FanGraphs has released the 2021 ZiPS projections for the Pittsburgh Pirates. If you’ve been following the site for years, you’ll know that this is my favorite projection system to follow. Check out the article here, and let’s start to dig in below.
**The writeup on Ke’Bryan Hayes was very promising. ZiPS saw his 2020 results as a .500 slugger. There’s very little upside on the offensive side of things beyond Hayes. ZiPS still likes Gregory Polanco if he returns to 2017-18 form and remains healthy.
**The pitching is projected to be stronger than the hitting, with Szymborski saying they’re the difference between a 90 loss team and a 100 loss team. He doesn’t call the rotation good, but highlights a lot of positives within, including Joe Musgrove as a breakout candidate, Jameson Taillon as a guy who still could have something in the tank, and Mitch Keller as the remaining guy who stands out.
**Hayes (3.0) and Frazier (2.1) are the only position players projected for more than 1.5 WAR. Joe Musgrove (2.4) and Jameson Taillon (1.6) join them on the pitching side.
**The Pirates will be looking for guys who can emerge as long-term options on the team. Based on these results, ZiPS seems to favor Phillip Evans and JT Brubaker as guys who can win a job going forward. If they each get around a 1.5 WAR value, they’d lock down spots at least in future bullpens and benches.
I’ll have a deeper look at the ZiPS projections tomorrow. What are your thoughts on this year’s projections?