Archive for Quick Hit

Quick Projection: Matt Wieters

2009 Projection:
.286 (103-360), 15 HR, 53 RBI, 46 R, 1 SB, .311 BABIP, .358 OBP, .472 SLG

Thoughts:
Maybe I’m being a little conservative with this projection.  At this point I’m expecting him to come up around June, which is the reason for the number of AB (I also have him walking 40 times).  Even once he’s recalled he’s not going to be playing everyday, so this should put him right around 100 games played or so.

I think these numbers show his potential.  If you prorate them over the course of an entire season they would easily put him among the Top 5 catchers, and likely even better then that.  That’s how good Wieters could be, but he is still just a rookie.  He has just one professional season under his belt, so you should tread carefully.  It would not be unthinkable to see the Orioles hold him down in the minors a little bit longer, seeing no reason to rush him to the majors and stunt his development.

What does everyone else think?  Do you expect him to play more games?  Significantly out produce the numbers I’ve projected?

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

Quick Hit: Josh Beckett

2008 Statistics:
12 Wins
174.1 Innings
4.03 ERA
1.19 WHIP
172 Strikeouts (8.88 K/9)
34 Walks (1.76 BB/9)
.327 BABIP

Thoughts:
Beckett has been one of the best pitchers in baseball at times, though in recent years he has been putting them up every other season.  Last season was a down year, though two injuries certainly factored into that.

If we are to believe the trend, Beckett is in line to post a nasty line.  We already know that he has the potential to be one of the better strikeout pitches in the league (he has a career K/9 of 8.56), but he has coupled that in recent years with elite control.  When he walked just 1.79 batters per nine innings in 2007 everyone just assumed it was a fluke, but then he went out and repeated it.  That tells me something, and I certainly like it.

His BABIP was on the higher side last season and he should see improved luck, only helping things.  His career mark is at .301, so if it is possible, he could match, if not improve on, an extremely impressive WHIP.

Factor in that he pitches for the Red Sox, one of, if not the best team in baseball, and you have a pitcher who easily could produce as a Top 5 option, but certainly is an ace of any staff. Read more

Quick Hit: Livan Hernandez

2008 Statistics:
13 Wins
180.0 Innings
6.05 ERA
1.67 WHIP
67 Strikeouts (3.35 K/9)
43 Walks (2.15 BB/9)
.345 BABIP

Thoughts:
Can you believe that he’s still sticking around?  Not only has he caught on with the Mets, he’s managed to pitch himself into their rotation with a solid spring performance (3.07 ERA over 14.2 innings).

He’s proven to be an innings eater in the past, with nine seasons of over 200 innings, and at least 180 for the last eleven years.  Unfortunately, he has not been a productive pitcher for the past three, bouncing around to four organizations (Nationals, Diamondbacks, Twins & Rockies).

He hasn’t had an ERA under 4.83 since 2005 and his WHIP hasn’t been under 1.43 since 2004.  Granted, it hasn’t been his control that was his problem (3.08 career BB/9), so a better defense behind him could lead to a reduction in the number of hits he allows.  Is that going to make him usable?  Doubtful.

He has been allowing HR in droves the past three seasons, with HR/9 of 1.21, 1.50 and 1.25.  Considering he only had a cup of coffee with the Rockies, you certainly can’t blame Coors Field for his problems.  His FB% did come back down last season, at 34.0%, so there is minor reason for optimism.

You also have to look at his strand rate, at 64.8%, as an issue.  That was the fourth worst in the league.  It’s unlikely that he repeats that number, meaning an improved ERA is likely, though could it really get worse? Read more

Quick Hit: Alexei Ramirez

2008 Statistics:
480 At Bats
.290 Batting Average (139 Hits)
21 Home Runs
77 RBI
65 Runs
13 Stolen Bases
.317 On Base Percentage
.475 Slugging Percentage
.296 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Thoughts:
He signed out of Cuba and originally it appeared that he would play immediately for the White Sox.  A slow start (.138 in 29 April AB) caused some to lose faith, but as the season wore on Ramirez started to heat up, quickly proving just how valuable he could be.

This season he shifts to SS, adding to his value due to positional flexibility (he is eligible at 2B from last season).  He also proved to have plenty of power and speed, though I have my concerns on if it can continue at this pace.  In seven seasons in Cuba, he hit just 87 HR.  Obviously, it’s an extremely different game, but it is still worth noting.

Yes, his 13.8% HR/FB is believable, as is his 36.6% FB%.  Maybe he was just a 26-year old who found his groove, but at the same time, maybe not.  He did only hit 22 doubles and 2 triples, so it is not like he was an extra base machine.

There’s also concern with the RBI, as four of his HR were Grand Slams (a rookie record).  Obviously, you just can’t expect that again, which could influence his RBI potential.  I would expect more AB, which could offset a decreased rate, so don’t look for a dramatic falloff. Read more

Quick Hit: Daisuke Matsuzaka

2008 Statistics:
18 Wins
167.2 Innings
2.90 ERA
1.32 WHIP
154 Strikeouts (8.27 K/9)
94 Walks (5.05 BB/9)
.267 BABIP

Thoughts:
I know there are a lot of people who expect a major regression this season from Daisuke Matsuzaka.  When you look at the numbers, it is a fair expectation.  That BABIP is extremely low, good for sixth in the league, and has nowhere to go but up.  He also seemed to shy away from contact, after being a solid control pitcher in Japan.  How about his strand rate of 80.6%, the third best in the league?

You also have to be concerned over his struggles against the Yankees, where he posted a 7.00 ERA over two starts last season and a 6.12 ERA over four starts in 2007.  Considering how often he could face him, that’s certainly not a good sign.

I know the trends would assume a major blow up and things certainly will not be as rosy as they were in ’08.  There’s no way I expect such a low ERA again, but the other numbers are not so far off.  It was the second straight season he posted a 1.32 WHIP and there’s reason to believe he can get back to it.  While the BABIP is going to increase, the BB/9 should in turn decrease, netting very little change.

He’s also a proven strikeout commodity as well as pitching for one of the best teams in baseball.  That certainly helps to overcome the ills that he has stacked against him. Read more

Quick Hit: Derek Lowe

2008 Statistics:
14 Wins
211.0 Innings
3.24 ERA
1.13 WHIP
147 Strikeouts (6.27 K/9)
45 Walks (1.92 BB/9)
.287 BABIP

Thoughts:
Since he made the move to the NL, Lowe has been a rock in the Dodgers rotation.  He has never posted an ERA above 3.88 to go along with WHIP’s of 1.27 or lower.  The former Red Sox closer posted his second best season as a starter last year (he went 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA in 2002) at 36-years old.

With a fat free agent contract now in his pocket as he heads back to the east coast, you have to wonder if Lowe could be facing a regression.  He’s always had extremely good control, but last season he was twelfth in the league in BB/9.  While it should continue to be good, a regression of sorts should be in order.

An extreme groundball pitcher, I wouldn’t expect him to struggle with the long ball.  The move to the NL East could pose problems for him as he no longer will be facing weaker offenses like the Giants and Padres on a regular basis.  Instead he’ll have the Mets (did not face in ’08), Phillies (3 ER over 6.1 IP) and Marlins (3 ER over 5 IP) routinely on the schedule. Read more