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Monday, August 10, 2020

2020’s Most Irreplaceable Players

How big a loss for the Braves was Soroka? With him still in the rotation, the ZiPS projection system had the Atlanta Braves with an 89.5% chance of making baseball’s expanded 16-team playoffs. Without Soroka, that number drops to 81.5%, nearly doubling the probability that Atlanta watches the playoffs from home. How does that eight percentage points rank among baseball’s stars? As I do every season, I asked ZiPS to re-project league standings with individual star players removed from their team’s rosters.

This isn’t a WAR ranking, which would be kind of boring. Teams whose playoff fortunes are most up in the air, especially those without sufficient depth, tend to be the ones that get in the most trouble when they lose a key player due to injury. The combination of good early results and deep rosters has left a few teams at the top of the food chain — the Braves, Dodgers, Athletics, Twins, and Yankees — without a single player in the top 25 in playoff leverage. That’s not to say that losing Mookie Betts or Cody Bellinger wouldn’t be a huge loss for the Dodgers, but the team has good backup options and it would take losing both to seriously change the team’s playoff odds.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 03:41 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: zips

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Obscenely Late, Obscenely Early ZiPS Projected Standings

The teams with the most positive change in their fortunes are the midwestern teams, and the teams that were on the very edge of Wild Card contention, such as the Rangers and the Blue Jays. The league’s basement dwellers’ playoff chances improve as well, but clubs like the Orioles and the Tigers just aren’t good enough to take as much advantage of it, in the sense of a binary playoff/non-playoff result, as these other teams. On the flip side, the elite teams and the coastal teams suffer the most. Every team that has seen their shot at the World Series trophy fade is a 2019 playoff team…or has Noah Syndergaard.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 26, 2020 at 12:01 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: zips

Sunday, May 03, 2020

How Shortened Seasons Affect Future Projections

It’s interesting, surprising, and a bit discouraging.  Go read the article and give Fangraphs some traffic.  Click on an ad while you’re there.

Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: May 03, 2020 at 03:23 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: projections, statistics, strike, zips

Thursday, April 23, 2020

ZiPS Time Warp: Eric Davis

On a purely objective level, Eric Davis had a solid major league career. He played parts of the 17 seasons in the majors, hit 282 homers, and collected 1,430 hits. Davis received MVP votes, made All-Star appearances, and earned three Gold Glove awards. Of a group of three childhood friends consisting of Davis, Darryl Strawberry, and Chris Brown, he’s the one who came out of baseball seemingly the least affected by personal setbacks and tragedy. Davis is still involved in Major League Baseball and has worked with underprivileged kids, something he knows about having grown up in South Central Los Angeles.

But as accomplished a player as Davis was, he was capable of being more. Like another All-Universe athlete from the 1980s who made the majors, Bo Jackson, baseball wasn’t Davis’s best sport in his youth. At John C. Fremont High School, he was considered a basketball player before a baseball player, but at the time, baseball had the quickest path to playing professionally. While the NBA’s policy disallowing anyone to play in the league within four years of high school was struck down by the US Supreme Court, no high schoolers made the NBA between Darryl Dawkins and Bill Willoughby in 1975 and Shawn Kemp in 1989.

Unlike some of his contemporaries, what kept Davis from approaching a Cooperstown career wasn’t personal or legal troubles or a lack of talent; it was a flurry of injuries. From a knee injury suffered as a rookie while sliding to the torn rotator cuff with the Cardinals, Davis was a veritable encyclopedia of maladies. (For a comprehensive listing of his dings and scrapes – and for a great look back on Davis’ career – be sure to check out Norm King’s SABR Bio of Davis.) Some of them were of the ordinary variety, such as an assortment of leg injuries that cut short almost every one of his age 24-28 peak seasons, a broken collarbone diving in the outfield, and multiple shoulder ailments.

Others were less typical, as when Davis lacerated his kidney and ended up in intensive care and endured a month-long hospital stay. Spinal problems, which ruined his 1994 long before the strike ended the season, initially led Davis to announce his retirement at age 32. Just a year after his extremely successful 1996 comeback with the Cincinnati Reds (.287/.394/.523, 26 homers, 3.4 WAR in 129 games), he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Davis spent the second half of the 1997 season recovering from having a portion of his colon, along with a tumor the size of a baseball, removed but still returned to the Baltimore Orioles and hit .327/.388/.592 in his last real full season in the majors. By this point, he was a part-time right fielder/designated hitter, with his days in center field wisely consigned to the past.


QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 01:30 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: dan szymborski, eric davis, zips

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

River Ave Blues: Jesus Montero and ZiPS

And from the comments…“Cano will hit over .299. I’ll bet my life savings on that.” Way over…like this season’s .302!

You might have seen this earlier, but Dan Szymborski posted his 2012 Yankees ZiPS Projections early Monday afternoon, the first team of the offseason. You can click the link and peruse all of the projections at your leisure, but I’m going to spend some time focusing on everyone’s favorite player, Jesus Montero. We’ll discuss the other guys at some point this offseason … eventually.

Following his big September debut (.328/.406/.590 and a .421 wOBA), the ZiPS system forecasts a .271/.333/.486 batting line with 37 doubles and 27 homers in 579 at-bats for Montero in 2012. At first glance, that might seen a bit disappointing because of the generally low AVG and the OBP, but it most definitely shouldn’t be. I said this on Twitter, but if Montero does that next season, he’ll probably win Rookie of the Year even if the majority of his at-bats come as a DH*. ZiPS isn’t being tricked by that big September either, the system called for almost exactly the same thing for 2011: a .276/.334/.503 line with 34 doubles and 28 homers in 539 at-bats.

...We’ve talked about the whole DH/backup catcher thing, but putting it into practice is much easier said than done. The ZiPS numbers don’t mean anything at the end of the day, but they’re a nice little reminder of just how much Montero can help the Yankees if given the chance.

Repoz Posted: October 25, 2011 at 09:25 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: projections, sabermetrics, yankees, zips

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ESPN: Szymborski: A staff for the ages (INSIDER)

n December, the Philadelphia Phillies were revealed to be the notorious “mystery team” in the hunt for Cliff Lee, eventually signing the 2008 AL Cy Young winner to a five-year, $120 million contract. With Philly’s rotation already containing Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, the hype surrounding the team’s quartet of starting pitchers reached epic proportions. The hypemakers were wrong—the Phillies’ starters went on to exceed expectations.

After the inking of Lee, we took a look at the Philly front four using the ZiPS projection system. For the Fab Four, we came up with a projection of 19.8 WAR (wins above replacement), which would have given the Phillies the 13th-best top four starters in a rotation since the start of the divisional era in 1969.

Dan Szymborski Posted: September 20, 2011 at 06:06 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, zips

BPP: An interview with Dan Szymborski

You can’t spell ZiPS without…Dan!

How long ago did you come up with ZiPS?

Szymborski: The genesis of it was there’s a [person] who contributes to Baseball Think Factory named Chris Dial, and in the late ’90s, they were talking about how someone could make a projection system that’s very basic and get most of the way there, in a way kind of a primordial version of Marcel which is a tabulator.

Before 2002, I was thinking maybe I should try my hand at a projection system. At that time, Voros McCracken’s FIPS research was fairly new, so I wanted to [align my idea.] That’s why I made it rhyme with FIPS, and the Z stands for Szymborski, the second letter of my name. I mean, it’s just a little side thing that started. Then I decided to do hitter projections, because it seemed kind of stupid to do because there were not hitter projections. And then over time, as computers got faster, I could do more things. Over time, it became a pretty complex system… I’m pretty happy with how it’s worked out.

Do you think you have another ZiPS idea in you or do you think that’s going to be your big thing?

Szymborski: I dunno. I always kind of think of myself more as a writer than a statistics developer, but I have more ideas how to use it. I continually refine my aging models and long-term projections and the different things I can do with it. I certainly hope there are other ideas in me, but I don’t have those ideas yet. Hopefully they will develop over the next few years.

Repoz Posted: September 20, 2011 at 04:43 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, media, primate meetups, projections, sabermetrics, site news, zips



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