A fan of the Yankees, Red Sox, and large sample sizes.
Joe Sheehan wrote a Premium article for BPro today about "his guys" - players that he likes this year, for one reason or another. It's a really good, if not spectacularly creative, idea. So, in proper "copying is the highest form of flatter" tradition, here are my guys for 2004:
For some reason, he always seemed to pitch better as a starter than a reliever with the Blue Jays. Escobar's one of those guys that's always had a lot of potential, but hasn't lived up to it. I think this is the year he does, with something like a a 3.50 ERA in a lot of innings. The Anaheim park is slightly better for pitchers than Toronto, and the Angel defense is much better.
Adam Dunn & Austin Kearns
Yeah yeah, I've written about them already. And it's not like people don't expect them to be good players. They were, after all, top prospects just a couple years ago. But I think Dunn and Kearns are going to absolutely explode this year. We're talking Bash Brothers Part Deux for many years to come.
He's fallen off the shortstop radar for some reason. Everyone assumes he's now the fifth best shortstop in the majors behind ARod, Garciaparra, Tejada, and Renteria. Personally, I'd take him third, and second this year considering Nomar's injury. Jeter's not a great fielder, but I foresee a .330/.390/.500 year with 30 SBs. In that Yankee lineup, he'll rack up the counting stats, too.
His ground ball to flyball ratio last year was way below what he did in Japan. Matsui's what people call a "professional hitter" and can definitely make the adjustment to lift the ball more. He's got the power and contact rate to crush the ball, but just needs a little lift. Expect a 10 HR bump this year.
Some might accuse me of cheating because of his great start yesterday, but I've felt since last year that he's a much better pitcher than he showed. Pitchers often need a year or two of experience before figuring out the major league thang. I expect Bonderman's skills to keep improving, and Comerica Park can cover up some of the mistakes.
Batting average is often overrated, but it's very hard to be any good at all hitting .220. Shea's not a great hitter's park, but Cameron will think it's Coors compared to Safeco.
Yeah, it's hard for a closer to be underrated, but if you ignore that fact, then Rhodes is being given the shaft this off-season. He's been one of the best relievers over the last few years, with a hiccup last year. He's a lefty, but dominates batters from both sides.
People seem to forget he was on fire last year before getting hurt. More of a scouts dream than an analyst's, but good fielding, average, and power will make anyone happy.
Javier Vazquez will be the Yanks' top pitcher. Mark Bellhorn will be this year's Bill Mueller. Jeff Weaver will love LA. Freddy Garcia will show that a healthy ear is a great thing. Justin Thomson will be the Braves top pitcher in an otherwise ugly season. And finally, to go out on a limb, Barry Bonds will be good.
Comments: Post a Comment