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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2009 ZiPS Projections - San Francisco Giants

I can’t believe I’m going to say it, but Brian Sabean has actually done a pretty good job in the last year.  Although I

still think the Rowand signing is a bad idea and the offense is still terrible, the team has a lot of interesting arms and a

few offensive prospects that are pretty promising.

As I see it, Sabean’s main challenges are:

- Sorting out the positional logjams.  Sandoval’s got a strong arm and is a much better athlete than he looks like - he can

do a little more than fake 3B, though he’s raw and unlikely to ever be strong there.  He can handle the tools of ignorance

too, but Posey’s coming up behind him.  1B is likely where Villalona will end up, too.  I’d probably give Sandoval first

shot at 3B until he proves he can’t handle it.  The Giants also need to see what they can do with the Lewis/Rowand/Winn

outfield - all 3 could be playing center for other teams and it’s one of the few organizational surpluses at the MLB level. 

I’d certainly try to trade Winn at least.

- Thinning out the Ortmeier Cloud.  The Giants have about a million positional players in the 4th OF/5th IF variety and they

need to spend time sorting out who they want as a part of the team going forward.  They need to know about players like

Schierholtz, Bowker, Frandsen, and Ishikawa, because if there’s no serious attempt to figure out just what they can do,

they’re wasting space on the 40-man roster.  All of them are old enough that just hanging around on the fringes of the

majors will enhance their trade value.

- Resisting the temptation to short-circuit rebuilding.  The rotation looks solid, even if ZiPS yearly too-optimistic look

at Barry Zito fails to pan out, and a few lucky seasons from the offense and the Giants are competing in a very bad

division.  Getting, say, Brian Roberts for Sandoval/Tanner/Romo is a bad idea if it’s just to charge for 83 wins and get

into the playoffs.

————————————————————————————————————————————————-
CATCHERS
————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

VERY GOOD
Pablo Sandoval#      c   22 .284 .313 .455 129 517 72 147 33 2 17 71 21 55 2 2   98 Vg

AVERAGE
Bengie Molina         c   34 .283 .312 .423 123 452 38 128 22 1 13 58 16 41 0 0   91 Fr

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

FAIR
Stephen Holm         c   29 .238 .312 .365 57 181 18 43 8 0 5 21 17 35 1 0   77 Av
Eliezer Alfonzo       c   30 .255 .290 .396 76 255 23 65 13 1 7 30   9 61 1 1   78 Av

————————————————————————————————————————————————-
FIRST BASEMEN
————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

AVERAGE
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Josh Phelps         1b 31 .273 .339 .457 115 403 47 110 22 2 16 58 35 93 1 1 106 Fr
Nate Schierholtz*      rf 25 .296 .329 .461 126 469 62 139 28 5 13 63 18 62 10 4 104 Av

FAIR
Pablo Sandoval#      c   22 .284 .313 .455 129 517 72 147 33 2 17 71 21 55 2 2   98 Av
Brett Harper*        1b 27 .272 .306 .438 104 338 36 92 20 0 12 47 15 64 1 0   92 Fr

POOR
Scott McClain         1b 37 .254 .318 .411 129 460 55 117 22 1 16 60 43 84 2 2   89 Av
Brian Horwitz         lf 26 .277 .336 .370 120 386 41 107 16 1 6 39 32 47 2 1   85 Av
Justin Leone         lf 32 .242 .323 .376 103 364 45 88 17 1 10 42 42 81 12 2   83 Av
John Bowker*        1b 25 .258 .306 .421 139 484 54 125 22 3 17 64 29 95 3 4   88 Av
Travis Ishikawa*      1b 25 .242 .300 .431 124 450 53 109 26 1 19 63 34 95 5 3   89 Av
Rich Aurilia         1b 37 .268 .318 .374 99 302 28 81 15 1 5 32 21 42 0 1   81 Av
Dan Ortmeier#        lf 28 .238 .286 .368 101 345 37 82 16 1 9 39 21 72 10 4   70 Av
Angel Villalona       1b 18 .225 .261 .378 123 476 46 107 22 0 17 58 13 97 1 2   65 Fr

————————————————————————————————————————————————
SECOND BASEMEN
————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

FAIR
Justin Leone         lf 32 .242 .323 .376 103 364 45 88 17 1 10 42 42 81 12 2   83 Fr
Kevin Frandsen       2b 27 .269 .325 .370 112 338 42 91 20 1 4 34 21 33 6 5   82 Av

POOR
Eugenio Velez#        lf 27 .266 .307 .386 133 448 57 119 23 8 5 45 24 73 39 16   83 Pr
Ivan Ochoa#          ss 26 .256 .314 .333 112 363 42 93 15 2 3 32 25 70 15 7   70 Av
Emmanuel Burriss#      ss 24 .254 .307 .294 123 425 58 108 12 1 1 31 29 46 39 13   59 Vg
Brian Bocock         ss 24 .195 .256 .247 100 369 34 72 13 0 2 25 30 84 24 13   33 Vg

————————————————————————————————————————————————
THIRD BASEMEN
————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

AVERAGE
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Pablo Sandoval#      c   22 .284 .313 .455 129 517 72 147 33 2 17 71 21 55 2 2   98 Fr

FAIR
Scott McClain         1b 37 .254 .318 .411 129 460 55 117 22 1 16 60 43 84 2 2   89 Fr

POOR
Justin Leone         lf 32 .242 .323 .376 103 364 45 88 17 1 10 42 42 81 12 2   83 Av
Rich Aurilia         1b 37 .268 .318 .374 99 302 28 81 15 1 5 32 21 42 0 1   81 Fr
Kevin Frandsen       2b 27 .269 .325 .370 112 338 42 91 20 1 4 34 21 33 6 5   82 Av
Ryan Rohlinger       3b 25 .229 .284 .360 139 520 62 119 24 1 14 58 35 74 5 4   68 Vg
Angel Villalona       1b 18 .225 .261 .378 123 476 46 107 22 0 17 58 13 97 1 2   65 Pr

————————————————————————————————————————————————
SHORTSTOPS
————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

AVERAGE
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Justin Leone         lf 32 .242 .323 .376 103 364 45 88 17 1 10 42 42 81 12 2   83 Pr

FAIR
Kevin Frandsen       2b 27 .269 .325 .370 112 338 42 91 20 1 4 34 21 33 6 5   82 Fr
Ivan Ochoa#          ss 26 .256 .314 .333 112 363 42 93 15 2 3 32 25 70 15 7   70 Av

POOR
Emmanuel Burriss#      ss 24 .254 .307 .294 123 425 58 108 12 1 1 31 29 46 39 13   59 Vg
Omar Vizquel#        ss 42 .227 .285 .277 87 282 27 64 9 1 1 20 24 28 6 2   48 Ex
Brian Bocock         ss 24 .195 .256 .247 100 369 34 72 13 0 2 25 30 84 24 13   33 Vg

——————————————————————————————————————————————————
CORNER OUTFIELDERS
——————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

AVERAGE
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Nate Schierholtz*      rf 25 .296 .329 .461 126 469 62 139 28 5 13 63 18 62 10 4 104 Av Av
Randy Winn#          rf 35 .287 .345 .413 136 523 69 150 32 2 10 60 45 73 14 3   98 Av Av
Fred Lewis*          lf 28 .267 .342 .416 131 450 75 120 21 8 10 54 50 108 17 6   98 Vg Av

POOR
Brett Harper*        1b 27 .272 .306 .438 104 338 36 92 20 0 12 47 15 64 1 0   92 Pr  
Brian Horwitz         lf 26 .277 .336 .370 120 386 41 107 16 1 6 39 32 47 2 1   85 Av Av
Justin Leone         lf 32 .242 .323 .376 103 364 45 88 17 1 10 42 42 81 12 2   83 Vg Vg
John Bowker*        1b 25 .258 .306 .421 139 484 54 125 22 3 17 64 29 95 3 4   88 Av Av
Kevin Frandsen       2b 27 .269 .325 .370 112 338 42 91 20 1 4 34 21 33 6 5   82 Av Av
Dave Roberts*        lf 37 .247 .330 .333 67 198 29 49 8 3 1 17 25 35 11 4   75 Av  
Eugenio Velez#        lf 27 .266 .307 .386 133 448 57 119 23 8 5 45 24 73 39 16   83 Vg  
Dan Ortmeier#        lf 28 .238 .286 .368 101 345 37 82 16 1 9 39 21 72 10 4   70 Av Fr
Ben Copeland*        rf 25 .239 .300 .338 118 461 58 110 21 2 7 43 39 67 22 7   67 Vg Vg
Clay Timpner*        cf 26 .255 .296 .335 121 451 51 115 15 3 5 40 25 65 18 6   65 Av Av

————————————————————————————————————————————————
CENTERFIELDERS
————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

VERY GOOD
Randy Winn#          rf 35 .287 .345 .413 136 523 69 150 32 2 10 60 45 73 14 3   98 Av
Aaron Rowand         cf 31 .278 .346 .420 143 528 68 147 34 1 13 65 39 105 5 4 100 Av

AVERAGE
Fred Lewis*          lf 28 .267 .342 .416 131 450 75 120 21 8 10 54 50 108 17 6   98 Fr
———————————————————————————————————————————————————

FAIR
Justin Leone         lf 32 .242 .323 .376 103 364 45 88 17 1 10 42 42 81 12 2   83 Pr
John Bowker*        1b 25 .258 .306 .421 139 484 54 125 22 3 17 64 29 95 3 4   88 Pr

POOR
Dave Roberts*        lf 37 .247 .330 .333 67 198 29 49 8 3 1 17 25 35 11 4   75 Fr
Eugenio Velez#        lf 27 .266 .307 .386 133 448 57 119 23 8 5 45 24 73 39 16   83 Av
Dan Ortmeier#        lf 28 .238 .286 .368 101 345 37 82 16 1 9 39 21 72 10 4   70 Fr
Ben Copeland*        rf 25 .239 .300 .338 118 461 58 110 21 2 7 43 39 67 22 7   67 Fr
Clay Timpner*        cf 26 .255 .296 .335 121 451 51 115 15 3 5 40 25 65 18 6   65 Av

—————————————————————————————————————————-
STARTERS
—————————————————————————————————————————-
Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K

TOP THIRD
Tim Lincecum         25   3.00 14   6 32 31   204.0 169   68 12   82 222
Matt Cain           24   3.62 13 10 34 34   219.0 201   88 16   86 183

MIDDLE THIRD
Jonathan Sanchez*      26   4.28   6   6 28 18   103.0   97   49   9   53   98
Tim Alderson         20   4.34   8 10 27 27   145.0 149   70 17   46 104
Barry Zito*          31   4.37 10 12 29 29   173.0 167   84 16   85 129
—————————————————————————————————————————-
Clayton Tanner*        21   4.64   8 12 27 25   130.0 147   67 10   46   51
Noah Lowry*          28   4.73   6   9 20 20   116.0 127   61 12   53   60

BOTTOM THIRD
Matt Palmer           30   5.15   6 11 27 24   138.0 157   79 16   57   78
Pat Misch*          27   5.24   4   8 34 17   127.0 147   74 20   37   77
Ben Snyder*          23   5.51   7 13 29 26   147.0 173   90 23   52   74
Steve Hammond*        27   5.63   6 12 25 24   136.0 161   85 20   46   67
Nick Pereira         26   5.64   5 10 22 22   118.0 137   74 16   60   66
Henry Sosa           23   5.86   3   8 20 18   83.0   96   54 13   39   46
Victor Santos         32   6.34   2   7 20 17   88.0 111   62 17   40   53

—————————————————————————————————————————-
RELIEVERS
—————————————————————————————————————————-
Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K

MIDDLE THIRD
Jeremy Affeldt*        30   3.44   2   2 71   0   68.0   63   26   5   25   61
Osiris Matos         24   3.76   3   2 50   0   67.0   66   28   5   24   45
Brian Wilson         27   3.77   4   3 61   0   62.0   57   26   3   34   54
Keiichi Yabu         40   3.86   3   3 48   0   63.0   60   27   4   27   48
Sergio Romo           26   4.02   4   4 51   0   65.0   63   29   9   19   51
—————————————————————————————————————————-
Tyler Walker         33   4.50   4   4 48   0   44.0   44   22   5   17   36

BOTTOM THIRD
Vinnie Chulk         30   4.57   3   4 58   1   63.0   64   32   8   25   50
Alexander Hinshaw*      26   4.70   1   2 47   0   44.0   40   23   6   33   44
Ryan Sadowski         26   4.71   5   6 40   8   86.0   93   45   8   37   51
Julio Mateo           31   4.72   3   5 37   3   61.0   70   32   7   13   31
Jack Taschner*        31   4.75   3   4 65   0   55.0   57   29   6   25   49
Eugene Espineli*      26   4.81   4   7 36 11   101.0 118   54 10   29   47
Kevin Correia         28   5.07   3   5 35 12   94.0 105   53 12   40   60
Bill Sadler           27   4.94   1   2 42   0   51.0   47   28   7   39   48
Kelvin Pichardo       23   5.29   3   5 48   0   63.0   66   37   8   38   42
Erick Threets*        27   5.29   2   5 47   3   68.0   71   40   7   46   38
Merkin Valdez         27   5.33   2   3 29   6   54.0   58   32   7   30   37
Kevin Gryboski         35   6.26   2   5 40   0   46.0   56   32   7   23   21

* - Throws Left

——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Pablo Sandoval
            AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+
Projection     .284 .312 .455 129 517 72 147 33 2 17 71 21 55 2 2   98

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Ivan Rodriguez (obviously not D), Benito Santiago

Offense %
STAR   26
AVG   73
REP LV 99

OPS+  %    OBP   %    3B     %    Hits   %
>160   0     >.400   0     >10   0     >200   0
>140   0     >.375   0     >5     8     >150   35
>120   8     >.350   9
>100   42     >.325   39     2B     %
>80   83     >.300   72     >45   0
>60   99               >30   65

BA     %    SLG   %    HR     %    SB     %
>.350   0     >.550   1     >50   0     >70   0
>.325   3     >.500   11     >40   0     >50   0
>.300   23     >.450   44     >30   0     >30   0
>.275   60     >.400   83     >20   20     >10   0
>.250   87     >.350   98     >10   90

——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Aaron Rowand
            AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+
Projection     .278 .346 .420 143 528 68 147 34 1 13 65 39 105 17 5 100

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Don Demeter, Curt Flood

Offense %
STAR   26
AVG   69
REP LV 99

OPS+  %    OBP   %    3B     %    Hits   %
>160   0     >.400   1     >10   0     >200   0
>140   2     >.375   14     >5     7     >150   21
>120   15     >.350   47
>100   53     >.325   83     2B     %
>80   93     >.300   98     >45   2
>60   100               >30   70

BA     %    SLG   %    HR     %    SB     %
>.350   0     >.550   2     >50   0     >70   0
>.325   1     >.500   10     >40   0     >50   0
>.300   14     >.450   28     >30   0     >30   0
>.275   47     >.400   70     >20   16     >10   16
>.250   85     >.350   98     >10   81

——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Tim Lincecum
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Projection       3.00 14   6 32 31 204 169   68 12   82 222   145

Top Near-Age Comps: Steve Busby, Bert Blyleven

ERA   %
Top 1/3 87
Mid 1/3 9
Bot 1/3 5

ERA+  %    BB     %
>150   46

<34 0
>

140   57

<45 2
>

130   65

<57 9
>

120   75

<68 30
>

110   84

<79 48
>

100   91

<91 68
>

90   95
>80   98     HR     %
>70   99     <11 38
<23 91
K % <34 98
>204   68     <45 100
>181   89
>159   95
>136   99

——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Matt Cain
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Projection    
  3.62 13 10 34 34 219 201   88 16   86 183   120

ERA   %
Top 1/3 72
Mid 1/3 21
Bot 1/3 6

ERA+  %    BB     %
>150   23     <37 1
>140   32     <49 4
>130   42     <61 12
>120   55     <73 36
>110   68     <85 56
>100   82     <97 75
>90   92
>80   98     HR     %
>70   100   <12 28
<24 81
K % <37 97
>219   13     <49 100
>195   28
>170   59
>146   88

Top Near-Age Comps: Greg Maddux, Wes Ferrell

——————————————————————-

ODDIBE (Odds of Important Baseball Events)

OPS+ >140
Phelps     3
Schierholtz 2
Bowker     1

OBP >.400
Lewis     2
Roberts     2
Rowand     1

SLG >.550
Bowker     4
Harper     4
Phelps     3

BA >.325
Schierholtz 11
Sandoval   3
Molina     3

2B >45
Rowand     2

3B >10
Lewis     19
Velez     15

HR >30
Bowker     6

SB >50
Burriss   20
Velez     13
Timpner     2

SUB-REPLACEMENT
Bocock     95
Copeland   80
Ortmeier   68

ERA+ >140
Lincecum   57
Affeldt   33
Cain     32

K/9 >9
Lincecum   68
Hinshaw   43
Sadler     32

BB/9 <1.5
Mateo 15
Espineli 9
Romo 8

HR/9 <0.5
Wilson 50
Lincecum 38
Cain 28

SUB-REPLACEMENT
Gryboski 97
Valdez 88
Santos 86

All figures in % based on projection playing time.

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 2009.
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 4.44 ERA and the NL having a 4.38 ERA.

Players that are expected to be out due to injury are still projected. More information
is always better than less information and a computer isn't what should be projecting
the injury status of, for example, a pitcher with Tommy John surgery.

Positional offense is ranked by RC/27 and divided into quintiles based on what the
most frequent starting players at each position did in 2006-2008. Excellent is the top
quintile, Very Good the 2nd quintile and so on.

ZiPS Frequently Asked Questions


ZiPS 2009 Archive


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Dan Szymborski Posted: November 22, 2008 at 05:53 PM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. EnderCN Posted: November 22, 2008 at 06:53 PM (#3014279)
Sabean has to occassionally make a few moves that are good just on accident.

This team is still pretty darn bad and when Lincecum's arm blows out because of all the abuse they put on it for no good reason it will only get worse. There are only a few franchises that are in worse shape than the Giants and I don't think any with their level of payroll are in that bad of shape.
   2. iamawesomer Posted: November 22, 2008 at 07:04 PM (#3014283)
Wow at Alderson's projection, only 20 years old and already above average ERA.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 22, 2008 at 07:37 PM (#3014296)
Hennessey is an Oriole of Baltimore now.
   4. Floyd Thursby Posted: November 22, 2008 at 07:48 PM (#3014304)
Josh Phelps gives the Giants an option of .273/.339/.457 (OPS+ 106) at first, too.
   5. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: November 22, 2008 at 07:57 PM (#3014308)
There are only a few franchises that are in worse shape than the Giants and I don't think any with their level of payroll are in that bad of shape.


Seattle! The Giants have some hope. Good arms, a rapidly improving farm system and an ownership that, for better or worse, is not afraid to spend money. I think they compete by 2010 and could be a surprise in 2009.
   6. thranduil Posted: November 22, 2008 at 08:24 PM (#3014325)
I'm surprised at the projection for Zito.
   7. oldjacket Posted: November 22, 2008 at 08:26 PM (#3014326)
There are only a few franchises that are in worse shape than the Giants and I don't think any with their level of payroll are in that bad of shape.


Houston's a better team but with a much, much worse farm system.
   8. Silencio Posted: November 22, 2008 at 10:55 PM (#3014375)
Theres an Alderson projection, but no Bumgarner?
   9. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 22, 2008 at 11:07 PM (#3014379)
Theres an Alderson projection, but no Bumgarner?

I'm more confident of a projection based off of one California League season than one Sally League season. Alderson was really close to the line. Villalona was Sally too, of course, but I'd rather project a low-level hitter than a pitcher of the same level. If Bumgarner repeats his season, he's going to have an awesome projection.

Thanks have to go to Lincecum for coming through - I was a little worried about projecting a 24-year-old, no matter how awesome, to go 10-5, 3.28 in his second season.
   10. frenchredsox Posted: November 23, 2008 at 04:36 AM (#3014425)
Hennessey is an Oriole of Baltimore now.
Yes & some of these guys are FAs

Anyways some nice projections of the young guys (Alderson/Sandoval) surprised no projection though of Kevin CORREIA/Tyler WALKER nor FA pick up Justin MILLER...actually with these numbers if they do pick up FURCAL & CC they would certainly be back in the division race & still developing some useful pieces too
   11. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 23, 2008 at 04:45 AM (#3014429)
FAs go to the previous team. I had missed the Hennessey signing in the last few days.

Projected Walker/Correia but I didn't add them to the roster (I use DMB for the ease of getting preformatted text reports).

Sorry, a little more error-prone than usual.
   12. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: November 23, 2008 at 05:08 AM (#3014435)
Sorry, a little more error-prone than usual.

Well, we demand a lot out of our free services.
   13. Charles Kinbote Posted: November 23, 2008 at 11:54 AM (#3014495)
I really had no idea that Rich Aurilia still exists. It's reassuring, in its vague way.
   14. zenbitz Posted: November 23, 2008 at 03:51 PM (#3014511)
Travis Denker's a Padre now, Giants cut him which was the last "WTF Sabean" decision. Not that he was going to save the franchise, but why keep Velez over him?
   15. zenbitz Posted: November 23, 2008 at 03:56 PM (#3014513)
The Ortmier cloud? Really?

Why drop a pseudoludlum like "The Shierholtz Conundrum"
   16. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 23, 2008 at 04:42 PM (#3014521)
The Ortmier cloud? Really?

Why drop a pseudoludlum like "The Shierholtz Conundrum"


What, you don't like comets?
   17. frannyzoo Posted: November 23, 2008 at 05:33 PM (#3014528)
I don't pay much attention to the Giants (imagine that!), but the one thing that strikes me about this projection is that this isn't a good fielding team. Playing in a park that keeps the ball in play (and with a poor hitting team), it would seem defense would be at even more of a premium. Or maybe that's just my traumatized perception after a year of watching the '08 Mariners.
   18. Quinton McCracken's BFF Posted: November 23, 2008 at 08:25 PM (#3014577)
No Barry projections?
   19. Reality Rog Posted: November 24, 2008 at 04:00 AM (#3014668)
I realize with a computer projection it is hard to forecast a one-year pitcher will go even as low as 3.28 after a 4.00 season, but personally I expected a breakout season from Tim Lincecum, somewhere in the 2.75-3.00 area. If one looks at his hits ratio in 2007, it was really good. Good home run rate and excellent strikeout rate.

Only his walks were high -- and even there,they were well down from his high walk rate in his freshman and sophomore years of college. Tim said it all came together in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2005, and indeed his control has been improving ever since.

If he continues to improve his control, particularly on his first pitches, he can continue to improve from here.

I expected Tim to come in around 3.25 in his rookie year. Had his catchers had better knowledge of his stuff and had he had more pitching luck, he might have come pretty darn close.

An example of Tim's not being handled optimally as a rookie came in his very first major league venture into the ninth inning, which came on August 21, 2007. For the first seven innings, Tim's control of his fastball was as good as I have ever seen it. By putting the heater right where he wanted much of the time, he was getting lots of easy ground balls.

In the eighth, he began to get his fastball up, walking his first batter of the night, getting into a bit of trouble and experiencing his first inning with much pitch count. With a couple of men on and Daryle Ward pinch hitting, Bengie Molina finally called back-to-back change ups, which resulted in strikes two and three, getting Tim out of the inning.

Still, it was obvious Tim wasn't the same pitcher in the eighth, that he was starting to get his fastball up.

So what did Bengie call for in the ninth? Five straight fastballs, four of them up, three of them becoming hits to increase the Cubs' total to five on the night. Tim was out of the game, and the Giants wound up yielding five runs in the inning -- and losing what had through eight innings been their best-pitched game of the season.

Molina did a better job of calling pitches for Lincecum in 2008, contributing to his success rather than hindering it. As good as Tim was in 2008, with continued improvement in his control, he can still improve. He can strike a batter out with any of four pitches. All he has to do is get those pitches close to where he wants them.
   20. Dan Szymborski Posted: November 24, 2008 at 04:21 AM (#3014672)
Correia and Walker are there in all their mediocriglory.

I did project Bonds and considered putting him in here (251/444/492). But to be honest, the Giants don't have any really good hitters (for 2009 at least, I expect some of those guys to change that next decade!) and Bonds there would stick out like a sore thumb, even after a year off. Hell, a 65-year-old Bonds would probably be one of the best offensive players on the team.

However the Bonds Era in San Francisco ended, it has ended and Bonds isn't coming back to San Francisco, so I wanted to be more forward-looking with a projection.
   21. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: November 24, 2008 at 07:00 AM (#3014693)
I think Sanchez betters that ERA next season.
   22. zenbitz Posted: November 24, 2008 at 06:25 PM (#3014883)
I don't pay much attention to the Giants (imagine that!), but the one thing that strikes me about this projection is that this isn't a good fielding team.


The OF defense is decent, although Rowand was bad last year. The IF defense, other than 1B (since they have a variety of athletic "position players" who can't hit play there) and Vizquel was generally awful. But they made up for it with... oh, - well even Durham's gone now.
   23. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 25, 2008 at 10:16 AM (#3015343)
I think Sanchez betters that ERA next season.


Not if the defense doesn't get better.

-- MWE
   24. Jose Canusee Posted: November 26, 2008 at 05:57 PM (#3016382)
19: An example of Tim's not being handled optimally as a rookie came in his very first major league venture into the ninth inning, which came on August 21, 2007. For the first seven innings, Tim's control of his fastball was as good as I have ever seen it. By putting the heater right where he wanted much of the time, he was getting lots of easy ground balls.

Hey Rog, I was at that game too, the only time I have seen Lincecum pitch live. I was traveling on business and had bought the ticket online the week before calculating who would pitch. Then the week before there was a makeup game and I thought "oh, s***, now I'll have paid to watch a Zito game (but to be honest Zito did well the next day)".

I do remember as well that the stadium gun had him constantly at 96 all game, but there was that uncertainty after 8 innings at 1-0 whether they would go to the pen, and that there was a big cheer when he came out of the dugout in the top of the 9th. It might have been as much his excitement as loss of command that he was throwing high in the top of the 9th and didn't get anyone out.

The side story of that game was that Jason Marquis had given up a manufactured run in the 1st and shut the Giants down, eventually with some bullpen help, and had Lincecum gotten the shutout I probably would have still had a wish that I could have seen the Cubs throw a no-hitter and lost, or that the two Cub hits through 8 had not happened and gotten to see the 2nd double-no-hitter in MLB history.

Giant hits that day: Winn 2-out infield single (3rd inning), Pedro Feliz 2-out double (4th), Vizquel 1-out groundball triple down the RF line. Don't remember the Cubs making any great plays, so there was maybe 1-5% chance that if that game happened again in another DMB dimension that Marquis & Co get the no-no.

Cub hits thru 8: De Rosa 2-out infield single (2nd); Jason Kendall no-out single (6th). Thanks, Retrosheet.

Again, maybe .01% in the twilight zone that Lincecum starts the top of the 9th of a game with no hits at all. Probably walks the first 2 batters on 99 mph high heaters.
   25. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 05, 2008 at 04:26 PM (#3021464)
Is Noah Lowry expected to pitch in 2008? If so, the Giants have a pretty solid rotation, assuming any kind of bounceback from Zito.
   26. obsessivegiantscompulsive Posted: December 11, 2008 at 05:22 PM (#3026171)
The problem with computer generated projections - and I love them - is that they don't always take things into context.

For example, Lincecum had some growing pains at the start of his career that he had to get out of his way. After that he compiled over 15 starts a 2.96 ERA in 94.1 IP with 96 K's, 1.24 WHIP. That's not far from the 2.62 ERA he ended up with, and was far closer than any prediction I saw for him for 2008. And even then, you could see his performance lag at the end too, probably due to tiredness. Taking out those games would yield a 2.64 ERA.

Lowry is not being counted on to pitch in 2008. The Giants are reportedly checking with some starting pitchers, like Randy Johnson and Brad Penny, and Sabean publicly said that the Giants view getting anything from Lowry as extra. Not sure what the team would do if Lowry happens to be ready to pitch come starting day, I suppose they would put him in long relief and maybe send down Yabu, who is their usual guy doing that.

Dan, I'm curious, do you do any post-season mortem to check your prediction system's accuracy? In the past, I've found your system's predictions to be - and this has been my initial impression upon first seeing them - too pessimistic relative to my thoughts on the Giants future performance, though I've never gone back and see whether your system was right or me. However, you must be close though, somebody ran DMB on your 2008 data and the Giants had 75 wins in that, the difference of which could be accounted for by the Giants trading away Durham mid-season and using lesser replacements. It is certainly closer to what really happened than what most Giants fans were predicting for the Giants in 2008 (my prediction was barely right, that they would be closer to .500 than they would to losing 100 games, which most fans feared). Is there a good thread somewhere, or FAQ, where I can read up on your system and how it works? Thanks.

Question on Sanchez: why is he rated so low on IP? Or rather, why is he predicted to relieve a lot of games. The Giants clearly will not be swinging him back and forth in that regard, he's a starter now. Any way to jimmy your system to force such expected usage? In that same vein, Lincecum has already been announced as the opening day starter and he won't be doing a funky "relief" start in 2009, so he's probably starting 33-34 games then, like Cain.
   27. obsessivegiantscompulsive Posted: December 12, 2008 at 07:25 AM (#3027225)
Challenge: Resisting the temptation to short-circuit rebuilding. The rotation looks solid, even if ZiPS yearly too-optimistic look at Barry Zito fails to pan out, and a few lucky seasons from the offense and the Giants are competing in a very bad division. Getting, say, Brian Roberts for Sandoval/Tanner/Romo is a bad idea if it's just to charge for 83 wins and get into the playoffs.


It is a challenge that Sabean has basically met for the past few years. He has not traded away anyone who could be a key player for the Giants and the free agents he has gotten has not entirely blocked any of our prospects, who until Sandoval, did not really deliver the type of knock-out great minor league performance that says you should give him a chance now. His most important prospects have been kept and they are now on the major league roster, and more to come in the low minors.
   28. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 12, 2008 at 04:14 PM (#3027370)
Dan, I'm curious, do you do any post-season mortem to check your prediction system's accuracy? In the past, I've found your system's predictions to be - and this has been my initial impression upon first seeing them - too pessimistic relative to my thoughts on the Giants future performance, though I've never gone back and see whether your system was right or me.

Well, several people usually check the numbers every year (while I do it internally, I'm uncomfortable crunching the results publicly due to an obvious conflict of interest).

There's no indication that I'm too negative as a rule - if you look at the full-timers and see where the center is, I have no tendency to hit low. Last year, for instance, if you look at the players that got 250 PA, I projected the group to have an OPS of .783 compared to .777 actual. For pitchers with 50 IP, I projected the group to have an ERA of 4.33 compared to actual of 4.27. Whatever the faults of ZiPS, I'm very happy with where the "center of gravity" is every year, so-to-speak.

Running DMB seasons on data is, of course, fraught with problems because rosters are constantly changing. As such, I don't consider ZiPS to have any "view" on the team-level for a season.

ZiPS only predicts future playing time to the extent that the past is a good predictor of playing time. I don't butt in and change a player's role unless there's some drastic change that I believe will stick, like Brandon Morrow going from 100% relief to 100% starting, as expected. Sanchez didn't pitch well enough that I want to hang my hat on him still being in the rotation full-time when April rolls around, after a winter of unknown moves, which the Giants should be relatively involved in.
   29. obsessivegiantscompulsive Posted: February 12, 2009 at 07:19 PM (#3075678)
Thanks for the explanation. Taking a closer look, I see what you are saying, some are worse than I thought, but there are some better too, and those balance out, as you note, in a center of gravity.

FYI, the Giants have been saying all winter that Sanchez was the fifth starter with Lowry competing for his spot, and is clearly the incumbent now, Sabean said that just the other day and, frankly, I don't see how Lowry can beat out Sanchez, he hasn't pitched in over a year now, and hasn't been that great when he was pitching before.

The reason Sanchez didn't pitch well enough was because he hit the wall mid-season, his pre-ASG ERA was under 4.00, after ASG was way above, as he didn't condition himself well enough to last a whole season. When he was going good, he was very dominating in his starts, it wasn't just inconsistency from start to start, there was a clear demarcation. He reportedly is much stronger now and been working all off-season to condition to pitch more innings, which he got out of because he was relieving the previous two seasons. Barring any collapse or injury on his part, Sanchez should be the 5th starter. So should I just adjust his stats to the number of innings I think he will put in?

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