you can check out chris carpenter's changeup-in-progress today on mlb.tv; the cardinals are playing the orioles. here's the gameday link. Update [2007-3-6 13:44:13 by lboros]: i got bad info; the game's not on tv, but you can hear it via mlb audio. [end update]
a few other items:
- The Hardball Times is putting out its first preseason preview --- a companion to the Hardball Times Annual, with all-new content. ordering information is here. the meat of the book consists of 3-year projections for current players (including top minor leaguers) and team-by-team previews --- quick-hiting capsules formatted along the lines of bill james' old "team in a box" summaries. i wrote the st louis preview; here's a teaser:
Most Underrated Player: Albert Pujols. You want to talk intangibles and situational intelligence? Pujols ended a close game last year with a cross-diamond peg to nab a baserunner who'd strayed half a step past third base. He ended another by catching a trailing runner napping and signaling his catcher for a pickoff throw. He wins not just with his hitting but also with his fielding, throwing, baserunning, and his tremendous will. How did he not win the MVP? Either he's underappreciated, or his year-in, year-out greatness has gotten dull. No peaks, no valleys; nothing bores people like sameness.
- two new community projection threads are up: encarnacion and carpenter. we'll look at those thurs or friday.
- at least one guy thinks anthony reyes could contend for the cy young award.
- also, i thought you'd all get a kick out of this: who knew how very much george orwell hated the cubs?
what did sciosia do as a 24-year-old? missed the whole year after a collision at the plate. but from age 25 forward he was about a league-average run producer (as measured by OPS+) and a superlative defensive catcher. so if molina continues to follow scioscia's career trajectory, he'll mature ino a pretty valuable player. like yadi, scioscia won his first world champ'ship young (age 22); he won another at age 29, and played on three more division winners.
for whatever that's worth.
as long as we're drawing comparisons, molina's top comps at Baseball Prospectus both evolved into fine hitters, ramon hernandez (23 homers, 91 rbi for the orioles last year) and the royals' mike sweeney, whose peak OPS surpassed .900. . . . i'd be happy enough to see molina nose past .700, but perhaps it won't be a vain hope. another good hitter, the cubs' michael barrett, is molina's #4 comp per BP. barrett's age-23 season (.214 / .277 / .288) was very close to molina's (.216 / .274 / .321); he improved to .250 / .289 / .367 at age 24 and then made major breakthroughs at ages 25 (.263 / .332 / .418) and 27 (.287 / .337 / .489). scioscia is on the BP list at #12, by the way.
with all these cheery comparisons in our heads, let's move now to the numbers. for the 2d consecutive year, every single respondent in our exercise predicts an offensive improvement for molina. it's less noteworthy this season, i suppose, in that molina truly can go nowhere but up after last year. . . . . so here are the numbers, in descending OPS order:
the hometown forecasts (VEB and CCH) are super sunny, perhaps unrealistically so. but at least two of the "objective" ones (Marcel and CHONE) are nearly as optimistic as we are, and the nearly identical shandler / PECOTA / james projections aren't all that far off from the VEB line --- we foresee 2 or 3 more homers, but in all other respects our numbers match theirs. here's the aggregate line:
with his glove, and at his price, i'd take it.
isringhausen is supposed to throw BP to live hitters today. BP's will carroll had this comment in his preseason health report:
so anyway, back to izzy. as you look at the projections, focus on one number: hr allowed. last year, 6 of his 10 blown saves came on home runs. he allowed one homer per 25 batters faced in 2006; his average coming into the season was one homer per 60 batters faced. and that's the entire story: if he keeps the ball in the park this year, he'll be ok. do we think he can do it? the numbers, ordered by ascending ERA:
again, look at those hr totals --- it's agreed by all the savants that izzy will recover his low hr rates. the aggregate projection puts him at 0.82 hr per 9 innings; his career avg is 0.71 hr/9. here's the full aggregate line, alongside his 2006 numbers:
so here's what i don't get --- the aggregate projection has izzy cutting his walks by 12 and his homers by 5 over last season, while holding the line (mostly) on hits/9 and strikeouts/9 . . . . but posting the same era as last year? huh. our projected peripherals are pretty similar to izzy's 2005 line ---- higher h/9, but all the other numbers line up. compare, with an eye toward the era:
if izzy does, indeed, post the components we've projected for him, i reckon his era would end up in the low 3s or high 2s. i guess the era isn't really at issue here, anyway; as long as the hrs don't fly out of the park, izzy will convert the saves.
as a group, we project jason to miss the first 18 games of the season, which would place his return on april 22 at wrigley vs the cubs.