Padres News: Taking A Look at the Padres 2016 ZIPS Projections

Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego
Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego

Shortstop – Total WAR = 1

Alexi Amarista = 0.7 zWAR

Currently Alexi Amarista is slated to be the starting shortstop for the 2016 San Diego Padres. Obviously we all hope that changes before the season begins, but Amarista profiles as a well below average player for next season, as expected. A signing of either Ian Desmond or Alexei Ramirez, or perhaps any other player, would make the Padres exponentially better over Amarista for next season.

Left Field – Total WAR = 2

Jon Jay = 1.4 zWAR

Rymer Liriano 1.0 zWAR

With so many players more inclined to play center field, Jon Jay is placed in left field on Dan’s ZIPS depth chart. Jay is only projected for around 450 plate appearances, making him slightly below the average regular starter. However, given full-time playing time, Jay would likely be around or perhaps even above an average starter. Liriano, on the other hand, is given more plate appearances in the ZIPS projections than Jay, but less production. It remains to be seen whether or not Liriano actually makes the team out of Spring Training, but it is far more likely one or two of the players listed in the center field section get ample playing time in left as well.

Center Field – Total WAR = 1

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

Melvin Upton = 1.1 zWAR

Travis Jankowski = 1.4 zWAR

Manuel Margot = 2.1 zWAR

Jabari Blash = 1.1 zWAR

Perhaps the most interesting player of any in the ZIPS projections is Manuel Margot. Over almost a full season of playing time, Margot already profiles as a league average starter, despite being only 21 years old. Given the fact that Margot will likely play all, or at least most, of his season in the minor leagues, some combination of Melvin Upton, Travis Jankowski and Jabari Blash will be used in center field, and likely in left as well. All three profile as below average regular position players, although all three are projected for less than full-time playing time next year.

Right Field – Total WAR = 1

Matt Kemp = 0.7 zWAR

The last position player for next year is Matt Kemp, who is projected for not much next year. While Matt Kemp’s offensive numbers don’t look too bad, his -10 DEF score really drags down his total value, as it did last year. Kemp will continue to provide at least some value at the plate going forward, but his defense will continue to drag him down. For 2016, it looks like it will be a similar story in right field for the Padres as it was in 2015.

Starting Rotation – Total WAR = 8

Tyson Ross = 3.3 zWAR

James Shields =  2.6 zWAR

Andrew Cashner = 1.5 zWAR

Brandon Morrow = 0.7 zWAR

Robbie Erlin = -0.8 zWAR

Colin Rea = 0.4 zWAR

Despite some questions at the back-end of the Padres rotation, the top still looks relatively good. Tyson Ross still projects as a solid to great regular player, while Shields looks to be due for at least some bounce back in 2016. Cashner looks to be projected for a similar season to the one he had in 2015, but he could surprise. Finally, some combination of Brandon Morrow, Robbie Erlin and Colin Rea is projected to provide minimal value from the four and five spots in the rotation.

May 9th, 2014 Photo By: Andy Hayt
May 9th, 2014 Photo By: Andy Hayt

Bullpen – WAR = 3

Brandon Maurer = 0.3 zWAR

Kevin Quackenbush = 0.6 zWAR

Nick Vincent = 0.6 zWAR

Drew Pomeranz = 1.3 zWAR

Buddy Baumann = 0.5 zWAR

Leonel Campos = 0.5 zWAR

Finally the bullpen, which has perhaps the most shocking numbers of all. Despite having a successful 2015 season, expected closer Brandon Maurer is projected for only 0.3 zWAR. Both Kevin Quackenbush and Nick Vincent, who struggled last year, are projected for better seasons than Maurer according to zWAR. Even new addition Buddy Baumann, and perhaps minor leaguer Leonel Campos are projected better. Drew Pomeranz looks to get work in both the bullpen and starting rotation, giving him the best projected zWAR value of any Padre reliever.

So in summation, the Padres don’t look too good for next year. While the team looks to be above average at catcher, second base, and at the top of the rotation, every other position falls as below league average. Obviously the biggest concern of all is shortstop and left field, but center field and right field both fall at or below league average as well. The Padres bullpen will come with a lot of question marks in 2016, but it appears they will get enough to make the unit at least league average. While you can’t simply add these zWAR values to get a team’s projected record, as currently constituted, this Padres team looks no better than the one that won only 74 games in 2015. It’s looking like another down year in Petco Park.

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