With the Cardinals likely parting ways with Rick Ankiel, the glut of outfielders would appear to be alleviated. That means Colby Rasmus, thought of as a top prospect, will finally get regular at bats. Coming off a rookie campaign that saw him hit .251 with 16 HR, 52 RBI and 72 R in 474 AB, there’s certainly plenty to like.
Let’s take a look at what I am projecting for him for 2010:
.255 (134-525), 21 HR, 65 RBI, 80 R, 12 SB, .293 BABIP, .333 OBP, .436 SLG
- He spent 296 AB in the #2 hole in 2009, and it’s likely, given the roster the team currently has, that he stays in that role in the early portion of 2010. While that should lead to runs scored, with Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols hitting behind him, his OBP may not be conducive to it.
- The problem isn’t his ability to draw a walk (11.54% minor league career walk rate), but his ability to hit for a higher average. He strikes out a good amount of the time (my projection has him at about 22.5%, right around his minor league career mark) and hits the ball in the air a lot (45.7% in 2009). Put those two things together and he’ll need to get pretty lucky to hit above .260. Read more
After posting ERAs of 3.85 and 3.56 in 2007 and 2008, fans expected big things from James Shields last season, looking towards him to be one of the anchors of their fantasy rotations. Unfortunately he fell flat, posting an ERA of 4.14 and a WHIP of 1.32. Should we expect a bounce back in 2010? Let’s take a look at my projection:
220.0 IP, 16 W, 3.80 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 170 K (6.95 K/9), 45 BB (1.84 BB/9)
- After posting BB/9s of 1.51 and 1.67, Shields seemingly lost his control, posting a 2.13 mark last season. The problem was after the All-Star Break, as he had a 1.81 mark in the first half (26 walks in 129 innings). You simply are not that good of a control pitcher for two and a half seasons only to lose it at the drop of a hat. I’d look for him to find his control, which will go a long way in restoring his WHIP.
- Last season he also was plagued by a .312 BABIP. While that’s not an outrageous number, it is significantly worse than his .292 each of the two prior seasons. My projection has him getting the number back down to .294. Read more
Having been sent to the New York Yankees early this offseason, a once potential fantasy ace in Javier Vazquez has been reduced to only a decent option with upside in the strikeout department. Let’s take a look at where my current projections have him:
215.0 IP, 16 W, 4.10 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 205 K (8.58 K/9), 57 BB (2.39 BB/9)
- After posting a dazzling 2.87 ERA in the NL last season, these numbers are a huge disappointment for those looking towards him as a top of the rotation option.
- The strikeouts are likely to regress from last season’s 9.77, being back in the AL where he no longer has the pitcher and weaker bottom of the order hitters to pick on. From 2006-2008, while pitching for the White Sox, he posted K/9s of 8.17, 8.85 and 8.64. Where I have him is still an excellent mark, but a long ways from his 2009 campaign. Read more
Jimmy Hascup already gave his thoughts on Ricky Nolasco (click here to read the full article), so let’s take a look at my Quick Projection for him for 2010:
205.0 IP, 15 W, 3.91 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 195 K (8.56 K/9), 54 BB (2.37 BB/9)
- His struggles last season were due to some of the worst luck possible. He posted a strand rate of 61.0%, the worst mark of any pitcher with at least 170 innings in a season since Derek Lowe’s 58.5% back in 2004 (Randy Johnson was close at 61.8% in 2006). That tells you just how unlucky he was and a rebound should certainly be in order, meaning a significantly better ERA.
- The above line is based on a BABIP of .318. His career mark is at .311, so that’s right in line. Read more
Prior to last season I was extremely high on Clayton Kershaw and he didn’t disappoint. As we head into 2010, I’m an even bigger believer in him as a potential fantasy ace and Cy Young candidate. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t concerns, but when you look at him on a whole there’s little not to like.
Before we get into the positives and the doubts, let’s look at his statistics from 2009:
185 Strikeouts (9.74 K/9)
91 Walks (4.79 BB/9)
The first thing that you certainly cannot like is the walks. His inability to consistently throw strikes cost him from going deep into games, as his pitch count continued to rise in the early innings. Just look at how many innings he was able to throw in his starts last season:
8+ innings – once
7+ innings – seven (not including the eight inning start)
6+ innings – eight (not including the seven or eight inning starts)
That means of his 30 starts, 14 of them were less than six innings. It’s no wonder that he was only able to win eight games last season despite his impressive other numbers. Asking the bullpen to get 12 outs or more consistently makes it hard to pile up the victories. Read more
I want to try out something a little bit different to see how it works and if it is a concept we’ll continue throughout the offseason. For certain players, all I’m going to do is post my projection with just a few bullet points as reasoning. This will hopefully open the floor to some conversation about the player, with you sharing if you agree or disagree and why. Besides your comments on the player, please let me know if you like this or not.
Let’s kick things off with Scott Baker:
195.0 IP, 14 W, 3.88 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 167 K (7.71 K/9), 47 BB (2.17 BB/9)
- It is easy to overlook Baker, but in a “down” season, he still managed to post a WHIP of 1.19. For his career he has a 2.12 BB/9, so there is no reason to think that it won’t continue.
- The strikeouts have been consistent at 7.36 and 7.29 K/9s the past two seasons. That’s certainly a number that is going to be helpful and one I think he can grow on.
- The new stadium is going to be something that has a huge influence on him. He’s a flyball pitcher, posting a 47.1% flyball rate in 2009, so if the new park plays like a hitter’s park he is going to be in trouble.
- He had a slightly below average strand rate of 70.5% last season. Of pitcher’s with at least 180 innings (58), it was tied for tenth worst. That should improve, which is why I have his ERA where I do.
- The projection is based on a BABIP of .293.
So, there you have my thoughts. What do you think? Can he live up to these projections? Why or why not?