It’s time for the Fire Brand community predictions! Last year, we predicted three Red Sox hitters and three Red Sox pitchers’ seasons. We didn’t do so bad.
This year we will do the same, but add in division predictions as well. All you have to do is leave a comment with your predictions (you can abstain from certain predictions if you want!) or simply e-mail me.
Without further ado:
Division Predictions
Boston – Best team on paper, picked by many to win division/Wild Card. And this is a Red Sox site.
New York (WILD CARD) – No ignoring their offense, but their pitching is average to start with and thin at best. Yes, we know. Phil Hughes.
Toronto – A massive sleeper team, if they can fix their pitching and if New York gets beset by injuries, they’re a dark horse for the Wild Card.
Baltimore – More of the same, but at least they keep bringing in talent, not losing it.
Tampa Bay – Yet more rebuilding.
Cleveland – Should have won 90 games last year, will win more this year.
Detroit – Their pitching will regress, but they’re stronger on offense.
Minnesota – Their lack of pitching behind Johan Santana will be exposed quickly. If Matt Garza and Boof Bonser can step up, they easily finish in second.
Chicago – Still good enough to contend, but they’re more focused on keeping that contention in shape for the future.
Kansas City – Suddenly, this team doesn’t look so bad.
Los Angeles – Their offense is a bit deeper, and their pitching is just as good.
Oakland – Lost Thomas, lost Zito … each year they lose people. One of the years it will catch up.
Texas – Consistently improving, should threaten for second place.
Seattle – This is the year Bill Bavasi and Mike Hargrove are dumped out. Bobby Valentine or Trey Hillman in to manage to try to keep Ichiro and sign Kosuke Fukodome and Koji Uehara?
Philadelphia – Hard not to believe Jimmy Rollins when you see that Michael Bourn is ready, making Aaron Rowand expendable. The starting staff is so deep, Jon Lieber is expendable. These two will eventually fetch the missing piece to get Philly into the playoffs.
New York (WILD CARD) – Still a strong team, but not as good as last year. Pitching is a question mark, and Shawn Green is turning into a corpse.
Atlanta – Should rebound, but still in limbo.
Florida – Regression expected (sophomore slump) but still a dangerous team. Is this the year D-Train or Cabrera is traded?
Washington – A mess all around, they have a new stadium to look forward to in 2008.
Milwaukee – I’ve been crushing on this team for the past two years. This year, there’s absolutely no reason NOT to.
Houston – Losing Andy Pettitte was a mistake, but their hitting improved. Now can their pitching hold up? Paging Roger Clemens.
St. Louis – Rotation issues overblown.
Chicago – Much improved, still needs that OBP improved. If Jason Marquis can return to form, they’re a sleeper for the title.
Pittsburgh – 37-35 second half and Adam LaRoche point towards a possible .500 season. Finally.
Cincinnati – How can anyone say they improved?
Los Angeles – No one specifically stands out, but they’re deep – and good.
San Diego – This should be a battle all year long between SD and LA.
San Francisco – As Bonds draws all the attention, the young pitchers will continue to mature. SF will be a slumbering beast for 2008 and 2009.
Colorado – The march back to .500 will be delayed a year, but progress will be shown.
Arizona – I’m just not seeing it. They’re a young, solid team, but I’m not seeing it.
We’re not going to predict the playoffs until they actually happen, but just for kicks: The Cleveland Indians win the crown, beating the Phillies.
Player Predictions
The three hitters we are predicting (please copy the statistics I choose):
Julio Lugo
2006: .278/.341/.421 w/ 69 R and 22 2B
PECOTA: .284/.347/.406 2/ 74 R and 29 2B
ZiPS: .292/.355/.407 w/ 84 R and 36 2B
ESPN: .287/.351/.420 w/ 97 R and ? 2B
SEAMLESS: .283/.349/.? w/ 92 R and ? 2B
Evan: .290/.355/.430 w/ 113 R and 34 2B – As you can see, I’ve made a positive projection for Lugo. I think his power will increase due to the Green Monster, while his AVG/OBP are mostly in line with the other projections. He used to hit a lot of doubles, and I think he’ll start to again.
J.D. Drew
2006: .283/.393/.498 w/ 20 HR and 100 RBI
PECOTA: .285/.392/.476 w/ 15 HR and 61 RBI
ZiPS: .266/.383/.452 w/ 15 HR and 74 RBI
ESPN: .317/.429/.485 w/ 25 HR and 95 RBI
Evan: .280/.390/.475 w/ 18 HR and 88 RBI – I’m not really far off from everyone else’s projections.
Dustin Pedroia
2006: .191/.258/.303 w/ 4 2B in 89 AB
PECOTA: .294/.360/.431 w/ 36 2B in 491 AB
ZiPS: .274/.347/.394 w/ 33 2B in 482 AB
ESPN: .277/?/? w/ ? 2B in ? AB
Evan: .278/.355/.405 w/ 23 2B in 425 AB – Alex Cora should eat into Pedroia’s playing time as he did into Gonzalez’s last year, and I think Pedroia will have an average first two months, good next two months, then start slowing down as he adjusts to the long schedule.
The pitchers…
Daisuke Matsuzaka
2006: 17-5, 186.2 IP, 2.13 ERA, 200 K
PECOTA: 12-9, 182.0 IP, 4.01 ERA, 162 K
ZiPS: 15-8, 186.0 IP, 3.44 ERA, 131 K
ESPN: 16-5, 191.0 IP, 3.06 ERA, 192 K
Evan: 18-8, 195.0 IP, 3.43 ERA, 187 K – Pretty optimistic, but pretty in line with everyone else.
Jonathan Papelbon
2006: 4-2, 0 GS, 68.1 IP, 0.92 ERA
PECOTA: 9-7, 25 GS, 146.0 IP, 4.28 ERA
ZiPS: 7-3, 12 GS (35 relief appearances), 113.0 IP, 3.66 ERA
ESPN: 13-10, 28 GS, 171.0 IP, 3.89 ERA
Evan: 11-8, 28 GS, 170.0 IP, 4.14 ERA – I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give him an ERA below 4 or not, but I went above because as Papelbon re-adjusts to being a starter, Francona will leave him out now and then a bit too long and he’ll get hammered.
Josh Beckett
2006: 16-11, 204.2 IP, 5.01 ERA, 36 HR
PECOTA: 11-10, 179.2 IP, 4.47 ERA, 21 HR
ZiPS: 14-10, 182.0 IP, 4.55 ERA, 26 HR
ESPN: 15-10, 197.0 IP, 4.42 ERA, ? HR
Evan: 15-8, 209.0 IP, 4.35 ERA, 23 HR – Schilling says he’ll surprise a lot of people. I believe him.
That was me. It’s your turn! By the way, predictions are open to anyone. Obviously biased predictions will not be accepted at the discretion of … me! As soon as predictions close next Thursday, I’ll compile all the answers (simple averaging out) and we’ll see if we’re right at the end of the year…