The Baseball Prospectus annual book has become an essential resource for the serious baseball fan. I received my 2008 copy in the mail this week and I'll share a few teasers with you:
They approved of Dave Dombrowski's bold moves over the winter and think that the team is in great position to contend for a championship over the next two years. After that, they think it will be necessary to do some re-building of an aging team. I can't disagree with any of that.
Their PECOTA projections for Tigers hitters seem a bit pessimistic to me as they have almost ever hitter on the team regressing from last year.
Although Miguel Cabrera's PECOTA projection for 2008 is only .300/.376/.515, they do think he is working towards a Hall of Fame career and they believe that his weight problems are overstated.
They all but write off the possibility of Curtis Granderson learning to hit lefties and suggest that he absolutely has to be platooned. PECOTA projects a drop in OPS from .913 to .806. I'm not sure he can repeat last year's performance but that much of a drop seems extreme. Granderson has outperformed his expectations every step of the way and I believe he will continue to do so.
They are not optimistic that Gary Sheffield has a lot left in his tank and they don't believe he will improve a lot over last year's stat line of .265/.378/.462. They also don't see him staying healthy for a full season.
They are more optimistic about the Tigers pitching, at least their starters. In fact they are expecting significant improvement from Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis. I tend to agree.
They believe Jeremy Bonderman's second half problems were related to his elbow injury and they expect a full recovery in 2008. PECOTA projects an ERA of 4.00.
PECOTA says there is a 55% chance that Nate Robertson will improve significantly in 2008 and puts his ERA at 4.42.
They are not expecting a huge year from Verlander but they love his career potential: "The over/under on Cy Young Awards is 2 1/2".