Thursday, January 3, 2013

Checking out the Astros ZIPS Projections

Dave Szymborski’s ZiPS projections for the 2013 Astros went up on Fangraphs this morning. They are, as expected, pretty grim. As noted in the summary, every pitcher on the Astros roster is projected to have a below average ERA, (save Wesley Wright) and Matt Dominguez's projected 1.9 WAR is second best on the team. The Astros projected starting lineup is projected to post 11.8 total WAR. Better than Trout's 10 from last year, but not by much. But enough with the bad news. Are there any positives?

Well, for starters, several of the Astros prospects have been projected as well, and they hold up quite well against the current roster. Ranked by projected WAR, Singleton is 5th with 1.5, Deshields and Springer are tied for 11th with .9  and Grossman and Villar are just outside the top 15 with .7 and .6 respectively. Given these prospects ages, its a very good sign that ZIPS projects them to hold their own in the majors.

As far as the current major league roster, the projections show some progress. It doesn't expect Dominguez to be a world beater, but shows him holding his own offensively, while showing off that all-world glove. The projections for Lowrie, Maxwell and Castro are based on less than 400 ABS. If they play full seasons, they could near double their projected outputs. Altuve is expected to continue to make progress, and is expected lead the team with 2.5 WAR. 

As for the pitchers, well, there is not much good news. As noted above, none of the starters are expected to be even league average. The three major additions to the rotation, White, Humber and Ely are all projected to have ERA's over 5.00.  The FIP's are all lower, which I guess means ZIPS projects the defense to be sub-par. A 4.22 projected ERA from the closer will result in a lot of blown leads. The good news, I guess, is that these are just projections. I personally expect the Astros starting rotation to be better than this, though not by much. 

Overall, this confirms what we already know. The Astros are not supposed to be very good next year.  Shocker. But you can also see, even in these projections, the next wave of Astro talent coming. Its going to be rough, maybe for a while, but help just might be on the way.