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More Projection Notes
Posted by Jeff Erickson at 12/17/2007 4:36:00 PM
View more posts by this author


  • Like with Detroit and Todd Jones, the Indians have stumbled into a nice arrangement with Joe Borowski. He's not their best reliever yet still the closer, but with strict save situation usage, he's not overexposed. The Indians probably don't see their current arrangement as a problem.
  • For those of you that worry about big workload jumps, Fausto Carmona pitched 173.2 IP in 2005, 102.1 IP in 2006, and then 215 IP plus the playoffs last year. The usual caveats about the dangers of blanket statements apply here.
  • Raise your hand if you knew that Miguel Batista won 16 games last year.
  • If Brandon Morrow is being converted back into a starter, won't he almost certainly need time in the minors? The Mariners are more aggressive than most teams in promoting their prospects, but Morrow has all of one (1!) minor league start above Rookie ball, in addition to his major league relief work last year. If he really begins the year as the M's 4th or 5th starter, you can file this away in the Bad Idea department. Meanwhile, he's a projections nightmare.
  • LOL at the Mariners offering arbitration for Horacio Ramirez. It was bad enough to hear the post-facto justifications/slanders for that awful trade last year for Rafael Soriano. It's a helluva lot worse to commit future dollars to Ramirez. Have they not heard of the concept of "sunk costs"?
  • George Sherrill's numbers against righties were pretty good last year - they'd be well-served to let him throw more innings.
  • Kevin Gregg's low save projection is a function of how poor the team will be, and not a reflection necessarily on his ability. This is going to be one truly awful team.
  • Take a look at the Marlins' depth chart, and their projected starting rotation. It's an awful mess. Scott Olsen regressed badly, Josh Johnson is out for the season, and who knows what they're going to get out of Anibal Sanchez. The confidence level that they'll do the right thing with Andrew Miller or any of the other prospects acquired from Detroit is pretty low. Look at Rick Vanden Hurk - it's really irresponsible of the Marlins that he pitched 80+ innings at the major league level in 2007, after having 16.2 IP of High-A ball experience prior to the season.
  • The biggest travesty of the Lastings Milledge deal is that Omar Minaya didn't get somebody to trade a pitcher or pitching prospect to him. He's now burned his most tradeable commodity without address the Mets' most glaring need.
  • Chad Cordero's K:BB is not trending too well. You might consider putting him on your at-risk of closers. The Nats also have plenty of viable alternatives in the bullpen, led by Jon Rauch and Luis Ayala.
  • Expect a little more decline from Trevor Hoffman this season - the way he finished up the year, compounded with the procedure done on his elbow is another to raise a warning flag.
  • I got a good chuckle from our note that the Pirates are now looking to try trade Matt Morris. That trade by former GM David Littlefield might have cost him his job, judging from the reaction league-wide to it.
  • In an otherwise train wreck of a season, Brandon McCarthy somehow managed to drop his HR/9 rate from 1.81 to 0.80, despite a 0.66 G/F. That's a pretty difficult fete to accomplish, let alone while pitching in Texas.
  • Red Flag Alert - Kevin Millwood's strikeouts dropped sharply and walks turned up considerably while throwing far fewer innings last year.
  • The Brewers had to at least be aware of the allegations regarding Eric Gagne, right? They only gave him a one-year deal, but there has to be some buyer's remorse here.
  • Curt Schilling's strikeout rate dropped sharply last year - no doubt as a result of the shoulder problems he had. There's some collapse potential here.
  • On the flip side, it's hard to reign in the projection for Clay Buchholz. On the numbers alone, he could project for a sub-3.00 ERA, but he has so little experience at the upper levels of the minors, let alone the majors, that there has to be just a little backsliding, no? Final projection just gives him 22 starts, going 9-5, 3.18 ERA, 117:47 K:BB in 116 innings.
  • While the Reds probably still have a trade in them, Matt Belisle has a spot guaranteed in the rotation right now by default. He hasn't done really anything to merit it, but the Reds don't have much in the way of replacement level talent that's major league ready. One trade and an early promotion of Johnny Cueto could change that.


I think the ERA for Buchholz is pretty generous for a young AL pitcher. John Lackey hasn't even averaged that the last three years. And 117:48 would be more like 4.00 in the AL, assuming an average home run rate and luck.
Posted by cliss at 12/17/2007 6:07:00 PM
Actually 117 K in 116 innings might be lower than that. But I still think 3.18 is an upside projection.
Posted by cliss at 12/17/2007 6:08:00 PM
Thanks for the Milledge update from the Reds' fan, like I need more fuel on the fire. Plus you are strengthening my resolve not to keep Schil in the RW Staff League.
Posted by airjan23 at 12/17/2007 7:14:00 PM
Gagne's contract can't be defended even without the Mitchell report. A ton of guaranteed cash for someone who couldn't get an out over the final two months, and basically had to be hidden in the playoffs.

Doesn't Florida have enough offense left to somehow win 70 games or so? Maybe I need to look again.
Posted by spianow at 12/19/2007 1:11:00 AM
Buchholz isn't just an AL pitcher, he's an AL East pitcher. I love him but I'd throw out something like 3.91 or so.
Posted by spianow at 12/19/2007 1:12:00 AM
Love the sidebar on sunk costs. Everyone should have to take at least one Econ class in college.
Posted by spianow at 12/19/2007 1:14:00 AM
Yeah, maybe so on the Marlins, but I'm not entirely sure Maybin is ready, they're going to platoon flotsam and jetsam at catcher and third base, and their starting rotation is a shambles. I love Hanley Ramirez and Jeremy Hermida, but there are some pretty big gaps here, straight out of the Jeffrey Loria playbook. Maybe if Olsen/Sanchez rebound, I'd be more confident in their putative success.
Posted by Erickson at 12/19/2007 4:05:00 PM
I think Schilling is unlikely to face a complete collapse in 2008. Sure his K's might decline and his ERA might increase, but he really does not walk anyone, so his WHIP will remain an asset, while the Red Sox lineup will give him enough support to win more than his fair share of games.
Posted by mpdclarke1444 at 12/23/2007 5:13:00 AM
I like the Borowski comment. Seems like teams are wising up to the reality that it's not too tough to get three outs with a 3-run lead, and also that the crucial game situations usually come earlier. So why wouldn't Gagne do it? He had a bad little stretch, 18.2 innings to be exact. If his fastball is slower it's still comfortably over 90, and he still has the curve and the change. He struck out 22 in those 18.2 bad innings. He allowed 3 home runs pitching in Texas and Fenway. Granted he's not what he was but he's better than Todd Jones and Borowski and about 50 other functioning closers since 1992. The Brewers will provide opps. Pour on that steroid talk.
Posted by GeneM23 at 1/12/2008 9:12:00 PM

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