Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/14/14
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 St. Louis Cardinals. 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 / Tigers / White Sox. Batters The Cardinals have a number of hitters who’ve posted above-average offensive numbers over the last three years on the strength of high batting averages on balls in play. David Freese (.359 BABIP, 1200 PA), Jon Jay (.348, 1328), Matt Holliday (.333, 1879), and Allen Craig (.329, 857): each has posted a ball-in-play figure considerably above league average (which typically falls in the .290-.300 range). The production of high BABIPs certainly can be a skill; however, as Dan Szymborski suggested recently with regard to Detroit’s Austin Jackson (who’s also posted high ball-play-numbers), it takes rather a large sample for that skill to reveal itself in the numbers. Accordingly, the ZiPS projections are going to appear conservative for players whose offensive value has been informed more considerably by his batted-ball profile. Pitchers Injuries have affected the Cardinals’ top-three starters considerably in recent years. Tommy John surgery, of course, prevented Adam Wainwright from pitching at all in 2011. Nerve and shoulder issues limited Chris Carpenter to just three regular-season starts in 2012. Jaime Garcia missed probably a little more than a third of his starts in 2012, as well, with shoulder trouble. ZiPS doesn’t know any of those details precisely, of course; what it does know is that the staff’s innings have been curtailed. In light of Lance Lynn‘s 2012 season, which saw him post a 180:64 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 92 xFIP-, and 2.9 WAR in 176.0 innings, his projection here might seem rather lacking in generosity. It’s worth noting, however, that he’s been considerably more proficient in his brief major-league career than he really ever was as a minor leaguer (which he was up to, and including much of, 2011). In 414.1 minor-league innings, Lynn posted strikeout and walk rates of 7.8 and 3.3, respectively, per nine innings. As a major leaguer, in fewer (210.2) innings, he’s posted strikeout and walk rates of 9.4 and 3.2, respectively, per nine innings. It’s generally not the case that pitchers’ raw numbers improve with a promotion to a higher level. Bench/Prospects The Cardinals’ young talent is the most noteworthy aspect of these ZiPS forecasts. Two of the club’s top-five field players by projected WAR, Oscar Taveras (2.6) and Kolten Wong (2.3), are likely to begin 2013 in the minors — probably at Triple-A Memphis, in both cases. It’s entirely possible — at just 21 and 22 years old, respectively — that their aging curves will bring them into All-Star territory before very long. Shortstops Greg Garcia and Ryan Jackson, meanwhile, both profile as competent infield depth — not a distinction to be overlooked. And while both scouting reports and ZiPS ask questions about the former’s (i.e. Garcia’s) defensive ability at short, he’s also young enough to improve his overall game at this point. There are encouraging signs among the the Cardinals’ pitching prospects, as well. Per ZiPS, all three from Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller, and Trevor Rosenthal are capable of throwing something similar to league-average innings as a starter. With the the relative fragility of the rotation, that hypothetical might become a reality. Depth Chart Here’s a rough depth chart for the Cardinals, 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 Yadier Molina R 30 C 545 51 142 25 0 14 70 9 4 Matt Holliday R 33 LF 609 80 150 34 1 22 87 6 4 Oscar Taveras L 21 CF 540 64 138 32 7 14 77 6 3 Carlos Beltran B 36 RF 467 52 109 22 3 18 64 7 3 Kolten Wong L 22 2B 598 67 153 25 6 8 53 19 12 Jon Jay L 28 CF 548 69 138 26 3 8 48 14 7 David Freese R 30 3B 439 47 107 19 1 13 62 2 2 Allen Craig R 28 1B 489 66 126 28 1 19 82 3 1 Rafael Furcal B 35 SS 465 61 110 18 4 7 44 11 4 Ryan Jackson R 25 SS 559 48 123 24 3 5 44 3 2 Greg Garcia L 23 SS 513 62 107 21 5 4 37 9 6 Adron Chambers L 26 CF 515 58 113 16 7 5 41 15 7 Daniel Descalso L 26 2B 485 55 109 21 5 5 43 5 3 Starlin Rodriguez B 23 2B 493 52 113 21 5 7 45 10 9 Justin Christian R 33 CF 463 59 105 20 4 5 37 23 4 Matt Adams L 24 1B 486 51 120 26 1 16 66 2 1 Matt Carpenter L 27 1B 496 53 110 24 4 8 53 4 2 Tony Cruz R 26 C 277 24 62 15 1 4 28 0 2 Jermaine Curtis R 25 3B 458 46 103 16 2 1 33 5 1 Pete Kozma R 25 2B 595 58 122 23 4 8 62 7 3 Rob Johnson R 28 C 228 26 44 11 1 4 25 2 0 Shane Robinson R 28 RF 274 32 62 13 2 3 25 6 1 J.R. Towles R 29 C 206 20 41 12 0 2 22 1 1 Jose Garcia R 25 3B 470 46 108 16 1 4 34 15 7 Ty Wigginton R 35 1B 418 42 89 16 1 11 48 2 1 Aaron Bates R 29 1B 357 33 75 14 0 4 29 0 0 Luis Montanez R 31 RF 331 30 72 12 2 3 31 2 3 *** Batters, Rates and Averages Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA Yadier Molina 545 7.5% 9.0% .137 .296 .289 .348 .426 .332 Matt Holliday 609 10.5% 17.2% .192 .312 .281 .365 .473 .358 Oscar Taveras 540 6.9% 13.5% .178 .301 .279 .331 .457 .329 Carlos Beltran 467 10.7% 18.0% .199 .291 .265 .345 .464 .338 Kolten Wong 598 6.4% 13.2% .111 .310 .279 .328 .390 .311 Jon Jay 548 6.4% 14.8% .115 .323 .282 .342 .397 .317 David Freese 439 8.4% 21.0% .152 .323 .272 .340 .424 .332 Allen Craig 489 7.2% 18.2% .195 .311 .283 .333 .478 .348 Rafael Furcal 465 8.2% 12.0% .112 .287 .262 .325 .374 .305 Ryan Jackson 559 7.0% 18.8% .089 .295 .243 .296 .332 .272 Greg Garcia 513 10.1% 18.7% .097 .296 .239 .329 .336 .293 Adron Chambers 515 8.7% 22.7% .099 .322 .249 .325 .348 .296 Daniel Descalso 485 8.2% 15.9% .107 .296 .254 .322 .361 .293 Starlin Rodriguez 493 4.9% 23.1% .115 .320 .252 .304 .367 .288 Justin Christian 463 5.4% 13.6% .101 .276 .246 .292 .347 .285 Matt Adams 486 5.8% 22.0% .168 .311 .265 .307 .433 .314 Matt Carpenter 496 11.3% 18.5% .131 .306 .257 .346 .388 .321 Tony Cruz 277 5.4% 20.2% .113 .290 .240 .283 .353 .272 Jermaine Curtis 458 9.0% 14.2% .058 .305 .259 .346 .317 .298 Pete Kozma 595 7.2% 21.2% .102 .277 .226 .281 .328 .265 Rob Johnson 228 7.9% 26.8% .123 .286 .217 .288 .340 .275 Shane Robinson 274 6.6% 13.9% .104 .281 .249 .305 .353 .289 J.R. Towles 206 6.8% 17.5% .099 .267 .225 .299 .324 .276 Jose Garcia 470 5.5% 19.8% .070 .308 .249 .298 .319 .272 Ty Wigginton 418 7.9% 19.4% .135 .270 .236 .301 .371 .293 Aaron Bates 357 8.4% 23.8% .081 .303 .233 .305 .314 .280 Luis Montanez 331 7.3% 15.1% .083 .277 .240 .303 .323 .277 *** Batters, Assorted Other Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def WAR No.1 Comp Yadier Molina 545 5.6 112 7 4.4 Earl Battey Matt Holliday 609 6.4 129 -2 3.4 Paul O’Neill Oscar Taveras 540 5.7 115 -4 2.6 Ken Griffey Jr. Carlos Beltran 467 5.9 121 0 2.3 Ellis Burks Kolten Wong 598 4.7 98 2 2.3 Buddy Lewis Jon Jay 548 5.1 103 1 2.3 Terry Whitfield David Freese 439 5.3 110 0 2.2 Tim Naehring Allen Craig 489 6.0 121 -2 2.1 Lamar Johnson Rafael Furcal 465 4.5 92 -3 1.6 Tony Fernandez Ryan Jackson 559 3.5 73 2 1.2 Tim Naehring Greg Garcia 513 3.8 84 -3 1.2 Ernest Riles Adron Chambers 515 4.1 86 0 1.1 Jeff Stone Daniel Descalso 485 4.2 89 -2 1.0 Rance Mulliniks Starlin Rodriguez 493 3.8 84 2 1.0 Manuel Lee Justin Christian 463 4.0 76 1 1.0 Jim Busby Matt Adams 486 4.9 101 -1 0.9 Adam LaRoche Matt Carpenter 496 4.9 103 -2 0.9 Rusty Greer Tony Cruz 277 3.4 74 4 0.9 David Duff Jermaine Curtis 458 4.1 85 -3 0.8 Scott Campbell Pete Kozma 595 3.2 68 4 0.7 Nate Frese Rob Johnson 228 3.5 72 0 0.5 Danny Ardoin Shane Robinson 274 4.1 81 2 0.4 Jake Weber J.R. Towles 206 3.3 72 0 0.4 Bill Dobrolsky Jose Garcia 470 3.4 71 -4 -0.1 Mike Champion Ty Wigginton 418 4.0 85 -5 -0.4 Carl Everett Aaron Bates 357 3.4 72 -1 -0.5 Juan Richardson Luis Montanez 331 3.3 73 -3 -0.6 Alan Cockrell *** Pitchers, Counting Stats Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER Adam Wainwright R 31 27 27 173.7 157 46 14 165 71 66 Kyle Lohse R 34 27 27 168.7 114 36 16 167 73 68 Jaime Garcia L 26 27 27 160.7 130 45 13 165 73 68 Joe Kelly R 25 33 28 168.3 109 62 13 176 82 77 Trevor Rosenthal R 23 33 21 123.0 114 51 12 110 56 52 Lance Lynn R 26 32 24 149.7 135 56 15 148 74 69 Chris Carpenter R 38 13 13 91.7 73 21 7 93 41 38 Shelby Miller R 22 26 26 132.7 128 71 10 126 65 61 Jason Motte R 31 64 0 60.7 67 17 6 49 21 20 Jake Westbrook R 35 25 25 152.0 91 52 14 164 80 75 Mitchell Boggs R 29 66 0 70.0 57 23 6 65 29 27 Fernando Salas R 28 66 0 65.0 67 24 6 57 27 25 Edward Mujica R 29 66 0 67.0 55 12 8 63 28 26 Randy Choate L 37 65 0 31.7 31 13 3 28 13 12 Brandon Dickson R 28 26 23 143.7 92 41 19 162 82 77 Marc Rzepczynski L 27 69 0 54.7 48 23 6 52 27 25 Maikel Cleto R 24 60 0 67.0 70 34 7 61 33 31 Brian Fuentes L 37 42 0 38.7 34 15 4 37 19 18 Tyler Lyons L 25 28 20 116.7 82 49 14 125 68 64 Jess Todd R 27 50 0 61.3 51 27 7 63 33 31 Eduardo Sanchez R 24 43 0 41.0 38 31 4 37 24 22 Eric Fornataro R 25 62 0 66.3 40 33 5 70 36 34 Victor Marte R 32 53 0 55.0 42 25 6 58 31 29 John Gast L 24 26 26 143.7 87 62 17 159 88 82 Sam Freeman L 26 65 0 63.7 46 35 6 65 36 34 Keith Butler R 24 53 0 52.0 44 35 6 52 31 29 Barret Browning L 28 53 0 64.3 44 37 6 68 37 35 Kevin Siegrist L 23 20 17 87.3 54 52 11 96 58 54 Jorge Rondon R 24 53 0 53.7 41 42 5 55 34 32 Michael Blazek R 24 35 15 95.0 73 67 14 103 66 62 *** Pitchers, Rates and Averages Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP- Adam Wainwright 173.7 732 21.4% 6.3% .295 3.42 3.16 90 83 Kyle Lohse 168.7 709 16.1% 5.1% .280 3.63 3.65 95 96 Jaime Garcia 160.7 692 18.8% 6.5% .303 3.81 3.37 100 89 Joe Kelly 168.3 743 14.7% 8.3% .295 4.12 3.98 108 105 Trevor Rosenthal 123.0 530 21.5% 9.6% .284 3.80 3.95 100 104 Lance Lynn 149.7 653 20.7% 8.6% .303 4.15 3.82 109 100 Chris Carpenter 91.7 389 18.8% 5.4% .302 3.73 3.21 98 85 Shelby Miller 132.7 595 21.5% 11.9% .307 4.14 3.93 109 103 Jason Motte 60.7 248 27.0% 6.9% .275 2.97 3.01 78 79 Jake Westbrook 152.0 672 13.5% 7.7% .294 4.44 4.16 117 109 Mitchell Boggs 70.0 298 19.1% 7.7% .284 3.47 3.65 91 96 Fernando Salas 65.0 276 24.3% 8.7% .288 3.46 3.25 91 85 Edward Mujica 67.0 276 19.9% 4.3% .275 3.49 3.50 92 92 Randy Choate 31.7 136 22.8% 9.6% .290 3.41 3.69 90 97 Brandon Dickson 143.7 634 14.5% 6.5% .302 4.82 4.51 127 119 Marc Rzepczynski 54.7 239 20.1% 9.6% .287 4.12 4.03 108 106 Maikel Cleto 67.0 296 23.6% 11.5% .298 4.16 4.02 109 106 Brian Fuentes 38.7 168 20.2% 8.9% .292 4.19 3.84 110 101 Tyler Lyons 116.7 524 15.6% 9.3% .299 4.94 4.71 130 124 Jess Todd 61.3 274 18.6% 9.9% .301 4.55 4.29 120 113 Eduardo Sanchez 41.0 191 19.9% 16.2% .287 4.83 4.78 127 126 Eric Fornataro 66.3 302 13.2% 10.9% .297 4.61 4.54 121 119 Victor Marte 55.0 248 16.9% 10.1% .302 4.75 4.35 125 114 John Gast 143.7 652 13.3% 9.5% .298 5.14 4.86 135 128 Sam Freeman 63.7 291 15.8% 12.0% .295 4.81 4.62 126 121 Keith Butler 52.0 243 18.1% 14.4% .299 5.02 5.10 132 134 Barret Browning 64.3 298 14.8% 12.4% .298 4.90 4.76 129 125 Kevin Siegrist 87.3 410 13.2% 12.7% .296 5.56 5.49 146 144 Jorge Rondon 53.7 258 15.9% 16.3% .301 5.37 5.24 141 138 Michael Blazek 95.0 455 16.0% 14.7% .302 5.87 5.75 154 151 *** Pitchers, Assorted Other Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ WAR No. 1 Comp Adam Wainwright 173.7 8.13 2.38 0.73 111 3.2 Kevin Millwood Kyle Lohse 168.7 6.08 1.92 0.85 104 2.7 Ken Forsch Jaime Garcia 160.7 7.28 2.52 0.73 99 2.2 Glendon Rusch Joe Kelly 168.3 5.83 3.32 0.70 92 1.6 Mike LaCoss Trevor Rosenthal 123.0 8.34 3.73 0.88 99 1.6 Kelvim Escobar Lance Lynn 149.7 8.12 3.37 0.90 91 1.3 Willie Banks Chris Carpenter 91.7 7.16 2.06 0.69 101 1.3 Jon Lieber Shelby Miller 132.7 8.68 4.82 0.68 91 1.3 Jason Schmidt Jason Motte 60.7 9.93 2.52 0.89 127 0.9 Jerry Spradlin Jake Westbrook 152.0 5.39 3.08 0.83 85 0.9 Steve Sparks Mitchell Boggs 70.0 7.33 2.96 0.77 109 0.6 Cory Bailey Fernando Salas 65.0 9.28 3.32 0.83 109 0.6 Heath Bell Edward Mujica 67.0 7.39 1.61 1.07 108 0.6 Mark Huismann Randy Choate 31.7 8.80 3.69 0.85 111 0.3 Tony Fossas Brandon Dickson 143.7 5.76 2.57 1.19 78 0.1 Tim Harikkala Marc Rzepczynski 54.7 7.90 3.78 0.99 92 0.0 David Rosario Maikel Cleto 67.0 9.40 4.57 0.94 91 0.0 Billy Sadler Brian Fuentes 38.7 7.91 3.49 0.93 90 0.0 Vic Darensbourg Tyler Lyons 116.7 6.32 3.78 1.08 77 -0.1 Dean Hartgraves Jess Todd 61.3 7.49 3.96 1.03 83 -0.3 Roy Corcoran Eduardo Sanchez 41.0 8.34 6.80 0.88 78 -0.3 Josh Banks Eric Fornataro 66.3 5.43 4.48 0.68 82 -0.4 Gary Ross Victor Marte 55.0 6.87 4.09 0.98 80 -0.4 Jim Dedrick John Gast 143.7 5.45 3.88 1.06 74 -0.4 Jake Woods Sam Freeman 63.7 6.50 4.95 0.85 79 -0.5 Chad Brown Keith Butler 52.0 7.62 6.06 1.04 75 -0.5 Pete Sikaras Barret Browning 64.3 6.16 5.18 0.84 77 -0.6 Tom Doyle Kevin Siegrist 87.3 5.57 5.36 1.13 68 -0.7 Brian Holliday Jorge Rondon 53.7 6.87 7.04 0.84 70 -0.8 Heathcliff Slocumb Michael Blazek 95.0 6.92 6.35 1.33 64 -1.3 Alonso Beltran *** 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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