Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 1/3/13
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 very newest addition to the American League, the Houston Astros. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski. Batters It’s good news for Houston that young third baseman Matt Dominguez — acquired last July in a deal with Miami for Carlos Lee — that Dominguez is projected to post a roughly league-average WAR in 2013. What’s less good news for Houston is that Dominguez is projected to be the second-best player on the team — after Jose Altuve, that is. Of note regarding Houston’s forecasts is this: there are a number of starters (or two, at least) whose plate-appearance projections are rather low. Shortstop Jed Lowrie (332 PA) and center fielder Justin Maxwell (358 PA), for example, could conceivably produce almost twice as many wins, were they to play something closer to full-time. Pitchers Only one Astros pitcher (left-handed reliever Wesley Wright) is projected to post an ERA- (that is, park-adjusted ERA relative to league-average) lower than 100. Otherwise, ZiPS foresees literally every other Houston pitcher allowing runs at an above-average rate. That’s not to say that the club doesn’t have pieces. Right-handed starter Bud Norris has an excellent slider and has struck out almost a batter an inning over 97 career starts. Rotation mates Lucas Harrell, Jordan Lyles, and Alex White all posted ground-ball rates above 50% in 2012. Those are all positives, of course — and, if any of those pitchers makes gains in another area, he could become average or better. On a team level, however, the Astros look likely to be conceding quite a few runs in 2013. Bench/Prospects What Houston does have is a lot in the way of promising young players — both in the form of potential stars and also future role players. Both first baseman Jonathan Singleton and outfielder Robbie Grossman — ranked first and 11th among Houston prospects, according to Marc Hulet — could make their major-league debuts this summer, and both would likely represent an improvement over whomever they’d be replacing. Meanwhile, Delino Deshields Jr. and George Springer are already regarded as something better than replacement level by ZiPS, despite the fact they’re probably more than a season away from the majors. Depth Chart Here’s a rough depth chart for the Astros, 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 Jose Altuve R 23 2B 672 85 178 33 6 9 49 33 14 Matt Dominguez R 23 3B 596 64 139 27 2 14 66 0 1 Jed Lowrie B 29 SS 332 39 74 17 1 11 37 2 0 Carlos Pena L 35 1B 525 65 93 19 2 24 65 2 2 Jonathan Singleton L 21 1B 574 81 116 23 4 19 65 6 2 Brandon Laird R 25 3B 613 59 137 29 2 17 68 1 1 Justin Maxwell R 29 CF 358 47 67 13 2 15 42 13 5 Jason Castro L 26 C 384 44 81 16 1 6 35 1 1 Tyler Greene R 29 2B 427 52 88 18 2 12 34 18 4 Jake Elmore R 26 SS 555 56 120 22 3 2 39 19 9 Delino Deshields Jr. R 20 2B 647 79 128 19 4 10 53 55 18 George Springer R 23 CF 594 75 120 18 6 13 58 21 8 Che-Hsuan Lin R 24 CF 552 61 121 15 4 2 30 20 7 Fernando Martinez L 24 LF 439 50 97 21 2 14 45 1 2 Chris Snyder R 32 C 245 25 43 7 0 7 30 0 0 Robbie Grossman B 23 CF 628 83 123 25 4 10 50 12 9 Jonathan Villar B 22 SS 512 56 99 13 4 10 44 31 11 Marwin Gonzalez B 24 SS 418 41 96 20 2 3 30 6 4 Landon Powell B 31 C 222 25 42 5 0 5 19 0 0 Brett Wallace L 26 1B 604 67 132 26 1 17 63 1 1 J.D. Martinez R 25 LF 578 61 134 26 2 11 71 1 2 Carlos Corporan B 29 C 204 17 42 8 1 4 22 0 1 Domingo Santana R 20 RF 556 61 110 25 4 14 55 6 1 Brandon Barnes R 27 CF 575 59 112 29 3 12 54 10 5 Trevor Crowe B 29 CF 357 37 79 16 3 3 29 14 6 J.B. Shuck L 26 LF 520 58 118 15 5 0 31 12 8 Drew Locke R 30 RF 418 43 91 20 2 9 47 4 2 Jimmy Paredes B 24 2B 422 46 94 18 4 5 31 20 10 Nate Freiman R 26 1B 604 63 131 29 1 16 74 1 1 Marc Krauss L 25 LF 533 55 100 22 2 14 49 4 3 *** Batters, Rates and Averages Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA Jose Altuve 672 5.5% 11.8% .116 .315 .287 .330 .403 .319 Matt Dominguez 596 5.5% 14.3% .132 .273 .251 .296 .383 .293 Jed Lowrie 332 10.2% 17.2% .177 .276 .253 .331 .430 .331 Carlos Pena 525 14.9% 29.5% .218 .265 .214 .341 .432 .334 Jonathan Singleton 574 13.4% 30.7% .179 .322 .236 .338 .415 .327 Brandon Laird 613 4.7% 21.0% .146 .277 .239 .279 .385 .287 Justin Maxwell 358 10.1% 35.5% .196 .295 .211 .297 .407 .307 Jason Castro 384 9.9% 21.1% .106 .293 .238 .316 .344 .290 Tyler Greene 427 7.5% 29.3% .151 .305 .229 .297 .380 .296 Jake Elmore 555 9.9% 16.6% .071 .297 .247 .325 .318 .287 Delino Deshields Jr. 647 8.3% 28.1% .099 .303 .221 .294 .320 .278 George Springer 594 8.1% 34.8% .129 .334 .224 .292 .353 .283 Che-Hsuan Lin 552 8.3% 15.4% .059 .290 .244 .316 .303 .282 Fernando Martinez 439 5.5% 27.3% .167 .306 .241 .297 .408 .303 Chris Snyder 245 13.5% 27.3% .135 .269 .208 .324 .343 .290 Robbie Grossman 628 12.1% 26.0% .117 .308 .229 .330 .346 .299 Jonathan Villar 512 7.4% 31.3% .112 .305 .216 .280 .328 .268 Marwin Gonzalez 418 5.3% 14.6% .085 .286 .249 .291 .334 .270 Landon Powell 222 9.9% 25.2% .102 .270 .213 .294 .315 .268 Brett Wallace 604 7.0% 27.8% .145 .317 .242 .311 .387 .303 J.D. Martinez 578 7.4% 22.1% .120 .314 .254 .313 .374 .301 Carlos Corporan 204 5.4% 25.5% .120 .290 .228 .282 .348 .266 Domingo Santana 556 6.8% 38.1% .149 .340 .217 .284 .366 .287 Brandon Barnes 575 6.1% 31.3% .134 .293 .211 .264 .345 .266 Trevor Crowe 357 7.0% 18.2% .094 .291 .242 .296 .336 .278 J.B. Shuck 520 9.0% 11.7% .053 .289 .252 .320 .305 .278 Drew Locke 418 5.7% 22.2% .131 .284 .234 .282 .365 .281 Jimmy Paredes 422 3.8% 25.8% .102 .309 .236 .265 .338 .261 Nate Freiman 604 6.5% 23.5% .143 .288 .236 .293 .379 .292 Marc Krauss 533 9.8% 31.9% .144 .295 .212 .293 .356 .286 *** Batters, Assorted Other Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def WAR No.1 Comp Jose Altuve 672 5.1 101 -5 2.5 Steve Sax Matt Dominguez 596 4.1 85 5 1.9 Brent Butler Jed Lowrie 332 5.2 108 -2 1.8 Jim Lefebvre Carlos Pena 525 5.0 111 -1 1.6 Jeromy Burnitz Jonathan Singleton 574 5.0 106 -2 1.5 Cal Pickering Brandon Laird 613 3.8 80 2 1.4 David Winfree Justin Maxwell 358 4.2 91 2 1.3 Brad Komminsk Jason Castro 384 3.8 82 0 1.2 Bob Henley Tyler Greene 427 4.2 85 -2 1.2 Nick Green Jake Elmore 555 3.7 78 -3 1.1 Peter Peltz Delino Deshields Jr. 647 3.6 69 -2 0.9 Sibby Sisti George Springer 594 3.7 76 0 0.9 Cameron Maybin Che-Hsuan Lin 552 3.6 72 3 0.9 Joe Trippy Fernando Martinez 439 4.2 92 3 0.8 Pedro Munoz Chris Snyder 245 3.8 84 -1 0.8 Kelly Stinnett Robbie Grossman 628 3.9 86 -6 0.7 Rich Becker Jonathan Villar 512 3.4 67 -4 0.6 Buddy Biancalana Marwin Gonzalez 418 3.4 72 -2 0.5 Jorge Velandia Landon Powell 222 3.2 68 0 0.4 Chad Moeller Brett Wallace 604 4.3 91 -2 0.4 Lyle Overbay J.D. Martinez 578 4.2 88 -3 0.3 Brian Stavisky Carlos Corporan 204 3.3 72 -2 0.2 Mike DiFelice Domingo Santana 556 3.7 77 0 0.1 Wil Culmer Brandon Barnes 575 3.1 66 -1 -0.1 Robert Jones Trevor Crowe 357 3.6 74 -5 -0.1 Tony Diggs J.B. Shuck 520 3.4 73 3 -0.1 Steve Stanley Drew Locke 418 3.6 77 -2 -0.2 Tom Nevers Jimmy Paredes 422 3.2 65 -3 -0.2 Bob Meacham Nate Freiman 604 3.9 83 -4 -0.3 Leo Daigle Marc Krauss 533 3.5 78 -4 -0.4 Orsino Hill *** Pitchers, Counting Stats Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER Bud Norris R 28 29 29 168.3 167 69 23 164 91 85 Lucas Harrell R 28 29 27 153.3 101 67 14 166 87 81 Jordan Lyles R 22 31 28 165.3 116 46 21 185 97 91 Wesley Wright L 28 71 0 58.7 57 23 6 55 28 26 Jose Veras R 32 68 0 64.0 68 35 7 59 32 30 Alex White R 24 28 26 129.3 89 59 17 141 78 73 Edgar Gonzalez R 30 22 18 95.3 61 28 11 112 57 53 John Ely R 27 28 26 148.0 108 51 20 166 90 84 Fernando Rodriguez R 29 66 0 70.7 78 35 9 67 37 35 Chia-Jen Lo R 27 12 2 16.7 15 8 2 17 10 9 Xavier Cedeno L 26 68 0 59.3 55 26 6 61 32 30 Philip Humber R 30 27 20 123.0 88 38 20 139 77 72 Jose Cisnero R 24 27 27 120.3 102 60 19 135 76 71 Sergio Escalona L 28 47 0 38.3 31 18 5 41 22 21 Josh Fields R 27 37 0 47.7 46 30 6 47 28 26 Francisco Cordero R 38 48 0 44.3 32 17 6 50 27 25 Jose Valdez R 30 43 0 43.7 40 18 6 47 27 25 Dallas Keuchel L 25 29 29 157.0 80 53 19 191 103 96 Sam Demel R 27 55 0 56.3 47 25 9 62 36 34 Rhiner Cruz R 26 52 0 61.7 51 40 9 66 42 39 Hector Ambriz R 29 49 0 63.3 49 35 8 73 43 40 Enerio Del Rosario R 27 58 0 62.0 31 30 8 77 44 41 Brett Oberholtzer L 23 27 27 145.7 94 56 22 177 102 95 Adalberto Flores R 26 47 1 69.7 47 38 10 82 49 46 Asher Wojciechowski R 24 25 24 117.7 67 50 18 149 85 79 Jarred Cosart R 23 23 22 113.3 71 74 15 133 83 78 Paul Clemens R 25 28 21 119.3 77 57 19 147 88 82 Rudy Owens L 25 24 24 125.7 74 43 25 158 93 87 Ross Seaton R 23 27 27 144.3 76 54 24 184 108 101 *** Pitchers, Rates and Averages Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP- Bud Norris 168.3 738 22.6% 9.4% .298 4.54 4.15 112 102 Lucas Harrell 153.3 693 14.6% 9.7% .300 4.75 4.28 117 105 Jordan Lyles 165.3 727 16.0% 6.3% .305 4.95 4.25 122 104 Wesley Wright 58.7 254 22.4% 9.1% .300 3.99 3.86 98 95 Jose Veras 64.0 286 23.8% 12.2% .301 4.22 4.08 104 100 Alex White 129.3 588 15.1% 10.0% .299 5.08 4.82 125 118 Edgar Gonzalez 95.3 426 14.3% 6.6% .315 5.00 4.35 123 107 John Ely 148.0 661 16.3% 7.7% .308 5.11 4.55 126 112 Fernando Rodriguez 70.7 314 24.8% 11.1% .305 4.46 3.86 110 95 Chia-Jen Lo 16.7 75 20.0% 10.7% .305 4.86 4.47 119 110 Xavier Cedeno 59.3 265 20.8% 9.8% .314 4.55 3.87 112 95 Philip Humber 123.0 546 16.1% 7.0% .301 5.27 4.78 130 117 Jose Cisnero 120.3 556 18.3% 10.8% .318 5.31 5.17 130 127 Sergio Escalona 38.3 174 17.8% 10.4% .308 4.93 4.74 121 116 Josh Fields 47.7 220 20.9% 13.6% .303 4.91 4.81 121 118 Francisco Cordero 44.3 200 16.0% 8.5% .308 5.08 4.56 125 112 Jose Valdez 43.7 196 20.4% 9.2% .315 5.15 4.22 127 104 Dallas Keuchel 157.0 715 11.2% 7.4% .310 5.50 4.76 135 117 Sam Demel 56.3 256 18.4% 9.8% .308 5.43 4.84 133 119 Rhiner Cruz 61.7 291 17.5% 13.7% .303 5.69 5.43 140 133 Hector Ambriz 63.3 298 16.4% 11.7% .322 5.68 4.90 140 120 Enerio Del Rosario 62.0 293 10.6% 10.2% .314 5.95 5.32 146 131 Brett Oberholtzer 145.7 670 14.0% 8.4% .317 5.87 5.04 144 124 Adalberto Flores 69.7 329 14.3% 11.5% .314 5.94 5.29 146 130 Asher Wojciechowski 117.7 552 12.1% 9.1% .320 6.04 5.42 148 133 Jarred Cosart 113.3 547 13.0% 13.5% .311 6.19 5.73 152 141 Paul Clemens 119.3 562 13.7% 10.1% .319 6.18 5.46 152 134 Rudy Owens 125.7 578 12.8% 7.4% .311 6.23 5.67 153 139 Ross Seaton 144.3 671 11.3% 8.0% .316 6.30 5.45 155 134 *** Pitchers, Assorted Other Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ WAR No. 1 Comp Bud Norris 168.3 8.93 3.69 1.23 89 1.5 Kip Wells Lucas Harrell 153.3 5.93 3.93 0.82 85 0.9 Mike Dunne Jordan Lyles 165.3 6.32 2.50 1.14 81 0.6 Wally Whitehurst Wesley Wright 58.7 8.74 3.53 0.92 101 0.4 Mike Stanton Jose Veras 64.0 9.56 4.92 0.98 95 0.3 Frank LaCorte Alex White 129.3 6.19 4.11 1.18 79 0.3 Darin Blood Edgar Gonzalez 95.3 5.76 2.64 1.04 80 0.3 Heath Totten John Ely 148.0 6.57 3.10 1.22 79 0.3 Jason Davis Fernando Rodriguez 70.7 9.93 4.46 1.15 90 0.1 Chris Schroder Chia-Jen Lo 16.7 8.08 4.31 1.08 83 0.0 Jeff Jones Xavier Cedeno 59.3 8.35 3.95 0.91 88 0.0 Brian Snyder Philip Humber 123.0 6.44 2.78 1.46 76 -0.1 Shawn Boskie Jose Cisnero 120.3 7.63 4.49 1.42 76 -0.1 Pete Fisher Sergio Escalona 38.3 7.28 4.23 1.17 82 -0.2 Sean Fesh Josh Fields 47.7 8.68 5.66 1.13 82 -0.2 Franklyn German Francisco Cordero 44.3 6.50 3.45 1.22 79 -0.3 Terry Clark Jose Valdez 43.7 8.24 3.71 1.24 78 -0.3 Doug Henry Dallas Keuchel 157.0 4.59 3.04 1.09 73 -0.5 Jeff Mutis Sam Demel 56.3 7.51 4.00 1.44 74 -0.6 Dan Kite Rhiner Cruz 61.7 7.44 5.83 1.31 71 -0.8 Jason Gilfillan Hector Ambriz 63.3 6.97 4.98 1.14 71 -0.9 Steve Green Enerio Del Rosario 62.0 4.50 4.35 1.16 68 -1.0 Kevin Joseph Brett Oberholtzer 145.7 5.81 3.46 1.36 69 -1.1 Andy Van Hekken Adalberto Flores 69.7 6.07 4.91 1.29 68 -1.1 Sean Green Asher Wojciechowski 117.7 5.12 3.82 1.38 67 -1.1 Omar Ortiz Jarred Cosart 113.3 5.64 5.88 1.19 65 -1.3 Brett Laxton Paul Clemens 119.3 5.81 4.30 1.43 65 -1.4 Matt Achilles Rudy Owens 125.7 5.30 3.08 1.79 65 -1.5 Heath Phillips Ross Seaton 144.3 4.74 3.37 1.50 64 -1.8 Matt Childers *** 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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