Sometime on Thursday, the ZiPS projections for our beloved Royals will come out. How many remember the consternation over Eric Hosmer 'only' being projected to hit .304/.354/.474 by this system at this time last year? Anyone want to go back and take those over what Hosmer actually accomplished in 2012?
Put your hands down, it's too late.
Projections are what they are and certainly are not without their faults. There have been a number of comparisons and reviews of all of them on this site and on others by far better minds than my own. Without question, the unveiling of the 2013 projections will be good for lengthy discussion and debate.
For a point of reference, I thought it would be interesting to go back to the 2012 ZiPS and do a quick comparison between those projections and what actually transpired.
2012 ZiPS: .304/.354/.474, 36 2B, 20 HR
2012 Actual: .232/.304/.359, 22 2B, 14 HR
Was there anyone who guessed Hosmer would be as bad as he was? ZiPS got Eric's playing time just about right, as well as his walks, strikeouts and stolen bases if that makes you feel any better.
2012 ZiPS: .295/.362/.462, 41 2B, 19 HR
2012 Actual: .313/.373/.510, 32 2B, 29 HR
This just in, Billy Butler can rake. He traded doubles for home runs, walked a touch less and struck out 3% more than projected. You can judge the system as harshly as you want, but in my mind, Butler's ZiPS v. Reality is pretty close.
2012 ZiPS: .278/.358/.464, 36 2B, 20 HR
2012 Actual: .294/.368/.455 51 2B, 14 HR
Alex traded some home runs for doubles, hit for a little higher average, but otherwise was pretty close to the projections. He was far healthier than ZiPS thought he would be (161 games played vs. 139 projected), but given his past history, one can understand why the projection came out the way it did. Like Butler, ZiPS did not miss by much.
2012 ZiPS: .274/.316/.436, 38 2B, 19 HR
2012 Actual: .242/.296/.412, 34 2B, 20 HR
The miss on the Moose projection came down to batting average: add 14 singles and 4 doubles and the projection would have been dead on. Frankly, I don't know if that's close or not, but as we learned in Bull Durham: one extra hit per week makes a big difference.
2012 ZiPS: .273/.314/.437, 37 2B, 17 HR
2012 Actual: .235/.287/.378, 26 2B, 16 HR
Anyone but Frenchy.
2012 ZiPS: .270/.309/.366, 23 2B, 5 HR
2012 Actual: .293/.331/.390, 30 2B, 5 HR
A happy miss to the positive for the Royals. Escobar even outdid the stolen base projection (35 of 40 versus the 25 of 33 projected).
Those are the position players whose playing time in real life roughly equated to that used by ZiPS. As you know, ZiPS is not making judgments on who is really playing how much, other than to account for injury probability. For some other notables, we will just use the triple slash lines and ignore the projected doubles and homers.
2012 ZiPS: .259/.314/.370
2012 Acutal: .266/.316/.419
Cain hit the same number of home runs (7) as projected, but did so in half the plate appearances. Otherwise, ZiPS had him pegged pretty well.
2012 ZiPS: .271/.320/.384
2012 Actual: .238/.270/.304
2012 ZiPS: .274/.303/.393
2012 Actual: .301/.328/.471
ZiPS had Salvador for 29 doubles and 10 home runs in 146 games. He smacked 11 dingers and 16 doubles in just 76 games. No idea why I ended up putting Perez below Cain and Giavotella (or why I neglected to move him up).
2012 ZiPS: .266/.332/.320
2012 Actual: .275/.312/.360
More power. Plus grit. Mistake free. He's doing things we simply are not able to comprehend.
When it comes to pitching, I have an unscientific skepticism of all the projection systems. It has nothing to do with the systems themselves and everything to do with the fact that I view pitchers as the most unpredictable creatures on the face of this planet. That said, let's take a look at ZiPS vs. 2012.
2012 ZiPS: 4.53 ERA, 91 ERA+, 131 IP
2012 Actual: 5.07 ERA, 81 ERA+, 192 IP
Chen actually came through with a higher strikeout rate (6.6/9 v. 5.9/9) and lower walk rate (2.2/9 v. 3.22/9) than ZiPS projected, but aptly negated that by also allowing more hits and home runs. I wish Bruce Chen had a 95 mph fastball and a wicked biting slider, I really do. He gets as much out of what he has as anyone on the team. Sadly, Bruce just doesn't have that much stuff to get anything out of.
2012 ZiPS: 4.66 ERA, 89 ERA+, 159 IP
2012 Actual: 5.73 ERA, 71 ERA+, 185 IP
Like Chen, Luke posted a better strikeout rate than projected......and that's about the end of the positives. Luke might be ready to turn the corner once more. Unfortunately, he is stuck in a perpetual game of Temple Run.
2012 ZiPS: 4.36 ERA, 95 ERA+, 137 IP
2012 Actual (Royals only): 7.76 ERA, 53 ERA+, 53 IP
We should have been so lucky.
2012 ZiPS: 4.99 ERA, 83 ERA+, 123 IP
2012 Actual: 4.23 ERA, 97 ERA+, 166 IP
ZiPS had Mendoza striking out 51 and walking 49. In actuality, the Dozer struck out 104 and walked 59. The only thing wrong with Luis Mendoza in 2012 was that he was the Royals best starter until Jeremy Guthrie's last 12 starts.
2012 ZiPS: 5.76 ERA, 72 ERA+, 144 IP
2012 Actual: 5.32 ERA, 77 ERA+, 90 IP
Really pretty close. I don't think Will Smith is totally without hope as far as being a contributor as a swing guy/rotation fill-in. That said, a successful 2013 Royals' campaign probably does not include a whole lot of Mr. Smith.
ZiPS did not have Felipe Paulino or Danny Duffy doing anything earth shaking in 139 and 114 innings respectively. In the few innings they actually appeared last season, both were off to a good start in exceeding their projections.
2012 ZiPS: 43.7 IP, 50K, 20 BB, 118 ERA+
2012 Actual (Royals only): 35.7 IP, 25K, 14, BB, 182 ERA+
We remember Jonathan for a spectacular extra inning meltdown in Oakland and for possessing truly huge pants, but he also had 23 saves and stretches of competence.
2012 ZiPS: 70 IP, 70 K, 33 BB, 111 ERA+
2012 Actual: 67 IP, 91 K, 34 BB, 139 ERA+
Blew his projection away and established himself as a big league closer in the process. Honestly, when it comes to his current major league rank among players of his position, Greg Holland is currently Dayton Moore's most successful draft pick.
2012 ZiPS: 67 IP, 54K, 15 BB, 106 ERA+
2012 Actual: 84 IP, 77K, 21 BB, 175 ERA+
ZiPS thought Herrera would be okay, turns out he was great. When you consider he had only the fourth best strikeout rate among bullpen regulars, it is pretty easy to see one area that has gone right for the organization.
2012 ZiPS: 67.3 IP, 61 K, 34 BB, 91 ERA+
2012 Actual: 64.7 IP, 65 K, 22 BB, 118 ERA+
Crow walked fewer batters than projected and gave up less hits. Basically, ZiPS did not think Crow would be very good and while he is not the pitcher most of us hoped for when drafted, Aaron is still a nice piece to have in the pen.
2012 ZiPS: 66.7 IP, 67 K, 42 BB, 102 ERA+
2012 Actual: 69.7 IP, 93 K, 34 BB, 122 ERA+
Collins obliterated the strikeout and walk projections on his way to very good season. He can be maddening at times, not helped by Ned Yost's maddening mis-use of him at times. Like Herrera, 2012 was Timmy's age 22 season. Is there any organization that has developed and acquired a better stable of relievers while simultaneously mangling the development and acquisition of starters?
Anyway, there's a quick and dirty review of projection versus reality for the 2012 season. What will ZiPS tell us about 2013? And how accurate will it be?
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2012 Topps ?Mound Dominance? Subset ? Card #MD-4 – Jim Palmer, Baltimore Orioles I really like the ‘Mound Dominance’ subset that Topps included in their 2012 base set. The cards are sharp, the graphics are solid, and I am a … Continue reading →
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Big news just broke courtesy of ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. First base prospect Jonathan Singleton has been suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for violating its drug testing policy for drugs of abuse. Singleton released a statement through his agents, Matt Sosnick and Aaron Karon.
"I was informed today that I have tested positive for marijuana,'' Singleton said in the statement. "As a result, I am being suspended for the first 50 games of the 2013 season. I accept the penalty and take full responsibility for my actions. I apologize to my parents, the Houston Astros and (general manager) Jeff Luhnow.
"The Astros have been nothing but supportive of me and good to me in my short time with the organization. My hope is to use this as a learning experience and spend the rest of my career proving to myself and the baseball community that this was a lapse in judgment, and is not in any way indicative of my character or my dedication to baseball or to my team.''
This puts to bed my plan to install Singleton as the starting first baseman out of spring training and means that Brett Wallace will have at least 50 games before he has to relinquish the job. Realistically, this means that Singleton will probably spent most of the season in the minors at Oklahoma City before possibly making an appearance in the majors around August or September.
I wonder how the organization will handle him now. They haven't taken a hard line with guys who have incidents, but didn't retain Jordan Schafer after his kerfuffle last year. On a day when the moral police in the BBWAA kept everyone out of the Hall of Fame, how will Houston deal with Singleton?
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Everyone knew there was a chance at no player eligible being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year. Well, this Tuesday afternoon, for the first since 1996, it happened.
We can all understand that the voters wanted to send a message and not elect anyone connected to PED/steroid use; however, could they not find someone worthy to induct?
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For just the eighth time since voting began, the Baseball Writers Association did not elect a single person to the Hall of Fame in the 2013 class. That means both Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell will have to wait another year.
Biggio led all vote-getters with 68.2 percent of the vote, failing to make the hallowed ground by a mere 39 votes. That means all those silly people who believe in this "first-ballot" guy meant Biggio has to wait another year.
Jack Morris finished second with 67.7 percent, not going up or down from last year, while Bagwell once again made gains up to 59.6 percent this year. Mike Piazza trailed Bagwell at 57.8 percent and looks like he should get in eventually. Tim Raines rounded out the top five with 52.2 percent of the vote.
The biggest travesties are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens falling short of 40 percent of the vote. Two of the greatest players in the history of the game shut out? That's a travishamockery if I've ever seen one.
It appears that Sammy Sosa will never get in, which I'm also not okay with. The man hit 600 home runs. Curt Schilling got more votes than Sosa, and I think he's got a much weaker HOF case. Was Fred McGriff a better hitter than Sosa just because he hit 30 home runs each year? Was he ever as breathtaking as Sosa?
I think that Sosa is now in with McGwire and even Roger Maris as men who will be famous in baseball history but not be Hall of Famers. Except I'm not sure that Sosa fits with those other two. Maybe I'm being too soft on the steroids guys, and you can certainly disagree with me.
Next year, though, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine go on the ballot. Everyone today said there are no questions about either of them, but how long did they play? Shouldn't we suspect them if they're going to shut out everyone else?
The answer is no. Maddux is as much a Hall of Famer as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. Glavine is there too. The writers will not elect 10 men next summer, which means guys will have to unfairly wait year after year for a call that they should have gotten this time around.
It's a shame. It's a shame we knew was coming though, so there's no surprise to it. Maybe when I get a vote in 10 years, I can help rectify that. If Bonds and Clemens are still on the ballot then, I'm going to be even more incensed than I am now.
Here's the complete list of vote-getters from BBWAA.
The Gwinnett Braves are upping the ante with five bobblehead giveaways this season.
Pretty darn exciting, if you, like me, love the bobbleheads. Look, I like slash love going to baseball games, but if you're also going to give me a toy when I go to a baseball game then I am all in. You can purchase the bobblehead plan at gwinnettbraves.com.
The G-Braves also unveiled a special fifth season logo.
After 15 years of appearing on Hall of Fame ballots, longtime Atlanta Braves great Dale Murphy has for the final time failed to gain enough votes to get elected.
Murphy's candidacy for the Hall never really gained momentum at any point during his eligibility. Murphy received his highest percentage of votes in his second year of eligibility, but that support eroded for the next four years then leveled off for the remainder of his ballots.
I used this same chart in a story I wrote last year (now updated) to compare Murphy to other candidates, and their "momentum" for gaining admittance to the Hall. My head scratching came about mainly because Bert Blyleven began his long Hall candidacy getting fewer votes in the first couple of year than Murphy did, but the lobbying for Blyleven and how history viewed his stats changed over the years in Bert's favor. They did not change in Murphy's favor.
Murphy did get the highest percentage of votes this year (18.6%) than he's gotten since that highpoint of his candidacy in 2000 (23.2%). Much of that may have been helped by Murphy's reemergence on the baseball landscape as a part-time broadcaster.
The all-out Twitter campaign that Dale Murphy's sons waged on his behalf doesn't seem to have given him any sort of boost, as Murphy had been slowly gaining some votes each of the last four years -- a common occurrence as a player reaches the end of his Hall of Fame ballot eligibility.
One has to wonder if Murphy had decided to become a broadcaster a decade ago, would his candidacy have gained more momentum sooner. Being in front of writers all the time seems to help players' Hall chances (no evidence for that, just conjecture).
The Other Braves On The Ballot
Fred McGriff got 20.7%, a drop of 3.2% from last year. McGriff has stayed between 17.9% and 23.2% in his four years of eligibility.
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