Over at FanGraphs, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections for the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates have been released. A few of the highlights from the projections.
**Andrew McCutchen is projected to lead the team with a 5.3 WAR. ZiPS has him projected with a .283/.369/.480 line and 24 homers.
**The article points out that McCutchen has been the best player in each of his first four seasons, but that he’s never had more than three teammates with a season WAR of 2.0 or better. ZiPS projects Pedro Alvarez (2.7), Starling Marte (2.6), Russell Martin (2.3), and Neil Walker (2.9) to have a WAR of 2.0 or greater in 2013.
**One notable comp was Starling Marte. ZiPS compared him to Adam Jones. Marte is projected for a .264/.310/.428 line with 11 homer, and a 2.6 WAR.
**Another interesting comp was Pedro Alvarez, who is compared to newly hired Indianapolis hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo. Pagliarulo hit for a .241/.306/.407 line with 134 homers in 4317 plate appearances in the majors. Alvarez is projected for a .236/.313/.451 line with a team-leading 29 homers.
**Out of the corner outfield options, ZiPS has the following OPS projections: Marte (.738), Alex Presley (.727), Travis Snider (.713), Jerry Sands (.698), Jose Tabata (.695), Felix Pie (.694). Presley being second on the list is a surprise, since most (myself included) would probably rank him fifth. Tabata has the second best OBP on the team, behind McCutchen. His OBP is .329, which speaks more to the lack of good OBP options for the Pirates.
**The starting pitching projections don’t look good. Wandy Rodriguez is projected to be the top starter, with a 2.7 WAR and a 3.59 ERA. A.J. Burnett is projected with a 1.5 WAR and a 4.07 ERA. James McDonald (1.2) and Gerrit Cole (1.1) are the only other starters with a WAR over 1.0.
**On the prospect front, Gerrit Cole is projected to have a 4.12 ERA and a 3.89 FIP. Phil Irwin is getting some surprising projections, with a 4.32 ERA and a 4.02 FIP.
**Looking at a notable bounce back candidate, ZiPS projects Mark Melancon to have a 3.47 ERA, a 3.31 FIP, and a 53:17 K/BB ratio in 59.7 IP.
**Jameson Taillon received a Kevin Brown comp. Taillon’s projections aren’t strong, with a 5.97 K/9. a 3.10 BB/9 and a 4.50 ERA/4.35 FIP. Of course I don’t think it’s a guarantee that he’d be ready this year.