Saturday, April 19, 2008

NL East 2008 Predictions

New York Mets - 94 wins
Atlanta Braves - 89 wins
Philadelphia Phillies - 84 wins
Washington Nationals - 72 wins
Florida Marlins - 71 wins

NYM: I've heard some clamoring on New York sports talk radio that Ryan Church is a question mark in the outfield. I disagree, at least offensively (can't say he's Andruw Jones in the field). However, last year he posted a .281 EqA (equivalent average) and a .464 SLG (slugging percentage), to go along with 15 HR (home runs). I think in the National League, with a line-up including David Wright (.329 EqA, 30 HR), Jose Reyes (.278 EqA after a second half collapse) and Carlos Beltra (.299 EqA, 33 HR), you take that. The offense supports a not quite sterling, but still pretty good, pitching staff, including the centerpiece of Johan Santana (.273 OBPA - on base percentage against, 4.52 K/BB - strikeout to walk ratio). You also have Pedro Martinez (4.57 OBPA) [on the DL as of date of publication], John "It Must Be" Maine (.310 OBPA, 10.3 K/9 - strikeouts per nine innings), and Oliver Perez (8.8 K/9, 2.0 K/BB). Toss in Billy Wagner (10.5 K/9, 3.64 K/BB) and Aaron Heilman (.279 OBPA) to round out a quality club that will probably not collapse again.

ATL: Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky. Lest you forget about the Braves, they have put themselves into a position to grab the wild card, with Chipper Jones (.340 EqA, .425 OBP, .604 SLG), Matt Diaz (.295 EqA, .497 SLG), Mark Teixeira (.317 EqA, 30 HR), Yunel Escobar (.289 EqA, .385 OBP) and Crooooooow (R.I.P.)! In fact, the line-up is pretty much one solid punch the whole way through, with the only real question mark Mark Kotsay, who only played half a season last year, putting up a lowly 57 OPS+ (adjusted on base plus slugging), but still took his walks (.279 OBP over a .214 AVG). Where the Braves take their hit is with their rotation, which used to be their bread and butter. Obviously you expect John Smoltz (.293 OBPA, 4.19 K/BB) to do well, and there's an expectation Tim Hudson (.309 OBPA, 2.1 BB/9 - walks per nine innings) can do well, but after that, there's upside on guys like Tom Glavine (1.39 K/BB) and Chuck James (3.2 BB/9) is small. I'm not worried about Rafael Soriano as closer (4.67 K/BB), although how many times he gets the ball in a "save" situation should be interesting to follow.

PHI: Ah, the Phillies, fresh off a division win and already expected to finish third? Don't get me wrong, I love their offense. Pat Burrell (.303 EqA, .400 OBP, 30 HR, .502 SLG) is criminally underrated by the media and the fans, although on the flip side of that coin, Jimmy Rollins may be slightly overrated (.290 EqA, .344 OBP, 30 HR, .531 SLG in his best season ever). Nevertheless, you still have Ryan Howard (.315 EqA, .392 OBP, 47 HR, .584 SLG) and Chase Utley (.321 EqA, .410 OBP, 22 HR, .566 SLG). There are some holes, like Geoff Jenkins (101 OPS+) and Pedro Feliz (81 OPS+)...can the Phillies ever get a third baseman to replace the production they were getting from Scott Rolen six years ago? Anyway, there are some holes in their line-up, but their real problem is the pitching. I like Cole Hamels (.283 OBPA, 4.12 K/BB) and Brett Myers (107 ERA+ - adjusted earned run average - as a mixed starter and reliever), but Jamie Moyer (.342 OBPA) and Adam Eaton (.378 OBPA) are not going to give you good performances on a regular basis. I'm not that down on Brad Lidge (2.93 K/BB), but he's not the most reliable relief pitcher, and he's supposed to be the best in the bullpen.

WAS: Cristian Guzman (.297 EqA, .380 OBP in 46 games) is only projected by PECOTA to have a .309 OBP over a full season, which could certainly deflate the Nationals' run this year. Ryan Zimmerman (107 OPS+) is basically the offensive strength, and with good years from Lastings Milledge (105 OPS+) and Nick Johnson (149 OPS+ in 2006), Washington could have some potency. Not much, though. They're also going to give up a ton of runs. Shawn Hill (.292 OBPA, 6.0 K/BB in 97 1/3 IP) is pretty much the ace of the staff, but beware the output of Jason Bergman (2.05 K/BB) and John Patterson (.409 OBPA). Beware!

FLA: The Marlins have a nice top of the order, with Hanley Ramirez (.315 EqA, .386 OBP), Dan Uggla (.273 EqA, 31 HR), Jeremy Hermida (.292 EqA) and Josh Willingham (.285 EqA). Then there are a lot of young(er) guys who may or may not add much, depending on when and how they make the club, and if they have a permission slip signed by their parents. At 29, Willingham is the crusty old veteran. Florida does win the award, in my estimation, of having the worst pitching in the National League. Scott Olsen (.384 OBPA, 1.56 K/BB), Sergio Mitre (.352 OBPA, 1.95 K/BB), and Andrew Miller (.389 OBPA, 1.44 K/BB) all have the potential to relive Wild Thing Vaughn. I don't feel like talking about the bullpen, but they share a similar penchant for walks.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My goals as a liberal

1) Take away the right of every American to use a gun, except for the explicit purpose of shooting unborn babies.

2) Ban Christianity and turn all churches into brothels (Protestant churches will be designated as gay brothels).

3) Tax everyone who earns more than $50,000 at a rate of 65%, and give free cars to lazy poor people.

4) Mandatory school prayer...to Allah.

5) Teach evolution in schools in between sessions of anal sex.

6) Give illegal immigrants all the good jobs - doctors, lawyers, scientists, mayors, etc. - while forcing everyone else to join unions run by the mafia and/or Jews.

7) Put black people in all of the management jobs, and then replace the national anthem with "Move Bitch" by Ludacris.

8) Universal health care for every citizen...but all of the doctors are illegal immigrants (see section 6).

9) Bus all white children to the ghettos where they'll only learn about hip hop and fried chicken.

10) Gay marriage is not only allowed, but required for anyone serving in the military.

The liberal agenda is not limited to the aforementioned ten goals. Praise Allah.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

No time to make time for time

It isn't always easy to find time to write about nonsense for no one. For example, I have everything I need to say about my baseball predictions, and yet I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't finish writing about them until sometime in May. I kind of feel like writing about Hillary Clinton's campaign actually asking me for my feedback, and if I would waste my time doing so, and I kind of feel like writing about how I wish Obama would push back against his attackers, but is it really worth my time? Even if I had a whole lot of time, would I ever figure out the maximum range traffic history of Nintendorks? During the peak years of my time with the site (before the 15 month "crash"), we were either getting 2.5 million or 40,000 daily page views, depending on how I adjust that graph (ah, fuck it). If you have the time, will you tell me which photograph you prefer?



Monday, April 14, 2008

AL West 2008 Predictions

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - 90 wins
Seattle Mariners - 84 wins
Oakland Athletics - 75 wins
Texas Rangers - 71 wins

LAA: I know people always say the Angels need to add someone to protect Vladimir Guerrero (.312 EqA - Equivalent Average), but the L.A. of A lineup isn't that shabby. You have Shawn Sean Chone Figgins (.289 EqA, .393 OBP - on base percentage, 41 stolen bases) leading off, with some zing by Casey Kotchman (119 OPS+), Torii Hunter (122 OPS+ - adjusted OPS), and Mike Napoli (107 OPS+ as a catcher). The pitching is a little more pedestrian, with John Lackey (151 ERA+ - adjusted ERA) pretty much the ace of the staff. If Jered Weaver (6.4 K/9 - strikeouts per 9 innings, 2.56 K/BB - strikeout to walk ratio) and Irvin Santana (7.6 K/9, 2.17 K/BB) can improve their control, you have a solid rotation.

SEA: Outside of Ichiro Suzuki (122 OPS+), this is a team that won't hit for average or walk a lot, but they could (possibly) provide some pop (home runs, not soda). Adrian Beltre (.273 EqA) and Richie Sexson (.240 EqA) have the potential to be dangerous, and even if they wind up tame, they can still provide about 20-25 home runs each. Jose Vidro (.277 EqA) will probably fall to earth a bit. Seattle is a bit overrated in their pitching with the acquisition of Erik Bedard (10.9 K/9, 3.88 K/BB), as Felix Hernandez (7.8 K/9, 3.11 K/BB) is the only other starting pitcher that is any decent. Carlos Silva doesn't walk (1.6 BB/9 - walks per 9 innings, 4.0 K/9) doesn't walk a lot, but he doesn't strikeout a lot, either, and that could be a concern. Maybe in a three team division, they would take the AL West, but there are a staggering four teams, and I give the edge to Los Anaheimelous, as is my right.

OAK: Jack Cust (147 OPS+) and Daric Barton (186 OPS+ in 18 games) looked sexy last year, but there's not much else to inspire confidence in the bats. Travis Buck (.295 EqA)? Maybe, but for a team that used to be known for on base percentage, half of the Oakland line-up couldn't take a walk if it was giftwrapped and ballgagged. Joe Blanton (.301 OBPA - on base percentage against, 3.5 K/BB) and Rich Harden (.290 OBPA, 9.5 K/9) are the only good starters. Huston Street (11.3 K/9, 5.25 K/BB) would make a good closer if he could stay healthy. Kind of a dumb first name, too.

TEX: One of the best line-ups in the AL West (after the Angels and maybe the Mariners) is marred by an atrocious pitching staff. The acquisition of fantasy crush Josh Hamilton (.294 EqA, 19 HR in 90 games) is a nice addition to an above average offense. Ian Kinsler (.276 EqA) is good to have at a time when quality second basemen are hard to find in MLB. Anyway, I don't want to bore myself with Texas' offense, because I want to spend some time making fun of their rotation. Kevin Millwood (.366 OBPA). Vincente Padilla (.373 OBPA). Brandon McCarthy (.355 OBPA). They'd somehow find a way to give up 20 walks to the Athletics. Jason Jennings (2.09 K/BB) is the only starter who's K/BB ratio is slightly higher than even. C.J. Wilson (8.3 K/9) could be decent in the bullpen, but it's not like Texas is going to hand off many games with a lead. Although they did acquire Hamilton, they would have been better off with Edinson Volquez. Shit, they would have been better off keeping Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young instead of trading for Adam Eaton, but that's obvious. They also traded Alfonso Soriano for Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge, and like a minor league pitcher. So I guess they got some pitching after all.