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Thread: The Batters - Pittsburgh Pirates 2010 Predictions

      
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    Default The Batters - Pittsburgh Pirates 2010 Predictions

    The Batters - Pittsburgh Pirates 2010 Predictions
    by Kipper

    [IMGL]http://images.athlonsports.com/d/16105-1/Andrew+McCutchen.jpg[/IMGL] When it comes to making predictions people generally have a side they are going to take since predictions can fall on either the low or average side. From there you can branch off into different directions which is why a;; predictions differ.

    With the Pitchers, for the batters, my predictions generally lie on the higher side since I want to see players and the team exceed. In certain occasions I might predict safer on purpose or I might go on the higher side. The reasons behind these decisions are nothing more than personal faith and in some case, hope.

    So, while any of my predictions might seem high, they re also predictions that I feel that player can achieve. It doesn't mean that I believe they definitely will.It is just hard enough to predict let alone try to add in factors like injuries, when they occur, length, slumps, bad seasons, fluke good seasons and so forth. It's general knowledge that some predictions end up being completely off because of things that can't be predicted by stats or freakish ocurances.

    So here are the..

    Position Players/Batters


    1. Andrew McCutchen - CF - .281 Avg. | 12 HR | .370 OBP | .783 OPS

    Like it will be for a lot of this lineup, predicting it is going to be a complete crap shoot. There are so many "if's" associated with this team. I think Andrew McCutchen is going to have a good sophomore season. I don't see a great season from Cutch out of my own personal fear of hoping for too much. The biggest red flag I see with McCutchen is that his August 2009 numbers stick out like a sore thumb. His power numbers where 8 times what they were in some other months and McCutchen has always been said to be a guy whose power will develop later. I really don't see him exceeding the HR number he put up last year despite it not being a full season. I'm fine with that actually. He's quite capable of doing it and having another August 2009, but I'd rather play it safe and not predict those things. Every ad any player can have a great month or bad month in a season. Perhaps had Cutch strung back to back months like that together I'd consider it more.

    The one thing about McCutchen that stuck out to me was that his patience at the plate got much better as the season went on. His OBP in August and September was .387 and .389. his BB/K numbers were near even. Basically with the more experience McCutchen was getting, his eye was improving distinguishing balls and strikes. When Andrew McCutchen develops his ability of finding his pitch more often, the guy is going to be a .300+ hitter with incredible gap power and an incredible OBP. This is one aspect to his game I'll be curious to see how it develops this season.

    As for my McCutchen prediction. I really downplayed and practically ignored his August power numbers. When you look at McCutchen's June, July and September numbers, I think you get a better feel for the guy overall when guessing his stats. While he could have an August 2009 type month this year he could possibly have one of those ugly slumping months he managed to avoid last season that would even things out.

    2. Akinori Iwamura - 2B - .271 Avg. | 5 HR | .345 OBP | .725 OPS

    On paper Akinori Iwamura is about the same defensively at 2B as the guy he truly replaces (Sorry Delwyn), Freddy Sanchez and for the most part is a similar hitter; above average hitter with gap power. Unlike Freddy, Iwamura possesses good speed and the ability to draw a walk and capture a high OBP th past couple of years.

    The question of course with Iwamura is how healthy is the ACL? It is an injury that can go either way. Iwamura's ACL injury was said to be a partial tear and not as serious as original reports. He's appeared to be playing fine this Spring. Also, how will this effect other aspects of Iwamura's game? Does it have a mild, or larger impact on his XBH ability? Will it effect is ability to move laterally defensively and pivot quickly on Double Plays? A lot of questions that we can throw into the big basket of questions for the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Aki is truly a tricky one to determine. They key for him is to provide more of what Freddy Sanchez appears to be doing less of as age hits him and that is - play in more games. The Pirates really can't afford too many games with Delwyn Young playing 2B, not with this pitch to contact Starting Rotation. The key for Akinori is to provide games.

    To figure out Iwamura I thought about his injury and his results post injury (August-September 2009). I also looked at other monthly splits in his MLB career and saw him have numbers similar to his post injury numbers, so who knows if they were slump numbers or not. I factored in his age as well. 31 is exiting the prime, tougher to heal, easier to re-injure. I came upon a very safe set of numbers for Iwamura. I'd be lying if I didn't think Iwamura could exceed those, I just have to see the proof that the ACL isn't an issue.

    3. Garrett Jones - RF - .285 Avg. | 28 HR | .360 OBP | .861 OPS

    I believe that most Pirates fans are saying silently "please don't be that half season fluke that we've seen so often over the years". That is really what it comes down to with Jones. He has the power and despite how he hits in general this year, he has legit 30+ home run ability over a full season.

    The remarkable thing about Garrett Jones is that he didn't do what he did in a half of a season from the Lead Off spot like former half year wonders (Tike Redman, Nate McLouth) did. Garrett was doing this all from the #3 spot in a lineup that was either without a legit #4 hitter or if you look at Ryan Doumit's numbers when he wasn't injured, a #4 hitter that had a bad season. Jones wasn't getting much protection at all and he was putting up strong numbers across the board, month to month last season. Garrett Jones was getting the opposition's best pitches and he was able to adjust and maintain a strong plate presence.

    As you can tell, I'm not really a big gambling guy but I have a strong feeling about Garrett Jones this year. I like that he is going to be 28/29 years old this season and right in the thick of his prime years where things just lick for some players. His plate discipline is strong and despite horrible LH/RF splits he was still able to hit very well last season.

    There are some things that are of concern. The LH/RH splits have some people overly concerned, as do his RISP numbers. I think the LH/RH splits are going to be a constant. Something we'll have to get used to. I don't think the gap will be as wide this year. Looking over his Minor League splits year to year, the splits are there but not as wide. The RISP numbers, I'm not concerned with at all and I believe that there was some bad luck involved with those results. If you look at his RISP numbers, his K/BB numbers are actually not bad. They are fairly even. I quickly looked up Jason Bay's RISP numbers in his time with the Pirates to look at his BB/K splits and they were very similar to Garrett Jones' and Bay while always being perceived as "unclutch" pumped out 5 100 rbi seasons out of 7. Jones has similar ability. He's not up there in the box swinging and missing. He's making contact with RISP. Sometimes it lands in open field, sometimes it doesn't.

    For my prediction on Garrett I weighed a lot of different things and I also looked a little bit at his previous Minor League numbers, specifically those starting at age 26. Garrett seemed to start getting "it" then. The excitement might not get recreated but Jones should put up solid digits.

    4. Ryan Doumit - C - .294 Avg. | 13 HR | .330 OBP | .760 OPS

    It's really difficult to determine if Ryan Doumit is a good hitter or not. We all know that the guy is injury prone. If catchers could wear separate uniforms like Soccer goalies, Ryan Doumit should support one that looks like a First Aid box. What I have a difficult time figuring out for Doumit are the same things I have difficulty figuring out for Nate McLouth - Was Ryan Doumit benefiting from a lineup that seemed to surge in his breakout year? Was Doumit getting protection from other guys hitting really well? It's a beautiful thing when you have a #3 and #5 hitter having possible career years, add in a Lead Off hitter having the same and that eases the nerves for your #4 hitter.

    I would be surprised if even once healthy last season, the pressure of hitting #4 in a hollow lineup toyed with Doumit mentally. The question however is whether Ryan Doumit is as good of a hitter as some think he is IF he is healthy. The rest of his career stats outside of the 2008 season don't appear to indicate much with regards to Doumit. Actually outside of that 2008 season, there's not much that is dependable to go by, since injuries and Jim Tracy have gotten in the way of us knowing what we want to know about Doumit. Doumit did hit well last September.

    To figure out Ryan Doumit I took a look at his post Trade Deadline numbers for the 2008 season. I looked at some numbers from last season with the struggles. I also went through and looked at his career as a catcher hitting as well.

    5. Lastings Milledge - LF - .287 Avg. | 15 HR | .335 OBP | .740 OPS

    You know, Lastings Milledge is amazing. The guy comes to Pittsburgh and there were fans and still are fans complaining because they bought into the media hype about Milledge and consider him to be some head case. The guy gave high fives to some fans in the stands, was a little lazy and so forth. Basically Lastings Milledge has NOTHING on Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes or even James Harrison beating his wife. As a fan I can't complain about Lastings Milledge the person at all and every interview or report on Milledge has showcased the guy as the type of person you want on your team.

    Milledge has talent. He showed glimpses of it with the Mets in 2007 at the age of 22 and with the Nationals in 2008 at the age of 23. He showed the power potential with the Nationals cranking out 14 HR's and a higher projected number of HR's with the Mets along with a .272 batting average. It's all there for Milledge, it is a matter of it all coming out and Lastings appears to be working hard to achieve that.

    Figuring out Milledge's numbers was a challenge. The power for Milledge was completely absent for in 2009 despite it being there in both 2007 and 2008. The most logical reason for this is the broken finger injury he sustained in May 2009 with Washington's AAA team. These injuries are difficult to gauge because even after they heal perfectly players mentally worry about them. It could be a year + for some players to truly get over an injury like that and of course it is the one that is likely affecting Lastings' power. The question is "when" will the power come back.

    Outside of the power, Milledge can hit. The guy has a good eye, a good swing. The only thing difficult with Milledge is his power because that affects his his OPS numbers too. I think the power is going to come back, but I think we might have to wait a month or 2 into the season for it to really come to life.

    6. Andy LaRoche - 3B - .285 Avg. | 20 HR | .351 OBP | .784 OPS

    If I had to name one player that I thought was going to have a strong year, a coming of age type of season it would be Andy Laroche. I really liked what he did in September of 2009 all around and more important it appears as if that wrist injury is finally behind him that was holding back his power. Andy LaRoche simply looks like he is ready to start breaking out this year. His defense is strong and despite a low batting average, he makes contact and doesn't strike out much. Andy's batting average could increase easily with a little more luck and a little better ability putting balls where he wants them more but the holes aren't there which is important.

    When I was looking at Andy's stats one of those "bad luck" numbers that stuck out was his August 2009 numbers. He had a poor .205 batting average but his highest BB total of the season. He actually had more BB's than Strike Outs. His BABIP is what was telling. It was .200. Andy LaRoche was hitting the ball, it was just going into gloves and getting him out at first more often than he'd have liked.

    I believe Andy LaRoche has 20 Home Run ability. I think it's possible we could see it this season. As it is with Andy Laroche and pretty much every single player on this team, it is a matter of the player performing up to their potential or more towards their potential. The potential is there for a lot of these guys like Andy LaRoche, we're just waiting for it to all click and come to life.

    7. Jeff Clement - 1B - .258 Avg. | 22 HR | .310 OBP | .734 OPS

    This one should be difficult and it was. We have a stint with Seattle in 2008 where Jeff Clement pretty much struck out a ton and did very little of anything else, but that was at the age of 24. Maybe he wasn't ready? On the other hand it was his coming off his 3rd straight season at AAA. One of the major problems with Jeff Clement has been the injuries. They've taken their toll on his development, getting any sort of rhythm, getting into routines. Whether Clement can overcome that and reach some of that potential he has is anyone's guess. Neal Huntington sees the potential with Jeff Clement despite some whining and complaining here and there by the fans, which will landed Clement the 1B job.

    This is difficult because I could use his 2008 Seattle numbers, I could sprinkle in some of that potential from the minor leagues. There's a lot that can be done. What I simply tried to do was put forth something that was a mix between the potential and realistic but positive expectations. While it might not look great, it's not 1992 Orlando Merced bad either.

    8. Ronny Cedeno - SS - .267 Avg. | 9 HR | .308 OBP | .702 OPS

    Watching Ronny Cedeno last year was like watching Jose Castillo at 2B a few years back. There's more potential than what is being seen and that potential appears to be mentally blocked. Cedeno showed that he could make great plays, take the right jumps, has a good arm but also showed that he could make mistakes on easy, routine plays by not having his head into the game. Jose Castillo was the same way. If there's mental blocks in the field, they are there in the batters box too.

    While I believe that Cedeno has good range and a strong enough arm to be an above average defensive SS (much like Huntington believes), it is questionable whether Cedeno can concentrate long enough to reach those expectations. The same can be said about Cedeno's bat. Cedeno has decent hidden power in his bat but his issue is that he strikes out too much and doesn't draw enough walks. His OBP has generally been very low and it's either been because of too many K's or not enough BB's. the goal for Cedeno is to replicate his numbers with the Chicacgo Cubs in 2008 and have that be the bottom of the expectations for him.
    Last edited by Kipper; Apr-16-2010 at 12:54 AM.
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    Default Re: The Batters - Pittsburgh Pirates 2010 Predictions

    3. Garrett Jones - RF - .285 Avg. | 28 HR | .360 OBP | .861 OPS
    The kid definitely had a good start towards these numbers today... Yea, "one game does not a season make", but it was a good start... He seems to have the power to not only go out of the park, but also opposite field. I'm looking forward to what this guy does throughout the season.
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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