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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2013 ZiPS Projections: Oakland Athletics

Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections, which have typically appeared in the pages of Baseball Think Factory, will be released at FanGraphs this year.

Farewell, ZiPS.  We’ll always have those weird threads where crazed Giants fans called you an idiot for not projecting minor league relievers.  And we can just link to you if we want to see you again.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 26, 2012 at 09:26 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dan szymborski, sabermetrics, zips

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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 26, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4332395)
ZiPS projects Cespedes as the only above average A's hitter. Then they have a glut of roughly league average hitters for CF, RF, 1B, and DH (Young, Crisp, Reddick, Moss, Carter, Smith). With platoons, the A's should be a bit above average at 1B/DH. What are they going to do with the extra man in the outfield? DH Cespedes a bunch? Count on an injury? I don't see Coco Crisp being happy in a reserve role.

Even with the best of all possible platoons, that's not a good offense. They're fielding complete offensive zeros at 2B, 3B, and C.

Further, ZiPS hates Nakajima's bat, projecting him to 316/366 and an 89 wRC+. I'm a little surprised, and if Dan's here I'd be interested in an explanation of how one of the best hitters in NPB projects to be quite terrible with the bat in MLB. I expected a pretty good hitting projection (maybe 110ish wRC+) with a very doubtful glove.
   2. Bug Selig Posted: December 26, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4332397)
You're really expecting Derek Jeter?

89 is roughly average for a starting ML SS. "Quite terrible" is a bit strong.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 26, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4332399)
Nakajima was 4th in the Pacific League in OPS in 2012, and 6th in both 2011 and 2010. He's one of the ten or so best hitters in NPB. Projecting one of the top batters in NPB as a below average offensive player is surprising - that's the context in which I'd call an 89 wRC+ "terrible". An 89 wRC+ is fine for a shortstop, but it's not a good hitter. (And Nakajima is most likely not a shortstop.)
   4. SG Posted: December 26, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4332400)
Further, ZiPS hates Nakajima's bat, projecting him to 316/366 and an 89 wRC+


I can't speak for Szym, but I've got Nakajima's neutral projection in CAIRO at .274/.336/.401 which becomes .264/.327/.382 in Oakland. He's 31, so there's some decline expected. They've also been using a new ball the last two years in NPB which appears to be suppressing offense some which may skew the translations forecasters are using.
   5. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4332441)
Nakajima was 4th in the Pacific League in OPS in 2012, and 6th in both 2011 and 2010. He's one of the ten or so best hitters in NPB. Projecting one of the top batters in NPB as a below average offensive player is surprising - that's the context in which I'd call an 89 wRC+ "terrible". An 89 wRC+ is fine for a shortstop, but it's not a good hitter. (And Nakajima is most likely not a shortstop.)

Some of that is Oakland. Some of that is he's not young and going to MLB's tougher league. Some of that is ZiPS thinks less of Japan's level of play than you - remember, Nishioka was 5th in the Pacific League in OPS in 2010. Below, I've estimated in-Japan OPS+ for notable players in Japan in 2012 that have played in America fairly recently (I don't have individual team park factors in Japan as I just can't find that data). Min. 100 OPS+

Wladimir Balentien - 194
Josh Whitesell - 169
Lastings Milledge - 166
Tony Blanco - 161
Hiroyuki Nakajima - 153
Wily Mo Pena - 150
Brad Eldred - 140
Nick Stavinoha - 132
Bobby Scales - 131
Micah Hoffpauir - 125
Tadahito Iguchi - 124
Kaz Matsui - 118
Esteban German - 110

ZiPS translates based on Japan year-on-year to USA transfers and vice-versa.




   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4332451)
Good argument, good data.
   7. Eric Ferguson Posted: December 26, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4332476)
#5 feels like a preview of the Marlins' Opening Day roster.
   8. valuearbitrageur Posted: December 26, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4332511)
Is he STILL not projecting minor league relievers?

Or minor league pinch hitters?

What the hell is going on!!!!?
   9. Walt Davis Posted: December 26, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4332654)
C'mon Dan, Wily Mo Pena at SS would have been ... well, a lot of fun.

Bobby Scales finally went to Japan. He deserved better on this side of the pond ... err, I mean your side of the pond. He was never gonna be great but always looked like a perfectly decent backup 2B/3B to me.

Anyhoo -- it will take me forever to get used to the new format and statistics. All that wasted space to the right on fangraphs is a real killer here but not much you can do about that. I think separating starters from relievers on pitching and maybe adding a league average line would be useful.

Now, let's see, you've done Giants and A's ... I'm sensing a geography-based ordering this year.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: December 26, 2012 at 06:53 PM (#4332660)
Looking at the Giants...

Matt Cain top comp Freddy Garcia
Madison Bumgarner top comp Eric Milton
Tim Lincecum top comp Tom Gordon
Sergio Romo top comp Ugueth Urbina (unmentioned in the comments!)

ZiPS is a meanie.

Also will fangraphs support Billy's graphics?
   11. Dan Posted: December 26, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4332686)
Now, let's see, you've done Giants and A's ... I'm sensing a geography-based ordering this year.


Looks like division winners first, presumably followed by 2nd place teams, etc.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: December 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4332730)
Looks like division winners first

I keep forgetting the A's pulled that out. Silly Rangers.
   13. Bug Selig Posted: December 27, 2012 at 08:59 AM (#4332823)
The first two teams were chosen by winners of a contest. His true pattern has yet to be revealed...

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