Looking at the 2014 Mets ZiPS projections

Maggie Wiggin, Contributor

On Friday, Fangraphs released their 2014 ZiPS projections for the Mets. Similar to other projection systems like Steamer and Oliver, ZiPS is based on a combination of past season stats, aging curves, minor league stats, and other factors that help predict future performance. They tend to skew a little on the conservative side, so hopefully we’ll see improvement these numbers because not all of them are pretty.

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One player who comes out looking good is Chris Young, who ZiPS has playing just above league average offense and excellent defense, providing around 2.7 wins (for comparison, that’s just under the number of wins he was worth in 2012 and 2013 combined). That would be a solid year for a pretty measly price tag. Zack Wheeler also comes out looking good, with a 3.62 ERA and improvement in both K% and BB%.

Outside of those two and a handful of minor league players unlikely to get more than a few September ABs next year, the picture is a little less rosy…

David Wright and Daniel Murphy are both projected to take steps backwards, though I’d take the over on both — especially Wright, whose projection is weighted down by his 2011 season, when he was limited by a broken back. Curtis Granderson’s line is also a bit pessimistic, and his projected 31 extra base hits would definitely be a letdown. ZiPS makes Travis d’Arnaud look downright mediocre, but I’m not too worried since other systems have quite lofty expectations and giving him a negative on defense seems highly unlikely.

On the pitching side, ZiPS is down on Dillon Gee and Jon Niese, in part reflecting the time each has lost to injury over the last two seasons. Health will definitely be the key to maximizing the contributions from these two. In the wake of the Matt Harvey machine, the projections for Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard may seem like a bit of a letdown, but I would take either of these lines from a rookie any day of the week, especially a strikeout rate of over 20 percent from Syndergaard. The bullpen is a bit of a crapshoot, as always, but the outlook on Bobby Parnell and Vic Black, key pieces for success, are quite good.

It’s important as with any projection to take all of this with a grain of salt. Injuries are notoriously difficult to account for and there are always pleasant surprises of the Marlon Byrd and Scott Hairston variety. But for a basic, usually low-ball, estimate of what we can expect from just about any player who might contribute (a long list of minor league players are included), this makes for a fun read.


Read more: 2014 ZiPS for the Mets




39 comments
Shawn M. Milburn
Shawn M. Milburn

Wright hit .307/18/58 in 112 gsmes last yr, so he was on pace for .308/26/83.....a full season with a better lineup he very easily can accomplish my prediction of .310/25/95-100.....for those who disagree

getalife
getalife

How about some ZIPS on this guy's accuracy projecting numbers?

eric88
eric88

Good luck on those wright numbers

Shawn M. Milburn
Shawn M. Milburn

David Wright- .310/25/95-100

Murphy- .290/15/75/40 dbls

Grandy-.260/25/85/30 dbls/8-10 trpls

Young-.250/20/70

Ike- .270/30/90.....if he goes back to Old Ike....veryqquestionable

stemog
stemog

They're just silly numbers to kill time until pitchers and catchers. When even the guy who publishes them has his doubts, what does that tell you? If it were that easy to predict or project, why even play the season?

John Anderson
John Anderson

Maggie - thank you for further defining projections. Your addition included in last weeks initial post would have cut down on a lot of the ignorant comments from fans not understanding the difference between projections and predictions. Dan Szymborski, who publishes the ZiPS will even say he doesn't always agree with the projection. They are computer generated. No need for anyone to get bent out of shape here.

11gilkey
11gilkey

These things are such a waste of time.  What did Zips project for Marlon Byrd last year?  I'm so tired of sabermetrics.  

rico
rico

didn't we do this ZIPS thing last week here? 

it was tiring then now it's time to Zipit on the ZIPS

Frank D
Frank D

As with most stats, they are to be used as a piece of the puzzle, and not a be all end all.  These formulas are human creations and should be looked at as an aid and nothing more.  If anyone had a perfect formula, they'd be hired as a GM and would win a ring every year.  


When it comes to humans, it's almost impossible to predict future success.  Stop getting up in arms with these stats.  

Maury Feldman
Maury Feldman

A projection is not a prediction of the future.  It is an estimation of how, given a player's past performance, he would perform on *average*.  

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

Not a major not to pick....but Scott Hairston was a pleasant surprise? The HRs were nice but there wasiterally nothing else there..

Poop-a-doodle-doo!
Poop-a-doodle-doo!

Speaking of predictions, is there any chance the Mets can win 85 and contend for that ever-elusive second wildcard?

Hodges14
Hodges14

Guess it was just me but I view Gee coming back and throwing 199 innings in 2013 as a good thing.  Prior to the season know one knew what to expect from him.

Brad Houser
Brad Houser

these projections are such a waste of time. does someone actually get paid money to do these?

Hodges14
Hodges14

@11gilkey Wondering what you think... after all the information that came out about ARod this week and the fact that he apparently passed more than a dozen drug tests do you think that Byrd was clean last year?  No way of knowing but in my mind if they were willing to cheat once I don't know that I could ever really believe they wouldn't do it again.

nolrog
nolrog

@rico Was it even a week ago?  I remember it from like a couple days back. 

Maury Feldman
Maury Feldman

@Frank D If it were almost impossible to predict future success, every player would make virtually the same salary.  Some players make more because we can predict, with decent accuracy, that they will be better players than others.  


Stats provide an incomplete picture, but tell us far more than they miss.  Especially when the goal of the entire sport (as all sports) is a statistical outcome.

Frank D
Frank D

@Shawn Rosen Ok, then leave.  As of now, this is the best place we can get up to the minute Mets info.  I don't like a lot of their posts, but it's the offseason.  What do you expect from them?  To just go on a hiatus for 4 months?


Here's a hint:  Take the mouse, glide it to the x in the top right, and click.  Then go read a book or something.  

Hodges14
Hodges14

@Shawn Rosen For the NY Mets franchise this time of year is dead.  They made their couple of moves and they have been dormant since.  Not much going on to write about.

nolrog
nolrog

@Sentimental Steve Yes, there's a chance.  There's always a chance.  But they need so much to go right, that it's unlikely.

Hodges14
Hodges14

@Sentimental Steve Sure... but they're going to need to make a couple more upgrades to the roster prior to opening day.

Maury Feldman
Maury Feldman

I don't believe that anyone is paid for them.  I also don't think they are a waste of time; they are reliably better than simply plugging in last year's stats, and therefore, worth using.


It's your own fault if you use them as a crystal ball.

Shawn M. Milburn
Shawn M. Milburn

Wright and Murphy is going off of healthy seasons, very much like last yrs #s....the others are hoping from my part

11gilkey
11gilkey

@Hodges14 @11gilkey Good question.  Once you've been caught once, you lose all credibility.  And clearly there are always going to be guys that are one step ahead of the drug testing program.  Look at BALCO and Bosch.  I do think that the penalties are stiffer and there is more a of deterrent, but to answer your question, no, I don't think Byrd was clean.  I don't think Ibanez is clean.  I never thought AROD was clean.  And there are many more that I suspect. I always suspected Nelson Cruz and look how that panned out.  I always questions these guys that have career or prime like years after 35 years of age.  Can it happen?  Of course.  And I'm not really including pitchers, but it is always suspect to me.  Speaking of pitchers, look at Colon.  He tested positive and i'm sure he's still cheating but the Mets give him 2 years and 20 mill.  My question is do the owners really care until they get caught?

rico
rico

@nolrog @rico I think you're right. Oh well we can expect another ZIPS posting by weeks' end

Frank D
Frank D

@Maury Feldman @Frank D Ok.  What I meant is that these projections really only serve the purpose of strengthening our preconceived notions.  I don't need a stat to tell me that Miguel Cabrera is going to have a great year next year.  


These projections should only help when the player is inconsistent.  If a player is consistent, what good are projections?  They just tell us what we already know.   However, I'd be surprised if the success of projections for inconsistent projections wasn't 50/50.  That's the point.  If a stat is only good to tell us what we already know, what good is it?


Also, it's a widely held notion in baseball that players make their salary based on past performance.  It's the exact reason why a guy like Cano can get that type of money.  You are paying him in hopes that he continues on the same path, even though he's 30 and all the numbers point to him digressing somewhere in the middle of his contract.  


Finally, salary has everything to do with the market.  You saw it with Elsbury and now you see it with Drew on the other end.  Jacoby was the most coveted outfielder and got paid accordingly.  Conversely, Drew has zero market and isn't and won't get paid what he wants.   

Shawn Rosen
Shawn Rosen

@Frank D @Shawn Rosen oh Im sorry. Did I offend you? You dont like what I wrote dont comment. Heres a hint: re-read, adjust brain, comment intelligently. 

stemog
stemog

@Hodges14@Sentimental SteveThey definitely need another hitter, whether it's an outfielder or a shortstop or even a first baseman. And they need some growth from d'Arnaud and whoever is at first base if it's Davis or Duda. And an arm or two for the bullpen. Not impossible.

Maury Feldman
Maury Feldman

@Frank D @sylow59 @Maury Feldman  Frank D: the only thing you've shown in your response is a complete lack of understanding---not even a single solitary clue---of my pretty simple point.  You ignored nearly the entirety of my post and then repeated, basically, the argument of your prior post, after I had explained how this was irrelevant.

The straw man is a tool for the lazy.  

Frank D
Frank D

@sylow59 @Frank D @Maury Feldman  OK, since you guys enjoy being trolls, allow me.  Maury, you are wrong.  Predicting the future is literally impossible.  When a player gets a high salary, it is based off of passed success and the hope that it will continue.  In the future, there are no guarantees.  For every "good" long term, high salary contract, there are 8 bad ones.  


Albert Pujols signs a 10 year contract and then follows it up with 2 of his worst years.  You give the contract based on his past success and hope he continues.  That's it.  If I felt like it, I could come up with a million different examples.  


It's honestly not that hard to comprehend.  These projections use formulas based on past numbers and league averages.  None of them ever predict a player having a breakout year because they cannot.  This means that the predictions will generally be well in line with relatively the same numbers they've been putting up in recent years.  They are not helpful alone, but as a piece of a huge puzzle of statistics.


sylow59
sylow59

@Frank D @Maury Feldman

"What I meant is that these projections really only serve the purpose of strengthening our preconceived notions."

That is an idiotic statement. 

Statistics based projections fall under the following:  "The work of science is to substitute facts for appearances and demonstrations for impressions." -John Ruskin[1]

Any projection is done to gain insight on a range of outcomes, or the best estimate outcome. 

Maury Feldman
Maury Feldman

@Frank D @Maury Feldman  

I don't follow the line of thinking that "projections should only help when the player is inconsistent".  Only some players fall neatly into "consistent" and "inconsistent".  Most players' careers follow trajectories that are somewhat predictable.  "I'd be surprised if the success of projections for inconsistent projections wasn't 50/50." doesn't make any sense to me, since all players have some level of inconsistency.  

I know that projections are better than last year's numbers, so there is utility in anticipating changes in trends.  That is meaningful to me.

The last point about market and salary; I wasn't trying to explain salary down to the penny; I was only saying that clearly teams don't think it's impossible to predict future success; they think it's possible, and they're confident enough to be willing to spend $$$.