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2022 ZiPS projections released for Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola & more


Aaron Nola and Bryce Harper are two of the most important Phillies.(Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Monday, Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs released his annual ZiPS projections for the Philadelphia Phillies.

For those unfamiliar with ZiPS, MLB.com offers the following explanation of how the projection system makes its calculations:

ZiPS is a system of player projections developed by FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski when he was at Baseball Think Factory. According to a Q&A on the Baseball Think Factory website, 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.

The system uses statistics from the previous four years for players from ages 24-38, and it weights more recent seasons heavier. For younger or older players, it uses weighted statistics from only the previous three years. The system also factors velocities, injury data and play-by-play data into its equations.

Here are projections for 12 notable Phillies, with the understanding that the Phillies will probably acquire both their starting left and center fielders after the Major League Baseball lockout concludes:

Bryce Harper

2021 Stats: .309/.429/.615 with 35 home runs, 84 RBIs, 100 walks, 179 OPS+ and 6.6 fWAR

2022 ZiPS Projection: .272/.400/.544 with 33 home runs, 96 RBIs, 103 walks, 149 OPS+ and a 4.9 fWAR

After winning his second National League MVP in 2022, ZiPS is projecting that Harper will regress closer to the very-good-but-not-great production that he put up during his first two seasons with the Phillies. Realistically, the Phillies will probably need more from Harper than this projection to snap a 10-year playoff drought.

Aaron Nola

2021 Stats: 9-9 with a 4.63 ERA, 3.37 FIP and a 4.5 fWAR across 180 2/3 innings

2022 ZiPS Projection: 12-7 with a 3.46 ERA, 3.48 FIP and a 4.1 fWAR across 185 innings

Some advanced numbers — such as FIP — lead you to believe that Nola was somewhat unlucky during his disappointing 2021 campaign. This projection suggests that while Nola won’t return to his 2018 form, there won’t be such a large discrepancy between his ERA and FIP in 2022.

J.T. Realmuto

2021 Stats: .263/.343/.439 with 17 home runs, 73 RBIs, 48 walks, 110 OPS+ and a 4.4 fWAR

2022 ZiPS Projection: .263/.332/.453 with 20 home runs, 79 RBIs, 43 walks, 107 OPS+ and a 3.5 fWAR

The 2022 projection for Realmuto would fall short of the production that he put up between 2017 and 2019, when he was unquestionably baseball’s best catcher. With that said, for a catcher’s age-31 season, it would be hard to argue with the numbers that have been suggested.

Zack Wheeler

2021 Stats: 14-10 with a 2.78 ERA, 2.59 FIP and a 7.3 fWAR across 213 1/3 innings

2022 ZiPS Projection: 14-7 with a 3.23 ERA, 3.07 FIP and a 4.7 fWAR across 192 innings

After finishing second in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2021, Szymborski has projected that Wheeler will put up All-Star-caliber numbers again in 2022.

Alec Bohm

2021 Stats: .247/.305/.342 with seven home runs, 47 RBIs, 31 walks, 75 OPS+ and a -0.2 fWAR

2022 ZiPS Projection: .262/.323/.409 with 15 home runs, 61 RBIs, 42 walks, 94 OPS+ and a 1.6 fWAR

There’s no doubt that what’s projected here for Bohm would be an improvement over his disastrous 2021 season, but unless he makes a drastic improvement defensively, it’s fair to wonder if this would be enough of a step forward offensively for him to be an everyday player.

Zach Eflin

2021 Stats: 4-7 with a 4.17 ERA, 3.68 FIP and a 2.2 fWAR across 105 2/3 innings

2022 ZiPS Projection: 8-7 with a 4.06 ERA, 4.10 FIP and a 1.9 fWAR across 124 innings

After having season-ending right knee surgery in September, Eflin was given a recovery time of six-to-eight months, which makes it entirely possible that he misses the beginning of the season. In what will be a contract year for the 27-year-old, he needs to show that he can pitch a full 162-game season — or as close to is as possible — as a quality starter.

Didi Gregorius

2021 Stats: .209/.270/.370 with 13 home runs, 54 RBIs, 25 walks, 71 OPS+ and a 0.0 fWAR

2022 ZiPS Projection: .245/.300/.425 with 15 home runs, 62 RBIs, 26 walks, 91 OPS+ and a 0.9 fWAR

Like with Bohm, Gregorius is expected to bounce back, but not to the degree that would be necessary for him to be a regular on a contending team. Once the lockout ends, the Phillies would probably love to find a trade partner for Gregorius and his $14.5 million salary in 2022.

Kyle Gibson

2021 Stats: 10-9 with a 3.71 ERA, 3.87 FIP and a 3.0 fWAR

2022 ZiPS Projection: 9-8 with a 4.63 ERA, 4.62 FIP and a 1.5 fWAR across 150 innings

After making his first All-Star team as a member of the Texas Rangers, Gibson struggled once he was traded to the Phillies. Across 69 innings, Gibson posted a 5.09 ERA and 4.04 FIP as a Phillie. The 34-year-old is set to make $7 million in the final year of his contract.

Jean Segura

2021 Stats: .290/.348/.436 with 14 home runs, 58 RBIs, 39 walks, 111 OPS+ and a 2.5 fWAR

2022 ZiPS Projection: .282/.331/.412 with 12 home runs, 57 RBIs, 34 walks, 97 OPS+ and a 2.3 fWAR

It’s certainly a bit worrisome that Segura, who will turn 32 before opening day, was on the injured list for two separate lower body injuries during the 2021 season. However, when he played, the two-time All-Star was one of the best position players on the team. Segura is owed $14.25 million in the final guaranteed year of his contract, with the Phillies possessing a $17 million club option for 2023.

Corey Knebel

2021 Stats: 2.45 ERA, 2.90 FIP and a 0.6 fWAR across 25 2/3 innings

2022 ZiPS Projection: 3.69 ERA, 3.59 FIP and a 0.5 fWAR across 32 innings

By all accounts, Knebel is in line to be the closer for the Phillies in 2022. Injuries have prevented him from being a workhorse in recent years, but the former All-Star should be in line to make his most appearances since he led the senior circuit with 76 games pitched in 2017.

Rhys Hoskins

2021 Stats: .247/.334/.530 with 27 home runs, 71 RBIs, 47 walks, 129 OPS+ and a 2.3 fWAR

2022 ZiPS Projection: .240/.351/.497 with 28 home runs, 84 RBIs, 72 walks, 123 OPS+ and a 2.6 fWAR

Hoskins was a very productive offensive player in 2021, but a September injury ended his season early for the second straight year. The Phillies need Hoskins for as close to 162 games as possible in 2022. If they get that, the bet here is he will top these numbers.

Ranger Suárez

2021 Stats: 8-5 with a 1.36 ERA, 2.72 FIP and a 3.0 fWAR across 106 innings

2022 ZiPS Projection: 7-5 with a 3.79 ERA, 3.74 FIP and 1.7 fWAR across 102 innings

With uncertainty about whether Eflin will be ready to start the 2022 season, the Phillies may be counting on Suárez to be their No. 3 starter to begin the season. Expecting Suárez to replicate his 2021 season would be unfair, but it does seem reasonable to think that the 26-year-old will be a quality starter moving forward.

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