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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

2008 ZiPS Projections - Toronto Blue Jays

ZiPS sees Toronto’s 2008 turning out fairly similar to 2007, with a really good, deep, pitching staff and defense and a rather disappointing lineup.  I don’t post the defensive ratings for the upcoming DMB disk, but the defense projections quite well with VG ratings for McDonald, Wells, and Rios, and Aaron Hill being promoted to EX as I have his LZR (zone rating to runs as done by Dial with linear weights) as +15 runs after being +19 in 2006.  Reed Johnson keeps his EX in LF by being on pace for a +13, but he’s on the border.  I’ve projectioned optimistic and pessimistic for Wells and Burnett, Wells because he was disappointing and is always hard to project, and Burnett, well, because J.P. whined publicly about Burnett’s contract and Burnett responded by ending up with a 124 ERA+, just a few points behind 10th place Escobar (127).


Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Alexis Rios         rf 27 .293 .356 .488 150 563 94 165 34 5 22 85 47 98 6 5
AVERAGE 1B/DH—————1b——.279 .355 .489—————————————————————
AVERAGE LF——————- lf——.277 .347 .469—————————————————————
AVERAGE RF——————- rf——.277 .344 .471—————————————————————
Troy Glaus           3b 31 .247 .350 .469 134 469 75 116 23 0 27 82 73 131 1 3
Frank Thomas         dh 40 .248 .352 .456 131 447 56 111 18 0 25 85 71 88 0 2
AVERAGE 3B——————————- .274 .343 .445—————————————————————
Lyle Overbay*        1b 31 .264 .343 .431 132 469 61 124 34 1 14 62 55 87 1 1
Vernon Wells         cf 29 .268 .330 .454 152 601 85 161 34 3 24 95 51 95 5 2
Adam Lind*          lf 24 .276 .326 .457 129 438 40 121 26 1 17 67 31 100 2 1
Matt Stairs*        1b 40 .253 .336 .434 113 332 43 84 21 0 13 49 39 72 1 0
AVERAGE CF——————- cf——.272 .335 .433—————————————————————
AVERAGE 2B——————- 2b——.276 .336 .422—————————————————————
AVERAGE SS——————- ss——.274 .329 .404—————————————————————
Reed Johnson         lf 31 .272 .341 .400 99 320 47 87 19 2 6 32 20 63 3 4
Gregg Zaun#          c   37 .246 .340 .381 91 281 35 69 17 0 7 39 40 43 1 1
AVERAGE C———————c ——.260 .320 .412—————————————————————
Aaron Hill           2b 25 .271 .324 .391 156 573 74 155 35 2 10 62 42 81 2 0
Chip Cannon*        1b 26 .239 .304 .434 127 440 47 105 24 1 20 61 38 168 1 1
Mike Vento           rf 30 .259 .315 .394 91 317 35 82 19 0 8 44 23 73 0 1
Rob Cosby           3b 27 .261 .298 .422 116 429 36 112 28 1 13 58 19 91 1 1
Kevin Barker*        1b 32 .232 .312 .381 125 436 42 101 24 1 13 59 49 131 1 1
John-Ford Griffin*    lf 28 .226 .291 .416 110 389 39 88 21 1 17 61 35 128 1 1
Curtis Thigpen       c   25 .243 .316 .363 105 342 39 83 21 1 6 34 34 58 2 1
Ryan Roberts         2b 27 .232 .309 .373 111 375 41 87 18 1 11 43 39 106 2 2
Dustin Majewski*      cf 26 .221 .309 .375 121 421 47 93 27 1 12 48 52 112 2 3
Russ Adams*          2b 27 .246 .312 .357 127 423 52 104 22 2 7 48 38 63 4 1
Robinzon Diaz         c   24 .273 .298 .361 101 377 37 103 19 1 4 32 12 32 3 1
Hector Luna         ss 26 .247 .302 .367 111 360 42 89 21 2 6 37 25 86 5 4
Joe Inglett*        2b 30 .254 .311 .354 91 311 36 79 14 4 3 31 23 55 6 5
John Hattig#        3b 28 .239 .295 .362 98 326 27 78 20 1 6 37 25 107 0 1
Ryan Patterson       rf 25 .240 .275 .393 115 438 38 105 23 1 14 53 21 108 2 2
Howie Clark*        3b 34 .233 .310 .306 64 193 20 45 8 0 2 15 20 20 0 0
Ray Olmedo#          ss 27 .244 .296 .311 120 360 33 88 16 1 2 23 26 73 7 3
John McDonald         ss 33 .244 .289 .313 95 246 26 60 12 1 1 22 11 37 3 0
Sal Fasano           c   36 .213 .270 .369 60 160 13 34 7 0 6 16   5 50 0 1
Chad Mottola         rf 36 .219 .268 .357 94 342 33 75 18 1 9 37 20 89 1 1
Wayne Lydon         cf 27 .225 .284 .319 119 445 58 100 16 4 6 34 35 110 15 8
Sergio Santos         ss 24 .213 .262 .324 120 442 36 94 23 1 8 40 27 101 1 1

* - Bats Left
# = Switch-Hitter

Player Spotlight - Vernon Wells
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Optimistic (15%)  .290 .357 .513 162 641 105 186 40 5 31 125 60 91 8 1  
Mean         .268 .330 .454 152 601 85 161 34 3 24 95 51 95 5 2  
Pessimistic (15%) .239 .295 .394 108 426 52 102 22 1 14 54 32 75 2 2

Top Near-Age Comps: Jimmy Piersall, Mike Devereaux

Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
B.J. Ryan*          32   2.08   4   1 72   0   78.0   55   18   5   25 102
Casey Janssen         26   3.04   5   3 73   0   80.0   74   27   6   15   58
Jeremy Accardo         26   3.16   6   3 70   0   77.0   69   27   5   22   64
Jason Frasor         30   3.42   5   2 61   0   71.0   61   27   6   24   69
Scott Downs*          32   3.47   4   3 70   0   72.2   66   28   8   23   66
Roy Halladay         31   3.49 14   8 30 30   214.0 211   83 18   40 136
A.J. Burnett         31   3.79 12   8 27 27   178.0 164   75 20   61 158
Dustin McGowan         26   3.97 10   8 32 25   161.0 152   71 16   54 131
Brian Tallet*        30   4.01   3   2 58   0   74.0   68   33   7   33   57
Lee Gronkiewicz       29   4.07   4   3 55   1   73.0   74   33 11   15   57
Scott Sauerbeck*      36   4.11   2   1 49   0   46.0   45   21   3   20   33
LEAGUE AVFERAGE RELIEVER——- 4.20———————————————————————-
Jordan de Jong         29   4.24   4   4 47   0   85.0   86   40   9   26   62
Matt Roney           28   4.31   5   4 45   0   71.0   73   34   9   19   55
Brian Wolfe           27   4.32   5   4 46   2   77.0   81   37 10   19   42
Jesse Litsch         23   4.43 13 12 32 31   187.0 208   92 24   36   92
Brandon League         25   4.60   4   4 50   4   92.0 100   47 11   29   56
Ryan Houston         28   4.63   2   3 53   0   72.0   72   37 10   28   57
Shaun Marcum         26   4.67   8   9 38 25   162.0 169   84 29   43 121
Jesse Carlson*        27   4.68   5   6 63   0   77.0   83   40 10   21   55
LEAGUE AVERAGE STARTER———- 4.73———————————————————————-
Gustavo Chacin*        27   4.78   8 10 26 26   143.0 160   76 16   56   76
Jean Machi           26   4.82   5   5 49   4   97.0 100   52 12   42   67
Beau Kemp           27   4.85   4   5 49   0   78.0   94   42   6   30   37
Davis Romero*        25   4.86 10 11 39 18   152.0 167   82 25   41   94
Jamie Vermilyea       26   4.86   5   6 35 12   111.0 124   60 15   30   57
Joe Kennedy*          29   4.95   7   8 38 18   129.0 138   71 16   52   81
Josh Towers           31   4.96   9 12 30 26   167.0 192   92 28   29   98
Chad Blackwell         25   4.98   4   5 37   0   65.0   69   36   9   25   42
Blaine Neal           30   5.68   4   6 46   0   57.0   65   36 11   20   37
David Purcey*        26   5.70   6 10 26 26   139.0 149   88 22   78 104
Ismael Ramirez         27   5.75   5 10 25 22   130.0 155   83 26   34   69
Brandon Magee         24   5.75   6 10 29 28   155.0 192   99 25   45   51
Kyle Yates           25   5.76   7 12 32 28   172.0 207 110 33   44   94
Josh Banks           25   5.82   8 16 31 31   187.0 229 121 45   22 100
Ty Taubenheim         25   5.83   6 12 31 27   156.0 186 101 30   46   83
Ricky Romero*        23   5.83   4   7 23 23   122.0 143   79 22   50   67
Tracy Thorpe         27   6.00   3   5 57   0   66.0   74   44 13   32   47

* - Throws Left

Player Spotlight - A.J. Burnett
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Optimistic (15%)  2.91 17   6 31 31 207 171   67 17   62 200
Mean           3.79 12   8 27 27 178 164   75 20   61 158
Pessimistic (15%)  4.62   8   9 23 23 144 145   74 20   58 117

Top Near-Age Comps:  Andy Messersmith, Juan Guzman

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 02, 2007 at 06:59 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Mister High Standards Posted: October 02, 2007 at 07:51 PM (#2556545)
The BJ's gave all that money to a Mike Devereaux comp.
   2. Cowboy Popup Posted: October 02, 2007 at 07:56 PM (#2556552)
I have such a hard time convincing myself that the Jays are a pitching heavy, weak lineup team. It just doesn't fit the image I have of them. Man they suck offensively.
   3. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 02, 2007 at 07:57 PM (#2556554)
You know, Burnett, Halladay and McGowan is the makings of one hell of a staff. I just don't see where the runs are going to come from.
   4. Mark R. Garber Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:17 PM (#2556587)
Ricky Romero is almost as good as Troy Tulowitzki...
   5. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:19 PM (#2556590)
To be fair, naming a couple of the comps is just for fun. And Mike Devereaux was a really good player for a few years.
   6. steagles Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:24 PM (#2556604)
what accounts for the disparity between shaun marcum's and dustin mcgowan's projections? they put up reasonably similar overall numbers this past season, with the main differences being that marcum started the year as a reliever, and marcum tired out as the year wound down.


if the difference is only related to their respective homerun rates, that's fine, and i'll accept it, but i get a feeling that there is something more that is going to cause problems for marcum next year. i like his arm a lot, and i think he can be a very good starter until at least the next decade, but after watching him this september, i get the feeling that he's going to run into overuse problems next year, finding himself on and off the DL as the blue jays take another step forward towards the playoffs.
   7. 1k5v3L Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2556620)
Ricky Romero is almost as good as Troy Tulowitzki...


And he'd be the first left handed shortstop in the majors as well!
   8. Gaelan Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:37 PM (#2556631)
Without giving away secrets I'm interested in quick projecting 101 on how these projections are arrived at. For instance Aaron Hill is projected for a 271/324/391 line which would be the worst season of his career. Do projection systems normally project players who will be 26 to get worse from a baseline of performance that has been established over the course of the past three years. I can see how the computer might see some the power this year as a blip but why would his batting average which was .291 the past two seasons and even in his rookie year was above .271 be projected to be a career worst?
   9. Gaelan Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:43 PM (#2556644)
Ok, looking over Hill's 2007 projections I see that ZIPS was very down on him then too projecting a 268/330/371 line which was a fairly extreme outlier compared to the other projection systems displayed at fangraphs.

So, an additional couple of questions would be

1) What part of the secret sauce would explain this kind of difference in projections?
2) Why would Hill's most recent season have such a small effect on his projection for 2008?

BTW These aren't criticisms. I'm honestly curious about how the process works. It's the only way I can make any kind of meaningful judgement concerning what any of these numbers mean.
   10. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 02, 2007 at 08:48 PM (#2556657)
HR difference mainly, plus McGowan's 2007 also includes a terrific 5-start stint for Syracuse (when combine translation and MLB, his line becomes 3.88). ZiPS likes McGowan's chances at keeping his HR rates low.
   11. MSI Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:00 PM (#2556674)
Here is last year's 2007 ZIPS for the Jays. Boy, did the hitting underperform in every way.

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/oracle/discussion/2007_zips_projections_toronto_blue_jays/

Remember that bet about Towers being a 4.70 ERA? Ha, well it was sort of close.
   12. Kyle S Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:14 PM (#2556700)
Gaelan, I'd imagine the answer to your question would be something like "mediocre minor league performance" but I'll let Dan speak for himself.
   13. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2556713)
Wow, those predictions for Glaus and Thomas are similar, except for the K's.

Also, I somehow thought Glaus was...well, a lot more than 0 years older than Lyle Overbay. Overbay's career began really late.
   14. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:20 PM (#2556721)
The problem with Hill is that you go through history, youngish 2B that aren't stars collectively have rather disappointing age trends. ZiPS is also quite skeptical that the power jump is for real.
   15. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:21 PM (#2556723)
Yes, Hill's minor league record wasn't very impressive as well.
   16. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:33 PM (#2556753)
How does Ryan's surgery affect his projection, if at all? What's the error bar there?
   17. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 02, 2007 at 09:40 PM (#2556766)
Whether or not a player will play
is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting
the future.


Injury is another one of them. Injuries are too complex for us to really tackle with a computer like this. Thankfully, as surgery gets better, the injuries should become less of less an issue. We're already reaching the point at which Tommy John surgery isn't dragging down pitchers once they get back.
   18. HarryAbles Posted: October 02, 2007 at 10:32 PM (#2556862)
Do you make your own park factors, and put everyone in those specific contexts? If so, how much extra work would it be to get out a neutral-park sheet too?

I'm so ungrateful. Thanks a frillion.
   19. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 02, 2007 at 10:40 PM (#2556875)
Yes. Much!
   20. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: October 02, 2007 at 11:39 PM (#2556923)
Jesse Litsch was fairly impressive this year, but I still don't get how that guy is projected to be above average. He doesn't seem (at least to me) to have all that impressive a repertoire. Maybe the opposition is hypnotized by his freckles and red hair.
   21. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: October 02, 2007 at 11:50 PM (#2556936)
You can't hit somebody who doesn't have a soul. And ginger kids don't have souls.
   22. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 02, 2007 at 11:56 PM (#2556944)
You can't hit somebody who doesn't have a soul. And ginger kids don't have souls.

Red-headed stepchildren disagree.

Jesse Litsch was fairly impressive this year, but I still don't get how that guy is projected to be above average. He doesn't seem (at least to me) to have all that impressive a repertoire. Maybe the opposition is hypnotized by his freckles and red hair.

Jays have a good defense. I have Litsch with a 5.03 if he played for the Devil Rays.
   23. Gaelan Posted: October 03, 2007 at 02:52 PM (#2557453)
The problem with Hill is that you go through history, youngish 2B that aren't stars collectively have rather disappointing age trends. ZiPS is also quite skeptical that the power jump is for real.


That's interesting. Regarding the minor league track record, Hill now has three full seasons in the majors. When does minor league performance cease to be relevant?
   24. Frisco Cali Posted: October 03, 2007 at 08:58 PM (#2558246)
Man they suck offensively

How soon will Travis Snider be ready?
Does he have a twin?
   25. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 03, 2007 at 09:10 PM (#2558275)
When does minor league performance cease to be relevant?

He's getting there fairly soon.
   26. FBI Posted: October 04, 2007 at 04:49 PM (#2559906)
Dan
Great Work!
Any idea when all 30 will be posted?
   27. bsperounis Posted: October 11, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2572092)
ZiPS is assuming that BJ Ryan is going to be completely healthy for all of 2008? That seems like a huge leap of faith giving that he just had Tommy John surgery in early May 2007. If BJ Ryan is able to pitch half the amount of innings and half as effectively as projected I will be surprised.
   28. Dixiechick Posted: October 17, 2007 at 12:28 AM (#2580103)
I certainly hope all those who bet on Towers to get a free Jersey, came through with a 10 buck donation to either the UA or the UJA or similar charity.

The focus on Aaron Hlll is kind of sad really. He's an offensively mediocre, defensively better than average, second baseman. Not much to get excited about.

But he is all that JP Ricciardi got out of four successive first rounds of drafting, from 2002 when he chose Russ Adams over Kazmir, Hamel, McCann, Francouer etc, to 2005 when he wasted a number 6 pick on Ricky Romero over Tulowitski or Maybin. JP's greatly diminished fanbase in Toronto tries to pretend that Aaron Hill comps to Jeff Kent or Paul Molitor, and that Adam LInd, Shaun Marcum and Casey Janssen are good value for 4 years of draft.

By contrast, Aaron Hill replaced Orlando Hudson who was taken in the 43rd round by Ash and Wilken.
   29. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: October 17, 2007 at 06:51 PM (#2581481)
Ah, yes, the Towers bet. Must do that now. Is that the price? $10 to charity? I think I already donated my $10, but it won't hurt to do another one. UJA sounds like a good cause, I've never donated to them before.

JP's greatly diminished fanbase in Toronto tries to pretend that Aaron Hill comps to Jeff Kent or Paul Molitor, and that Adam LInd, Shaun Marcum and Casey Janssen are good value for 4 years of draft.

You don't have to be a JP fan to think he's done fairly well out of the draft (I'm not). It's fashionable in Toronto now to pretend it's been a disaster, but it's not the case - the Jays have a very young, deep and talented pitching staff.
   30. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: October 17, 2007 at 06:56 PM (#2581496)
OK! Apparently I did already pony up my $10 (see the thread here for all those who should now do likewise) but I'm going to donate another $10 to the UJA - in reflection of my continuing support for Josh Towers. I hope they sign you in San Diego, Bulldog - you deserve to be somewhere you're wanted.
   31. Computers are smart Posted: October 19, 2007 at 04:24 AM (#2583968)
Glad to see Lind projecting to 400+ ABs ... hoping for 500+ personally, he is much better than Reed
   32. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 19, 2007 at 09:00 PM (#2584640)
Computers are smart

But your first post wasn't. Oh well.
   33. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: October 25, 2007 at 02:55 PM (#2593033)
he is much better than Reed

Sparky had a terrible year, but he isn't a bad player. Great corner OF defense and a solid 1/2 hitter if he isn't hurt, good all-around skills (bunting, baserunning, that stuff) plus a great motivator and (anecdotally, in my opinion) a big-game player. He's much less than a star, not even an average regular, but he's not a bad player - of course, he's hurt all the damn time because of the way he plays, and his manager has to be able to keep him out of the lineup when he's not 100%.

So you need to have an alternative, which is why Lind is a great complement - he gives them a LH hitter who can take the big share of the platoon, and he's young enough that he is likelier to stay healthy. So you get all four types of platoon working together at once - a lefty/righty platoon, an offense/defense platoon, a young player/veteran platoon, and an "injured/healthy" platoon (as I call them).
   34. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2007 at 02:59 PM (#2593038)
I've never heard of him before, but "Chip Cannon" is a perfectly awesome baseball name.
   35. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 25, 2007 at 03:03 PM (#2593045)
Computers may be smart, but robots are strong. When they grab you with their claws you can't break free.
   36. aleskel Posted: October 25, 2007 at 03:07 PM (#2593050)
man, what happened to Overbay this year? He looked like the second coming of John Olerud in 2006
   37. Greg K Posted: October 26, 2007 at 08:51 PM (#2595324)
Broken hand never fully healed is the excuse

He had a really slow start before that happened though...although he was finally picking it up in the 2-3 weeks before the injury.

When he came back he just never hit

I guess the Jays don't really have any options other than "hope it was all the hand"
   38. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 16, 2007 at 09:03 PM (#2617771)
Hey Dan, great work, but can you add defensive ratings here as well? Thanks!
   39. kwarren Posted: November 20, 2007 at 06:47 PM (#2621408)
Dan - any explanation for Hill's projection.

He has 1,660 plate appearances with a career OPS of .756 by age 25, with a .792 OPS in 07.

Yet ZIPS says .715 for 08. Wow.
   40. TheSlinger Posted: December 11, 2007 at 09:06 PM (#2641645)
Dan, thanks for the hard work. Could you please give me a projection of Casey Janssen as a starter, since he seems to be in the running (and IMO the far-and-away best choice) for the 5th starter position?

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