As we’ve already seen plenty of projections on the Brewers record (71-91), fans have wondered if there’d be some good numbers to watch out for along the way. Dan Szymborski is famous for his ZiPS projections and it can get fans either excited to see a player’s numbers jump or unfortunately, go down a little thinking their favorite player or team may have a rough year. But, that’s what the off-season is for and we can all just take it for what it is.
Here’s a graphic from FanGraphs of the zWAR for the starters:
To see the full projections click here.
So, let’s point out who are the Winners and Losers (ranked by zWAR) right away. And you’ll quickly see why.
Domingo Santana – 2.5
Taylor Jungmann – 2.4
Chris Carter – 1.9
Jonathan Lucroy – 3.3 (Huh? Will further explain.)
Wily Peralta – 0.9
The top 3 hitters for zWAR are Lucroy (3.3), Braun (2.7), and Santana (2.5). But, looking at the basic numbers Carter and Santana are the highlights as Carter is projected having 31 HRs and 85 RBIs, while Santana has 26 HRs and 84 RBIs. Power numbers the way Stearns likes them in Houston, right? But, these two are towards the top at K% (Carter – 30.5% / Santana -31.2%), so their zWAR goes just a bit lower. And, of course Carter has a bit weaker OBP (.237) and DEF (-3), so he’s not quite at the overall top 3, but his numbers are very strong.
Although, Lucroy and Braun seem to be highlights with their overall zWAR, their stats aren’t all that impressive. Looking at the basics, Lucroy only has 9 HRs and 55 RBIs. But, of course with his injuries throughout the 2015 season, it’s difficult to predict a full 2016 season. Although, it might be unfair to say “Loser” considering his injuries, it’s always tough to predict a bounce back year. But, fans can rely upon his Def as he’s at a strong 3 as only Maldonado tops him at 4 among familiar Brewers from the past few years. For more about projections on Ryan Braun’s 2016 season read here from Adam McIntosh. It’s no surprise he’d be considered going on the downside with 23 HRs and 90 RBIs, although most fans would probably agree if he puts up these numbers, he’d probably be healthy, so we’ll take what we can get. So, overall putting him down as “Loser” would be unfair.
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Looking at the Brewers pitchers, two are highlighted in zWAR and that’s Taylor Jungmann (2.4) and Jimmy Nelson (2.3). But what about the possible Opening Day starter? FanGraphs has a bit of a rough note saying, “Wily Peralta (149.2 IP, 0.9 zWAR), meanwhile, is both the team’s probable opening-day starter and also (by the projections) unworthy of a spot in the rotation.” It’s fair as he had a rough 2015 having 108.2 IP, 4.72 ERA, and 0.4 WAR, but fans hope this isn’t true and has a bounce back season showing he’s a top of the rotation starter.
Other worthy notes would be Orlando Arcia (2.3 zWAR), Zach Davies (1.9 zWAR), and Brett Phillips (1.5 zWAR). Davies is 3rd among pitchers, Arcia is 4th and Phillips 7th among hitters. While these projections are nice and hopefully at the end of the season I’ll say I should’ve put them down as “Winners”, we are clueless as to when (or maybe even if with Davies/Phillips) they’ll be called up this year. Not to mention when you look at their IP or PAs, Davies (141 IP – 5th), Arcia (579 PA – 3rd), and Phillips (589 PA – 1st), it’s tough to make an accurate assumption they’ll appear that many times on the mound or at the plate, but it’s all in the disclaimer at the bottom, so no reason to call out these writers and their projections for being crazy. So, definitely players to keep an eye on, but numbers wise, probably won’t get up to that level.