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The best and worst of the Tigers' 2016 Steamer projections

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The first set of 2016 computer generated projections has been released! Let's talk about how wrong they are!

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Mathematical projections have their utility and limitations when it comes to predicting human performance on a baseball diamond, but for a fanbase doing its damnedest to look ahead after an awful 2015 season, the Detroit Tigers' 2016 Steamer projections offer a glimmer of hope.

Steamer, a projection algorithm created by Jared Cross, Dash Davidson, and Peter Rosenbloom, has quickly become one of the more popular baseball projection systems, in part because of its early release and ease of access. People far smarter than myself can point you towards the relative strength of Steamer compared to other systems like ZiPS and PECOTA, but this offers us an early chance at projecting 2016 performance with the roster as its stands.

To start, let's look at the current position players in the system. Steamer has both standard projections and per 600 plate appearances (termed Steamer600 on FanGraphs). Here are the standard ones for players still on the 40-man roster (sorry, Josh wilson).

Name PA 2B 3B HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS wRC+ WAR
Miguel Cabrera 613 34 1 27 87 94 2 .314 .398 .534 .932 152 4.2
Ian Kinsler 652 33 5 14 80 66 10 .269 .318 .410 .728 98 2.8
J.D. Martinez 558 28 2 25 71 81 4 .273 .330 .486 .816 119 2.3
Nick Castellanos 552 28 4 15 61 65 3 .269 .321 .431 .753 104 1.2
James McCann 304 14 2 5 29 31 2 .255 .291 .371 .663 79 1.2
Anthony Gose 552 21 6 8 60 50 27 .246 .311 .355 .666 83 1.0
Alex Avila 152 6 0 4 16 15 1 .225 .331 .366 .697 94 0.8
Victor Martinez 567 28 1 17 68 74 2 .290 .351 .448 .799 115 0.8
Jose Iglesias 86 3 0 1 9 8 3 .279 .326 .363 .689 89 0.3
Dixon Machado 310 12 1 3 29 26 5 .241 .293 .321 .614 68 0.3
Tyler Collins 299 12 1 8 32 33 5 .251 .307 .395 .702 91 0.2
Rajai Davis 357 15 5 6 42 33 20 .255 .301 .384 .686 86 0.2
Wynton Bernard 7 0 0 0 1 1 0 .271 .311 .375 .687 87 0.0
Bryan Holaday 30 1 0 0 3 3 0 .237 .279 .339 .618 67 0.0
Jefry Marte 33 1 0 1 4 4 0 .248 .303 .400 .703 91 0.0
Steven Moya 61 3 0 3 7 8 1 .243 .277 .432 .709 90 0.0
Andrew Romine 223 7 1 2 20 18 8 .239 .291 .309 .600 64 0.0
Highlights!
  • Man, Steamer does not like Jose Iglesias. Despite hitting over .300 last season, the All-Star shortstop is projected for just 0.3 WAR.
  • If we're trying to find a replacement for Rajai Davis, Wynton Bernard may be a viable candidate. Steamer only projects him for seven plate appearances, but in their 600 PA projections, Bernard actually outperforms Davis.
  • Dixon Machado's .293 on-base percentage would be tough to stomach over a full season.
  • 1.2 WAR from Nick Castellanos? Sign me up.
  • You don't necessarily expect any computer to project a 35+ homer season for anyone not named Mike Trout, but 25 dingers seems like a low bar for Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez to clear.

Now, the pitchers.

Name W-L ERA SV IP HR WHIP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR
Justin Verlander 12-11 3.78 0 206.0 26 1.25 7.46 2.58 4.09 2.5
Anibal Sanchez 9-8 3.85 0 147.0 18 1.24 7.68 2.54 3.91 2.1
Daniel Norris 7-8 4.29 0 123.0 16 1.38 7.53 3.72 4.47 1.0
Matt Boyd 7-7 4.3 0 115.0 18 1.32 6.98 2.78 4.6 0.7
Kyle Lobstein 6-7 4.62 0 100.0 12 1.44 5.2 3.06 4.66 0.6
Randy Wolf 5-5 4.44 0 81.0 10 1.38 6.27 3.04 4.5 0.6
Bruce Rondon 3-3 3.63 28 65.0 6 1.28 9.64 3.86 3.61 0.5
Al Alburquerque 2-2 3.94 1 45.0 4 1.35 8.76 4.02 3.89 0.2
Blaine Hardy 3-3 3.76 3 55.0 6 1.31 7.61 3.27 3.99 0.2
Ian Krol 1-1 3.85 0 25.0 3 1.34 8.43 3.77 4.02 0.1
Jeff Ferrell 1-1 4.13 0 20.0 3 1.32 6.55 2.64 4.3 0.0
Michael Fulmer 0-0 4.28 0 1.0 0 1.34 6.99 2.95 4.33 0.0
Tom Gorzelanny 1-1 4.04 0 30.0 3 1.36 7.98 3.82 4.21 0.0
Shane Greene 0-0 3.86 0 10.0 1 1.28 6.83 2.35 4.02 0.0
Guido Knudson 0-1 4.14 0 10.0 1 1.38 7.74 3.82 4.24 0.0
Angel Nesbitt 0-1 4.48 0 10 1 1.44 6.65 3.78 4.56 0.0
Kyle Ryan 2-2 4.18 0 35.0 4 1.35 5.56 2.46 4.27 0.0
Jose Valdez 1-1 4.24 0 15.0 2 1.37 6.85 3.19 4.37 0.0
Drew VerHagen 2-2 4.09 0 40.0 4 1.39 5.98 3.05 4.22 0.0
Alex Wilson 3-3 4.12 6 65.0 8 1.35 6.36 2.8 4.31 0.0
Neftali Feliz 3-3 3.99 2 55 7 1.34 7.25 3.29 4.4 -0.1
Highlights!
  • I deleted Alfredo Simon's projection from the table. Sorry, not sorry.
  • As expected, Justin Verlander is projected to be the Tigers' most valuable pitcher, but Steamer is high on Anibal Sanchez as well.
  • I would take numbers like that from Matt Boyd. Daniel Norris? Hopefully he's a bit better.
  • If Neftali Feliz is going to offer up below replacement level performance, he should not be tendered a contract.
  • Bruce Rondon: lockdown closer.