St. Louis Cardinals: 2016 ZIPS and BaseRuns Projections
By Landon Clapp
Projections peg the Cardinals an 84-win team in 2016, predicts 94 wins for Chicago, 83 wins for Pittsburgh
Dan Szymborski’s ZIPS projections for the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals were released yesterday at FanGraphs.com. As many of you might expect, he projects a less than stellar offensive unit. Matt Carpenter (3.8) and Yadier Molina (3.3) are the only Cardinal position players projected to have WAR values above 3.0.
Brandon Moss (1.2) and Matt Adams (0.9) are projected to combine for 2.1 WAR in 2016, less than the projected WAR of 2.4 for Kolten Wong by himself. The highest home run projection for the Cardinals is Brandon Moss with 21. Jedd Gyorko is projected to hit 18 home runs, while Matt Holliday is only projected to hit 13.
When it comes to pitching, ZIPS projects just 156.0 innings for Adam Wainwright, although the 3.12 ERA shows that ZIPS still has plenty of faith in the 34-year-old. ZIPS does project great starting pitching depth, as no St. Louis starter is projected to have an ERA above Mike Leake’s 3.77.
It should be noted that the projections were made to account for performances against Major League competition only, independent of injuries/suspensions. Projections are also taken for players that are likely to spend 2016 in Springfield or Memphis. They still project what Lance Lynn might have done this year, and they project Jayson Aquino to throw 115 1/3 innings in 2016 even though he has never pitched above the AA level.
It seems, then, that the ZIPS projections could be useful in projecting what Minor League prospects are capable of, and what might be expected of them in the future. There is reason to think that Aledmys Diaz could have a promising future in St. Louis, considering ZIPS projects 118 hits, 11 home runs, and 54 RBI for Diaz against Major League competition in 2016.
ZIPS projects top pitching prospect Alex Reyes to walk nearly six batters per nine innings while sporting a 4.24 ERA in 2016, suggesting that he could be a year or two away from being ready to face Major League hitters.
When it comes to judging overall team performance, computer-based projections are anything but an exact science.
For instance, the computer-based projections aren’t meant to figure in statistical outliers. They only seek to predict how a team and its players would perform “in the aggregate.” For example, according to BaseRuns, the Cardinals played like an 89-win team last season despite winning 100 games.
More from St Louis Cardinals News
- Cardinals Rumors: 3 pros and cons of signing Carlos Rodon
- Cardinals: Here is Willson Contreras’ first message for St. Louis fans
- How do the St. Louis Cardinals stack up with Willson Contreras?
- Cardinals: The insane asking price the Athletics had for Sean Murphy
- St. Louis Cardinals: Ask me anything with Josh Jacobs – 12/8
Consequently, the projections that show that St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City will all miss the postseason in 2016 should probably be taken with a grain of salt. If anything, the numbers do illustrate just how unpredictable baseball can be.
After all, FanGraphs acknowledged the failures of BaseRuns projections back in August of last year. From 2002 through 2014, BaseRuns projections held standard deviations around 4.0, meaning that the average difference between all team’s BaseRuns projections for wins and their actual win total was plus or minus four games.
In 2015, that number was nearly 6.0, meaning that according to their projections, a team would be just as likely to win 87 games as they would be to win 75 games, if their projected win total was 81. That is a substantial difference.
Next: St. Louis Cardinals look to replace lost production in 2016
When considering that the Cardinals won 11 games more than they were projected to in 2015, you have to question the validity of some of these computer-based projection systems in a game like baseball. They are good January conversation pieces, though.
FanGraph Projections can be viewed in their entirety at the following links: