Monday, March 31, 2008

Tigers lose opener

It looked good for a while. Miguel Cabrera got his first Tiger homer, Verlander pitched a one hitter for five innings and the Tigers were up 3-0 going into the sixth. However, the Tigers left a lot men on base early against Royals starter Gil Meche and fans feared it would come back to haunt them. We also knew Verlander wasn't going to go nine innings and that a shaky bullpen would have to hold the lead. As it turned out, the lead was not big enough and the Tigers went on to lose 5-4 in 11 innings.

Two themes for the team this year will be getting enough innings from their starters and the bullpen not imploding. Verlander ran out of gas today allowing a two run homer to Alex Gordon in the sixth and leaving with two on and nobody out and a 3-2 lead in the seventh. He did OK - 6 innings , four hits , one walk, six strikeouts - but didn't go as far as some would have liked.

Not surprisingly, the bullpen could not hold the one run lead in a tough spot. Jason Grilli allowed a single to John Buck for the tying run and Aquilino Lopez allowed another single to Mark Grudzielanek for the go ahead run. The Tigers tied it in the 8th on a homer by Carlos Guillen but Denny Bautista allowed the game winner in the 11th in his 2nd inning of work. In all, the bullpen - Grilli, Bobby Seay, Lopez, Todd Jones and Denny Bautista - pitched 5 innings allowing six hits and two walks for one run (in addition to allowing two inherited runners to score). Not great but not terrible either.

The Tigers will usually need to score more than four runs to win and they will do that very frequently this year not but not today. They had 16 base runners on 10 hits and 6 walks. They had four doubles and two homers but all of this added up to just four runs. Both homers were solo shots and 10 runners were left on base. I don't think this will turn into a trend but today it was a problem.

On the plus side, Guillen had three hits and Magglio Ordonez two hits. Brandon Inge walked and doubled in place of Curtis Granderson. Gary Sheffield walked four times. Rookie Clete Thomas doubled in the 11th in his first major league at bat. Unfortunately, Thomas was stranded on third when the final out was made.

Some will blame the bullpen for this loss but they don't have a dominant pen and really it did what could reasonably be expected from a mediocre collection of relievers. They lost more because they left too many runners on the sacks and their ace starter (although he didn't pitch poorly) didn't go quite as long as they would probably like.

Opening day

It's 39 degrees and drizzling in Chelmsford, Massachusetts this morning but it feels like summer as the long awaited opening day is here. I know the season started last Tuesday in Japan for the Athletics and Red Sox but, even for many Boston and Oakland fans, it didn't feel much like opening day. Not with the games at 6 AM in the morning and not with knowledge that everyone else was still in spring training and that the Athletics and Red Sox would return to spring training a couple of days later. Now the season is starting for real and the next seven months will be a pleasure to follow regardless of the outcome.

The Tigers open up against the Royals today at 1:00 PM. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 50s and cloudy skies with some showers later in the afternoon. It looks as if they'll be able to get the game in before the heavier stuff comes though. It will be Justin Verlander versus Gil Meche. These are the line-ups:

Detroit Tigers
SS Edgar Renteria
2B Placido Polanco
DH Gary Sheffield
RF Magglio Ordonez
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Carlos Guillen
C Pudge Rodriguez
LF Jacque Jones
CF Brandon Inge


Kansas City Royals
CF David DeJesus
2B Mark Grudzielanek
3B Alex Gordon
RF Jose Guillen
DH Billy Butler
LF Mark Teahen
1B Ross Gload
C John Buck
SS Tony Pena


To learn more about the Kansas City Royals, check out these blogs:

Royals Review
Royals Authority
Royally Speaking

And for one more Tigers season preview, go to Detroit Tigers Thoughts.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tiger tracks

Ian interviewed Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. Then Sam interviewed Ian.

Beefshower has his annual entertaining season preview up at Mickey Tettleton Overpass

Kurt was interviewed by Royally Speaking

Eric at D-Town Baseball lists projections for the Tigers final bullpen.

Billfer talked to Will Carroll about injuries.

Final Rosters

Jim Leyland has announced that Clete Thomas, Yorman Bazardo and Aquilino Lopez have made the team and the opening day roster is all set and is listed below. Eddie B has his best guess on the minor league rosters listed at Detroit Tigers Thoughts

Catchers
Ivan Rodriguez

Infielders
Carlos Guillen
Placido Polanco
Miguel Cabrera
Edgar Renteria
Brandon Inge
Ramon Santiago

Outfielders
Magglio Ordonez
Jacque Jones
Marcus Thames
Clete Thomas
Ryan Raburn

Designated hitters
Gary Sheffield

Starting pitchers
Justin Verlander
Kenny Rogers
Jeremy Bonderman
Nate Robertson
Dontrelle Willis

Relievers
Todd Jones
Denny Bautista
Zach Miner
Bobby Seay
Jason Grilli
Aquilino Lopez
Yorman Bazardo

Disabled list
Curtis Granderson
Fernando Rodney
Joel Zumaya
Vance Wilson
Jordan Tata

Friday, March 28, 2008

Who is Casey Fien?

Photo credit: Roger Dewitt

Over the past week, there has been talk about Jim Leyland looking closely at a minor league pitcher. On Tuesday, Leyland revealed that it was Casey Fien (pronounced FEEN). He had this to say about him:
That was the guy I was talking about when I said I'd gone over to the minor-league field to watch someone," Leyland said. "I'd seen someone over there I liked. I liked what I saw the other day, and wanted to see it again....He's not going to be on the team, right now but I want that memory of what I saw on my mind, so if he's doing well, and I don't care where he pitches, I can say, 'Send me that guy.' He could be a candidate at some point.
What makes the statements interesting is that Fien has never pitched above A ball and has rarely been ranked by any of the major publications or prospect web sites as even a top 30 prospect. Who is this guy?

Fien is a 24 year old right-hander who was chosen by the Tigers in the 20th round of the amateur draft in 2006. The Santa Rosa, California native attended William Penn for one year and Golden West for one year before spending two years at Cal Poly. He was mostly a reliever at Cal Poly with just 9 starts among 40 appearances. He is 6-2 and 195 pounds.

All his appearances as a pro have been in relief. In 2006, he pitched 42 2/3 inning for Oneonta posting a 2.74 ERA and a 37/8 strikeout to walk ratio. For West Michigan in 2007 he pitched 61 innings and had a 3.10 ERA with an amazing 77/10 K/BB ratio. His 11.36 K/9 innings led the Midwest League.

From what I gather at Motown Sports, he has a fastball which he throws in the low 90s and touches 95 MPH. He also has a good slider but lacks a consistent change-up. His minor league splits indicate that he eats up right-handed batters (.184 BA in 2007) but struggles against left-handers (.291 BA in 2007).

He was expected to begin the season at high A Lakeland but now AA Erie seems more likely and he could be in Detroit sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who is Clete Thomas?


Photo Credit: Michael Scott


You may have heard by now that Clete Thomas has a chance to make the Tigers 25 man roster at the start of the regular season. You mean "Thames"? No, I mean Thomas. There is really a guy named Cleat? No, it's Clete. If you don't follow the minors closely, you may not know too much about him so I thought I'd give you a brief overview.

Thomas is a 24 year old outfielder who was drafted out of Auburn by the Tigers in the sixth round in 2005. He is 5-11 195, bats left-handed and throws right-handed. Since the summer of 2005, he has moved through the Tigers system making all the stops between short season Oneonta and AA Erie.

He split the 2005 season between Oneonta and West Michigan batting .311 with a .393 OBP in 264 at bats. He then struggled at high A Lakeland in 2006 hitting .255 with 127 strikeouts in 132 games. He rebounded nicely last year at AA Erie batting .280/.359/.404 with a 110/59 K/BB ratio.

According to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, The althletic Thomas uses the whole field but struggles with breaking pitches resulting in the high strikeout rate. He doesn't have much home run power but has pretty good gap power (30 doubles and 6 triples in 2007). He struggles against left-handed pitchers - a .718 OPS versus southpaws and .795 against right-handers. He is very fast but still needs to refine his running game.

Defensively, Thomas can play all three outfield positions, has good range and an above average throwing arm. According to a study by Dan Fox published in the Baseball Prospectus Annual, Clete had one of the best outfield arms in the minors last year finishing second in Equivalent Throwing Runs (theoretical runs saved by his arm).

Chances are Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski will take Freddy Guzman over Thomas but they are intrigued by Thomas. If Clete does make the team, he will likely back up Brandon Inge while Granderson heals. Since Inge is also going to be the second catcher, they will need another center fielder when he spells Rodriguez.

The name is Clete Thomas. If nothing else, he's got a great baseball name.

Byrdak released

The Tigers released Tim Byrdak after last night's game in which he allowed 4 walks and retired nobody. He has pitched poorly all spring and has a 13.50 ERA. Still, an outright release is a bit surprising since he did well last year and Jim Leyland had mentioned a couple of times that he was a virtual lock to make the team.

Unless they make a trade in the next couple of days, this probably means Yorman Bazardo and Aquilino Lopez will both make the team. Since Leyland probably would like to have another left-hander in the bullpen to go with Bobby Seay, a trade is not out of the question. Clay Rapada might have been a candidate but has been injured and has not pitched much this spring.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cabrera deal is done, two more cuts

The Miguel Cabrera deal is now official - 8 years and 152.3 million. So he'll be a Tiger through 2015 and he'll be just 32 in the last year of the deal. It's fantastic that will get to follow him for 8 years and that he's unlikely to have much of an age related decline during the course of the deal.

In other news, the Tigers assigned Francis Beltran and Timo Perez to minor league camp. This means the Tigers have 28 healthy players remaining in camp. If we assume that Marcus Thames, Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn have made the team, then that means the last bench spot would go to Freddy Guzman, Mike Hessman or Dane Sardinha. Jim Leyland said that Brandon Inge is the second catcher so they shouldn't have any need for Sardinha. Hessman doesn't really fill a need either so my guess is that Guzman will be the replacement for the injured Curtis Granderson. He would probably back up Inge in center when Inge is catching.

It's really no secret that the opening day bullpen will consist of Todd Jones, Zach Miner, Bobby Seay, Jason Grilli, Denny Bautista, Tim Byrdak and either Yorman Bazardo or Aquilino Lopez. I still think they'll take Bazardo who is out of options.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Deaner interviews Grandy

I don't have time to list a lot of links tonight but I wanted to plug Deaner's interview with Curtis Granderson at the Grandy Report. Great job Deaner.

Inge in center, Renteria lead off

During an afternoon press conference, Jim Leyland announced his replacement plan for the injured Curtis Granderson (according to John Lowe's Free Press blog). Brandon Inge will be the opening day center fielder and Edgar Renteria will lead off, at least versus right-handers. Pudge Rodriguez may lead off versus southpaws. Leyland did not commit beyond opening day for center field but I don't know why it would be just a one day thing for Inge. So, it appears that the opening day line-up will look like this:

Renteria SS
Polanco 2B
Sheffield DH
Ordonez RF
Cabrera 3B
Guillen 1B
Rodriguez C
Jones LF
Inge CF

Leyland also said that Inge would also be the backup catcher which means that there should be no need to carry Dane Sardinha on the 25 man roster. The bench will consist of Marcus Thames, Ryan Raburn, Ramon Santiago and probably Freddy Guzman.

The Free Press also reports that Curtis Granderson will miss at least the first two weeks of the season. Granderson's publicist john Fuller believes he will be ready to play after missing just one week of games. We'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Granderson goes on disabled list

I was driving around listening to the Tigers/Indians game on XM radio today when Dan Dickerson and Jim Price casually mentioned that Curtis Granderson has fractured his right middle finger and has been placed on the disabled list. Damn! He injured it when he was hit by a pitch in yesterday's game which later was rained out. His finger will be in a splinter for two weeks and he'll likely end up missing the first couple weeks of the season.

It's not a serious injury but we've been waiting all winter to see this great line-up in action and now the online community's favorite Tiger won't be around for the beginning of the season. There is no word on his replacement, although Brandon Inge is plaing center field today. My guess is that it will be some combination of Inge and Freddy Guzman. Ryan Raburn may also be in the mix. If nothing else, this pretty much guarantees that Raburn will be on the opening day roster.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Report: Tigers sign Cabrera for 8 years

Photo credit: Roger Dewitt

When the Tigers made the the blockbuster trade in December which brought back Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis in exchange for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and 4 other prospects, I was very excited but I said I wouldn't consider the trade a success unless Cabrera was signed long term. Apparently, that is about to happen. ESPN is reporting that the Tigers are ready to sign Miguel Cabrera to an 8 year $153 million contract which means he will be a Tiger through the year 2015.

The $153 million contract would be the largest in the team's history more than doubling the $75 million dollar deal given to Magglio Ordonez in 2005. Assuming the figures are correct, it looks like a good deal for the Tigers given the current and probable future market. They would get him for less than $20 million per year which is less than some had speculated for one of the game's premiere hitters.

The best part of the deal, as far as I'm concerned, is the length of the contract. It will take him through the age of 32 which means he should remain a great hitter through the length of the contract. Anything longer and you risk going into the decline phase of his career. At the same time, I didn't want a shorter term deal because I want Cabrera to be a Tiger for long time. Eight years seems perfect.

The trade is now complete and I'm calling it an unqualified success.

Tiger Tracks: Bonderman, Rodney, etc.

Three things I never thought I'd see:
  • Jim Leyland getting quoted in the Wall Street Journal.
  • One of Samara's pictures getting mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. Congratulations Miss Pearlstein!
Mr Ferris followed up the WSJ article by examining their theory that the umpires are the reason for Mr. Bonderman's first inning problems. Billfer's results are admittedly inconclusive but still very interesting and well worth reading.

Will Carroll has an alarming note about Fernando Rodney in his latest Under The Knife column at Baseball Prospectus:
The Tigers are shutting down Fernando Rodney pending some medical tests. Things don't look good, and one observer described him as "toast" last week.
This comes on the heels of another article last week where Carroll assesed the injury risks of all the Tigers. It's premium content but I will tell you that he considers Carlos Guillen, Jeremy Bonderman, Gary Sheffield and Kenny Rogers to be very high injury risks.

Sheffield and Rogers are no surprise with their age and recent health issues. Carroll says that Guillen's switch to first base will not make him less susceptible to injury as he thinks the body movements of a first baseman are no easier on the the knees than those of a shortstop. The Bonderman rating is not too surprising but a little disconcerting especially when you read another piece by Chris O'Leary on Bonderman's mechanics:
Fugly. That's the word that pops into my mind when I look at this picture. First, you've got significant Hyperabduction which is preceded and/or facilitated by Inverted W (which you don't see in this photo). Second, he's scap loading, but his PAS elbow is well above and behind his shoulders. Third, he's showing the ball to Center Field more than I like. He's got good hip/shoulder separation, and lower body action, but that's just increasing the load on his shoulder (and elbow). Pity.
I can't say I understand all that but it doesn't sound good.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Willis hit hard in loss to Blue Jays

I have not been doing a lot of game recaps this spring because spring training results are not very meaningful and I find it more interesting trying to figure out who will make the 25 man roster and projecting how they will do. It's been a slow week though so I figured it's time for me to get ready for the regular season by doing some game recaps.

The Tigers lost to the Blue Jays 5-3 today as Dontrelle Willis allowed all 5 Toronto runs in the 4th inning. Willis pitched 3 scoreless innings before unraveling in the 4th. In all, he allowed 5 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks in 3 1/3 innings but he says he is optimistic. Zach Miner followed with 2 2/3 shutout innings and Bobby Seay, Aquilino Lopez and Francis Beltran pitched one scoreless inning apiece.

Gary Sheffield hit a 2 run homer and Pudge Rodriguez a solo shot to power the Tigers. Rodriguez is now batting .364 with 7 homers in a very productive spring. The only other Tiger hits were singles by Curtis Granderson and Ryan Raburn.

The Bengals had an interesting double play combination today - Raburn at second base and Brandon Inge at shortstop. Raburn showed off his versatility by moving to catcher late in the game. Inge ended last night's game behind the dish.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

MLB awards poll and other links

David Bloom at Baseball Happenings (an excellent general baseball site) will be conducting a blog poll throughout the season. I have been invited to participate along with 27 other bloggers. Each week, we will cast votes for the MVP, CY Young and Rookie of the Year as if the season ended that week. We will start with the American League after week one, do the National league after week two and continue to alternate as the season goes along.

I'm looking forward to this because it should be a good way for me to keep up with what's going on in baseball beyond the Tigers (although I hope Tigers make the lists frequently!). The list of participating bloggers can be found at the above link. If you like to read non-Tiger baseball blogs, you will probably be familiar with many of the blogs on the list.

In other news, Brian Borawski of Tiger Blog answers five questions about the Tigers at The Hardball Times.

Greg Eno talks about Jason Grilli's problems at Comerica Park last year.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Another round of cuts

This morning, the Tigers optioned outfielder Brent Clevlen and pitcher Virgil Vazquez to Toledo and reassigned seven players to the minors - pitchers Freddy Dolsi, Preston Larrison and Chris Lambert, catchers Max St. Pierre and Nick Tresniak and infielders Mike Hollimon and Scott Sizemore. The 8 cuts leave the Tigers with 37 players (32 from the 40 man roster and 5 non-roster invitees) still in camp.

This means there are 12 more cuts to go. Of those, Jordan Tata and Joel Zumaya are headed to the disabled list and Fernando Rodney and Vance Wilson are likely going there as well. In addition Francisco Cruceta is still having VISA problems and isn't likely to come north with the team once he gets here. Clay Rapada is also probably not a realistic option as he has been bothered by a sore shoulder and just started throwing last week.

So, there are really 6 more cuts to go. The following pitchers are available for the last two spots in the bullpen: Denny Bautista, Yorman Bazardo, Aquilino Lopez and Francis Beltran. I think that Bautista and Bazardo will make it but Lopez seems to have a good chance too. Beltran seems like a long shot.

Jim Leyland has apparently made his decision on the position players be but hasn't announced anything yet. The following players are available for four spots on the bench: Ramon Santiago, Marcus Thames, Brandon Inge, Ryan Raburn, Freddy Guzman, Timo Perez, Mike Hessman and Dane Sardinha. Assuming there are no trades, I believe Santiago, Thames and Inge are locks. Raburn is the fan (including me) favorite for the final spot but he likely won't make it if Inge isn't the back-up catcher. He might not even make it if Inge is the backup catcher as Leyland may want to carry the left-handed batting Perez or the switch hitting Guzman. My guess is: Santiago, Inge, Thames, Guzman (who could back up Granderson in center field and has had a good spring).

The most unfortunate reassignment of the day was Hollimon who dislocated his shoulder diving for a ball yesterday. He could miss a big chunk of the season or even the whole season. An MRI later today will reveal more. Hollimon was not expected to make the roster but had the potential to be an injury replacement during the season. He is one of their better prospects and has a chance to be a good utility man or even a starter in the future. However, losing a year of development at age 25 would be a big blow to his chances.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

2008 Pitching Projections

Yesterday, I listed the 2008 community projections for the Tigers starting line-up and compared them to several computer generated forecasts. Today, I'll talk about projections for the starting pitchers. There were 24 fans which participated in the starting pitcher portion of the project. Whereas the fans were more optimistic than the computers in regards to the hitters, you will probably notice that there is more agreement among the pitching projections. Pitcher by pitcher projections are listed in the tables below.

Justin Verlander

System

IP

ERA

SO

BB

W

Fans (N=24)

212

3.37

193

65

20

ZIPS

189

3.76

156

53

15

Chone

188

3.88

153

61

N/A

Marcel

179

3.87

148

60

15

BJHB

202

3.70

163

66

13

MINER

196

4.09

174

62

16


The one player where the fans and the scientific projections do not agree is Verlander. While the fans are projecting 20 wins, 193 strikeouts and a 3.37 ERA, none of the computer projections give him more than 16 wins, 174 strikeouts or a 3.70 ERA. I'm going with the fan consensus on this one. I'm expecting him to blossom into an elite starting pitcher this year.


Kenny Rogers

System

IP

ERA

SO

BB

W

Fans (N=24)

144

4.48

78

47

10

ZIPS

127

4.11

61

42

9

Chone

130

4.57

67

46

N/A

Marcel

111

4.38

61

40

7

BJHB

145

4.22

76

46

8

MINER

129

4.58

71

42

8


The fans and the scientific systems agree than Rogers will not make it through the entire season healthy and most are predicting somewhere around a league average ERA. A partial season and league average performance is what I expect as well.


Jeremy Bonderman

System

IP

ERA

SO

BB

W

Fans (N=24)

198

4.01

184

62

16

ZIPS

197

4.34

166

51

12

Chone

188

4.02

151

53

N/A

Marcel

169

4.37

147

52

11

BJHB

175

4.11

147

55

11

MINER

193

3.72

183

55

12


All systems are picking Bonderman to bounce back from his injury plagued 2007 season. The MINER system, which was quite pessimistic for many of the hitters, has his ERA at a sparkling 3.72. I don't anticipate an ERA that low but an ERA in the low 4.00s (as predicted by the fans, Chone and BLHB) seems reasonable.


Dontrelle Willis

System

IP

ERA

SO

BB

W

Fans (N=23)

208

4.17

151

72

15

ZIPS

224

4.34

162

77

14

Chone

212

4.50

123

72

N/A

Marcel

185

4.43

136

67

9

BJHB

209

4.22

153

73

12

MINER

213

4.52

135

70

13


All systems predict a bounce back season for Willis as well. The fans have his ERA as low as 4.17. I think it might be a little higher than that but 200 innings and a league average ERA (about 4.50 or a little lower) sounds about right and would probably win a lot of games with the Tigers offense.

Nate Robertson

System

IP

ERA

SO

BB

W

Fans (N=23)

196

4.25

131

65

14

ZIPS

186

4.45

116

60

12

Chone

188

4.40

120

67

N/A

Marcel

170

4.50

115

60

9

BJHB

180

4.40

121

62

10

MINER

191

4.43

140

62

9


There is almost perfect agreement between the computers on Robertson and the fans are not too far off either. There is not a lot to debate here. If he stays healthy, I think we all have a pretty good idea of what he'll do .

Friday, March 14, 2008

Batting Projections for 2008

As many of you know, I've been collecting community projections for the Tigers starting line-up in 2008. The purpose was to see how fan projections compare to some of the popular computer forecasts. In theory, knowledgeable Tigers fans should have an advantage over scientific projections because they know more about who is coming off an injury, who has spent the winter getting into better condition, what the starting line-up will be, etc. On the flip side, fans are emotional and that could potentially bias their projections.

I asked fans here and at Motown Sports to give their best guesses at the 2008 statistics of all the starters including the potential platoon in left field. I then aggregated the results to get a community projection for each player. They can be seen below along side five computer projections for each player. The five systems and their inventors are listed below:
The 2008 projections for all players based on each of these systems can be found at Fan Graphs
You will see all of them right away except BJHB. Those can be found on the individual player pages under season stats. The Baseball Prospectus PECOTA projections (the most sophisticated of the scientific systems) are not shown because they are premium content. However, they should be available after the season when I compare the results.

Note that the sample size (N) of fan voters ranges from 14 to 39. This is because I asked for projections for two players each week and fan participation varied from week to week. Not surprisingly, the Tigers fans tended to be more optimistic than the computers. A lot of that is likely bias but but I also feel as some of it is justified as some of the computer forecasts seem a bit too negative this year. The MINER system, in particular , paints a surprisingly bleak picture for the Tigers line-up. The most generous of the scientific sytems was the Bill James Handbook system. Player by player fan and computer comparisons along with my comments are shown below.

Curtis Granderson

System

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

RBI

Fans (N=23)

600

.300

.364

.546

.910

25

81

ZIPS

608

.278

.345

.475

.820

21

87

Chone

575

.277

.345

.475

.820

20

75

Marcel

542

.284

.349

.494

.843

19

66

BJHB

568

.294

.359

.523

.882

22

72

MINER

593

.268

.329

.467

.796

21

74


The fans are much more optimistic about Granderson than most other systems. The computer pessimism is understandable because Granderson had such a such a big and unexpected improvement last year, struggles mightily against lefties and has trouble making consistent contact. Part of the fan optimism might be his popularity but they also are aware that he has exceeded expectations every step of the way and that he has a propensity to correct his shortcomings. I'm not usually big on intangibles but I'm siding with the fans on this one. The BJHB projection also looks reasonable.

Placido Polanco

System

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

RBI

Fans (N=20)

573

.321

.372

.423

.795

8

66

ZIPS

499

.317

.407

.358

.765

7

61

Chone

530

.309

.360

.415

.775

8

58

Marcel

570

.313

.360

.420

.780

8

60

BJHB

574

.312

.360

.423

.783

10

62

MINER

506

.308

.350

.393

.743

6

50


Even the fan community expects a regression for Polanco who batted a career .341 and had an OBP of .388 in 2007 (both career highs). There is not a lot of difference between the fans and most of the systems. I'll go with Marcel and BJHB which have almost identical identical projections.

Gary Sheffield

System

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

RBI

Fans (N=16)

462

.292

.391

.503

.894

26

90

ZIPS

320

.269

.366

.438

.804

14

65

Chone

406

.268

.369

.456

.825

19

66

Marcel

443

.269

.361

.451

.812

20

72

BJHB

490

.280

.384

.488

.872

26

87

MINER

373

.260

.347

.424

.771

15

52

The fans are quite a bit more optimistic than the computers on Sheffield. This is probably because they know that he was playing through an injury in the second half last year, which is something for which the computers probably did not account. The fan rate stats (BA/OBP/SLG) look about right to me. However, I'm worried about his health at age 39 and I fear he may see a lot of time on the disabled list. ZIPS and MINER could be right about his at bat total.

Magglio Ordonez

System

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

RBI

Fans (N=33)

566

.318

.393

.549

.942

27

124

ZIPS

476

.309

.366

.481

.847

17

91

Chone

568

.308

.378

.495

.873

23

99

Marcel

541

.316

.379

.505

.884

21

101

BJHB

580

.314

.383

.517

.900

25

111

MINER

530

.292

.355

.447

.802

18

85

Just as with Polanco, all systems show a regression for Ordonez from his amazing 2007 season. There is a lot of variation between systems - OPS ranges from .942 (fans) to .802 (MINER). I think reality will lie somewhere in between. Marcel or BJHB looks about right to me except that, given the line-up, the fans might be be right about the RBI.

Miguel Cabrera

System

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

RBI

Fans (N=20)

583

.325

.409

.573

.982

34

129

ZIPS

601

.318

.407

.589

.996

33

122

Chone

567

.317

.395

.545

.940

29

109

Marcel

608

.328

.409

.558

.967

26

103

BJHB

606

.327

.411

.579

.990

35

128

MINER

606

.320

.404

.551

.955

31

118


There is not a great deal of disagreement between the systems on Cabrera as the OPS ranges from .996 (ZIPS) to .940 (Chone). I see no reason not to go with the most optimistic projection here.


Carlos Guillen

System

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

RBI

Fans (N=14)

526

.301

.368

.495

.863

21

94

ZIPS

476

.296

.359

.471

.830

15

78

Chone

538

.294

.365

.472

.837

18

89

Marcel

516

.298

.364

.472

.836

18

89

BJHB

562

.297

.368

.466

.834

17

85

MINER

510

.284

.350

.433

.783

14

66


The fans again paint the rosiest picture for Guillen but most of the systems (except MINER) are reasonably close. Again, I'll go with the high end projection of the fans.

Edgar Renteria

System

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

RBI

Fans (N=16)

551

.291

.349

.420

.769

11

68

ZIPS

547

.287

.349

.395

.744

10

62

Chone

517

.282

.342

.400

.742

10

64

Marcel

485

.295

.357

.425

.782

10

57

BJHB

589

.294

.357

.421

.778

12

74

MINER

510

.286

.349

.406

.755

10

52


There is very little variation between the systems on Renteria with OPS ranging from .742 (Chone) to to .782 (Marcel). It doesn't surprise me that the fans are not giving him the most favorable numbers here as the trade (somewhat surprisingly) has not been met especially warmly around the net. I will go with BJHB forecast.


Pudge Rodriguez

System

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

RBI

Fans (N=39)

462

.284

.308

.430

.738

11

63

ZIPS

445

.276

.296

.400

.696

8

60

Chone

505

.267

.295

.402

.697

12

63

Marcel

490

.278

.305

.420

.725

12

58

BJHB

489

.284

.316

.431

.747

13

62

MINER

294

.248

.271

.350

.621

5

28


There is quite a bit of disagreement on Rodriguez as OPS ranges from .621 (MINER) to .747 (BJHB). I'll take the fans prediction here.

Jacque Jones

System

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

RBI

Fans (N=19)

396

.276

.326

.441

.767

12

55

ZIPS

415

.267

.322

.390

.712

10

54

Chone

473

.260

.318

.402

.720

13

59

Marcel

459

.272

.330

.438

.768

15

66

BJHB

443

.278

.332

.433

.765

14

61

MINER

460

.265

.323

.411

.734

13

59


The community is giving fewer at bats to Jones than any other system. This is probably because they they think (hope?) that he will be platooned. Jim Leyland doesn't seem to be big on platooning but he was a lot of right-handed options so I think we'll see a platoon eventually take shape. The fan projection looks ok to me.


Marcus Thames

System

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

RBI

Fans (N=14)

315

.259

.312

.503

.815

18

60

ZIPS

283

.261

.329

.534

.863

20

62

Chone

323

.257

.322

.498

.820

20

52

Marcel

346

.249

.311

.480

.791

20

59

BJHB

345

.267

.329

.545

.874

25

66

MINER

302

.245

.304

.474

.778

18

51


There seems to be a pattern here where the fans are more optimistic about the star players and less optimistic about the lesser players. Thames is no exception as some of the systems like him quite a bit more than the fans do. I think the fans have it about right here though.

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