I have been waiting for this for a long time Diamondbacks fans! Dan Szymborski of Baseball Think Factory, FanGraphs, and ESPN Insider has released his 2015 ZIPS Projections for the Dbacks.
Its not a surprise that Szymborski thinks that many of the Diamondbacks hitters will produce above average slash lines.
Of course America’s First Basemen Paul Goldschmidt will continue to do his thing. ZIPS projects him to finish with a .283 average, 28 HR and 95 RBI’s, and a 144 OPS+ across 595 plate appearances. He is projected to once again put up an above average walk rate of 13.1%, and an above average BABIP of .335, and a zWAR of 4.2.
Pollock is projected to finish with the second highest WAR on the team in just 399 plate appearances. Its clear that ZIPS values defense, because we all know that Pollock can cover a ton of ground. More on that in a moment.
Inciarte is projected to finish with a .275 average. His biggest value will come on the base paths and his defense in the outfield. Inciarte is projected for a .316 OBP, and he is projected to lead the team in steals with 31. Creating havoc on the base paths is so important in the N.L, and it looks like Inciarte will be a valuable asset in 2015.
Offensively I am most encouraged by the offensive production that is projected for Mark Trumbo. The Dbacks offense coming into the 2014 season was really good on paper. It was all about staying healthy, and Arizona simply couldn’t do that. If Trumbo can stay healthy in 2015, the Dbacks offense has a chance to be better than people think.
ZIPS projects Trumbo finishing with 28 HR, 94 RBI’s, a team leading SLG% of .495, and an OPS+ of 117 which would be second on the team only behind Goldschmidt. I think I will take that.
The reason why Trumbo’s WAR is so low is because Szymbowski projects his defensive value to be low, and I really don’t understand that. Last season Trumbo committed zero errors, and had a Fielding Percentage of 1.000
Meanwhile, ZIPS projects Tomas to finish with 21 HR, and an OPS+ of 106 over 520 plate appearances. ZIPS also projects Jake Lamb to get less plate appearances which calls into question his future with this team given that Tomas is projected to see most of the time at the hot corner. If we can get 77 HR combined from Goldschmidt, Trumbo, and Tomas, that is a deadly middle of the lineup.
What intrigues me most is what ZIPS projects for young C Peter O’Brien. In 469 plate appearances, ZIPS thinks he will hit 26 HR’s, with a SLG% of .487, an OPS+ of 105, and a 1.2 zWAR.
The only question that remains for O’Brien is if he can continue to develop his skills behind the plate. Many scouts question his ability to play the catcher’s position, but I saw for myself the progress he made in the Arizona Fall League.
Here is why I am excited about the future of the Snakes. The team as a whole might not perform up to par, but if these projections come close to being true, the Dbacks are building a really nice young core for the future, and once guys like Braden Shipley, and Archie Bradley are major league ready, this team is going to contend.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our look at the Dbacks 2015 ZIPS Projections. I will examine the Dbacks starting pitching, and bullpen projections, and unfortunately it wont be easy to read.