After having typically appeared in the very hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have been released at FanGraphs the past couple years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Tampa Bay Rays. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.
Other Projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Colorado / Detroit / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Los Angeles NL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / New York NL / Oakland / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Texas / Toronto / Washington.
Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier hasn’t merely recorded more wins than every other 31st-round selection from the 2010 draft, but he appears also to have recorded more wins than all but six players — including (and, it would seem, limited to) Adam Eaton, Bryce Harper, Matt Harvey, Manny Machado, Chris Sale, and Andrelton Simmons — from that same draft class. What else he’s done is to distinguish himself as the prohibitive star of your 2016 Rays. Taken out of Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, Kiermaier has now produced a 9.5 WAR in fewer than two full seasons’ worth of plate appearances. His projection for the 2016 campaign (521 PA, 4.2 zWAR) calls for roughly a repeat of the same.
After Kiermaier, the 2016 iteration of the club appears to be an exercise in uninspiring competence. Desmond Jennings is roughly average. Logan Forsythe and Brad Miller are roughly average. Whoever’s platooning in right field is likely to provide a roughly average platoon. The club’s weaknesses are at designated hitter and first base. Neither Logan Morrison (445 PA, 0.0 zWAR) nor James Loney (498 PA, 0.0 zWAR) appear well-equipped to benefit the team at either position.