Pitchers and catchers are almost upon us and that means more projections. Dan Szymborski of ESPN has released his ZiPS San Francisco Giants projections and they are fascinating.
First, the hitters. This isn’t a surprise: Buster Posey is projected to lead the team in home runs with 18, RBIs with 86, OPS+ at 133, and zWAR at 6.3. Matt Duffy, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik, and Brandon Belt follow right behind him in zWAR.
Denard Span CF
Joe Panik 2B
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Matt Duffy 3B
Angel Pagan LF
Ehire Adrianza SS/IF
And a fight for the last bench job:
Kyle Blanks OF/1B
Mac Williamson LF/RF
Gregor Blanco had a career year at the plate in 2015, but is expected to fall back to his career numbers with a .334 OBP and .363 SLG. Brandon Crawford, who led the team in home runs in 2015, is projected to hit 14 and be just above league average per OPS+.
Kyle Blanks and Jarrett Parker both fare well in these projections as they will likely fight for the fifth outfield spot while Angel Pagan is projected to have a dismal season posting a 0.4 zWAR. Newly acquired Denard Span is slated to have a productive season, posting a .333 OBP and 2.4 zWAR, while Hunter Pence is projected to slip to 1.9 zWAR.
Now for the pitchers. Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija look like solid signings based on these projections, both posting a FIP- under 90 and zWARs over 3. Surprisingly, ZiPS likes Clayton Blackburn more than Chris Heston and Matt Cain for 2016, which might make for an interesting spring training.
Madison Bumgarner is projected to continue his strong work posting a career best FIP- of 78 and 2.70 ERA. Flame-thrower Ray Black is projected to lead the team in strikeout rate, but have a dismal walk rate and FIP-. He’s on the 40-man roster and can throw over 100, so it will be interesting to see him in spring training.
Johnny Cueto RHP
Jeff Samardzija RHP
Jake Peavy RHP
Matt Cain RHP
Sergio Romo RHP
Josh Osich LHP
Javier Lopez LHP
George Kontos RHP
Chris Heston RHP
The Giants recently announced their non-roster invitees to Spring Training:
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) January 26, 2016
Tyler Beede, Christian Arroyo, Chase Johnson, and Aramis Garcia are the top prospects in camp, as well as some former top prospects: Hak-Ju Lee, Grant Green, and Kyle Blanks. Lee has a shot over Adrianza, but Ehire has run out of options and will likely get claimed. Green can play multiple positions, not well, but he could bring some value when injuries occur.
The disclaimers of the projections are right here, but it is to be noted that they do not predict playing time and many of the players are not going to be playing in the majors in 2016. It is also important to know that zWAR is Szymborski’s own Wins Above Replacement metric and it is a cumulative statistic.