The 2014 ZiPS Projections for the Chicago Cubs Are Out

anthony rizzo cubsThe ZiPS projections for the 2014 Chicago Cubs are finally out at FanGraphs. Although projections are always going to be hit and miss, they still provide an interesting perspective on how a team is shaping up on paper.

This year, ZiPS sees the Cubs as an approximately 78-win team, which is probably shocking to you, but that comes simply by adding up the WAR to a replacement level (48 wins) team. I suspect the range of wins using that system is probably pretty narrow. (And, I should add, the man behind the system, Dan Szymborski, advises against adding up the WAR to reach a win total. But, like, we all do it because it’s fun. Guilty!)

That said, ZiPS does appear to like the Cubs’ bullpen (3 wins total), the possibility of a rebound from Starlin Castro (3 wins), the center field and third base platoons (3 wins each), Anthony Rizzo (3 wins), and the catching tandem (3 wins). The rotation is fairly meh (ZiPS is not high on Jake Arrieta), though.

You should review the full set of projections for yourself – there are simply far too many to share here – but there are some interesting things to note:

  • Junior Lake is projected as a 0-win player in left field, with a line of .252/.295/.380. That’s with a .338 BABIP, and amounts to a mere .297 wOBA. That wouldn’t carry second base on a good team, let alone left field.
  • Christian Villanueva is actually projected to be the better offensive player over Mike Olt, should each get significant playing time in the bigs this year (.302 wOBA to .300). I doubt that actually happens, though.
  • Speaking of surprising prospect projections, how about Javier Baez (.246/.295/.486, .340 wOBA) and Arismendy Alcantara (.255/.307/.405, .314 wOBA)? That’s an All-Star shortstop and a league average second baseman right there. Each will start at AAA.
  • Starlin Castro projects to rebound (.280/.319/.413, .319 wOBA), and Anthony Rizzo projects to be very good (.255/.336/.464, .343 wOBA).
  • Only three Cubs batters – Rizzo, Baez, and Nate Schierholtz – project to have an OPS+ over 100. That’s a recipe for a bad offense.
  • ZiPS really likes Jose Veras, Pedro Strop, and Wesley Wright (all with ERA projections of 3.43 or better), so it’s no surprise that the bullpen as a whole projects well. Even Blake Parker, Hector Rondon, and James Russell project as a touch better than average, too.
  • As I said, the rotation looks rough, with only Jeff Samardzija projected to be above average. Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson are right around average (maybe slightly better), and Jake Arrieta is projected to be WELL below average. I can understand that one, given his spotty performance. Arrieta is a guy on whom you dream about the stuff, not a guy you count on. So it is with the 2014 Cubs, in general.
  • Yes, the player comp dropped on Javier Baez is Cal Ripken, Jr., so you should probably start making your Cooperstown travel arrangements for 2045.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

123 responses to “The 2014 ZiPS Projections for the Chicago Cubs Are Out”

  1. Jon

    I’m going to start calling Starlin “Rennie Stennett”

  2. Senor Cub

    Sounds about right although I am sticking with my more optimistic win total of 80. Again primarily based on Jackson being .500 or in the W-L column. I wouldn’t necessarily be disappointed with 78 wins but i would be surprised with an 82 win season.

    1. MichiganGoat

      It will be an interesting year since I do not see much of a trade deadline sell off (because we have little to sell), but not getting a protected pick is worrisome. The offense could get a late bloom when Baez and others get called up so it’s hard to predict how the season will end, but I too not as pessimistic that I think we will have the worst next year- mainly because we expect it.

      1. Javier Bryant

        I wouldn’t be surprised if they trade Samardzija at the deadline. Along with whoever they sign as the other guy in the rotation(if they do) or even Schierholtz.

        1. Danny Ballgame

          I agree on Nate dog and I hope that Shark gets hot early and gets dealt. His constant demands of being paid like a 1 or 2 are getting old and he has never shown that he can pitch to those standards. Ruggiano, Sweeney, Murph, and Barney should all be dealt if the opportunity arises.

          1. Xruben31

            The Cubs offered him 5 year 55 million, in this market that’s a number 4. I doubt his offer was more than 80 million.

            1. hansman

              You are forgetting that he will be lucky to make $13M this year and next. The contract then becomes a 3/42 which, given that we are handing that out 2 years before free agency, is not as low as folks think.

    2. itzscott

      This is nuts!

      Last week when the Cubs didn’t get Tanaka just about everyone was projecting a team likely to “earn” the #1 draft choice….

      Now we’re projecting 78-80 wins just because Baez gets called up???

      1. MichiganGoat

        I don’t think the Tanaka drama charged anyone’s belief about next year. The “here comes #1 pick” people were that way before Tanaka and those that believe we can reach 70+ wins are not being any different.

      2. Luke

        The number one draft pick was based on a different set of rankings. All that changed is that we’re discussing a different method of season projection (with the ‘this is not the way to do it’ caveats that Brett clearly spelled out in the article).

  3. brainiac

    WAR as a sole prognostication factor is extremely *new, for one, and short sided. It amalgamates a lot of complex variables into an uncomplex and declarative statement for those too lazy to measure up need. It’s a useful tool but it clearly can be misapplied, as we see with this report.

    Baseball is not a simple game of addition of contested metrics. Bad teams, like the current Cubs, are going to show the futility of reductionism of simple methodological applications of WAR. Useful stat, easy to misapply.

    1. blublud

      There is not one metric in baseball I hate more than WAR. It extremely inaccurate on defense, and its only use on offense is for positional value. I hate when someone says Trout is better than Cabrera because of WAR. Its not Cabrera fault that other CF are very good offensively compared to 3rd of 1st base.

      Mike Trout might or might not be better than Cabrera, but it damn sure not because of WAR.

      1. brainiac

        Yes, this is by far the most common misconception – WAR is contextual to position. If there’s a relatively weak class of hitting catchers one year, and he hits .215 and gets a WAR of 3, that doesn’t mean he’s going to be worth a 15m contract unless he’s Brian McCann, who’s a legitimate hitter.

        People love seeing simple numbers and then voicing opinions. And WAR does offer some help comparatively, but it’s a flawed stat when taken too seriously compared to other stats.

        1. Edwin

          Is it contextual by position? I think it’s just offensive wins above average, defensive runs saved above average, baserunning, and then a positional adjustment.

          So a player like Starlin Castro doesn’t get his offense compared only to other SS, it’s compared to league average.

          1. YourResidentJag

            The league average of other peers playing the same position relative to the overall worth to their team?

            1. Edwin

              I thought the offensive component is all compared to the same league average, regardless of position.

              So for example, Starlin Castro put up about the same numbers as Ichiro did last year (.631 and .639), and they both had pretty much the same wOBA.

              1. YourResidentJag

                Your right apparently based @roz reading of FanGraphs calculation (see below). I’m just confused when where having a discussion about comparing one to one’s “peers”. And then extrapolating that to the overall worth of a player to his team in terms of a run differential metric?

          2. Ivy Walls

            I think using WAR out of context of a set of rosters is as futile as comparing players in different eras, there are so many factors and variables, Babe Ruth was by far the most dominating player of his era, but could that performance translate into the 1950′s or 1980′s or now, no one can say with any degree of accuracy.

            Comparing individual WAR’s between positions and outside of teams is also an exercise of inaccuracy, but comparing how a player will possibly effect a teams overall WAR up or down can be quite a useful measurement. Put Cabrera on the Cubs and put him at 3B and suddenly there is an addition, how much is relative to how he affects other individual WAR’s on that team besides the replacement of 1.

            When I looked at the potential of replacing Castro, be it a 3 WAR of 2012 or last year at 1.6 and the potential of adding Baez in that position suddenly that could be either a 2012 wash with the growth potential and then the addition of a valued WAR of an acquisition of need, that is a no brainer.

      2. Edwin

        How do you know it’s extremely inaccurate on defense?

        If you don’t want to use WAR, what would you like to use?

        1. mjhurdle

          don’t open that door.
          Behind it lies a whole bunch of “you can’t say Player X was worth 3 wins just because of defense!” and “I dont think any player’s defense wins more than 1 game a year, so saying that Player Y was worth 3.2 wins just because of defense is impossible”.

      3. DocPeterWimsey

        The statement is backwards: Trout’s WAR is higher than is Cabrerra’s because of Trout’s overall performance is superior relative to that of his competitors. Trout isn’t better because of his WAR: Trout’s WAR is highest because he is better relative to his peers than is anybody else.

        1. blublud

          So, in a straight up hitting competition, Trout vs Cabrera, who wins. There is no doubt Cebrera would destroy Trout. As good of a hitter as Trout is, he is no where near Cabrera’s level. But because Cabrera’s “competition” is better than Trout’s “competition” you gonna say Trout is better. That makes no sense.

          1. Kyle

            You’re a little bit right.

            For years, by convention, we’ve been adding in the difference between the defensive value of two positions on the offensive side, because the relative differences in the offensive output of the positions represents a good proxy for calculating it.

            Recently, Fangraphs switched to a method I prefer: Comparing defense *and* offense to the league as a whole, rather than comparing each to position. This means that defensive players at tougher, more important defensive positions put up much bigger defensive numbers than players at less important positions, and it means we don’t have to do any sort of positional adjustment on offense.

            You get the same total no matter which method you use, it’s just a matter of how you credit it. The old method was essentially taking a big chunk of defensive value and assigning it on the offensive side of the ledger.

            But you’re also wrong, because the players are closer offensively than you think.

            Using this method, Fangraphs has 2013 Cabrera as worth 63 runs of offense and -15 runs of defense. Trout was worth 70 runs of offense and 3 runs of defense.

            Trout’s offense came out of Cabrera’s with *no* positional adjustment. Mostly because of 60 extra PAs.

          2. DocPeterWimsey

            You win baseball games consistently by outscoring the opposition. How easy it is for a team to outscore the opposition is simply the sum of how much you expect your 9 or 10 guys to outscore their 9 or 10 guys. For one series, that is:

            (1BX – 1BY) + (2BX – 2BY) + (3BX – 3BY) + (SSX – SSY) + (LFX – LFY) + (CFX – CFY) + (RFX – RFY) + (CX – CY) + (PX – PY) + (DHX – DHY),

            For team X and a whole season, replace “Y” with league-average. That delta is how valuable each player is to his team: take those total runs, and divide by 10, and that’s approximately how many more wins your guy created than his average peer. (Use a AAAA guy for a replacement player.)

            Again, this was the key to the Yankees’ success for so long. Their core of Jeter / Knoblauch-Sori-Cano / Posada / Williams-Granderson consistently put up huge (SSX – SSY), (2BX-2BY), (CX-CY) and (CFX-CFY) numbers. Their 1Bmen often put up bigger raw numbers: but (1BX-1BY) was almost always lower from those guys.

            So, Trout does more to help his team outscore the opposition than Cabrera does. Thus, he creates more wins for his team than Miggy does.

            1. blublud

              Right. I could then take Trout, put him at SS were he would probably be worse defensively and his offensive WAR would probably go up. But in reality, he’s the same player offensively. I could put him at first wth the reverse effect. In reality, he’s no better or Worse than before offensively.

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                But the Angels would be better off if it increased their run-differential. The best players are the ones that do the best jobs of increasing their teams’ run-differentials.

              2. Edwin

                His offensive WAR would not change. His defensive WAR would.

                1. blublud

                  No, offensive war is measured by position also.

                  1. Edwin



                    I looked, but I didn’t see it. For offense WAR they use wRAA, which does not appear to use any position adjustments to me. It’s simply comparing a player to league average. Not a position average.

                  2. roz

                    No it’s not. Fangraphs uses wRAA for the offensive components of WAR, and it’s calculated like this:

                    wRAA = ((wOBA – league wOBA) / wOBA scale) × PA

                    No positional adjustment.

                    1. blublud

                      OK. So fangraphs doesn’t, but the other 2 million WAR calculations do.

                    2. roz

                      I can’t reply to blubud’s reply to this comment, so I’ll just reply here. Baseball Reference is the other big proponent of WAR with a slightly different calculation method, and they don’t include a positional adjustment in the offensive portion of WAR.


                      I agree with you that the defensive metrics can be a bit fuzzy, but for the offensive component, both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference essentially just look at a players wOBA compared to the league average wOBA, with no positional adjustment.

                    3. hansman

                      Fangraphs does. They apply it after applying all of the stats.

                    4. Edwin


                      We’re talking about offensive WAR. The position adjustment is a separate part.

                    5. roz

                      To Hansman: right, but your actual offensive WAR is based on just wRAA. The positional adjustment is just a constant added afterwards (at least according to Fan Graphs), which makes blubud’s argument wrong.

                    6. hansman

                      That’s rtue. wRAA and all that.

                      I was thinking position players and not just offense.

                      Carry on.

              3. Kyle

                That would depend entirely on how you choose to calculate WAR.

                1. blublud

                  How many way can you calculate WAR? That’s makes it even more inaccurate.

                  1. Kyle

                    WAR is a concept. There are literally an infinite number of ways to calculate it, each with varying accuracy.

                    1. blublud

                      Kyle, that’s exactly my point. BA, OBP, OPS, SLG, SO rates, Walk rates, and so on will always be the same number no matter how you calculate it. There so many WAR calculations, and they all have different formulas and different value. How can one site say a guy is worth 2 wins and another say he’s worth 3.5 and it be considered accurate.

                    2. roz

                      Same as above. Blubud, you should really look at the ways different sites calculate WAR instead of just dismissing it because different sites come up with different values.

                    3. hansman

                      Both of those sites start with a different baseline for what a team of replacement level players would have for a winning percentage.

                      You are declaring that WAR is intended as this perfect all-knowing stat. WAR isn’t a perfect stat but it is pretty darn good and sums up all that stuff you just posted into one number that is pretty reliable.

                      The debate usually boils down to:



                      “HOLY SHIT, TONY CAMPANA POSTED A 97 WAR SEASON!!!!!!!!!”

                    4. Kyle

                      Because none of those stats are more accurate than WAR *at what WAR is trying to measure*.

                      WAR is ambitious, and with that ambition comes a small but acceptable degree of fuzziness.

                    5. DocPeterWimsey

                      Fundamentally, all WAR estimates come to the same thing: 10 runs = 1 win. If your SS creates 40 more runs with your bat than the average MLB SS does, then we expect that this will generate 4 more victories over the course of a season. If you SS creates 50 more runs with his bat but prevents

                      WAR for hitters reflects runs-created, which is part of the denominator for wOBA. Every single, double, triple, K, BB, HR, HBP, etc., is worth some fraction of a run based on expectation (including negative numbers for K’s). Those are based on empirical correlations. Those actually get a little tricky: for example, there is a negative correlation between singles and runs-scored given raw data, but obviously singles create runs; instead, you have to look at partial correlations where you see that teams with the same numbers of HR, doubles & walks get more runs with more singles. However, it’s quite do-able.

                      WAR for pitchers basically reflects (or should reflect) xFIP.

                      WAR for fielders is where you get two very different systems. One is the runs-prevented stat, but that one is very team-dependent as the number of runs a guy saves is affected by how many runners his pitchers puts on base. The other is based on UZR, which ignores pitchers, but for which the sample size needed to really label guys is in 2-3 seasons. Of course, these are based on sighting data, which complicates them by adding subjectivity. However, once we robots take over, that will be less of a problem.

                    6. DocPeterWimsey

                      hmmm, sentence got cut off in the pasting! That should read:

                      “If you SS creates 50 more runs with his bat but prevents -10 runs with his glove, then he, too, is expected to add 4 wins over 162 games.”

                    7. hansman

                      “If your SS creates 40 more runs with your bat than the average MLB SS does”

                      Replacement level SS.

                    8. hansman

                      “that’s exactly my point. BA, OBP, OPS, SLG, SO rates, Walk rates, and so on will always be the same number no matter how you calculate it.”

                      Up until recently, K rates were calculated by some using ABs instead of PA.

                    9. DocPeterWimsey

                      True, but I prefer average. The differences are the same, but the expectation for “WAA” is that a team of 0′s goes 81-81. A team of 0 WAR’s is something like a 0.450 team. (I don’t remember, and I’m too lazy to look it up right now….)

                    10. DarthHater

                      Yea, but who wants to be able to say that they have a high “WAA”? Other than a few BN commenters, that is…

                    11. mjhurdle

                      My WAA is through the roof

                    12. DarthHater


              4. hansman

                “I could then take Trout, put him at SS were he would probably be worse defensively and his offensive WAR would probably go up.”

                Because the replacement level SS is so God-awfully terrible at offense that Koyie Hill would be an upgrade.

            2. Edwin

              Is that right? I don’t think offensive WAR is calculated comparing players to the same position, it’s done comparing players to the entire league.

              1. hansman

                Fangraphs adds in a positional adjustment. I think most WAR calculations do.

                Also, from Fangraphs:

                WAR is context, league, and park neutral. This means you can use WAR to compare players between years, leagues, and teams.

                1. Kyle

                  Fangraphs’ offensive calculations do *not* include a defensive adjustment.

                  Instead, they compare defensive value for each player to all other players and not just their own position. It comes out the same and is actually a much more logical way to do it.

                  In programming terms, adding a positional adjustment to offense was a kludge that we don’t need anymore.

          3. Luke

            Actually, we can do that using last year’s numbers. You just need to come up with how you are going to score that hitting competition, plug in their numbers from last season, and we can see who wins.

          4. mjhurdle

            the problem is not with WAR, but with how you are using it Blublud.

            WAR is meant to measure the value of a player to that team, not against/across other positions.
            It isn’t meant to compare the greatness of Cabrera against the greatness of Trout.
            Trout is more valuable to his team because, if the Angels had to replacement Trout with a JAG CF, they would lose more productivity than the Tigers would lose if they had to replace Cabrera with a JAG 3B.

            1. mjhurdle

              i meant to preface the post “my understanding of WAR is…”

              also, when I came here, i was told there would be no math.

              1. hansman

                Don’t worry, a lot of folks on here don’t do math, either.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Well except for BetterMath… but that is a senior level class.

          5. Jason P

            It does make sense.

            Team A has Mike Trout. They can then fill their 1B hole with any of 23 guys who had at least a league average OPS.

            Team B has Miguel Cabrera. They can fill their CF hole with any of 12 guys who had at least a league average OPS.

      4. Jon

        It’s not Trout’s fault that Carbera can’t even play close to acceptable defense and probably should be a DH.

        1. blublud

          Jon, I agree with that. I admitted Trout might be the better all around player, but its not because WAR says so. Its because BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, and other other statistics between the two of them, along with how much better Trout is better defensively than Cabrera and Cabrera along. No one else in the league should determine if Trout or Cabrera is better that each other but those two.

          1. Jon

            Then WAR, what is it good for?

            1. JB88

              This may be the best thing you’ve ever posted. Awesome, just awesome.

            2. blublud

              Exactly. Nothing.

              1. Edwin

                “Its because BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, and other other statistics between the two of them, along with how much better Trout is better defensively than Cabrera and Cabrera alone”.

                That’s pretty much exactly what WAR is doing. I think you’re misunderstanding how WAR is calculated.

            3. brainiac


            4. hansman

              From Fangraphs:

              WAR basically looks at a player and asks the question, “If this player got injured and their team had to replace them with a minor leaguer or someone from their bench, how much value would the team be losing?”

        2. YourResidentJag

          Essentially yes, especially when you consider the relative importance Bill James put on the positional strengths of runs scored vs runs saved.

        3. Brocktoon

          It’s not Trout’s fault that Cabrera can’t run the bases without vomiting all over himself.

  4. CubFan Paul

    Yikes at the Lake projection.

    New Level. Always Haters. He’s been here before.

    I’m confident he’ll take the next step, as long as he doesn’t get another Spring injury to slow him down.

    1. Noah_I

      My problem with Lake is that he either has to strike out a lot less than he ever has, walk a lot more than he ever has, or put up an unheard of BABIP to succeed at the plate.

      1. CubFan Paul

        “he either has to strike out a lot less than he ever has, walk a lot more than he ever has, or put up an unheard of BABIP to succeed at the plate”

        I’m not sure where this is coming from

        Unlike the projection above I think Lake has more on base ability than a .295OBP

        1. Jason P

          OBP has 2 main components: batting average and walks (HBP’s play a role, but unless you’re Shin Soo Choo, it’s negligible). If you don’t walk, your batting average has to be better to compensate.

          Because Lake doesn’t walk or hit the ball out of the ballpark very often, the only way his OBP is going to be acceptably high is if a high percentage of his batted balls fall in for hits. His high K-rate means that percentage is going to have to be even *higher* because he’s putting fewer balls into play.

          That percentage (BABIP) is going to have to be so high that only a few players in MLB accomplish it each year and almost nobody does it consistently.

          1. YourResidentJag

            I worry about this with Baez, BTW.

            1. Jon

              Baez hits the ball out of the ballpark, very often.

              1. YourResidentJag

                At a AA level against lesser SP or at a MLB level against SP with higher quality secondary pitches? BTW, I realize bat speed comes into play here.

  5. @justinjabs

    Love the Rizzo/Castro lines. One can hope …

  6. Edwin

    “Finally, Szymborski will advise anyone against — and might karate chop anyone guilty of — merely adding up WAR totals on depth chart to produce projected team WAR.”

  7. Cerambam

    Remember what we used to hope for in starlin ? I haz sadz.

  8. Napercal

    I hope I’m alive in 2045 for the Baez HOF ceremony!

  9. Edwin

    The Baez projection seems a bit crazy. 5% BB rate and a 32% K rate, yet still having a .340 wOBA? Not impossible, but very rare.

    1. CubFan Paul

      Orgasmic bat speed.

  10. Kyle

    This is starting to shape up similar to 2012, where with a favorable SP matchup, I might have taken Iowa over Chicago on some days.

    All of these look very, very much in line with what I’m expecting. Baez’s eye-popping projection shouldn’t be a surprise, because it’s a stat-based system and he put up eye-popping stats in AA last year.

  11. Blackhawks1963

    Going to be a LONG season boys and girls. Also, I suspect that Junior Lake and Mike Olt have faded into oblivion by July 1st. Mere footnotes in the sordid history of the Cubs and the answer to a trivia question a year from now. Sigh.

    Bryant, Baez and Alcantara can’t arrive soon enough.

  12. woody

    A 78 win team? Thats hard to believe, But with all the blown saves and holds last year it’s hard to really assess how many wins we could have had if we had a league average bullpen. The thing that concerns me is how the team played at the end of the season. When you take a good lead off man like DeJesus and an RBI guy like Soriano away from the offense then you have what you saw during August and September. The bullpen did most of the damage before August so that isn’t really relevent in an attempt to prognosticate how things project in 2014. Myself I would be inclined to use the data from the beggining of August until the end of the season. I don’t have the stats to make a certain statement, but am basing my hypothesis on the fact that from an offensive standpoint little has changed with the exception of Sweeny’s return and the addition of Rugianno. So based on the run production during the last two months of 2013 I can’t see anywhere near 78 wins in 2014. The pitching staff appears to be the same and the bullpen appears to be much better. My peeve has been that Rizzo is exposed due to lack of protection in the lineup. Insert Baez into that order and then Rizzo starts seeing some better pitches.

  13. woody

    CSN Chicago Clay Davenport releases his projections that cubs will be worst team in baseball with 67-95 record. Also projects cubs to be worst offense in the league. Refering to Tony Andracki piece.

  14. jh03

    True or False: Mike Trout’s WAR is 1.5 wins higher than the entire Cubs outfield combined in 2014.

    1. MichiganGoat

      True it might even be higher, but he can probably out perform man outfields next year.

    2. hansman

      at least?

      I also wonder how many outfields this would be true for.

      1. mjhurdle

        Someone else posted this a couple days ago, i just re-Googled it.
        but here is your answer

        1. CubFan Paul

          “The Cubs and White Sox are currently tied for last, at 4.5 projected outfield WAR each. Mike Trout is projected for as much outfield WAR as the city of Chicago.”


        2. hansman

          Thanks. I’ll overlook you Almond Joys for the time being.

          Money line:

          “Mike Trout is projected for as much outfield WAR as the city of Chicago.”

  15. newsguy23

    So it looks like its not necessary to play the season now that we know everything.
    I think this is hilarious. Hey Brett how about at the end of the year you match this up and see how far off it actually will be.
    On another note, I totally believe the Cubs will not pursue anyone of significance after not getting Tanaka. They know they can get one more year of crap out of this team and save money for the future. Not that I blame them. My big concern is that the big FA pitchers or next year may never make to to be a FA. Teams are desperate to lock up their own talent or trade them before they get nothing I am concerned the Cubs may end up empty handed on the pitching front. Maybe they will still dump at the deadline and pick up a Price or another starter.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Masterson and Bailey will most likely go to FA I doubt thier teams can afford to give them a contract, but Lester is not leaving Boston.

  16. Ballgame17

    BH1963 what band do you play in?

  17. BlameHendry

    You consider .255 for Anthony Rizzo to be “very good”?? That’s more like very mediocre…

    1. YourResidentJag

      The real truth to me is whether or not Andrew Cashner will be any good given that’s what the Cubs need now and for whom he was traded.

      1. hansman

        Then the Cubs would need a 1B.

        1. YourResidentJag

          And potentially a TOR.

          1. hansman

            His home/road splits were tremendous last year.

            1. YourResidentJag

              So? SSS. We don’t what he can be….the same can be said I suppose for Rizzo.

              1. On The Farm

                Yes and no. Cashner is 27 going to be 28 this year. Rizzo is 24 going to be 25. Rizzo is two years younger and has yet to enter into the “Peak years” so to speak. Rizzo doesn’t have a ton of room for growth left, but it is certainly more than Cashner has left. Couple that with Cashner already having multiple injured seasons.

                This was the first time Cashner has thrown over 100 big league innings.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  That and Cashner’s stats are greatly impacted from the pitcher heaven that is SD.

                  1. On The Farm

                    If he stays healthy enough to pitch, yeah. ;)

        2. Jon

          Jose Abrue.

          1. hansman

            He was one I wish the Cubs would have signed.

    2. DarthHater

      Rizzo’s projected wOBA is .343. That’s very good. If you think BA (which obviously errs by weighting all hits equally and by giving no weight to walks) is more important than wOBA (which seeks to give an appropriate weight to each batting event), then I think Brett’s “not very good” comment above is greatly understated.

    3. MichiganGoat

      I take it you’ve rarely read comments around here, if batting average is the first stat of Rizzo’s line that you focused.

  18. Noah_I

    There’s actually an argument that the projection for Rizzo is fairly conservative. ZiPS thinks that Rizzo will walk 1% less than he did in 2013 and strike out 3% more, with a slight increase in power (ISO .023 higher) and his BABIP regressing to the mean. I think his projection has been hurt by his comp to Carlos Pena, who I just do not see as a similar player. Even at his best, Pena was largely a 3 true outcomes player who was also a good defensive first baseman. The only real similarity is they both are good defensive 1Bs.

    1. CubFan Paul

      I comp him to Derrek Lee. Unlike Pena, Rizzo is trying to get hits/singles in LF

  19. NorthSideIrish

    I know I said this yesterday, but I love their 5 year projections for Baez. If he hits like this, I honestly don’t care what position he plays…

    1. Jon

      yeah, but it would be alot cooler if he did it at shortstop.

  20. Edwin


    “If your SS creates 40 more runs with your bat than the average MLB SS does, then we expect that this will generate 4 more victories over the course of a season.”

    I don’t think that’s quite correct. When it comes to offense, it’s not comparing SS to all other SS, it’s to league average amongst all position players.

  21. The Highs and Lows of the Cubs’ Catching Situation and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] Perhaps ZiPS really was high (relatively speaking) on the Cubs for 2014, and not just generous to everyone: if you want to see what hilariously bad projections look like, check out the Astros. Their rotation projects to be worth 1 WAR. One. Uno. A singular win above replacement level for the entire rotation. The bullpen is worth 0, and no position is worth more than 2 WAR (i.e., an average big league starter) except catcher (Jason Castro). Maybe that number one pick in 2015 isn’t a holy lock for the Cubs. The question here: I know the Astros are sticking to their plan (and, given the current CBA, I won’t criticize them for it), but at what point is MLB a little annoyed about Houston running away with the worst record in baseball for a fourth consecutive year? They lost 106 games in 2011, 107 in 2012, and 111 last year. That’s exceptional. […]

  22. International Prospects and an Arm to Dream On and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] one-year, $6 million contract decent. Hopefully he outperforms that projection, obviously. (Also, Arismendy Alcantara’s projection was the single biggest ZiPS surprise among position players to […]

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