2010 Zips Projections for Jays

Hi everyone.  We're still facing some serious snow issues, with another 10-20 inches of snow apparently on the way today.  I'm enjoying the snow, but thinking about baseball does remind me that spring is just around the corner. 

Baseball Think Factory's Dan Szymborski has been running through mlb teams in reverse alphabetical order, so the Blue Jays are one of the last teams, and not one of the prettier ones, in his annual ZIPS projections, which he prefaces by saying:

In my opinion, you're looking at the 5th-place team in the AL East. There's just not enough upside, at least in 2010, in the offense and while the team has legitimate players at every position, that's not enough in this division. The rotation already had serious issues before losing Roy Halladay, with essentially every other 2006-2008 starter being injured and the loss of Doc really blows a short-term hole in the pitching staff. After the injury crew, there are simply questions marks of another kind, from Ricky Romero having serious problems in the Eastern League just a year ago and Marc Rzepczynski's control issues.

The Anthopoulos regime is going to have problems if they try to do any quick fixes. The team can contend, but it's going to need a long-term plan.

Here are some of the, ahem, highlights (to see the full stats you will have to view the post in expanded view by clicking through to comments or, better yet, just going to BTF):

Name                      AVG   OBP   SLG   G  AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI  BB   K   OPS+ 
Adam Lind* .277 .339 .488 152 582 84 161 38 2 27 102 53 119 117
Aaron Hill .275 .323 .447 131 528 72 145 32 1 19 73 36 82 103
Lyle Overbay* .251 .339 .416 130 442 56 111 29 1 14 57 59 95 100
Travis Snider* .231 .322 .434 128 429 56 99 22 1 21 60 55 144 99
Vernon Wells .260 .314 .430 128 507 70 132 29 3 17 69 40 73 96
Jarrett Hoffpauir .264 .331 .394 128 436 56 115 26 2 9 55 42 50 93
Edwin Encarnacion .233 .317 .397 132 464 68 108 23 1 17 72 50 103 89
Jose Bautista .227 .324 .389 129 414 68 94 21 2 14 60 56 109 89
Randy Ruiz .239 .301 .414 131 502 64 120 27 2 19 73 37 146 88
Brett Wallace* .246 .314 .385 134 525 75 129 23 1 16 63 38 135 85
Jeremy Reed* .274 .320 .386 139 368 53 101 19 2 6 43 24 51 84
Joey Gathright* .258 .327 .302 120 368 50 95 9 2 1 24 32 62 70
Kyle Phillips* .244 .297 .338 95 352 30 86 15 0 6 35 25 73 69
Brian Dopirak .227 .275 .371 127 498 48 113 25 1 15 63 32 147 70
Sea Bass Gonzalez .231 .277 .354 107 376 39 87 17 1 9 39 21 79 67
Raul Chavez .246 .285 .338 61 195 19 48 9 0 3 22 9 31 66
J.P. Arencibia .222 .258 .370 116 465 48 103 25 1 14 58 20 133 65
John McDonald .232 .271 .323 85 198 22 46 10 1 2 18 9 29 58

Ouch. Travis Snider already more or less had that season in 2009, so I have to think he'll be able to do a little bit better in 2010 than ZIPS does, though he'll absolutely have to improve on his K rates. I also think ZIPS is a little pessimistic on Lind, who put up much better numbers than that last year (I don't see him dropping 40 points of OBP) where he essentially put up superstar numbers at 25. FWIW, the 3 projections systems available on Fangraphs all like Lind better, though Marcel's is close. ZIPS has never really liked Aaron Hill much but now at least it respects his power somewhat. I think it's fair to say they're still selling him a bit short, though. Finally, I think a healthy Vernon Wells may overperform his projection, and perhaps the same can be said of Encarnacion - though when wrist surgery in the offseason is cause for optimism, that's pretty sad. If Encarnacion doesn't improve, there is absolutely no reason he should be seeing starting time in the major leagues, given his poor defense. Hoffpair would be better there if the projections are accurate, accounting for defense.

On the other hand, ZIPS thinks that our minor league bats aren't quite ready for the big time and SS is looking hideous.
And when Overbay has been healthy, he's always been a better-than-average bat, so unless he regresses big time, he could be better than this too.

Pitching numbers are after the break:


Name                      Age    ERA    W-L   G  GS   INN     H    ER   HR   BB    K     ERA+
Shaun Marcum        28      4.18    6-5    18 18    97.0    93    45   14     31   76     104
Dustin McGowan     28      4.29    7-6    17 17   100.2  101   48   10     38   81     101
Jesse Litsch             25      4.67   9-10   24 23   135.0  148   70   18     40   75      93
Marc Rzepczynski*  24      4.69    9-10  27 27   136.1  140   71   11     81  119     93
Ricky Romero*        25       5.08   10-14 33 33   196.2  219  111  25     93  155     86
Kyle Drabek             22      5.21    4-5    16 15     86.1    93    50  11     42   63      82
Brett Cecil*              23      5.28    7-10   29 29    138.0  157   81  18    61  100      82
David Purcey*         28      5.29    7-10   27 27    148.0  160   87  17    82  113       82
Scott Richmond       30      5.30    8-11   27 24    137.2  146   81  24    59  117       82
Brad Mills*               25      5.34     5-7    18 17      87.2    96   52  11    47    67       82
Shawn Hill               29      5.35     2-2      7  7       37.0    45    22   4    12    23       80
Dana Eveland*        26      5.49     6-10   30 26    144.1  166   88 17    73    96       79
Robert Ray             26       5.63     4-6     16 16      78.1   96    49 10    32    45       77

Scott Downs*          34       3.58    2-2      61  0       55.1  52    22    5    21    49      122
Jason Frasor           32       3.76    4-3      55  0       52.2  46    22    5    22    51      116
Brian Tallet*             32       4.17    3-3      64  0       73.1  71    34    7    34    63      104
Jeremy Accardo      28       4.22    2-2      50  0       49.0  49    23    5    21    37       103
Zachary Stewart      23       4.24    3-3      32  9       76.1  77    36    7    33    60       103
Shawn Camp          34        4.26    3-3      54  0       61.1  62    29    6    22    49       102
Jesse Carlson*        29        4.41    4-4      72  0        67.1  68   33    8    23    56       99
Kevin Gregg            32        4.50    5-6      73  0        70.0  66   35    9    35    66       95
Josh Roenicke        27         4.63    2-2      43  0        44.2  45   23   5     24    41       94
Casey Janssen       28         4.73    2-3      42 4         59.0  66   31   6     21    36       92
Tim Collins*            20          4.90    6-7      47 0        68.0   64   37   8    47     68       89

On the pitching side, things look decent only if Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan are able to return from injury and make a significant number of starts. With McGowan that's obviously still very much up in the air. Zepper is right about where I'd expect, though I think both Romero and Cecil could overperform their projections somewhat (I think ZIPS is heavily penalizing Romero for poor numbers in the minors before he joined the bigs). Litsch could help for a half-season as well, if he's able to return that quickly. An ace would really make this group look better. Dana Eveland certainly isn't projected to be much help.
In the bullpen, you've got a good group who are not really helped in the slightest by the addition of Kevin Gregg, thinks ZIPS. I'm trying to figure out why anyone is going to part with a decent prospect for Gregg or surrender a draft pick for him at the end of the season. Downs or Frasor I could see either happening for, but not Gregg - so we might as well give those late innings to Downs and Frasor to make them more attractive to the rest of the league. Farquar and Collins look like they're both a year off, but Collins could be a good lefty reliever to step in when Downs leaves, and Farquar could be a setup guy or perhaps even closer in 2011. ZIPS thinks Zach Stewart is ready now, but for the bullpen, where we want him to start, and that Drabek is pretty close to being ready to help, but not quite there. It is pretty telling that the three best starters threw 9 innings, total, last season.

Here's the projection for Brandon Morrow, back when the trade went down:
Morrow G: 50 Starts: 12 Inn: 101.2 Hits: 92 HR: 12 BB: 64 K: 98 ERA: 4.51 ERA+: 94

That's actually not too bad, but I'd want to see what he'd do with more than 12 starts.

One important final thing to remember - in past seasons the Jays have had a lot of success finding unheralded arms to put up decent seasons. We should not underestimate how much of that was the team's excellent defense, which has really suffered in losing Scott Rolen, Marco Scutaro (A-Gon should be fine but nothing special at short), and Alex Rios, and perhaps Lyle Overbay as well, by the time the season is underway. If Overbay leaves, Aaron Hill could be the Jays' only above-average defender in 2010. And that will hurt the pitching.


If ZIPS is right, it could be a loooooong season for the Jays, but I think they'll be a little better than this. Two of their best position players and their best pitcher from last season are gone, though, without replacements (in 2010) barring completely unexpected breakout, though.
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