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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, October 27, 2005

2006 ZiPS Projections - Chicago Cubs

Some of the highlights:

Zambrano - 3.40 ERA, 209 IP, 198 K
Dempster - 4.06 ERA, 82 IP, 80 K
Maddux - 14-14, 4.14 ERA
Hill -  6-8, 4.78 ERA
Guzman - 9 GS, 4.39 ERA
Lee - 309/309/582, 114 RBI
Nomar - 287/335/483
Murton - 289/350/430
Pie - 273/318/409
The Neifinator - 259/288/353
Dopirak - 227/271/382, 19 HR


Name       P   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Lee       1b .309 .398 .582 159 593 104 183 44 2 38 114 84 121 14 5
Ramirez     3b .302 .359 .541 142 549 83 166 33 1 32 104 45 75 1 2
Garciaparra ss .287 .335 .483 108 439 66 126 23 6 17 63 27 43 8 3
Barrett     c   .276 .342 .468 125 410 47 113 29 4 14 58 37 60 0 3
Murton     lf .289 .350 .430 137 470 64 136 16 4 14 56 42 77 10 5
Sing       1b .239 .345 .449 121 385 64 92 21 0 20 60 61 109 1 4
Walker*    2b .277 .336 .435 125 451 60 125 26 3 13 57 40 49 1 2
Grieve*    rf .242 .342 .409 105 264 34 64 15 1 9 34 39 66 0 0
Cedeno     ss .287 .332 .412 113 345 46 99 15 2 8 40 20 63 13 4
Craig#    3b .253 .326 .434 108 348 53 88 19 1 14 50 35 84 4 3
Hairston   2b .273 .350 .378 98 333 44 91 22 2 3 31 31 39 9 9
Fontenot*  2b .262 .340 .381 130 454 63 119 23 5 7 43 46 103 10 8
Burnitz*    lf .238 .309 .421 147 541 69 129 26 2 23 79 53 110 4 5
Pie*      cf .273 .319 .409 87 330 59 90 11 5 8 33 20 93 17 10
Patterson*  cf .252 .298 .418 146 564 73 142 23 4 21 68 36 147 23 8
Johnson*    c   .226 .332 .335 76 221 27 50 13 1 3 23 34 35 1 2
Kelton     lf .240 .289 .391 130 455 55 109 25 1 14 56 30 94 7 4
Soto       c   .236 .312 .334 98 305 35 72 12 0 6 33 33 84 1 1
Murray     cf .253 .316 .347 130 427 58 108 20 4 4 37 34 71 11 10
Lewis     2b .241 .301 .355 129 439 56 106 21 4 7 38 35 113 8 6
Perez#    ss .259 .288 .353 140 482 46 125 25 1 6 47 19 43 5 3
Dopirak     1b .227 .271 .382 137 503 62 114 21 0 19 65 28 118 2 2
Hoffpauir*  1b .233 .286 .329 121 416 48 97 18 2 6 41 28 81 2 1
Blanco     c   .204 .258 .351 81 225 22 46 12 0 7 27 15 39 0 2
Macias#    3b .243 .269 .325 106 206 20 50 9 1 2 18   7 35 3 3
Kopitzke   c   .219 .280 .255 81 251 18 55 7 1 0 16 17 40 1 2

Name       ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Zambrano   3.40 13   9 32 32   209.0 170   79 15   83 198
Prior     3.43 10   7 26 26   168.0 139   64 18   52 202
Wood       3.76   9   7 25 22   146.0 115   61 18   64 177
Wuertz     3.82   3   3 72   0   73.0   57   31   7   38   88
Williamson   3.86   2   2 42   0   42.0   32   18   4   23   50
van Buren   4.00   3   3 57   0   54.0   41   24   6   30   69
Dempster   4.06   4   3 58   5   82.0   71   37   4   45   80
Maddux     4.14 14 14 35 35   215.0 228   99 30   36 129
Williams   4.36 10 11 29 28   165.0 164   80 17   62 104
Guzman     4.39   3   3   9   9   41.0   42   20   6   10   28
Ohman*    4.50   2   3 65   0   50.0   39   25   7   30   63
Aardsma     4.53   8 10 41 21   141.0 147   71 18   43 103
Rusch*    4.53   7   7 39 18   139.0 152   70 12   46 102
Novoa     4.55   6   6 63   0   83.0   84   42 10   32   70
Ryu       4.59   8   9 26 26   155.0 167   79 19   46 110
Mitre     4.72   7   9 31 23   141.0 144   74 17   58 111
Pignatiell   4.73   7   9 35 24   156.0 160   82 22   55 130
Nolasco     4.73   7   9 27 27   154.0 154   81 24   56 143
Hill*      4.78   6   8 30 22   130.0 117   69 21   65 156
Brownlie   4.91   6   8 25 19   110.0 114   60 17   40   83
Bartosh*    4.98   2   3 53   0   56.0   55   31   9   25   52
Koronka*    5.01   8 12 27 24   151.0 155   84 20   67 110
Oliver*    5.02   5   8 25 20   122.0 138   68 16   39   63
Fox       5.14   1   2 26   0   28.0   24   16   2   22   31
Pinto*    5.15   7 11 28 27   145.0 134   83 15   95 144
Rohlicek*  5.23   3   4 56   0   62.0   55   36   4   49   57
Wellemeyer   5.23   3   6 33 12   86.0   80   50 11   55   86
Leicester   5.77   4   9 38 14   106.0 110   68 17   63   87

Dan Szymborski Posted: October 27, 2005 at 06:23 PM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:17 PM (#1708332)
If those numbers are anything close to accurate, the late innings of Cubs games are going to be very exciting - lots of K's, lots of BBs.
   2. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:19 PM (#1708336)
From the relievers, that is.
   3. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:23 PM (#1708344)
Those OBPs are very worrisome. Only one player makes it to .360.
Does Dusty encourage hacktastic-ness?


Wow. Someone's new here.

Those projections for the offense are better than I was expecting--I like Cedeno's especially (particularly compared to the proj for His Neifiness, Team MVP). That Burnitz projection is fugly. That might be a little bit pessimistic, but even so--if the Cubs pick up that 7.5M option, they're nuts.
   4. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:26 PM (#1708349)
Oh, and if Murton gets 470 ABs, I guarantee he hits more than 14 homers.
   5. Neil M Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:28 PM (#1708355)
Does Dusty encourage hacktastic-ness?

Absolutely. This is the man who ran Bellhorn out of town and benched Choi. His favorite quote is, 'Sometimes the first pitch is the best pitch you'll see.'

He even had Matt Lawton, briefly aboard specifically for his OBP, swinging at everything. Jerry Hairston, usually good OBP, notched up a .307 leading-off this year.

Neifi and Jose Macias are Baker's heartthrobs. They never saw a pitch they didn't try to hit to a middle infielder.
   6. Spivey Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:31 PM (#1708357)
Given that ZIPS is based off DIPS, I'm surprised Zambrano's H/IP is so low without getting a K an inning. I know he doesn't give up many HR, but that only accounts for several hits.

If the Cubs sent out this lineup:

C- Barrett
1B- Lee
2B- Hairston/Todd Walker/half decent FA
SS- Cedeno/Furcal (in which case Cedeno could play 2B)
3B- Aramis
OF- Murton, fungible OF, good FA signing

I think they could have a pretty solid offense. Not many great OBPs, but a lot of hits, no one would have an awful OBP, and some nice power. Burnitz is not the answer to any question the Cubs want to ask.
   7. Spivey Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:32 PM (#1708358)
I agree Burnitz might have a pessimistic projection. But he'll be 37 next year, strikes out a ton, and just posted a .322 OBP. He should be a 4th OF at best now.
   8. Neil M Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:32 PM (#1708359)
I know it' ZIPS and all, but if Dempster gets 5 starts there is something far ####### wrong in the stars for 2006.
   9. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:33 PM (#1708360)
Given that ZIPS is based off DIPS, I'm surprised Zambrano's H/IP is so low without getting a K an inning. I know he doesn't give up many HR, but that only accounts for several hits.

He gets a ton of groundball outs. Relies on a sinking fastball. (In any event, he's close to a K an inning. Dude throws in the upper 90s consistently, with tons of movement.)
   10. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:34 PM (#1708364)
I'm thinking Dempster's projection's based on his having spent most of his career as a starter, including part of last season.

I agree Burnitz might have a pessimistic projection. But he'll be 37 next year, strikes out a ton, and just posted a .322 OBP. He should be a 4th OF at best now.

You did see the part where I said the Cubs would be nuts to pick up his option, right?
   11. Spivey Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:35 PM (#1708365)
Yes. Don't be so defensive. I wasn't calling you an idiot or something.
   12. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:35 PM (#1708366)
He gets a ton of groundball outs. Relies on a sinking fastball.

That wouldn't show up in DIPS, would it?
   13. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:36 PM (#1708370)
That wouldn't show up in DIPS, would it?

I don't know, but his peripherals have been pretty consistent for the past 3 years. His K rate actually rose a bit last year (though his HRs were up some).
   14. Spivey Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:37 PM (#1708372)
He gets a ton of groundball outs. Relies on a sinking fastball. (In any event, he's close to a K an inning. Dude throws in the upper 90s consistently, with tons of movement.)

I know, of course. But really, aren't groundballs generally supposed to allow more hits than flyballers (HR excepted)? I'm not saying he doesn't have skill at preventing hits, just since the projection is based on DIPS I didn't expect such a low H/IP.
   15. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:39 PM (#1708376)
Basically, Zambrano has the awesome combination of high strikeout totals (not RJ-in-his-prime high, but high) and high groundball totals. I think his low hit totals are a testament to those skills, especially given the Cubs' indifferent infield defense.
   16. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:40 PM (#1708378)
In other words, Zambrano's a "power groundballer," as opposed to a Greg Maddux-type groundballer. I think there's a difference between those types of pitchers in terms of frequency of hits allowed, though I haven't looked closely at the issue...
   17. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:47 PM (#1708386)
Cedeño projects to a .744 OPS, which seems reasonable. It also seems that the Cubs should have a starting shortstop there. Oh well, fat chance of that happening.

Oh, and if Murton gets 470 ABs, I guarantee he hits more than 14 homers.

I think you're right. I can see why 14 were projected, but I think you're right.

Also file under "fat chance of that happening." The 470 AB part, I mean.

I agree Burnitz might have a pessimistic projection. But he'll be 37 next year, strikes out a ton, and just posted a .322 OBP.

I'm sure ZiPS is still seeing signal from 2003 and before. It seems to be a reasonable projection to me.
   18. Sweet Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:48 PM (#1708391)
Some initial thoughts:

- I believe most of the hitter numbers, including Pie, Cedeno, and -- though this hurts -- Patterson.

- ZIPS doesn't believe that Murton's power spike this year was for real. Fair enough, I suppose, though .430 seems a little low.

- ZIPS likes Brandon Sing almost as much as I do. An .800 OPS isn't any great shakes for a first baseman, but it makes for a nice lefty-masher off the bench. Also worth noting that he's projected to have the best walk rate -- by far -- of anyone on the roster. Not bad for a guy who will spend the whole year in Iowa.

- If Angel Guzman gets 9 starts at Wrigley this year, I'll cry warm tears of joy (and yes, I know ZIPS isn't a playing time estimator).

- I'm surprised ZIPS likes Ryu more than Mitre, Nolasco, Hill, and Pinto, the last of whom ZIPS doesn't like much at all. Ryu's the same age as Nolasco and Pinto and had -- to my eye -- worse numbers this year and last.

- This team needs a *big* bat in right field. This should be priority #1 this winter.

- And no, not Jeromy Burnitz.
   19. Sweet Posted: October 27, 2005 at 07:55 PM (#1708404)
Prediction contest, if you're game:

1) Who should be the Cubs starting right-fielder on Opening Day 2006?
2) Who will be the Cubs starting right-fielder on Opening Day 2006?

I'll say (1) Brian Giles and (2) Jacque Jones.
   20. Neil M Posted: October 27, 2005 at 08:15 PM (#1708442)
OK, Sweet.

1 - Giles 2 - Burnitz
   21. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2005 at 08:48 PM (#1708507)
But really, aren't groundballs generally supposed to allow more hits than flyballers (HR excepted)? I'm not saying he doesn't have skill at preventing hits, just since the projection is based on DIPS I didn't expect such a low H/IP.

His high double play rate would negate this to some extent. I don't know if DIPS accounts for this or not.
   22. Spivey Posted: October 27, 2005 at 09:22 PM (#1708549)
#1 is unanswerable because we do not yet know what it would take for the Cubs to land Giles. If he's offered a 4yr/$50mil deal, I don't think the Cubs should necessarily match it.

I'll go out on a crazy limb and say that Pie and Patterson BOTH are starting on opening day.
   23. Sweet Posted: October 27, 2005 at 09:40 PM (#1708583)
Speaking of Pie, he's featured in today's Ask BA. I agree with Callis's conclusion that Pie needs at least another year in the minors.
   24. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 27, 2005 at 10:17 PM (#1708649)
---"#1 is unanswerable because we do not yet know what it would take for the Cubs to land Giles. If he's offered a 4yr/$50mil deal, I don't think the Cubs should necessarily match it."

Why say it in so soft a manner? Why not say the obvious apparent truth--Giles is too old for a huge contract. So no matter how much money the Cubs seem to have, they will acquire an albatross if they sign him to more than a 2 yr deal, and their future moves will be restricted.
   25. AROM Posted: October 27, 2005 at 10:41 PM (#1708671)
I like Murton's projection. His translated stats for 2005, MLE + his time in the bigs, is this:

.304 - 13 HR - 487 AB .360/.444

He may hit more homers, but it would mean another power spike for 2006 - he's not there yet.
   26. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 27, 2005 at 10:42 PM (#1708673)
Perez# ss .259/.288/.353, 140 games, 482 ABs

By the time this happens, I'll long since have switched to the Devil Rays.
   27. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 28, 2005 at 12:10 AM (#1708750)
The Cubs should call for Pie now while he is still hot.</witty pun>
   28. Sammy's Corked Whine Posted: October 28, 2005 at 04:53 AM (#1709003)
I think the really impressive part is the 400+ starts the Chicago staff will rack up in 2006.
   29. Sweet Posted: October 28, 2005 at 05:17 AM (#1709018)
Why not say the obvious apparent truth--Giles is too old for a huge contract. So no matter how much money the Cubs seem to have, they will acquire an albatross if they sign him to more than a 2 yr deal, and their future moves will be restricted.


I'm not sure I agree with this. Of course there is some price and contract term beyond which Giles becomes a categorically bad signing, but the utility function varies among teams. The Cubs seem to be beginning the downside of their "success" cycle, with their core talent signed for one or two more years at most. At that point (i.e., Years 3 and 4), and assuming a change in manager, the Cubs will likely have several positions filled by players at or around the league minimum. I don't foresee Giles's salary significantly restricting the team's moves at that point.

The Cubs seem to have between $20-30 million to spend this offseason. They desperately need a slugging outfielder. They really don't *need* anything else, although of course they could upgrade in any number of places. Giles is clearly the best FA on the market. Here are his WARP3s since coming over to the NL seven years ago:

9.2
10.3
8.7
11.6
8.3
6.2 (first year in PETCO)
8.7

Even with a subpar (for him) 2004, that's a weighted three-year average of 7.8. (If you're curious, that's exactly what Vlad Guerrero has posted since his breakout year in 1998.)

For a team with the payroll and playoff aspirations of the Cubs, it's perfectly reasonable to pay $2 - 2.5 million per marginal win. I would happily sign Giles to a three-year deal at up to $15 million per, and would consider a fourth year triggered by performance and playing time. This might be more than other teams should be willing to pay, but that fact alone wouldn't necessarily make it a bad deal for the Cubs.
   30. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: October 28, 2005 at 05:58 AM (#1709038)
So can we all agree with the converse: "The first pitcher is never the best pitch you'll see"?

Those projections look pretty good. What does Cedeno look like on defense? Is he going to help the pitching staff or hurt it?

I think with a good off-season the Cubs can be right on track for the playoffs next year. What would you folks think about Manny? Would his contract be worthwhile for you?
   31. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 28, 2005 at 11:12 AM (#1709102)
----". I would happily sign Giles to a three-year deal at up to $15 million per.."

Despite his VORPS over the last few years, I would be very reluctant to go beyond 2 years for a player his age.
   32. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: October 28, 2005 at 12:24 PM (#1709130)
Despite his VORPS over the last few years, I would be very reluctant to go beyond 2 years for a player his age.

I actually think the Cubs have the potential to be pretty good, and if Giles can get them over the hump, they may have to swallow hard and do it. Worry about 2008 in 2007.
   33. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 28, 2005 at 12:36 PM (#1709139)
I think the really impressive part is the 400+ starts the Chicago staff will rack up in 2006.

Urge...to kill...rising.
   34. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 28, 2005 at 12:54 PM (#1709154)
I think the really impressive part is the 400+ starts the Chicago staff will rack up in 2006.

Urge...to kill...rising.


You'll be explaining this forever, Dan. Somewhere I suppose is an explanation of what ZiPS is and is not, that's probably useful to link as new people are exposed to it.
   35. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 28, 2005 at 01:09 PM (#1709171)
Despite his VORPS over the last few years, I would be very reluctant to go beyond 2 years for a player his age.

I'd happily go three for Giles. The Cubs desperately need a player like Giles in their lineup. His counting stats are down because of his ballpark, and his adjusted stats have been steady as a rock for years.

A three year commitment covers ages 35-37. It looks to me like Giles is likely to maintain his current level over that time, more or less. Ages 38 and 39 are more of a concern, but I wouldn't be horrified if the Cubs signed him for four years. It would be the kind of move the Cubs have always make historically, but I'd rather see them do it with someone like Giles than someone like Moises Alou (although Alou had his best year in the last year of his deal, go figure).

At first I was thinking it would be better to get Furcal and forget Giles, but now I'm not so sure. In terms of pure offensive impact, Giles is the better hitter, but Furcal is at a good FA age, he's a good fit to Baker's approach and he's also well above average for his position. However, the Cubs have much worse alternatives in the OF than they do at SS. I'm officially writing off Cedeño, but I think the difference between Furcal and, say, Neifi is not as great as the difference between Giles and whatever Hendry can fashion out of Silly Putty and Scotch tape.

Five years would be too much, but I say Hendry should go for it.
   36. Cabbage Posted: October 28, 2005 at 03:06 PM (#1709331)
I don't foresee Giles's salary significantly restricting the team's moves at that point.

It might. The latter years of the Sosa contract kept us out of the big free agent runs over the past few years (Vlad, Beltran, Pedro, Sheff, etc.). I've got no idea who'll be available over the next two or three seasons, but there is bound to be someone.

This doesn't mean we should horde cash until Miguel Cabrera shows up on the market, but I'd rather see the Cubs try and pay a premium to limit the contract to two years.

Furcal would be pretty nice. A Walker/Cedeno platoon at 2B strikes me as effective. It would help allieve Dusty's fear of youngsters while letting us see if Cedeno is going to be a useful major leaguer.
   37. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 28, 2005 at 03:58 PM (#1709412)
A Walker/Cedeno platoon at 2B strikes me as effective. It would help allieve Dusty's fear of youngsters while letting us see if Cedeno is going to be a useful major leaguer.

A Walker/Cedeno platoon is the same thing as Walker getting the starting job - as soon as Cedeno has a 3-for-15 week or Walker gets 3 hits in a game, bye bye platoon.
   38. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 28, 2005 at 05:06 PM (#1709512)
A Walker/Cedeno platoon is the same thing as Walker getting the starting job - as soon as Cedeno has a 3-for-15 week or Walker gets 3 hits in a game, bye bye platoon.

I disagree. Baker doesn't need a poor performance from the young guy or a good performance from the old guy to justify giving the full-time job to the old guy.

Also, it's unlikely to play out that way. A Walker/Cedeño platoon isn't going to turn into Walker getting the job full time. It's going to turn into Neifi Perez getting the job full-time.
   39. Sweet Posted: October 28, 2005 at 05:07 PM (#1709515)
The latter years of the Sosa contract kept us out of the big free agent runs over the past few years (Vlad, Beltran, Pedro, Sheff, etc.).

Fair enough, which is why I wouldn't go beyond a certain price or certain length on Giles. My only point was that that price and length might appropriately be higher for the Cubs than for most other teams.
   40. Catfish326 Posted: October 28, 2005 at 08:39 PM (#1709841)
Red Sox win for first time since 1918. Even spookier, is the White Sox winning for first time since 1917. Guess whose turn it is??? I pray it's the Cubbies, and not the Red Sox again--the team that won in 1916!
   41. CoastalFan Posted: October 30, 2005 at 07:24 AM (#1711299)
Furcal is at a good FA age, he's a good fit to Baker's approach meaning Baker's approach of "to heck with plate discipline, swing the damn bat!!"
I like Furcal, a lot, but getting Giles would be good for this Cubs team. I'd suggest bringing him in a the hitting instructor / manager also so maybe a few of these Hacking Mass superstars would pick up the idea of getting on base once in a while...
   42. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 30, 2005 at 10:17 AM (#1711322)
Look at the NL; if the Cubs signed Giles, they'd immediately be the wild-card favorites, maybe divisional favorites with the Cardinals sure to decline, and especially if Roger Clemens retires. Now that the Dodgers aren't going to get any better, the Cubs' wild card prospects are very bright. Wouldn't a year or two of Chicago playoff revenue pay for for a bad year of the contract?
   43. AROM Posted: November 21, 2005 at 10:28 PM (#1741224)
The Felix Pie projection is similar to the Rallymonkey projection, he's a good prospect but probably not quite ready yet. I wanted to check this since I just got the Bill James handbook, that book projects him at .294/.336/.538!

Probably the wildest one they have, or second to Ryan Howard.

Howard projects at a ridiculous .322/.397/.628, 44 homers, 127 RBI. Not quite as good as Pujols, but better than Derek Lee, all while challenging Adam Dunn for the lead with 173 strikeouts.

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