ZiPS Projections And The 2013 Angels


Projection season is upon us. While Fangraphs already has the BABIP inflated Bill James projections along with those done by Fans for 2013 listed on every player’s page, the wonderfully stat-centric site is also slowly rolling out Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS. And today, my friends, is Angels day. You can get the full breakdown at Fangraphs or stick around while I try to choke back tears over the projected statistical decline of Mike Trout. Or if you just want the graphic with rounded fWAR for the starters, rotation and bullpen, click here. Now let’s take a look at some of the highlights, lowlights and Trout’s sophomore slump.

Is more disappointment on the way? (Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Trout: 29 HR, 47 SB, .282/.361/.507, .378 wOBA, 8.0 WAR
Why does ZiPS hate Mike Trout in 2013? Maybe we should start off by remembering that Trout basically put up a season that is impossible to have. He missed the first three weeks of the season and still put up what could end up being the best season of his professional career. So ZiPS is being conservative with the 21-year-old. A 61 point drop in Trout’s BABIP causes his slash line to dip and ZiPS projects fewer homer and steals. Disappointed? Only Buster Posey posted an fWAR of 8.0 in 2012 finishing second behind Trout’s 10.0 fWAR. In 2011, three position players posted an fWAR of 8.0 or higher. One in 2010 (Josh Hamilton), three in 2009 (Albert Pujols led the way with a 9.0), two in 2008 (Pujols with a 9.1), a whopping four in 2007 (Pujols 8.4), two in 2006 (Pujols 8.5), three in 2005 (Pujols 8.2) and so on.

The truth is we don’t really know what we’re seeing in Trout yet. If he’s more of an eight win per year player than a 10 win per year guy, he would still look like a lock, first ballot Hall of Famer. It’s not easy to post an 8.0 fWAR. Just ask your reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera who has gotten as close as a 7.2 fWAR. That said, would you be surprised if Trout posted a 12.0 fWAR in 2013? Yeah, neither would I.

Albert Pujols: 31 HR, .285/.359/.516, .354 wOBA, 5.3 fWAR
Bill James has Pujols bouncing back to a Pujolsian .305/.394/.564 and Fans have him at .300/.373/.546 but ZiPS thinks his .285/.343/.516 in 2012 is the new Pujols. Now a 5.4 fWAR isn’t too shabby until you see that’s what Ian Desmond posted last season. Here’s to hoping 2010 wasn’t really that long ago.

Josh Hamilton: 26 HR, .267/.329/.481, .335 wOBA, 3.8 fWAR
What did Hamilton ever do to ZiPS? Whatever it was (I’m guessing it’s the “I heart MARCEL” tattoo), ZiPS is calling for Hamilton’s worst career slash line for a full season. Not exactly what the Angels are hoping for after a hefty investment.

Peter Bourjos: 10 HR, 18 SB, .248/.302/.396, .302 wOBA, 11 Def, 2.8 fWAR
Was his .271/.327/.438 line in 2011 his offensive peak or a sign of what he can do with regular playing time? We’ll find out this year but ZiPS suspects the former. It has Boujos’ top comp as Shane Victorino. I don’t know how to feel about that.

Mark Trumbo: 31 HR, .263/.309/.481, .333 wOBA, 2.3 fWAR
As Trumbo settles in to his natural defensive position of designated hitter, Angels fans can dream on his monster .306/.358/.608 first half of 2012. I’d post his second half stats but the fall is so hard you’re likely to vomit on your computer screen.

Vernon Wells: 17 HR, .248/.290/.426, .308 wOBA, 1.3 fWAR
This is the year the Angels pay Wells $24 million to get his degree in Wood Science & Engineering. Because he spends so much time riding the pine. *spins bowtie, squirts water out of a flower*

Jered Weaver: 3.01 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 7.8 K/9, 4.9 fWAR
And another top five AL Cy Young finish. Talks about the decline in his velocity don’t bother me and ZiPS actually sees his strikeout per nine get close to eight. He’s just a really good pitcher.

C.J. Wilson: 3.49 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 7.87 K/9, 3.6 fWAR
Not nearly as good as 2011 or 2010 but better than 2012 will still leave Angels fans wanting more from their high priced, number two starter.

Tommy Hanson: 3.93 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 7.9 K/9, 2.2 fWAR
ZiPS calls for Hanson to pitch 169.7 innings after pitching 174.2 in 2012. Hopefully, Hanson’s shoulder holds up instead of being shot and ground into dog food. His number one comp is Jack McDowell. That’s right, MTV’s Rock ‘N Jock Hall of Famer, Jack McDowell.

Ernesto Frieri: 3.00 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 11.59 K/9, 4.36 BB/9, 1.0 fWAR
The good news is that Frieri will continue to mow down batters. The bad news is that he will also walk his share and several other relief pitchers’ share of hitters.

Ryan Madson: 3.21 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 8.57 K/9, 0.5 fWAR
As Carson Cistulli points out, ZiPS is only projecting 42 innings for Madson after missing all of 2012 with TJ even though he’s never pitched fewer than 53 innings when healthy. If he’s healthy, he should be good.

Kevin Jepsen: 3.99 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 7.67 K/9, 3.53 BB/9, 0.2 fWAR
If he could keep the walk rate down, Jepsen should be so good. I’ll keep being bullish. His 3.02 ERA, 3.21 FIP and 2.42 BB/9 in 2012 give me reason to believe.

Of course, there is a plenty more data to examine or stare at blindly. Want to know where to set the over/under on home runs allowed by Jason Vargas? Or if Alberto Callaspo‘s isolated power is projected to crack .110? Are you curious if ZiPS thinks Garrett Richards could be good in the rotation? Then head on over to Fangraphs. Tell them I sent you. You’ll get 3% off of their loaded, footlong hotdog. They might pretend like they don’t know what you’re talking about but just keep demanding it.