The 2023 Detroit Tigers ZiPS projections are about as expected

Last week the Steamer Projections were released for the Detroit Tigers and they weren't necessarily pretty. Today, Dan Szymborski of Frangraphs released his 2023 Detroit Tigers ZiPS projections, and they're to be as expected.

Why It Matters:

  • ZiPS projected the Tigers at 73 wins in 2022, six more than they finished with.
  • Szymborski is expecting a “regression to the mean”.
  • ZiPS projects the Tigers to be a mid-70 win team in 2023

ZiPS is a project system developed by Szymborski. According to the developer, himself:

ZiPS is a computer projection system I initially developed in 2002–04; it officially went live for the 2004 season…At its core, however, it’s still doing two primary tasks: estimating what the baseline expectation for a player is at the moment I hit the button, and then estimating where that player may be going using large cohorts of relatively similar players.

ZiPS uses multi-year statistics, with more recent seasons weighted more heavily; in the beginning, all the statistics received the same yearly weighting, but eventually, this became more varied based on additional research. And research is a big part of ZiPS.

Dan Szymborski, “The 2023 ZiPS Projection Season Is Imminent” FanGraphs
Detroit Tigers roster moves Phillies

2023 Detroit Tigers ZiPS projections inside the numbers:

The offense, as expected, projects worse than the pitching staff does. Though, neither of them is great. Here's the breakdown for the offense and pitching:

ZiPS projection for Detroit Tigers offense

Szymborski was spot on in his assessment of the Tigers' quiet offseason when he said,

“Detroit is more likely to spend money someday than the rest of the division, but this lineup is too flawed to be fixed by slapping on a high-priced player or two. It’s a mess, and new team president Scott Harris has a huge task ahead of him.

Dan Szymborski, “The 2023 ZiPS Projection Season Is Imminent” FanGraphs

The offense shouldn't be as bad as it was last season. With key players hopefully rebounding from historically bad seasons in 2022.

  • Austin Meadows is projected to have the best offensive season with a .266/.346/.472 slash line and a .350 wOBA.
  • Jonathan Schoop is expected to rebound with a 93 OPS+ and a .298 wOBA.
  • Spencer Torkelson should have a sophomore surge with a .188 ISO, .324 wOBA, 21 HR, and 109 OPS+.
  • Akil Baddoo is projected to have a “muted rebound,” while Riley Greene continues to roll offensively.
  • Most notably, Kerry Carpenter and prospect Andre Lipcius are set to have pretty decent offensive seasons from younger talent. Lipcius potentially being the answer at third base for the Tigers this season.

ZiPS projection for Detroit Tigers pitchers

The strength of the Tigers last season was their bullpen, which took a hit with the trades of Gregory Soto and Joe Jimenez. But, Szymborski rightly points out that there's no need to worry about bullpen strength when there will be few leads to protect.

  • Alex Lange is viewed as the best pitcher on the Tigers' staff at nearly 12 K/9, 3.31 FIP, and a 119 ERA+.
  • Jason Foley is also projected to have another solid year with a strikeout rate of 18% and a 3.33 FIP.
  • Much of the starting innings will be eaten up by veteran guys like Eduardo Rodriguez, Michael Lorenzen, and Matt Boyd. Considering the injuries to their younger pitchers, the hope would be for good first halves from these guys in order to be flipped at the deadline.
  • In his return from Tommy John surgery, Spencer Turnbull is projected to pitch less than 100 innings and be a middle-of-the-road type of arm.

To read the full projections you can view the article here.

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