Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 ZiPS Projections Released

Over at FanGraphs, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections for the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates have been released. A few of the highlights from the projections.

**Andrew McCutchen is projected to lead the team with a 5.3 WAR. ZiPS has him projected with a .283/.369/.480 line and 24 homers.

**The article points out that McCutchen has been the best player in each of his first four seasons, but that he’s never had more than three teammates with a season WAR of 2.0 or better. ZiPS projects Pedro Alvarez (2.7), Starling Marte (2.6), Russell Martin (2.3), and Neil Walker (2.9) to have a WAR of 2.0 or greater in 2013.

**One notable comp was Starling Marte. ZiPS compared him to Adam Jones. Marte is projected for a .264/.310/.428 line with 11 homer, and a 2.6 WAR.

**Another interesting comp was Pedro Alvarez, who is compared to newly hired Indianapolis hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo. Pagliarulo hit for a .241/.306/.407 line with 134 homers in 4317 plate appearances in the majors. Alvarez is projected for a .236/.313/.451 line with a team-leading 29 homers.

**Out of the corner outfield options, ZiPS has the following OPS projections: Marte (.738), Alex Presley (.727), Travis Snider (.713), Jerry Sands (.698), Jose Tabata (.695), Felix Pie (.694). Presley being second on the list is a surprise, since most (myself included) would probably rank him fifth. Tabata has the second best OBP on the team, behind McCutchen. His OBP is .329, which speaks more to the lack of good OBP options for the Pirates.

**The starting pitching projections don’t look good. Wandy Rodriguez is projected to be the top starter, with a 2.7 WAR and a 3.59 ERA. A.J. Burnett is projected with a 1.5 WAR and a 4.07 ERA. James McDonald (1.2) and Gerrit Cole (1.1) are the only other starters with a WAR over 1.0.

**On the prospect front, Gerrit Cole is projected to have a 4.12 ERA and a 3.89 FIP. Phil Irwin is getting some surprising projections, with a 4.32 ERA and a 4.02 FIP.

**Looking at a notable bounce back candidate, ZiPS projects Mark Melancon to have a 3.47 ERA, a 3.31 FIP, and a 53:17 K/BB ratio in 59.7 IP.

**Jameson Taillon received a Kevin Brown comp. Taillon’s projections aren’t strong, with a 5.97 K/9. a 3.10 BB/9 and a 4.50 ERA/4.35 FIP. Of course I don’t think it’s a guarantee that he’d be ready this year.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Dean Manifest

    Regarding WAR, if McCutchen is projected for 5.3, Walker 2.9, Pedro, 2.7, Marte 2.6, etc….that should all add up to a projected win-loss record, right?

    What would the projected record be for a team of replacement level players?

    • Tim Williams

      It would be hard to say. The playing time on ZiPS isn’t accurate for all players. You’d have to pick and choose which players would be playing to get a projected W/L.

      For example, Gerrit Cole is projected for 133.1 innings. By comparison (and coincidentally) A.J. Burnett had 133.1 innings from June 22nd to the end of the year. I’m guessing Cole would arrive by that point, but I don’t know how many 8-9 inning games he’d be pitching. Even if he did have that amount, you’d have to project which starter would see a loss in innings once he arrived.

      It’s situations like that which you’d have to figure for every position. If you could get an estimate for each position, you could get a projected W/L record. But that would be very subjective.

      • Dean Manifest

        Ok, thanks.

        So you’re saying that the ZiPS projected IP for each Prates pitcher doesn’t add up to (approximately) 1458 innings?

    • Kevin Creagh

      The baseline that I have seen reported on Fangraphs and other sites is that a team of replacement-level players would have a .300 winning percentage (or roughly 48 wins).

      • jalcorn

        Dan said today in his chat that fangraphs WAR uses about 45 wins, ZiPS uses 45-46, Baseball Reference close to 50.

        • jalcorn

          He also added that Marcum would project as a ERA+ of 111 at PNC, very good. I think Liriano was 108 (I think) also good.

        • Kevin Creagh

          Here’s the link to the WAR glossary on Fangraphs site:

          In it, you can read comments from Dave Cameron and tangotiger for the methodology of 48 wins for a replacement team.

          Here’s Tangotigers:
          I use roughly:
          2.25 wins per 700 PA (non-pitchers) above replacement for the average nonpitcher, of which there are 8.65 per team
          +.11 wins per 9 starter innings, for the average starter (65% of innings)
          +.05 wins per 9 relief innings, for the average reliever (35% of innings)

          Add it up: 2.25 * 8.65 + .11*162*.65 + .05*162*.35 = 34 WAR

          Since the average team has 81 wins, then the replacement level would be 34 below that, or 47 wins, for a win% of .290.

          (Because wins are not totally linear, an actual such replacement team will win closer to .300.)

    • Tim Williams

      I might take a stab at the projected W/L record in tonight’s First Pitch.

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