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Pitcher Projection Notes
Posted by Jeff Erickson at 12/12/2007 1:24:00 AM
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I'm in the middle of doing the projections for our magazine for the 2008 season, and wanted to share a few quick notes/observations from doing the projections. I'm going with the bullet point form and the blog format rather than a formal article. I hope to do a few similar posts in the ensuing days.

  • Projecting the A's is tough - is Duchscherer really going to start, how many games do you give Harden, and will they trade a starter? Right now, I'm still treating Duchscherer as a reliever.
  • I'm assuming that Chad Qualls will be the Astros' closer, if not a terribly effective one.
  • A.J. Burnett's K/9 last year was 9.56 - that's pretty awesome for a starter. One of these years he's going to put together a monster year. The more I think about it, the less I hate his contract. Better to gamble on a guy with such clear upside than spend market rate on a "safe" guy. Better still in roto.
  • I'm assuming BJ Ryan misses at least the start of the season.
  • Injured Braves: Gonzalez, Hampton, Lerew, plus Dotel. Hampton in particular is a nightmare to project - you're really just throwing darts.
  • Tim Hudson only allowed 10 homers in 224.1 innings last year. While my first inclination is that rate won't last, it's not the first time he's had a freakishly low rate.
  • How serious was Chris Capuano's shoulder injury - he has to be one of the bigger "healthy" disappointments of 2007.
  • I have a pretty aggressive projection on Yovani Gallardo (14-7, 3.38, 1.230 WHIP), but he had a pretty damn good rookie season, one that would look a lot better but for one Coors Field thrashing (2.2 IP, 12 H, 11 ER).
  • Beyond the usual injury concerns for Ben Sheets, there's also the drop in his strikeout rate (from 9.85/9IP to 6.75) and rise in the walk rate (from 0.93/9IP to 2.36). His overall projection will still look pretty good, at least in terms of the rate stats, but you just can't go too far out on a limb on him.
  • Check out the BABIP's against for the Brewers' starting pitchers:

    David Bush .327
    Chris Capuano .340
    Yovani Gallardo .311
    Ben Sheets .293
    Jeff Suppan .324

    That's a pretty strong indictment against their team defense - it's not just the errors, but the poor range factors, the plays that could/should have been made but weren't. Most people know what a butcher Ryan Braun was at third base, but the Brewers were also getting below-average defense from Rickie Weeks and Bill Hall, and possibly even Corey Hart. There's a good reason that the Brewers are in the market for a decent third baseman, with the idea of moving Braun to left field. Even with that, they still probably won't be that good of a defensive team, and expect that to be reflected in their team ERA. It might also cause them to overvalue other teams' pitchers and undervalue their own.


Sheets' K rate is held down by a really poor start to the season. It was 3.9 K/9IP in April, but then 7.52 K/9IP for the rest of the season, including a 8.64 rate in June. This sounds stupid, because there really isn't any way to prove it, but I said all last year that Johnny Estrada was the cause of Sheets K and BB issues. I thought he was brutal back there.

There's no reason not be aggressive on Gallardo. He finished the year by going 5-2 with a 2.20 ERA over his last eight starts of the season. He struck out 47 over 49 innings during that stretch.

The deficiencies in the Brewers' defense are well documented. Moving Braun to left field is a must for this team. From what I've read, moving Braun to left field and trading for Scott Rolen to play third base would add five wins over last season's situation, according to the current Bill James projections for next season. That would be a farily significant upgrade if they can get that trade done.
Posted by herbilk at 12/12/2007 6:50:00 AM
Even moving Billy Hall back to 3B and going with an outfield of Braun, Juan Pierre (ok, as a Dodger fan, I can dream), and Hart would be a defensive upgrade.

Capuano for Rolen would be a deal that would make some sense, although if I'm the Brewers, I'm hesitant to commit $36 million to Scott Rolen.
Posted by vtadave at 12/12/2007 8:37:00 AM
I would definitely take Gallardo way ahead of Sheets in fantasy leagues this year.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 12/12/2007 12:12:00 PM
Given his injury history, if the Jays continue to allow Burnett's pitch counts to escalate like they did last year, he may not be safe in more ways than one.
Posted by Jaycees67 at 12/13/2007 7:57:00 PM
I'm pretty sure that Burnett has an opt-out after this season and has suggested he'd use it (and in this market, why not?). Given that, I think that the Jays will be pretty motivated to just go ahead and max him ot this season, if they have any sort of chance to win this year.
Posted by Erickson at 12/13/2007 9:07:00 PM

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