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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, December 15, 2007

2008 ZiPS Projections - Colorado Rockies

World Series appearance or not, I believe it’s more accurate to call the Rockies a good team rather than one of the elite teams in the NL.  Why were they good in 2007?  Despite the flowery summations over hunger and scrappiness and so forth, the Rockies success was essentially based on two things:

1) Dan O’Dowd finally abandoning the notion of trying to find a gimmicky team to win in Coors and simply assembling a team of the best players he could find.  Coors Field is less of a hitter’s park than it used to be, but it’s still a very strong hitter’s park, just not the best hitter’s park in MLB history by a substantial margin, as it was in the earlier days.  OK, Mile High was just as bad, but I think people reading can get the gist - Mile High and Coors were massive hitter’s parks for similar reasons.  This Rockies team was made to win in every stadium they played in, not simply 1 of the 30 parks.

2) The front-line hitters were very good and, quite importantly, very healthy.  The Big 5 of Helton, Atkins, Hawpe, Tulowitzki, and Holliday combined for an OPS+ of 126 and Hawpe missed the most games, with 11.  Just for reference, Johnny Bench’s average OPS+ was 126, so more likely than not, any pitcher facing the Rockies was essentially facing 5 Johnny Benches.  When you’re down in a game, a quintet of Benches is a great thing to have, especially when your playoff opponent decides that Jose Mesa appearing in a must-win game is a good idea.

Now, it’s probably greedy to expect the Rockies to get to the Series again in 2008, but it’s certainly possible.  I think it’ll be a hard road in 2008.  I think relative to the AL, the NL will be closer than it has in recent years because with the league looking a bit on the weak side, it just seems like more NL teams are trying to be aggressive at improving their teams, thinking that it’s a good opportunity with the league on the weak side.  Except for the Marlins, of course.


Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Matt Holliday         lf 28 .323 .387 .541 146 569 100 184 38 4 26 111 50 100 9 4
Todd Helton*        1b 34 .305 .411 .475 144 522 82 159 37 2 16 84 91 73 1 0
AVERAGE 1B——————- 1b——.292 .368 .496—————————————————————
Brad Hawpe*          rf 29 .279 .374 .488 130 430 62 120 24 3 20 83 65 105 0 2
Garrett Atkins       3b 28 .293 .364 .486 149 566 84 166 34 0 25 99 62 79 2 0
AVERAGE LF——————- lf——.290 .361 .479—————————————————————
AVERAGE RF——————- rf——.290 .358 .481—————————————————————
AVERAGE 3B——————- 3b——.287 .355 .467—————————————————————
Seth Smith*          rf 25 .285 .345 .468 144 523 57 149 36 3 18 75 42 80 5 3
Ryan Spilborghs       cf 28 .288 .354 .448 138 424 62 122 23 3 13 62 44 71 7 4
Troy Tulowitzki       ss 23 .278 .348 .452 147 575 90 160 34 3 20 85 55 115 7 4
Joe Koshansky*        1b 26 .269 .343 .451 150 528 52 142 28 1 22 88 58 132 2 2
AVERAGE CF——————- cf——.284 .347 .443—————————————————————
Chris Iannetta       c   25 .269 .359 .421 116 368 45 99 20 3 10 45 47 75 0 0
AVERAGE 2B——————- 2b——.289 .348 .432—————————————————————
Jeff Baker           rf 27 .275 .333 .452 126 356 40 98 18 3 13 54 28 86 4 0
Ian Stewart*        3b 23 .269 .337 .443 157 531 66 143 35 3 17 72 48 121 7 4
AVERAGE SS——————- ss——.287 .341 .425—————————————————————
AVERAGE C———————- c——.272 .332 .421—————————————————————
Willy Taveras         cf 26 .292 .344 .351 129 473 78 138 18 2 2 38 28 59 34 9
Tim Olson           2b 29 .254 .312 .396 63 197 23 50 11 1 5 23 16 50 3 2
Yorvit Torrealba       c   29 .248 .317 .388 90 294 37 73 18 1 7 38 26 58 2 1
Edwin Bellorin       c   26 .258 .298 .409 95 318 33 82 19 1 9 39 17 48 1 1
Cory Sullivan*        cf 28 .260 .317 .372 131 384 48 100 22 6 3 36 30 86 6 3
Omar Quintanilla*      ss 26 .260 .312 .365 127 438 52 114 31 3 3 41 30 90 5 1
Matthew Miller       lf 25 .250 .313 .380 136 492 48 123 23 1 13 60 37 68 3 6
Jayson Nix           2b 25 .257 .305 .384 130 456 56 117 27 2 9 47 30 84 18 7
Clint Barmes         ss 29 .250 .304 .375 127 472 62 118 25 2 10 53 23 70 7 5
Christopher Nelson     ss 22 .235 .283 .386 141 557 58 131 35 2 15 70 32 115 20 6
John Mabry*          1b 37 .224 .295 .353 58 116 12 26 6 0 3 19 11 28 0 0
Eric Young Jr.#      2b 23 .242 .304 .348 139 549 77 133 26 4 8 50 38 109 61 26
Dexter Fowler         cf 22 .242 .315 .330 102 397 55 96 19 2 4 30 36 95 26 22
Jon Herrera#        ss 23 .246 .294 .320 145 556 62 137 21 4 4 47 33 68 20 16
Steve Finley*        cf 43 .208 .276 .295 49 149 17 31 5 1 2 16 13 16 1 1

* - Bats Left
# = Switch-Hitter

Name           CThr 1b 2b 3b ss lf cf rf
Holliday                   Av    
Helton*            Av            
Hawpe*                        Fr
Atkins             Fr   Fr        
Smith*                    Av Pr Av
Spilborghs                 Av Pr Av
Tulowitzki               Ex      
Koshansky*          Av            
Iannetta       Fr                
Baker             Av   Fr   Av   Av
Stewart*              Av        
Taveras                     Av  
Olson             Av Fr Fr        
Torrealba       Av                
Bellorin       Av                
Sullivan*                  Av Fr  
Quintanilla*          Vg   Vg      
Miller                     Av   Av
Nix                 Vg Vg        
Barmes               Vg Vg Av   Av  
Nelson                   Av      
Mabry*            Av   Pr   Fr   Fr
Young#              Vg          
Fowler                       Vg  
Herrera#            Av Av Av      
Finley*                    Fr Fr Fr

Player Spotlight - Todd Helton
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Optimistic (15%)  .324 .433 .523 153 555 99 180 47 3 19 99 104 69 3 0  
Mean         .305 .411 .475 144 522 82 159 37 2 16 84 91 73 1 0
Pessimistic (15%) .285 .382 .413 125 453 61 129 28 0 10 60 71 70 0 1

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Keith Hernandez, Mark Grace

Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Brian Fuentes*        32   3.32   5   2 68   0   65.0   55   24   7   28   66
Manuel Corpas         25   3.74   4   2 72   0   77.0   80   32   9   18   52
Matt Herges           38   4.15   3   3 57   0   65.0   67   30   6   20   40
La Troy Hawkins       35   4.34   4   3 61   0   56.0   60   27   6   20   31
Aaron Cook           29   4.37   9   9 27 27   171.0 194   83 16   43   68
Ryan Speier           28   4.44   4   4 70   0   75.0   79   37   6   34   48
LEAGUE AVERAGE RELIEVER———4.48———————————————————————-
Jeff Francis*        27   4.52 12 11 30 30   187.0 202   94 20   63 123
Elmer Dessens         37   4.58   3   3 33   4   55.0   60   28   5   17   30
Darren Clarke         27   4.68   1   1 23   1   25.0   25   13   4   7   21
Jorge Julio           29   4.70   3   3 68   0   69.0   68   36   9   30   66
Ramon Ramirez         26   4.71   3   3 58   0   65.0   64   34   9   27   55
Jeremy Affeldt*        29   4.75   4   5 64   3   72.0   72   38   7   39   48
Todd Williams         37   4.76   3   3 50   0   51.0   57   27   5   17   24
Franklin Morales*      22   4.86   6 10 28 28   152.0 156   82 18   79 105
Jason Hirsh           26   4.88   8 10 25 25   144.0 152   78 20   57   93
Jose Capellan         27   4.90   5   5 60   5   90.0   96   49 12   33   57
LEAGUE AVERAGE STARTER———- 4.91———————————————————————-
Taylor Buchholz       26   5.02   6   7 33 16   113.0 125   63 15   34   69
Josh Newman*          26   5.20   4   5 57   0   71.0   73   41   9   36   56
Rodrigo Lopez         32   5.22   8 11 26 24   143.0 163   83 21   49   82
Juan Morillo         24   5.25   3   4 66   0   72.0   73   42   9   47   51
Josh Fogg           31   5.27   7 10 28 26   152.0 178   89 21   51   77
Ubaldo Jimenez         24   5.29   8 11 30 30   165.0 171   97 20 107 116
Kevin Walker*        31   5.32   4   5 35   7   71.0   81   42   9   26   40
Zach McClellan         29   5.47   2   3 36   1   51.0   59   31   6   18   34
Esmil Rogers         22   5.49   5   7 20 19   118.0 132   72 14   61   70
Mark Redman*          34   5.59   6 10 26 25   145.0 170   90 18   58   72
Mike Gallo*          30   5.59   3   4 63   0   66.0   77   41   9   28   36
Bob Keppel           26   5.94   4   8 19 15   94.0 114   62 13   41   39
Ramon Ortiz           32   6.05   5 10 30 19   131.0 163   88 25   39   58
Sean Thompson*        25   6.07   5 10 25 23   135.0 157   91 22   64   77
Mike Esposito         26   6.31   4 10 25 19   124.0 154   87 23   48   64
Alberto Arias         24   6.65   3   6 31   6   69.0   84   51 14   31   32
Pedro Strop           23   6.94   2   4 34   0   35.0   38   27   8   27   33

* - Throws Left

Player Spotlight - Jeff Francis
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Optimistic (15%)  3.66 16 10 33 33 214 210   87 18   58 158
Mean           4.52 12 11 30 30 187 202   94 20   63 123
Pessimistic (15%)  5.48   7 12 25 25 151 178   92 21   59   90

Top Near-Age Comps:  Scott Karl, Paul Splittorff

Disclaimer:  ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. 
Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors -
many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2008. 
ZiPS is projecting equivalent production - a .240 ZiPS projection may end up
being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example.  Whether or not a player will play
is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting
the future.

Players are listed with their most recent teams unless Dan has made a mistake. 
This is very possible as a lot of minor-league signings are generally unreported in
the offseason. 

ZiPS is projecting based on the AL having a 4.49 ERA and the NL having a 4.40 ERA.

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Tigers Projections

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 15, 2007 at 09:14 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 15, 2007 at 10:03 PM (#2646775)
What's the effect of Coors Field on these numbers?
   2. shoewizard Posted: December 15, 2007 at 10:23 PM (#2646790)
Well, he is basing off a league avg ERA of 4.40 for the NL, and a "league avg era" in Coors according to his list is 4.91
   3. shoewizard Posted: December 15, 2007 at 10:24 PM (#2646791)
Oops...that's starters ERA. League avg reliever is 4.48
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 15, 2007 at 10:36 PM (#2646794)
1) Dan O'Dowd finally abandoning the notion of trying to find a gimmicky team to win in Coors and simply assembling a team of the best players he could find.

I thought they induced the most groundballs of any team in baseball this year. Wasn't that by design, to find groundball pitchers?
   5. shoewizard Posted: December 15, 2007 at 10:36 PM (#2646795)
I kind of expected a better projection than that for Jimenez, and thought he would be better than Morales. Guess I'm just easily impressed by shiny things like a 116 MPH fastball.
   6. Boots Day Posted: December 15, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2646804)
Are these supposed to be neutral-park projections, or what you think their actual Coors-influenced numbers will be?
   7. shoewizard Posted: December 16, 2007 at 12:08 AM (#2646856)
They are park adjusted
   8. Boots Day Posted: December 16, 2007 at 12:23 AM (#2646873)
OK. I thought the hitters looked a little low, and the pitchers high, but now that I check, most of the hitters in their 27-29 seasons are projected to pretty much meet their career lines.

The pitchers do seem a bit high to me. Jeff Francis has easily beaten that projection each of the past two years, is 27, and is healthy. Manny Corpas is projected to have the worst season of his career at the age of 25. Aaron Cook is projected to have his highest ERA since 2003. And so on.
   9. harrball Posted: December 16, 2007 at 01:24 AM (#2646923)
I'm with Boots on Corpas - Dan, can you throw a spotlight on Manny?
   10. Walt Davis Posted: December 16, 2007 at 04:04 AM (#2647041)
I'm not Dan but I play him in my fantasy life ...

Including minor leagues, Corpas has just 225 IP the last 3 seasons. Typical or better for a reliever but still a small sample size and any such track record needs to be regressed pretty heavily. Also, he has 179 Ks in those IP which is not that special for a reliever. And his career minor-league WHIP is 1.33, career major-league WHIP 1.15. That said, the projected HR rate seems high and the Ks a little low.

But mainly I go with the IP thing. Over the last three years, 1.5 in the minors, Corpas has compiled the track record of one good starting season. That's very little to go on.
   11. BeanoCook Posted: December 16, 2007 at 04:10 AM (#2647048)
^ If I am not mistaken, Corpas generates ground balls at a high rate. Which is part of his skill set that makes him so special. Too lazy to check at the moment.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 16, 2007 at 04:13 AM (#2647051)
They are park adjusted

I guess my question is, what would an ERA projection of say 4.50 be in your average NL park? AL park?
   13. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 16, 2007 at 04:20 AM (#2647058)
I guess my question is, what would an ERA projection of say 4.50 be in your average NL park? AL park?

Three-year weighted, I have the Coors overall run factor as 116, so take off 8% or so.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: December 16, 2007 at 07:51 PM (#2647365)
Is Stewart (or Atkins?) slated for 2B?

By these projections, the Rockies have pretty good depth at the corners (Smith, Spilborghs, Koshansky) so they may be reasonably able to withstand some injuries to their top hitters. The main question marks are the same ones they had last season -- C, 2B, CF.

SP depth also seems reasonable (and didn't they just sign Kip Wells? why? not a bad gamble but this doesn't seem the team that needs a 5th starter).

I'll grant this team projects at least a little better than I gave them credit for in some recent thread. But I'm guessing it's still around a mid-80s team in terms of true talent and it will take some luck to make the playoffs. (Note, not sure any NL team much less NL West team projects substantially better.)
   15. jayjay Posted: December 17, 2007 at 04:04 AM (#2647598)
Ubaldo Jimenez is the Rockies' 7th or 8th best starter? I don't think so.
   16. Boots Day Posted: December 17, 2007 at 04:11 AM (#2647605)
The Rockies don't appear to know who is playing second for them. It could be Stewart or Jayson Nix, or they could bring in someone like Iguchi (has he signed elsewhere yet?).

I don't have any idea what they're going to do at second. At this point, they might just as well have hung on to Jamey Carroll, who was OK there in 2006.
   17. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 17, 2007 at 04:26 AM (#2647621)
Jimenez had a good run in the majors but his first half-season pitching in the minors was downright terrible.
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 17, 2007 at 04:16 PM (#2647857)
I guess my question is, what would an ERA projection of say 4.50 be in your average NL park? AL park?

Three-year weighted, I have the Coors overall run factor as 116, so take off 8% or so.


Many thanks Dan!
   19. AROM Posted: December 17, 2007 at 04:24 PM (#2647866)
If I were Marcus Giles I'd offer to sign here for the league minimum. After one year of Coors-inflated stats he might be able to fool somebody into giving him a 3 year deal like Kaz Matsui did.
   20. AlexIsADirtySanchez Posted: December 17, 2007 at 09:49 PM (#2648242)
Dan, any chance of getting projections for the Rule 5 guys?
   21. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: December 18, 2007 at 06:42 AM (#2648520)
or they could bring in someone like Iguchi (has he signed elsewhere yet?).

He signed with the Padres.
   22. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 18, 2007 at 07:59 AM (#2648545)
Random comments:

The Rockies were second in the majors in GB%, to Toronto.

Corpas has, to this point in his major league career, allowed twice as many GBs as FBs - but that's only based on 322 total batted balls.

Ubaldo Jimenez was not terrible at Colorado Springs. He really only had three bad starts out of 19. One thing that you have to be careful about in looking at minor league pitchers, especially starters, is the distribution of runs across games. There will be any number of times in which a pitcher in the minors will be left on the mound to absorb a pounding where in the majors he'd be taken out of the game, because the focus in the minors is less on winning and more on development and the major league teams want the pitchers to get their work. Jimenez, for example, gave up 9 ER in 2 2/3 innings in his first start, 7 ER in 3 2/3 innings in his third start, and eight ER in 3 2/3 innings on June 7. He posted a 4.16 ERA in his other 16 starts, which is a very good ERA for Colorado Springs.

-- MWE
   23. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 18, 2007 at 11:06 PM (#2649269)
Jimenez, for example, gave up 9 ER in 2 2/3 innings in his first start, 7 ER in 3 2/3 innings in his third start, and eight ER in 3 2/3 innings on June 7. He posted a 4.16 ERA in his other 16 starts, which is a very good ERA for Colorado Springs.

But you can play this game with most pitchers. He did have plenty of other bad starts - just look at some of his walk totals.
   24. Oklahawg Posted: December 31, 2007 at 03:20 AM (#2657121)
Ubaldo (and the other Latino pitchers for the Rockies, in general) struggle throwing early strikes. Corpas is the noteworthy exception. The Rockies bullpen seemed to be ahead after one pitch more than any team I watched last year.

Ubaldo and Morales frustrated the folks here in Tulsa by insisting on tickling the radar guns vs. throwing strikes. Ubaldo can be a top-flight starter, and Morales isn't far behind, but they'll need to show they can unlearn the "throw it harder" mentality.

Vizcaino is a great addition to the bullpen.

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