This is one of my favorite nerd days of the year. Go check out the latest ZiPS at Baseball Think Factory, courtesy of Dan Szymborksi.
- The best starting lineup by position players is — OPS+ scores in parentheses — 3B Sandoval (127), 1B Belt (121), C Posey (116), RF Melky Cabrera (106), LF Huff (103), CF Gary Brown (99), 2B Freddy Sanchez (88), and SS Mike Fontenot (83).
- Gary Brown’s projection is really, really nice to see. If he can hit at the league average in CF with his defensive and baserunning skills, he’s probably a 3 win player. Also, Brandon Belt’s projection makes him the second best (excluding Beltran) hitter on the team. Think about that for a second.
- Andres Torres (91) still deserves a roster spot. He’s probably a 2 win player (over a full season) with the ZiPS projection for his offense. That’s a very useful guy to have on your bench.
- Huff’s projection indicates that he might have some dead-cat bounce left in his career, but a 1B that produces a 103 OPS+ in the National League is hardly great.
- Brandon Crawford’s projection (70) is slightly worse than Ehire Adrianza’s (71). That’s not good. I’d put the cut-off for Crawford’s offense at 80 before it becomes a problem. Anything under that and his defense is a wash.
- The rotation looks excellent — ERA+ scores in parentheses — Lincecum (133), Cain (128), Bumgarner (113), Surkamp (101), and Vogelsong (93) all look pretty good. Barry Zito (91) isn’t terrible for a 5th starter, but yikes are his days looking numbered. I’ll take the over on Bumgarner, too. Also, I like Surkamp’s projection — I think he can be better than what we saw in his brief stint in the majors.
- The bullpen also looks good. Sergio Romo (177) leads the entire bunch. Wilson (129) looks good, but hardly dominant. Lots of solid role-players in Ramirez (117), Casilla (115), and Affeldt (111).
Again, thanks to Dan for providing these projections to the baseball community. Be sure to head over to BBTF to thank him in the thread.