2014 Yankees ZiPS Projections

Wednesday Night Open Thread
The impending 40-man roster crunch

If you’re interested, Dan Szymborski published his ZiPS projections for the current Yankees roster over at FanGraphs today. The graphic above includes the WAR projections. Just to be clear, projections are not predictions. The system is just spitting out an estimation of each players’ current talent level. I wouldn’t take the projections to heart even though ZiPS has been the most accurate of the various systems (on a macro scale) for a while now. Just look at ’em for fun.

Some quick observations: Holy cow that infield is awful. ZiPS has Ellsbury hitting 14 homers, which would be awesome. The system likes Dean Anna and J.R. Murphy (both 1.6 WAR) but hates Brett Marshall (-3.1 WAR (!)). I wonder if any other player projects that poorly. After David Robertson, the current bullpen is just about replacement level or worse. ZiPS thinks Derek Jeter is toast (0.4 WAR) while Alex Rodriguez has a tiny something left in the tank (1.0 WAR).

As the disclaimer in the ZiPS post says, don’t add up the projected WAR total and use that to come up with an expected 2014 win total. The system doesn’t work like that. If it did, the Yankees would be pretty screwed. Click the link to scroll through the individual projections if you’re so inclined.

Wednesday Night Open Thread
The impending 40-man roster crunch
  • Kevin

    Dean Anna, Rogers Hornsby reincarnated.

  • SDB

    I notice he still lists Brennan Boesch in there. What’s his status with the org right now?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      He’s a free agent, released at midseason. They just list free agents with their last teams.

  • LarryM Fl

    When I was a kid many,many moons ago. I had a baseball game with a spin dial with the card associated to a player on the team you selected. The sections on the card were proportioned to his hitting such as singles, doubles, etc. The Zips projections make me feel as if I just played that game. It was pretty lame by today’s standards. But it was enjoyable.

    I’m thankful that the games will be played between the white lines with the players abilities resulting in a win or loss.

    It would be nice if the Yankees could pick up another starter in anyway possible. That rotation looks a bit suspect or lame.

    • Short Porch

      A pie chart for each player. We are talking Tony Oliva, Dean Chance, that era. 600 spins and you’d get, statistically, what the player has typically done. Loved that game. But what was its name?

      Having the pitchers hit was painful. Huge red pie slices labeled K.

    • ropeadope

      It was called All Star Baseball. I had a few versions of the game.

    • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

      Sounds a bit like Strat-O-Matic baseball, but that didn’t use a spin dial, it used dice.

    • Midland TX

      I could have sworn my spin-the-wheel-of-at-bats game was called Strat-O-Matic.


      • ropeadope

        The Manny Mota card you linked to was from All Star Baseball. Strat-O-Matic was strictly a dice game – did not use a spinner.

  • Laz

    Yankees are pretty screwed if ellsbury is only worth 4 war.

    • Mt. Doom

      This is a surprise?

    • Mt. Doom

      He’s hardly a given year-to-year. He swings wildly, even when he’s been healthy. You certainly can’t spot him for more than 4 WAR, like you could Cano.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      I’m not sure you realize how valuable a 4 WAR player is.

      • LarryM Fl

        The player knows the value of 4 War about 20 million per year in his pocket.

  • Tom

    While it may not be perfect, I think the projection does show the huge problems in both the IF and pen.

    The current infield is a product of what happens when you combine lots of reclamation projects with 2 guys coming back from significant injuries. It was clear they have needed a starter (either 2nd or 3rd) from day one of the offseason and outside of the offer to Infante, they seem content mixing and matching marginal pieces on the cheap. I still think they should make a run at Stephen Drew.

    Kelley had a nice year – but that’s when you exclude the beginning of his year. He’s a career ~4 xFIP/FIP kind of guy who’s an extreme flyball pitcher – that’s a weak option for a setup guy on most major league clubs (and especially in Yankee Stadium). If he is the primary setup man the bullpen could turn into an interesting mix and match to get to Robertson. They really need two good arms, but at this point I’m hoping they can at least get one.

    • Alkaline

      The organization is certainly in a pickle. I imagine it’s hard to convince some (like Drew) to come to the Yanks, but you may or may not lose time to Jeter depending on his status. I’m sure players like him feel like they’ll have a better opportunity/expectations with other teams.

      Their in limbo due to circumstances they can’t necessarily control and it just sucks.

    • Mt. Doom

      This. And Jeter *is* toast. This should rightly be his last year, and that’s assuming he can stay healthy.

      Too bad they won’t sign Drew. They need a legit SS for the next few years.

      • Dropped Third

        Although there are plenty of reasons to say Jeter is toast, if there is one guy I had to pick to beat the odd’s it would be him. Say all you want about his range, age, health, at the end of the day the captain WILL help this team win and I’d take him over most SS options out there right now including Rollins and Drew.

  • qwerty

    Jeter should be the DH, or part time third baseman.

    It should be Johnson at third, ryan at short, and roberts at second.

    • Mt. Doom

      Ooof. That’s not much better – maybe Ryan is 1 WAR. And if Jeter DHs then either Gardner, Soriano, or Beltran sits – all of whom are worth more.

    • TWTR

      Jeter could DH v LHP, but he doesn’t hit enough v RHP to DH.

  • PaulP

    So Johnson will be twice as good as A-Rod? 2 to 1… So what do you think about him starting at 3rd?

  • hey now

    Brett Marshall isn’t going to be -3.1 bad, unless he’s pitching with a blown elbow and the Yanks keep inexplicably running him out there.

    I don’t care what their algorithms say, the guy has easy gas. They may have problems moving forward, but I don’t think he’s one of them.

    • RetroRob

      I can’t remember seeing a player listed as -3.1. Of course, he’ll never be that bad because he’ll never get the chance to be that bad.

  • Uh Dinnings

    And this, Folks, is why ZiPS is a joke.

    “Holy cow that infield is awful.”

    McCann/Cervelli will BURY 2013 Stewart/Romine/Cervelli.

    Teixiera is a better all-around player than 2013 Overbay who did an admirable job but was wretched offensively compared to 2009-12 Teixiera and the good or better seasons the three Yankee 1B before him (Mattingly, Martinez, and Giambi) had.

    Johnson at 3B will be better than the wretched 2013 Yankees 3B.

    Jeter-Ryan (as I don’t believe it will be just Jeter) will be better than the wretched 2013 Yankees SS and one could seriously argue Ryan would be better than the 2013 Yankees SS for his defense alone.

    No duh Roberts will be far worse than Cano offensively but not defensively as he will be decent defensively. Roberts will/should be the classic #9 hitter who is just that, nothing more, nothing less, and more is a bonus.

    The 2013 Yankees managed to win 85 games with a bad C, a bad patchwork SS-3B, a serviceable at best 1B, and a star 2B, so I think the 2014 Yankees could win more than 85 games with an all-around good infield. Jeter is the only weak link defensively as I can’t write him off offensively, Roberts the only weak link offensively and maybe not – maybe he has a comeback year.

    • Dropped Third

      Love how people take projections so seriously. All they are, are glorified guesses. This is why they play the game in the first place and what makes baseball so great.

      As John Sterling would say “You just can’t predict baseball Susan, you just can’t!”

      • paco

        Indeed, and the important thing is that these are not opinionated projections about who will rebound or have a good or bad season, they are mathematical projections based on models that consider population scale phenomena. So a projection for Ellsbury is based on his actual performance regressed towards other factors (e.g., his age)

    • lightSABR

      The 2013 Yankees managed to win 85 games with a bad C, a bad patchwork SS-3B, a serviceable at best 1B, and a star 2B and a ridiculous amount of good luck in close games that we can’t count on continuing.

      Fixed that for you. Even if the current team on paper is about 6 wins better than last year’s (which it is), I think you can still only expect it to win about 85 games.

  • forensic

    I can’t believe there hasn’t been a “Does the season start tomorrow?” comment in here yet.

    Maybe someone should tell them that Joba has already signed elsewhere. And that Pettitte and Rivera are retired.

    It’s kind of sad that the highest projected OBP is from someone who won’t even be on the team next year (Youkilis).

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I hit my daily limit on those at some point. Today’s a new day, though.


  • Ice

    Where’s that Pollyanna fish sticks at telling everyone it’s going to be fine and that he predicts the team to win 100 games. Boy that was the only positive thing that came out of last season was just how WRONG that punk was. OOOPS!!!! HAHAHAHA

    • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

      Stop making shit up. “Fish fingers” never said that and you fucking well know it, dipshit.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Where is that Pollyanna Pat D., though?

        • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

          Hopefully curled up in the fetal position in his mom’s basement.

  • RetroRob

    What did this system project for the Red Sox last year? Huh, huh??!!!

    Shakes fist angrily at the baseball gods in the sky.

  • mustang

    Why even bother to comment anymore the 2014 season is obviously over and a lost.

  • MB923

    I’m sure an article will get posted any second now, but multiple reports have said Tanaka will not get posted

    • mustang

      “The Rakuten Golden Eagles appear to be settling on not posting Masahiro Tanaka and plan to offer him a contract with a record annual salary of 800MM yen, or around $7.7MM, Sports Hochi reports.”

      The hurler nevertheless appears ready to accept whatever decision Rakuten comes to. “If the team tells me, ‘We’re not going to post you. Please stay,’ the professional thing to do is give it your all and get back to pitching,” Tanaka told reporters this week. “I’m ready to do that.”

      Thanks MLB
      Nothing but hate
      Yankees fans

      • mustang

        Nothing in stone, but it doesn’t look promising.

      • John C

        Bud Selig got his wish. To F*ck the Yankees over one last time before he retires

  • Tim

    Last year NY got less than 201 total bases and less than a .633 OPS out of 3B, C, SS and DH. There is quite a bit of room for improvement at all 4 of those positions. RF only managed 220 total bases and a .655 OPS, good for last in the majors.

  • OldYanksFan

    Before you panic too much, check out the number of PA these WAR numbers are based on.
    This tells me we are an 82-88 Win team. Any surprises?
    We all know we need Tanaka and another bat to be in contention.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      This is what I’ve been seeing all offseason thus far. High variance, most likely.

      With a boatload of good luck and bouncebacks, we can win 90 and be in WC contention. With last year’s luck, we could win 78-80.

      The unpredictability is what makes baseball fun, and is what makes “WE WILL NEVER WIN ANYTHING AGAIN” ‘fans’ so insufferable.

  • Farewell Mo

    There’s plenty of work to be done especially to the pitching staff. They’re at this point considerably weaker than they were last year and it’s not like they were the the ’71 Orioles last year.

    Hopefully they won’t be denied for Tanaka.

    • TWTR

      There are some reports that he won’t be posted.

  • Kosmo

    plan B:
    sign Garza and/or Maeda if he is posted.

  • Bryan

    I’m sorry but Dean Anna will have more hits, doubles, home runs, AND RBIs than Brett Gardner? I understand home runs and RBI’s. But hits and doubles? One of these two will be hitting at the top of the order. One of them will not. One of them had over 30 doubles last year in the bigs. One of them has yet to make an impact in the majors.

  • lightSABR

    So, I’m going to do what you’re not supposed to do and add these WAR totals up for a projected number of wins.

    The projections above say that the team will put up 31 WAR. This is both good and bad news.

    Good because last year’s team only put up about 28.

    Bad because a replacement-level team normally gets about 45 wins, so it’s entirely possible that next year’s team will only win 80.

    We really need two or three more good moves to be competitive.

  • OldYanksFan

    MiLB Tot: DA / BG
    Speed….. 57 / 96
    Contact.. 84 / 62
    Patience. 90 /79
    Batting… 62 / 74
    Power….. 62 / 25
    Health.. 100 / 3

    Dean: .286 .386 .428 .815
    Brett: .290 .390 .385 .776

  • MartinRanger

    Let me get this straight: Teixeira, who has been, if not an iron man like Cano, pretty healthy most of his career, will not reach 360 ABs, but Beltran, who is 37 and has two iffy knees, will rack up 548? Granted, wrist injuries can linger, though this one was treated surgically, which means it’s likely to be a new injury, not a reaggrevation of the old one.

    Obviously, projections are iffy, though generally they aren’t so far off. But this one doesn’t make any sense to me no matter how I think about it.

    • Sean

      These projections to me make no sense. I’ve never liked projections that try to predict injuries, as injuries are unpredictable by nature. Did anyone expect Teixeira to play as little as he did? All honesty, I don’t bother reading “expert” predictions, because they are wrong a lot of the time. Just ask the 2013 Sox, 2012 Orioles and Athletics, 2008 Orioles, or the 2013 Blue Jays.

  • MartinRanger

    Assuming he’s resigned, I would definitely take that season from Reynolds though.