Maggie Wiggin, ContributorOn 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.
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