Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fangraphs Predicts the 2016 Season

Earlier today we took a look at the ZIPS predictions from Dan Szymborski over at Fangraphs and showed what his system thought the Yankees would do in 2016. We also prefaced that post with the fact that Fangraphs, unlike Baseball Reference, had individual and unique content on their site and those ZIPS predictions were one of those posts we alluded to. This is an official Fangraphs prediction model for the 2016 season that focuses more on runs, run preventions and wins rather than fancy stats and analytics like the ZIPS system. How did the Yankees do in this one?

Fangraphs shows no regression and no improvement in the win column for the New York Yankees in 2016. According to the predictions the Bombers will repeat their 87-win season that landed them in the postseason in 2015 which will give the Yankees the fourth best record in all of baseball. The three teams that Fangraphs believes will have more wins than the Yankees are the Chicago Cubs, the Washington Nationals, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Yankees biggest division rivals, the Boston Red Sox (92 wins). Not the Toronto Blue Jays, not the Baltimore Orioles, not the Pittsburgh Pirates and not the St. Louis Cardinals.

Fangraphs predicts the Yankees will score 4.5 runs per game and allow 4.18 runs per game which are both downgraded from their 2015 totals of 4.72 RS/G and 4.31 RA/G. The Yankees had the second most runs scored in all of baseball in 2015 with Alex Rodriguez hitting 33 home runs and Mark Teixeira looking more like the 2009 version of himself than the 2010 and beyond version of himself so a slight regression should have been expected. The team also added Aroldis Chapman to the bullpen and will presumably have a full season of Luis Severino which should also explain why the slight downfall in runs allowed was also prevalent on the Fangraphs predictions.

The Yankees biggest upgrade though will likely come at the second base position. In 2015 the Yankees used six different second baseman including Stephen Drew, Robert Refsnyder, Brendan Ryan, Dustin Ackley and others and they combined to hit .245 with 65 RBI and 63 runs scored but in 2016 the team will likely use one second baseman for the most part, Starlin Castro. Castro alone hit 0265 with 69 RBI and 52 runs scored in 2015 and that was a down season for him that included a benching for defensive purposed and a position switch to second base. While at second base Castro hit .339 for the Chicago Cubs leading them to the National League Championship Series. In a snapshot the Yankees offense should get a huge boost at the position, finally.

The Fangraphs predictions are not 100% and truth be told they are usually a little low in most cases. The Kansas City Royals won 95 games last season and the World Series championship while Fangraphs predicted the team would have just 79 wins so take these predictions with a grain of salt. If the Yankees can match or exceed the 87-win total the website predicted I think many fans of the team would be happy with that, I have to think that I would personally.

For your reference here is the complete list for the AL East according to Fangraphs:

2016 AL East Standings (per FanGraphs projections)
1. Boston Red Sox (2015 record: 78-84)
2016 projection: 92-70 | 4.75 runs scored per game, 4.11 runs allowed

2. New York Yankees (2015 record: 87-75)
2016 projection: 87-75 | 4.50 runs scored per game, 4.18 runs allowed

3. Toronto Blue Jays (2015 record: 93-69)
2016 projection: 84-78 | 4.75 runs allowed per game, 4.57 runs allowed

4. Tampa Bay Rays (2015 record: 80-82)
2016 projection: 82-80 | 4.16 runs scored per game, 4.08 runs allowed

5. Baltimore Orioles (2015 record: 81-81)

2016 projection: 76-86 | 4.37 runs scored per game, 4.65 runs allowed

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