ZiPS released: Who do they like? Who do they hate?

Dan Szymborski has slowly released his team-by-team ZiPS projections over the last couple of months, but this week FanGraphs finally posted the full 2017 set. I've been poring over the individual player projections to find the ones that ZiPS loves and hates. I've set the Steamer projections as my 'baseline', and I'll use the FG Depth Charts PA and IP in both cases. Let's do five of each. Here's what I found (I'll show the ZiPS projections below, and you can check them out side-by-side with Steamer at this link):

ZiPS Loves

ZiPS believes very strongly in David Dahl's power, even after hitting just 7 dingers in 237 MLB PA's last year. However, he did tack on 18 more if you include his '16 AA/AAA numbers. I'm leaning towards Steamer here (19 HR), given that his statcast-based xFantasy line predicts just 19.5 HR. However, his SPD score from last year was fairly impressive, so both systems might be underestimating his SB total.

Wil Myers is talking a big game this week, saying he wants to go 40/40 this year. Good luck with that, Wil! The projection systems both agree he's more a 25/20 guy, with the big difference apparently being that ZiPS believes more in the Padres offense. I... do not believe in the Padres offense. Between that, and concerns that he's still risky health-wise, and might not steal as much this year, I'll stick with Steamer on this one.

I'll lump all three pitchers together here: ZiPS likes Aaron Sanchez, Dylan Bundy, and Marco Estrada significantly more than Steamer. Although Estrada's breakout was really over the past two years, for the most part these are guys that have had big skill changes over the past year. In my experience, ZiPS has been quicker to turn around its opinions on guys like that, while Steamer regresses them back to their old skills. That said, ZiPS also produces consistently worse pitcher projections than Steamer. In this case, I like these three guys, and will err towards ZiPS. Given how much Steamer hates them, I'll go ahead and knock their projections down a peg, which works out to about $12 for Sanchez, and $4 for Bundy and Estrada.

ZiPS Hates

We didn't see a ton of Mike Moustakas in 2016 (knee injury), but what we did see was very encouraging. After putting up a career high .186 ISO in '15, he demolished that number with a .260 ISO in his limited time in '16. Steamer sees him retaining some of those gains, while ZiPS thinks he'll drop all the way back down to a .173 ISO, which I just don't buy. Examining his xFantasy line, he should be running a much higher BABIP as well, good for something more like a .280 AVG, a far cry from ZiPS's .254. Both systems might be low on him if he hits the ground running in '17. 

Much ink has been spilled over Trea Turner this offseason, but one thing that has really stuck out to me is how much regression we should be expecting in his batting average. Nobody is expecting the .342 AVG from '16 to repeat, but Steamer believes he could still run a cool .301. ZiPS says .282, which might be more realistic given his relatively poor Statcast profile (xStats gives him a .275 xAVG). But the speed is unreal. Both systems have him for just under 40 SB, I'll say that's his floor given a full season of playing time. Bump him up to 45 or 50SB and you're starting to talk about a potential late 1st rounder.

My knee jerk reaction is to say ZiPS must be wrong about Manny Machado. But then I remembered, I thought the same thing when I saw his xFantasy line: 630 PA, 26 HR, 88 R, 81 RBI, 4 SB, .286 AVG. I'll say we can probably expect at least 30 HR given the developing power profile here, but still, ZiPS and xFantasy seem to agree that we might all be too high on Machado.

Finally coming around to the pitchers ZiPS hates, James Paxton and Jameson Taillon are two guys that broke out in 2016 following previously promising MLB/MiLB track records. I'm with Steamer here, I like both, and again, ZiPS generally does poorly with pitchers. Between Paxton's velo and Taillon's command, you're looking at two pitchers with ace upside heading into 2017.


What does everyone think? Is Steamer more right on these players, or is ZiPS? Are these players you want or players you're avoiding?