The projections aren’t completely sold on Christian Walker, still seeing him as a league-average first baseman. Problem is, ZiPS also is a fan of Kevin Cron — his emergence was huge even by Pacific Coast League standards — and projects him as the slightly better player right now. If trading Walker at some point can get the Diamondbacks another corner outfielder or a starting pitcher, it’s going to be hard to say no to. I don’t think Arizona is a top offense, but I don’t think there are any serious holes at the moment, an impressive turnaround for a team that had an 86 wRC+ as recently as 2018. Read the rest of this entry »