If you’ve perused FanGraphs’ player pages this morning, you may have noticed that the 2019 ZiPS Projections have now officially been added into the database, with players all projected based on their most recent organization as of late Sunday, February 24th.
ZiPS projections are also now included in this season’s Projected Standings, mixed in along with the Steamer projections. So if you find yourself with a particular urge to praise or curse your favorite team’s projected record today, that might be why.
Coming up, at a date still to be determined, will be the 2020 and 2021 projections from ZiPS. While ZiPS has spit out multi-year projections since about 2006, I’ve generally greedily hoarded those projections for my own nefarious uses, but even Ebeneszym Scrooge can occasionally see the light. I will not be buying a Christmas goose for Tiny Tim Collins, however.
The WAR listed for players on the ZiPS 2019 projections page has also been moved over to the FanGraphs WAR, in order to be consistent across the website, allowing you to compare apples to apples instead of apples to battleships (apples and oranges aren’t really that different, after all).
A few things stick out to me when looking at the projection set as a whole:
- The Yankees have overtaken the Red Sox for the most projected wins in baseball with 98, up from 96. Boston, meanwhile, drops a win, going from 96 to 95. That’s not a lot, but it is enough to push their projected win total behind that of the Astros, who now have the second highest projected win total with 96. The Marlins now have the (dis)honor of baseball’s worst projected record with a paltry 62 wins, slipping behind the Orioles.
- The Brewers got their expected ZiPS bump, as they did last year, with ZiPS simply being more of a believer in the adequacy of their starting pitching than most. Stirring ZiPS into the stew is enough to get the Brewers above .500 and into third place in the NL Central, above the Pirates and Reds.
- Even after all the other teams have gone live, ZiPS still holds a special place in its hard drive for Cleveland’s rotation. Especially notable is Shane Bieber, who ZiPS projects as 13th in WAR among pitchers, meaning the computer loves Bieber more than you or I have ever loved anything. And that’s still only good for fourth best in the rotation! One can perhaps understand why the Indians were open to trading Corey Kluber.
- Most pitchers would be very happy with a 3.9 WAR projection, but I believe this is the first time Clayton Kershaw’s has dropped below that in ZiPS since his rookie season.
- ZiPS sees third base as the most talented position on the field right now, with the five players projected at five WAR or greater and a whopping 11 players projected to hit the four WAR margin. That’s out of only 13 and 34 total position players respectively.
So enjoy the projections and remember: even if Carson Cistulli is no longer with us here at FanGraphs, he can still be at fault for all the projections that are wrong.
Is there something you’d like to see in ZiPS on FanGraphs? Let us know!
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.