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 [here] are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2008. 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.
Long story short, ZiPS looks at what players have done in the past and gives an educated guess as to what they may do in this coming season. The process of projecting players is still not a perfect science by any stretch of the imagination, but the math whizzes who enjoy the game do a great job of giving us fodder for off-season discussion—and maybe a leg up in next year’s fantasy leagues.
Rather than point out the surprises or wax pessimistic on the team’s outlook, I figured I’d plug Dan’s projections into David Pinto’s Lineup Analysis tool and see what our starting nine might do at the plate.
The Lineup Analysis tool is based on work by Cyril Morong, Ken Arneson and Ryan Armbrust. It optimizes a list of nine players based on on-base and slugging percentages.
For the sake of this effort, I used the following players (and numbers) as my Pirate starters:
C – Ronny Paulino, 2008 ZiPS: .263/.321/.366
1B – Adam LaRoche, .272/.348/.492
2B – Freddy Sanchez, .298/.340/.415
3B – Jose Bautista, .249/.329/.415
SS – Jack Wilson, .261/.313/.361
LF – Jason Bay, .265/.361/.478
CF – Nate McLouth, .259/.329/.415
RF – Xavier Nady, .259/.319/.449
SP – Ian Snell, Career: .066/.103/.074
The ideal batting order according to the computer for those nine?
1. Sanchez, 2B
2. Bay, LF
3. McLouth, CF
4. LaRoche, 1B
5. Bautista, 3B
6. Wilson, SS
7. Paulino, C
8. Nady, RF
9. Snell, SP
They’d score 4.157 runs per game. According to Jake, the Pirates scored 4.47 runs per game in 2007; the average MLB team scored 4.83 rpg; the Pirates allowed an average of 5.26 rpg.