Saturday, October 16, 2010

6 comments MLB 2010 Preview Review Part 2

This week I will continue my review of the MLB preview I did for the 2010 season and point out what I said that was right and what I said that was wrong about each team. I was pretty average for the first 15 teams. I got several teams nearly exactly right in predicting their records and then I missed big on others. I will start with Milwaukee for the second 15 teams.

Milwaukee Brewers

Final record: 77-85
My prediction: 84-78

What I got right:

I feel like they don't have a real #2 pitcher on the roster, assuming Gallardo is a #1 pitcher of course. It's not that the rotation is bad, but the starters for the #4/#5 spot are Suppan, Bush, and Parra. Suppan is regressing, Parra really struggled last year and Dave Bush isn't anything better than the #4 starter.

The pitching for the Brewers is what really let them down this year. They did not have very good pitching at all. There just isn't a pitcher that has any more of a ceiling than a #3 on a good playoff team.

What I got wrong:

Weeks is supposed to be back and healthy and the Brewers have two sluggers in Braun and Fielder with two excellent young players in Escobar and Gamel. I like this lineup.

Gamel and Escobar were disasters at the plate. They did not hit the ball very well at all.

If I were the Brewers I would give Mat Gamel plenty of at-bats and use Casey Magahee as a backup, but I know that's a tough call the Brewers may not be ready to make.

It is probably a move the Brewers aren't ready to make because it would have been a stupid move. Gamel was pretty useless last year and McGehee was one of the better hitters for the Brewers.

I expect Carlos Gomez to have a breakout year at some point (as does many other people probably) and this could be the year.

It was not the year for Carlos Gomez to have a breakout year. Not at all.

Minnesota Twins

Final record: 94-68
Predicted record: 84-78

There I do go underestimating the Twins, which is something most people tend to do.

What I got right:

I can't help but wonder if Mauer's power is here to stay. He doubled his previous career high last year. I think he can hit that many home runs again and maybe some of the doubles he hit previously went out last year, but I still wonder if he can keep it up.

Mauer had nine homeruns this past year. I think his power surge of 2009 was something we may not see from him on a regular basis.

If Liriano turns it around, if they get some more help from the starting pitching and if the bullpen holds up without Nathan I can see them winning the division. That's a lot of "ifs" though.

It looks like Liriano got healthy, Carl Pavano helped out in the rotation and Matt Capps helped the bullpen out a lot when he was traded from the Nationals.

What I got wrong:

This is a team that I think will compete for the AL Central title, but I see a rotation full of #3 guys and not guys who are good enough to win a playoff series or match up well with even some of the other teams in the AL Central.

Liriano and Pavano have pitched like #1 or #2-type starters this year. I figured they weren't good enough to win a short series, so I was still right about that.

I like the Jim Thome signing as well as having Delmon Young be the 4th outfielder. I don't like him as a starter, but when he is either platooning or is the 4th outfielder

Delmon Young had a pretty damn good year. He deserved to start.

New York Mets

Final record: 79-83
Predicted record: 83-79

Maybe I am dyslexic and don't know it yet, but I got their record completely backwards.

What I got right:

It balances out the incredible uselessness of Jeff Francoeur. Think I sound bitter, Mets fans? Just wait until you get to see him for an entire year. You'll want to murder him, he's very frustrating.

Needless to say, I will read the mind of every Met fan and say this is how they felt toward the end of last season. Francoeur sucks.

I am not as high on Pelfrey and Perez, but I can see John Maine having a good year.

Being right on one out of three isn't bad is it? Ok, maybe it is.

I don't think Perez will be a viable starter

I admit, it wasn't the boldest of predictions...but I was right about it.

What I got wrong:

First things first. This team should not have as many injuries as they did last year.

Oh no, the Mets still had injuries. Maybe not as many, but they still had injuries.

I don't think Luis Castillo is quite as useless as people may want to believe he is

Oh no. He is still pretty useless. He had an OPS of .604 and only stole 8 bases.

New York Yankees

Final record: 95-67
Predicted record: 99-63

What I got right:

I have concerns about Burnett holding up or even being effective,

He didn't exactly have a banner year. It was just his year to be ineffective and he was the highly paid fourth best starter for the Yankees.

I think they will win the East, but I also believe it will be a lot closer than last year.

Considering I got their record fairly close, I was fairly off on my predictions about them. The AL East was closer than last year. In fact, the Yankees didn't win the AL East. Not that it mattered in the playoffs of course.

What I got wrong:

Jeter shows no signs of dropping off and I don't think his contract situation is going to bother him this year

Jeter did drop off a bit. I am not sure if it was age or his contract situation (which I would doubt) that did it.

The Yankees upgraded in my mind when they got Javy Vazquez. He is going to the American League where he hasn't had as much success in the past, but he isn't going to be asked to be the ace of this staff, just the #3/#4 starter, which I believe he is more than capable of filling.

It turns out he is not capable of filling this role. He is capable of giving up homeruns and hitting batters with pitches though. He needs to be traded back to the National League very, very soon.

I don't think that either Randy Winn or Brett Gardner are going to be the answer in left field and I see the Yankees making a trade during the season to shore up that spot in their lineup.

It turns out Brett Gardner had a pretty damn good year, though Randy Winn was for the most part completely useless.

Oakland A's

Final record: 81-81
Predicted record: 68-94

I really, really missed on this one.

What I got right (if anything):

The lineup for the A's is not good.

23rd in runs scored, 28th in homeruns, and 21st in OPS. This happened to exceed my expectations for this team offensively, so as bad as they were, I expected them to be worse.

The pitching is good. I think Ben Sheets was a good signing, though I am a little surprised they spent as much money on him as they did. I think Braden and Cahill are going to continue to progress, which would make the starting pitching the strength of this team.

The A's had the best starter ERA in the majors and were #1 in quality starts. I didn't expect them to be that good in the rotation.

What I got wrong:

Chris Carter will probably make an impact of some type this upcoming year and he came over in the Dan Haren trade.

Carter made zero impact.

The A's picked up Ben Sheets in the offseason. It's not a bad signing because he can be a quality pitcher again, I just don't understand what motivated them to start spending money on starting pitching

They may not do it again because Sheets showed that he is not a quality pitcher anymore, especially for how much the A's paid for him.

Philadelphia Phillies

Final record: 97-65
Predicted record: 91-71

What I got right:

I don't how I feel about Jimmy Rollins. I think he is a great shortstop, but I do have a tendency to believe may be slightly overrated.

What's weird is the Phillies are a much better team with him in the lineup, but he really isn't that great of a shortstop. He's good, but not very that good compared to how much they rely on him. That being said, I hate it when I see Jimmy Rollins come to bat against the Braves.

As I have written here several times, I take Roy Halladay over Cliff Lee.

I would take Halladay over Lee 100 times out of 100 times and even one more time just for shits and giggles.

This was the best team in the National League two years ago, last year, and will be again this year...I just don't know, assuming Halladay stays healthy and if Hamels bounces back and focuses less on everything else going on in his life and more on baseball, if another team can beat them in a short series or for the NL East.

The Phillies were the best team in the NL and no team in the NL can beat them in a short series.

This is a lineup that can win a World Series this year.

And I think they will.

What I got wrong:

Overall, this is a really solid bullpen and if Lidge is able to not go mentally crazy and blow saves, this should be one of the best bullpens in the National League.

Lidge had a pretty good year and the bullpen wasn't one of the best bullpens in the National League. It was the 10th best bullpen in the National League in ERA and 13th in batting average against.

Joe Blanton is a good 3rd starter.

No he's not. Roy Oswalt is though.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Final record: 57-105
Predicted record: 60-102

What I got right:

Andy LaRoche is going to lose his job very soon to Pedro Alvarez,

He did.

The rest of the team. Few things in sports irritate me more than having a team that stinks because can't identify prospects, so they are perpetually rebuilding. The Pirates have been rebuilding for decades now and owe the fans of the team untold millions of dollars for what they have witnessed on the field that is supposed to be a team.

We found out later in the year the Pirates had been making a tidy profit off putting a shitty product on the field. They are lucky to draw a crowd of 5,000 people to a game. The Pirates organization still owes the fans millions of dollars.

What I got wrong:

I like they have good backups in Moss, Young, and Church.

They aren't good backups.

The Pirates signed a new closer, Octavio Dotel, who is going to close out the 5 games this year they are ahead in the 9th inning (I am just kidding, there will be more games than that, they are in the Astros' division). This is like putting $2,500 tires on a 1994 Honda Accord.

Dotel actually got 21 saves though his ERA was above 4.00 and he didn't pitch that well. Still, it was a waste of money. It was more like putting $2500 tires on a car with 150,000 miles.

There is actual talent here. I promise. Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, and Ross Ohlendorf are not terrible pitchers, even though they have pitched terribly.

There's not talent there. It doesn't make sense to say those three aren't terrible pitchers when they have pitched terribly. Ohlendorf kept his ERA under 5.00, which is something Duke and Maholm can't brag about. They aren't good starters which is (part of the reason) why this team sucks.

The outfield is a guy no one should really want (Milledge), an actual good baseball player (McCutchen), and a guy who had a year last year I don't know if he can repeat (Garrett Jones).

Jones did repeat his good year from 2009. Maybe he is the 3rd actual MLB player on this team that consists of AAAA or AAA players.

San Diego Padres

Final record: 90-72
Predicted record: 68-94

22 games off. I would have been better off drawing a number out of a hat to make this prediction.

What I got right:

If you put a gun to my head and asked me the strongest part of this team, I would actually say the bullpen. Many of these guys had good years last year and could very well have good years for the upcoming year. If the Padres can get a lead, then this bullpen is going to keep that lead. I think many other teams would like to have a bullpen that is as good as the Padres bullpen can be.

The bullpen was #1 in the majors in reliever ERA.

This team isn't going to hit the ball well, but I feel like the lineup is taking a step in the right direction and as long as they have Gonzalez in the lineup, they will have a good lineup in my mind for at least one spot.

The Padres did not hit the ball very well this year at all.

What I got wrong (if we have enough time for all of this):

Throw in the fact the NL West seems like it is going to be fairly strong this year and the Padres are going to have to wait another year at best to compete.

Wrong. They were second in the NL West and almost made the playoffs.

I see Richard having a really good year this year and Latos and Poreda should be in the Padre rotation for years to come.

I see the future is pretty bright for this rotation, but they are one year away from even seeing this potential.

Wrong. Latos had a good year and the rotation realized their potential (or are getting there) this year.

Other than that, there isn't much out there. I am not going to lie, and maybe it is my West Coast bias, but the Padres don't look good right now,

They didn't look good, but they played well pretty much all year...except for that 10 game "bad luck" (in the words of Joe Morgan) losing streak.

San Francisco Giants

Final record: 92-70
Predicted record: 86-76

What I got right:

Bengie Molina has power, but he is just holding down the catcher position until Buster Posey takes over for him, which hopefully will be sooner for the Giants rather than later.

It was sooner.

The bullpen for the Giants is also fairly strong and it strikes me as interesting the Giants can't seem to cultivate prospects from the farm system that contribute who are everyday players, but they do a good job with cultivating pitching from their system.

The Giants were 2nd in MLB in reliever ERA.

This team could easily contend in the NL West if they had any type of hitting, that's how strong the pen and the front part of the rotation is. If only this team could develop hitters better I think they could make it a race for the NL West title.

The Giants hit well enough and it got them the NL West title and the chance to lose to the Phillies in the NLCS.

What I got wrong:

If they only had a lineup. While this team can pitch pretty well with any other team in the NL West, they can't hit with anyone in the NL West, so they seem to stand no chance of winning the division.

Needless to say, this was completely wrong. The Giants were essentially middle-of-the-pack in hitting, which was good enough to win the division and make the NLCS.

I also don't really like the fact this team just is wasting Lincecum and Cain's early years in the majors. It kind of pisses me off.

I was very off on the Giants hitting ability. I did not count on Huff having a good year and Pat Burrell hitting like the old Pat Burrell once he got to San Francisco.

I can't say enough positive things about Pablo Sandoval, he really is the bright spot in this lineup...

It's weird because now I can't saying anything positive about Pablo Sandoval. He was benched for Mike Fontenot in the NLDS. I should have guessed a free swinger would eventually get figured out by pitchers, but I apparently really liked Sandoval when I wrote this.

Seattle Mariners

Final record: 61-101
Predicted record: 81-81

I wish I had the balls to predict their record to be even worse than I did. I hated this team at the beginning of the year because they couldn't hit the ball.

What I got right:

Seattle is this year's popular pick to win the AL West. I would normally love to jump on that bandwagon, but this lineup has a lot of convincing of me to do before I can get too excited about their prospects to beat the Angels. Where the hell is the offense coming from? Is Milton Bradley the cleanup hitter for this team? He can be a great hitter but he also doesn't always play in a full season of games, plus his performance was down last year and he is going to be 32 years old in one month. If he is your cleanup hitter, you don't have a great team. Other than that, this team is built for defense, which I respect, but unfortunately preventing runs from scoring doesn't actually score a team runs.

The Mariners were last in runs scored, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. It wasn't terribly close either. They were terrible offensively. By saying they were terrible, I am insulting every other team I have called terrible previously.

Another quibble I have is the #3-#5 starters in the rotation. Are those guys going to be able to perform well for the Mariners this year? I know what Lee/Hernandez can provide, but what can the other guys in the rotation provide?

The answer was that outside of Jason Vargas, the other guys in the rotation provided nothing at all.

What I got wrong:

I don't know if the defense is going to be enough to override the fact this team is fairly weak at the plate. If they got lucky then they may be able to beat the Angels out for the division title, but I can't see that happening this year.

I wasn't harsh enough. They were a terrible offensive team. I saw it and didn't call them on it harshly enough.

This is a good team and I think maybe in a different year in the AL West they could compete.

No, they couldn't. They were terrible.

It is not a bad bullpen and I think it will be around the middle of the rankings of bullpens in the American League.

They weren't. The Mariners were 11th in bullpen ERA.

St. Louis Cardinals

Final record: 86-76
Predicted record: 96-66

What I got right:

I look for Colby Rasmus to have a great year and take a leap up from what he was hitting last year. He's had a full year in the majors now and he should be getting ready to make a leap to being a great hitter.

Rasmus improved from his first year in the majors. I can't wait to see how good he can be next year.

Jaime Garcia is coming off Tommy John surgery and he is a highly touted rookie LH pitcher. He has the 5th starter spot locked down and it wouldn't surprise me if he had a good year and eventually was the 4th best starter on this team.

Do I get credit for saying this if he was the 3rd best starter on the team? I think I should get credit.

What I got wrong:

I don't think that will happen, but Cardinals fans should start saving up for postseason tickets now regardless.

Then go spend that money they saved up on something else because the Cardinals didn't make the postseason.

I think this will be one of the stronger lineups in the National League.

They were 6th in the National League in runs. That's not one of the stronger lineups really.

Tampa Bay Rays

Final record: 96-66
Predicted record: 88-74

What I got right:

This is a pretty good Tampa Bay lineup. It is not AL East-good, but in the realm of baseball overall, it is a good lineup.

The Rays had the 3rd most runs scored in the majors...behind the Yankees and Red Sox. What bad luck for them.

This bullpen has been improved with the addition of Soriano to it. He is a legitimate, if not occasionally injured, closer and will strengthen this pen.

Soriano was lights-out this year. Just in time for a new contract. How convenient.

What I got wrong:

I see improvement in this team this year, especially among the young players, but it won't be enough to win the division.

The Rays won the AL East.

I love the pitching staff. It may not have an elite #1 guy like other teams in this division have, but it is solid in spots #1-#5

David Price turned into that elite #1 guy this year. They now have a #1 pitcher.

Carlos Pena needs to bring his batting average up some,

Some? Pena hit .196 this year and struck out 158 times. That's Rob Deer-like production right there.

Texas Rangers

Final record: 90-72
Predicted record: 83-79

What I got right:

I may be overrating the pitching staff of the Rangers a bit, but I do like it.

Embarrassingly, this is probably the closest I came to making a correct statement about the Rangers. I did say I liked their lineup, so I guess that counts as well. For only missing their record by 7 games I sure said a lot of wrong stuff about their upcoming season.

Also, Scott Feldman will probably not have as good of a year this upcoming year as he did last. His peripheral numbers aren't that impressive so I think he is due for a bit of a fall.

He did pitch poorly this year. That's two correct statements about the Rangers. Admittedly, I had to stretch for the second one.

What I got wrong:

Even if they get great performances from some guys in the rotation, and even with the strong bullpen, I am not sure this Rangers team is strong enough to beat the Angels.

They won the division fairly easily.

I have seen a couple previews with C.J. Wilson at the 4th starter spot, but that seems like nonsense to me because he is such a valuable bullpen guy, I don't know why they would go away from him staying in the pen.

They would do that because he put up a 15-8 record in 204 innings this year with a 3.35 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP as a starter. That's why.

I don't know how I feel about him starting this year, because I think they should put Neftali Feliz in the rotation and not stick him in the pen...but it's not up to me.

Thankfully it is not up to me. Otherwise the Rangers would have made a mistake. I was counting on the Rangers not having good starting pitching, but Feliz was lights-out in the bullpen. It's the right place for him for the time being.

Elvis Andrus is a year away from being an elite shortstop,

Ok, maybe he is two years away from being an elite shortstop. I tend to forget he is 12 years old or something like that.

Toronto Blue Jays

Final record: 85-77
Predicted record: 67-95

Another huuuuuuuuuge swing and a miss on a team's record. I am the opposite of on fire right now.

What I got right:

Let's see. I like the Blue Jays offense somewhat. If Aaron Hill and Adam Lind hit as well as they did last year this team may not end up in 5th place in the AL East. Of course if Lind and Hill both hit as well as they did last year...well that isn't happening...but if it did the Jays may not be in 5th place.

Both Hill and Lind didn't hit as well as they did in 2009. They had power and that is about it.

If there was ever a rotation that looks bare after losing a great pitcher, it is the Blue Jays rotation. There isn't that much here.

The starting pitching was 21st in starter ERA. This was a major source of the Blue Jays problems in 2010.

What I was wrong about:

The Blue Jays don't have enough pitching and the hitters they do have are not good enough to win 10-8 baseball games.

The Blue Jays were 9th in the majors in runs scored. They were good enough to win 10-8 games.

In the infield, John Buck is an average catcher, Alex Gonzalez starts for defensive purposes and Lyle Overbay and Edwin Encarnacion are the only two possible sources of hitting prowess available.

Other than Jose Bautista and Vernon Wells too. I really underestimated the Blue Jays offensive abilities, though I imagine other people did as well.

Vernon Wells continues to be a disappointment for how much money he makes and I know some expect him to rebound this year, but I just don't see it personally.

I did see Wells rebound after the year when I looked at his end-of-the-year statistics. I'd like to see him get on-base more often and he still isn't worth the money he is getting paid, but he did have a semi-bounce back year.

Washington Nationals

Final record: 69-93
Predicted record: 64-98

I was one game off. It looks like I got close a few times, but didn't get a team's season record correct for any of the 30 teams.

What I got right:

I am not even sure what Ivan Rodriguez provides anymore to the catcher position because I think even his defense has slipped, Adam Kennedy should be a backup but he isn't (ok, maybe he has one good year left),

Rodriguez "handled the pitchers" well this year, but he's not a long or short term fix and Adam Kennedy was just decent at second base. I can't hate the signing, because there was no one else the Nationals would sign to play the position.

The best pitcher in this rotation is in the minor leagues right now. What is left is Jason Marquis, the "ace" of the staff, who I personally can't stand as a pitcher anywhere above #3 in the rotation,

It didn't take long for the Nationals to realize, indeed, Jason Marquis is not a good starting pitcher.

Why the Nationals went out and signed the corpse of Ivan Rodriguez I don't understand. Maybe they are hoping he can teach the Nationals hitters the best way to use PEDs and not get caught (I kid).

I'm not sure I was really kidding.

What I got wrong:

I don't really like that they are thinking of having Christian Guzman start over Ian Desmond. It is decisions like that which make question whether this team is going to succeed.

I don't know if I got this wrong exactly, but Guzman had an overall season that was slightly better or on-par with Desmond's season. I probably still would have played Desmond as much as they did.

Let's just say Matt Capps was a terrible signing. He's not a good closer.

I was completely wrong about this. Capps got traded to the Twins, in a deal that really favored the Nationals (they got back Wilson Ramos), and he was a good closer this year. Of all the signings this offseason for the Nationals, Capps was probably one of the best ones.

Nyjer Morgan was an actual steal by the Nats from the Pirates

I should have used the term "steal" a little bit less loosely. Morgan is a speed guy who got caught stealing 33% of the time and has no power.

So that's it. That's how I did in the my MLB Preview this year. I hope you enjoyed following up on my idiocy. I don't remember who I picked for the World Series. I wish I did.


Anonymous said...

Wrong on pitching re: the Blue Jays too.

The reason that they won 85 games was because they had no worse than the 4th best rotation in the AL.

Bengoodfella said...

Ok. They were 21st in starter ERA. So that was correct.

I was wrong that the starting pitching was the problem then. Maybe the problem was they played in the AL East.

your favourite sun said...

Garrett Jones's OPS dropped over two hundred points from last year. In fact it was almost equal to Lastings Milledge's, but remember that Jones got most of his at bats as a first baseman this year. I would not say he repeated his 2009 form.

Bengoodfella said...

Sun, I don't know where I missed that when I went over his stats for this year. I guess my review actually sucked worse than the preview I did.

I had forgotten that he was at 1B this year and not at OF too. He didn't repeat the form, I was wrong about that. I was right about the Pirates that has to count for something, right?

your favourite sun said...

Well you were right when you said that Jones wouldn't repeat last year. You were wrong to declare yourself wrong, if that makes any sense.

Bengoodfella said...

So not only was I wrong to say I was wrong, but was wrong in trying to show I was wrong? This is very complicated. I was right and didn't even give myself credit for it.

In other news, Jones is a mediocre OF for the Pirates, look for the Braves to trade for him any day now.