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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2012 ZiPS Projections - Chicago Cubs

Epstein!  That’s pretty much the big news in Cubs baseball the last month.  It’s still hard to tell what direction exactly Epstein will take the Cubs, but it’s likely that the list of

players employed by the Cubs in 2012 will look very different than the list of players below.  Epstein wasn’t brought in with giant sacks full of money in order to politely churn Jim

Hendry’s assemblage of awesomeness.

On the plus side, the Cubs aren’t really as decrepit a team to rebuild as the Houston Astros are.  Starlin Castro and Brett Jackson are good building blocks and the team should be able to

spend some money.  How much is still kind of an unknown as while the team itself is a money-maker, the Ricketts family is also rather debt-ridden.  2011 was a disappointing season for a

Cubs Disappointing Season, but my theory is that with the amount of mojo/karma/luck/kismet/otherstuffhippiegirlscantellyouabout needed to make Jeff Samardzija go from a guy who practically

had to carry a rape whistle out to the mound to someone who actually got batters out, left little for the rest of the team.  Pray…for…mojo.

Just a reminder, hitter comps are based on hitting.  If you forget that, Aramis Ramirez’s top comp looks really strange.  Now that I’ve told you, Dan does not want to hear it.

Next Up: Philadelphia Phillies

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Batting Projections

Player            B    PO  Age     BA  OBP  SLG   G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO  SB  CS OPS+
Carlos Pena       L    1B   34   .230 .355 .480 131 440  67 101  22   2  28  77  82 145   3   2  119
Aramis Ramirez    R    3B   34   .280 .340 .474 123 464  64 130  25   1  21  79  38  69   1   1  113
Starlin Castro    R    SS   22   .301 .343 .432 156 634  86 191  36  10   9  65  39  85  21  11  104
Bryan LaHair      L    1B   29   .262 .324 .469 139 503  72 132  30   1  24  77  47 129   1   2  107
Geovany Soto      R    C    29   .244 .336 .429 117 385  44  94  23   0  16  55  52 103   0   0  101
Brett Jackson     L    CF   23   .254 .335 .419 141 556  94 141  26   9  16  61  66 174  22  10   99
Marlon Byrd       R    CF   34   .273 .324 .414 130 488  61 133  29   2  12  51  28  82   5   2   94
Alfonso Soriano   R    LF   36   .245 .297 .453 124 453  56 111  27   2  21  68  31 111   5   1   95
Blake DeWitt      L    LF   26   .256 .326 .399 141 391  45 100  20   6   8  46  39  68   2   1   91
Steve Clevenger   L    C    26   .272 .322 .369 127 423  44 115  23   3   4  46  31  61   3   3   83
Tony Campana      L    CF   26   .273 .317 .328 144 451  66 123  14   4   1  25  27  95  44  13   72
Marquez Smith     R    3B   27   .244 .299 .400 115 405  56  99  23   2  12  45  28 106   3   1   84
D.J. LeMahieu     R    3B   23   .291 .319 .363 156 570  62 166  24   4   3  57  24  74  11   9   81
Reed Johnson      R    RF   35   .261 .310 .385  98 226  28  59  14   1   4  22   8  51   2   2   83
Luis Montanez     R    LF   30   .263 .312 .385 100 327  41  86  16   3   6  46  20  50   3   4   84
Scott Moore       L    3B   28   .244 .307 .380 104 332  43  81  14   2   9  41  27  75   3   1   81
Darwin Barney     R    2B   26   .273 .311 .352 156 571  72 156  26   5   3  49  28  76  10   2   76
Brad Snyder       L    RF   30   .242 .286 .402 117 418  52 101  22   3  13  55  26 127   9   3   80
Bobby Scales      B    2B   34   .238 .330 .372 104 341  49  81  18   2   8  39  44  85   6   6   86
Ty Wright         R    LF   27   .262 .308 .367 125 431  54 113  20   2   7  49  25  77   4   2   78
Welington CastilloR    C    25   .243 .294 .395  99 354  40  86  18   0  12  44  23  94   0   1   81
Jeff Baker        R    1B   31   .250 .299 .375  87 232  28  58  13   2   4  25  16  55   1   0   77
Tyler Colvin      L    RF   26   .233 .276 .416 147 473  64 110  21   9  16  60  28 129   5   2   81
Josh Vitters      R    3B   22   .260 .297 .395 149 527  62 137  27   1  14  68  22  90   7  10   82
Marwin Gonzalez   B    SS   23   .264 .304 .353 146 507  51 134  25   4   4  47  28  70   9   5   74
Chris Robinson    R    C    28   .263 .292 .338  77 266  24  70  12   1   2  29   9  44   3   1   67
Matthew Spencer   L    RF   26   .232 .281 .360 143 505  60 117  22   2  13  64  31 139   6   3   69
Koyie Hill        B    C    33   .218 .277 .317  68 202  20  44   9   1   3  17  17  58   1   0   57
Augie Ojeda       B    SS   37   .242 .294 .274  32  62   7  15   2   0   0   5   5   6   0   0   52

Defensive Projections

Player                 CTHr    1B      2B      3B      SS      LF      CF      RF
Carlos Pena                   AV/98
Aramis Ramirez
Starlin Castro                                       FR/137
Bryan LaHair                  FR/99                           FR/62           FR/62
Geovany Soto             AV
Brett Jackson                                                 VG/93  AV/145   VG/91
Marlon Byrd                                                   AV/95   AV/83   AV/95
Alfonso Soriano                                              VG/176
Blake DeWitt                         FR/110  AV/109  FR/111   AV/92
Steve Clevenger          FR   FR/92          PO/117
Tony Campana                                                 VG/136   VG/97  VG/136
Marquez Smith                         PO/99   AV/90  PO/119
D.J. LeMahieu                         AV/91   AV/99  PO/100
Reed Johnson                                                  AV/95  AV/103   AV/92
Luis Montanez                                                 FR/89   PO/92  FR/109
Scott Moore                  VG/117  FR/128  PO/122  PO/114                  FR/120
Darwin Barney                        AV/115  VG/111  AV/107
Brad Snyder                                                   FR/88  PO/126   FR/95
Bobby Scales                  AV/88   PO/87  AV/120           AV/97           AV/97
Ty Wright                                                    AV/170          AV/170
Welington Castillo       AV
Jeff Baker                    AV/92   FR/87  AV/110          AV/101          AV/101
Tyler Colvin                 AV/110                          AV/128  AV/139  AV/128
Josh Vitters                 AV/118          FR/148
Marwin Gonzalez               VG/97  AV/101  AV/105  AV/143   AV/88  FR/146
Chris Robinson           AV  AV/112
Matthew Spencer              VG/121                          AV/140  FR/115  FR/138
Koyie Hill               AV
Augie Ojeda                           VG/85  VG/110   AV/94

Pitching Projections - Starters

Player            T     Age      ERA     W    L    G   GS     IP     H   ER   HR   BB    K  ERA+
Matt Garza        R      28     3.52    12    9   31   30   194.3  176   76   19   64  181   116
Andrew Cashner    R      25     3.76     4    3   31   11    64.7   59   27    5   30   51   108
Ryan Dempster     R      35     4.24    10   10   28   28   174.0  172   82   21   67  153    96
LEAGUE AVERAGE - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  96
Carlos Zambrano   R      31     4.25     7    8   27   23   137.7  136   65   14   60  108    96
Randy Wells       R      29     4.50     8   10   27   27   156.0  165   78   20   51  101    91
Ramon Ortiz       R      39     4.92     4    5   27   13    89.7  102   49   12   25   59    83
Trey McNutt       R      22     4.95     5    7   25   24   103.7  117   57   10   48   67    82
Casey Coleman     R      24     4.97     8   11   29   26   146.7  156   81   19   61   95    82
Rodrigo Lopez     R      36     4.98     7    9   26   22   132.0  152   73   20   39   75    82
Jay Jackson       R      24     5.02     8   12   27   25   143.3  166   80   17   46   82    81
Christopher CarpenR      26     5.11     4    6   34   14    88.0   95   50   10   53   59    80
Nicholas Struck   R      22     5.29     6   10   27   24   127.7  149   75   14   54   72    77
Austin Bibens-DirkR      27     5.55     5    8   24   19   107.0  123   66   18   39   62    73
Alberto Cabrera   R      23     5.67     6   10   27   25   128.7  159   81   14   63   79    72
Brooks Raley      L      24     5.85     5   11   25   25   124.7  159   81   17   51   60    70

Pitching Statistics - Relievers

Player            T     Age      ERA     W    L    G   GS     IP     H   ER   HR   BB    K  ERA+
Sean Marshall     L      29     2.74     8    3   76    0    72.3   60   22    5   21   78   149
Carlos Marmol     R      29     3.19     4    2   74    0    73.3   51   26    5   49  101   128
Kerry Wood        R      35     3.66     4    3   49    0    46.7   39   19    5   22   52   111
LEAGUE AVERAGE - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 108
Jeff Samardzija   R      27     4.12     5    5   71    0    78.7   71   36    8   46   68    99
Jeff Beliveau     L      25     4.25     4    4   51    0    65.7   59   31    9   32   68    96
John Gaub         L      27     4.35     4    4   48    0    49.7   43   24    6   36   55    94
Scott Maine       L      27     4.37     4    4   48    0    59.7   57   29    7   30   55    93
John Grabow       L      33     4.64     2    2   51    0    52.3   53   27    6   25   36    88
Rafael Dolis      R      24     5.04     6    9   42   12    85.7   93   48    7   53   50    81
James Russell     L      26     5.05     3    4   56    5    73.0   81   41   13   20   49    81
Justin Berg       R      28     5.06     3    4   45    0    53.3   56   30    6   29   27    81
Esmailin Caridad  R      28     5.43     3    4   29    6    61.3   71   37    9   28   42    75
Kyle Smit         R      24     5.54     3    6   48    0    65.0   80   40    7   30   38    74

Extrapolated Career Statistics

Player                 BA   OBP   SLG     G    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    BB    SO    SB  OPS+
Aramis Ramirez       .280  .336  .482  2307  8682  1170  2427   491    25   406  1490   660  1267    21   110
Alfonso Soriano      .269  .318  .495  1913  7510  1108  2022   466    33   388  1087   477  1680   275   109
Marlon Byrd          .275  .330  .410  1555  5574   736  1535   317    35   121   620   363   972    65    94
Carlos Pena          .235  .345  .473  1884  6399   933  1502   316    33   381  1093  1020  1918    36   117
Geovany Soto         .246  .332  .421  1478  4908   534  1207   293     3   186   674   611  1149     1    97

Player               W    L    S     ERA    G   GS       IP    H   ER   HR   BB   SO   ERA+
Carlos Zambrano    165  122    0    3.83  465  405     2566 2326 1092  234 1156 2115    112
Matt Garza         157  134    0    3.81  420  415     2602 2475 1102  277  857 2262    108
Ryan Dempster      142  151   87    4.46  608  383     2576 2562 1276  291 1169 2221     95
Randy Wells         70   77    0    4.34  219  216     1281 1335  618  162  421  836     94

ODDIBE (Odds of Important Baseball Events)

Player            PO      EX   VG   AV   FR   PO             COMP 1             COMP 2             COMP 3
Carlos Pena       1B     15%  37%  25%  17%   7%     Bill Nicholson   Mickey Tettleton        Pat Burrell
Aramis Ramirez    3B     18%  37%  37%   7%   2%    Brooks Robinson        Mike Lowell      Pinky Higgins
Starlin Castro    SS     34%  36%  19%  10%   2%        Derek Jeter        Robin Yount       George Brett
Bryan LaHair      1B      2%  14%  21%  45%  19%        Ryan Shealy      Paul Sorrento        Greg Walker
Geovany Soto      C      20%  39%  25%  14%   3%    Charles Johnson       Steve Yeager       Jeremy Brown
Brett Jackson     CF     16%  17%  31%  27%  10%    Bernie Williams        Rich Becker       Ray Lankford
Marlon Byrd       CF      3%  10%  37%  39%  13%       Lou Piniella      Rondell White       Aaron Rowand
Alfonso Soriano   LF      4%   8%  11%  19%  59%           Joe Rudi       Hubie Brooks         Phil Hiatt
Blake DeWitt      LF      1%   4%   4%  14%  79%     Robin Jennings         Sam Taylor     Mike Maksudian
Steve Clevenger   C       1%   5%  16%  54%  25%   Steven Clevenger    A.J. Pierzynski         Russ Nixon
Tony Campana      CF      2%   2%   8%  33%  57%      Willy Taveras       Willie McGee       Alex Sanchez
Marquez Smith     3B      0%   2%   7%  15%  76%       Rey Palacios        Les Pearsey         Matt Macri
D.J. LeMahieu     3B      0%   0%   1%  16%  84%      Damion Easley      Vic Rodriguez       Julio Franco
Reed Johnson      RF      1%   2%   2%   5%  91%       Tom Paciorek       Hector Lopez           Pete Fox
Luis Montanez     LF      1%   0%   2%   6%  92%     Marlin McPhail     Rufino Linares     Chris Woodward
Scott Moore       3B      0%   2%   4%  16%  79%         Joe Dillon     Glenn Williams      Juan Gonzalez
Darwin Barney     2B      0%   1%   2%  15%  83%          Jose Lind     Rafael Ramirez         Todd Haney
Brad Snyder       RF      0%   1%   2%   6%  92%         Doug Deeds       Brian Lesher       Alexis Gomez
Bobby Scales      2B      2%   4%   6%  19%  70%         Jed Hansen     Nelson Liriano     Dennis Hocking
Ty Wright         LF      0%   0%   1%   2%  98%      Tim McWilliam       Eric Nielsen     Rowland Office
Welington CastilloC       1%   6%  16%  45%  33%          John Buck      Jeff Banister  Salomon Manriquez
Jeff Baker        1B      0%   0%   2%   4%  95%        Tracy Jones        Matt Mieske     Todd Benzinger
Tyler Colvin      RF      0%   1%   4%   6%  90%       Larry Barnes       Karim Garcia      Todd Dunwoody
Josh Vitters      3B      1%   2%   5%  10%  82%  Craig Worthington      Casey McGehee     Wilson Betemit
Marwin Gonzalez   SS      0%   3%  10%  29%  60%         Hal Lanier         Luis Ojeda         David Lamb
Chris Robinson    C       0%   0%   2%  10%  89%        Ken Huckaby        Omir Santos Angelo Encarnacion
Matthew Spencer   RF      0%   0%   0%   0% 100%       Ryan Goleski        Matt Carson       Phil Geisler
Koyie Hill        C       0%   0%   1%   6%  93%       Chad Moeller  George Mitterwald      Frank Charles
Augie Ojeda       SS      0%   0%   0%   0% 100%      Mark Belanger    Bert Campaneris      Rene Gonzales

Player            PO      TOP   MID     BOT              Comp1              Comp2              Comp3
Sean Marshall     RP      81%    14%     5%          Don Mossi        Joe Sambito   Willie Hernandez
Carlos Marmol     RP      59%    34%     7%           Jim Kern       Dave LaRoche         Ryne Duren
Matt Garza        SP      62%    33%     5%         Andy Benes    Darren Dreifort        Jim Beattie
Kerry Wood        RP      32%    51%    17%       Toby Borland     Juan Berenguer        Jeff Nelson
Andrew Cashner    SP      30%    44%    25%      Murry Dickson       Richie Lewis          Mel Rojas
Jeff Samardzija   RP      10%    50%    40%       Brian Bowles       George Smith       Bryce Florie
Ryan Dempster     SP      18%    60%    23%        Jack Morris         Dave Burba        Mike Krukow
Jeff Beliveau     RP      11%    50%    40%          B.J. Ryan  Taylor Tankersley    Armando Almanza
Carlos Zambrano   SP      18%    57%    25%           Pat Rapp    Vicente Padilla         Bobby Witt
John Gaub         RP      11%    33%    55%      Ricky Pickett    Armando Almanza      Greg McCarthy
Scott Maine       RP       9%    43%    48%    Kevin Lovingier         Jesus Pena    Armando Almanza
Randy Wells       SP      10%    53%    37%        Bill Laskey          Josh Fogg      Jae-Weong Seo
John Grabow       RP       5%    27%    68%       Mike Venafro        Mike Mohler          Sean Fesh
Ramon Ortiz       SP       5%    22%    73%       Lew Burdette        Doug Linton       Steve Sparks
Trey McNutt       SP       4%    35%    61%     Clemente Nunez           Ed Wojna        Nick DeBarr
Casey Coleman     SP       2%    30%    68%        Gary Glover      Scott Randall     Michael Parisi
Rodrigo Lopez     SP       6%    26%    69%    Dennis Springer         Tim Kester    Bill Gullickson
Jay Jackson       SP       1%    25%    73%   Elizardo Ramirez          Bill King       Mike Lincoln
Rafael Dolis      RP       1%    14%    86%          Tim Byron     Walt Masterson Heathcliff Slocumb
James Russell     RP       1%    17%    81%       Dana Allison          Chris Key     Roberto Rivera
Justin Berg       RP       3%    20%    76%         Ed Sprague     Jamie Emiliano     Mike Zimmerman
Christopher CarpenSP       0%    14%    85%          Tim Byron        Bobby Munoz        Joshua Hill
Nicholas Struck   SP       1%    17%    82%      Matt Achilles        Peter Bauer         Ron Mathis
Esmailin Caridad  RP       1%    10%    89%     Ivan Maldonado        Peter Munro       Mike Villano
Kyle Smit         RP       0%     8%    92%     Timothy Burton          Ross Wolf     Chuck Crumpton
Austin Bibens-DirkSP       0%    11%    88%         Ron Jensen    Greg Biercevicz       Nick Roberts
Alberto Cabrera   SP       0%     6%    93%        Jim Johnson     Carlos Paredes       Adam Russell
Brooks Raley      SP       0%     3%    97%       Jason Cromer        Wes Whisler      Jason Dickson

Player              .300 BA  .375 OBP  .500 SLG   45+ 2B  10+ 3B   30+ HR  140 OPS+  30+ SB
Carlos Pena              0%      19%      31%       0%       1%      44%      12%       0%
Aramis Ramirez           9%       4%      22%       0%       0%       5%       4%       0%
Starlin Castro          52%       5%       5%      24%      67%       1%       2%      18%
Bryan LaHair             1%       2%      17%       1%       0%      10%       2%       0%
Geovany Soto             0%       4%       7%       0%       0%       1%       2%       0%
Brett Jackson            2%       4%       6%       0%      47%       3%       3%      10%
Marlon Byrd              2%       1%       1%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
Alfonso Soriano          1%       0%      13%       0%       0%       8%       2%       0%
Blake DeWitt             0%       1%       1%       0%       6%       0%       1%       0%
Steve Clevenger          3%       0%       0%       0%       3%       0%       0%       0%
Tony Campana             3%       1%       0%       0%       2%       0%       0%      98%
Marquez Smith            0%       0%       1%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
D.J. LeMahieu           25%       1%       0%       1%       9%       0%       0%       2%
Reed Johnson             1%       0%       2%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
Luis Montanez            1%       1%       1%       0%       1%       0%       1%       0%
Scott Moore              0%       0%       1%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
Darwin Barney            3%       0%       0%       0%       7%       0%       0%       0%
Brad Snyder              0%       0%       1%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
Bobby Scales             0%       3%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
Ty Wright                0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
Welington Castillo       0%       0%       2%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
Jeff Baker               0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
Tyler Colvin             0%       0%       3%       0%      49%       1%       0%       0%
Josh Vitters             1%       0%       4%       0%       0%       4%       1%       0%
Marwin Gonzalez          0%       0%       0%       0%       4%       0%       0%       1%
Chris Robinson           1%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
Matthew Spencer          0%       0%       0%       0%       1%       0%       0%       0%
Koyie Hill               0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%
Augie Ojeda              0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%       0%

Player               ERA+>130   ERA+>100     K/9 >8    BB/9 <2    HR/9 <1
Sean Marshall             80%        95%        93%        19%        95%
Carlos Marmol             52%        91%        99%         0%        93%
Matt Garza                22%        84%        62%         1%        75%
Kerry Wood                32%        77%        92%         0%        65%
Andrew Cashner            25%        69%        22%         1%        85%
Jeff Samardzija            7%        47%        37%         0%        75%
Ryan Dempster              2%        43%        42%         0%        44%
Jeff Beliveau              7%        46%        87%         0%        35%
Carlos Zambrano            3%        41%        13%         1%        65%
John Gaub                  7%        36%        93%         0%        68%
Scott Maine                6%        44%        56%         0%        63%
Randy Wells                1%        29%         1%         3%        34%
John Grabow                5%        25%         5%         1%        56%
Ramon Ortiz                4%        20%         7%        28%        45%
Trey McNutt                0%        14%         1%         0%        81%
Casey Coleman              0%         7%         0%         0%        32%
Rodrigo Lopez              1%        12%         3%        16%        27%
Jay Jackson                0%         6%         0%         4%        49%
Rafael Dolis               0%        11%         0%         0%        86%
James Russell              1%        15%         1%        21%        13%
Justin Berg                2%        18%         0%         0%        62%
Christopher Carpen         0%         9%         1%         0%        63%
Nicholas Struck            0%         4%         0%         0%        53%
Esmailin Caridad           0%         8%         2%         0%        37%
Kyle Smit                  0%         4%         0%         0%        62%
Austin Bibens-Dirk         0%         2%         0%         1%        12%
Alberto Cabrera            0%         1%         0%         0%        54%
Brooks Raley               0%         0%         0%         0%        32%

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 2012.  
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 4.19 ERA and the NL having a 3.96 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 2008-2011.  Excellent is the top
quintile, Very Good the 2nd quintile and so on.
2012 Projections Archive Yankees
Red Sox

Dan Szymborski Posted: October 27, 2011 at 05:24 PM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moe Greene Posted: October 27, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3977012)
1) Sean Marshall must be ecstatic to be compared to Don Mossi.
2) Geovany Soto -- we aren't selling jeans here.
   2. Banta Posted: October 27, 2011 at 05:53 PM (#3977027)
Pretty funny that the league average is drawn right between Dempster and Zambrano.
   3. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2011 at 05:55 PM (#3977029)
Disappointing projection for Castro--that's pretty much what he's done to this point.

OTOH, I'd take that out of Brett Jackson, for sure.
   4. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: October 27, 2011 at 05:57 PM (#3977033)
What's the latest on Zambrano? Can he, practically, play for the Cubs next year or are they going to have to dump him?
   5. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2011 at 05:58 PM (#3977034)
With Hendry gone (and probably Quade too), I don't see any reason not to see what Z has left, since he's under contract anyway and the rotation's a wasteland.
   6. zonk Posted: October 27, 2011 at 05:59 PM (#3977039)
1) It's unclear - so are these ZIPs Theo-adjusted or not?

2) If LaHair could be guaranteed that slash line, 24 HRs and a 107 OPS+ -- then I wholeheartedly say give him the job, pay him $450K and reassess next year.
   7. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#3977044)
2) If LaHair could be guaranteed that slash line, 24 HRs and a 107 OPS+ -- then I wholeheartedly say give him the job, pay him $450K and reassess next year.

Problem is, you don't have a FA market that includes Pujols and Fielder next year. Unless you mean give LaHair a corner OF slot...
   8. McCoy Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3977047)
There is no Prince or Albert next year. 107 OPS+ out of a 29 year old "rookie" with no glove is not something you want moving forward. Especially not when you pass on Prince Albert and have nothing like them coming up in the offseason of 2012-2013.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3977053)
Dan does not want to hear it.

Are we allowed to point out that apparently ZiPS itself was so shocked it forgot to do a defensive projection for ARam?

Starlin Castro SS 34% 36% 19% 10% 2% Derek Jeter Robin Yount George Brett

From ZiPS' lips to God's ear!

Disappointing projection for Castro--that's pretty much what he's done to this point.

See above.

Dan, has any other young player ever had 3 HoFers as their top comps?
   10. Spahn Insane Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:09 PM (#3977054)
See above.

Yeah, fair enough, and it's not like having the next Edgar Renteria's a bad thing anyway. The comps are certainly encouraging; I was just looking at the stat line. One would hope Starlin can take a step or two forward next year, and I think his increased power in the second half of 2011 is an encouraging sign in that regard.
   11. Marver Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:11 PM (#3977059)
Those are some interesting comps for Josh Vitters...how heavily is defense factored into these comparisons? Betemit and McGehee lose a lot of value with their (lack of) glove, though I certainly see the offensive comparison.
   12. zenbitz Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#3977064)
Wow this is pretty much the definition of an 82-win team. Well, maybe they are an outfielder and 120 innings of Cashner away.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:15 PM (#3977068)
Player A: 286/344/491, 120 OPS+, +33 Rbat
Player B: 255/313/413, 106 OPS+, +1 Rbat

Wanders off, whistling quietly. :-)
   14. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#3977076)
FR/99 for Aramis. Sorry I cut off the defensive projection for him.
   15. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#3977077)
Dan, if it's not too much trouble, I'd love to see a career projection for Castro. Or maybe just letting us know what ZiPS thinks his prime looks like.
   16. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:20 PM (#3977079)
Dan, has any other young player ever had 3 HoFers as their top comps?

Dunno. I would guess *somebody* has.
   17. Willie Mayspedes Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3977082)
Aramis is compared to Brooks Robinson and doesn't even get a defensive rating?? :)

EDIT: And I don't even hit refresh???
   18. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:23 PM (#3977083)
Gern, I actually tend to agree with you, it would be nice to see Castro take a big step up in something (which he didn't do last year). Guy has to learn to take a walk to start with. I am stunned at how good those comps are.

Of course, through age 21, Yount had yet to crack a 100 OPS+, Brett had 2 career HR and Jeter had yet to bang his first starlet so you don't need to have achieved much* to get comped to them at that age.

*Other than the absurdly difficult feat of making the majors by 21.
   19. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:25 PM (#3977085)
here's a question. the best player on this team is 22 years old. if they're committed to getting on of the other NL central 1Bmen, does the difference in age between pujols and fielder at all factor in to which one is the top target? pujols will be 32 on opening day while prince fielder will only be 27. is that an insignificant difference or should it be a major factor in deciding who's the top target?
   20. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:25 PM (#3977086)
Going down Castro's comp list:

Derek Jeter
Robin Yount
George Brett
Paul Molitor
Hanley Ramirez
Steve Sax
Alan Trammell
Garry Templeton
Troy Tulowitzki
Carney Lansford
Zoilo Versalles
Roberto Alomar
Jim Fregosi
Adrian Beltre
Edgar Renteria
Chris Speier
Cecil Travis
Robinson Cano
Joe Thurston
Buddy Bell
Lou Boudreau
   21. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:29 PM (#3977091)
Going through Castro's Prime:

Year BA/OBP/SLG WAR
2012 301/343/432 3.5
2013 308/352/464 4.4
2014 310/356/475 4.8
2015 311/359/479 5.0
2016 310/359/487 5.2
2017 309/360/483 5.1
2018 304/357/479 4.8
2019 304/357/479 4.7
2020 302/354/471 4.3
2021 300/351/466 3.9

ZiPS likes Castro.
   22. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3977092)
It is very hard to reconcile positive defensive ratings for Soriano with my visual defensive rating.

I still think Castro has great defensive potential. I can only hope a new coaching staff and overall organization philosophy can help him reach that potential (not to mention the offensive potential hinted at in his comps).

I agree with 12, these projections really aren't that bad.
   23. Moe Greene Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3977095)
Wait, what in the world is Ramon Ortiz doing in the majors? When I first saw his name up there I assumed it must be a different Ramon Ortiz... until I saw age 39. He's been pretty toasty since 2005...
   24. Greg K Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#3977097)
Those are some interesting comps for Josh Vitters...how heavily is defense factored into these comparisons? Betemit and McGehee lose a lot of value with their (lack of) glove, though I certainly see the offensive comparison.

If I understand the intro correctly, and I'm pretty sure I do, the hitting comparisons are based equally on hitting and fielding.
   25. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#3977098)
Of course, through age 21, Yount had yet to crack a 100 OPS+, Brett had 2 career HR and Jeter had yet to bang his first starlet so you don't need to have achieved much* to get comped to them at that age.

Remember, I have 40 years of minor league data in there - I got lots more young middle infielders to compare players to than major leaguers.
   26. McCoy Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:34 PM (#3977100)
That is what happens when 2/5ths of your rotation goes down in the first week and Zambrano goes nuts.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:34 PM (#3977101)
OK, last year Castro was comped to Jeter, Yount and the immortal Frankie Gustine.

Meanwhile Heyward got Callison, Griffey (Jr I assume) and Buddy Lewis. Longoria got Rolen, Zimmerman and Wright (probably 0 HoFers and maybe 3 HoMers). Justin Upton got Tartabull, BJ and Sixto. Mike Trout got Ashburn, Baldelli and Raines (Sr I assume).

Trout's comps after this year will be interesting.
   28. McCoy Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:35 PM (#3977102)
If I understand the intro correctly, and I'm pretty sure I do, the hitting comparisons are based equally on hitting and fielding.

You forgot that he also figures in their pitching potential as well.
   29. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#3977103)
Jeff Beliveau
John Gaub
Trey McNutt
Austin Bibens-Dirk


Admit it, you're just making up names.
   30. Greg K Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#3977104)
here's a question. the best player on this team is 22 years old. if they're committed to getting on of the other NL central 1Bmen, does the difference in age between pujols and fielder at all factor in to which one is the top target? pujols will be 32 on opening day while prince fielder will only be 27. is that an insignificant difference or should it be a major factor in deciding who's the top target?

I think it's a factor, but I also wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs treat "age" as more than just a number for Pujols and Fielder. I have no idea how you'd go about measuring it, but the Cubs could look at Fielder's physique and factor an early decline into their calculations. Though it seems like Pujols hasn't exactly been a model of good health lately.
   31. McCoy Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:38 PM (#3977106)
Without steroids I don't think anyone is going to age gracefully let alone improve.

If you can get it, and you can't, I'd take Prince on a 6 year deal. ARod's 10 year contracts really screwed up the market.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:40 PM (#3977108)
Remember, I have 40 years of minor league data in there - I got lots more young middle infielders to compare players to than major leaguers.

I know, I was just making a funny.

But jiminy christmas that's an impressive set of comps.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:49 PM (#3977116)
is that an insignificant difference or should it be a major factor in deciding who's the top target?

Normally it would be a huge, pretty much deciding factor (assuming similar performance and years/$$). In this case, it's still a major factor but Prince is a big tub of goo while Albert still stole 9 of 10 bases.

But, as tubs of goo go, Fielder's a good bet. First, even standard tubs of goo generally last through at least 32 and Prince is not an extreme "old man skills" kinda guy (the BA and K-rate are pretty good) so I could easily see him being a David Ortiz or even Willie Stargell through his 30s.

I'll personally take Albert anyway.
   34. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:53 PM (#3977119)
An 81 OPS+ is a pretty impressively low forecast for a guy with a 25% chance of hitting .300 or better.
   35. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#3977120)
Wait, what in the world is Ramon Ortiz doing in the majors? When I first saw his name up there I assumed it must be a different Ramon Ortiz... until I saw age 39. He's been pretty toasty since 2005...


He and Russ Ortiz were together on the Dodgers in 2010, and when they played the Pirates to open the season I went nuts trying to keep track of which one was which.

Austin Bibens-Dirk


It's actually better than that - it got truncated by the character limit. His full last name is actually Bibens-Dirkx.
   36. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 27, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3977122)
If you don't mind, Dan, could you run a ZiPS for Jack-of-all-trades Ryan Flaherty? He had a pretty nice 2/3 of a season at AA last year.
   37. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2011 at 07:07 PM (#3977132)
Sean Marshall to the rotation, please.
   38. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: October 27, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#3977135)
Sean Marshall to the rotation, please.

Yeah, I'd like to see him get another shot at this. I know it was tried when he first came up, but I don't think he was left there for very long.
   39. glover6ss Posted: October 27, 2011 at 07:22 PM (#3977139)
Can we please get a Jeff Stevens projection?
   40. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: October 27, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#3977148)
Sean Marshall to the rotation, please.

And I just started liking him, too.
   41. zonk Posted: October 27, 2011 at 07:32 PM (#3977151)
There is no Prince or Albert next year. 107 OPS+ out of a 29 year old "rookie" with no glove is not something you want moving forward. Especially not when you pass on Prince Albert and have nothing like them coming up in the offseason of 2012-2013.


Sure - I get that - and I'm saying LaHair is any sort of a long-term answer.

It's solely a matter of expecting them to be a 75 win team year, then perhaps slightly better or slightly worse (depending on whether Castro takes a step forward, Cashner truly become a good upper-middle rotation option, etc) the year after.

I don't see any real value between 75 and 80 wins - so why spend 20 million on someone who gives you a better shot at 80?

Maybe if Pujols were 2-3 years younger or Fielder had 2-3 fewer planetoids orbiting him - or maybe if either of them played a premium position, sure.

But the next couple years are going to be pretty barren. No sense in loading up on big contracts this offseason.

If LaHair projects to be league average, stick at 1B, saving the 19,500,000 X whatever - go for it... reassess when/if Castro has cemented his stardom, Garza is guaranteed gone or a long-term mainstay, and Theo has found the bargains elsewhere. A team with big revenue at the bottom of the success cycle doesn't need to be spending just because it can, especially not for a 1B.
   42. McCoy Posted: October 27, 2011 at 07:49 PM (#3977161)
I don't see any real value between 75 and 80 wins - so why spend 20 million on someone who gives you a better shot at 80?

A) Because Prince Albert isn't likely to be the only addition
B) You have 2013, 2014, 2015, . . . to worry about.
C) The Cubs have nothing in their system that can play first base at an average level for them in 2013.
D) After Prince Albert this year there is nothing that can impact the Cubs record like they can and that is especially true at the first base position.

By punting this FA season you would be hurting the Cubs' record in years to come and not just in 2012.

If LaHair projects to be league average, stick at 1B, saving the 19,500,000 X whatever - go for it...

LaHair is projecting to be a below league average first baseman.

A team with big revenue at the bottom of the success cycle doesn't need to be spending just because it can, especially not for a 1B.

There really is no such thing as a success cycle for large revenue teams. Theo can make this team a playoff contender for next year this offseason.
   43. Greg K Posted: October 27, 2011 at 07:58 PM (#3977171)
The other thing to consider is...does Epstein think he can get the Cubs competitive by 2014?
If yes, then having Pujols or Fielder around is a good thing. (And if he doesn't think either of them will be any good in 2014 then he wouldn't sign either of them no matter where in the success cycle they are)
If no, then he's sure coming into this expecting a long, long haul.
   44. VoodooR Posted: October 27, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#3977230)
I don't think he would have taken the job if he didn't think the team could compete by 2014. There is no reason in the world, except gross mismanagement, that would render the Cubs unable to compete by 2013 at the latest.
   45. Darren Posted: October 27, 2011 at 09:29 PM (#3977240)
I assumed Pena was toast a couple years ago. He still looks like a viable option for someone at 1B. I imagine he'd come very cheap too.
   46. Darren Posted: October 27, 2011 at 09:31 PM (#3977242)
Does ARam have a shot at the Hall? Those are pretty good numbers for a 3B. Of course, his having no defensive rating whatsoever is troubling.
   47. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3977250)
There's also the question of what would the Cubs do with that $20 M savings? I don't really know of any substantiated cases where an owner said "save $20 M this year and I'll let you spend it next year." The Cubs already spend heavily in the draft and there's nothing to spend $20 M on in the draft anyway. I suppose they could build a baseball academy somewhere or put it into upgrades of Wrigley now so they won't have to spend $20 M on it later. But chances are if the Cubs shave $20 M off the payroll, almost all of it goes into Ricketts' pockets.

The tougher question would seem to be "what are the best long-term investments the Cubs can make this offseason?" On the FA market, the best bets would seem to be Fielder and Pujols, maybe Reyes (durability a concern ... and that we don't need a SS). But there's no reason the Cubs can't play the role of the team that takes on the excellent, increasingly expensive player in exchange for not much, then signs that guy to a ridiculous contract. I don't know who's available in that regard but would love to grab a real solution at 3B, 2B, CF or the rotation. The only position player fitting that description who isn't (I don't think) under a very team friendly contract and approaching FA is Matt Kemp ... and, as these things go, I'm not the biggest Kemp fan.* Looking beyond those positions, I don't see the Rox moving Tulo (yet), much less the Brewers Braun or the Reds Votto (in division). Maybe Hanley (to 3B or somewhere?).

So if the Cubs want to add major talent, looks like it's FAs for the next couple of years at least.

*if he repeats 2011 or anything close to it, I will become a big Kemp fan. And, even if not, he'd obviously be a good long-term CF (then corner OF) solution so it's not like I'd complain unless we get silly with money.
   48. MM1f Posted: October 27, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3977251)
Steve Clevenger is indeed very, very similar to his #1 comp.
   49. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2011 at 09:44 PM (#3977255)
If the Cubs want to use 2012 money to build their future then the posting fee for Yu Darvish might be the way to go.
   50. VoodooR Posted: October 27, 2011 at 09:46 PM (#3977260)
It seems to me that if there is one area where Theo will take a "once bitten, twice shy" approach it would be with Japanese pitchers and their large pricetags (both for negotiating and signing). Then again, perhaps there are many factors that make Yu a better bet than DiceK, which I am not aware of.
   51. Cabbage Posted: October 27, 2011 at 09:50 PM (#3977263)
I'm more concerned with producing a defensively sound team. My pet theory is that upgrading the corner outfield spots, especially left, can do wonders for a team's defensive efficiency. So, I'm all for that, and the corresponding reduction in pitcher-workload that it produces.
   52. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2011 at 10:08 PM (#3977276)
Darvish has a much better fastball than Matsuzaka and is a better fit of the MLB prototype.

And don't forget, despite all the criticism, Matsuzaka sports a 108 ERA+ for his career in MLB. Hardly a disaster, just not worth the price.
   53. zonk Posted: October 27, 2011 at 10:14 PM (#3977281)
There's also the question of what would the Cubs do with that $20 M savings?


But that's the problem -- it's not the 20 million this year I worry about; it's what happens in 2014 when perhaps you ARE good enough to compete and your most pressing need is actually an ace SP? I suppose elite offense is never wasted, but I just don't like tying up huge money long-term, especially at a relatively easy to fill position, when I have virtually no way of knowing what I'll when I'm good.

We can't know anything about 2014 or 2015 with certainty -- but the only thing that I have any degree of confidence about is that we'll probably be in good shape at SS.

Hey - spend Ricketts' money - I have no attachment to it, but it's less a matter of what I will spend that $20 mil on this year than it is having that 20 mil to spend on that unforeseen something I might need in a couple years.... Now sure - if you just give the job to LaHair, you're almost certainly going to need a 1B at some point -- but if Castro becomes Robin Yount, Soto is still a plus offensive catcher, something better than Soriano is in LF, if, if, if -- I may not be particularly in need of a big stick at 1B, but I might need an SP.
   54. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 27, 2011 at 10:24 PM (#3977288)
He (Ramon Ortiz) and Russ Ortiz were together on the Dodgers in 2010, and when they played the Pirates to open the season I went nuts trying to keep track of which one was which.


Doesn't seem like it should have been too hard. Just identify which of them is the one that sucks and go from there...
   55. Styles P. Deadball Posted: October 27, 2011 at 10:56 PM (#3977301)
Just identify which of them is the one that sucks and go from there...


I don't think we've solved our problem.
   56. MM1f Posted: October 27, 2011 at 11:38 PM (#3977318)
Identify which one of them is fat and go from there
   57. shoewizard Posted: October 28, 2011 at 01:08 AM (#3977487)
If Ramirez gets to that career extrapolation for the triple crown categories, he is going to be in HOF discussions....which is kind of horrifying.

Link
   58. McCoy Posted: October 28, 2011 at 01:33 AM (#3977622)
The other thing to consider is...does Epstein think he can get the Cubs competitive by 2014?

If that is the year he thinks he might get them competitive then I think he has failed as a GM. He can get them competitive next year at the earliest and I don't see any real reason not to try and do that. The Cubs have virtually nothing in the minors and the FA that are good are for the most part not manning positions that any of our good youngsters are manning.

It isn't like we have a young Adrian Gonzalez manning first, Brian Giles plaing right field, and Jason Bay in center. Signing Prince Fielder will solve a real need for the Cubs right now. Sign Willingham will solve a real need for the Cubs right now. Signing CJC Wilbathia will solve a real need right now. It can be argued that signing Jose Reyes somewhat hurts Castro but moving Castro to third or second might actually help the guy and still solves a real need for the Cubs. Doing this stuff doesn't force us to trade Jackson or McNutt. It still leaves them and others available and still gives them chances to make the team.

Simply punting 2012 doesn't really help the Cubs in anyway in 2013 or 2014. The Cubs aren't better off in 2013 because they lose 90 games in 2012. The reason being that the Cubs are not likely to try and improve by trading their prospects for players. Theo isn't going to pull a Cleveland and trade away future all-stars for a reliever.
   59. SouthSideRyan Posted: October 28, 2011 at 04:37 AM (#3979127)
This is ridiculous, if you need to sign a starting pitcher in 2014, then you sign a starting pitcher in 2014. The only contract on the books after this year is Soriano. People act like we have 100M tied up in bad contract in perpetuity.
   60. McCoy Posted: October 28, 2011 at 04:51 AM (#3979257)
Carlos Marmol
   61. Walt Davis Posted: October 28, 2011 at 09:40 AM (#3979432)
What Ryan said.

Yes, absolutely, you don't want money tied up in bad long-term contracts. But there's no reason to think that Pujols or Fielder will be off the cliff by 2014 or 2015. And Ryan's point is key. The Cubs do have a hefty commitment already for 2012, but only $30 M for 2013, $20 M for 2014 and $0 for 2015.

If the Cubs find themselves in need of an ace starter and don't have the money in 2014, that will be because Theo has managed to spend $130 M ... and if he has, I am highly confident he will have wasted $20 M on players much worse than Pujols/Fielder and they will be the real problem. In that sense, I might be more worried about (for example) 4/$50 for Josh Willingham than 6/$150 for Pujols.
   62. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 28, 2011 at 10:59 AM (#3979441)
6/150 for Pujols? In what universe?
   63. Walt Davis Posted: October 28, 2011 at 08:39 PM (#3980210)
I'm not suggesting they'd get Pujols for 6/$150 but that a 4/$50 commitment to somebody like Willingham (who I'm not sure can get as much as 4/$50) may be more "crippling" than a 6/$150 to Pujols. Almost by definition, 4/$50 can't possibly be as risky as, say, 8/$200 or 10/$250 or whatever Pujols might manage to get.

That said, Pujols' "down" year paired with everybody's recognition that there's a good chance the AROD extension will be an utter disaster will make a lot of teams shy about offering Pujols a contract in the 8-10 year range, at least not without those last couple of years being vesting options based on playing time. I would still happily go 8/$200 for Pujols (esp if I was an AL GM -- barring a major injury, he's gonna be Aaron-Robinson-Mays) but I'm not sure many ML GMs will at this point (although I'm sure that number is at least 1). The AROD extension may have the "calming" effect on the aging superstar market that the Hampton and Brown contracts did on pitching contracts a decade ago.

Which just makes it more likely the Cards will retain Pujols. Their worst-case scenario in years 7-10 is trotting out a beloved franchise icon as he passes his final career milestones which should still put plenty of fannies in the seats.
   64. Walt Davis Posted: October 29, 2011 at 07:07 AM (#3982033)
And a reminder that Pujols is 2 months younger than Ryan Howard. :-)
   65. Ken015 Posted: December 23, 2011 at 01:02 PM (#4022538)
We have a Manny Corpas signing, what does zips think of him in 2012?

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