Archive for the 'Ill-Advised Prognostications' Category

P&P MLB Predictions 2012: Opening Day!

image by Judy Van Der Velden

You thought we’d let the trend of the moment pass us by without offering up our own misguided attempts at humor and/or strangeness? You thought wrong!

Here are the P&P team’s predictions for the now-underway 2012 Major League Baseball Season:

  • Injuries force the Rockies to give up their personal vendetta against Eric Young Jr. and allow him to start 140 games; he puts up a line exactly like his father’s twenty years ago (.270/.355/.355 with 40 stolen bases). – Patrick
  • As a part of their youth movement, the Astros organization fires every ballpark usher over the age of 75. – Ted
  • Roy Oswalt will sign with the Reds in May. In June, Roy Oswalt and the Reds will agree to a 9-year, $273 million extension. -Eric
  • Felipe Paulino uses a new grip on his 95 mph fastball that induces half an inch of movement. He ends up leading the team with a sub-4.00 ERA. – Patrick
  • This will finally be the year America learns to love Bud Selig. -Eric
  • Brandon McCarthy, in an endless pursuit to better himself, rediscovers the gyroball. – Patrick
  • Someone on twitter will leak internal discussions by MLB to run the bases clockwise for one game. -Patrick
  • During a random inning in mid-August, Jamie Moyer throws exactly one 97-m.p.h. fastball, only to immediately resume his normal velocity a pitch later. – Ted
  • Between Colby Rasmus, Kelly Johnson, Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion, and J.P. Arencibia, the Blue Jays become the first team to hit less than .230 and slug more than .430. – Patrick
  • Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes become so tight that they agree to play shortstop together. – Ted
  • Billy Beane is fired at midseason and replaced by Bill Bavasi. The A’s turn around, finish .500, and trade all their prospects for Joe Blanton and Brian Duensing. – Patrick
  • Albert Pujols hits a home run so high that it hits an angel on the ass. That angel is Ty Cobb’s third cousin Millicent. – Ted
  • Todd Helton’s back acts up and he gets cut on June 1. He signs on, plays a dozen painful games, and retires with the Arizona Diamondbacks. – Patrick
  • Bud Selig approves a deal in which all 30 MLB teams agree to share bullpens. – Ted
  • Justin Morneau and Brian Roberts collide during a double play in early May. Both of their heads explode like in the movie Scanners. – Patrick
  • Frank McCourt works his way back up the Dodgers ladder to the front office after starting the year in the basement mailroom. Wearing a fake mustache and going by the alias John-Jack Lasorda. – Ted
  • A fan leaps onto the field and tries to light a Miami Marlins jersey on fire. Rick Monday is at the game, but doesn’t move an inch. – Patrick
  • Chris Iannetta is, at some point, sad. – Patrick
  • Ryan Braun finally beats Reggie Miller in a game of ping pong. – Patrick
  • Skip Schumaker accidentally bats out of order three times, but because everyone is so used to Tony La Russa, no one notices. – Patrick
  • John Axford, ironically, trips over a teammate’s novelty mustache.
  • Umpires get together and decide to call the slidestep a balk for a single day. Chaos ensues. – Patrick
  • Someone on Twitter will leak internal discussions by MLB to run the bases clockwise for one game. -Patrick
  • Johan Santana will start 32 games. Over the next four years. -Patrick
  • Josh Beckett will go on the DL with his old blister problems, meaning that the Red Sox will be paying more for injured starters than the Royals will pay for their entire lineup. -Patrick
  • Knucklepuck! – Ted
  • Hipsters everywhere rejoice as the neckbeard overtakes the handlebar mustache as baseball’s ironic facial hair of choice. -Patrick
  • Erik Bedard will look at himself in the mirror and realize that no one will ever call him “a poor man’s Steve Carlton”. -Patrick
  • The new Marlins Park home run feature will eat no more than two center fielders. – Ted

P&P Pointless Predictions 2011: NL Central

Predicting things is hard, and it’s wearing on me, even as I work on just my second set. Writing a sports prediction is like putting a helmet on a school of fish. You have to ignore the intuitive voice whispering that a prediction is a false, futile handhold in a slippery world.

Just as quickly, though, I’ll hedge my argument and support the pointless prediction, because predictions get you to exercise your intuition muscle. Analyzing a team and a division is a way to make public one’s intuition about the way a team is built, its players, coaches, and competition, like a Rorschach test for the baseball brain.

When I predict that the Chicago Cubs will win the division, for example, which I have just done, I’m announcing my tendency to value players that others have scratched as unreliable, like Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, and Kosuke Fokudome. I’m also announcing that I’m something of a contrarian, unwilling to go along with the more trendy picks in the young Reds and bolstered Brewers. And finally, I’m revealing myself to be something of a sentimentalist. Sure, I’d like to see the Cubs win the division and the World Series as the current holder of the Crown of Haplessness, and that’s reflected in my irrational prediction that they will win the division.

Specifically, they have have stable rotation if Zambrano returns to form–which I believe that he will to a degree–supporting Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Randy Wells. If Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena thump in the middle of the lineup, and Geovany Soto, Soriano, Marlon Byrd, and Starlin Castro perform adequately, I really think there’s a shot here. The bullpen is solid, with Carlos Marmol slinging lightning, and Kerry Wood and Sean Marshall holding together the mid-late innings. I’m convincing myself! Is that derangement? Cubs win!

Cubs sleeper: Kosuke Fokudome, who had an .809 OPS last year.

This division race could, of course, go any direction.

The Milwaukee Brewers have a thrilling lineup of hitters, and Rickie Weeks is a favorite pick of mine to perform well again this year after one of the fellows on the CBS Sports Fantasy Baseball podcast pointed out what a good fastball hitter he is, then I saw a Spring Training game in which he hit such a fastball really far. Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, these are great hitters. But after that, the lineup falls off quickly, to players like Carlos Gomez, Yuni Betancourt, and (shudder) Mark Kotsay.

Further, I think the Brewers’ rotation is overrated, with the slightly goofy Zack Greinke, a somewhat overrated (in my opinion) Shawn Marcum, and a pretty good Yovani Gallardo. A wild card bullpen may not be enough to bolster those starters, and we’ve already seen some cracks early in the year.

Brewers sleeper: Takashi Saito, whose experience and cunning could be a bright spot in the bullpen.

The Cincinnati Reds are the team with the gleam. An MVP in Joey Votto anchors their lineup, alongside the rising Jay Bruce, the powerful Jonny Gomes, the speedy Drew Stubbs, and the kinetic Brandon Phillips. Again, though, this starting rotation has some worrisome holes. Edinson Volquez and Jonny Cueto have yet to string together good seasons simultaneously or consecutively. Mike Leake and Travis Wood are young and unpredictable. Bronson Arroyo is solid, and will likely deliver the same eating of innings he does every year. I think the Reds come up short.

Reds sleeper (not actually a sleeper): Aroldis Chapman. The Cuban Missile!

The St. Louis Cardinals can always play well, and I’ve learned not to count them out under very many circumstances. The loss of an ace may be one of those circumstances, to go along with a questionable closer and some week infield hitting. Colby Rasmus could take his game to a higher level this year, though it’ll be a stretch for him to join the stratosphere of the studs on this team in Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. If Lance Berkman can return to form, this could be a pretty potent lefty-righty-lefty-right lineup, which will be important given the punchless infield with Ryan Theriot, David Frees, and Skip Schumaker.

Cards sleeper: /sound of grasshopers.

Enough has been written elsewhere about the Houston Astros, I don’t need to pile on. I’m more optimistic than most, but that’s because I’m a homer. This should be a tough division, and someone has to pay the price.

Astros Sleeper: Brett Wallace. See #BrettWallaceHaterWatch2011 on Twitter.

Pittsurgh Pirates: see Astros, Houston. (Yes, I forgot they existed and I had to add this later. Let’s just say I don’t blame myself for it. Sorry, Pirates fans, but as an Astros fans I don’t have much pity left for you.)

Reference:

P&P Pointless Predictions 2011: NL East

The Philadelphia Phillies‘ starting rotation looms in the distance like a monolith. Baseball fans talk about it the way the druids (fact check?) must have whispered about Stonehenge on the pilgrimage path. Last year I watched Cliff Lee eviscerate AL West hitters, Roy Oswalt is one of my all-time favorites, and Doc Halladay performed miracles last year.

But have you looked at their whole lineup? Ibanez, Polanco, and Rollins ring with the brass buzz of faded peaks; Valdez and Francisco who? That they even gave Luis Castillo a tryout shows some sweat under their collar. In the wake of the Utley injury news, that leaves Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, and Carlos Ruiz as the meat of the lineup. That’s some Grade C beef.

This monolith has a shaky foundation.

Verdict: The Atlanta Braves will win the NL East!

Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe are like moonshine runners: high performance and low profile. Tommy Hanson is everything you want in a young starter, and if Jair Jurrjens and some other cat can hold the line at the butt end of the rotation, the lineup will pick up the slack. Maybe it’s just the residual charm of my young days watching Sid Bream and David Justice on TBS, but the lineup with Heyward, Uggla, McCann, Prado seems robust to me, with the youthful energy to play strong ball all season and outlast the aging Phillies.

There are questions for the Braves like anybody else, with Nate McLouth needing to rebound and a very young first baseman in Freddie Freeman. What I believe most is that this will be a thrilling pennant race between two very sound teams. The team that loses out will be the Wild Card entrant.

Braves sleeper: Freddie Freeman. I just watched him hit a double to the wall in Spring Training and it reminded me of Lou Gehrig.

Phillies sleeper: John Mayberry. He is a big slugging kid who dives into his swing.

I can’t keep the New York Mets‘ starting pitchers Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey straight. They’re like one composite decent Mets half-prospect pitcher. For the Mets to surprise, these guys will need to distinguish themselves. Ike Davis will need to put up big league first baseman numbers, and Jose Reyes will need to have one of his great years while David Wright maintains. Seems unlikely to happen all at once. Also, this outfield is suspect. Also, this team may be cursed.

Mets sleeper: Luis Castillo. Seriously, I think they’ll find him sleeping in the broom closet somewhere around June.

The Washington Nationals have a few strong pieces in Zimmerman and Werth, but their dusty place-holders like Pudge and LaRoche and Ankiel will clog up the works. Livan Hernandez is a street magician who’s always ten minutes ahead of the law, and Jordan Zimmerman may brush a Swiffer of hope across the top of the bookcase every fifth day. It sounds like I’m getting positive about this team, but I’m not.

Nats sleeper: Mike Morse. He’s very large.

Of all NL teams, the Florida Marlins are the most volatile, the perennial wild card that the wise fan never rules out. They could stay in the hunt, with their young players, their surprisingly solid-looking rotation with the NL version of Javier Vazquez and good years from Nolasco and Sanchez who have shown the ability to throw in the big leagues. I rarely find much love for a team that starts Wes Helms, but the upside of this squad could be really remarkable.

Marlins sleeper: Jesus. See Coghlan, Chris.

Flashback: A New Hope

From  Episode IV of the PnP Podcast (“A New Hope”) published April 2, 2010:

Eric: I think the Texas Rangers will win the AL West.

Ted: I think that’s a bold pick, I think that’s a fun pick, I think that’s an American pick.

I am as of yet unsure of Ted’s rooting allegiance in this World Series. He is obviously quite smitten by Pat Burrell. But for the record, I’m Rangers all the way. Antlers.

Chatting: Early Season Predictions from My Friend Ben

PnP’s Ill-Advised Prognistications: 2009 World Series Edition

Here at Pitchers and Poets, we make little claim to insider baseball knowledge, tireless analysis, or sabermetric wizardry. As such, we’re about as qualified to break down a series as we are to fix the hitch in Alfonso Soriano’s swing or repair the windshield wipers on your Saab. But if we let a lack of insight or knowledge stop us, we wouldn’t be here today.

So on with the World Series predictions!

Zoltar from Big

Yankees:

Hero

Eric: As much A-Rod harping as I’ve done this postseason, I think this series comes down to the bottoms of the orders. This, to me, is where the Yankees really separate themselves. I think Robinson Cano will do something crazy and awesome. He was almost as good with the bat as Utley this year.

Ted: C.C. Sabathia will win a couple of games in a dominating fashion. He’s riding the wave of new vitality a year gone from the Brewers sending him out three nights a week to throw 13 innings at a time.

Goat

Eric: I really don’t trust AJ Burnett in any situation. That includes our personal lives.

Ted: Any Yankees reliever whose cousin isn’t Ruben Rivera.

Etc.

Eric: Before the series is over George Steinbrenner will emerge from his cavernous hiding space and make headlines by accusing Ryan Howard of rampant steroid use.

Ted: In the bottom of the ninth of the seventh game, down by a run with a man on first and two outs, the Yankees will send out their secret pinch-hitter: Joe Torre.

George Steinbrenner

Phillies:

Hero

Eric: Jayson Werth continues to be one of baseball’s most underrated players. He is so tall, and his soul patch is so strong, that there’s really no stopping him. I expect Werth to hit a home run off Joba Chamberlain in a key late-inning situation.

Ted: Ryan Howard’s offseason nutritional regimen doesn’t get as much pub as The Petit Prince’s vegetarianism, but Ryan’s slim, trim, and energized enough to keep slugging away. He is the star, and he will continue to be the star for the Phillies. Big fella hit a triple; anything is possible.

Jayson Werth

Goat

Eric: Charlie Manuel, who in another life could have been a paternalistic judge or attorney in a John Grisham novel, will do something silly. He’ll probably leave Pedro Martinez in a game too long. Managers do that against the Yankees.

Ted: BRAD LIDGE BRAD LIDGE BRAD LIDGE.

Etc.

Eric: Shane Victorino will be awkwardly mistaken for a male escort while wandering through the lower east side. A hilarious sitcom-like outcome will ensue.

Ted: Disapproving of Nick Swisher’s childish antics and lack of respect, Puritanical southpaw Cliff Lee will bean him in the lower back. Lee will later refer to the pitch as The Two-Seamer of Almighty Retribution.

Overall:

Eric: As I said in the NY Daily News interview: Yankees in six, A-Rod hits 11 homers.

Ted: The Yankees won in seven games two weeks ago. Derek Jeter hit 6,000 pitches the opposite way, forcing a reversal of the earth’s orbit and sending us all back in time. Welcome to the future.

Derek Jeter