Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

I love the annual projections.

As long as you keep the proper perspective, analyzing and discussion pre-season statistical projections can be a lot of fun, and somewhat informative. You have to remember that projection systems are conservative towards the mean, which is to say they tend not to predict outliers. That should be obvious when you think about it, even though we know that outliers and surprises do happen every year – like many Cubs performances in 2015, for example, as well as the overall team result. The projections are merely a reconciliation of the best available data we have. I tend to think they’re best utilized to put certain things on our radar that our own, subjective biases may have us otherwise ignoring.

So, then, against that backdrop, I encourage you to check out the just-released ZiPS projections for the Cubs in 2016 over at FanGraphs. Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS system rated as the best in 2014 (though all major systems, believe it or not, are actually pretty good in the aggregate, and the differences among them are small).

With New Year’s Eve looming (well, technically here, but I mean the evening part), I’m not going to do a deep dive on these projections yet, and will instead let it marinate with me over the weekend. I’ll have more thoughts/bits/interesting-things-I-noticed next week.

But I wanted to get the projections on your radar today so that you, too, can sit with them a bit – there’s a whole lot to explore if you want to go deep. Here’s the one LOL note I’ll point out now: every single positional regular on the Cubs PLUS Javier Baez is projected to hit at least 14 homers, except Miguel Montero … who is at 12.

And here’s your (holy-crap-those-are-huge-numbers) look at the depth chart:

If you’ve been checking out other teams’ projections this year, you’re immediately jaw-dropped. ZiPS loves the Cubs.

As I said, I’ll have a much deeper look at, and discussion on, the projections next week. For now, grab some champagne and enjoy these.

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