It’s that time again for me to make some wild and crazy predictions as we head towards Opening Day 2009. As always, I want to remind you that these are not predictions that I think have a high probability of actually occurring, so keep that in mind when reading. Now, let’s get to it:
Erik Bedard wins 18 games
Yes, the same Erik Bedard who was limited to just 81 innings and 6 wins a year ago. Yes, the same Erik Bedard who the Mariners gave up a bounty of young players to acquire in an attempt to take their franchise to the next level. Yes, the same Erik Bedard who has yet to toss 200 innings or win more then 15 games in a season.
At this time last season, there were people hailing Bedard as the next big thing among starting pitchers. He was coming off a season where he struck out 221 batters in just 182 innings to go along with an ERA of 3.16 and a WHIP of 1.09, pitching in the AL East nonetheless.
Yes, maybe the strikeouts were an illusion, having posted a K/9 in the high 7′s the three seasons prior. Yes, the WHIP was ridiculously low, thanks to a BABIP of .295 and a career best BB/9 of 2.82. Umm, is there really anything here to hang my hat on?
Not much, except for the fact that Bedard is supposedly healthy heading into this season, though that’s a risky statement in and of itself. Still, the talent is still there, there’s no doubting that. He continued to pitch well last season, even in his limited amount of time on the mound, posting an ERA of 3.67. Ignoring the peripherals (K’s, WHIP, etc.), which are unlikely to approach his ’07 numbers, if he can simply keep himself on the mound he’s got the ability to give his team a chance to win.
I know, 18 wins is a lot for any pitcher, a definite long shot, but that’s the point here, isn’t it?
Willy Taveras hits 5 Home Runs
A one-category wonder, Taveras trades one hitters ballpark (even with the humidor) for another by moving into Great American Ballpark. Is it possible that he is able to hit a few more HR with the move?
Well, he hit all of 1 HR last season and has a total of 7 in his 1,973 career AB. Making matters worse, he boasted a FB% of 28.4% last season, putting him just outside the bottom 10 in the league for those who qualified. I’m not helping my case so far, am I?
What’s his career high? It came back in 2002 at Single A, when he hit a grand total of 4 HR. OK, that doesn’t help either.
So, why am I using this? Because he’s playing in Cincinnati, where almost anything can fly out of the ballpark. Paul Bako, with his career 21 HR in 2,086 AB, managed to hit 6 while playing for the Reds last season. Yeah, I know only 2 came at home, but I need something to go on.
OK, so this one may be the longest shots I come up with, but I’m putting it out there and I’m sticking to it. I’m putting it at about a 1% chance, but it’s a chance just the same.
So, what do you think? Do either of these actually have a chance of happening?
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.