Every year, projections guru Dan Szymborski releases his ZiPS projections, in which he tries to predict the season numbers for every player. He does this by taking a weighted average of the last four years' worth of data and adjusting this based on similar players and age and all that kind of thing. This year's projections are now available, over at FanGraphs, so let's look through the numbers and make a few wisecracks!
Joe Mauer: .299 /.386 /.426, 10 HR, 67 RBI, 4.3 WAR
Comment 1: Joe Mauer hitting less than .300? How dare they.
Comment 2: Joe Mauer hitting double-digit home runs? Liars.
Justin Morneau: 14 HR, 59 RBI, just 443 PA
I guess ZiPS doesn't know that Morneau feels better than he has in years, and is raring to go for spring training!
(/sound of Justin Morneau falling down a flight of stairs and through a pane of glass)
Aaron Hicks: .232 / .314 / .358
Listen, ZiPS projections. Take your shots at Joe Mauer's power if you want. Go ahead and criticize Justin Morneau's durability, that's fine. BUT WHEN YOU START MAKING AARON HICKS SOUND LIKE A POOR MAN'S RICH BECKER, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
Eric Fryer: .219 /.291 /.315, 0.5 WAR
First of all, I defy any one of you to tell me anything about Eric Fryer without looking him up on Baseball Reference. (He's a catcher. He's also pictured above, plotting with Kevin Correia.) Second of all, I invite you to find it staggering that somehow ZiPS has decided the Fryer, the very definition of a replacement player and the Twins' fifth- or sixth-string catcher, is worth 0.5 WAR. And third, I'd like you to notice that Fryer's projections are actually better than Drew Butera's, and just try - I dare you, just try - not to break whatever it is you're holding.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka: .255 / .307 / .338
I don't know what's more depressing - that ZiPS hasn't gotten the news about Nishioka yet, or that he's projected to have better hitting stats than Pedro Florimon, Brian Dozier, or Eduardo Escobar.
Trevor Plouffe: .241 / .300 / .422, 19 HR, 56 RBI
ZiPS apparently gave up and just projected Plouffe's exact stats from last year and hoped nobody would notice.
Scott Diamond: 175 IP, 4.63 ERA
NO ZIPS SHUT UP OKAY SCOTT DIAMOND IS A STAFF ACE, YOU HEAR ME, A STAFF ACE
Kevin Correia: 135 IP, 5.40 ERA, 76 K
I like how ZiPS is pretty much straight-up predicting that Correia is getting removed from the starting rotation at some point this season.
Kyle Gibson: 5.20 ERA
Remember last fall when Gibson had a couple of good starts in the Arizona Fall League and we all started getting excited about the possibility of him coming in this year and being awesome? ZiPS is not a believer.
Glen Perkins: ERA+ 113
Perkins is the only - repeat, the only - pitcher on the Twins staff who is projected to have a better-than-average ERA. Jared Burton is expected to be right on the league-average money. Among starters, Vance Worley breaks into the 90s, and that's it. ZiPS does not like the Twins' pitching staff this year.
Anthony Slama: 41.3 IP, 5.01 ERA
A reminder that the ZiPS projections are based on the player spending the year in the major leagues, and do not take into account a coaching staff and front office staff hating a guy for no real reason.
Lester Oliveros: Top comparable player: Bob Gibson
Don't get too excited, we're pretty sure they mean the guy who pitched four years for the Brewers in the mid-eighties.