ZiPS 2021 Projections: New York Mets

After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for nine years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the New York Mets.

Batters

Robinson Canó’s suspension for the 2021 season may be a blessing in disguise from the point of view of the Mets, at least if we trust the second baseman’s ZiPS projection. Canó was surprisingly good in 2020, but there’s a great deal of gravity surrounding him; he seemed to be nearing the end this time last year and Nelson Cruz notwithstanding, the typical decline for hitters in their late 30s would be illegal for roller coasters. The Mets aren’t losing Canó’s 2020, they’re losing what they could have gotten from him in 2021, which isn’t necessarily the same thing. There’s opportunity here to get creative in the infield. Jeff McNeil becomes the obvious second base candidate with J.D. Davis moving back to third. ZiPS is into the former but not the latter, and it would be fun to see the Mets go after someone like Justin Turner at the hot corner.

Even if the Mets stick with what they have, there’s only one real glaring weakness in the starting lineup: catcher. Wilson Ramos looked like he aged fairly quickly in 2020 and the team no longer has much in the way of quality depth at the position, which used to be a necessity due to Travis d’Arnaud’s injury record. If new owner Steve Cohen wants a highly efficient way to splash some cash around, there may be no more efficient signing out there than landing J.T. Realmuto. At this point last year, I figured that the Phillies were certain to extend Realmuto, but now that they’ve lost $20 million, $2 billion, or whatever fictional figure sneaks past an editor, the Mets have an opportunity to poke a finger in a rival’s eye. And, of course, it’s a winning baseball idea!

So long as the team stays healthy, there aren’t any other huge headaches in the lineup. ZiPS isn’t the least bit worried about Pete Alonso despite a slightly disappointing sophomore season and though the computer isn’t fully on Team Giménez, it still sees the shortstop timeshare as adequate, if not terribly exciting. If the players don’t stay healthy, the Mets aren’t particularly deep, so there’s some work to be done this winter even if it’s not of the headline-making variety. There are a lot of solid role players on this projection list, but a very high percentage of them are free agents.

Pitchers

It would not shock me if the Mets have the best rotation in baseball. Jacob deGrom is a serious preseason favorite for Cy Young; I’m not sure I wouldn’t have taken him over Trevor Bauer and Yu Darvish if I had had a Cy vote this past season. Yes, wins aren’t a remotely good way of evaluating a pitcher, but the cosmic unfairness of deGrom never having finished a season with more than 15 wins remains incredibly frustrating. ZiPS projects deGrom to finish with 69 career WAR (cue the meme), but only 167 wins. The most career WAR for a pitcher with as few wins as that is Bret Saberhagen at 55.3. I would consider it karmic justice if deGrom snagged a few mediocre 20-win seasons at the end of his career.

And after deGrom, there’s a great deal of upside. The Mets were fortunate to get Marcus Stroman back with a qualifying offer; the calf injury that helped cost him 2020 isn’t expected to be a problem next year. Noah Syndergaard’s injury was far more serious, of course, but it’s much better for 2021 that he got his Tommy John surgery in March rather than the Mets playing “wait-and-see” until late summer. David Peterson looked solid in stretches in 2020 and ZiPS isn’t banking on a repeat of his higher-than-expected walk rate.

The team’s bullpen looks like a roughly league-average crew at this point. ZiPS was never an Edwin Díaz disbeliever and while there were reasons for some mild concern — his walk rate for one — he was a convincing example of why you shouldn’t panic about a spike in a good pitcher’s HR/9 rate. The good news is that in a world where other teams don’t want to take a year of Brad Hand for basically free, there are opportunities for the Mets to add a name brand arm or two. I’d love to see them go after Hand and someone like Trevor May or Blake Treinen.

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
Michael Conforto L 28 RF 608 518 86 137 26 1 27 93 76 152 7 4
Jeff McNeil L 29 2B 581 522 71 155 33 3 16 70 41 71 6 5
Pete Alonso R 26 1B 616 536 81 132 24 1 41 110 61 164 2 2
Brandon Nimmo L 28 CF 498 410 67 100 21 5 16 49 74 123 4 3
Dominic Smith L 26 LF 541 494 68 134 33 2 21 80 38 128 1 1
Amed Rosario R 25 SS 609 575 73 154 24 7 14 62 26 122 16 8
Luis Guillorme L 26 2B 383 336 39 86 16 1 4 30 40 68 4 2
Andrés Giménez L 22 SS 480 436 56 102 18 6 9 42 23 111 25 12
J.D. Davis R 28 3B 533 474 63 122 24 1 19 62 48 130 2 1
Jake Marisnick R 30 CF 303 279 43 66 15 2 12 36 16 89 7 3
Brian Dozier R 34 2B 471 417 56 94 18 1 17 56 48 106 6 4
Robinson Canó L 38 2B 393 368 41 99 21 0 12 47 20 60 0 0
Bruce Maxwell L 30 C 371 335 38 74 17 0 9 41 34 98 0 0
Todd Frazier R 35 3B 471 419 51 93 18 1 16 60 39 109 3 3
Robel García B 28 2B 473 421 59 88 14 4 20 80 44 173 3 5
Wilson Ramos R 33 C 438 403 37 104 17 0 12 59 29 75 0 0
Mallex Smith L 28 CF 533 484 59 115 21 8 5 37 39 122 40 8
René Rivera R 37 C 310 284 28 57 7 0 12 40 19 103 0 0
Robinson Chirinos R 37 C 342 297 32 58 14 0 9 41 31 100 0 1
Yoenis Céspedes R 35 LF 256 233 28 53 10 1 12 39 18 75 1 0
Juan Lagares R 32 CF 268 246 33 57 11 2 3 20 16 61 4 2
Tomás Nido R 27 C 321 301 30 67 14 1 9 41 15 74 0 0
Max Moroff B 28 SS 332 282 40 53 10 1 9 42 45 109 4 2
Jake Hager R 28 2B 390 358 38 76 15 2 10 39 24 107 5 2
Jose Peraza R 27 2B 545 508 56 124 21 3 8 41 23 80 12 6
David Rodriguez R 25 C 378 348 34 70 14 2 7 34 23 106 3 2
Gordon Beckham R 34 2B 359 329 36 73 15 1 7 28 23 74 4 1
Mitchell Tolman L 27 2B 464 407 45 78 14 2 7 37 45 141 8 5
Patrick Mazeika L 27 C 437 395 43 85 17 1 11 46 33 92 1 0
Ali Sánchez R 24 C 359 334 30 71 15 1 4 25 21 71 2 2
Guillermo Heredia R 30 CF 320 284 36 65 12 1 8 28 24 64 3 3
Jed Lowrie B 37 2B 442 400 42 91 18 1 9 46 38 89 0 0
Luis Carpio R 23 2B 462 422 43 92 19 2 7 37 34 96 5 12
Jarrett Parker L 32 RF 374 330 41 64 12 1 13 47 41 136 2 2
Eduardo Nuñez R 34 2B 376 358 37 90 15 1 7 36 12 52 12 3
Will Toffey L 26 3B 364 316 36 58 14 1 6 26 45 117 3 2
Braxton Lee L 27 CF 465 418 43 94 15 2 3 29 36 118 8 6
Ryan Cordell R 29 RF 271 248 24 50 10 2 6 27 16 80 7 2
Carlos Cortes L 24 2B 513 466 50 101 19 4 9 48 37 106 4 5
Joey Terdoslavich B 32 1B 358 325 35 73 12 1 7 33 29 71 1 1
Quinn Brodey L 25 CF 485 446 42 88 17 3 9 42 31 158 9 4
Jeremy Vasquez L 24 1B 562 505 51 112 22 3 7 45 49 127 2 3
Travis Taijeron R 32 1B 432 378 45 68 16 2 15 49 43 179 2 2
Michael Paez R 26 2B 449 402 40 80 16 1 8 35 33 107 3 6
Melky Cabrera B 36 RF 420 396 42 104 18 1 7 51 19 50 2 1
Johneshwy Fargas R 26 CF 434 395 40 77 9 4 6 33 24 113 28 17
Nick Meyer R 24 C 220 204 16 36 4 1 1 9 12 53 6 2
Ronny Mauricio B 20 SS 460 436 40 91 16 4 5 30 17 118 4 10
Zach Ashford L 24 LF 491 442 43 85 21 4 7 37 39 143 8 11
Blake Tiberi L 26 3B 494 443 47 88 18 1 4 29 44 128 9 4
Tim Tebow L 33 LF 334 309 24 48 10 1 4 20 19 144 2 2

Batters – Advanced
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Michael Conforto .264 .368 .475 130 .210 .324 6.4 2 3.9 Steve Kemp
Jeff McNeil .297 .362 .464 125 .167 .320 6.4 -4 3.6 Cecil Travis
Pete Alonso .246 .339 .524 132 .278 .275 6.3 0 3.5 Jeff Burroughs
Brandon Nimmo .244 .373 .437 122 .193 .310 5.8 -5 2.9 Rick Monday
Dominic Smith .271 .329 .474 117 .202 .328 5.8 -2 2.2 Dmitri Young
Amed Rosario .268 .301 .407 92 .139 .319 4.5 -3 1.6 Rafael Ramirez
Luis Guillorme .256 .337 .345 89 .089 .311 4.2 2 1.3 Jeff Treadway
Andrés Giménez .234 .294 .365 80 .131 .294 3.8 3 1.2 Carlos Garcia
J.D. Davis .257 .332 .432 108 .175 .317 5.2 -13 1.2 Brook Jacoby
Jake Marisnick .237 .289 .434 95 .197 .303 4.5 2 1.1 John Shelby
Brian Dozier .225 .310 .396 92 .170 .262 4.2 -3 1.0 Damion Easley
Robinson Canó .269 .310 .424 99 .155 .294 4.9 -4 1.0 Cal Ripken Jr.
Bruce Maxwell .221 .291 .352 76 .131 .285 3.6 4 1.0 Alan Ashby
Todd Frazier .222 .301 .384 87 .162 .262 3.9 0 1.0 Clete Boyer
Robel García .209 .288 .404 87 .195 .298 3.8 1 1.0 Bobby Smith
Wilson Ramos .258 .311 .390 91 .132 .291 4.4 -6 0.9 Eddie Taubensee
Mallex Smith .238 .302 .345 78 .107 .308 4.2 -1 0.9 Chris Duffy
René Rivera .201 .259 .352 66 .151 .266 3.1 6 0.7 Pat Borders
Robinson Chirinos .195 .287 .333 70 .138 .261 3.1 1 0.5 Elston Howard
Yoenis Céspedes .227 .289 .433 95 .206 .281 4.4 0 0.3 Bobby Thomson
Juan Lagares .232 .286 .329 69 .098 .297 3.3 4 0.3 Tony Scott
Tomás Nido .223 .259 .365 69 .143 .266 3.3 1 0.3 Willie Morales
Max Moroff .188 .303 .326 73 .138 .268 3.3 -2 0.3 Lauro Felix
Jake Hager .212 .263 .349 66 .137 .274 3.2 5 0.2 Adam Pavkovich
Jose Peraza .244 .287 .344 73 .100 .276 3.5 0 0.2 Luis Sojo
David Rodriguez .201 .255 .313 55 .112 .268 2.7 6 0.2 Damian Miller
Gordon Beckham .222 .279 .337 69 .116 .266 3.3 2 0.2 Billy Gardner
Mitchell Tolman .192 .278 .287 56 .096 .274 2.6 7 0.0 Nate Frese
Patrick Mazeika .215 .284 .347 72 .132 .253 3.4 -6 0.0 Alberto Castillo
Ali Sánchez .213 .262 .299 54 .087 .259 2.6 4 0.0 Tom Wieghaus
Guillermo Heredia .229 .303 .363 82 .134 .269 3.7 -5 -0.1 Rowland Office
Jed Lowrie .228 .296 .345 76 .118 .272 3.6 -4 -0.1 Terry Pendleton
Luis Carpio .218 .280 .322 65 .104 .266 2.6 4 -0.2 Jose Valdez
Jarrett Parker .194 .286 .355 75 .161 .282 3.3 0 -0.3 Orsino Hill
Eduardo Nuñez .251 .277 .358 73 .106 .278 3.8 -5 -0.4 Cookie Rojas
Will Toffey .184 .288 .291 60 .108 .269 2.7 0 -0.4 Ron Bourquin
Braxton Lee .225 .288 .292 61 .067 .306 2.8 1 -0.5 Kevin Koslofski
Ryan Cordell .202 .253 .331 59 .129 .272 2.9 1 -0.7 Victor Mendez
Carlos Cortes .217 .279 .333 68 .116 .262 3.1 -4 -0.7 Sean Kazmar Jr.
Joey Terdoslavich .225 .288 .332 70 .108 .267 3.3 0 -0.7 Ryan McGuire
Quinn Brodey .197 .252 .309 53 .112 .283 2.6 3 -0.7 Justin Justice
Jeremy Vasquez .222 .294 .319 69 .097 .283 3.2 3 -0.8 Andy Barkett
Travis Taijeron .180 .278 .352 72 .172 .288 3.2 -3 -1.0 Dustan Mohr
Michael Paez .199 .269 .303 57 .104 .251 2.5 -1 -1.0 Randy Blood
Melky Cabrera .263 .296 .366 81 .104 .286 4.0 -9 -1.0 Rip Radcliff
Johneshwy Fargas .195 .258 .284 49 .089 .257 2.3 0 -1.2 Anthony Jackson
Nick Meyer .176 .228 .221 25 .044 .233 1.7 -2 -1.3 Charlie Greene
Ronny Mauricio .209 .242 .298 47 .089 .275 2.1 0 -1.6 Julio Bruno
Zach Ashford .192 .267 .305 57 .113 .267 2.4 1 -1.7 Karl Rhodes
Blake Tiberi .199 .274 .271 51 .072 .270 2.5 -7 -1.8 Tommy Nicholson
Tim Tebow .155 .213 .233 23 .078 .273 1.5 -9 -3.4 Orsino Hill

Pitchers – Standard
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO FIP
Jacob deGrom R 33 12 6 2.85 28 28 176.7 138 56 20 40 217 2.96
Noah Syndergaard R 28 7 5 3.69 21 21 126.7 120 52 16 31 125 3.68
Marcus Stroman R 30 8 6 3.88 21 21 123.0 118 53 15 41 104 4.12
David Peterson L 25 8 7 4.14 29 27 134.7 128 62 16 53 119 4.29
Seth Lugo R 31 9 7 4.10 23 23 127.3 117 58 23 27 139 4.15
Edwin Diaz R 27 6 2 2.70 68 0 66.7 44 20 8 25 114 2.67
Rick Porcello R 32 11 10 4.50 27 27 154.0 159 77 27 38 138 4.54
Steven Matz L 30 8 8 4.65 26 23 122.0 119 63 21 43 121 4.64
Michael Wacha R 29 6 6 4.67 23 20 108.0 108 56 18 42 102 4.68
Joe Cavallaro R 25 7 7 4.71 32 14 101.3 99 53 13 53 88 4.86
Miguel Castro R 26 4 3 3.97 67 0 81.7 71 36 8 40 79 4.06
Tylor Megill R 25 7 7 4.61 23 11 68.3 62 35 11 36 79 4.72
Justin Wilson L 33 4 2 3.60 53 0 45.0 35 18 5 24 58 3.71
Corey Oswalt R 27 5 6 4.90 21 18 93.7 96 51 18 29 82 5.02
Dellin Betances R 33 3 2 3.59 46 0 42.7 31 17 5 26 63 3.93
Nick Tropeano R 30 4 4 4.76 17 11 70.0 69 37 14 28 71 5.12
Ariel Jurado R 25 8 9 5.06 28 19 122.7 138 69 23 28 80 5.10
Franklyn Kilome R 26 4 4 4.94 18 16 85.7 85 47 10 52 69 5.08
Daniel Zamora L 28 3 2 3.83 48 0 47.0 41 20 6 18 54 3.88
Jacob Barnes R 31 3 3 4.00 54 1 54.0 47 24 7 23 61 3.99
Rob Whalen R 27 4 5 4.91 13 12 62.3 65 34 9 24 48 4.82
Yeizo Campos R 25 3 3 4.53 27 5 59.7 59 30 9 21 52 4.60
Jared Hughes R 35 4 3 4.01 58 0 58.3 53 26 6 23 48 4.26
Sam McWilliams R 25 7 8 5.17 25 20 125.3 137 72 22 47 91 5.28
Robert Gsellman R 27 3 3 4.32 54 2 66.7 66 32 8 25 57 4.38
Marcel Renteria R 26 3 3 4.66 32 5 65.7 63 34 8 36 58 4.82
Chasen Shreve L 30 3 2 4.15 51 0 56.3 47 26 9 28 73 4.26
Brad Brach R 35 3 3 4.12 50 0 48.0 42 22 5 26 53 4.01
Yefry Ramírez R 27 6 7 5.17 29 17 101.0 94 58 19 54 111 5.21
Jeurys Familia R 31 3 3 4.30 63 0 60.7 53 29 6 38 66 4.32
Drew Smith R 27 3 3 4.29 36 0 42.0 41 20 5 17 36 4.44
Arodys Vizcaíno R 30 3 3 4.33 39 0 35.3 32 17 6 17 39 4.79
Adonis Uceta R 27 3 3 4.61 36 2 52.7 50 27 7 26 50 4.66
Hunter Strickland R 32 3 3 4.37 39 0 35.0 34 17 5 14 33 4.44
Harol Gonzalez R 26 8 10 5.37 23 22 122.3 134 73 23 43 85 5.46
Thomas Szapucki L 25 2 3 5.34 21 17 55.7 54 33 10 33 56 5.44
Erasmo Ramirez R 31 4 5 5.32 24 16 89.7 97 53 19 27 63 5.57
Ryley Gilliam R 24 3 3 4.46 31 0 40.3 34 20 6 25 53 4.57
Tony Dibrell R 25 8 10 5.40 24 23 113.3 114 68 18 73 98 5.63
Peter Tago R 28 1 1 4.50 14 0 18.0 15 9 2 15 20 5.07
Paul Sewald R 31 3 3 4.50 47 0 56.0 55 28 9 18 56 4.34
Tommy Wilson R 25 6 7 5.45 21 20 99.0 107 60 19 39 76 5.47
Oscar De La Cruz R 26 4 6 5.33 28 12 82.7 85 49 16 38 76 5.42
Pedro Payano R 26 6 7 5.50 25 22 108.0 113 66 18 62 90 5.57
Ryder Ryan R 26 3 3 5.21 34 1 46.7 46 27 7 28 43 5.28
Nick Rumbelow R 29 2 3 5.25 27 0 36.0 37 21 7 16 32 5.43

Pitchers – Advanced
Player K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BB% K% BABIP ERA+ ERA- WAR No. 1 Comp
Jacob deGrom 11.1 2.0 1.0 5.7% 30.9% .281 149 67 5.3 Bob Gibson
Noah Syndergaard 8.9 2.2 1.1 5.9% 23.8% .297 115 87 2.5 Paul Derringer
Marcus Stroman 7.6 3.0 1.1 7.9% 20.0% .287 109 92 2.1 Bob Porterfield
David Peterson 8.0 3.5 1.1 9.1% 20.4% .289 102 98 1.9 Jim O’Toole
Seth Lugo 9.8 1.9 1.6 5.1% 26.5% .286 103 97 1.9 Brad Radke
Edwin Díaz 15.4 3.4 1.1 9.2% 42.1% .303 157 64 1.7 Mark Wohlers
Rick Porcello 8.1 2.2 1.6 5.8% 21.1% .297 94 106 1.6 Bill Lee
Steven Matz 8.9 3.2 1.5 8.2% 23.0% .293 91 110 1.0 Kent Mercker
Michael Wacha 8.5 3.5 1.5 9.0% 21.8% .296 91 110 0.9 Jim Hannan
Joe Cavallaro 7.8 4.7 1.2 11.6% 19.3% .292 90 111 0.7 Walt Masterson
Miguel Castro 8.7 4.4 0.9 11.4% 22.4% .283 107 94 0.6 Joe Hudson
Tylor Megill 10.4 4.7 1.4 11.9% 26.1% .295 92 109 0.5 Mike Lumley
Justin Wilson 11.6 4.8 1.0 12.5% 30.2% .288 118 85 0.5 Marshall Bridges
Corey Oswalt 7.9 2.8 1.7 7.2% 20.3% .289 86 116 0.5 Steve Finch
Dellin Betances 13.3 5.5 1.1 13.8% 33.5% .292 118 85 0.5 Jason Kershner
Nick Tropeano 9.1 3.6 1.8 9.2% 23.2% .291 89 112 0.4 Julian Tavarez
Ariel Jurado 5.9 2.1 1.7 5.3% 15.2% .293 84 119 0.4 Rick Wise
Franklyn Kilome 7.2 5.5 1.1 13.2% 17.6% .292 86 117 0.4 Mike Torrez
Daniel Zamora 10.3 3.4 1.1 9.0% 27.0% .294 111 90 0.4 Juan Agosto
Jacob Barnes 10.2 3.8 1.2 10.0% 26.4% .290 106 94 0.4 Dwight Bernard
Rob Whalen 6.9 3.5 1.3 8.8% 17.5% .295 86 116 0.4 Wayne Simpson
Yeizo Campos 7.8 3.2 1.4 8.1% 20.2% .289 94 107 0.3 Ken Ash
Jared Hughes 7.4 3.5 0.9 9.2% 19.1% .276 106 95 0.3 Al Worthington
Sam McWilliams 6.5 3.4 1.6 8.5% 16.4% .295 82 122 0.3 Joey Housey
Robert Gsellman 7.7 3.4 1.1 8.6% 19.6% .296 98 102 0.3 Scott Munter
Marcel Renteria 7.9 4.9 1.1 12.2% 19.7% .291 91 110 0.3 Sam Nahem
Chasen Shreve 11.7 4.5 1.4 11.5% 30.0% .290 102 98 0.2 Doug Capilla
Brad Brach 9.9 4.9 0.9 12.4% 25.2% .296 103 97 0.2 Turk Lown
Yefry Ramírez 9.9 4.8 1.7 12.0% 24.7% .288 82 122 0.2 Tim Byron
Jeurys Familia 9.8 5.6 0.9 14.0% 24.3% .296 98 102 0.1 Dave Jolly
Drew Smith 7.7 3.6 1.1 9.2% 19.6% .293 99 101 0.1 Greg Minton
Arodys Vizcaíno 9.9 4.3 1.5 11.0% 25.2% .286 98 102 0.1 Ed Farmer
Adonis Uceta 8.5 4.4 1.2 11.2% 21.5% .293 92 109 0.1 Newt Kimball
Hunter Strickland 8.5 3.6 1.3 9.2% 21.7% .293 97 103 0.1 Hal White
Harol Gonzalez 6.3 3.2 1.7 7.9% 15.7% .290 79 127 0.0 Michael Macdonald
Thomas Szapucki 9.1 5.3 1.6 13.0% 22.1% .291 79 126 0.0 Derek Thompson
Erasmo Ramirez 6.3 2.7 1.9 6.9% 16.2% .282 80 126 0.0 Jim McAndrew
Ryley Gilliam 11.8 5.6 1.3 13.8% 29.3% .298 95 105 0.0 Anthony Chavez
Tony Dibrell 7.8 5.8 1.4 13.9% 18.6% .291 78 127 0.0 Brett Laxton
Peter Tago 10.0 7.5 1.0 17.9% 23.8% .283 94 106 0.0 Horacio Pina
Paul Sewald 9.0 2.9 1.4 7.5% 23.4% .299 94 106 0.0 Chuck Crim
Tommy Wilson 6.9 3.5 1.7 8.9% 17.3% .292 78 129 -0.1 Preston Larrison
Oscar De La Cruz 8.3 4.1 1.7 10.3% 20.5% .294 79 126 -0.1 Dan Kolb
Pedro Payano 7.5 5.2 1.5 12.5% 18.1% .296 77 130 -0.1 Edwin Morel
Ryder Ryan 8.3 5.4 1.4 13.1% 20.1% .293 81 123 -0.3 Ken Wright
Nick Rumbelow 8.0 4.0 1.8 10.0% 20.0% .291 81 124 -0.3 Gary Wagner

Players are listed with their most recent teams wherever possible. This includes players who are unsigned, players who will miss 2021 due to injury, and players who were released in 2020. So yes, if you see Joe Schmoe, who quit baseball back in August to form a Finnish industrial death metal fourth-wave ska J-pop band, he’s still listed here intentionally.

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 which 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 2021; if it does not, there will be widespread minor adjustments across the board come April.

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 or something.





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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gvanlue
Member
gvanlue

Last year, ZIPS projected Dom Smith, who was coming off an OPS of .881 in 2019, to drop to an OPS of .723 (minus .158). Instead, he put up an OPS of .993 this year. For 2021, ZIPS is projecting that number to drop to .803 (minus .180 from 2020). 2020 may end up being Dom’s career high-water mark, but .803 still seems low, given the past 2 seasons. Does ZIPS still assign a lot of weight to his first two seasons, 2017 & 2018, given that the sample sizes in 2019 and 2020 are less than 200 ABs? Is it that it’s difficult to be sure a guy has truly turned a corner without a larger sample? If a guy truly does make a significant leap, how many AB does it take for ZIPS to believe it, generally?

sadtrombone
Member
Member
sadtrombone

ZiPs, unlike Steamer, sometimes believes in breakouts, but it also takes into account batted ball data. IIRC, Dom Smith in 2019 succeeded in a really weird way, one that is either was a little bit fluky or that statcast data wasn’t capturing. His success in 2020 seems to backed by statcast, but it’s another relatively small sample, due to the shortened season.

Connor Grey
Member
Member
Connor Grey

You’re right, Smith’s 2019 actual numbers outperformed his expected Statcast results. I remember a lot of goofy hits that just snuck through. Legitimate improvement but I was expecting something close to a league average wRC+ for 2020. Smith didn’t get to his 2020 .316/.377/.616 165 wRC+ with seeing-eye singles. He was amazing all season and Statcast loved him this year. I would’ve loved to see what kind of 162 game season he could have put together. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a 3.0-4.0 WAR 1B now.

carter
Member
Member
carter

Honestly he seems like the exact type of player who could end up being a star. High contact, high average baseline type guy with good defense. It seems to be easier to come from contact and get power than it is to come from power and get contact. While people do it both ways, it is rare that a high K power hitter just randomly starts making more contact, unless they are near superstar level already. A rare example of a power hitter becoming a contact hitter without losing power is Rowdy Tellez this year. Usually it is guys like Goldy having a few mid career peak years where they make good contact, before losing the contact ability. That is why Rowdy Tellez to me is likely going to be something special. What he did is something incredibly unusual.