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ZiPS projections like the Cardinals more than Steamer

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On paper, the Cardinals look a little better today

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

As you know,  ZiPS projections were released recently. Nobody wants to be karate chopped for simply adding up the WAR totals so I went ahead and did something different. Using the current depth charts which currently uses just Steamers' stats on a rate basis with Fangraphs' writer-maintained depth charts (they will use ZiPS in addition once each teams' ZiPS are available), I was able to pro-rate each of the Cardinals' projections to the same level of Fangraphs' allocated playing time. Here's the result for position players:

Steamer Zips
Name PA wOBA Fld WAR wOBA Fld zWAR Diff
Carpenter 623 .345 -4.2 3.5 .350 -5 3.8 0.3
Molina 467 .314 8.5 3.1 .305 8 3.1 0.0
Peralta 595 .318 -2.2 2.3 .315 0 2.8 0.5
Grichuk 614 .317 -0.9 2.1 .329 5 2.5 0.4
Holliday 595 .350 -6.8 2.1 .342 -4 2.2 0.1
Wong 595 .309 0.8 2.1 .313 4 2.5 0.4
Adams 560 .330 3.9 1.9 .318 3 1.4 -0.5
Moss 415 .330 -0.8 1.4 .327 -4 1.0 -0.4
Piscotty 504 .319 -0.8 1.1 .334 6 2.3 1.2
Pham 272 .319 -0.4 1.1 .319 2 1.4 0.3
Gyorko 224 .318 -2 0.7 .311 -2 0.7 0.0
Pena 166 .282 0.1 0.3 .282 -4 0.2 -0.1
Garcia 35 .297 -0.1 0.1 .294 3 0.1 0.0
Tilson 70 .285 0 0.1 .301 4 0.1 0.0
Garcia 28 .309 0 0 .300 -2 0.0 0.0
Anna 14 .296 0 0 .300 0 0.0 0.0
Diaz 7 .294 0 0 .298 0 0.0 0.0
Ohlman 6 .278 0 0 .289 -8 0.0 0.0
5791 21.8 24.2 2.3

On a WAR basis ZiPS likes the Cardinals' position players 2.3 wins more than Steamer. The single biggest positive difference is Stephen Piscotty, with Randal Grichuk, Jhonny Peralta, and Kolten Wong having smaller but still significantly different projections. The biggest negative differences are Matt Adams and Brandon Moss, and if Zips made out the line-up card it looks like it would prefer Piscotty and Grichuk to start somewhere with Tommy Pham and Adams battling it out for the last starting spot.

Let's look at the pitchers:

Steamer Zips
Name IP K/9 BB/9 FIP WAR K/9 BB/9 FIP zWAR Diff
Wainwright 203 7.2 1.9 3.48 3.5 7.3 1.9 3.10 4.7 1.2
Martinez 159 8.9 3.2 3.37 3 8.7 3.0 3.14 3.1 0.1
Wacha 173 8 2.8 3.72 2.5 8.0 2.9 3.66 3.0 0.5
Leake 203 6.1 2.3 4.01 2.2 5.8 2.2 3.83 2.9 0.7
Garcia 116 7.3 2.3 3.38 2.1 7.0 2.2 3.54 2.3 0.2
Rosenthal 65 11.1 3.5 2.91 1.4 11.7 3.5 2.43 1.3 -0.1
Siegrist 65 10.6 3.9 3.45 0.7 11.0 4.0 3.38 0.9 0.2
Lyons 59 8.9 1.8 3.16 0.7 7.8 1.9 3.90 0.6 -0.1
Gonzales 73 6.9 3.1 4.21 0.6 6.9 2.8 4.31 0.5 -0.1
Walden 55 10 3.6 3.32 0.5 10.4 3.7 3.07 0.8 0.3
Broxton 55 8.5 3.1 3.58 0.4 8.2 3.1 3.60 0.3 -0.1
Cooney 27 7 2.5 4 0.3 6.6 2.3 4.06 0.3 0.0
Maness 45 6.4 2.2 3.63 0.2 6.2 1.8 3.57 0.1 -0.1
Reyes 9 9 5 4.13 0.1 8.9 5.9 4.48 0.1 0.0
Socolovich 30 8.4 3.3 3.65 0.1 9.0 3.1 3.06 0.3 0.2
Tuivailala 35 9.9 4.6 3.68 0 10.4 4.9 3.52 0.2 0.2
Kiekhefer 15 6.8 2.2 3.75 0 5.8 1.4 3.72 0.0 0.0
Bowman 10 6.8 2.5 3.93 0 6.0 3.1 4.48 0.0 0.0
Harris 25 6.9 3.7 4.34 0 6.4 3.9 4.41 0.0 0.0
Total 1422 18.3 21.5 3.2

When allocated playing time based on Fangraphs rather than it's own projection, ZiPs sees Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake and Michael Wacha more favorably than Steamer, though it's mostly from homer rate not shown here and a difference between how the two calculate WAR for pitchers (and possibly, a difference between the two systems in what league average - and thus replacement level - will be). While some are projected less favorably, in terms of WAR there's no big negative differences.

Between the two there's a 5.5 game difference. The current Steamer based system has the Birds projected for 84 wins and while that is based on BaseRuns rather than WAR + replacement level wins, you would expect the numbers to be fairly similar. So once ZiPS is factored in on Fangraphs' depth charts, it could see the Cardinals more like a 86-87 win team.

The projections aren't everything, but it's the best public estimate we have, especially when the two best ones are averaged. Even if you think of the projections as a starting point at best, you have more reason to be optimistic about the Cards than before. A lot of fans (such as myself) like Piscotty but may have been a little subdued by Steamer's opinion, and while that didn't make me think Piscotty would be a 1 WAR player, I definitely feel better now that the other good projection system feels differently.

The opposite is the case for me with Adams. Before, I was little perplexed that Steamer considered Adams a 2 WAR player, and ZiPS seems to feel similarly.

Games aren't played on paper (or on computers) but on the field. They're our best guess, not set in stone. Who do you think is most likely to out-perform ZiPS (and/or Steamer for that matter) in 2016?