i'll have a saturday post, and then erik draws the Opening Day honors. today i'm just tying up some loose ends, and i'm gonna ask you all to participate in one last community projection: the cardinals' record.
before we get to that: at about 1 pm central we're gonna have a guest post from al yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue; i'll be writing something over at his site. al is a friend, a great baseball fan and an excellent writer, one of the best baseball bloggers out there --- in spite of being a cub fan. so please abuse him with respect and courtesy, if you catch my drift. it's natural to feel an irresistible urge to take a few swipes (he's a cub, after all), but do it in a friendly spirit. no broken skin; i don't want him bleeding any of that cubbie-blue stuff all over my nice red blog.
as i said, that'll be at about 1 pm central.
the guys at wsj.com's Daily Fix invited me to participate in their annual baseball predictions contest. i made a total fool of myself and picked the cardinals to repeat as world champs . . . . because, why the hell not? there don't appear to be any dominant teams heading into this season --- the reign of parity continues --- so if one team's about as likely as another to win it all, i figured i might as well just go with a homer pick. how stupid would i look if the cards repeated and i was sitting there with, like, the red sox as my preseason selection. i'd rather look stupid this way; the cardinals probably won't win, but at least i might earn a few points for loyalty. anyway, you can read all my intrepid prognostications, alongside those of a bunch of other web-based baseball know-it-alls, right here.
if, after that, you still have any appetite left for my fearless forecasting, head on over to Baseball Analysts: rich and sully had me back to take part in the nl central roundtable with jeff sackmann of Brew Crew Ball and Beyond the Boxscore. there, too, i've left a record of my idiocy with a raft of totally inaccurate statements about the upcoming baseball season. enjoy.
on to the community projections. let me present all the results to date in one table --- ok, two tables (one for the pitchers, one for the hitters):
ok, three tables . . . . whatever. we never got around to projecting the heart of the cardinal order, El Albert and El Scottie --- my fault. but we did get down predictions for all five members of the season-opening rotation, from whom we expect 66 wins. as a point of reference, the 2004 and 2005 season-opening rotations --- both of which stayed almost entirely injury-free --- posted win totals of 72 and 80, respectively. . . . . obviously, knowing what we now know, most of us would alter our projections for juancarnacion at this point. i'll get a link to this summary page up on the sidebar, so we'll have easy access to `em during the season and can track our progress.
for our teamwide community projection, just give me the following --- and please remember to comma-delimit your answers (no spaces):
that's wins, losses, runs scored, runs allowed, and games ahead/behind in the final standings. for the GB/GA figure, use a + or - sign to indicate whether you mean games ahead or games behind.
finally, one quick point of information from derrick goold --- whose reportage at Bird Land, by the way, was absolutely stellar this spring --- troy cate is being moved back to the bullpen at memphis. i like the move: his career didn't take off until he was moved to the `pen, and his road to the big leagues will probably be shorter this way (think bradley thompson). neither mike parisi nor chris lambert made the memphis rotation to begin the year, while both mike smith and matt ginter did; that i'm not crazy about. in fact, that pisses me off. this was supposed to be the year the organization gave up its weakness for rotting quadruple A flesh and promoted some fresh, springy double A meat. alas, just one of the five memphis starters (hawksworth) is a riser through the ranks. it's not that i think either lambert or parisi has any kind of great potential; lambert, in particular, has shown no sign of being ready to succeed at triple A. but when you don't move guys through the system, the whole pipeline backs up. springfield presumably now opens with a rotation of three holdovers (parisi, lambert, and haberer) and just two additions from class A (boggs and garcia); behind them, the glut at high A includes ottavino, hearne, degerman, norrick, and daley.
both lambert and parisi will be 24 this year --- just a year younger than reyes and wainwright. neither one can prove a thing against double A hitters. in the end, i think this says less about the pitchers than it does about the big-league club's need to have plans B, C, and D this season ---- given the lack of "proven" ability in the big-league rotation, mssrs la russa and duncan probably don't want three fresh-from-double-A starting pitchers sitting down there at memphis.
depth vs development; the eternal struggle continues.