Each season Dan Szymborski over at Fangraphs releases his ZiPS projections for every major league team. Earlier today, he released his projections for the 2018 Detroit Tigers.
The Detroit Tigers might have some cause for concern. Fangraphs released the ZiPS projections for the 2018 Detroit Tigers and they don’t bode well. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ZiPS projections MLB.com defines it as:
"It’s like other projection systems. ZiPS uses past performance and aging trends to develop a future projection for players."
On Fangraphs, the projections are updated daily and predict each player’s numbers over the course of the remainder of the season. In this article, you’ll see zWAR. That is simply Szymborski’s projection of Wins Above Replacement.
In the past year, the core of the Detroit Tigers hitting has been shipped off to other teams for prospect packages. Ian Kinsler, J.D. Martinez, and Justin Upton represented a strong portion of the Detroit Tigers hitting game.
Szymborski’s projections for the 2018 Detroit Tigers hitting crew projects a below average group. He projects Miguel Cabrera to have 526 PA with a 2.0 zWAR and Nick Castellanos to have 634 PA with a 2.3 zWAR. On the offensive side of the plate, these are the only players he projects to give the Detroit Tigers two or more wins.
ZiPS doesn’t project a particularly well light on the pitching mound either. Michael Fulmer leads the staff, unsurprisingly, with a 2.9zWAR. On a positive note, ZiPS does project Fulmer to have a positive year. The projection for Fulmer includes 162.3 IP and 128K. Coming off his elbow injury that’d give Fulmer a worthwhile season.
Symbroski’s system does give some bright spots, specifically when it comes to prospects. He notes Dawel Lugo as the top prospect in the farm system, along with Artie Lewicki. Lewicki surprisingly received a projection that is good enough to put in the starting rotation. That’s of course if we were basing things off of projections.
The Tigers are rebuilding and the general consensus has been that 2018 will be a down year. Fangraphs ZiPS projections only gives strength to that thought.