ZiPS for the uninitiated are a projection system created, curated and brought to market by Dan Szymborski (from the tweet above). These projections are housed at Fangraphs. The White Sox specific projections that we are going to talk about are housed right HERE.
A few things about projections before we get too far. Most projection sets use median projections to create the stat line that they publish. Basically, think of the Gaussian or Bell Curve as how these are produced and think of the meaty (or Beefy *eyeball emoji*) part of the curve as what is actually posted up on the website or widely flashed in articles. This is basically the 50th percentile outcome. There are sites like Baseball Prospectus‘ PECOTA projections where they let you see the thin tails of the curve, say the 10th percentile (BAD) outcome or the 90th percentile (GOOD) outcome.
Also, projection systems are evaluating a gigantic pool of players and may not know every single thing about each player or may blatantly miss on certain player attributes if the player is a gigantic outlier. Know this going in. I’m quite sure that if Nolan Ryan were being projected in his 40’s that he’d mostly break the model every time. This isn’t a reason to distrust project systems, it’s a reason to trust them. Projecting some wild freak of nature isn’t the exercise here.
Know that projection systems at the micro level are more likely to be wrong and at the macro level more likely to be right. WTF does that mean? It means that any individual player stat line is likely to be off, by large amounts due to many unforeseen circumstances, but at the team level, they’ll be much closer. (Error rates vs error rates). I know for a fact that Dan Szymborski bets (although didn’t in 2020) MLB futures based on his projections and I know for a fact that BeefLoaf and Chorizy-E used to bet MLB futures based on PECOTA projections. If you can make a profit using the models, I trust them (to a degree).
All right, enough on this bullshit, let’s dig into the #WhiteSox…..Hitters
Jose Abreu has a CAREER LOW On-Base Percentage????
I’m an ardent support of Jose Abreu’s awesomeness…I even waxed poetic about how his contract from last year was absolutely fine and White Sox fans should love it (most of you did). That was all before he won the 2020 AL MVP. Even your uncle BeefLoaf thinks Jose probably won’t be the MVP again or even put up his MVP numbers, but to have his median projection be his lowest OBP of his career. WOW!! I’d like to be put down for the OVER on this one if possible, whoever would like to take them bets. I really don’t love the White Sox chances in 2021 if he doesn’t hit the over on that OBP.
I’ve been a critic in the past of what I think Nick Madrigal’s ceiling is as a player, but nowhere in the Nick Madrigal fanatic handbook did it outline how many base running gaffs he’d have in 2020. Now I pop open the friendly neighborhood ZIPS projection and staring me in my (formerly 286 lb) face is some more bullshit baserunning. If this actually does happen, I’m going to need to call Super Joe McEwing into my office because this is fucked up.
In fairness, this OPS is actually 36 points higher than Adam Engel’s career OPS, so it’s not as crazy as it might look upon first blush, but FUCK!!!!! As someone that loves that Adam Engel went from 19th round pick to solid big league back up position player, but doesn’t really buy into the hype, EVEN I think this shit has got to be too low for him 2021. He had an OPS of .811 last year and while that was only 93 PA, with a healthy share vs LHP, I still would like to think properly used Adam Engel is a .700-.750 OPS player. I hope.
You got any thoughts on the White Sox hitters Zips projection for 2021, holler at me on twitter and tell me what you are thinking.