Friday, January 7, 2011

NL West 2011 ZiPS Projections

I have to admit, there’s almost nothing I can think of that’s interesting enough to write about right now regarding the Giants. I mean, I could talk about their potential sixth starter (few options here, Dan Runzler?) or their middle-infield depth (Ryan Rohlinger and Emmanuel Burriss). But if I did I would probably fall asleep at my laptop.

The Giants don’t appear to have anything interesting in the works, so I’ll just have to get a lot more creative and soon. Until then, I’ll provide a few Giants-related links and my thoughts on them:

Fangraphs’ list of Top 10 Prospects: San Francisco Giants

I did my own list a while back, see here, and Fangraphs and I agreed on 8 of 10 players, though in somewhat different order. I like the list they compiled, and I especially enjoyed their mention of Eric Surkamp who "narrowly missed" the list. I had him at no. 10 as my "sleeper pick."


Dan Szymborski’s 2011 ZiPS Projections for the Giants (Dan: "ZiPS is more bullish on the Giants offense than it has been in years..."

I fooled with the projections a bit and tried to put together a reasonable season of at bats - I basically scaled all of the projections down to a similar number of at bats for 2011 to their 2010 total - and got to 800 runs. Now, projections are just that, projections. But the mere fact that Dan's system likes them this year better than it has in years is excellent news. The 800 runs is obviously wildly optimistic, but the fact that I got to that many runs (using the Runs Created formula) without fussing with it much, is awesome.

Also: the 2011 ZiPS Projections for the Colorado Rockies (Dan: "They can't match the Giants starters, but the Rockies are more prepared for injuries to pitchers than San Francisco is and it should be an exciting divisional race…")

I see the Rockies, with their strong offense anchored by Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez and good pitching depth with Ubaldo Jimenez leading them, as the biggest threat to the Giants.

Los Angeles Dodgers (Dan: "...a good rotation gives LA as good a shot at the division as any of the other teams…"

The Dodgers dropped all the way to below .500 last season after going to back-to-back NLCS'. They still have very good starting pitching, especially if Clayton Kershaw continues to develop into an Ace. And if Matt Kemp gets back to where he was in 2009, they might start rolling again with a little luck, a little health, and a decent mid-season acquisition or two. No one should write them off.

San Diego Padres (Dan: "The way the season ended was extremely disappointing, but the Padres should still come away from the 2010 season pleased with how the team performed.")

They probably won't be as strong of a contender next season, but of course we've heard that before. Their special blend of a solid defense, shut-down bullpen, quality starting pitching -- Mat Latos is a formidable ballast -- and just-enough offense, wins games. It's especially effective in their offense muting ballpark. The question becomes, though, with the departure of Adrian Gonzalez, does their just-enough offense become: just-not-enough?

and Arizona Diamondbacks (Dan: “I'd still put them below .500, but they should at least get the win total back into the 70s.”)

The Diamondbacks have some starpower on their roster, most notably Justin Upton. While I agree with Dan here, that they likely won't contend in 2011, I also think they are probably a year or two away from it. Honestly, if they could have their bullpen improve from atrocious to average and add a decent starter or two,  they'd almost instantly be in the mix.


  1. Nobody seems to agree with me, but I think the Dodgers will be the Giants' biggest threat. Very good rotation (even their sixth starter is projected as average) and very good bullpen (Kuo/Broxton/Jansen/Guerrier, etc.). I just don't think the Rockies' pitching is good enough for their team to play better than the Dodgers. But we'll see.

  2. I know, I recall prior seasons where I'm writing constantly, but this year it has been pretty blah!

    I'm basically with you, see Rockies as main competitor, Dodgers as in there but also-rans unless Kemp rebounds (mainly because of loss of Manny in offense), D-backs down there but looking better with their nice new starters and young hitters, and sharp new GM from SD.

    However, I think Padres will suffer big hit for two reasons. One is obviously A-Gon is a-gone. Two is that their pitching had a lucky first half, particularly LeBlanc and Richard, but also Garland to some extent. That should not repeat in 2011 and should sink the team, it will be a disappointing season unless some of their young players like Kyle Blanks, deliver on their potential. I don't think they will.

    Wow, 800 runs! I'll have to run the runs calculator on the hitters and see what that brings up.

  3. if our pitching does what I think it will do we should be fine. Posey will improve because he is the real thing and I think the Panda will be back to 09's level. I think his personal problems figured into his 10 stats more than we thought. Belt will be up sooner than folks think and then Huff will be our 3rd outfielder.

  4. Julian: I'll buy into what you are thinking on the Dodgers. They have the rotation, and the Rockies simply don't. Also, a lot of the problems LA experienced last year probably had more to do with the divorce and the train-wreck of Manny Ramirez, rather than the players. They probably significantly underperformed.