2014 Diamondbacks: ZIPS Total Team Projection


This is a follow up from something similar I did last year. Whenever Fangraphs comes out with their ZiPS projections, I believe it's a good baseline for player production, but how does it translate to overall team projection? There will be players that under perform (Miguel Montero) and players that over perform (Paul Goldschmidt) their projections.

Here is a link to what I put together last year, with the editing help of Jim McLennan (thanks Jim!):

ZiPS was pretty close as based on my adjustments, ZiPS predicted 83 wins for the Dbacks. As you can read, my optimistic view had the team in the 86-87 win range.

All of the projected starters as well as the main bullpen arms playing time have been kept the same with adjustments only to the non-starters to make sure their playing time fits into how many games/innings/plate appearances a team has for the season. I chose the figure of 700 plate appearances per position and 1450 innings total for the entire pitching staff.

Position Players
C Montero 504 0.250 0.337 0.398 0.323 2.7
1st Goldschmidt 668 0.271 0.364 0.504 0.372 3.8
2nd Hill 514 0.274 0.331 0.436 0.335 2.2
SS Gregorius 504 0.265 0.317 0.393 0.311 1.8
3rd Prado 663 0.287 0.333 0.425 0.331 2.9
LF Trumbo 632 0.269 0.320 0.514 0.357 1.9
CF Pollock 572 0.268 0.315 0.391 0.310 2.0
RF Parra 562 0.271 0.327 0.410 0.320 2.4
4th OF Ross 206 0.260 0.321 0.427 0.326 0.5
Util Pennington 382 0.250 0.307 0.362 0.295 1.1
Util Chavez 69 0.259 0.312 0.429 0.318 0.2
Bench bat Tuiasosopo 128 0.219 0.302 0.347 0.292 -0.1
Backup C Gosewisch 196 0.229 0.266 0.348 0.271 0.3

Last year, the Dbacks position players finished with 22 WAR, good enough for 7th in the NL. ZiPS projected them to for 21 WAR last year, so pretty close. This year, they're projected at 21.7 WAR, so even with the big acquisition of Trumbo, no big change here. 21.7 WAR would have still put them in 7th for last year.

I chose Tuiasosopo based on what Nick Piecoro tweeted when I asked him who he believed was the favorite for the final bench spot. Also, switching Owings with Didi does not change anything else ZiPS projects both of them with similar WAR numbers.

Starting Pitchers
Player Starts IP K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP WAR
SP1 Corbin 31 201.7 7.45 2.32 3.53 3.52 3.2
SP2 Miley 30 186.7 6.56 2.55 3.81 3.76 2.2
SP3 McCarthy 22 137.7 5.82 1.57 4.05 3.71 1.9
SP4 Cahill 30 178.3 6.61 3.48 4.04 4.11 1.4
SP5 Arroyo 26 165.0 5.24 1.64 4.25 4.33 1.2
SP6 Delgado 23 125.7 6.71 3.35 4.88 4.90 0.2

Last year, the Dbacks finished 12th in the NL with 8.9 WAR. ZiPS was very bullish on the Dbacks starting staff, projecting them for 17.3 WAR. This year, ZiPS is projecting 10.1 WAR from the starting staff. This would obviously be an improvement from last year, but would only rank them 10th amongst teams from last year.

Player Games IP K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP WAR
LR Collmenter 54 78.0 8.31 2.54 3.35 3.46 0.8
Lefty Thatcher 54 30.7 8.50 2.93 3.81 3.5 0.2
BP Hernandez 70 68.0 10.46 3.44 3.31 3.39 0.6
BP Ziegler 69 61.3 6.02 2.79 3.23 3.59 0.3
BP Harris 60 60.7 8.90 3.41 3.71 3.59 0.3
SetUp Putz 47 42.0 9.64 2.79 3.21 3.14 0.5
Closer Reed 63 70.0 9.64 2.44 3.21 2.96 1.2
BP Mateo 30 34.7 7.26 4.15 4.15 4.11 0
BP Paterson 12 10.0 7.09 3.45 4.21 4.32 0

The Dbacks bullpen finished last year 7th in the NL in WAR with 2.1. However, like the starting staff, they under performed their ZiPS projections as they were projected for 6.3 WAR. ZiPS sees the bullpen rebounding with 3.9 WAR this year, which would rank them 4th in the NL.

The 2013 Dbacks finished at 81-81, but their numbers indicate they were an 80 win team. Based on the ZiPS projections, you'd be looking at a 82-83 win team for 2014, not something to be all that excited about.

I won't go into a lengthy discussion on which players I think are underrated by ZiPS as most projection models are going to be more on the conservative side. However, one thing to consider is that team projections are usually a +/- 5 wins based on different factors, luck being a big one. You could see the 2014 Dbacks as completely imploding and winning 77 games, or surprising us and winning 88 games.

I pretty much disliked every move that Kevin Towers made this offseason, but I'm still going to cheer my team on. If they are playing like a 88 win team, great, I look forward to an awesome season competing for a playoff spot. If they are playing like a 77 win team, great, I can spend more time following the progress of guys like Bradley, Shipley, Drury, Lamb, Trahan and the loser of the Didi/Owings spring training battle as well as rooting for the local boy, Jamie Westbrook, to have a good season in Rookie ball.

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