Ryan delved into the ZiPS projections for the position players on Friday, and it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t show the pitchers any love. A few things stand out when comparing ZiPS to the Steamer projections and the 2013 campaign.

Trevor Cahill:

After Cahill was worth less than one win in 2013, it’s encouraging for Dbacks fans to see that ZiPS and Steamer have Cahill projected to be worth more than two wins next year. One of his big problems was throwing strikes, as he finished with 3.99 BB/9. This has been Cahill’s Achilles heel his entire career, but ZiPS expects a regression back to the mean in 2014, predicting 3.48 walks per nine. Cahill’s lowest walk rate as a pro coincided with his lowest ERA and best record in a season (2.97, 18-8). His walk rate seems to indicate his level of success as a pitcher, so it’s a positive that we are likely to see improvement in 2014.

Randall Delgado:

I’ve covered this in depth before, but ZiPS and Steamer have differing opinions regarding the right-hander. While Steamer projects 1.9 wins above replacement and a 4.17 FIP in 182 innings, ZiPS thinks Delgado is worth only 0.2 wins with a FIP of 4.96 in 153 innings. The discrepancy lies in the difference of opinions regarding his propensity to give up home runs. Delgado gave up 1.86 HR/9 in 2013, but a few bad outings at the end of the season felt like outliers. ZiPS thinks the rate will be 1.47 in 2014, while Steamer thinks it will fall to 0.95 HR/9. It’s simple; if Delgado can keep the home run rate close to league average, he will be a valuable starting pitcher in 2014.

David Hernandez and J.J. Putz:

I grouped these two together because they are both integral parts of Arizona’s bullpen that struggled in 2013. After combining for 3.8 wins in 2012, they were worth 0.1 in 2013. ZiPS projects somewhere between these two extremes for the duo. Putz is projected to walk less batters and give up less home runs. That’s always a recipe for success. Hernandez is a fly ball pitcher who had a high home-run rate in 2013. An increase in his home run to fly ball ratio resulted in a significantly higher ERA because he induced so many fly balls. Hernandez also struck out less batters per nine than his previous two seasons in Arizona.  ZiPS expects both the home run rate and the K/9 to return back to career averages for Hernandez, making him worth about three-fourths of a win in 2014.

Jeff covers the Steamer projections for the bullpen.

Other notes:

Patrick Corbin is projected to have a WAR of 3.5 according to ZiPS, with his statistics holding steady across the board. He pitched 186.1 innings in 2012, and then 208.1 in 2013. It will be interesting to see how he handles a regular workload after his first full season in the major leagues. Chad Young of FanGraphs has a nice piece about what to expect from Corbin going forward. The comparison offered by ZiPS is Tom Glavine. I don’t think even the most optimistic fans expect Corbin to perform at the same level as a hall of fame pitcher and one of the best left-handers in recent memory, but it is an encouraging comparison nonetheless.

Archie Bradley is projected to be more effective at the major-league level than some of the incumbent starting pitchers, most notably Delgado. If he does not make the rotation out of spring training, it seems unlikely he would be called up before the midway point of the season. That would allow Archie to become a free agent a year earlier, which is not something the Diamondbacks would want.

For analysis on the Steamer projections for the starters, see Jeff’s succinct post.


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