Preliminary 2013 Yankees ZiPS Projections


(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

In a series of Insider-only posts at ESPN, Dan Szymborski used his ZiPS projection system to break down the six division races using current rosters. Here are the links for the AL East, AL Central, AL West, NL East, NL Central, and NL West. No projection system is perfect or even close to it, but ZiPS has been consistently solid the last few years and is typically my go-to system. Standard disclaimer: Projections are not predictions, they’re an attempt to measure a player’s true talent level at the moment.

Anyway, the current Yankees roster is pretty bad. They don’t have Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, an established closer, a legitimate starting catcher, a right fielder, or a bench. Plugging those holes internally means going with unproven youngsters and retread veterans, not the guys you expect to find playing everyday for the Yankees. Here are the projections…

The projections for Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, and Curtis Granderson pass the sniff test. Derek Jeter‘s might be a little light following his huge year, but it wouldn’t be a shock if his offense took a step back at his age. I like Chris Dickerson more than most, but that line is about right if he doesn’t have a platoon partner. Obviously the Yankees won’t carry three catchers, but that’s a function of the whole “current roster” thing.

On the pitching side, I would be pretty pleased with that performance from Pineda in his first year out of shoulder surgery. Over 100 innings with solid strikeout (7.7 K/9) and walk (3.3 BB/9) rates right after a major procedure like that? Yeah that would work. Obviously that’s not what the Yankees were hoping for when they made the trade, but the dynamic has changed in a big way since then. Accumulating some innings and showing flashes of his 2011 form are what I’m looking for out of Pineda next year. Nothing more.

ZiPS has that roster winning 85 games next year, good for second place in the AL East behind the 86-win Rays. The Orioles are a distant third at 80 wins, then the Blue Jays (78 wins) and Red Sox (76 wins) bring up the rear. The current incarnations of the Rangers, Nationals, and Braves project to finish with the most wins in baseball at 89 apiece. They have fewer holes to fill, especially compared to the Yankees. The fact that ZiPS still thinks New York can win 85 games with no real right fielder, no catcher, no number two or three starter, and a five-man bullpen is pretty neat. Too bad 85 wins would be a ten-win drop-off.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Preston says:

    Well the offensive projections are what they are, obviously they will look a lot better when we make a move or two. I’m a little surprised by the projections for Hughes, I guess his 2011 is still weighing him down. I also would hope Nova outperforms those projections.

  2. forensic says:

    Good thing the season doesn’t start tomorrow.

    And someone should tell him Soriano isn’t a Yankee right now.

  3. Mike Myers says:

    I was a little surprised by Hughes too.

    So if Hughes Finishes the year with a sub 4.5 ERA and healthy does he get a 3 year contract. Young healthy pitchers always seem to get paid.

  4. Sam G says:

    Seriously soriano isn’t a Yankee and won’t be plus David aardsma will be in the bullpen. Also those ERA are way too high there’s no way they will look like that. Also Brett gardners average will be much higher and also chris Dickerson will probably bat like 280-320 since he’s 30 and in his prime.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Gardner hit exactly .259 last time he played a full season, so that projection is fair. Dickerson is a Quad-A player, prime be damned.

  5. FIPster Doofus says:

    A lot of those projections are depressing. Yikes.

  6. Pineda isn’t even pitching in 2013.

  7. Pineda isn’t even pitching in 2013 due to shoulder surgery.

  8. stu phillips says:

    Whose going to these games next yr.

  9. Travis L. says:

    Does anyone have a solid projection at what we can expect from a healthy Aardsma?

  10. Defensive Indifference says:

    What does Nate Silver project?

  11. Art Vandelay says:

    I think you’re being way too optimistic on Pineda. Honestly, I’ll be happy if he pitches next year, period. Even Cashman says you can’t expect him to contribute next year. For him to regain even flashes of his 2011 form I think is probably the best case scenario.

    Given the ugly track record of labrum tears (and yes, I know Pineda’s wasn’t the whole enchilada), I would say there’s a good chance that he never regains his 2011 form ever, much less next year. In fact, I think there’s a non-zero chance he won’t really ever be an effective major league pitcher again.

    Maybe I’m being too pessimistic, and obviously we’ll know more at this time next year depending on how the rehab goes, but I’m not sure the Yankees can really build their 2014 budget plans around a healthy and 2011 version of Pineda.

    • RetroRob says:

      Those aren’t Mike’s projections. They’re ZiPS projections from ESPN.

      • Art Vandelay says:

        Yes, I know. I was speaking to this comment: “Accumulating some innings and showing flashes of his 2011 form are what I’m looking for out of Pineda next year.”

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Cashman can’t count on Pineda to build a team for 2013, but that doesn’t mean rational fans should just assume the worst. That’s the same as assuming the best. There’s a mixed history of labrum injuries.

      A decent percentage of guys who were good before they tore their labrums were good after. I think it’s really a toss up, as I don’t know enough to say how sever his injury was compared to others and how dependent their success was on severity and precise injury. Anibal Sanchez and Jose Valverde are offered as three direct comparables along with Wade Miller. 2 of 3 rebounded well. It’s a tiny sample, but there’s not evidence to assume his career is over.


  12. matt montero says:

    Anyone else pretty pleased with the projection for David Adams?

  13. RetroRob says:

    I view that as a whole bunch of positive. I never get wrappd up in the individual projections, but do look them team wide. If that collection of talent with all the current holes can win 85 games, then they’re in good shape. No surprise. The Yankees in 2013 will win between 92-96 games. I don’t even need to see their final roster to know that.

    • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver) says:

      Agreed that they’ll be there in the end.

      I’ll be honest in that I pay very little attention to these sort of individual projections. I think that they’re interesting talking points and that there’s solid analysis behind them, but I don’t look at a bearish projection on, say, Jeter, and believe it as gospel. I think it’s a ton more fun when they BEAT these projections.

      • RetroRob says:

        The one thing about projection systems is they are good at showing the boring. If a player has a very good year, no matter what his age, they will project a decrease. If a player passes the age of 30, they will project a decrease in performance. They should. It’s all based on the aggregate, and there is a long history of MLB on which to base projections.

        Jeter is a good example. Most every year in his 30s he has beat the projection systems outside of one season, 2010. I always believe Jeter will beat the projections because he in an outlier. Perhaps a bit disturbing is for the first time I actually find myself in agreement with ZiPS’ projection on Jeter. A friend asked me the other day what I thought Jeter would do in 2013, and I said probably .290/.340/.390.

        My guess is Hughes will do better than what they’re showing. I do not expect him to give up HRs at the rate he did last year, especially at the Stadium. It’s unsustainably bad! I do not expect Pineda to do as well. Take a look at what Anibal Sanchez did after his return from a similar surgery. He had the worst year of his career, although the following season he was pitching well again in reduced action. If he was to follow the same path, 2013 will not be pretty, with 2014 being a better bet to see quality innings for Pineda, and it might be 2015 before he can give the Yankees near 200 innings. And that’s the positive view!

  14. Havok9120 says:

    Holy cow. THAT roster is projected to win 85 games in the East? That’s….quite something.

  15. Nathan says:

    That is one crappy rotation. Yikes.

  16. Laz says:

    would think nunie gets the start at dh if that was the roster over nix.

  17. DT says:

    Arod, Jeter, CC, D-Rob, Hughes, Joba all seem on the low side. I knwo Arod is declining but .750 OPS seems way low considering he was around .800 before he was injured.

  18. Drew says:

    Hughes with an ERA of almost 5? They really think that he is going to take a big step back huh?

  19. Buck S. says:

    These projections are horrible. And I don’t mean the lack of performance.

    I don’t understand projecting the 2013 season in November. They’ve re-signed Pettitte and Kuroda. We lost Chavez and A-Rod and theres the possibility of Youk.

    So you’re telling me if Youk is in the lineup instead of Jayson Nix that that won’t have an impact on the others in the lineup? Chris Dickerson is no more than a 4th OFer. he is slated as the starting RF?

    This is a pathetic attempt at a projection. And apparently to these projections, if a pitcher has been in the league 3-4 years and has been slowly been moving up the IP ladder, say going from 130-IP to 160-IP to 190-IP and the next year is allowed to pitch as long as he can go without any barriers, no one takes into account the fact he may be able to pitch 200 IP? Taking the average of the previous 3 yrs does very little in projecting the true value of a developing young player. Why doesn’t every just stop wasting their time and copying & pasting last years numbers and call it a day? Either way, they’re both wrong. And what, one may be 5-10% more accurate? Good, you’re still off by 90% on a majority of players.

    And if you dont believe me, take a look at previous years projections. This is all BS.

    So if Josh Willingham ended up a Yankee, the lineup would have no baring on his projection? I’m pretty sure Ichiro would have a lot more runs scored on the yankees than Mariners. Not to mention, probably have more hits. he would see more fastballs as teams would know Jeter is up next and could possibly hit into a DP if you keep the ball low. And then you have to pitch to Cano and texeria. Who was hitting after ichiro in Seattle? Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak?

    Yea, that makes sense. Stick to the day job.

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