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 week’s predictions? Let’s take a look…
Randy Johnson strikes out 200 batters
I think the real question is if Johnson can stay healthy enough to achieve this, as he has become an ageless wonder much like Nolan Ryan. Ryan, remember, struck out 203 batters over just 173 innings (10.56 K/9) in 1991, at age 44.
Johnson posted a K/9 of 11.44 as recently as 2007, but that came over just 56.2 innings. The last time he had a double-digit K/9 in a season where he pitched at least 150 innings was 2004. The last time he posted 200 K’s was in 2005 for the New York Yankees, when he struck out 211 over 225.2 innings.
Last season, however, Johnson posted 173 K’s over 184 innings, good for a K/9 of 8.46. If he were to repeat that K/9, he’d need to pitch 212.2 innings to reach 200 strikeouts, how unbelievable is that? Let’s look at the factors:
- He will turn 45-years old before the season comes to a close
- The last time he threw that many innings was in 2005 (225.2 innings)
- His missed time each of the past two seasons thanks to back problems
Will the back hold out for him to have one last hurrah and allow him to make 35 starts? That may be the only thing that stands in his way. He proved last season that he can still strikeout batters at a great level, so the skill is not in question. That’s unbelievable to say given his age, but then again it wouldn’t surprise me if Nolan Ryan came out of retirement today and posted a 200 strikeout season. They are two special competitors, and I look for Johnson to follow in Ryan’s footsteps.
Chance of occurring: 18%
Adam LaRoche picks up at least 120 RBI
With a career high of just 90 RBI, where exactly is this prediction coming from? First of all, someone has to drive in runs in Pittsburgh and LaRoche is likely to be the man in the middle, giving him plenty of opportunity with Nate McLouth helping to set the table.
Secondly, why couldn’t this be the season that he finally puts things together from start to finish? Over the past three seasons, his first halves have been:
- 2006 – .251, 13 HR, 42 RBI
- 2007 – .239, 13 HR, 51 RBI
- 2008 – .251, 11 HR, 43 RBI
Considering he is a career .273 hitter, he obviously has been under performing in the first half. While the RBI have been acceptable, it’s safe to say that if he was hitting to a higher average, more RBI would follow.
At 29-years old, this could be the season that he finally puts things all together? If it is, a monster season could easily be in his future.
Chance of occurring: 9%
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
February 17 (click here to read)
- Troy Tulowitzki drives in at least 120 RBI
- Zack Greinke strikes out at least 220 batters
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.