Wild Predictions: Tulowitzki & Greinke

Once again, it’s time for my weekly “Wild Predictions”.  If you are new to Rotoprofessor, keep in mind that these are occurrences that I wouldn’t expect to happen more then 20% of the time (in most cases, the chances are a lot less then that).  How far-fetched are this weeks predictions?  Let’s take a look… 

Troy Tulowitzki will drive in 120 RBI
With his 99 RBI rookie campaign still fresh in our minds, why couldn’t a healthy Tulowitzki make a major impact in 2009?  With Matt Holliday jettisoned to Oakland, the Rockies will be looking in house for a replacement to help fill the middle of the line-up and the 110-120 RBI he provided.  You’ll have Garrett Atkins, Brad Hawpe and Tulowitzki all contributing to fill that gap, helping to give Tulowitzki significantly more RBI opportunities.

In his limited chances last season, he hit 8 HR.  Four of those came at home (along with a .243 average).  While his FB% was similar to his 2007, the HR/FB saw a major dip:

  • 2007 – 13.1%
  • 2008 – 6.7%

Where does the reality lie?  Likely somewhere in the middle, meaning there is plenty of pop in his bat.  Probably not 30+ HR power, but returning to the 20-25 range could be a reality.

The other number that should improve is his performance with RISP.  Last season he hit just .235 with men on base and .245 when there was a runner in scoring position.  When you struggle in those situations, it is impossible to drive in a significant number of runs.

Couple an improvement in average with RISP (he hit .279 in ’07) and his home run potential with a spot in the middle of the order for a line-up that can hit, and how impossible is this really?  The Rockies are going to score runs, it is just a matter of who is going to get the RBI.  I know, his 46 last season is disheartening, but it would not be impossible to see him have a monster season in 2009. 

Chances of happening: 7%

Zack Greinke will strikeout 220 batters
Considering that there were only 3 pitchers who exceeded 220 K’s last season (Tim Lincecum, C.C. Sabathia & A.J. Burnett) and 4 in 2007 (Jake Peavy, Scott Kazmir, Johan Santana & Erik Bedard), the chance of this happening seems unlikely.  Throw in the fact that he only posted a K/9 of 8.14 last season and it really becomes a curious prediction.

He did improve as the season went on, however:

  • First Half: 104 K in 124 IP (7.55 K/9)
  • Second Half: 79 K in 78.1 IP (9.10 K/9)

That second half number would certainly give him the opportunity, as long as he can stay healthy for the entire season, since an innings limit will not handcuff him.  He made 32 starts last season, throwing 202.1 innings.  That was a little more then 6 innings per start, so if he can make 35-36 starts, the innings are going to be there.

Greinke has the stuff to be one of the elite pitchers in the game in 2009.  It’s a mighty big stretch, but if he can continue the strikeout performance he showed in the second half, he has the potential to reach this lofty number.

Chances of happening: 4%

In case you’ve missed them, here are the predictions I’ve made previously:

January 13 (click here to read)

  • Derek Jeter will hit below .280
  • Frank Francisco will pick up at least 40 saves while holding the closer’s job all season

January 20 (click here to read)

  • Brad Lidge will save 30 games or less
  • Edwin Encarnacion will hit at least 35 HR

January 27 (click here to read)

  • Erik Bedard will win at least 18 games
  • Willy Taveras will hit 5 HR

February 3 (click here to read)

  • Ichiro scores less then 90 runs
  • Rickie Weeks hits .290 or better

February 10 (click here to read)

  • Carlos Beltran hits at least 45 HR
  • Jose Ceda saves at least 25 games

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.


  1. Ryan says:

    Def. see Tulo’s number more attainable that Greinke’s.

  2. SeanRoto says:

    not so wild… I think both have a better shot that you do

  3. fijis says:

    I thought it odd that the 220K pitchers were all different over the last two years. I took a look and in the past 6 years only one pitcher has posted more than one 220K season – Johan Santana (2003-2006). Notice he didn’t make the list in 07 and 08. If there’s a category that seems primed for some turnover, 220K looks like a good match. Greinke definitely has the stuff so I’d vote for Greinke over Tulowitzki.

  4. big o says:

    don’t get me wrong , i like greinke .

    but , 120 innings in 07 …. 200 innings in 08 .

    red flag .

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    Big O, I agree that there are some red flags and reasons to be worried about Greinke. At the same time, he has thrown 183.0 innings in the past (2005), so I’m not sold that the jump is going to be a major problem for him. I guess time will tell.

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