Category Archives: Projections

Projecting Stephen Vogt

With the Brewers making another move to its 25-man roster, it’s time for another projection post. But don’t worry. I have a Matt Garza article scheduled for later this week, so make sure to stop by again. I mean, who doesn’t want to read about Matt Garza?

Jett Bandy — the owner of a 72 wRC+ — was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Stephen Vogt, who the Brewers claimed off waivers from the Oakland Athletics in another low-risk and cheap move by David Stearns. The former two-time All-Star Vogt will share time with incumbent Manny Pina behind the plate, but Pina figures to see most of the playing time. Vogt has earned a 94 wRC+ over his last 1.217 plate appearances but has been substantially underwhelming in 2017. He’s batting just .217 with an OBP under .300, but with a walk rate of 9.2 percent, his batted ball average of just .244 is the main culprit. His hard-hit rate is actually up compared to the last two seasons, so expect some positive regression in the second half.

Now, Vogt is 32, so by no means do the Brewers view him as a long-term option. They still believe in Bandy, and they sent him down in order to get consistent at-bats and to see if he can rediscover his confidence. Vogt and Pina make a fairly decent catching tandem, though, and RW23 projects the former as a serviceable catcher.

PA AB AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO wOBA K% BB% BABIP HR
RW23 180 163 .257 .321 .401 .722 .145 .316 16.5% 8.3% .286 5

RW23 still believes Bandy is the better option, although it’s extremely close. Bandy has more power, but Vogt is the better OBP player. He makes consistent contact and will walk a smidge more often. Hopefully, Bandy hits AAA pitching, and his demotion is short-lived. But for now, we’ll see what Vogt can do on a first-place team.

Projecting Lewis Brinson

The future is here.

Just a few days after promoting Brett Phillips and Josh Hader, the Milwaukee Brewers made the call to No. 1 prospect Lewis Brinson, effectively commencing the team’s bright, bright outlook and future. Phillips was hitting the ball well in Triple-A, while Hader was having his fair share of problems. Lewis, on the other hand, was devastating opposing pitchers. In 204 plate appearances, the newly minted 23 year old posted a 134 wRC+, a .397 on-base clip and a .390 weighted-on base mark. He also mashed six dingers en route to his promotion. He earned his call.

Brinson marks the new wave of players coming to Milwaukee. He and Phillips seem destined to man the outfield grass in Miller Park for years to come, but as Brinson is set to make his debut, one must wonder how much playing time he’ll get. Domingo Santana (128 wRC+) isn’t going to lose any at-bats, and Ryan Braun — when he returns from a lengthy disabled list stint — figures to play almost everyday as well. Keon Broxton (79 wRC+) seems to be the odd-man out if the Brewers want to get Brinson and/or Phillips consistent time on the field. But of the two, Brinson is the one who will most likely stay when Braun makes his way back. Phillips could use some more time to improve his plate discipline and cut down the strike outs.

With that being said, here’s what RW23 foresees for Brinson in 2017.

PA AB AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO wOBA K% BB% BABIP HR
RW23 179 200 .256 .325 .429 .754 .173 .327 25.0% 8.6% .314 7

Compared to Phillips’ projection, RW23 likes Brinson quite a bit more. Depending on Milwaukee’s plan for him, Brinson’s 200 plate appearances might be on the high side, but to me, calling him up to sit him on the pine is a waste of everyone’s time — especially Brinson’s. He needs to be in the lineup as much as possible.

Projecting Brett Phillips

Highly regarded prospect Brett Phillips was called up Monday to take over the roster spot of Travis Shaw. But since Shaw is only on paternity leave, Phillips’ stay in the big leagues will most likely be a short one. This is nonetheless exciting, though. Phillips was the main piece in the Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers trade, and I wrote about that acquisition here. (Keep in mind that I did predict Domingo Santana would be the star of the trade, however).

After a quiet season in Double-A in 2016, Phillips has smashed the ball in Triple-A so far in 2017. In 198 plate appearances, the 23 year old has 11 home runs, running a 144 wRC+ in the process. His promotion was obviously well deserved, even if it’s just for a few games. But while Phillips has been a monster at the plate in the minors, he’s still striking out at an outrageous clip (30.3 percent), which should be a huge, flashing warning sign as he enters the majors. That alone is scary, and that alone is why the RW23 projection has little faith him in this season.

PA AB AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO wOBA K% BB% BABIP HR
RW23 75 68 .231 .310 .390 .700 .159 .307 33.1% 9.5% .330 2

Phillips is a top prospect for a reason. His defense will flirt with elite — particularly his arm — and he has home-run power and extra-base pop. But his holes in swing are worrisome, and it may take him awhile to get it figured out. Don’t jump off his bandwagon if he struggles to begin his career.

If Keon Broxton doesn’t pan out and/or Ryan Braun is traded, Phillips — along with Lewis Brinson — could man the outfield for the 2017 Brewers. He’ll always be a strikeout-prone player, but his defense and power should be able to overlook that.

Get excited. The future is here.

Projecting David Goforth

It seems like the Brewers are destined to make a bullpen move every day this season, as the team sent Brent Suter down to the minors just days after promoting him and recalled reliever David Goforth.

Goforth has seen major league action each of the last two seasons, compiling a 6.11 ERA and 4.86 FIP across 35.1 innings. He was hit hard in 2016 (10.97 ERA) and has really struggled to keep the ball in the yard – his 19.4% home-run-to-fly-ball rate is one of the worst marks among relievers over the last two campaigns. And as I’m sure you’re aware, Miller Park is friendly to fly balls, meaning if Goforth wants any sort of success, he needs to keep the ball on the ground.

Here’s what RW23 — The First Out At Third’s projection system — thinks of Goforth.

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 15 2 1.46 .317 6.12 2.96 15.5% 7.5% 4.46 4.17 4.39

RW23 is projecting just 15 innings for the right-handed reliever, and even that might be on the high side, considering the Brewers alternate their bullpen guys as often as President Donald Trump tweets “Sad!” Goforth throws his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s but doesn’t miss many bats, which is unfortunate, considering RW23 thinks he’ll allow a high BABIP.

Goforth doesn’t figure to be a mainstay in the bullpen and shouldn’t be in Milwaukee’s future plans. He’s had little-to-moderate success in the minor leagues and has never proven he has the stuff to be a reliable major league pitcher.

Projecting Nick Franklin

Another day, another roster move for the rebuilding Milwaukee Brewers.

On Wednesday, the Brewers claimed INF/OF Nick Franklin off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays and designated reliever Michael Blazek for assignment. Blazek was a dominant piece of Milwaukee’s 2015 bullpen but really struggled to find any success in 2016 (5.66 ERA/5.71 FIP). Franklin, on the other hand, was once a top prospect, although he has failed miserably to live up to that billing in the major leagues. He did, however, enjoy a career year last season with the bat, creating 10 percent more runs than league average — by far his highest wRC+. But even with that, he posted a 0.0 WAR — the definition of a replacement player.

Franklin enticed the Brewers due to his versatility, as he’s similar to Hernan Perez by being able play multiple infield and outfield positions. He doesn’t have much power and his on-base skills are limited, but general manager David Stearns believed he was worth a flyer, though it may be an expensive flyer if another team ends up claiming Blazek.

Franklin is expected to join the Brewers on Friday, so let’s see what RW23 thinks of the 26 year old.

PA AB AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO wOBA K% BB% BABIP HR
RW23 181 167 .229 .285 .390 .674 .161 .294 27.6% 6.1% .291 5

It’s not all that pretty. Other projection systems like Steamer and ZiPS aren’t as pessimistic as RW23, but the difference is extremely small. They all believe Franklin won’t make much of an impact.

But because the Brewers are rebuilding, they need to take chances on guys like Franklin. They have very little to lose, and if one of these dart throws sticks, it will only increase the speed of the rebuild.

Projecting Brent Suter

Just like a season ago, the Milwaukee Brewers made a pitching move following Opening Day. In 2016, they designated Ariel Pena for assignment after getting blasted, and this year, they placed starting pitcher Junior Guerra on the 10-day disabled list with a strained calf and recalled LHP Brent Suter to replace him. Tommy Milone — who pitched two innings of relief Monday — will most likely serve as a starter to fill Guerra’s void, while Suter will take Milone’s place as the only lefty in the bullpen.

So let’s project what to expect from Suter using RW23.

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 25 3 1.34 .303 6.18 2.26 16.1% 5.9% 4.21 4.22 4.51

According to RW23, Suter projects to be relatively the same pitcher as Milone, so the good thing is that the Brewers won’t be losing anything. However, like Milone, Suter won’t miss many bats, but that’s nothing new. He’s never shown strikeout ability in the minor leagues and has never been considered a top prospect. But his performance in spring training was impressive, and that’s likely what led to his call up. Meanwhile, highly coveted prospect Josh Hader and outspoken reliever Tyler Cravy will remain at Colorado Springs for the foreseeable future.

Suter made his major league debut in 2016, and in 21.2 innings — including two starts — he posted a 3.32 ERA and 4.39 FIP. His relies heavily on his fastball and mixes in a sllider and changeup, as well. He’s definitely not a power pitcher, though, as his fastball averaged just 84.8 mph last season. It’s all about location for the southpaw.

Don’t expect Suter to see many high-leverage innings out of Milwaukee’s pen, but he’s likely to stay there until Guerra — who’s expected to miss more than the minimum 10 days — is healthy enough to rejoin the rotation.

Pitcher projections for the 2017 Milwaukee Brewers

Below is the same opening I used for my hitter projections, so if you have already visited those, just skip right on down to the stats. If not, here’s where you can find RW23’s hitter projections.

I’m really excited about this.

For the first time in its two-and-a-half year existence, The First Out At Third is featuring real projections rather than educated guesses like it has in previous years. I’m very excited to announce to finally debut RW23 projections.

RW23 is named after my favorite (and greatest) baseball player of all time, Rickie Weeks. I’ve loved him from the moment he made his Brewers’ debut and I shed many tears during his final game in Miller Park, although he wasn’t even given an at bat. I own a banner of Weeks that used to hang up in the stadium, and his is the only autograph I truly cherish. Naming my projections after him was a no-brainer.

Now, RW23 isn’t a scientific or mathematical, computer-based model. It relies on relatively simple formulas that I entered into Excel. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give Mike Podhorzer and his book “Projecting X 2.0” credit, though, as I purchased his book to aid me. I made a few small changes and added a bit of my own sauce to it, but there’s no way I would’ve been able to do this without Mike’s book.

Below you will find RW23’s projections along with a side-by-side comparison to Steamer and ZiPS — two well-respected projection systems.(Note: ZiPS doesn’t project xFIP.) At the end of the year I’ll compare the three systems to see how RW23 performed in its debut season.

As new players are added to the 25-man roster, I will dedicate an entire post to their projections, but for now, here are the pitcher projections for the 2017 Milwaukee Brewers.

SP Junior Guerra

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 162 17 1.27 .281 7.48 3.25 19.8% 8.6% 3.61 3.99 4.35
Steamer 192 25 1.39 .303 8.24 3.47 21.0% 8.9% 4.43 4.29 4.25
ZiPS 123 18 1.35 .294 8.20 3.66 20.9% 9.3% 4.24 4.54 N/A

SP Zach Davies

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 168 22 1.32 .305 7.75 2.61 20.2% 6.8% 4.13 4.14 3.95
Steamer 174 23 1.36 .306 7.67 2.82 19.7% 7.3% 4.35 4.19 4.11
ZiPS 169 20 1.27 .307 7.76 2.55 20.2% 6.6% 3.99 3.91 N/A

SP Jimmy Nelson

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 181 21 1.35 .296 7.83 3.47 20.1% 8.9% 4.02 4.27 4.16
Steamer 120 15 1.46 .308 7.39 3.64 18.5% 9.1% 4.80 4.57 4.48
ZiPS 170 21 1.38 .307 7.57 3.39 19.2% 8.6% 4.34 4.45 N/A

SP Matt Garza

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 96 11 1.44 .303 6.05 3.18 15.4% 8.1% 4.45 4.46 4.53
Steamer 128 19 1.46 .308 6.54 3.06 16.5% 7.7% 4.89 4.71 4.57
ZiPS 122 18 1.43 .309 6.30 3.04 15.8% 7.6% 5.04 4.76 N/A

SP Wily Peralta

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 125 16 1.42 .310 6.66 2.94 17.0% 7.5% 4.49 4.37 4.09
Steamer 140 18 1.45 .312 6.93 3.12 17.5% 7.9% 4.64 4.43 4.26
ZiPS 149 22 1.43 .312 6.67 3.07 16.7% 7.7% 4.81 4.70 N/A

SP Chase Anderson

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 138 25 1.40 .295 7.37 3.12 18.9% 8.0% 4.82 5.03 4.51
Steamer 133 18 1.37 .301 7.81 2.83 20.0% 7.2% 4.72 4.56 4.43
ZiPS 139 22 1.38 .308 7.28 2.96 18.5% 7.5% 4.64 4.67 N/A

RP Tommy Milone

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 61 7 1.33 .292 6.13 2.68 16.0% 7.0% 4.11 4.32 4.48
Steamer 57 8 1.27 .301 7.96 2.22 20.9% 5.8% 4.10 4.03 3.94
ZiPS 128 21 1.34 .306 7.03 2.46 18.0% 6.3% 4.71 4.61 N/A

RP Jacob Barnes

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 52 4 1.20 .293 9.09 3.12 24.5% 8.4% 3.10 3.18 3.54
Steamer 35 4 1.32 .304 8.98 3.28 23.3% 8.5% 3.94 3.84 3.88
ZiPS 53 5 1.27 .313 9.56 3.35 24.9% 8.7% 3.52 3.46 N/A

RP Corey Knebel

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 63 6 1.22 .297 10.32 3.48 27.6% 9.3% 3.24 3.29 3.43
Steamer 65 7 1.28 .302 10.66 3.77 27.9% 9.9% 3.56 3.49 3.56
ZiPS 54 7 1.27 .316 11.28 3.81 29.3% 9.9% 3.65 3.68 N/A

RP Jhan Marinez

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 53 4 1.33 .300 7.39 3.34 19.0% 8.6% 3.64 3.82 3.99
Steamer 55 6 1.41 .307 8.43 3.89 21.4% 9.9% 4.16 4.12 4.14
ZiPS 68 8 1.34 .307 8.07 3.31 20.7% 8.5% 3.84 4.21 N/A

RP Neftali Feliz

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 61 9 1.19 0.261 9.18 3.37 24.8% 9.1% 3.67 4.28 4.01
Steamer 65 8 1.28 0.295 10.15 3.56 26.5% 9.3% 3.83 3.81 3.88
ZiPS 55 9 1.30 0.299 9.43 3.58 N/A N/A 4.39 4.41 N/A

RP Carlos Torres

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 73 9 1.28 .285 8.16 3.26 21.5% 8.6% 3.76 4.10 4.08
Steamer 55 7 1.36 .304 8.58 3.33 22.0% 8.6% 4.17 4.09 4.09
ZiPS 80 11 1.33 .301 8.74 3.59 22.4% 9.2% 3.92 4.29 N/A

RP Taylor Jungmann

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 53 6 1.52 .312 7.53 4.23 18.7% 10.5% 4.62 4.52 4.70
Steamer 85 11 1.53 .306 8.02 4.54 19.8% 11.2% 4.91 4.78 4.75
ZiPS 142 19 1.52 .308 8.09 4.78 19.9% 11.7% 4.97 4.88 N/A

RP Jared Hughes

IP HR WHIP BABIP K/9 BB/9 K% BB% ERA FIP xFIP
RW23 62 5 1.38 .292 5.11 2.95 13.0% 7.5% 3.99 4.39 4.43
Steamer 10 1 1.46 .308 6.06 3.41 15.3% 8.6% 4.34 4.40 4.46
ZiPS 63 6 1.41 .303 5.12 2.98 N/A N/A 3.69 4.52 N/A