Whether you're an advanced statistic aficionado or lean towards traditional numbers like home runs and RBI, projection systems can be useful. Sure, they are primarily run by sabermetric gurus who use complicated formulas to predict the future, but so do meteorologists.
One of the most popular projection systems is ZiPS, developed and executed by Dan Szymborski. Today, his formulas cranked out the projections for the 2014 Tigers roster as it stands now. You can check out the full projections here at Fangraphs, but I compiled some of the highlights in the tables below. If you do click over, be sure to read the fine print. These projections don't estimate actual playing time at the MLB level, so take the combined 865 plate appearances for Andy Dirks and Rajai Davis with a grain of salt.
First, the position players:
- Miguel Cabrera is good at baseball. He has blown those projected numbers out of the water in each of the past four seasons.
- Victor Martinez's numbers look low, but the projection system may have docked him for either (a) missing all of the 2012 season, or (b) his sluggish start in 2013. Expect him to sit somewhere closer to 2.0 fWAR if he stays healthy.
- If we get those numbers out of Nick Castellanos, start building Dave Dombrowski's statue before the ground freezes next winter.
- Ditto Alex Avila. There were seven AL catchers with 2.4 fWAR in all of baseball last season, and one of them (hint: the best one) is moving to first base.
- I'm pretty confident that Austin Jackson will outperform that WAR total once defensive metrics remember he's a really, really good defender.
Next, the pitchers.
- ZiPS also believes that 2013 was a blip on the radar for Verlander.
- Despite regression from both Scherzer and Sanchez, the rest of the rotation looks solid. I think Scherzer tops 200 innings again, though.
- Smyly's projection looks dead on for what I would expect out of him in 2014.
- Joe Nathan's projection is nice, but if the rest of the bullpen does that, we are in serious trouble.
Finally, I thought this was interesting.
We don't seem to have much use for Martinez at the moment, so maybe Detroit Bad Boys would be interested?
h/t Christopher Yheulon for the FanShot.