Asher's Comments on the Upcoming Season
I make no secret that I am going all in with the Indians this season. This will be a special season for them, and none more clearly than Travis Hafner . . . Carlos Zambrano will have a fantastic year, but it will be a Steve Carlton-esque season, in which he will be the only bright spot for the Cubs. Prior and Wood will have more problems again, and Dusty Baker's mid-season firing will mean the Cubs will hopefully have them both healthy and ready in 2007 . . . Travis Hafner and Mark Teixeira will join Alex Rodriguez as the class of the league . . . Brad Wilkerson's numbers shoot up with the Rangers, but he still strikes out a ton . . . Tony Batista gets off to a hot return with the Twins, but fades in the second half . . . The Dodgers succeed despite, not because of, Derek Lowe . . . The Rockies and the D'Backs youth movements take hold, while the Padres and the Giants age-movements fizzle . . . Blue Jays give Yankees a run, fade late because of injuries . . .
Okay, a confession - when I picked Ramon Ortiz to lead the league in homeruns given up, I had forgotten that he was no longer a Cincinnati Red. Oops!
We should all know how I feel about Derek Lowe
right now, but Asher and I are both Hafner fans. I don't see the math working out on his leading the league in BA, OBP, BB, 2B, an HR but slugging only .660... it would be closer to .760.
Speking of math not working out, how in the heck are the Nationals going to win 85 games if Ramon Ortiz allows 51 homers in a stadium where Jose Guillen could only hit 3 homers in last year? And even with superlative seasons from Byrnes, Jackson, and Valverde, the D'backs rotation still won't be functional enough to win them 50% of their games.
Maybe break out the 'ol TI-81 for next year's predictions, Asher.
See Keith's 2006 Predictions
Asher has the D-Backs, Rockies, Rangers, and Nationals each finishing with at least 82 wins. I think this is preposterous, but based on the way the game flows, I will bet that one, possibly
two of them do actually finish at or above .500, but that the others will be pretty darn awful. The Royals set a franchise record in losses last year. Does Asher really think they are a worse team this year?
Two 24-game winners be phenomenal in this era, but by Asher's reckoning Zambrano would account for 37.5%
of the Cubs' wins. The rest of the staff is left to combine for only 40 victories yet 89 defeats---a .310 winning percentage. I echo Keith's comments on Hafner and the Nationals.
If the Dodgers are in the thick of a pennant race, what's the chance that they leave a struggling pitcher in the rotation long enough to lose 17 games? I like the return to 1980's-level stolen bases, but Asher's picks remain the space-cadet Yang to Tony's
See Scott's 2006 Predictions
The only one among Keith, Scott and Asher to have enough common sense to see that the Marlins Triple A roster will lose at least 100 games! I agree with the general assessment of your picks, though I see no way the Angels would finish below .500 nor any way the Rockiesí pitching could possibly put them over .500.
I also donít see a Dodger team with Derek Lowe losing 17 games and Jeff Kent being a disappointment managing to win 85 games, much less the division. I can see them winning 85 games and maybe even the division, but not if those two players donít perform as expected.
I concur with both Scott and Keith about the Nationals. Not nearly enough pitching or offense to carry them above .500 though the only thing I disagree with Asher about with the Cubs is when Dusty will get the axe. Look for it to happen sooner than mid-season, like in early May.
Connor Jackson, having spent more than 45 days on the active roster last year, is no longer a rookie. Looks like heíll be good, though Iím not convinced heíll be quite as good as some people think this quickly.
Back to the 2006 Baseball Evolution Season Preview Index