In this recent post, Dan Szymborski, senior writer for FanGraphs.com and the developer of the ZiPS projection system discussed how his system saw Adley Rutschman’s 2023 season playing out.
Pretty well is the answer.
ZiPS projects Rutschman to produce an .823 OPS and 126 OPS+ in 2023, which would rank 26 percent above league average. It would be another strong season for Rutschman, and if his ZiPS projection of 4.7 Wins Above Replacement is accurate, per its current player projections, Rutschman’s WAR would rank 11th best in the majors.
But Rutschman is not the only player that ZiPS or another projection system, Steamer, sees as having strong numbers in 2023. In looking at both ZiPS and Steamer, it seems ZiPS expects a bit more offense from other Orioles too.
For instance, ZiPS projections have four Orioles producing an OPS+ of 115 or more next season, with Rutschman at 126, Gunnar Henderson 123, Ryan Mountcastle 119 and Anthony Santander at 115. By comparison, the Yankees have just three players projected to exceed a 115 OPS+, with Aaron Judge at 164, Giancarlo Stanton 119 and Anthony Rizzo at 116.
Here are some projected stat lines for few O’s players by both projection systems.
ZiPS at .259/.354/.458 with .812 OPS along with 27 doubles, six triples, 24 homers and 90 RBIs.
Steamer at .254/.344/.442/ with .786 OPS with 28 doubles, four triples, 21 homers and 77 RBIs.
ZiPS projects 4.0 WAR for Henderson while Steamer goes with 4.1 WAR.
ZiPS at .269/.322/.482 with .804 OPS, 27 doubles, one triple, 29 homers and 92 RBIs.
Steamer at .255/.313/.448 with .761 OPS with 26 doubles, one triple, 26 homers and 81 RBIs.
ZiPS projects 2.1 WAR for Mountcastle with Steamer at 1.8 WAR.
ZiPS at .256/.317/.473 with .790 OPS to go with 29 doubles, 29 homers and 89 RBIs.
Steamer at .245/.309/.449 with .758 OPS with 30 doubles, one triple, 30 homers and 92 RBIs.
ZiPS projects 2.1 WAR for Santander with Steamer at 1.9 WAR.
ZiPS at .254/.307/.434 with .741 OPS to go with 29 doubles, two triples, 19 homers and 70 RBIs.
Steamer at .251/.305/.427 with .732 OPS along with 28 doubles, two triples, 19 homers and 69 RBIs.
ZiPS projects 1.4 WAR for Hays with Steamer at 2.0 WAR.
ZiPS is at .261/.321/.423 with a .744 OPS with 29 doubles, four triples, 19 homers, 28 steals and 70 RBIs.
Steamer at .252/.318/.413 with a .731 OPS along with 31 doubles, four triples, 20 homers, 30 steals and 66 RBIs.
ZiPS projects a 3.2 WAR for Mullins and Steamer is at 3.1 WAR.
Here is what Szymborski said about Henderson: “He was just terrific in 2022 and was a player that moved up big in the prospect rankings. ZiPS had him No. 53 going into the 2022 season and he pretty much improved across the board. I did a Gunnar Henderson piece where I had his minor league translations with other historical shortstops. He had one of the best minor league seasons for someone that could play shortstop going back pretty far, and my database on the minors goes back to 1950."
So per ZiPS, the Orioles could have two young players in Rutschman and Henderson producing OPS+ numbers of 126 and 123. Among qualifying American League hitters in 2022, just 27 players were at 123 or better in OPS+.
Also, the projections like Mountcastle, obviously. After he produced an OPS+ of 105 last season, ZiPS sees that rising to 119 in 2023. By comparison, Santander was at 117 OPS+ last season.