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 NL East champion Washington Nationals. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski Other 2013 Projections: Athletics / Giants.. Batters The most interesting projection for the Nationals is probably Bryce Harper‘s because one of the most interesting projections in all baseball is probably Bryce Harper’s. ZiPS forecasts Harper to approximate his Rookie of the Year campaign, when he posted a 4.9 WAR. Certain readers might consider said forecast pessimistic, given that Harper will be a year more experienced and a year closer to his peak in 2013. Still, he (i.e. Harper) is projected to be the best field player on a strong team as a 20-year-old. As Szymborski noted via Twitter, one of Harper’s first three comparables* is Barry Bonds — which, that’s a thing. Of greater interest to the author, however, is Harper’s first overall comp, Kal Daniels — less because of what it signifies for Harper, probably, and more because it allows us to remember how excellent Daniels was. Drafted by the Reds in 1982, Daniels made his major-league debut as a 22-year-old in 1986 and proceeded to slash .300/.402/.514 and post a 16.9 WAR over his first six seasons and 1,970 plate appearances — i.e. over five wins for every 600 plate appearances. However, injuries shortened his career considerably, and he retired after his age-28 season. The author had forgotten all of that, is mostly the point here. *A very brief primer on comparables, courtesy Szymborski: “Comps are based on neutralized statistics over previous four years, both for distribution and quality, position, handedness, some indices like a modified speed score. I use some cluster analysis to get comp scores.” Pitchers ZiPS doesn’t know that Stephen Strasburg was handled cautiously by the Nats in 2012 and the innings projection for the right-hander is duly conservative in that regard. Even so, his per-inning figures (69 ERA-, 58 FIP-) are the best of the pitchers to have been projected so far, with the exception of Sergio Romo. Another thing ZiPS doesn’t know is that Dan Haren‘s own team refused to extend to him a $13.3 million qualifying offer. If ZiPS, and not the Angels, are accurate in this regard, Washington will have a bit of a bargain in Haren. The bullpen is composed almost exclusively of returnees from the 2012 squad, including Christian Garcia and his emasculating curveball. To wit: Bench/Prospects Our Marc Hulet and also Baseball America have recently ranked third-base prospect Anthony Rendon as the second- and first-best prospect in the Washington system, respectively. ZiPS suggests that he’s also the most major-league ready, projecting him for a 1.9 WAR in just 358 plate appearances. The presence of Ryan Zimmerman raises the question of where his future home might be, however. Catcher Sandy Leon has a great defensive reputation and would, it seems, provide production on something like par with either Kurt Suzuki or Wilson Ramos, should either or both be unable to play. Third-base prospect Carlos Rivero, who turns 25 in May, has been all over the Venezuelan Winter League leaderboards this offseason. Depth Chart Here’s a rough depth chart for the Nationals, 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 Bryce Harper L 20 LF 641 89 156 29 7 26 70 21 8 Ryan Zimmerman R 28 3B 607 83 152 31 2 23 87 4 1 Ian Desmond R 27 SS 611 71 152 30 4 18 70 22 7 Danny Espinosa B 26 2B 653 79 137 30 4 20 66 17 7 Denard Span L 29 CF 568 68 141 27 8 4 42 17 5 Kurt Suzuki R 29 C 509 54 123 26 1 12 62 3 1 Anthony Rendon R 23 3B 358 44 77 17 5 9 46 1 1 Adam LaRoche L 33 1B 478 53 106 24 1 19 72 1 1 Jayson Werth R 34 RF 501 61 110 24 2 15 53 11 2 Steve Lombardozzi B 24 2B 584 66 143 25 8 5 42 14 7 Wilson Ramos R 25 C 311 32 74 14 1 9 34 0 1 Michael Morse R 31 1B 481 58 121 22 1 21 73 1 2 Corey Brown L 27 CF 534 62 111 19 8 17 58 10 5 Sandy Leon B 24 C 374 34 81 17 2 4 34 2 3 Eury Perez R 23 CF 589 59 156 16 4 0 44 45 17 Roger Bernadina L 29 LF 369 39 82 14 2 9 31 18 4 Jhonatan Solano R 27 C 264 24 61 13 0 5 28 1 1 Carlos Rivero R 25 3B 567 54 134 27 2 9 56 4 4 Jarrett Hoffpauir R 30 2B 424 41 97 20 3 6 39 3 1 Tyler Moore R 26 1B 479 47 103 25 2 20 71 2 0 Cesar Izturis B 33 SS 242 19 56 8 2 1 16 4 2 Jesus Flores R 28 C 261 23 56 13 1 6 28 0 1 Rick Ankiel L 33 CF 296 32 61 15 1 8 27 4 2 Will Rhymes L 30 2B 482 52 114 15 5 4 32 9 7 Erik Komatsu L 25 LF 400 41 91 16 2 4 30 11 7 Chad Tracy L 33 1B 168 13 39 8 0 3 20 0 0 Carlos Maldonado R 34 C 176 14 31 7 0 3 17 0 0 Jeff Kobernus R 25 2B 424 42 99 13 2 3 33 29 10 Brian Bocock R 28 2B 418 37 81 15 2 3 30 9 5 Destin Hood R 23 RF 513 46 111 23 5 7 55 10 4 Manny Mayorson R 30 3B 318 29 76 12 1 1 25 8 3 Chris Marrero R 24 1B 476 45 110 23 1 9 50 1 2 Brett Carroll R 30 RF 428 45 87 20 2 9 41 6 3 Mark DeRosa R 38 3B 120 14 24 4 0 0 9 1 0 Seth Bynum R 32 SS 408 36 76 16 2 9 40 6 2 Jason Michaels R 37 LF 133 13 28 6 0 2 11 0 0 *** Batters, Rates and Averages Player PA BB% K% ISO BABIP BA OBP SLG wOBA Bryce Harper 641 9.8% 21.2% .212 .316 .274 .346 .486 .357 Ryan Zimmerman 607 9.4% 17.6% .191 .309 .280 .348 .471 .347 Ian Desmond 611 5.4% 20.6% .163 .316 .269 .312 .432 .320 Danny Espinosa 653 7.7% 27.7% .168 .304 .235 .308 .403 .307 Denard Span 568 7.6% 10.4% .107 .301 .273 .330 .380 .313 Kurt Suzuki 509 5.1% 11.8% .137 .277 .263 .308 .400 .305 Anthony Rendon 358 10.3% 22.1% .170 .296 .242 .327 .412 .324 Adam LaRoche 478 9.8% 23.4% .196 .291 .249 .322 .445 .325 Jayson Werth 501 11.6% 22.8% .169 .307 .253 .345 .422 .334 Steve Lombardozzi 584 5.5% 13.2% .105 .303 .267 .316 .372 .298 Wilson Ramos 311 6.8% 17.4% .151 .291 .260 .314 .411 .305 Michael Morse 481 5.4% 22.5% .195 .313 .272 .320 .467 .336 Corey Brown 534 7.9% 31.1% .179 .312 .230 .296 .409 .302 Sandy Leon 374 7.8% 20.9% .098 .298 .240 .300 .338 .276 Eury Perez 589 2.9% 16.1% .043 .337 .281 .307 .324 .279 Roger Bernadina 369 8.1% 20.9% .137 .297 .248 .317 .385 .309 Jhonatan Solano 264 4.2% 14.8% .113 .272 .247 .281 .360 .276 Carlos Rivero 567 5.1% 20.6% .110 .306 .254 .292 .364 .283 Jarrett Hoffpauir 424 6.6% 11.1% .114 .269 .251 .303 .365 .291 Tyler Moore 479 5.8% 29.4% .200 .289 .233 .280 .433 .306 Cesar Izturis 242 3.3% 9.9% .066 .271 .247 .277 .313 .256 Jesus Flores 261 4.6% 24.1% .134 .281 .229 .265 .363 .266 Rick Ankiel 296 7.4% 28.0% .152 .294 .226 .288 .378 .287 Will Rhymes 482 6.6% 10.4% .085 .285 .261 .314 .346 .286 Erik Komatsu 400 8.3% 14.3% .090 .290 .254 .322 .344 .292 Chad Tracy 168 7.1% 16.1% .111 .288 .255 .310 .366 .285 Carlos Maldonado 176 9.7% 27.3% .103 .267 .200 .282 .303 .261 Jeff Kobernus 424 3.3% 20.3% .065 .307 .248 .275 .313 .260 Brian Bocock 418 6.5% 22.2% .073 .268 .211 .263 .284 .241 Destin Hood 513 6.4% 24.0% .115 .303 .237 .294 .352 .285 Manny Mayorson 318 3.8% 7.5% .057 .271 .252 .283 .309 .261 Chris Marrero 476 7.1% 21.6% .119 .310 .253 .311 .372 .299 Brett Carroll 428 6.3% 24.1% .131 .279 .224 .284 .355 .279 Mark DeRosa 120 10.0% 19.2% .038 .289 .229 .311 .267 .266 Seth Bynum 408 5.6% 33.3% .124 .285 .201 .251 .325 .252 Jason Michaels 133 5.3% 19.5% .095 .265 .222 .263 .317 .257 *** Batters, Assorted Other Player PA RC/27 OPS+ Def WAR No.1 Comp Bryce Harper 641 6.4 124 8 4.6 Kal Daniels Ryan Zimmerman 607 6.2 121 1 4.3 Ken McMullen Ian Desmond 611 5.1 101 0 3.4 Julio Lugo Danny Espinosa 653 4.4 93 6 2.8 Sean Rodriguez Denard Span 568 4.8 94 7 2.7 David DeJesus Kurt Suzuki 509 4.6 92 0 2.2 Mark Poole Anthony Rendon 358 4.8 100 3 1.9 Mark Bellhorn Adam LaRoche 478 5.1 107 5 1.9 Lee Stevens Jayson Werth 501 5.4 108 -2 1.8 Tim Salmon Steve Lombardozzi 584 4.3 87 2 1.7 Joseph Thurston Wilson Ramos 311 4.6 96 2 1.6 Javier Cordona Michael Morse 481 5.5 112 -2 1.5 Xavier Nady Corey Brown 534 4.3 90 -1 1.4 Brad Snyder Sandy Leon 374 3.5 74 7 1.4 Dave Huppert Eury Perez 589 4.0 73 4 1.1 Willy Taveras Roger Bernadina 369 4.7 91 1 1.0 Pat Sheridan Jhonatan Solano 264 3.6 74 3 0.8 Gustavo Molina Carlos Rivero 567 3.8 78 -2 0.6 Jeff Moronko Jarrett Hoffpauir 424 4.0 82 -3 0.6 Stu Cole Tyler Moore 479 4.3 91 -1 0.5 John Sellick Cesar Izturis 242 3.1 61 2 0.3 Tommy Thevenow Jesus Flores 261 3.3 70 -1 0.3 Chris Curry Rick Ankiel 296 3.8 80 -2 0.3 Dann Howitt Will Rhymes 482 3.8 80 -5 0.3 Luis Figueroa Erik Komatsu 400 3.9 82 1 0.2 Jorge Cortes Chad Tracy 168 4.1 84 -2 0.2 Glenn Adams Carlos Maldonado 176 2.9 60 -1 0.1 George Mitterwald Jeff Kobernus 424 3.3 61 -1 0.1 Greg Tabor Brian Bocock 418 2.5 50 5 -0.1 Jon Schuerholz Destin Hood 513 3.7 76 0 -0.1 Xavier Paul Manny Mayorson 318 3.2 62 -1 -0.1 Carlo Colombino Chris Marrero 476 4.1 86 -3 -0.1 Ron Coomer Brett Carroll 428 3.5 73 0 -0.2 Nick Gorneault Mark DeRosa 120 3.0 60 -2 -0.2 Rene Gonzales Seth Bynum 408 2.8 56 -4 -0.3 Trace Coquillette Jason Michaels 133 2.9 58 -1 -0.4 Brian Jordan *** Pitchers, Counting Stats Player T Age G GS IP SO BB HR H R ER Gio Gonzalez L 27 32 32 200.0 200 76 15 165 72 67 Stephen Strasburg R 24 24 24 137.3 164 35 11 112 44 41 Jordan Zimmermann R 27 26 26 152.7 119 33 15 147 62 58 Dan Haren R 32 30 29 186.7 151 37 23 187 87 81 Ross Detwiler L 27 27 23 130.3 84 43 12 135 63 59 Tyler Clippard R 28 74 0 79.0 95 30 8 60 28 26 Craig Stammen R 29 57 0 83.3 83 35 8 70 32 30 Drew Storen R 25 59 0 56.3 52 17 5 49 21 20 Daniel Rosenbaum L 25 26 25 142.3 81 50 13 161 79 74 Christian Garcia R 27 59 0 62.3 61 24 8 53 27 25 Ryan Perry R 26 46 6 76.3 51 29 7 78 39 36 Henry Rodriguez R 26 52 0 51.7 58 33 5 40 22 21 Mike Gonzalez L 35 43 0 36.7 38 14 4 33 16 15 Erik Davis R 26 49 0 71.3 57 22 8 75 36 34 Ryan Mattheus R 29 51 0 49.0 35 18 7 48 25 23 Brad Lidge R 36 25 0 22.3 22 12 2 20 11 10 Fernando Abad L 27 50 5 66.0 51 20 8 71 36 34 Nathan Karns R 25 20 16 82.7 80 59 14 75 50 47 Bill Bray L 30 47 0 32.0 29 18 3 30 17 16 Cole Kimball R 27 25 0 29.3 27 18 4 27 16 15 Chien-Ming Wang R 33 20 17 92.7 44 27 14 114 60 56 Jimmy Barthmaier R 29 28 2 42.3 28 22 5 47 27 25 Mike MacDougal R 36 43 0 38.7 25 23 4 45 25 23 Zach Duke L 30 28 21 130.0 62 40 18 166 87 81 Yunesky Maya R 31 18 18 99.3 42 35 17 121 68 64 Tanner Roark R 26 25 23 121.7 74 50 16 152 83 78 Mitch Atkins R 27 28 20 112.7 65 48 18 138 79 74 *** Pitchers, Rates and Averages Player IP TBF K% BB% BABIP ERA FIP ERA- FIP- Gio Gonzalez 200.0 818 24.4% 9.3% .277 3.02 3.02 77 77 Stephen Strasburg 137.3 540 30.4% 6.5% .297 2.69 2.26 69 58 Jordan Zimmermann 152.7 618 19.2% 5.3% .283 3.42 3.24 87 83 Dan Haren 186.7 764 19.8% 4.8% .285 3.91 3.50 100 89 Ross Detwiler 130.3 550 15.3% 7.8% .291 4.07 3.73 104 95 Tyler Clippard 79.0 320 29.7% 9.4% .267 2.96 3.04 76 78 Craig Stammen 83.3 344 24.1% 10.2% .275 3.24 3.38 83 86 Drew Storen 56.3 227 22.9% 7.5% .279 3.20 3.07 82 78 Daniel Rosenbaum 142.3 618 13.1% 8.1% .304 4.68 3.94 119 100 Christian Garcia 62.3 254 24.0% 9.5% .268 3.61 3.66 92 93 Ryan Perry 76.3 326 15.6% 8.9% .289 4.24 3.88 108 99 Henry Rodriguez 51.7 223 26.1% 14.8% .267 3.66 3.88 93 99 Mike Gonzalez 36.7 152 25.0% 9.2% .291 3.68 3.38 94 86 Erik Davis 71.3 300 19.0% 7.3% .304 4.29 3.62 109 92 Ryan Mattheus 49.0 204 17.2% 8.8% .273 4.22 4.23 108 108 Brad Lidge 22.3 97 22.7% 12.4% .289 4.03 3.83 103 98 Fernando Abad 66.0 282 18.1% 7.1% .300 4.64 3.87 118 99 Nathan Karns 82.7 372 21.5% 15.9% .262 5.12 5.30 131 135 Bill Bray 32.0 141 20.5% 12.7% .287 4.50 4.13 115 105 Cole Kimball 29.3 129 20.9% 13.9% .274 4.60 4.71 117 120 Chien-Ming Wang 92.7 405 10.9% 6.7% .300 5.44 4.71 139 120 Jimmy Barthmaier 42.3 190 14.8% 11.6% .302 5.31 4.63 135 118 Mike MacDougal 38.7 178 14.0% 12.9% .317 5.35 4.67 136 119 Zach Duke 130.0 577 10.8% 6.9% .312 5.61 4.58 143 117 Yunesky Maya 99.3 440 9.5% 8.0% .287 5.80 5.28 148 135 Tanner Roark 121.7 550 13.5% 9.1% .320 5.77 4.56 147 116 Mitch Atkins 112.7 510 12.7% 9.4% .302 5.91 5.09 151 130 *** Pitchers, Assorted Other Player IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA+ WAR No. 1 Comp Gio Gonzalez 200.0 9.00 3.42 0.68 132 5.3 Sam McDowell Stephen Strasburg 137.3 10.75 2.29 0.72 148 4.2 Roger Clemens Jordan Zimmermann 152.7 7.01 1.94 0.88 116 3.3 Shane Reynolds Dan Haren 186.7 7.28 1.78 1.11 102 2.9 Kevin Tapani Ross Detwiler 130.3 5.80 2.97 0.83 98 1.7 Dave Otto Tyler Clippard 79.0 10.82 3.42 0.91 134 1.5 Juan Cruz Craig Stammen 83.3 8.97 3.78 0.86 123 1.3 Frank Williams Drew Storen 56.3 8.31 2.72 0.80 124 0.9 Heath Haynes Daniel Rosenbaum 142.3 5.12 3.16 0.82 85 0.9 Jeff Mutis Christian Garcia 62.3 8.81 3.47 1.16 110 0.7 Joey McLaughlin Ryan Perry 76.3 6.02 3.42 0.83 94 0.5 Laddie Renfroe Henry Rodriguez 51.7 10.10 5.74 0.87 109 0.5 Steve Sharts Mike Gonzalez 36.7 9.32 3.43 0.98 108 0.4 Trever Miller Erik Davis 71.3 7.19 2.78 1.01 93 0.2 Randy Messenger Ryan Mattheus 49.0 6.43 3.31 1.29 94 0.2 John Kiely Brad Lidge 22.3 8.88 4.84 0.81 99 0.1 Rudy Seanez Fernando Abad 66.0 6.95 2.73 1.09 86 0.1 Jesse Carlson Nathan Karns 82.7 8.71 6.42 1.52 78 0.0 Mo Sanford Bill Bray 32.0 8.16 5.06 0.84 88 0.0 Mike Kinnunen Cole Kimball 29.3 8.29 5.53 1.23 86 0.0 Franklyn German Chien-Ming Wang 92.7 4.27 2.62 1.36 73 -0.3 Brian Tollberg Jimmy Barthmaier 42.3 5.96 4.68 1.06 75 -0.3 Paul Giel Mike MacDougal 38.7 5.81 5.35 0.93 74 -0.4 Ben Weber Zach Duke 130.0 4.29 2.77 1.25 71 -0.7 Scott Downs Yunesky Maya 99.3 3.81 3.17 1.54 69 -0.7 Steve Olin Tanner Roark 121.7 5.47 3.70 1.18 69 -0.9 Adam Russell Mitch Atkins 112.7 5.19 3.83 1.44 67 -1.1 Lee Rodney *** 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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