One of my favorite times of the offseason is when the ZiPS projections come out over on Fangraphs. Dan Szymborski does awesome work and is a really nice and easy guy to talk to, I chatted with him about the Mariners a couple years ago on a podcast. The morning of the 13th, he released the Mariners ZiPS projections, and the overlying theme is one that all Mariners fans have been talking about all offseason.
The pitching is great and the hitting is very, very, VERY thin. Of course it is highlighted by Julio Rodriguez, and far and away projects to be the Mariners best hitter once again. Shoot, it's probably going to be that way for a while. Normally I wouldn't get into the need for more hitting here, except for the fact that Dan brings it up as an important part of the Mariners projections for the upcoming season.
You can't get rid of Kelenic, Teoscar, and Geno, replacing them with Luis Urias and nothing else and expect to still compete, especially in the AL West. I think this quote really hits home with everything that M's fans have been feeling this offseason.
"When your projected win total is in the 80s, efficiency has to go on the back burner; it’s not the time to pinch pennies."- Dan Szymborski
There is also another extremely important thing to remember when looking at ZiPS. The numbers don't add up if you're looking for a full season's worth of data. Instead, Dan explains it as the performances are what they are projected to do at the major league level, should they play there. Remember, the majority will not, but it's a projection of IF they did.
Let's look into the actual numbers. Here are three things that I like about the projections, and three that I don't like.