Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections, which have typically appeared in the pages of Baseball Think Factory, will be released at FanGraphs this year. Below are the projections for the Chicago Cubs. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski. Other 2013 Projections: Astros / Athletics / Giants / Nationals / Phillies / Rangers. Batters The Cubs are projected by ZiPS to have, in shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, to have a pair of basically All Star-type players who are also just 23 years old. Those are good kinds of players to have — especially for a team that isn’t likely to be very competitive this season, but has the resources to invest in free agents if and when such a thing is called for in the near future. The rest of the starting lineup — besides human-shaped albatross Alfonso Soriano, that is — is a combination of decent organizational products (Darwin Barney, Wellington Castillo) and low-risk free agents (David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz) acquired since the arrival of Theo Epstein et al. Pitchers In Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, and recent signing Edwin Jackson, Chicago has a perfectly reputable triumvirate atop its starting rotation — one that ZiPS regards as worth something like nine wins. Before the Cubs signed Scott Feldman, our Dave Cameron had hailed — or, at least something close to hailed — him (i.e. Feldman) as “one of the best buys on the market.” His innings projection reflects the swing role he filled in Texas, which saw him make 45 starts and 24 relief appearances, for example, over the last three seasons. ZiPS is rather optimistic about the bullpen — and, specifically, about Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, who signed a two-year, $9.5 million deal with the Cubs this offseason. Included here is also a projection for Kerry Wood — just for curiosity value, as Szymborski does for all notable, newly retired players. Bench/Prospects Despite a major-league debut that saw him strike out in 41.5% of his 142 plate appearances, outfielder Brett Jackson (who enters his age-24 season) still receives a rather optimistic projection here, at 2.3 WAR. Futhermore, ZiPS regards second baseman Logan Watkins, shortstop Junior Lake, and outfielder Matt Szczur — though none of them is likely to break camp with the major-league team — as better than replacement-level. Szczur and Watkins finished first and third, respectively, among all prospect-age hitters in the Arizona Fall League by regressed batting. There’s also some depth on the pitching side, too: both Scott Baker (signed for one year at $5.5 million) and Arodys Vizcaino (acquired in the deal that sent Paul Maholm to Atlanta last summer) are scheduled to return from Tommy John surgery at some point in April or May. Depth Chart Here’s a rough depth chart for the Cubs, with rounded projected WAR totals for each player (click to embiggen): Ballpark graphic courtesy Eephus League. Credit to MLB Depth Charts for roster information. Batters, Counting Stats Player B Age PO PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS Starlin Castro R 23 SS 680 85 187 31 12 14 77 24 11 Anthony Rizzo L 23 1B 642 85 160 32 2 31 109 7 5 Darwin Barney R 27 2B 607 77 153 26 5 5 49 8 2 Brett Jackson L 24 CF 626 79 126 24 10 17 61 22 9 Alfonso Soriano R 37 LF 533 58 123 27 2 26 91 4 2 Logan Watkins L 23 2B 602 75 131 18 8 8 52 21 7 Welington Castillo R 26 C 375 39 81 17 0 12 45 0 0 Junior Lake R 23 SS 522 62 124 23 5 10 49 26 10 Matt Szczur R 23 CF 562 69 132 24 6 6 46 28 12 Bryan LaHair L 30 1B 478 55 110 23 0 22 62 3 1 Luis Valbuena L 27 SS 548 57 121 27 2 11 56 4 3 Josh Vitters R 23 3B 596 63 145 29 2 17 74 7 8 David DeJesus L 33 RF 507 64 117 22 6 9 46 4 6 Tony Campana L 27 CF 441 56 106 12 3 1 21 43 12 Christian Villanueva R 22 3B 590 56 127 26 3 12 56 20 13 Adrian Cardenas L 25 2B 508 58 121 27 3 3 45 6 4 Steve Clevenger L 27 C 357 31 86 20 2 3 36 1 2 Nate Schierholtz L 29 RF 312 35 74 14 3 8 30 4 3 Dioner Navarro B 29 C 200 20 44 9 1 4 22 1 0 Dave Sappelt R 26 RF 617 64 151 28 6 8 51 14 11 Ian Stewart L 28 3B 328 32 61 11 2 11 35 3 3 Alfredo Amezaga B 35 SS 283 29 62 10 1 3 29 4 2 Brad Nelson L 30 1B 523 50 108 23 1 16 53 1 1 Brian Bogusevic L 29 RF 470 54 94 17 3 7 41 16 3 J.C. Boscan R 33 C 256 19 47 11 0 2 16 1 1 Ty Wright R 28 LF 385 42 91 19 1 6 40 3 2 Edwin Maysonet R 31 SS 372 31 75 15 2 2 26 3 1 Alberto Gonzalez R 30 SS 205 19 49 8 2 1 18 1 1 Diory Hernandez R 29 3B 255 22 54 11 1 3 23 2 2 Matt Tolbert B 31 SS 347 34 71 12 3 1 21 7 4 Johermyn Chavez R 24 RF 498 60 100 18 4 12 50 3 7 Joe Mather R 30 LF 327 30 68 15 1 6 28 5 3 *** Batters, Rates and Averages Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA Starlin Castro 680 5.3% 12.9% .152 .321 .294 .332 .446 .333 Anthony Rizzo 642 8.7% 20.6% .224 .311 .279 .349 .503 .362 Darwin Barney 607 4.8% 11.4% .090 .298 .270 .308 .360 .292 Brett Jackson 626 10.7% 34.0% .173 .339 .230 .317 .403 .314 Alfonso Soriano 533 6.0% 24.2% .221 .284 .249 .300 .470 .326 Logan Watkins 602 8.3% 20.9% .109 .305 .245 .315 .354 .295 Welington Castillo 375 8.0% 25.6% .158 .297 .240 .309 .398 .307 Junior Lake 522 4.8% 27.6% .129 .339 .254 .295 .383 .297 Matt Szczur 562 7.1% 16.4% .105 .300 .256 .312 .361 .297 Bryan LaHair 478 9.0% 27.0% .207 .311 .255 .322 .462 .332 Luis Valbuena 548 9.3% 21.2% .131 .301 .247 .319 .378 .305 Josh Vitters 596 5.0% 17.8% .151 .294 .262 .305 .413 .307 David DeJesus 507 9.3% 15.0% .137 .297 .262 .341 .399 .320 Tony Campana 441 5.4% 21.5% .052 .339 .262 .306 .314 .280 Christian Villanueva 590 4.9% 21.5% .126 .283 .236 .290 .362 .282 Adrian Cardenas 508 7.7% 13.2% .091 .299 .263 .320 .354 .293 Steve Clevenger 357 6.4% 14.6% .100 .300 .261 .309 .361 .291 Nate Schierholtz 312 7.1% 16.7% .154 .291 .261 .315 .415 .309 Dioner Navarro 200 7.5% 14.5% .128 .270 .246 .305 .374 .288 Dave Sappelt 617 6.3% 15.4% .114 .307 .267 .316 .381 .298 Ian Stewart 328 10.1% 29.3% .166 .270 .210 .296 .376 .286 Alfredo Amezaga 283 6.7% 16.6% .081 .278 .238 .291 .319 .268 Brad Nelson 523 9.0% 22.9% .155 .271 .230 .298 .385 .297 Brian Bogusevic 470 9.4% 23.6% .105 .288 .224 .305 .329 .286 J.C. Boscan 256 5.9% 25.4% .072 .265 .199 .252 .271 .233 Ty Wright 385 5.2% 17.7% .109 .298 .256 .300 .365 .289 Edwin Maysonet 372 5.1% 20.4% .074 .278 .221 .269 .295 .247 Alberto Gonzalez 205 2.9% 14.1% .078 .291 .254 .281 .332 .261 Diory Hernandez 255 3.5% 18.4% .092 .267 .226 .258 .318 .248 Matt Tolbert 347 6.6% 18.2% .067 .278 .226 .282 .293 .249 Johermyn Chavez 498 6.8% 28.1% .137 .292 .222 .288 .359 .279 Joe Mather 327 6.4% 21.7% .116 .273 .226 .276 .342 .269 *** Batters, Assorted Other Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def WAR No.1 Comp Starlin Castro 680 5.7 109 -3 4.0 Robin Yount Anthony Rizzo 642 6.5 129 4 4.0 Kent Hrbek Darwin Barney 607 4.2 81 10 2.3 Jose Lind Brett Jackson 626 4.6 95 1 2.3 Larry Whisenton Alfonso Soriano 533 5.1 105 1 1.8 George Foster Logan Watkins 602 4.1 82 3 1.7 Scott Earl Welington Castillo 375 4.4 91 -1 1.6 John Buck Junior Lake 522 4.2 83 -2 1.5 Carlos Garcia Matt Szczur 562 4.2 83 3 1.5 Trey Beamon Bryan LaHair 478 5.4 110 -3 1.3 Paul Sorrento Luis Valbuena 548 4.3 89 -6 1.3 Jesus Alfaro Josh Vitters 596 4.4 93 -5 1.3 Willy Aybar David DeJesus 507 4.8 101 0 1.1 Dave Martinez Tony Campana 441 4.0 69 5 1.1 Willy Taveras Christian Villanueva 590 3.6 76 4 1.1 Tim Olson Adrian Cardenas 508 4.1 84 -3 0.8 Jeff Treadway Steve Clevenger 357 4.0 82 -3 0.8 Bobby Wilson Nate Schierholtz 312 4.7 97 1 0.8 Keith Hughes Dioner Navarro 200 4.1 84 0 0.7 Doug Newstrom Dave Sappelt 617 4.3 89 0 0.5 Pat Watkins Ian Stewart 328 3.7 81 -2 0.4 Sean Mcnally Alfredo Amezaga 283 3.3 66 -1 0.3 Alfredo Griffin Brad Nelson 523 4.0 84 0 0.1 Todd Mensik Brian Bogusevic 470 3.7 73 0 0.1 Kevin Koslofski J.C. Boscan 256 2.3 43 2 -0.1 Charlie Greene Ty Wright 385 4.0 80 -1 -0.1 Jeff Frazier Edwin Maysonet 372 2.8 54 -1 -0.1 Chris Petersen Alberto Gonzalez 205 3.3 66 -4 -0.2 Alvaro Espinoza Diory Hernandez 255 2.8 56 1 -0.2 Carlo Colombino Matt Tolbert 347 2.8 57 -3 -0.3 Pablo Martinez Johermyn Chavez 498 3.3 75 0 -0.4 Jeremy Dodson Joe Mather 327 3.3 67 -2 -0.6 John Giudice *** Pitchers, Counting Stats Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER Jeff Samardzija R 28 27 27 169.0 172 54 19 153 73 68 Edwin Jackson R 29 30 30 186.7 159 60 19 183 87 81 Matt Garza R 29 25 25 151.7 140 48 17 140 66 62 Scott Baker R 31 19 18 111.7 100 30 14 111 52 49 Carlos Villanueva R 29 34 14 110.7 100 41 14 102 52 49 Travis Wood L 26 31 30 171.0 135 59 23 175 92 86 Scott Feldman R 30 25 17 108.7 79 31 11 115 56 52 Carlos Marmol R 30 67 0 64.3 91 46 5 46 26 24 Kyuji Fujikawa R 23 54 0 50.7 57 19 5 44 20 19 James Russell L 27 72 0 68.3 56 24 6 67 31 29 Shawn Camp R 37 65 0 64.3 43 19 6 66 30 28 Arodys Vizcaino R 22 48 0 44.7 46 17 5 42 20 19 Alberto Cabrera R 24 72 0 79.3 83 39 9 73 40 37 Kerry Wood R 36 29 0 27.3 29 15 3 24 13 12 Michael Bowden R 26 56 0 69.7 63 36 8 65 35 33 Jason Berken R 29 35 12 90.3 61 39 11 100 52 49 Lendy Castillo R 24 22 6 41.3 33 20 5 43 24 22 Hector Rondon R 25 5 4 13.3 11 5 2 14 7 7 Andrew Carpenter R 28 36 12 94.3 69 38 13 101 56 52 Cory Wade R 30 49 0 60.3 45 18 8 62 32 30 Chris Rusin L 26 27 26 134.3 79 54 16 154 82 77 Miguel Socolovich R 26 39 0 58.3 50 33 6 57 32 30 Casey Coleman R 25 29 19 112.0 76 51 14 124 70 65 Rodrigo Lopez R 37 22 18 102.3 58 38 15 117 64 60 Jaye Chapman R 26 51 0 62.7 57 43 7 61 35 33 Horacio Ramirez L 33 19 2 28.3 12 9 4 34 18 17 Jensen Lewis R 29 45 0 48.0 34 24 6 51 28 26 Robert Whitenack R 24 15 15 57.0 32 33 7 63 37 35 Manuel Corpas R 30 61 0 71.7 45 27 9 76 41 38 Blake Parker R 28 41 0 50.3 44 28 7 51 30 28 Rafael Dolis R 25 54 0 64.3 44 35 6 66 37 35 Brooks Raley L 25 23 23 119.3 65 48 15 146 79 74 Seth McClung R 32 20 16 90.0 52 63 10 102 62 58 Trey McNutt R 23 29 18 88.3 52 53 13 107 65 61 Ryan Rowland-Smith L 30 27 15 92.0 57 47 15 115 68 64 *** Pitchers, Rates and Averages Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP- Jeff Samardzija 169.0 714 24.1% 7.6% .288 3.62 3.52 90 87 Edwin Jackson 186.7 803 19.8% 7.5% .292 3.91 3.66 97 91 Matt Garza 151.7 643 21.8% 7.5% .283 3.68 3.69 91 92 Scott Baker 111.7 476 21.0% 6.3% .296 3.95 3.82 98 95 Carlos Villanueva 110.7 475 21.0% 8.6% .278 3.98 4.04 99 100 Travis Wood 171.0 747 18.1% 7.9% .292 4.53 4.39 112 109 Scott Feldman 108.7 472 16.7% 6.6% .299 4.31 3.87 107 96 Carlos Marmol 64.3 285 31.9% 16.1% .297 3.36 3.61 83 89 Kyuji Fujikawa 50.7 215 26.5% 8.8% .295 3.38 3.37 84 83 James Russell 68.3 296 18.9% 8.1% .292 3.82 3.39 95 84 Shawn Camp 64.3 278 15.5% 6.8% .289 3.92 3.72 97 92 Arodys Vizcaino 44.7 193 23.8% 8.8% .303 3.83 3.77 95 93 Alberto Cabrera 79.3 350 23.7% 11.1% .298 4.20 4.07 104 101 Kerry Wood 27.3 121 24.0% 12.4% .292 3.95 4.16 98 103 Michael Bowden 69.7 310 20.3% 11.6% .285 4.26 4.37 106 108 Jason Berken 90.3 410 14.9% 9.5% .303 4.88 4.76 121 118 Lendy Castillo 41.3 187 17.7% 10.7% .304 4.79 4.81 119 119 Hector Rondon 13.3 59 18.7% 8.5% .301 4.73 4.75 117 118 Andrew Carpenter 94.3 422 16.4% 9.0% .296 4.96 4.76 123 118 Cory Wade 60.3 261 17.2% 6.9% .287 4.48 4.27 111 106 Chris Rusin 134.3 611 12.9% 8.8% .305 5.16 4.85 128 120 Miguel Socolovich 58.3 265 18.9% 12.5% .295 4.63 4.52 115 112 Casey Coleman 112.0 511 14.9% 10.0% .302 5.22 4.81 129 119 Rodrigo Lopez 102.3 462 12.6% 8.2% .295 5.28 5.10 131 126 Jaye Chapman 62.7 292 19.5% 14.7% .300 4.74 4.83 117 120 Horacio Ramirez 28.3 128 9.4% 7.0% .297 5.40 5.14 134 127 Jensen Lewis 48.0 219 15.5% 11.0% .296 4.88 4.87 121 121 Robert Whitenack 57.0 267 12.0% 12.4% .293 5.53 5.52 137 137 Manuel Corpas 71.7 318 14.1% 8.5% .289 4.77 4.64 118 115 Blake Parker 50.3 230 19.1% 12.2% .297 5.01 4.94 124 122 Rafael Dolis 64.3 294 15.0% 11.9% .293 4.90 4.71 121 117 Brooks Raley 119.3 552 11.8% 8.7% .315 5.58 5.02 138 124 Seth McClung 90.0 435 12.0% 14.5% .303 5.80 5.62 144 139 Trey McNutt 88.3 425 12.2% 12.5% .312 6.22 5.84 154 145 Ryan Rowland-Smith 92.0 438 13.0% 10.7% .319 6.26 5.67 155 140 *** Pitchers, Assorted Other Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ WAR No. 1 Comp Jeff Samardzija 169.0 9.16 2.88 1.01 109 3.1 Kirk McCaskill Edwin Jackson 186.7 7.66 2.89 0.92 101 2.8 Kris Benson Matt Garza 151.7 8.31 2.85 1.01 107 2.7 Kelly Downs Scott Baker 111.7 8.06 2.42 1.13 100 1.6 Hideki Irabu Carlos Villanueva 110.7 8.13 3.33 1.14 99 1.4 Jorge Sosa Travis Wood 171.0 7.11 3.11 1.21 87 1.3 Lance Painter Scott Feldman 108.7 6.54 2.57 0.91 92 1.0 Sean Bergman Carlos Marmol 64.3 12.74 6.44 0.70 117 0.9 Ryne Duren Kyuji Fujikawa 50.7 10.12 3.37 0.89 117 0.7 Robb Nen James Russell 68.3 7.38 3.16 0.79 103 0.5 Bill Moloney Shawn Camp 64.3 6.02 2.66 0.84 101 0.4 Rick White Arodys Vizcaino 44.7 9.26 3.42 1.01 103 0.3 Antonio Osuna Alberto Cabrera 79.3 9.42 4.43 1.02 94 0.2 Toby Borland Kerry Wood 27.3 9.56 4.95 0.99 100 0.2 Rich DeLucia Michael Bowden 69.7 8.13 4.65 1.03 93 0.2 Justin Hedrick Jason Berken 90.3 6.08 3.89 1.10 81 0.1 Andy Mitchell Lendy Castillo 41.3 7.19 4.36 1.09 82 0.1 Nick DeBarr Hector Rondon 13.3 7.44 3.38 1.35 83 0.1 Luis Vasquez Andrew Carpenter 94.3 6.59 3.63 1.24 80 0.0 Keith Linebarger Cory Wade 60.3 6.72 2.69 1.19 88 0.0 Dan Giese Chris Rusin 134.3 5.29 3.62 1.07 76 0.0 Wes Whisler Miguel Socolovich 58.3 7.72 5.09 0.93 85 -0.1 Marc Pisciotta Casey Coleman 112.0 6.11 4.10 1.13 76 -0.2 Dane Anthony Rodrigo Lopez 102.3 5.10 3.34 1.32 75 -0.2 Aaron Sele Jaye Chapman 62.7 8.18 6.17 1.00 83 -0.2 Marc Pisciotta Horacio Ramirez 28.3 3.82 2.86 1.27 73 -0.2 Bob Miller Jensen Lewis 48.0 6.38 4.50 1.13 81 -0.3 Jarod Juelsgaard Robert Whitenack 57.0 5.05 5.21 1.11 71 -0.3 Tim Harrell Manuel Corpas 71.7 5.65 3.39 1.13 83 -0.3 Brandon Puffer Blake Parker 50.3 7.87 5.01 1.25 79 -0.3 Doug Gogolewski Rafael Dolis 64.3 6.16 4.90 0.84 81 -0.4 Blake Mayo Brooks Raley 119.3 4.90 3.62 1.13 71 -0.6 Wes Whisler Seth McClung 90.0 5.20 6.30 1.00 68 -0.8 Russ Ortiz Trey McNutt 88.3 5.30 5.40 1.33 63 -1.2 Jim Henderson Ryan Rowland-Smith 92.0 5.58 4.60 1.47 63 -1.3 Chris Peters *** Disclaimer: 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. Players are listed with their most recent teams unless Dan has made a mistake. This is very possible as a lot of minor-league signings are generally unreported in the offseason. ZiPS is projecting based on the AL having a 4.09 ERA and the NL having a 3.92 ERA. Players that are expected to be out due to injury are still projected. More information is always better than less information and a computer isn’t what should be projecting the injury status of, for example, a pitcher with Tommy John surgery. Regarding ERA+ vs. ERA- (and FIP+ vs. FIP-) and the differences therein: as Patriot notes here, they are not simply mirror images of each other. Writes Patriot: “ERA+ does not tell you that a pitcher’s ERA was X% less or more than the league’s ERA. It tells you that the league’s ERA was X% less or more than the pitcher’s ERA.” Both hitters and pitchers are ranked by projected WAR.
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