Fangraphs ZiPS projections for 2023 Red Sox

The Gray Eagle

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2001
15,365
Dan Szymborski's ZiPS projections for the Red Sox are out on Fangraphs.
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2023-zips-projections-boston-red-sox/

Obviously these are just projections (educated guesses) but they are an interesting baseline, and it's fun to look at them and try to project which projections will be close and which will be way off.

His general takes:
Offense:
The floor on the offense is probably fairly high, so I wouldn’t expect them to be as bad as, say, the 2022 Detroit Tigers even if they trade Devers in the offseason, which isn’t an impossibility. ZiPS sees Boston having a good number of stopgappish players who are likely to be well above replacement but unlikely to push the team toward the pennant.
Pitchers:
I wouldn’t call ZiPS “all in” on Brayan Bello, but as with Shane Bieber‘s 2018, the computer saw Bello’s debut in the majors as quite convincing despite the high ERA. ZiPS sees nothing in Bello’s record that deserved a .404 BABIP. In fact, given that position players used as pitchers historically have BABIPs in the .330 range, nobody ever really ought to be a .400 BABIP pitcher. I’m leaving Garrett Whitlock’s usage where it is right now, but ZiPS projects him with an ERA of 4.09 and an ERA+ in the 110 range as a starter, which is where he’s likely to end up. After just 11 starts in three seasons, the Red Sox would likely be overjoyed to get 16 starts from Chris Sale at the projected performance.
Overall:
The “start of the winter” ZiPS projections have the Red Sox at 82 wins, but that could deteriorate quickly, as most of the rest of the division is likely to be aggressive in the winter. This team has a lot of holes, and I’m not sure they’re going to fill most of them.
Projections:
(Note: these projections don't "add up"-- they are for an individual player, and aren't not supposed to be added up to make team totals.)

Hitters:
Devers: 659 PA, 33 HR, 112 RBI, 135 OPS+
Story: 518 PA, 21 HR, 16 SB, 111 OPS+
Kike: 465 PA, 12 HR, 99 OPS+
Verdugo 601 PA, 13 HR, 113 OPS+
Casas: 414 PA, 14 HR, 113 OPS+
Hosmer: 482 PA, 12 HR, 107 OPS+
Refsnyder 337 PA, 106 OPS+
McGuire 292 PA, .697 OPS
Wong 384 PA .739 OPS
Hoy Park: 447 PA, .706 OPS
Enmanuel Valdez: 525 PA, 18 HR, .739 OPS
Arroyo: 289 PA, 98 OPS+
Rafaela: 528 PA, 15 HR, 14 SB, .713 OPS
Duran: 527 PA, 12 HR, 20 SB, .714 OPS
Dalbec: 446 PA, 20 HR, .722 OPS

Pitchers:
(the pitching projections seem less interesting-- they're mostly bunched around a 4.25 ERA, plus or minus a half run or so for most guys. Looks like anything under 3.75 is really good, under 4.00 is good, over 4.75 is bad?)

Whitlock: 84 IP, 3.44 ERA
Sale: 82 IP, 3.95
Bello: 135 IP, 3.99
Paxton: 127 IP, 4.05
Pivetta: 151 IP, 4.64

Kutter Crawford: 90 IP, 4.72
Bryan Mata: 85 IP, 4.96
Brandon Walter: 82 IP, 4.28
Chris Murphy: 122 IP, 4.86
Josh Winckowski: 115 IP, 4.92
Conor Seabold: 87 IP, 4.74
Thad Ward: 55 IP, 4.94

Houck: 83 IP, 4.14
Schreiber: 69 IP, 3.67
Barnes: 46 IP, 4.27
Brasier: 48 IP, 4.50
Ort: 55 IP, 4.42
Josh Taylor: 46 IP, 3.94
Joely Rod: 42 IP, 3.61
Zack Kelly: 58 IP, 4.32

Projections for last year's Red Sox/current free agents:
Xander: 622 PA, 20 HR, 124 OPS+
JD: 559 PA, 20 HR, 116 OPS+
Eovaldi: 124 IP, 3.86
Hill: 114 IP, 4.97
Wacha: 110 IP, 4.75
 

chawson

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
3,589
There's a lot to say here but I'll start with noting that that's a nice age-24 rookie-season projection for Enmanuel Valdez. A .739 OPS is basically what Gavin Lux did (.745 OPS) at the same age last year. For Lux, that translated to a 113 wRC+ (though I don't think Valdez reproduces his 10% BB rate).
 

billy ashley

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
1,144
Washington DC
Does ZIPS take park factors into account with those projections, because a .739 OPS playing half your games in Fenway, is a lot different than what Lux did last year.
 

chawson

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
3,589
Does ZIPS take park factors into account with those projections, because a .739 OPS playing half your games in Fenway, is a lot different than what Lux did last year.
I'm pretty sure they do, if this 2011 article is still accurate. Left-handed hitters put up a .697 OPS in MLB last year. Among left-handed designated hitters, which is the most reasonable position for Valdez, they put up a .711 OPS.

Fenway has a park factor of 109 for total offensive production from LHB, but only a 92 for home runs. Dodger Stadium has a LHB park factor of 99, but a 105 for home runs (Lux only had six). So there may be some difference, but I'm genuinely not sure whether your comment means it'd be more or less impressive (I think you mean it'd be less, right?).
 

DeadlySplitter

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 20, 2015
29,408
I’m leaving Garrett Whitlock’s usage where it is right now, but ZiPS projects him with an ERA of 4.09 and an ERA+ in the 110 range as a starter, which is where he’s likely to end up.
Eew if we're removing him from the rotation for a >4 ERA.

I see Dan is (rightfully IMO) pessimistic on what offseason moves we'll make.
 

scottyno

late Bloomer
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2008
10,623
Eew if we're removing him from the rotation for a >4 ERA.

I see Dan is (rightfully IMO) pessimistic on what offseason moves we'll make.
A 110 era+ is a #2 pitcher, that's pretty damn valuable if he can actually do that for a full season. A 4 era in Boston is much better than a 4 era with most teams.
 

The Gray Eagle

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2001
15,365
Updating with some of the new additions:

Yoshida, LF: 305/372/489, 131 OPS+, 505 AB, 20 HR, 0 defensive runs, 2.8 WAR
Kike, CF: 252/325/416, 99 OPS+, .321 wOBA, 465 PA, 12 HR, +11 defensive runs, 2.3 WAR
Story, SS: 255/325/467, 111 OPS+, .337 wOBA, 518 PA, 21 HR, +7 defensive runs (this must be for 2B, not SS) 3.4 WAR (again, this must be as 2B)
Devers, 3B: 290/354/534. 135 OPS+, .373 wOBA, 659 PA, 33 HR, -4 def, 4.2 WAR
Turner, DH: (Steamer projections, he isn't yet in ZiPS): 268/343/422, no OPS+ projection, .336 wOBA, no def. projection, 1.3 WAR, 555 PA, 15 HR
Verdugo, RF: 296/349/444, 114 OPS+, .341 wOBA, 601 PA, 13 HR, +4 def, 2.2 WAR (assuming last 2 as LF not RF)
Casas, IB: 256/352/440, 113 OPS+, .343 wOBA, 414 PA, 14 HR, +1 def, 1.2 WAR
Arroyo, 2B: 267/317/425, 98 OPS+, .320 wOBA, 289 PA, 8 HR, +2 def, 1.0 WAR
McGuire, C: 267/314/383, 88 OPS+, .304 wOBA, 292 PA, 4 HR, +3 def, 1.0 WAR

Bench/minors (again, each guy is projected as if he was on the roster and playing regularly all year):
Refsnyder: 262/343/422, 106 OPS+, .334 wOBA, 337 PA, 9HR, 0 def., 0.8 WAR
Wong: 258/304/435, 97 OPS+, .317 wOBA, 384 PA, 12 HR, -2 def., 1.2 WAR
Valdez: 248/327/432, 97 OPS+, .317 wOBA, 525 PA, 18 HR, -1 def., 1.3 WAR
Duran: 251/308/405, 91 OPS+, .309 wOBA, 527 PA, 12 HR, 0 def., 1.2 WAR
Dalbec: 223/297/425, 92 OPS+, .311 wOBA, 446 PA, 20 HR, 0 def., 0.1 WAR
Rafaela: 252/288/425, 90 OPS+, .305 wOBA, 529 PA, 15 HR, +3 def., 1.3 WAR

Rotation:
Whitlock: 84 IP, 3.44 ERA, 131 ERA+, 2.1 WAR
Sale: 82 IP, 3.95, 114 ERA+, 1.4 WAR
Bello: 135 IP, 3.99, 113 ERA+, 2.2 WAR
Paxton: 127 IP, 4.05, 112 ERA+, 1.9 WAR
Pivetta: 151 IP, 4.64, 97 ERA+, 1.6 WAR
Kluber: (taken from Fangraphs Depth Chart projection): 165 IP, 4.67 ERA 1.6 WAR

Depth options: (again, for a full year and regular playing time):
Kutter Crawford: 90 IP, 4.72, 96 ERA+, 0.8 WAR
Bryan Mata: 85 IP, 4.96, ERA+, 91 ERA+, 0.7 WAR
Brandon Walter: 82 IP, 4.28, 105 ERA+, 1.2 WAR
Chris Murphy: 122 IP, 4.86, 93 ERA+, 1.2 WAR
Josh Winckowski: 115 IP, 4.92, 952ERA+, 1.0 WAR
Conor Seabold: 87 IP, 4.74, 95 ERA+, 0.9 WAR

Bullpen:
Kenley Jansen: (no ZiPs yet, this is Steamer): 63 IP, 4.11 ERA, 0.5 WAR
Chris Martin: (no ZiPs yet, this is Steamer): 60 IP, 3.53 ERA 0.5 WAR
Houck: 83 IP, 4.14, 109 ERA+, 1.4 WAR
Schreiber: 69 IP, 3.67, 123 ERA+, 1.3 WAR
Barnes: 46 IP, 4.27, 106 ERA+, 0.6 WAR
Joely Rodriguez: 42 IP, 3.61, 125 ERA+, 0.5 WAR
Brasier: 48 IP, 4.50 100 ERA+, 0.2 WAR

Depth options:
Wyatt Mills: (no ZiPs yet, this is Steamer): 24 IP, 4.33 ERA, 0.0 WAR
Ort: 55 IP, 4.42, 102 ERA+, 0.3 WAR
Josh Taylor: 46 IP, 3.94, 115 ERA+, 0.5 WAR
Zack Kelly: 58 IP, 4.32 105 ERA+, 0.4 WAR

Obviously some of these will end up being way off. I'd sure take those lineup projections right now though, especially Yoshida. Highly doubt he hits those numbers, but you never know.
That lineup would have no below average players (factoring in defense for Kike and McGuire) unlike the gaping holes in RF and 1B last year.
If the projections were close, we'd need another middle infielder, as Arroyo is projected to only get 289 PA, but we would have Valdez and Rafaela as internal possibilities. And Rafaela could also play CF with Kike at 2B or even SS.

Some of the defensive predictions are weird-- Yoshida probably won't be average, Duran should be lower than 0, Story would be lower at SS than 2B, etc.

The pitching looks pretty good, but these projections would leave us way short of innings pitched, which would make the whole staff worse.
I'd say either we add another good arm (either starter or relief) or else we will just be praying for good health all year. Possibly both.

These don't mean much, but they are fun to look at.
 

LogansDad

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
23,379
Alamogordo
I posted in the Yoshida thread, but I have tried to turn him into a bad hitter, and I just can't make it happen unless someone put the wrong info in for him at B-Ref.

You can triple his K rate, halve his walk rate, dump his HR rate and take 40 points of BABIP away, and he ends up a high .700's OPS guy.

I am excited for him to play here.
 

chawson

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
3,589
I posted in the Yoshida thread, but I have tried to turn him into a bad hitter, and I just can't make it happen unless someone put the wrong info in for him at B-Ref.

You can triple his K rate, halve his walk rate, dump his HR rate and take 40 points of BABIP away, and he ends up a high .700's OPS guy.

I am excited for him to play here.
I am too. I’m a big Luis Arraez fan and would love for the Sox to have a similar kind of player.

We can only hope that Yoshida pdoesn’t get off to a rough/unlucky start so that by April 20th there isn’t a deluge of hit pieces, bad faith influencer tweets and histrionic radio banter aimed at calcifying a negative impression that they’ll use to generate rage-reads for the next five years.
 

Minneapolis Millers

Wants you to please think of the Twins fans!
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,453
Twin Cities
PT projections for Yoshida and Casas are low. At those rates, with health, their counting stats and WAR would be 20-25% higher.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 23, 2001
9,460
With the acknowledgement that these numbers are all mostly guesses, what's the deal with Paxton's innings being projected at about 50% more than Sale's? If Paxton reached his projected 127 innings, that would be only the 4th time he's done that in his career, generally not by that much. Sale exceeded that figure every year from 2012 to 2019, often by significant amounts. Neither has been able to pitch much over the last three years, they are roughly the same age.