Thursday, February 09, 2006

Project and Predict

The baseball world today has no real definitive way to bring about predictions and projections except for a few people sitting in a room and bantering about who will do what. Well, that is, until PECOTA rolled around (see previous post for meaning of PECOTA).
This year's version of the PECOTA ratings are out, and although I cannot post them on here, they are available for premium members of Baseball Prospectus. However, without giving too much away, I will attempt to show you why this year's version of the Seattle Mariners could be very different from the '05 version.
Any change from the '05 season will be a welcome change for just about all fans, after all, '05 is a season that saw another down year from just about all of the regular starters with the exception of Richie Sexson and Raul Ibanez.
This year, Seattle will have a full season of "King" Felix Hernandez. Hernandez, who will not turn 20 until April 8 this year, burst onto the scene near the end of last season and quickly showed the hype .

Projected 2006 Seattle Mariners Opening Day Lineup
RF-Ichiro Suzuki
CF-Jeremy Reed
LF-Raul Ibanez
1B-Richie Sexson
3B-Adrian Beltre
C-Kenji Johjima
DH-Carl Everett/Matt Lawton
2B-Jose Lopez/Willie Bloomquist/Fernando Vina
SS-Yuniesky Betancourt

The main offensive position battle this pre-season will be at second base (where previously thought favorite Jose Lopez has given up ground to former ASU great, Willie Bloomquist.) Lopez, the 22-year-old second baseman, is thought by many to be the future of the Mariners at second base. Personally, with the Seattle franchise going basically nowhere, I see no reason that Lopez should not be the starter come opening day. Willie Bloomquist is the play everywhere, do anything kind of player that nearly all managers in baseball wish they had on their team. The problem is... He just is not that good. The 2006 projected VORP for Willie Bloomquist, a staggering -1.1. That means that over a whole season he will end up costing the team just about one run more than if they had a replacement level minor leaguer fill in. In retrospect, the projected VORP of the up-and-comer, Jose Lopez? 17.1. That is an 18 run difference... Pretty simple huh? Tell Mariners Manager, Mike Hargrove. (I will not even reference Fernando Vina because if he ends up making the team as the starting second baseman, I just may strangle myself with a copper wire.)
The top three slots of the starting rotation this year look very solid with the veteran left-handers, Jamie Moyer and Jarrod Washburn, and then the afformentioned, Felix Hernandez. Beyond these three the image of the five-man-rotation gets a little blurry. The favorites to land the final two spots are the same two who struggled in these spots last season, Joel Pineiro, and Gil Meche. The real key to this season's pitching staff is going to be how well new pitching coach, Rafael Chaves, deals with trying to fix the problems that have plagued Pineiro and Meche.

With any luck, the fans and the team will both be partying at Safeco Field come October
I will go more in depth into the pitching staff in the next installment of 2006 Mariners.


Blogger Azdez said...

Youth is on their side, but you know that means lots of mistakes on the field. What do you think of the skipper and management. I think the manager who knows how to work with the young guys is just what the doctor ordered. Do you see leadership at the top and within the team?

The L&G

7:51 PM  

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