Thursday, January 2, 2014

A look at the Dodgers' ZiPS projections for 2014, most of which are positive

Dan Szymborski does great work, whether it's projecting performance or pointing out why some folks are so wrong for giving Jack Morris a vote on their Hall of Fame ballot.

Today, we're looking at his ZiPS projections for the Dodgers. Some make sense, some don't. They definitely aren't the be-all, end-all, but they also give a nice number to shoot for -- or at least to expect. I'm not going through every player, but I will look at some of the most important players to the Dodgers in 2014.


Andre Ethier
.261/.340/.405, 13 HR, 63 RBI, 29 2B, 9.8 BB%, 19.5 K%
- I'm not diggin' this projection for Ethier. I'm sure it takes into account lack of playing time, but a .261/.340 batting average/on-base percentage slash doesn't jive with me. Ethier owns a .288/.362 "double" slash and has never hit less than .272 in a season (twice) and never gotten on base at a clip worse than .350. I could see the 13 home runs, but I'd expect him to hit better.

Adrian Gonzalez
.282/.339/.453, 22 HR, 99 RBI, 33 2B, 8.0 BB%, 17.0 K%
- This is probably the line one could expect from Gonzalez for the rest of his career. He isn't the 30-40 HR threat he was early in his career. He is still a run producer capable of hitting for enough power to make Dodger fans forget about James Loney. Being left-handed (and being able to hit left-handed pitching) helps his cause. Gonzalez should be the team's cleanup hitter for most of the season.

Matt Kemp
.274/.339/.473, 20 HR, 75 RBI, 15 SB, 8.6 BB%, 24.8 K%
- This line is reminiscent of Kemp, circa 2010. We can safely assume Kemp, c. 2011, won't be returning anytime soon. But I think Kemp could out perform this projection. He might not hit many more than 20 home runs (maybe 25), but I think he could hit for a little more batting average, thus increasing his on-base percentage, too. Again, after the last nearly two seasons (save a scorching April 2012), it's hard to argue with the projection.

Yasiel Puig
.284/.354/.485, 21 HR, 79 RBI, 96 R, 16 SB, 8.5 BB%, 19.7 K%
- What Puig did in his debut shouldn't be expected -- from a batting average perspective. He hit .319 in his debut, but Puig doesn't carry a "7" hit tool. I'd be perfectly fine with this line from Puig (especially if he hits leadoff). I'd expect the batting average to be in the .280-.300 range, but I'd also expect a little more power from the Dodgers' right fielder.

Hanley Ramirez
.276/.342/.486, 21 HR, 74 RBI, 19 SB, 8.6 BB%, 17.3 K%
- If Ramirez's numbers look a little low, they are. But it also takes into account Ramirez's performance from the last few years. If healthy (that's a big "if"), I'd expect Ramirez's numbers to be better than his projections. He figures to hit No. 3 or No. 4 for the Dodgers. If he can give them 130-140 games, I could see Ramirez reaching the 30-HR mark for just the second time in his career.


Clayton Kershaw
227 1/3 IP, 2.26 ERA, 2.42 FIP, 2.1 BB/9, 9.2 K/9
- This might be one of the best ZiPS projections for a starting pitcher ever. Kershaw won his second Cy Young in three years (could have easily been 3-for-3), and this projection lends itself to a third Cy. He is the unquestioned best pitcher in baseball, and he's entering his age-26 season.

Zack Greinke
192 IP, 2.95 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 2.1 BB/9, 8.2 K/9
- Greinke is coming off a stellar 2013 campaign, and if he reaches this projection, he'll have a fantastic 2014. Yes, it'd be nice to see more innings pitched (and he will, barring injury), but there probably isn't a better No. 2 starter in the game (maybe Max Scherzer... maybe). And if there's a pitcher who better pitches to his FIP, I haven 't seen him.

Hyun-Jin Ryu
3.65 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 2.5 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
- Ryu impressed in his rookie season, and it may not be realistic to expect a repeat (or better) of his 2013 numbers. But I don't see a nearly 5-point jump in his home run rate (from 0.7 to 1.2, rounded) happening, which accounts for a higher ERA and FIP.

Dan Haren
162 2/3 IP, 3.71 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 1.7 BB/9, 7.7 K/9
- Stop right there. If Haren were to produce these numbers, I'd be more than thrilled. Yes, some more innings would be nice, but beggars can't be choosers. Haren is fully capable of posting these numbers, especially pitching in the pitcher-friendly NL West.

Kenley Jansen
70 2/3 IP, 1.91 ERA, 1.96 FIP, 2.7 BB/9, 13.8 K/9
- Jansen is far and away the Dodgers' best reliever and one of the games best. He's gotten better every year, and this projection states he's only going to get better. Thankfully, he won't have to beat out an inferior pitcher to be the team's closer.

Brian Wilson
38 1/3 IP, 3.05 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 3.4 BB/9, 9.2 K/9
- I feel really comfortable with Wilson backing up Jansen in the 'pen. The Dodgers re-signed Wilson to throw more than 38 1/3 innings, and he will if he stays healthy. The more he pitches, the more the Dodgers will be winning. He won't post a sub-1 ERA like he did in limited time in 2013, but I bet he checks in at less than 3.

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

1 comment:

  1. I think Yasiel will benefit greatly from a full spring training as long as he listens to his coaches and to the veterans. Listening to the coaches and veterans is the only part of him I worry about. Right now he does not seem to be the kind of man who will learn from his mistakes. Two different incidents of reckless driving? What? Does he need to kill someone before he learns?