Pittsburgh Pirates 2014: A Tale of Two Projection Systems


Gregory Polanco owns the Steamer projections in 2014.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are starting to pack their belongings and in days, or weeks for some, a pilgrimage to Bradenton will be in order.  So we better get moving on the nailbiting. It’s the time of year to start looking at what the computer projections are spitting out onto the floors of smart peoples’ basements.

And remember…please, please, please remember.  When looking at these projections, none of them, not one, is predicting how any of the Pirates players will perform.  It is simply a statement of how that player should reasonably be expected to perform this year given numerous circumstances….BUT HOLY SHIT WAIT TILL YOU SEE WHAT POLANCO LOOKS LIKE ON STEAMER!  Sorrry.  I apologize, I got ahead of myself.

First up, we head to Fangraphs who have put it all together from around the internets smartest sites.

The Steamer will hit leadoff for us this year.


Click to embiggen

We count five players that are projecting as solid starters–a two win player.   That’s cool, but it looks like the runs scored total would be well below what Clint Hurdle is counting on this year.  The skipper wants the offense to take a step forward.  It’s nice to see Pedro with 29 bombs, Cutch with 23, and the four-man tag team of Travis Snider/Russell Martin/Neil Walker/Gaby Sanchez all in the teens.

It just doesn’t seem enough and the weaknesses are glaring, but should be no surprise.   It’s shortstop, first base and right field.  Jordy Mercer gets little love while Clint Barmes, Andrew Lambo and the gang including Gregory Polanco are projected as not having solid seasons.

Be careful when looking at the defense.  For some geeked out reason Fangraphs includes the positional adjustment.  So for example, Gaby Sanchez’s defense is actually above average because -1.8  includes a positional adjustment of -12.5.  And Cutch isn’t as golden as you think, the CF adjustment is +2.5 this year.

Anyway.  Take a breath.  The guy batting second you might like.  The name  is Oliver.  There is no dart throwing trying to determine if Clint Hurdle will continue to write Clint Barmes name on the lineup card, it just goes with 600 plate appearances and starts projecting.


Again, click to embiggen the chart

Heh!  Holy Jumping Jordy Mercer Jingleballs!  Four win player?!  Boom!  I mean, I love Jordy Mercer, but Oliver absolutely loves Jordy Mercer.  Throw those horns kid!

The offensive numbers are pretty obvious and before you think Oliver loves all teams, do some looking around.  But don’t you dare stare at all those damn strikeouts, and ignore that fielding column–Gregory Polanco!!! Jordy Mercer!!  If Oliver is correct–the Bucs need to think about an extension before July 4!

The pitching is a story for another day.

Needless to say, we love offensive Oliver and can unfortunately deal with Steamer.

When ZIPS and the others start taking shape we will get those up for you.