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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, October 06, 2007

2008 ZiPS Projections - Tampa Bay Devil Rays

The bad part of doing teams in reverse alphabetical order this year is that there are quite a few bleak teams at the end of the alphabet.  I won’t even get to a playoff team until the 10th set of projections, though at least San Diego shouldn’t be depressing.

A few people have asked if I’ve made any changes to ZiPS this year.  The only significant change is that I spent a lot of 2007 working out a method to calculate the dreaded “level of play” issue.  I’ve tried to err on the conservative side, but you should see slightly harsher projections for players going to the AL from the NL, and vice-versa.  A few specific findings from head-to-head play also surprised me, with such tidbits as NL pitchers vs. AL hitters having a BABIP 20 points higher the last 3 years than the opposite matchup!

For the Devil Rays, while the pitching doesn’t actually look good, they can make a decent improvement there without actually becoming good.  Andy Sonnanstine might have been disappointing in his rookie season, but ZiPS sees him as the best bet to eat innings without being horrible in 2008 along with Wade Davis.  I did the pitcher spotlight for him, just so that I don’t have to do the same Scott Kazmir one every single year.  ZiPS still sees Carlos Pena as being a really good player, just not a near-MVP candidate - while ZiPS was pretty bullish on Carlos Pena, it was bullish in the sense of “this guy is at least an average 1B and should start on quite a lot of teams, not getting NRIs” not “this guy is going to make a run at 50 homers.  The offense as a whole finished with an OPS+ of 100, just the second time they managed that in their first decade.  That’s sustainable too, with not a single likely regular going to be 30 by next opening day.  There are problematic spots in the defense, but some of that can be avoided by the hopefully inevitable Longoria-to-3rd/Iwamura-to-2nd/Upton-to-CF-permanently shuffle.  Don’t be fooled by that “FR” rating for Upton at 2B - he had an error rate at 2B more than 3 times the league-average!

Particularly heartening projections are those of Justin Ruggiano and Wade Davis.  Wade Davis in particular had a breakthrough season, continuing to dominate on his promotion to AA after terrorizing the FSL and throwing a no-hitter.  Big guy, live fastball, and one of John Sickels’s favorites, if I recall.


Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Carlos Pena*        1b 30 .266 .400 .531 144 478 80 127 22 0 35 90 103 142 2 1
Carl Crawford*        lf 26 .316 .356 .479 150 610 97 193 33 12 14 78 34 94 48 9
Justin Ruggiano       rf 26 .288 .365 .464 135 466 72 134 27 2 17 67 52 146 16 8
Jonny Gomes         rf 27 .256 .351 .481 127 422 65 108 22 2 23 64 55 136 9 5
AVERAGE 1B/DH—————1b——.274 .355 .466—————————————————————
B.J. Upton           cf 23 .278 .363 .452 150 540 91 150 24 2 22 72 72 151 26 11
AVERAGE LF——————- lf——.273 .347 .447—————————————————————
AVERAGE RF——————- rf——.272 .344 .448—————————————————————
Evan Longoria         3b 22 .260 .350 .436 120 408 50 106 21 0 17 61 49 93 2 0
AVERAGE 3B——————- 3b——.274 .343 .445—————————————————————
Rocco Baldelli       cf 26 .274 .321 .472 79 307 45 84 19 3 12 38 18 60 6 2
Akinori Iwamura*      3b 29 .286 .358 .408 128 490 66 140 20 5 10 36 56 115 7 5
AVERAGE CF——————- cf——.267 .332 .416—————————————————————
Delmon Young         rf 22 .292 .323 .424 149 589 65 172 34 1 14 83 26 115 11 3
AVERAGE 2B——————- 2b——.271 .333 .405—————————————————————
Greg Norton#        dh 35 .250 .345 .384 76 232 31 58 10 0 7 26 31 56 1 1
Elijah Dukes#        lf 24 .231 .334 .425 72 247 36 57 9 3 11 31 36 47 4 4
AVERAGE SS——————- ss——.269 .326 .398—————————————————————
Brendan Harris       ss 27 .268 .330 .409 137 492 66 132 29 2 12 59 42 96 3 2
John Jaso*          c   24 .262 .333 .379 101 340 37 89 17 1 7 41 35 53 1 1
AVERAGE C———————c——- .255 .317 .393—————————————————————
Ben Zobrist#        ss 27 .252 .341 .362 120 420 56 106 22 3 6 35 54 70 10 5
Sergio Pedroza*      rf 24 .226 .315 .387 115 367 33 83 21 1 12 42 37 112 0 2
Dioner Navarro#      c   24 .244 .313 .365 112 373 45 91 16 1 9 44 37 85 2 1
Jason Pridie*        cf 24 .253 .303 .379 139 494 55 125 22 5 10 44 32 94 14 7
Raul Casanova         c   34 .233 .283 .395 57 172 16 40 7 0 7 20 12 39 0 0
Reid Brignac*        ss 22 .243 .299 .369 131 493 59 120 23 3 11 54 37 102 8 4
Shawn Riggans         c   27 .250 .299 .358 95 324 24 81 18 1 5 32 20 73 1 2
Elliot Johnson#      2b 24 .232 .295 .371 126 466 52 108 17 6 12 41 37 130 13 10
Josh Wilson         ss 27 .237 .292 .350 112 354 45 84 18 2 6 33 25 82 8 3
Jorge Velandia       ss 33 .248 .296 .345 104 371 39 92 20 2 4 31 24 78 5 3
Michel Hernandez       c   29 .245 .307 .301 63 196 15 48 5 0 2 16 16 23 1 1
Brent Butler         3b 30 .247 .282 .338 87 308 26 76 17 1 3 23 15 42 0 1
Joel Guzman         3b 23 .221 .261 .346 103 353 26 78 12 1 10 41 18 90 4 1
Josh Paul           c   33 .216 .274 .269 50 134 12 29 4 0 1   9 10 36 0 1

* - Bats Left
# = Switch-Hitter

Name           CThr 1b 2b 3b ss lf cf rf
Pena*            Fr            
Crawford*                  Ex Av  
Ruggiano                   Av Fr Av
Gomes                     Fr   Fr
Upton               Fr Pr Pr   Av  
Longoria               Av        
Baldelli                   Av Av Av
Iwamura*            Fr Av        
Young                     Av Pr Vg
Norton#            Av       Pr   Pr
Dukes#                    Av Pr Av
Harris               Fr Av Pr      
Jaso*          Fr                
Zobrist#              Av Fr      
Pedroza*          Pr       Fr   Fr
Navarro#        Av                
Pridie*                    Vg Vg Vg
Casanova       Fr                
Brignac*                Av      
Riggans         Av                
Johnson#            Av          
Wilson               Av Av Pr      
Velandia             Vg Av Av      
Hernandez       Av                
Butler               Fr Fr Fr Fr   Fr
Guzman                 Fr Pr Fr    
Paul           Av                

Player Spotlight - Carlos Pena
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Optimistic (15%)  .290 .413 .599 154 511 97 148 27 1 43 117 101 139 3 0  
Mean         .266 .385 .531 144 478 80 127 22 0 35 90 88 139 2 1
Pessimistic (15%) .241 .353 .466 114 378 54 91 16 0 23 57 64 118 1 1

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Mike Epstein, Jim Gentile

Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Scott Kazmir*        24   3.64 13   9 32 32   198.0 187   80 19   71 217
LEAGUE AVERAGE RELIEVER———4.17———————————————————————-
Jay Witasick         35   4.24   2   1 50   2   51.0   49   24   4   31   51
Dan Wheeler           30   4.25   4   4 72   0   72.0   74   34   9   21   68
Jamie Shields         26   4.38   9 10 29 29   193.0 209   94 28   38 156
Wade Davis           22   4.47   8   8 29 29   167.0 182   83 15   59 117
Al Reyes             38   4.50   3   3 61   0   58.0   54   29 11   20   62
LEAGUE AVERAGE STARTER———- 4.53———————————————————————-
Scott Dohmann         30   4.56   3   4 68   0   71.0   74   36 10   31   66
Gary Glover           31   4.61   3   4 72   0   80.0   89   41 11   27   57
Grant Balfour         30   4.71   2   3 55   0   63.0   66   33   6   30   62
Juan Salas           29   4.73   2   2 48   0   59.0   62   31   9   27   52
Andrew Sonnanstine     25   4.79 11 14 31 31   201.0 229 107 29   36 138
Calvin Medlock         25   4.80   4   6 53   0   75.0   85   40 10   23   54
Tim Corcoran         30   4.81   5   7 37   9   88.0   96   47 10   39   56
J.P. Howell*          25   4.86   9 12 32 32   176.0 191   95 23   60 144
Jacob McGee*          21   4.86   7   9 28 28   148.0 159   80 20   59 116
Chad Orvella         27   4.89   4   5 55   0   70.0   77   38   9   28   54
Nick DeBarr           24   4.98   3   5 54   0   85.0 100   47 10   26   42
Mitch Talbot         24   4.98   9 12 31 30   168.0 196   93 17   58   97
Jason Hammel         25   5.00   7 11 33 28   162.0 181   90 20   58 116
Brian Shackelford*      31   5.04   2   3 61   0   50.0   60   28   5   19   27
Stephen Andrade       30   5.14   2   3 41   0   63.0   70   36   7   31   43
Jeff Niemann         25   5.23   6 10 22 22   117.0 138   68 16   37   75
Jon Switzer*          28   5.24   2   4 44   5   67.0   79   39   8   28   39
Jae-Kuk Ryu           25   5.32   6 11 31 23   142.0 171   84 20   48   85
James Houser*        23   5.51   5   8 25 24   134.0 154   82 25   44   92
Shawn Camp           32   5.53   4   6 61   3   83.0 104   51 10   30   54
Edwin Jackson         24   5.56   6 12 38 28   162.0 188 100 20   78 121
Jeff Ridgway*        27   5.57   2   5 51   2   63.0   70   39 12   30   51
Jae Wong Seo         31   5.58   7 12 31 28   166.0 209 103 27   43   90
Brian Stokes         28   5.71   4   9 37 17   112.0 139   71 17   43   65
Doug Waechter         27   5.86   5 11 25 22   129.0 165   84 20   39   65
Chuck Tiffany*        23   6.59   5 12 20 19   101.0 125   74 25   44   81

* - Throws Left

Player Spotlight - Andrew Sonnanstine
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Optimistic (15%)  3.85 15 12 34 34 227 235   97 25   30 174  
Mean           4.79 11 14 31 31 201 229 107 29   36 138  
Pessimistic (15%)  5.87   7 14 26 26 161 202 105 30   37 101
Top Near-Age Comps:  John Smiley, Moose Haas

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.

Dan Szymborski Posted: October 06, 2007 at 08:08 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Zoppity Zoop Posted: October 06, 2007 at 09:05 PM (#2564254)
[25 names]
Joel Guzman 3b 23 .221 .261 .346 103 353 26 78 12 1 10 41 18 90 4 1

You gotta feel for a guy that peaked at 19. Is it just me or has Guzman put on like 75 pounds in the last 3 years? Do the Dodgers and Devil Rays serve tubs of lard in their minor league clubhouse spreads?
   2. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: October 06, 2007 at 09:11 PM (#2564261)
Seems like a perfect team to deal away a hitter or 2 or 3 for a couple decent pitchers. Most teams don't like to deal pitching away but maybe the DRays could pry some away. Add 1 or 2 decent starters and a dominate bullpen guy or 2 and this team would be .500 or close I think.
   3. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 06, 2007 at 09:12 PM (#2564263)
Shields should beat that projection easily. I doubt the accuracy of Ruggiano's, I just don't think he can hit well enough to be a starting outfielder like that suggests.
   4. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: October 07, 2007 at 02:44 PM (#2565213)
If you ran the same projection for Kazmir on a good team, what would his W/L record be? This is his arb year, and I know the Rays are interested in signing him to a contract to get him into his free agency years. If it doesn't get done, he's decided to forego the money for freedom.
   5. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 07, 2007 at 02:58 PM (#2565228)
Kazmir, Red Sock - 15-7, 3.38
Kazmir, Yankee - 16-6, 3.44
Kazmire, Indian - 15-7, 3.46
Kazmir, Angel - 15-7, 3.44
Kazmir, Cub - 15-7, 3.10
Kazmir, Phillie - 15-7, 3.36
Kazmir, Diamondback - 14-8, 3.53
Kazmir, Rockie - 14-8, 3.53
   6. More Indecisive than Lonnie Smith on 2nd... Posted: October 07, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2565263)
Thanks for running that, Dan, and great question, p8p. .30 on ERA just from playing on a better defensive team in the same division (Red Sox)--wow. Though that might have as much to do with NOT playing the Sox 1-3 times/year... I wonder if he might go deeper in games, being able to attack more rather than feeling he has to strike guys out?
   7. 1k5v3L Posted: October 07, 2007 at 09:38 PM (#2565783)
I wonder if he might go deeper in games, being able to attack more rather than feeling he has to strike guys out?


I believe someone at THT looked at that (DSG?), and there really didn't seem to be any reason to think Kazmir would become more economical if he stopped striking guys out. Heck, with the truly atrocious Rays defense, he's better off striking people out. What's hurting him are the walks. He needs to walk fewer people, not cut down on strikeouts.
   8. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: October 07, 2007 at 09:54 PM (#2565836)
I doubt the accuracy of Ruggiano's, I just don't think he can hit well enough to be a starting outfielder like that suggests.

What's the story with Ruggiano? Is he limited to just corner OF spots? With Young, Crawford and Upton occupying the outfield -- as GMoney touched on -- they sure seem to have a lot of outfielders with very little room. Knowing nothing about Ruggiano other than the line posted above, he's a guy that a lot of teams should be willing to give up a decent player for (be it a B prospect or a solid major league reliever).

Gosh damn do I wish the White Sox had this 'problem' of having too many good position players fighting for not enough spots.
   9. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 07, 2007 at 10:30 PM (#2565902)
ZIPS really ignores the plexiglass priciple on Pena.
   10. DCW3 Posted: October 07, 2007 at 10:42 PM (#2565935)
I don't know--that projection is closer to his overall career OPS than it is to his 2007 numbers.
   11. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: October 07, 2007 at 11:11 PM (#2566004)
Thanks, Dan. I've thought playing for the Rays has been costing him 2-3 wins a year. And I wasn't considering the defense or hitting, but the bullpen. I can't remember what I did with it, but I looked up how many games in his career he got a ND when leaving the game with a lead, and I think it was seven.

Seven seems like a lot for a 24 year old.
   12. Bull Pain Posted: October 07, 2007 at 11:19 PM (#2566025)
Ruggiano isn't really CF material, although I think he could handle the position if absolutely necessary. He misplayed a few balls in RF though. Possibly a vision issue. He had a great season with the bat in Durham, but he swings and misses an awful lot and the short LF wall in Durham agreed with him. I doubt he's a big league starter, but he could be a decent backup guy and maybe he turns into a Matt Diaz.
   13. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 07, 2007 at 11:19 PM (#2566026)
ZIPS really ignores the plexiglass priciple on Pena.

Ever bounce something off plexiglass? It doesn't go all the way back to where it started!

Anyway, ZiPS already thought Pena was a good player, 256/355/474 going into 2007.
   14. FBI Posted: October 09, 2007 at 07:04 PM (#2570078)
I expect B.J. Upton, Delmon Young to be better than these projections.
They are young high draft picks who are clearly better than their brothers.
I can see each having 95 RBIs.
   15. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 11, 2007 at 03:04 AM (#2571444)
Wow, Carlos Pena comes alive. Again.
   16. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: October 11, 2007 at 04:34 AM (#2571485)
Rocco Baldelli, 79 games. I'll take the under.

(Yes, I read the disclaimer.)
   17. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: October 11, 2007 at 04:45 AM (#2571489)
I know Velandia had a great September, but ZIPS seems to be giving him a lot of love for the 320/454/520 he hit this year in 58 PA's. He's 32 and has hit 188/275/271 in 254 career PA'sand the last time he played was 2003.
   18. HowardMegdal Posted: October 11, 2007 at 04:58 AM (#2571493)
Kazmir, Red Sock - 15-7, 3.38
Kazmir, Yankee - 16-6, 3.44
Kazmire, Indian - 15-7, 3.46
Kazmir, Angel - 15-7, 3.44
Kazmir, Cub - 15-7, 3.10
Kazmir, Phillie - 15-7, 3.36
Kazmir, Diamondback - 14-8, 3.53
Kazmir, Rockie - 14-8, 3.53


Thank you for the team you did not include here.
   19. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 11, 2007 at 05:33 AM (#2571504)
Thank you for the team you did not include here.

Heh.

Actually, I didn't think about the cruelty of posting a Mets projection! I just decided to pick the playoff teams as a proxy to avoid a possible flame war in which I'm forced to name exactly what I consider a good team.
   20. bibigon Posted: October 11, 2007 at 07:00 AM (#2571523)

Actually, I didn't think about the cruelty of posting a Mets projection! I just decided to pick the playoff teams as a proxy to avoid a possible flame war in which I'm forced to name exactly what I consider a good team.


Are you saying the Mets aren't a playoff team?
   21. kwarren Posted: October 15, 2007 at 10:32 PM (#2577551)
Well not without Pedro and Kazmir.

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