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, are being released at FanGraphs this year. Below are the projections for the Detroit Tigers. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski. Other 2013 Projections: Angels / Astros / Athletics / Blue Jays / Brewers / Cubs / Diamondbacks / Giants / Mets / Nationals / Phillies / Pirates / Rangers / Reds / Rockies / Royals / White Sox. Batters On the one hand, we know that the league-average BABIP generally settles within the .290-.300 range. On the other, we also know that Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson has posted a .370 BABIP over his first three seasons (ca. 2000 plate appearances). On the third hand — this being one of those rare instances in which a third hand is present — we know that true-talent BABIP tends not to exceed about .350. How does ZiPS handle a situation like this? Szymborski addressed a question along these very same lines on Wednesday, writing: “Short version: even at 1960 PA, you expect a player’s BABIP to regress ~43% toward mean.” Otherwise, here’s a point of interest: Andy Dirks is likely as productive a major-league corner outfielder as Torii Hunter, whom Detroit signed to a two-year, $26 million contract this offseason — and is likely a full win better than the departed Delmon Young. Pitchers There’s a ceiling of sorts — because of how his arm could just fall off or whatever — there’s a ceiling in terms of what we can reasonably project a starting pitcher to produce in any given season. Whatever that ceiling is for present major leaguers, however, that’s more or less where Justin Verlander is. By comparison, Max Scherzer — an obviously transcendent and ecstatic and handsome and ethnically German talent — isn’t even expected by ZiPS to produce four wins. Will the Tigers name Bruce Rondon to the closer’s role in 2013? It’s possible. What’s less possible is that he’s the Detroit reliever best suited to high-leverage innings. Joaquin Benoit, Brayan Villarreal, Octavio Dotel, Al Alburquerque, and even Drew Smyly: any of them would be an improvement over Rondon, according to Dan Szymborski’s computer math. Bench/Prospects Prospect analyst Marc Hulet recently ranked Nick Castellanos first among all Tigers prospects. His (Castellanos’s, not Hulet’s) profile suggests that — not entirely unlike Austin Jackson — he could sustain a high batting average on balls in play. Looking for an under-the-radar sort? ZiPS’ estimation of infield prospect Eugenio Suarez‘s abilities might be more optimistic than those found in scouting reports. Among pitchers, it would seem almost a moral necessity to find a role for left-hander Drew Smyly: after posting a 96 xFIP- in 99.1 innings last year, he’s projected to pitch along those same lines in 2013. Depth Chart Here’s a rough depth chart for the Tigers, 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 Miguel Cabrera R 30 3B 662 96 180 38 0 35 112 4 2 Prince Fielder L 29 1B 672 79 159 28 1 30 98 1 1 Austin Jackson R 26 CF 667 94 154 26 10 15 57 16 8 Alex Avila L 26 C 472 45 100 21 2 13 56 2 1 Torii Hunter R 37 RF 559 73 146 21 1 18 84 6 3 Jhonny Peralta R 31 SS 585 56 137 27 2 14 71 1 2 Omar Infante R 31 2B 561 61 145 22 4 9 51 9 3 Andy Dirks L 27 RF 486 62 124 22 3 12 49 11 3 Victor Martinez B 34 DH 446 48 116 23 0 12 64 1 0 Eugenio Suarez R 21 SS 620 64 128 28 4 12 55 15 11 Delmon Young R 27 LF 605 64 158 30 1 19 85 2 2 Nick Castellanos R 21 3B 632 57 155 29 3 14 59 5 5 Bryan Holaday R 25 C 323 26 67 13 1 4 24 3 0 Ramon Cabrera B 23 C 458 48 106 22 3 3 50 2 3 Danny Worth R 27 2B 396 38 82 16 2 5 29 10 4 Tyler Collins L 23 LF 516 49 121 26 3 10 58 12 3 Don Kelly L 33 3B 264 30 60 7 2 5 22 5 1 Ramon Santiago B 33 2B 289 25 63 8 2 4 23 1 1 Brennan Boesch L 28 RF 537 59 127 25 3 15 62 7 3 Brayan Pena B 31 C 226 19 54 11 1 3 27 1 1 Brad Davis R 30 C 327 28 67 15 1 5 33 3 0 Quintin Berry L 28 LF 493 55 102 16 4 3 36 32 5 Matt Tuiasosopo R 27 3B 465 53 90 14 1 10 50 4 3 Daniel Dorn L 28 1B 449 46 93 23 1 12 50 2 1 Jeff Kobernus R 25 2B 464 46 110 15 2 3 38 31 11 Hernan Perez R 22 2B 576 51 127 17 3 8 41 19 6 Kevin Russo R 28 3B 485 46 109 19 3 2 32 10 4 Dixon Machado R 21 SS 546 45 102 12 2 2 32 18 6 Argenis Diaz R 26 SS 431 36 94 13 1 0 26 7 5 Brent Dlugach R 30 2B 277 25 55 10 1 5 22 4 2 Avisail Garcia R 22 RF 602 57 143 16 5 12 53 16 10 John Lindsey R 36 1B 444 42 91 19 1 14 56 0 1 Daniel Fields L 22 CF 489 41 96 15 3 6 35 14 9 Cale Iorg R 27 2B 391 31 71 15 1 5 25 8 5 *** Batters, Rates and Averages Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA Miguel Cabrera 662 11.8% 14.4% .248 .322 .313 .394 .561 .387 Prince Fielder 672 13.8% 15.3% .215 .299 .284 .397 .499 .368 Austin Jackson 667 10.2% 24.0% .155 .336 .263 .341 .418 .328 Alex Avila 472 13.1% 24.6% .159 .314 .248 .349 .407 .329 Torii Hunter 559 7.2% 20.6% .151 .338 .287 .344 .438 .340 Jhonny Peralta 585 7.7% 17.6% .137 .293 .258 .315 .395 .307 Omar Infante 561 4.3% 10.5% .109 .296 .278 .308 .387 .299 Andy Dirks 486 5.6% 16.5% .142 .310 .276 .319 .418 .319 Victor Martinez 446 7.6% 10.5% .145 .295 .286 .339 .431 .329 Eugenio Suarez 620 6.3% 23.2% .128 .284 .228 .289 .356 .280 Delmon Young 605 3.6% 16.7% .156 .304 .277 .307 .433 .317 Nick Castellanos 632 4.6% 25.3% .129 .331 .261 .296 .390 .295 Bryan Holaday 323 5.6% 21.4% .092 .280 .226 .278 .318 .262 Ramon Cabrera 458 7.6% 11.8% .090 .285 .255 .314 .345 .286 Danny Worth 396 7.6% 24.0% .098 .297 .230 .292 .328 .274 Tyler Collins 516 6.2% 13.8% .130 .278 .254 .304 .384 .302 Don Kelly 264 6.4% 15.2% .107 .278 .248 .302 .355 .291 Ramon Santiago 289 6.6% 14.5% .094 .280 .247 .310 .341 .279 Brennan Boesch 537 6.0% 21.2% .152 .302 .256 .305 .408 .308 Brayan Pena 226 4.4% 11.5% .105 .276 .257 .289 .362 .281 Brad Davis 327 5.5% 24.8% .106 .282 .220 .267 .326 .261 Quintin Berry 493 8.1% 27.2% .076 .326 .232 .304 .308 .282 Matt Tuiasosopo 465 9.0% 28.4% .112 .291 .217 .294 .329 .275 Daniel Dorn 449 7.3% 28.7% .149 .301 .229 .294 .378 .293 Jeff Kobernus 464 3.4% 20.9% .064 .315 .252 .279 .316 .263 Hernan Perez 576 3.8% 17.4% .087 .272 .235 .267 .322 .259 Kevin Russo 485 6.4% 18.6% .070 .301 .245 .300 .315 .274 Dixon Machado 546 6.6% 16.7% .044 .248 .206 .262 .250 .231 Argenis Diaz 431 6.0% 19.0% .038 .297 .237 .284 .275 .248 Brent Dlugach 277 5.1% 33.2% .105 .309 .214 .258 .319 .253 Avisail Garcia 602 2.7% 25.1% .108 .315 .248 .276 .356 .272 John Lindsey 444 5.2% 27.7% .155 .283 .224 .284 .379 .287 Daniel Fields 489 5.9% 27.8% .087 .288 .212 .265 .299 .248 Cale Iorg 391 3.1% 33.5% .086 .278 .191 .222 .277 .217 *** Batters, Assorted Other Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def WAR No.1 Comp Miguel Cabrera 662 8.7 157 -6 7.0 Eddie Mathews Prince Fielder 672 7.5 143 -5 4.3 Alvin Davis Austin Jackson 667 5.2 106 6 3.5 Matt Kemp Alex Avila 472 5.1 105 -1 2.7 Chris Iannetta Torii Hunter 559 5.7 111 3 2.4 Lee Lacy Jhonny Peralta 585 4.5 92 2 2.4 Brook Jacoby Omar Infante 561 4.5 88 4 1.9 Mark Grudzielanek Andy Dirks 486 5.1 99 3 1.5 Greg Briley Victor Martinez 446 5.5 108 0 1.2 Magglio Ordonez Eugenio Suarez 620 3.5 75 0 1.1 Ian Desmond Delmon Young 605 4.9 99 -4 0.9 Luis Montanez Nick Castellanos 632 4.1 85 -4 0.9 Brook Jacoby Bryan Holaday 323 3.2 62 4 0.8 Matt Garrick Ramon Cabrera 458 3.8 80 -5 0.7 Gregg Zaun Danny Worth 396 3.4 69 3 0.5 Scott Leius Tyler Collins 516 4.4 86 0 0.5 David Murphy Don Kelly 264 4.0 78 -1 0.4 Dan Rohn Ramon Santiago 289 3.8 77 0 0.3 Casey Candaele Brennan Boesch 537 4.6 92 -5 0.3 Dustan Mohr Brayan Pena 226 3.8 76 -2 0.3 Rick Cerone Brad Davis 327 3.1 61 -1 0.3 Frank Charles Quintin Berry 493 3.8 68 3 0.3 Jeff Stone Matt Tuiasosopo 465 3.3 70 0 0.2 Ryan Owens Daniel Dorn 449 3.9 82 0 -0.1 Oreste Marrero Jeff Kobernus 464 3.4 62 -2 -0.1 Greg Tabor Hernan Perez 576 3.2 60 0 -0.2 Julio Cordido Kevin Russo 485 3.4 68 -4 -0.2 Chico Ruiz Dixon Machado 546 2.4 41 4 -0.3 Neifi Perez Argenis Diaz 431 2.7 54 0 -0.3 Benny Ruiz Brent Dlugach 277 2.8 56 -2 -0.4 Paul Hoover Avisail Garcia 602 3.5 71 1 -0.6 Pedro Munoz John Lindsey 444 3.7 79 -4 -0.7 Willie Horton Daniel Fields 489 2.6 53 -3 -1.1 Jason Lee Cale Iorg 391 2.0 35 -1 -1.3 Jason Dellaero *** Pitchers, Counting Stats Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER Justin Verlander R 30 32 32 221.3 219 58 19 186 81 76 Max Scherzer R 28 31 31 186.7 196 58 22 180 88 82 Doug Fister R 29 27 27 171.0 117 34 16 178 80 75 Anibal Sanchez R 29 30 30 185.0 143 50 21 194 93 87 Drew Smyly L 24 30 29 167.3 147 58 19 165 83 78 Rick Porcello R 24 31 31 179.0 107 45 18 210 101 94 Adam Wilk L 25 27 27 153.7 70 35 18 179 89 83 Brayan Villarreal R 26 59 0 66.3 80 37 6 52 28 26 Joaquin Benoit R 35 63 0 58.0 66 17 8 50 26 24 Octavio Dotel R 39 51 0 46.7 48 12 4 42 19 18 Jose Valverde R 35 63 0 60.0 51 26 5 55 28 26 Phil Coke L 30 68 0 59.3 51 22 5 63 30 28 Al Alburquerque R 27 30 0 34.7 41 19 3 30 16 15 Darin Downs L 28 49 0 56.7 44 23 5 60 30 28 Luis Marte R 26 35 0 50.7 41 27 6 53 30 28 Shawn Hill R 32 13 12 69.3 29 24 10 85 47 44 Kenny Faulk L 26 46 0 55.3 46 32 6 59 34 32 Chris Bootcheck R 34 29 3 42.7 28 27 5 48 29 27 Michael Morrison R 25 40 0 54.0 46 35 7 56 34 32 Michael Dubee R 27 45 0 63.7 41 29 8 72 41 38 Bruce Rondon R 22 51 0 45.0 42 34 6 46 30 28 Duane Below L 27 29 14 90.3 51 34 14 111 62 58 Ryan Robowski L 25 36 0 53.7 32 21 7 64 35 33 Trevor Bell R 26 23 13 74.0 41 32 11 91 52 49 Zack Segovia R 30 29 6 61.3 29 25 9 76 44 41 Jose Alvarez L 24 25 24 125.3 56 40 20 159 89 83 Melvin Mercedes R 22 24 0 35.3 16 20 8 47 31 29 Pat Misch L 31 24 21 120.3 58 36 23 156 90 84 Luke Putkonen R 27 31 12 93.0 42 45 15 120 72 67 Jose Ortega R 24 43 0 59.3 41 53 8 68 47 44 Casey Crosby L 24 24 24 116.3 74 89 18 134 90 84 Kyle Lobstein L 23 25 24 118.7 66 71 22 147 94 88 *** Pitchers, Rates and Averages Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP- Justin Verlander 221.3 908 24.1% 6.4% .275 3.09 3.06 74 73 Max Scherzer 186.7 798 24.6% 7.3% .306 3.95 3.54 95 85 Doug Fister 171.0 725 16.1% 4.7% .295 3.95 3.66 95 88 Anibal Sanchez 185.0 799 17.9% 6.3% .298 4.23 3.85 101 92 Drew Smyly 167.3 725 20.3% 8.0% .294 4.20 3.93 101 94 Rick Porcello 179.0 792 13.5% 5.7% .312 4.73 4.04 113 97 Adam Wilk 153.7 675 10.4% 5.2% .297 4.86 4.49 116 108 Brayan Villarreal 66.3 288 27.8% 12.9% .282 3.53 3.49 85 84 Joaquin Benoit 58.0 241 27.4% 7.1% .282 3.72 3.49 89 84 Octavio Dotel 46.7 194 24.7% 6.2% .294 3.47 2.80 83 67 Jose Valverde 60.0 261 19.5% 10.0% .284 3.90 3.78 93 91 Phil Coke 59.3 263 19.4% 8.4% .319 4.25 3.53 102 85 Al Alburquerque 34.7 153 26.8% 12.4% .306 3.89 3.58 93 86 Darin Downs 56.7 253 17.4% 9.1% .309 4.45 4.01 107 96 Luis Marte 50.7 232 17.7% 11.6% .303 4.97 4.67 119 112 Shawn Hill 69.3 317 9.2% 7.6% .300 5.71 5.35 137 128 Kenny Faulk 55.3 257 17.9% 12.5% .312 5.20 4.74 125 114 Chris Bootcheck 42.7 203 13.8% 13.3% .307 5.70 5.34 137 128 Michael Morrison 54.0 253 18.2% 13.8% .302 5.33 5.13 128 123 Michael Dubee 63.7 292 14.0% 9.9% .305 5.37 4.90 129 117 Bruce Rondon 45.0 215 19.5% 15.8% .308 5.60 5.30 134 127 Duane Below 90.3 416 12.3% 8.2% .310 5.78 5.21 139 125 Ryan Robowski 53.7 246 13.0% 8.5% .313 5.53 4.94 133 118 Trevor Bell 74.0 345 11.9% 9.3% .311 5.96 5.34 143 128 Zack Segovia 61.3 285 10.2% 8.8% .306 6.02 5.38 144 129 Jose Alvarez 125.3 575 9.7% 7.0% .309 5.96 5.43 143 130 Melvin Mercedes 35.3 173 9.3% 11.6% .310 7.39 7.09 177 170 Pat Misch 120.3 553 10.5% 6.5% .310 6.28 5.64 151 135 Luke Putkonen 93.0 444 9.5% 10.1% .313 6.48 5.90 155 141 Jose Ortega 59.3 299 13.7% 17.7% .311 6.67 6.25 160 150 Casey Crosby 116.3 572 12.9% 15.6% .303 6.50 6.31 156 151 Kyle Lobstein 118.7 574 11.5% 12.4% .308 6.67 6.41 160 154 *** Pitchers, Assorted Other Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ WAR No. 1 Comp Justin Verlander 221.3 8.91 2.36 0.77 135 6.4 Roger Clemens Max Scherzer 186.7 9.45 2.80 1.06 106 3.5 Andy Benes Doug Fister 171.0 6.16 1.79 0.84 106 3.2 John Burkett Anibal Sanchez 185.0 6.96 2.43 1.02 99 2.8 Frank Castillo Drew Smyly 167.3 7.91 3.12 1.02 100 2.6 Noah Lowry Rick Porcello 179.0 5.38 2.26 0.91 89 1.6 Joe Johnson Adam Wilk 153.7 4.10 2.05 1.05 86 1.1 Bobby Livingston Brayan Villarreal 66.3 10.86 5.02 0.81 119 1.1 Mark Littell Joaquin Benoit 58.0 10.24 2.64 1.24 112 0.8 Trevor Hoffman Octavio Dotel 46.7 9.25 2.31 0.77 121 0.8 Larry Andersen Jose Valverde 60.0 7.65 3.90 0.75 107 0.7 Ryne Duren Phil Coke 59.3 7.74 3.34 0.76 99 0.4 Randy Choate Al Alburquerque 34.7 10.63 4.93 0.78 107 0.4 Bryan Harvey Darin Downs 56.7 6.98 3.65 0.79 94 0.3 Randy Choate Luis Marte 50.7 7.28 4.79 1.07 84 -0.1 Bob Gibson Shawn Hill 69.3 3.77 3.12 1.30 73 -0.2 Brian Moehler Kenny Faulk 55.3 7.49 5.21 0.98 80 -0.3 Brian Snyder Chris Bootcheck 42.7 5.90 5.69 1.05 73 -0.3 David Lee Michael Morrison 54.0 7.67 5.83 1.17 78 -0.3 Josh Banks Michael Dubee 63.7 5.79 4.10 1.13 78 -0.4 Rick Greene Bruce Rondon 45.0 8.40 6.80 1.20 75 -0.4 Josh Banks Duane Below 90.3 5.08 3.39 1.40 72 -0.4 Jason Mackintosh Ryan Robowski 53.7 5.36 3.52 1.17 76 -0.5 Tim Hamulack Trevor Bell 74.0 4.99 3.89 1.34 70 -0.5 David Lundquist Zack Segovia 61.3 4.26 3.67 1.32 70 -0.6 Bob Scanlan Jose Alvarez 125.3 4.02 2.87 1.44 70 -0.8 Austin Shappi Melvin Mercedes 35.3 4.08 5.10 2.04 57 -1.1 Mark Pedersen Pat Misch 120.3 4.34 2.69 1.72 67 -1.2 Andrew Lorraine Luke Putkonen 93.0 4.06 4.35 1.45 65 -1.3 Mark Woodyard Jose Ortega 59.3 6.22 8.04 1.21 63 -1.3 Edwardo Sierra Casey Crosby 116.3 5.73 6.89 1.39 64 -1.5 Steve Whitaker Kyle Lobstein 118.7 5.00 5.38 1.67 63 -1.7 Mike Hinckley *** 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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