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It is Time to Overreact!

Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, April 08, 2011 09:49 AM | Comments: 7
Analysis, Dr. Strangeglove, Posts

So we’re five (or six, or seven) games into the major league season, and apparently, some people are already drawing conclusions from an absurdly small sample of games. Apparently the Red Sox have a serious problem after only six games (as if they can’t make up a five-game deficit in the division over the last 156 games of the season). Or apparently one start from Cole Hamels, because it came at the start of the season, outweighs a lifetime of great performances from the lefty. But anyway, I think the fact that this particular stretch of six games bears special significance in a way that no other randomly-selected six-game stretch does, just because it came in April. (Need proof? First-place Kansas City Royals and last-place Boston Red Sox as of April 7.)

So about a week ago, we posted staff predictions for the final MLB standings and for awards. I’d like to revise my previous predictions. I figure you won’t mind, since it’s only been a week. But by keeping everyone’s rate stats the same, and projecting counting stats out over 162 games (for position players) or 33 starts (for starting pitchers), I think I can get a better picture of how this season will turn out.

NL MVP: Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies: .480/.500/.840, 54 HR, 216 RBI

Ryan Howard is on pace to DEMOLISH the all-time major league records for hits, batting average and RBI. As the centerpiece of the National League’s co-leading team, he’s shown that the Phillies miss neither Chase Utley nor Jayson Werth, particularly with Wilson Valdez on pace to best Chase Utley‘s career high in batting average by nearly 100 points and Ben Francisco in line for a 9 WAR season. But still, when a team’s on pace to score 1,161 runs over the course of a season, someone from that offense deserves recognition.

AL MVP: Howie Kendrick, IF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: .417/.517/.917, 81 HR, 270 H, 189 R

Kendrick’s team is on pace to go .500 and finish 81 games out of first place, so how valuable can he be, right? But any second baseman who can hit 81 homers in a season deserves MVP consideration. Particularly when he’s got the makings of a 21.6 WAR season, something that Barry Bonds or Babe Ruth never even sniffed at.

NL Cy Young: Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals: 33-0, 0.00 ERA, 297 K, 0.66 WHIP

Many worthy contenders here, but Garcia’s on pace to throw a complete-game shutout every time he takes the mound. Go ahead, argue with that. I dare you.

AL Cy Young: Edwin Jackson, Chicago White Sox: 33-0, 1.93 ERA, 330 K, 1.00 WHIP

Not as great as Garcia on the WHIP or ERA, but Jackson, many times a discarded prospect, is set to come good this season, with some truly staggering strikeout numbers. He’s averaging 12.86 K/9 through two starts, and if he keeps those numbers up, he’ll post the first 300-strikeout season in nearly a decade.

NL Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves: 0-0, 54 SV, 0.00 WHIP, 22.5 K/9

That’s not a misprint: if these numbers keep up, Craig Kimbrel will strike out five of every six batters he faces, pick up a save every time he takes the mound, and not allow a baserunner all year. Aren’t those just outstanding numbers? If only he were on pace for more than 54 innings, he might stand a chance in Cy Young voting against starting pitchers like Garcia, who stand to throw nearly six times as many innings as that.

AL Rookie of the Year: Kyle Drabek, Toronto Blue Jays: 33-0, 1.29 ERA, 231 K, 0.57 WHIP

You could make the argument that Drabek’s better than Jackson based on their respective first weeks of the season. Drabek, if he keeps this up, would become the first rookie ever to win 30 games, along with Zach Britton of the Orioles. Should of kept Drabek, right guys?

NL Manager of the Year: Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates

This award is usually for doing the most with the least, and Hurdle is on pace to lead a perpetual laughingstock to its first winning season since 1992, when 2010 No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper was but a fetus. Even though they’re set to miss the playoffs, a 93-win projection is nothing to sneeze at, and Hurdle deserves a ton of credit.

AL Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles

Who else but Buck? Talking the talk and walking the walk to first place over the twin Evil Empires of Boston and New York. On pace for a major league-record 135 wins and first place in the AL East by 27 games! Give this man an award!

Playoff Predictions:

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Rockies
NL Wild Card: Padres

AL East: Orioles
AL Central: White Sox
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Blue Jays

Divisional Round: Phillies over Rockies, Reds over Padres; Rangers over Blue Jays, Orioles over White Sox

LCS: Reds over Phillies, Rangers over Orioles

World Series: Rangers over Reds in 4 to complete the first undefeated season in MLB history!

Avatar of Michael Baumann

About Michael Baumann

Michael Baumann has written 229 articles on Phillies Nation.

Michael is a graduate student at Temple University who lost his childlike innocence when, at the age of 6, his dad let him stay up for the end of Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Unsettled by the Phillies' recent success, he has threatened over the years to leave the team he loves if they don't start losing again, but has so far been unable to follow through. Michael spent 4 years as an undercover agent in Braves territory at the University of South Carolina, where he covered football and soccer for The Daily Gamecock before moving back up north. He began writing for The Phrontiersman in June 2009 before moving to Phillies Nation in January 2010.

 
 
  • Posts: 193 bfo_33

    Avatar of

    Back in the dark ages (mid 70s), my older brothers used to give me a hard time every time the Phils got off to a hot start and I started dreaming about the WS- it’s the Phils, it’ll never stick, Reds/Dodgers/Pirates are too good, ….. I used to ask them why they followed the Phillies if they thought they were going to lose – never got a great answer (nothing else on, only 1 tv in the house, …). Finally did in 80 (of course, they knew it was going to happen that year).

    When you are a fan of a traditionally bad team (current Pirates, Royals, Nats, …), April is the best time of the year, the slate is clean, and even a swept series only means 3 games out. The sample size isn’t big enough to state anything is impossible.

    It’s a little different for the Phils. Expectations are higher. Some Phils fans want to go right to the playoffs now – I love watching the season unfold, see who is going to have the career year, extended hitting streaks, walk off wins, dominating pitching performances,…. Ryan Howard isn’t going to hit 0.480 for the season, but he may ht 54 homers. Valdez or Ben Fran probably aren’t going to replace their predecessor’s numbers over the season, but it’s possible (or if not as good, may be good enough). Halladay, Oswalt and Lee could go the whole season with quality starts every time out – Brett Myers did it last year. It’s April, the snow is melted, baseball is back, and anything is possible – time to be 10 yrs old again.

     
  • Avatar of Dropped Strike Three

    I’m overreacting to that incredibly difficult to read font at the top of the page!

     
    • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

      Avatar of Pat Gallen

      I agree. My brain overreacted to that and almost cause a seizure. Might have to change that up.

       
  • Posts: 222 tavian

    Avatar of tavian

    Avid baseball fans of any team are basically dreamers and pretty decent people. I admit that I am a dreamer as well. I dream about my team (The Phils) winning it all come hell or high water. It is sometimes nice to read a post from a fellow dreamer. Keep it up. Keep me optimistic. Keep me pumpted. This will be a very interesting series in Atlanta.

     
  • Posts: 1189 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    This is awesome. Did anyone catch that Tony Larussa clip when the reporters ask him about the anemic Cardinals offense? He starts saying “don’t you think Yadier is gonna get a big run in? Don’t you think Pujols is gonna hit? Don’t you think our 2B and SS are gonna hit? Don’t you… ” and then walks out.

    LOL.

    Unrelated: little to no mention regarding Lidge and the fact that he’ll miss half the season *if all goes well.* I guess nobody misses him lately :/

    Hopefully the Big Truck gets the job done.

     
  • Posts: 0 lou possehl

    I was out of town yesterday and had a comment all ready to post in the AM, when the internet connection from our room went kerflooey. So here I am back at home base, and we all know how yesterday’s game went. That notwithstanding, I’m going to reproduce my comment as best I can, as if that game hadn’t happened yet …

    Going into Game 6 of the long season, the Phillies are not perfect but they look awfully good at 4-1. No, Howard won’t hit .500 for the season and Halladay may, by October, lose a game. But while the Phillies are thin here and there, so long as they are not plagued by more injuries than the ones that have already hit them, they are going to be really, really tough to deal with. The pitching staff overall rates a B-plus out of the gate: Starters 1-3 looked great. Hamels crashed the first time around, but he is the No. 1 starter on most other clubs – and was our best pitcher down the stretch last season. So he sucked in his first game – BFD; it’s April. Blanton didn’t do well either but he will be Blanton: he will have a 3-plus ERA and carry us into the 6th or 7th inning and our bullpen is looking good early on, even without Lidge. (Am I the only one who sleeps a bit better at night, with Lidge on the DL?) And we are hitting, and scoring runs.

    So we’re at .800 and now our opponents (the Mets and then Braves) now have Halladay and Lee to deal with. Which gets back to the original thought of how tough it’s going to be to contend with the Phillies. Yes, we’ll lose here and there, but the quality of our starting pitching is so high that it will keep things from ever getting out of hand: it is difficult to see this team, even over a stretch of the remaining157 games, ever incurring a losing streak of any consequence.

    I just projected us winning 4 of 6 and then 4 of 7, and repeated that pattern throughout the season. No losing streaks – but no win streaks (even with our great pitching), either. If we were to do that on top of our 4-1 start, it would place us at 100 – 61 by Game 161.

    Color me crazy, but I don’t think this is asking too much of the baseball gods.

     
 
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