by Wes Granger
EAST: New York Yankees – I think their pitching staff will be healthy this year and that lineup is just sick, even without A-Rod.
CENTRAL: Detriot – I think it’ll be between Detroit and Minnesota, but I think after their absymal performance last year, the Tigers have something to prove. Should be a great competition all season in the Central.
WEST: Angels – The injuries to Santana, Escobar, and Lackey will hurt, but I think their offense will keep them afloat enough in their absence
WILDCARD: Tampa Bay Rays – I think Boston’s pitching staff is going to be its downfall this season. They tasted it last year and they’re going back.
EAST: New York Mets – I think their pitching staff is going to be the key and they have a lot of talent that’s going to need to step up, but they have the tools to do it.
CENTRAL: Chicago Cubs – there is no one else in the division! If Harden goes down with a major injury, these guys are going to be in major trouble. Maybe they’ll still land Peavy, maybe…(I wish).
WEST: Arizona Diamondbacks – I think these guys might surprise a lot of people this year. They’re a very well balanced team in pitching and offense and I expect big things.
WILDCARD: Philadelphia Phillies – I think Hamels is going to be affected by all his innings last spring and will have some problems throughout the year. Their Offense is top notch though and will carry them throughout the year.
Yankees over Tigers
Rays over Angels
Yankees over Rays – CC is going to singlehandedly win the series
Mets over Cubs – I’m a Cubs fan, but the Mets are too good
Phillies over Diamondbacks
Mets over Phillies – Revenge
A World Series to Die For: Mets vs Yankees – advantage Mets Read more
As we close in on Opening Day, the writers here will be sharing their preseason predictions with you for both the playoffs and award winners. First up is Ryan Lester of Lester’s Legends, so let’s see what he’s got:
AL East: Boston – Hopefully they can avoid the injuries this year.
AL Central: Minnesota Twins – Young pitching takes the next step.
AL West: Anaheim Angels – Still the One out West.
AL Wildcard: New York Yankees – Money Talks.
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies – Too much Offense.
NL Central: Chicago Cubs – Is this the year?
NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks – Webb and Haren lead the way.
NL Wildcard: New York Mets – In Johan we trust.
Boston Red Sox over Minnesota Twins – Twins aren’t built for postseason.
New York Yankees over Los Angels of Anaheim – Money Talks
Boston Red Sox over New York Yankees – BoSox continue recent dominance.
Chicago Cubs over New York Mets – Cubs too balanced.
Philadelphia Phillies over Arizona Diamondbacks – Experience prevails.
Chicago Cubs over Philadelphia Phillies – Down with the goat.
Boston Red Sox over Chicago Cubs – Boston crushes Chicago’s dreams. Read more
As the season nears, I’m trying to get in as many projections as possible. Tonight, I’m looking at the Reds’ Edinson Volquez. So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at my expectations:
190.0 IP, 14 W, 3.84 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 184 K (8.72 K/9), 85 BB (4.03 BB/9)
For as good as he was in the early going, his second half saw a huge regression. Maybe it was fatigue. I know a lot of owners hope that was it. He’s got a ton of talent, but he definitely brings concerns. A HR/9 of 0.64 in that ballpark? Groundball pitcher or not, I just can’t but it. How about his struggles with his control, walking 4.27 per 9 innings last season? I certainly think he’s going to be worth using as a #2 or 3 starter in your rotation, but I’d temper my expectations.
What does everyone else think? Am I being too harsh?
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.
140.0 IP, 9 W, 3.86 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 123 K (7.91 K/9), 48 BB (3.09 BB/9)
Maybe this is a moderate projection. Maybe it’s playing it safe. Price has the potential to be among the best pitchers in the league, but it’s tough to predict that for a rookie pitcher. I know how spectacular he looked in the playoffs, but I just can’t hang my hat on that. All pitchers are going to go through a learning curve sooner or later and I have to go into this season expecting him to feel some of that.
If he breaks camp with the team and actually makes 30+ starts, I obviously would expect him to have significantly better numbers then this. As it is, he could outperform these numbers, quite easily honestly. He was lights out in the minor leagues, posting a 2.31 ERA across three levels of the minor leagues, totaling 109.2 innings.
Still, a rookie is a rookie. Tim Lincecum struggled at times his rookie season and we all know how good of a pitcher he has become. Way back when John Smoltz posted a 5.48 ERA in his rookie campaign. How long did it take for Randy Johnson to emerge as the dominating pitcher he became?
It’s tough to step foot into the major leagues and dominate hitters. It doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, I just would temper expectations and not don him the Cy Young Award winner quite yet. He’s going to be good, that I expect, but I’m not expecting pure greatness.
What about you? What are you expecting from the phenom?
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.
175.0 IP, 10 W, 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 160 K (8.23 K/9), 73 BB (3.75 BB/9)
It’s easy to write off Young after he missed a significant portion of last season with a skull fracture. It’s fair, especially considering he’s never thrown more then 179.1 innings in the major leagues. It would be a mistake, however, because he has fully proven that he can be successful in the major leagues.
Over 655.2 innings he has posted a tidy 3.72 ERA and 1.19 WHIP to go along with an 8.07 K/9. That is not a small sample size and those numbers are extremely impressive. Fears about how he would bounce back were silenced by his 2.38 ERA over 34.0 innings in September.
Granted, he pitches for what figures to be one of the worst teams in baseball, which limits he wins potential. Still, it offers him an opportunity to pitch in an extreme pitcher’s ballpark, which only helps his numbers.
With an ADP of 144.36 (courtesy of Mock Draft Central), he’s going around the same time as Zack Greinke, Randy Johnson and Josh Johnson. That seems about right, and while I’d take Greinke first out of that group, Young would be second. What about you? Is Young someone you’d target on draft day?
Ryan Dempster shocked the baseball world last season, putting up numbers that were close to Cy Young quality. He went 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, tossing 206.2 innings. He even struck out 187, meaning that he was a useful pitcher across the board.
Personally, I never expected him to be able to put up numbers even close to that, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. His best season as a starting pitcher had been way back in 2000, when he went 14-10 with a 3.66 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 209 K over 226.1 innings. Since then, things had been on the decline with him ultimately filling the closers role for the Cubs for 3 seasons, and not doing an elite job in that role either.
They decided to move him back to starting this season and to me it just seemed like it was a disaster waiting to happen. Of course, the demise of Dempster as a starter just never happened. Yeah, he hit a little bit of a bump in June, posting a 4.55 ERA over 29.2 innings, but after that he was basically lights out. In the second half of the season he went 7-2 with a 2.52 ERA and 83 strikeouts over 82 innings, highlighted by a 1.99 ERA in July.
It was a miracle season, in my opinion, but is it something that we really can’t expect him to repeat in 2009? Absolutely not, in my opinion, and he is an early front-runner for the Top 10 Worst Free Agents Contracts for 2008. Someone is going to give him a contract of 4 years, $50+ million due to his one good season. Flashbacks of Carl Pavano are dancing in my head. Read more