ZiPS Projections for the 2013 Chicago Cubs

FanGraphs posted the Cubs’ ZiPS projections for the upcoming season last week … and if the projections are anywhere near accurate three players on the Cubs’ roster will have an excellent 2013 season.

ZiPS is projecting All-Star type seasons from Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo with Jeff Samardzija posting a 3.62 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP with 172 strikeouts in 169 innings over 27 starts. ZiPS is projecting Castro to put together a .294/.332/.446/.778 slash line with 31 doubles, 12 triples and 14 home runs while Rizzo will lead the Cubs in home runs with 31 while posting a .279/.349/.503/.852 slash line with 32 doubles and two triples in 642 plate appearances.

Here is how ZiPS projects the Cubs’ 40-Man roster to perform in 2013 …

Dan Szymborski developed the computer-based projection system (sZymborski Projection System) that uses an intricate formula to give an estimate for the most notable pitching and hitting stats. Click here for the complete ZiPS projections for the 2013 Chicago Cubs … that includes an estimated WAR for each player.

Pitching Staff

Slash line key: G/GS/ERA/IP/SO/BB/H/BABIP/FIP

  • Scott Baker – 19/18/3.95/112/100/30/111/.296/3.82
  • Scott Feldman – 25/17/4.31/109/79/31/115/.299/3.87
  • Matt Garza – 25/25/3.68/152/140/48/140/.283/3.69
  • Edwin Jackson – 30/30/3.91/188/159/60/183/.292/3.66
  • Jeff Samardzija – 27/27/3.62/169/172/54/153/.288/3.52
  • Travis Wood – 31/30/4.53/171/135/59/175/.292/4.39
  • Michael Bowden – 56/0/4.26/70/63/36/65/.285/4.37
  • Shawn Camp – 65/0/3.92/65/43/19/66/.289/3.72
  • Rafael Dolis – 54/0/4.90/65/44/35/66/.293/4.71
  • Kyuji Fujikawa – 54/0/3.38/51/57/19/44/.295/3.37
  • Carlos Marmol – 67/0/3.36/65/91/46/46/.297/3.61
  • Hector Rondon – 5/4/4.73/14/11/5/14/.301/4.75
  • James Russell – 72/0/3.92/69/56/24/67/.292/3.39
  • Alberto Cabrera – 72/0 /4.20/80/83/39/73/.298/4.07
  • Lendy Castillo – 22/6/4.79/42/33/20/43/.304/4.81
  • Trey McNutt – 29/18/6.22/89/52/53/107/.312/5.84
  • Brooks Raley – 23/23/5.58/120/65/48/146/.315/5.58
  • Chris Rusin – 27/26/5.16/135/79/54/154/.305/4.85
  • Arodys Vizcaino – 48/0/3.83/45/46/17/42/.303/3.77
  • Robert Whitenack – 15/15/5.53/57/32/33/63/.293/5.52

Click Here for Complete ZiPS Projections on FanGraphs

Position Players

Slash line key: PA/BA/OBP/SLG/OPS/BABIP/H/2B/3B/HR

  • Anthony Rizzo – 642/.279/.349/.503/.852/.311/160/32/2/31
  • Darwin Barney – 607/.270/.308/.360/.668/.298/153/26/5/5
  • Starlin Castro – 680/.294/.332/.446/.778/.321/187/31/12/14
  • Ian Stewart – 328/.210/.296/.376/.672/.270/61/11/2/11
  • Alfonso Soriano – 533/.249/.300/.470/.770/.284/131/27/2/26
  • David DeJesus – 507/.262/.341/.399/.740/.297/117/22/6/9
  • Nate Schierholtz – 312/.261/.315/.415/.730/.291/74/14/3/8
  • Welington Castillo – 375/.240/.309/.398/.707/.297/81/17/0/12
  • Dioner Navarro – 200/.246/.305/.374/.679/.270/44/9/1/4
  • Luis Valbuena – 548/.247/.319/.378/.697/.301/121/27/2/11
  • Dave Sappelt – 617/.267/.316/.381/.697/.307/151/28/6/8
  • Tony Campana – 441/.262/.306/.314/.620/.339/106/12/3/1
  • Steve Clevenger – 357/.261/.309/.361/.670/.300/86/20/2/3
  • Junior Lake – 522/.254/.295/.383/.678/.339/124/23/5/10
  • Christian Villanueva – 590/.236/.290/.362/.652/.283/127/26/3/12
  • Josh Vitters – 596/.262/.305/.413/.718/.294/145/29/2/17
  • Logan Watkins – 602/.245/.315/.354/.669/.305/131/18/8/8
  • Brett Jackson – 626/.230/.317/.403/.720/.339/126/24/10/17
  • Jorge Soler – (none)
  • Matt Szczur – 562/.256/.312/.361/.673/.300/132/24/6/6/6

Click Here for Complete ZiPS Projections on FanGraphs

It is highly unlikely that Christian Villanueva, Jorge Soler and Matt Szczur will see anytime with the Cubs next season and the same could be said about Robert Whitenack. Those three players are simply too far away from the big leagues and Whitenack would have pick-up where he left off before his Tommy John surgery in 2011 and pitch lights out with the I-Cubs before he would be called up to the big league team.

As the disclaimer on FanGraphs pointed out, ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performances and they have not been allocated to predict playing time in the majors. The complete list of players with ZiPS projections includes many that are not on the Cubs 40-man roster and a majority of those players are unlikely to play in the Major Leagues next season.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

Share on Fancred
  • scott

    So, with guys like Watkins or Scuzur, there projecting how they would perform in the unlikely event they got 550-600 PA at the ML level, not what they will do at AA, correct?

    • Ripsnorter1

      Here’s what they say about themselves:

      “ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors — many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2012. ZiPS is projecting equivalent production — a .240 ZiPS projection may end up being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example. Whether or not a player will play is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting the future.”

      This is “projecting equivalent production.” In other words, if they played in MLB, this is what ZIPS thinks they could do.

      Don’t get all starry-eyed over this stuff. It is wildly inaccurate. It says Josh Vitters could hit .262 in the Show. Not likely at all. Brett Jackson is going to hit .230 in the Show. If he could do that, he’d be your everyday CF. Don’t think he can do it. He hit .116 his 2nd month in the bigs, after ML pitchers adjusted to him.

      This is simply something to dream about as we wait for the snow to melt. That’s about all it is.

      • Rich Hood

        The only things that ZiPS seems to be good at is projecting WAR and Runs Created for established Major League players. The rest of it is just a white wash to give people something to talk about.

        I do like that they think Shark is going to take that next step to be that top of the rotation guy everyone has seemed to assume he is going to be now. Last year at this time we were all wondering if he was just another reliever being stretched out to fail. So that is a good thing.

        I still would move Shark in a heart beat if someone gave me top of the rotation returns because most guys do not do a Colby Lewis and max out their potential this late in their development.I know that a lot of people do not agree with me but he never did anything close to what he showed last year.

      • mutantbeast

        No, look at the ABS. They are projecting likely AAA numbers. Same with BJax.

    • Tony_Hall

      Short answer, yes.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Last year Rizzo did not star vs. LHP.
    But Rizzo raked about RHP.


    Vs. RHP…..318 BA…..508 slugging. We’ll take it!

    Vs. LHP…..208 BA….356 slugging. Them’s Mr. Carlos Pena (of .196 BA in 2010 and .197 BA in 2012) fame.

    Rizzo can develop. He’s very likely to improve. But he’s not yet Joey Votto.

    • Tony_Hall


      1st full year 2008
      589 PA’s
      297/368/506/874 – 24 HR’s 84 RBI’s

      2nd full year 2009
      544 PA’s
      322/414/567/981 – 25 HR’s 84 RBI’s

      Rizzo 2012
      368 PA’s
      285/342/463/805 – 15 HR’s 48 RBI’s

      Votto hit a HR every 23.1 PA his 1st 2 years
      Rizzo hit one 24.5

      I don’t think Rizzo turns into the offensive force that Votto has, but he might not be as far behind, if he keeps improving.

      • mutantbeast

        Rizzo is already better defensively. Votto plays in that bandbox ballpark in Cincy. If Rizzo becomes anything close to Votto, you have a superstar.Heres to hoping he does.

      • daverj

        Votto has an MVP season along other superstar seasons. Hard to compare any young player to a guy like that. Rizzo has a long way to go and most likely will never reach Votto levels. That said, even without reaching Votto’s numbers, Rizzo could be a very valuable all star caliber first baseman for the next decade.

        • Tony_Hall

          I was trying to compare their similar 1st years. I think Rizzo has the potential to be a Top 5 1B (obviously high side) to a league average 1B (12-16 range)

          I believe the LH Rizzo will really enjoy hitting at Wrigley.

  • Aaron

    If you look at some of these sites with projections from scouting services, etc., they tend to be pretty far off, as mentioned.

    It’s really difficult to project 20-something year olds, because they often times have many extenuating circumstances that affect their play, such as: coaching, personal life, strength training, etc. Sometimes, if players in their 20’s reach MLB in their early 20’s, then you can make a case that by their mid-to-late 20’s, you can predict fairly accurately what they might produce. But even then, you’re still talking about young guys that can add muscle strength until about the age of 28 when the type of muscle strength that makes a big difference (fast twitch, etc) begins to regress because your body stops producing a regeneration enzyme.

    When players are in their 30’s, you almost always know roughly the type of season they are capable of having.

    Guys like Castillo, Rizzo, Barney, Castro, Valbuena, Stewart, BJax, and even Schierholtz are difficult to predict.

    But we have a pretty good idea of what Soriano and DeJesus will bring to the table….

    • Dorasaga

      “[20-something year olds] often times have many extenuating
      circumstances that affect their play, such as: coaching, personal life,
      strength training,” yup, can’t agree more.

      Patience is a virtue, for player development. The management will want to see each of these young athletes 300 PA on each level, before making any judgement of their development.

      Then that day will come when Hoyer & Co. ask themselves: Do we want to wait two more years (from AA to MLB) and see what the player will do at age 24? Or we trade him now? So the team gains core competitiveness, will it?

  • Cubs4ever

    The projection to me that is comical is saying Matt Garza will throw 152 innings and Travis Wood will throw 171 innings. Lol!!!!!Other than last year Garza has thrown 198,204 and 203 IP. Travis Wood has never thrown more than 156 innings in the majors and he might not even be in the rotation.

  • paulcatanese

    Wow, buy or reserve you’re World Series tickets now, they can’t miss.:)

  • John G

    The only thing you can accurately predict is last year’s results.

  • Pingback: ZiPS Projections for the 2013 Chicago Cubs | Chicago Ticket Hub()

  • Dorasaga

    I guess we as fans of Cubs and CCO like to get to the “know of things,” so I’ll paraphrase what Bill James said about prediction tools such as zips:

    All methods were not very good at predicting pitching as a whole. The ERA, the WHIP, and so on. They are good ENOUGH to predict parts, the K9, the walk rate, and so on. But it’s a human game, and weirder things happen when humans take actions.

    It shouldn’t be the job of zips to predict “accuracy” of conventional pitching performances. The predicted result are there, fun “toys,” leave us subjects to make fun of. The prediction comes useful (or more accurate) when we prefer to look at three years or an abundance of samples, and the tool differentiates the various aspects of pitching.

    Say, Travis Wood is a career 7 K9 guy. He helped the team with 120 Ks in 150 innings pitched. Now, if he ever raises his bar and contributed 170 innings, he’ll K 130+. Now then, we as Cubs fans can go deeper, since we know what’s behind Wood’s abilities:

    If Wood at age 30 as a LHP can whiff 4-5 opponents every game of 6-7 innings, with his mediocre breaker and a good cutter, then like many LHP who learned pitching slower than average, Wood might deliver and pitch 7-8 innings at times. He might learn a different curve, better command, at least during spring training, then he’ll be a solid Number 4 of the rotation, pitching 170 innings and whiff more. Most cutter guys didn’t whiff much. He’ll need that breaker and keep it with him.

    Maybe he’ll not. He’ll turn out to be a mediocre longman. We don’t know from the zips and other predictions. What we know is, Wood at age 30 and a southpaw could pitch 120 Ks per 150 innings. Just with that, then we still want him back to the team, because not a lot of pitchers can do that on the Major League level.