Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Beast & The Least Of The East

Continuing their off-season series, the BaseballAnalysts went through their AL East Preview by position, using a combination of projections systems.

Navarro, D. - .267/.334/.389
Varitek, J. - .236/.328/.390
Posada, J. - .273/.366/.448
Barajas, R. - .243/.303/.392
Wieters, M. - .298/.382/.499

Matt Wieters has easily the best projection, being tops in BA (by 25 points over second place Jorge Posada), OBP (16 over Posada again), and SLG (51 over Posada, again). Even my .289/.359/.482 line would make him better with the bat than the other catchers (though Posada’s .366 OBP would be tops in that category).

Pete: “I wonder how much we'll see of Matt Wieters. It doesn't make much sense for Baltimore to start his clock yet.”

Sully: “Wieters in the Minors would be an absolute mockery. After he wins the MVP this season, I fully expect him to fix Healthcare and restore economic prosperity in America.”

Idea... Matt Wieters Facts. Thanks, Sully.

Gregg Zaun’s .241/.340/.374 line actually compares pretty favorably to the other non-Posada catchers.

Pena, C. - .254/.370/.500
Youkilis, K. - .283/.377/.474
Teixeira, M. - .290/.383/.525
Overbay, L. - .265/.343/.419
Huff, A. - .279/.340/.471

At least Huff is a better hitter than Overbay.

Iwamura, A. - .270/.346/.389
Pedroia, D. - .307/.368/.456
Cano, R. - .292/.331/.450
Hill, A. - .277/.334/.408
Roberts, B. - .282/.359/.424

I’d like to see how Roberts would rank in this group with the bat if Pedroia didn’t play half is games at Fenway.

Longoria, E. - .273/.347/.499
Lowell, M. - .275/.336/.444
Rodriguez, A. - .291/.387/.548
Rolen, S. - .263/.342/.434
Mora, M. - .271/.337/.431

Oh, Melvin. With his injury, does A-Rod drop behind Longoria this year?

Marc:” I'm betting 2009 is the year Mora plays like he's 37 years old.”

I had the thought yesterday that maybe Melvin has the reverse problem of a lot of Latin American players (like Tejada) and that he’s really a couple of years younger than we think. That would match up better with his career arc (peak at 29-30 instead of 32-33), and Mora is enough of a space-cadet on the field (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) that I wouldn’t be completely surprised if it turned out to be the case. I’m not saying it’s true, I’m just sayin’ there’s a chance. And it would be really funny.

Bartlett, J. - .274/.332/.366
Lowrie, J. - .265/.346/.410
Jeter, D. - .299/.367/.419
McDonald, J. - .231/.278/.312
Izturis, C. - .259/.310/.325

Izturis obviously can’t hit very well, but he doesn’t look that horrible in this group. Imagine if he was in the NL East with Hanley, Rollins, Reyes, Escobar, and Guzman.

Marc: “Cesar Izturis should impress defensively in Baltimore but his offense will be abysmal.”

Sully: “With defense factored, will Lowrie be better than Jeter this season?”

Now that is a very interesting question.

Crawford, C. - .291/.334/.433
Bay, J. - .272/.364/.487
Damon, J. - .279/.352/.423
Lind, A. - .281/.330/.458
Pie, F. - .263/.317/.410

Everyone knows Pie is a project going into the season.

Marc: “Generally speaking, I am really looking forward to watching the young outfield in Baltimore play, with Felix Pie, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis included. Pie was a steal from Chicago and, if motivated, could be just as good as the other two players.”

Upton, B. - .279/.376/.432
Ellsbury, J. - .293/.350/.415
Gardner, B. - .260/.342/.359
Wells, V. - .274/.329/.457
Jones, A. - .274/.324/.420

The Bossman is #1 (and should be even better than that line), but Jones may find himself in the second spot with even a mild break-out.

Joyce, M. - .247/.324/.448
Drew, J. - .270/.381/.460
Nady, X. - .278/.332/.462
Rios, A. - .285/.338/.459
Markakis, N. - .297/.378/.477

Replace that Markakis line with my .301/.401/.493 and it’s not even close. I mean, it’s close as it is but he’s still at the top. With A-Rod hurt, Nick might actually be the third best hitter in the AL East next year (after Teixeira and Ortiz).

Burrell, P. - .245/.368/.464
Ortiz, D. - .281/.387/.543
Matsui, H. - .279/.358/.442
Snider, T. - .262/.330/.462
Scott, L. - .261/.343/.477

Luke holds up pretty well as the DH, considering he’s the only one of these guys that isn’t a minus (sometimes severely) on defense. He would have been second only to Bay in left.

Sully: “Give me the under on Papi and the over on Luke Scott.”

If that under for Ortiz is correct and/or he gets hurt, and Tex has a slow first season in the Bronx, then I can easily see a certain Oriole being the best hitter in the division.

SP: Yeah, we know the O’s rotation sucks. They have an M. Waters putting up a 5.12 ERA. I don’t know who that is; I assume they meant Chris Waters (or maybe Matt Wieters will don an alter-ego and appear on the mound (he did close in college), sometimes pitching to himself – that sounds like on of those “Chuck Norris” type facts [Edit: addressed above]).

Sully: “Sort of like San Francisco's offense heading into last season, I am nothing short of astounded at how bad Baltimore's pitching looks. Of course San Fran wasn't the historically bad lineup I thought they would be so maybe there is hope for that O's staff.”

RP: They only went through the top three relievers for each team, but Sherrill, Ray, and Johnson came out as the worst group.

Bench: They don’t list players, but just discuss them. Every team is mentioned except the Orioles, who’ll have a pretty good one later in the year (Zaun, Wigginton, Freel, Util. player). Stupid (North & South) East Coast (Plus Canada) bias.

Wieters got no votes for Rookie of the Year – probably because they don’t think he’ll spend enough time in the Bigs.

Sully: “AL MVP sleeper: Nick Markakis.”

If he wins the AL MVP it’ll be because the O’s at least made a run at the playoffs. And if the O’s are going to make a run at the playoffs, Nick is going to have to have a monster season.


Pete: “I think the Blue Jays could lose 90 games. They have a chance to be dreadful.”
Sully: “I am with Pete. Toronto is going to be horrendous.”

Both guys predicted the O’s to finish fourth. One year in last place and getting to fourth seems like a joyous event. I’ll gladly take it, and it may be becoming more likely than not that that’s how it shakes out (though some Toronto fans let them have it in the comments section).

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