Spring Kickoff: 2016 Pitcher Projections

San Francisco Giants 2016 Projections:

Starting Rotation

Madison Bumgarner | Age 26 

2015 Projection: 221 IP, 2.82, 187 H, 19 HR, 49 BB, 225 K

2015 Performance: 218 IP, 2.93, 181 H, 21 HR, 39 BB, 234 K

2016 Projection

  • Starts = 33
  • IP = 221
  • ERA = 2.75
  • H = 183 (7.5 h/9)
  • HR = 20
  • BB = 42 (1.7 bb/9)
  • K = 239 (9.7 k/9)

Forecast: Bumgarner’s career to this point has been pretty remarkable. 5 full seasons, 30 starts and 200+ IP in each; 3 consecutive years of sub-3 ERA. He’s the best October pitcher in the game today, and he hasn’t even reached what should be his peak years. Over the past 3 years, his average Game Score is 60.6 (one of the elite totals in all of baseball). I expect 2016 to be his best statistical season yet.

Johnny Cueto | Age 30

2015 Season: 212 IP, 3.44, 194 H, 21 HR, 46 BB, 176 K

2016 Projection

  • Starts = 32
  • IP = 218
  • ERA = 2.94
  • H = 187 (7.7 h/9)
  • HR = 19
  • BB = 55 (2.3 bb/9)
  • K = 194 (8.0 k/9)

Forecast: Over his past 3 seasons, Cueto’s Game Score average (GSc avg) is identical to Bumgarner’s at 60.6, though MadBum has made 19 more starts during that span. The knocks Cueto took this winter seem pretty farfetched when you put his numbers under a microscope. He’s had 6 seasons of 30 or more starts since he broke into the league in 2008. His last 5 season ERA’s in Cincy read: 2.31, 2.78, 2.82, 2.25, 2.62. That’s over 111 games started, and yet people can’t stop talking about 13 inconsistent starts in the AL last summer. I’ll take the overwhelming body of work that points to him returning to dominance in the NL again this season.

Jeff Samardzija | Age 31

2015 Season: 214 IP, 4.96, 228 H, 29 HR, 49 BB, 163 K

2016 Projection

  • Starts = 32
  • IP = 214
  • ERA = 3.43
  • H = 203 (8.5 h/9)
  • HR = 22
  • BB = 53 (2.2 bb/9)
  • K = 192 (8.1 k/9)

Forecast: The Shark was at his best in 2014 (58.8 GSc avg) and at his worst (49.5) last season in Chicago, but it’s certainly worth noting that he topped the 200 IP mark during both campaigns. His strikeouts were down in 2015, while his hits, HR, and ER were all way up. That’s not a good combination, but considering that he pitched in a bandbox, had one of the league’s poorest defenses playing behind him, and couldn’t get on the same page as his pitching coach, there seems to be a lot of reason for optimism as he comes back to the NL. I know Rags’ mouth is watering to get a fresh arm throwing 94-96 back in his rotation (maybe the first since starter throwing that hard since vintage Timmy?), and I am as well. I didn’t want to go overboard with my projection, but an ERA in the low 3’s from Samardzija this season truly wouldn’t surprise me.

Jake Peavy | Age 34 (Turns 35 on May 31)

2015 Projection: 189 IP, 3.55, 177 H, 19 HR, 48 BB, 148 K

2015 Performance: 110 IP, 3.58, 99 H, 12 HR, 25 BB, 78 K

2016 Projection

  • Starts = 27
  • IP = 159
  • ERA = 3.61
  • H = 149 (8.4 h/9)
  • HR = 17
  • BB = 39 (2.2 bb/9)
  • K = 112 (6.3 k/9)

Forecast: Peavy said he intends to pitch 200 innings this year, but the fact is that he’s only achieved that feat twice since 2007… though he did it as recently as 2014. I might be a Giants homer, but I feel the need to keep some credibility here. So I tried to split the difference between his past couple seasons to find his starts and IP. Peavy may be aging, but he’s still a savvy arm who knows how to get outs when he’s on the mound. I don’t see him pitching deep into games (5.9 IP/GS average), but I do think his peripherals and ERA could land right around where they were last season, making him a viable back of the rotation option.

Matt Cain | Age 31

2015 Projection: 192 IP, 3.48, 173 H, 24 HR, 61 BB, 160 K

2015 Performance: 60 IP, 5.79, 71 H, 12 HR, 20 BB, 41 K

2016 Projection

  • Starts = 29
  • IP = 174
  • ERA = 4.17
  • H = 168 (8.7 h/9)
  • HR = 24
  • BB = 58 (3.0 bb/9)
  • K = 135 (7.0 k/9)

Forecast: It’s been a few years since we’ve seen the real Matt Cain, and the problem now is that his age makes it hard to project a true return to greatness. His velocity was definitely there after the surgery last season, so I’m optimistic that he can get himself back into the respectable category that he was in during 2013-2014. Of course, I’m really hoping he finds his old command and gives the Giants a 5-man super rotation, but that might be slightly unrealistic at this point. As a #4/5 starter, the team just needs him to log innings and give them a shot at winning more often than not. I think he can do that, but I also think we’ll see some occasional control issues and home runs allowed in the process.

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4 thoughts on “Spring Kickoff: 2016 Pitcher Projections”

  1. Uncanny, man. I flipped out some projections the other day without going through calculations and they are right in line with yours.

    I think I said Mad Bum 2.75 ERA & 220 IP,
    Cueto 3.2 ERA, 205 IP
    Shark 3.5 ERA, 220 IP
    Peavy 3.6 ERA, 160 IP
    Cain 3.75 ERA, 180 IP

    or something like that. I do think Cueto is going to look more like a solid #3 than the ace he’s been in the past.

    1. Well you ARE the one who helped me set these calculations up in the first place! What has you feeling that way about Cueto? Looking at his numbers in Cincy last year, you’ve got a guy who was pitching at top 5 in MLB pace. I’m leaning on him getting back to a sub-3 ERA with us this year.

  2. With Cueto, I think it’s the build and the reports about some arm problems. He looks like a guy that’s at the point where is average fastball velocity will take a dip in the near future. Fortunately, he’s got the guile and offspeed arsenal to operate effectively as an 89-93 guy.

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