It’s always fun to try and guess the future. That’s the reason why people play the lottery, read their horoscope, or watch Jersey Shore – we want to know what the future holds!

Predicting the future in baseball is like trying to guess the eventual Republican nominee for President; both depend on constantly-shifting values, unforeseen disasters, and embarrassing episodes. As Adam Wainwright showed last year, predictions can be thrown into disarray with the snap of one little ligament.

As it turned out, the annual ZiPS predictions for the 2011 Cardinals came close to accurate. The computer model for the 2011 team overestimated the performance of Albert Pujols (we all agree he had a “down” year), but underestimated the eventual performances of Yadier Molina and, like everyone else, Lance Berkman. Still, it’s surprising how well the computer model did with its predictions.

The ZiPS model for the 2012 team has been released, and here’s what it looks like:

Player

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

R

HR

RBI

Matt Holliday

517

.288

.371

.484

84

21

85

Carlos Beltran

397

.282

.363

.474

51

14

52

Lance Berkman

427

.269

.381

.471

68

20

77

David Freese

335

.269

.323

.406

39

9

51

Allen Craig

416

.276

.329

.454

58

16

68

Jon Jay

500

.282

.335

.402

65

9

49

Rafael Furcal

388

.263

.331

.389

60

8

37

Daniel Descalso

329

.263

.328

.378

64

6

54

Yadier Molina

479

.284

.340

.397

44

9

63

Bryan Anderson

346

.246

.308

.358

34

7

33

Tyler Greene

450

.233

.309

.364

66

11

42

Tony Cruz

355

.237

.287

.352

34

6

43

Skip Schumaker

452

.272

.328

.352

55

4

41

I would say that the projections for Carlos Beltran are a bit on the conservative side, as are those for David Freese. Meanwhile, those are fairly optimistic numbers for Allen Craig, who doesn’t figure to see that much playing time with Beltran in the mix. Also, I’d love it if Tyler Greene actually saw 450 at-bats in 2012, which begs the question – did the ZiPS computer factor in the departure of TLR when computing these figures??

Here are the ZiPS projections for the pitching staff:

Player

ERA

W

L

IP

Adam Wainwright

3.12

14

8

173.3

Chris Carpenter

3.49

12

8

201.0

Jaime Garcia

3.58

12

8

183.7

Kyle Lohse

4.37

7

8

123.7

Jake Westbrook

4.52

7

8

127.3

Lance Lynn

4.06

7

7

126.3

Jason Motte

3.12

4

2

57.7

Fernando Salas

3.21

4

3

61.7

Eduardo Sanchez

3.24

3

2

41.7

Marc Rzepczynski

3.62

4

3

64.7

Mitchell Boggs

3.79

3

2

71.3

Kyle McClellan

4.26

6

6

99.3

J.C. Romero

4.46

1

1

34.3

I’m not sure we can win the division if two of our five starters have losing records. I’m sure most people will feel deflated looking at Adam Wainwright’s paltry 14 wins, but the computer probably has the right idea given the fact that Waino will still be partially rehabbing during the start of this season.

I think there is a lot of optimism going into the 2012 season, but these ZiPS projections certainly do bring expectations a little bit closer to Earth. These projections are warning Cardinal Nation against expecting Berkman to reach 30 homers again, or expecting Wainwright to win the Cy Young, or expecting Kyle Lohse to ever be any good.

Perhaps we will see some happy surprises in 2012 that will turn these predictions on their head, but in the meantime, it might be a good idea to approach the coming season with cautious optimism. That way, we will protect ourselves from overwhelming disappointment if 2012 doesn’t go well.

I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade – just providing a healthy dose of reality. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/VictorFerrai Kyle Dallman

    I strongly diagree with the projections of Beltran, Berkman, Holliday and Freese. I think Beltran will hit around 22-25 HR and drive in 80+. Freese will hit around .300 with 15 or so HR and I would say 75+ RBI if he can stay healthy.  Holliday will have a monster year, I sense it like his 2007 numbers but not quite. As for the pitching staff I disagree with all of the numbers except for Carpenter. Wainwright will have a lower ERA and more wins, Lohse the same, Westbrook will get atleast ten wins but I still think he will be below .500. 

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com Ray DeRousse

      Geez, Kyle … basically you’re expecting the greatest year in the history of the organization. Tone it down a shade.

      • http://www.facebook.com/VictorFerrai Kyle Dallman

        Well how can I not be excited. We finally have a new manager, one who I have wanted to be the manager for a long time, in Mike Matheny. We have exciting and talented players with more on the way through the farm system…and oh yeah we just won the World Series…my expectations are high!

  • dan

    THESE PROJECTIONS WERE SH!T!!!!

    • http://www.unfilteredlens.com/ Ray DeRousse

      They definitely missed with Lohse, Molina, Berkman, Garcia, and Freese. Of course, nobody could’ve predicted what actually happened with those players during 2012.