As the slow offseason moves along and Spring Training is still at least five weeks away, projections are a fun way to get a baseball fix as we dream about the coming season and all the possibilities for a Philadelphia Phillies team that's supposed to compete for the World Series again.
The early Phillies' ZiPS projections have recently been released on FanGraphs, so let's see what we may be in store for this season.
A quick note about projections
If you're unfamiliar, projection systems crunch the complex data to predict player results for the coming season. Several systems release projections each offseason, with many found on FanGraphs, including the ever-popular Steamer and sZymborski Projection System (ZiPS). But how do they work?
Per MLB.com's ZiPS glossary entry, "ZiPS uses growth and decline curves based on player type to find trends. It then factors those trends into the past performance of those players to come up with projections."
It's good to remember that projections aren't flawless, so don't follow them blindly — they're more like baseline results if everything goes well during a season. Some players will outperform their projections, some will underperform — woefully — and some will finish close to the computers' predictions.
As ZiPS creator Dan Szymborski explains, "... using both recent playing data with adjustments for zStats, and other factors such as park, league, and quality of competition, ZiPS establishes a baseline estimate for every player being projected."
Let's dig in.
NEXT: The offense and the defense