On Christmas Day, I was checking out if FanGraphs had any new articles published and discovered that Carson Cistulli had published the 2014 ZIPS projections for the Los Angeles Dodgers. ZIPS is known to be one of the better projection systems out there, so I was interested to see what they projected for Yasiel Puig and a few other Dodgers. Puig's ZIPS projection of 21 HRs, 96 runs, 79 RBI and 16 stolen bases makes sense, but I could see him exceeding the HR and stolen base totals next season.
The one projection that surprised me was that for Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero. ZIPS likes Guerrero and here is an excerpt from Cistulli' writeup:
Of some interest to readers will be the projection for Cuban emigre Alexander Guerrero. ZiPS is optimistic (2.5 WAR in 665 PA); Steamer, less so (0.2 WAR in 630 PA). A street fight between rival systems, is what appears to be unfolding.
Much of what I read about Guerrero is not positive, so this projection seems to stand out as one of the more optimistic opinions written about him. Most prospect experts are saying that he can't play shortstop in the big leagues and appears stiff on defense.
Here is what Keith Law had to say about Guerrero in his December 19th chat over at ESPN:
Alex w. (Chicago)
Haven't heard anything positive on Alexander Guerrero as in only hearing negative reports? Or nobody is positive what dodgers have in him yet? Sorry for follow up question
Klaw (1:35 PM)
All negative. Terrible in the field, body very stiff, etc. I don't want to overreact - we saw how Puig changed in one winter - but it's not exactly great news.
Right. Teams and scouts haven't really seen much of Guerrero on the field, except for some tryouts and limited time in the Dominican Winter League. In 28 winter league at bats, Guerrero hit .286-.333-.464 with a HR, with 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 4 strikeouts and two walks.
This article from Obstructed View breaks down Guerrero's career stats in Cuba, and he showed plenty of power and the ability to take a walk, so, for me, I am not sure why some are down on him.
Below you will find Guerrero's ZIPS projections, along with several other Dodger players. As you can see, ZIPS is very optimistic on him in 2014, with a triple slash line projection of .259-.324-.386 with 18 HRs, 85 runs and 82 RBI. The triple slash line almost doesn't measure up with the counting stats, so I am a little confused with the projection.
Comparing his 2014 ZIPS projection to other second baseman in 2013, his 18 HRs would have tied Chase Utley for fourth at the position. His 86 runs would have tied him with Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, and his 82 RBI would have ranked 5th at the position.
The Dodgers didn't get a long look at him at second base in the Dominican Winter league, as he battled a few nagging injuries and was benched in the playoffs, so they have talked about having him work out more in Arizona in January in case they need to go out and sign a back up second baseman in the free agent market.
For fantasy purposes though, he is a candidate to rank in the Top 10 amongst fantasy second baseman in our upcoming Fake Teams Consensus Position Rankings scheduled to kick off the week of January 20th. After seeing his ZIPS projection, I will consider moving him into my Top 10 second base rankings for 2014.
Let us hear your thoughts in the poll and comments below.
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