There are certain parts of the MLB offseason, the ebb and flow that helps regulate our hardball circadian rhythms. First, you have the arbitration offerings, then the Winter Meetings, the trades and free agent signings that follow and then the dead zone. This January - early February spot is now reserved for things outside of the control of MLB players and their agents, the place where we begin to see prospect rankings and far away pictures of pitchers reporting to camp early. Now, as spring training begins to ramp up, we enter the next phase: projection season.
This is the time of year when algorithms rule the day, different data spitting out their ideas of how different players will perform throughout the year. It’s always amusing to see what PECOTA thing of your favorite team, what ZiPS believes the locals are about to do. how Steamer believes the season will turn out.
Today, we focus on the ZiPS projections that have just been spit out at Fangraphs. You can find the whole article and numbers here and it’s free, so I’m not going to just regurgitate it all, but I’ll just going to mention a few things:
- The whole premise of the write-up done before is that the team feels like it is still just one player away on both sides of the ball - hitting and pitching.
“But it’s hard to shake the feeling that the Phillies could have used one more player....Just like the lineup, it feels like both the rotation and the bullpen are missing a name.”
This has been one of the major issues people have had this offseason, that they didn’t do enough. We know about the reluctance of spending past the luxury tax, but that’s been pretty much the consensus around the team this offseason. It’s nice that a national writer also acknowledges it.
- Looking at the projected WAR totals that are listed on the page, you tally up around 37-38 WAR added. If that number were to get added to a replacement level of 48-52 wins, you’ve got a team that can go anywhere from 86-90 wins. That doesn’t take into account anyone going off during the season, beating what I believe are the 50th percentile projections these WAR totals are. I’ll take that number any day of the week.
- Some of the standouts to me on the hitters side were the following:
Scott Kingery: .247/.298/.420, 17 HR, 58 RBI
Rhys Hoskins: .241/.360/.493, 34 HR, 109 RBI
Didi Gregorius: .277/.318/.497, 24 HR, 81 RBI
If Gregorius is giving the team that kind of production, they should be inquiring what it would take to secure his services beyond the 2020 season. The Hoskins projected batting average seems low, but if that OPS is something he’s going to accomplish, I’d take that any day of the week. The Kingery projection, at first blush, seems low, but then I ask: what has he done to deserve a better one?
- On the pitching side, there isn’t much that was eye opening at all. More or less what you’d think of when you consider the Opening Day roster. I will say that if Howard were to do what his projection says he can do, I’d bring him up out of spring training.
This projection is the first of what will probably be many. For now, we’ll end this with a poll question:
Which projection for a Phillies player are you most interested in?
This poll is closed