ZiPS on the 2013 Giants

Barry Cronin

"And the secret ingredient to the Giants' season is ... love??? Who's been screwing with this thing?"

FanGraphs has the 2013 ZiPS projections out, and because there's absolutely no way that Dan Szymborski will ever know this post exists, let's complain about them here. First, his own 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. My computer could beat you in chess, and it would satisfy your significant other much more than you ever could, so don't act so smug because you don't agree with these projections.

I might have made that last sentence up, but the rest is legit. You can find the full post here on FanGraphs. If you're curious to see how the projection system did last year, you can check it out here, along with the McC reaction here. The system projected Brandon Belt to have a 121 OPS+, for instance, but he cruised right past that and blew it away with a 124 OPS+. Nice projection system, dorks.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of the projections:

The Good
Buster Posey is projected to be good again. Perhaps not at MVP levels, but still quite good. Both Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain are projected to be good, though neither one of them is projected to have a dominating, Cy Young-vote kind of season. Ryan Theriot's best comp is Brian Dallimore, and even though Theriot probably isn't going to be on the Giants next year, that's still an amazing comparison. Never forget.

The Bad
Wait, what happened with the good? That was barely a paragraph. Recount, dammit. I demand a recount. /kicks computer

The bad starts with the answer to the Lincecum question. He's better, but he's nowhere near the old version, with a 99 ERA+. Ryan Vogelsong has a similar projection, at least as far as runs allowed. Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt enjoy years similar to their respective 2012s, but no more. Angel Pagan gives back almost all of his gains from 2012, hitting more like the okay version the Mets saw in 2010.

The Ugly
Randy Johnson, certainly. But also Brandon Crawford getting worse, Gregor Blanco regressing enough to make Francisco Peguero project as a better offensive player, Hunter Pence continuing to stink, and Barry Zito sinking all the way to a mostly unpalatable fifth-starter option. Oh, and the decaying of Marco Scutaro has already begun, apparently. While most of us were projecting it to happen somewhere down the road, maybe even next year, all we were hoping for was one typical Scutaro season to help the team next year. ZiPS says "nope" and then spills your coffee on purpose because it's a bully.

There you go. Nothing super encouraging, though at least by WAR, a lot of the above players project to have some value. It looks like some unexpected breakouts are going to be needed. Brandon Belt hitting .300/.400/.500 is the new "Just wait until Freddy comes back!"

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