Oh, this is a fun time of year. ZiPS projections, created by someone who hates the Giants and openly roots for their destruction, are back. Click here for the full ZiPS projections, and marvel at the simulated season to come. The projections aren't all that optimistic about the 2015 Giants, even if the algorithm doesn't have the whole even-year superstition plugged into it.
Let me cut you off before you scoff and ask how badly ZiPS missed on the Giants last year: ZiPS was somewhat bullish on the Giants before 2014. The lineup was mostly devoid of projected holes, with only Michael Morse grading out poorly, and the system didn't hate the rotation.
This year, the system only kinda sorta hates the rotation. It likes the lineup a little less than last year, too, but it's not completely depressing. To the projections!
It's a good thing that the Giants again have a lineup that's devoid of gaping, sub-replacement holes. I like to round my WARs like a fancypants, so this means the Giants have seven regulars who are projected to be north of acceptable. Everyone's just a tick down from what they were projected for last year, except for Bumgarner, who threw 6,593 innings last season. Still, it's a solid group.
Here's what I can't shake, though:
That's projected dingers, by expected lineup position. Oh, goodness, that's a severe dearth of dingers. The entire 2015 Giants lineup projects for eight more home runs than Barry Bonds hit in 2001.
I get why the Giants didn't re-sign Michael Morse. And it wasn't their fault that Pablo Sandoval hates you and everything you stand for. But you have three guaranteed dinger voids in Panik, McGehee, and Blanco. That's not including Pagan or Crawford, which I probably should. So five guaranteed dinger voids from hitters who wouldn't sniff double-digit homer totals in Arizona.
That scares the bejeepers out of me, and it's not like there's Giancarlo Stanton in the middle of the lineup to help mitigate that. The 2015 Giants are almost guaranteed to be a team that relies on stringing singles together, which is a frustrating kind of team to watch.
On the other hand, when it comes to collective value, they grade out just fine, if unexciting.
Other assorted thoughts:
- The system really likes Clayton Blackburn, at least in the emergency-replacement sense. Considering the Giants already have Yusmeiro Petit, his spirit animal, it'll take a disaster to get Blackburn in the rotation. Still, it's nice depth to have.
- I'll take the over on Matt Cain's innings pitched and the under on his ERA. You might say that's unlikely and that only a emotionally stunted fanboy could be that optimistic, to which I respond that
- Ray Black's top comp is Armando Benitez, which is a sign that the ZiPS computer is sentient and probably spends its free time leaving YouTube comments.
- The worst projected player on the Giants (if he were given at-bats, which he wouldn't be) is Angel Villalona, who was just removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Sergio Romo. There's an odd poetry to that.
- Travis Ishikawa is projected to be a little lower than replacement level; Gary Brown a little above.
- Matt Duffy and Andrew Susac both approach league-average value, but that's because ZiPS projects them as getting something close to regular at-bats. Still, it's nice to see that the farm can give the Giants a little depth this year, because that wasn't the case in the last dumb odd year.
- For whatever reason, the system hates Gregor Blanco's defense almost as much as it hates Dan Uggla's. I'll take the over on Blanco's projected value, then.
The Giants don't get outstanding projections, but I've seen much, much worse in my time. Also, don't forget this part:
Giants starters accounted for the third-lowest collective WAR among the majors' 30 clubs in 2014
That team won the World Series.
I don't get it, either. I'll never get it. So while this offseason (and projected roster) isn't that exciting, there are still the mysteries of the baseball universe to keep the embers of hope nice and hot.