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Monday, April 01, 2013


Record: 90-72, wild card, NLCS exit
ERAs: Cole 3.03, Cliff 3.15, Doc 4.02, KK 1.14 (obviously!), Lannan 4.11
Phillies All-Stars: Cole, Cliff, Paps
Awards: None that matter (Gold Gloves? Really?)
Utley games: 147
Dom's line: 285/340/470
Best lineup: Rollins-Utley-M.Young-Howard-Chooch-Brown-D.Young-Revere
Charlie back: Yes

This should be fun.

Record: 86-76, miss 2nd WC by 2 games
ERAs: Cole 2.48, Cliff 3.27, Doc 4.17 Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Rollins, Utley
Awards: Rollins GG, Hamels 2nd in CY vote
Utley games: 152
Dom's line: 267/354/796
Best lineup: Revere/Utley/Chooch/Howard/Rollins/Brown/M. Young/Nixberry
Rube back: Yup, 100%.
Charlie back: Nope

Record: 86-76, miss 2nd WC by 2 games
ERAs: Cole 2.48, Cliff 3.27, Doc 4.17
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Rollins, Utley
Awards: Rollins GG, Hamels 2nd in CY vote
Utley games: 152
Dom's line: 267/354/796
Best lineup: Revere/Utley/Chooch/Howard/Rollins/Brown/M. Young/Nixberry
Rube back: Yup, 100%.
Charlie back: Nope

JW seems super pessimistic about the Phillies this year...I can't say I blame him.

Weitzel playing reverse jinx to perfection. Start making parade plans NOW!

1) Phillies' record and playoff standing
Honestly don't know

2) ERAs for Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay?
Cole 2.89, Cliff 2.95, Roy 3.93

3) Which Phillies will make the All-Star team?
Nobody -- the Philiies are so "5 minutes ago" and generate 0 interest outside Philadelphia

4) Will any Phillie win end-of-season awards? (MVP, Cy, Gold Glove)
Rollins Gold Glove

5) How many games will Chase Utley play?

6) Predict Dom Brown's slash-line

7) What is the best lineup upon Carlos Ruiz's return?
Rollins-Utley/Galvis-M. Young-Howard-Ruiz-Dom Brown-D. Ruf-pitcher-Revere

8) Will Charlie Manuel return next season?

88 wins. Tie for second wild card spot- win both play in games.

Obviously caveats for Halladay aside, we simply have to assume he's the pitcher he was last year now. The team managed to win more than they los during his starts. I think they can survive a 4ish ERA with dominant seasons from Cole and Cliff (16 wins), and that's what they'll get.

OT prediction: Braves win the division.

Rest of the predictions in the header later when I have time.

I think pessimistic would be what guys like Kevin Cooney predicted - under .500 or finishing behind the Mets.

NEPP: So... you got Dom slugging 800 this year?


I went with OPS, not SLG for my slash line.

So a .796 OPS from him is my prediction.

That's a .442 SLG if you dont want to do the math of subtracting my predicted OBP from that OPS.

Record: 86-76, No playoffs (miss 2nd WC by 3 games)
ERAs: Hamels 2.96, Cliff 3.15, Doc 4.52, KK 4.31, Lannan 4.22
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Utley
Awards: None
Utley games: 138
Dom's line: 270/350/430
Charlie back: No

Random prediction: Revere hits his first MLB HR (an inside the park HR)

Heroes: Utley, Howard (36 HRs, most since '09 even though he only hits ~.240), Adams, Revere (hits over .300 and 2nd in NL with 41 SBs), Brown (shows he can at least hit enough to be an everyday OF)

Goats: Halladay (worse ERA than KK or Lannan), KK, Nixberry, Durbin, Aumont, M. Young's offense (empty .275 hitter), Chooch (worse offensive years since '08 with an OPS at .740), Defense (mediocre at best and at times Swiss cheese porous with a frustrating number of multi-error games)

Record: 96-66, WS loss (6 games)
ERAs: Cole 1.98, Cliff 2.55, Doc 3.85
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Lee, Adams, Brown, Howard
Awards: Rollins, Revere, Utley Gold, Hamels CY
Utley games: 145
Dom's line: .297/.375/.816
Best lineup: Rollins/M.Young/Utley/Howard/Chooch/Brown/Revere/Inciarte
Cholly back: Yes

GS prediction for the Rotation:

Hamels: 33
Lee: 30
Halladay: 23
KK: 32
Lannan: 25

That leaves 19 other starts TBD...likely a mix of Pettibone, Martin, Morgan and a couple of AAAA retreads that arent even in the organization right now. I see Doc hitting the DL at some point and I see Lannan being around a 5 ERA all year.

I think KK is going to have a whale of a year though...for him.

Record: 87-75, miss playoffs
ERAs: Cole 2.98, Cliff 2.89, Doc 3.94
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Lee, Utley, Papelbon
Awards: None
Utley games: 136
Dom's line: .283/.368/.490
Best lineup: Rollins-Utley-M.Young-Howard-Chooch-Brown-Mayberry-Pitcher-Revere
Charlie back: No

Record: 84-78
ERAs: Cole 3.36, Cliff 3.32, Doc 4.15
Phillies All-Stars: Papelbon, Utley
Awards: 1 Random Gold Glove
Utley games: 142
Dom's line: .267/.338/.437
Best lineup: Rollins/Utley/Chooch/Howard/M. Young/Brown/YouMayNix/Pitcher/Revere**
Cholly back: No

** If Revere shows he can get on base enough, move him to 1 and pop Rollins to 5th, M. Young*** to 7th, and YouMayNix to 8th.
*** Unless MY has sipped from the Fountain of Youth, then keep him 5th.

I went back and forth on whether Utley could make the All-Star team. I think he could. Biggest surprise will be Delmon Young. He will be better than Michael Young.

Biggest surprise will be Delmon Young. He will be better than Michael Young.

JW, that might be damning with faint praise.

Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if Delmon Young was better than Michael Young this year. I mean, all of baseball was better than Michael Young last year.

NEPP: I would say JW is being realistic--the others are simply overly optimistic.

I mean, 85 wins is over what Vegas has the o/u for the team at.

Good thing Vegas is allowed to be wrong...

If 85 is the over/under, I'd bet the over because the pitching is pretty strong and I'm not ready to write off Halladay based on his spring. People are really, really expecting a lot from Dom. I don't see .290 batting average. No chance at that. He's going to see too much good pitching this year.

Record: 92-70, win NL East by 1 gm over Nats (1st WC), 3 gms over Braves
ERAs: Cole 2.70, Cliff 2.90, Doc 3.75
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Utley, Rollins, Papelbon
Awards: Rollins GG, Utley SS, Papelbon Rolaids (they still give that out?)
Utley games: 151
Dom's line: .287/.370/.448
Best lineup: Revere-Utley-MYoung-Howard-Ruiz-Rollins-Brown-LF
Charlie back: No

***I went back and forth on whether Utley could make the All-Star team. I think he could.***

I think as long as he's healthy, he'll get voted in as the starter. He has enough league wide name recognition for that and there arent a ton of other 2B in the majors that would have as much recognition. FWIW, Dan Uggla won the voting last year over Brandon Phillips.

Vegas set the Phils o/u at 93 last year. To me that was a no-brainer under.

I have more confidence in this staff (Hamels, Lee, what's left of Doc, Adams, a surprising relief younger guy, Papelbon) than I did in the 2010 staff that allowed 640 runs. If they can hold their opponents to 620 or fewer, the question will be how far will the offense hold them back?

If it's as bad as last year, they'll win 83 games.

If they can approach the 2011 average-ish offense of ~710 runs, they'll win 91 games.

I'm thinking just a gut guess is somewhere in between. 700 runs scored, 630 runs against. That's a pretty optimistic 89 wins.

Think Utley, Howard, Rollins, M Young, and crew will be enough to make this an average offense. I expect a lot from the pitching. All breaks right and they could win 92 or so, but injuries and ineptitude is more likely than a perfect season (86 is more likely.)

JW: Agree on Brown. I have to imagine people are reading way, way too much into his hot spring.

If he had hit .280 this spring (a totally reasonable number) instead of .380, would anyone be predicting lines like .290/.370/.460? I think not.

I think he'll have a perfectly decent year, and one that establishes him as an everyday player. But it's going to be more like .275/.350/.440.

Record: 92-70, first WC
ERAs: Hamels 2.79, Lee 2.85, Halladay 3.72
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Lee, Papelbon, Utley
Awards: Rollins GG, Revere GG
Utley games: 147
Dom's line: 285/340/470
Best lineup: Revere-Utley-Ruiz-Howard-Brown-Rollins-M. Young-D. Young
Charlie back: Yes

"Good thing Vegas is allowed to be wrong..."

Of course. I was simply saying it's hard to call JW "pessimistic" when he's still picking the over on a consensus over/under line that is intended to get 50% bets on each side.

You know?

JW: Can you have a Comcast intern tally up all the W/L predictions in the comments and give us a crowdsourced consensus?

The issue with the offense is that even if Utley/Howard are firing on all cylinders health-wise, they're still just a "good" heart of the order compared to other teams, nothing spectacular. 85-87 wins is my gut feeling.

I'm not happy with how optimistic my pick is. I feel like I want it to be 87. Whatever.

Record: 83-79
ERAs: Hamels 2.85, Lee 3.17, Halladay 4.05
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Utley
Awards: Rollins (gold glove)
Utley games: 127
Dom's line: .277/.387/.435

Best lineup: Revere, Utley, MYoung, Howard, Rollins, Brown, Ruiz, Del/RFD/Nix

Cholly back: No

BONUS-Papelbon is traded by the deadline

Sophist: I think your point about others underrating the pitching staff is on target. But the team has big holes in the OF, C, Bench and BP this season, along with a looming age issue that can bite them at any time.

Division Picks:

Nationals 94-68
Braves 92-70
Phillies 83-79
Mets 72-90
Marlins 60-102

Good to see the Berks County Kreskin back for a thread.

Jason: You mean a hole at C for just 25 games, right?

And it feels like the bullpen has fewer questions than it has ever had in the recent run.

SP/defense are the Achilles Heel of this team. Don't have any organizational SP depth that is ready to meaningfully contribute at the start of the year, Halladay's cooked I am afraid, and Lannan/KK aren't good enough to compensate.

If the Phils had a younger arm who I thought could step into the rotation and give them an unexpected boost, I would like their chances a lot more of making the playoffs.

25 games at C, Chooch is getting older, the backups are poor MLB players ...

I would argue that the team very well might have a big hole at 3B. They just signed the worst player in baseball last year who is a terrible defensive player at that position and is 36.

Sure, we can expect him to bounce back somewhat with the bat. But if he's just an average offensive player (say, .290/.330/.420, which would be a pretty decent upgrade from his year last season), with very bad defense, that's a below-average and close to replacement-level player.

If you think Michael Young is going to be an asset to this team instead of a liability, you're expecting a *huge* bounceback offensively, not just a minor one.

JW - I agree. Given the age of the offensive core and the question marks you cited (minus the RP), the best they could be is average to slightly above average as a team. 89 wins is very optimistic.

At best they are an average offense team like the 2011 Hunter Pence All-Stars. If they get a little something from Doc and some BP luck to go with Papelbon/Adams, I could see ~90 wins. More likely the lineup struggles, the backend SP struggle, &c. and they win 84-85 games.

I decided to be optimistic. If this staff can have a good year, the offense can be below average and they'll get a 2nd WC.

I'm ready to be pleasantly surprised in a number of areas. Revere could be a nice surprise and score a lot of runs. Hopefully Michael Young brings his A game at 36. Maybe Delmon is renewed in the NL. Adams looked excellent and fills the single biggest need from last season. Healthy Howard changes the dynamic of the lineup. Maybe it looks much more like the second half of 2012.

*** I was simply saying it's hard to call JW "pessimistic***

He was compared to the other BL writers...which was all I meant. If you'll notice, I basically predicted the same record as him with 86 wins instead of 85 wins and still missing the playoffs.

Most of my pessimism is rooted in the age of the team, right down to Papelbon, who at 32, is someone to watch given the type of pitcher he is.

The biggest problem with Michael Young at 3B is that he pretty much HAS to bounce back. Our internal options are non-existent. Right now, we'd be starting Galvis at 3B if Young implodes. Sure, he can probably handle the position defensively but that's a massive hole offensively compared to even a mediocre offensive 3B.

And there are zero trade options at 3B...something we already discovered over the winter.

Record: 85-77 3rd Place NL East
ERA's: Hamels 3.05, Lee 3.15, Halladay 4.15
All Stars: Hamels, Utley, Papelbon
Awards: None
Utley GP: 135
Dom's Line: .255/.345/.785
Best Lineup: Rollins, Revere, Utley, Howard, Chooch, Brown, M. Young, Nixberry
Cholly Back: No

While I'm more optimistic at the start of this season than I was last season, I'd feel better if the Phil's division wasn't so tough. The second wild card is a possibility, but I worry about the Phil's weaknesses at catcher, 3rd base, and the outfield platoon/confusion. I think the Vegas oddsmakers have it right - 85 wins.

It's great to have baseball AND Jason back.

This bullpen has fewer questions than it did heading into 2009, post-perfect season from Lidge? No way. Madson was hitting 97 on the gun back then, J.C. was a lock-down lefty, Durbin was in his prime. Scott Eyre was still here.

If either Papelbon or Adams goes down for an extended stretch, the bullpen is basically screwed again...just like last year.

With both healthy, its a plus...if not, lots of souvenirs will be landing in the stands at CBP.

Mike Adams better pitch the season of his life to match the expectations people have for him.

Here's something in which we can all agree: This is it. This is their last shot at it with this group.

Record -105-57
ERA's- Hamels 1.90, Lee 1.75, Doc 0.95, KK 2.50, Lannan 3.00
All Stars- Howard, M Young, Revere, Utley, Hamels, Rollins, D Young
Awards- GG's Howard, M Young, Dom, D Young
Awards- MVP D Young
Awards-CY Lannan
Utley games- 162
Dom's line-.350/.450/.900
Best lineup-D Young, Pitcher, Revere, Nix/Berry, M Young, Utley, Howard, Quintero, Rollins
Charlie back- yes, he signs a 7 year deal worth 50 million.

Adams has a 1.98 ERA and 0.990 WHIP over his past 5 seasons, Jack. If he just has an average Mike Adams season, that'll be more than enough.

***This is their last shot at it with this group.

Yup, 2014-2015 look to be very, very ugly.

April fools!

1) Phillies' record and playoff standing

83-79. 3rd place, NL East. No Postseason.

2) ERAs for Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay?

Hamels 3.20; Lee 3.05; Halladay 3.95

3) Which Phillies will make the All-Star team?

Howard (either appointed, or elected on the "Final Ballot")

4) Will any Phillie win end-of-season awards? (MVP, Cy, Gold Glove)


5) How many games will Chase Utley play?


6) Predict Dom Brown's slash-line


7) What is the best lineup upon Carlos Ruiz's return?

Revere / Utley / M. Young / Howard / Ruiz / Rollins / Brown / Nixberry

8) Will Charlie Manuel return next season?


Additionally, I believe: Howard will have a big year; Utley will start relatively fast but rapidly level off into light-hitting mediocrity; M. Young's "defense" will disgust everyone, & his offense won't be nearly good enough to cover for it; Halladay will hear it from the fans, & they won't be saying "Roooooooo-oy".

Also: I don't know what people are expecting of D. Young, but whatever it is, it's too much.

Finally: Just as in '12, the most interesting portion of this season for Phillies fans will be the trade deadline, & once again the club will be selling.

The Phillies had one final chance to compete this season, but only if r00b made the right moves this past Winter. He failed miserably. It's over.

This looks fun.

What will probably not happen, but since there is no consequence to doing so and it's amusing:

1. Record: 87-76 (unsure of standing; not sure if 87 wins gets the 2nd NL WC this year - hopefully it does)
2. ERAs: Hamels - 2.89 Lee - 3.10 Halladay - 4.04
3. All-Stars: Utley, Hamels, Rollins
4. Awards: Rollins GG
5. Utley GP: 143
6. Brown slashline: .270/.353/.452
7. Revere, Utley, MYoung, Howard, Ruiz, Brown, Rollins, DYoung
8. Sorry Cholly (it was a great run)

89-75, 2nd Wild Card Berth (Giants 2 GB, Braves the other WC)

Team went 81-81 last year and I think the team assembled this year is better than last. Chase and Ryan will have solid years, and the lineup top to bottom with Delmon and Chooch really isn't bad. No automatic outs that we have had in years past with Galvis, Orr, Martinez, etc. with way too many ABs. Phils will beat up on the dregs of the NL East (Mets, Marlins)to make up some games where the competition is stiffer. I also expect the team to bring more effort this year as they feel they have something to prove.

Brown as a .275 hitter sounds right to me. Will hit 15 HRs and be a pleasant surprise who takes pitches and gets on base.

If M. Young falters I could see Chooch getting up to the 3-hole with Utley batting 2nd against lefties.

89-73 duh. Bad math on a Monday.

That should read 87-75. I was told there would be no math.

I was correcting myself, Al, your posts snuck in before my correction.

Weitzel's gloomy predictions suggest his absence is perhaps physician-recommended.

I'm feeling optimistic.

Record: 93-68 (they'll have a rain-out with no bearing on the playoffs, as they win the East)

ERAs: Hamels 2.66, Lee 2.91, Halladay 3.60

Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Utley, Lee, Adams

Awards: Gold Gloves for Rollins and Revere

Utley games: 140

Dom's line: .275/.345/.450

Best lineup: 2/26/10/6/51/11/9/Nixberryoung

Charlie back: No

Record: 88-74 2nd place NL East (WC)
ERAs: Hamels 2.95, Lee 3.01 Halladay 3.99
All-Stars: Hamels, Lee, Adams, Papelbon
Awards: Rollins (GG)
Utley GP: 143
DOM's Line: .268/.356/.449
Best Lineup: Rollins, Utley, Chooch, Howard, M. Young, Brown, D. Young, Pitcher, Revere
Cholly Back: Nope, thanks but it's Ryne's turn.

Prediciton: Jack will continue to bash other people's picks and not make any of his own.

For me:

Record: 88-74, 2nd Wild Card- win the play in game.

ERAs: Cole 2.62, Cliff 3.12, Doc 3.86
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Utley, Howard
Awards: Rollins, Revere GG, Hamels- Cy Young
Utley games: 140
Dom's line: 272/358/412
Best lineup: Revere/Utley/M. Young/Howard/Chooch/Rollins/Brown/D.Young, Nixberry
Rube back: Yes
Charlie back: Nope- solid manager, best in club history but the page will be turned with Sandberg in waiting.

Now an off the page non Phillies prediction. The Braves finish 81-81 and miss the playoffs. I know their line-up is fierce on paper, but they replaced Prado, Bourn, and Chipper- (guys with good OBP who work counts) with the Upton Brothers and Chris Johnson/Francisco- guys who strike out a ton. Add that to Dan Uggla and Heyward and this team will strikeout like crazy. Their bullpen is in shambles with Kimbrel struggling all spring, Johnny Venters are blowing up, no guarantee Walden is healthy and that leaves the back end of the bullpen in a lot of trouble. Add that to a questionable starting pitching staff and that is a team that has big name potential but plenty of holes up and down the roster.

1) Phillies' record and playoff standing

2) ERAs for Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay?
2.99, 3.19, 3.79
3) Which Phillies will make the All-Star team?
Chase cole revere

4) Will any Phillie win end-of-season awards? (MVP, Cy, Gold Glove)
Jroll GG revere GG Howard top 5 Mvp

5) How many games will Chase Utley

6) Predict Dom Brown's slash-line

7) What is the best lineup upon Carlos Ruiz's return?
Revere, Rollins, chase, Howard, d young m young Dom chooch
Flip chase and J stroll with LH
8) Will Charlie Manuel return next year

Oh hell no

Screw it, I'll take the plunge.

Record: 80-82(3rd place)
ERAs: Hamels 2.89, Lee 3.15, Halladay 4.00
All-Stars: Hamels, Utley, Papelbon
Awards: None
Utley: 130 (shut down last 3 weeks of September when the Phils are out of it)
Dom: .275/.350/.440, 18 HRs
Best Lineup: Utley, Brown, Chooch, Howard, Rollins, Nixberry, M. Young, pitcher, Revere
Cholly: No

Truth: Good post about the Braves.

Record: 79-83. 18 games behind Nats; 2 ahead of Mets.

2) ERAs for Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay?
Cole 3.29, Cliff 3.58, Roy 4.68

3) Which Phillies will make the All-Star team?

4) Will any Phillie win end-of-season awards? (MVP, Cy, Gold Glove)

5) How many games will Chase Utley play?

6) Predict Dom Brown's slash-line

7) What is the best lineup upon Carlos Ruiz's return?

Revere, Utley, Chooch, Howard, Dom, Rollins, Young, Nixberry, Pitcher.

8) Will Charlie Manuel return next season?

I agree with terry and others on the previous thread. The only people who seem to want to stick it on and keep posting here are gluttons for punishment. Clout, Jack and a few others keep any real new ideas or voices from emerging due to their rock heads. They, and JW unceremonious dumping of the site has turned the place into the dead and dying corner of a sportsmanship tavern in the lower NE.

NL East predictions:

Nationals 94-68
Braves: 90-72
Phils: 80-82
Mets: 76-84
Marlins: 62-100

Record: 92-70, 1st in East
ERAs: Cole 2.37, Cliff 2.86, Doc 3.24
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Utley, Papelbon, Lee
Awards: Rollins GG, Hamels 2nd in CY vote, Lee 5th
Utley games: 149
Dom's line: 279/355/465
Best lineup: Revere/ Utley/ M Young/ Howard/ Ruiz/ Rollins/ Brown/ Nixberry
Charlie back: Yes

Hey Weitzel,
You're a miserable bastard.

Other NL predictions:

Brewers are the surprise second wild-card team
The Giants miss the playoffs
Other playoff teams: Nats, Braves, Reds, Dodgers

Joey Votto makes a run at triple crown and winsthe MVP, just ahead of Braun

Adam Wainwright wins Cy Young, over Kershaw and Hamels

I actually agree with the substance of TTI's off-the-page prediction -- though I think the Braves will be more like 84-78 than 81-81.

Other off-the-page predictions:

Division winners: Nats, Giants, Pirates, Blue Jays, Angels, Tigers

NL WC: Reds over Dodgers
AL WC: Rays over Royals

NLCS: Giants over Nats
ALSC: Rays over Blue Jays
WS: Rays over Giants

MVP: McCutchen, Trout
Cy Young: Gio, Verlander
ROTY: Jedd Gyorko (Padres), Aaron Hicks (Twins)

TTI - Agreed on the Braves and I like the Phils chances to finish ahead of them actually.

Bullpen has been the lynchpin for the Braves the last 2 years and there are all kinds of red signs this spring as you mentioned.

Venters was placed on the DL with a sprained elbow ligament (he's already had repaired). Waldren has a bad disc in his neck and Kimbrel hasn't looked right all spring. Braves bullpen is deeper and they have better middle relievers than the Phils but losing a few guys in that pen/failoff from Kimbrel would really hurt.

My prediction on the NL East is the Nats get out of the gate strong, lead wire-to-wire almost, and win the division going ahead locking it up with at least 10 G to play.

It's actually mildly surprising that picking the Braves to come up shorter isn't a hotter idea in the national press. Something like: 94 wins for the Nats, 85 each for the Phils and Braves, sub 80 for the rest. That's pretty plausible. Think the Braves will beat up the Phils this year regardless of their overall success. That lineup will mash our pitching.

Record: 88-74, 3rd in East, no WC.
ERAs: Cole 3.15, Cliff 3.4, Doc 4.25
All-Stars: Hamels, Adams, Utley, Revere
Awards: Rollins and Revere GGs (Revere will surely get the chances)
Utley games: 125 (2 games off a month for rest, one DL stint from a beaned body part)
Dom: 270/340/450
Lineup: Revere/Utley/Rollins/Howard/Ruiz/Brown/D Young/M Young
Charlie: Currently warming a seat for Sandberg

Analysis: A tough team to face in their home park, but beatable in the back half of the rotation. Holes in the offense (outfield) and rotation b/c of Halladay's decline that cannot be filled at the deadline. Every team faces injuries and the team has little on the farm to deal or replace key parts. Too much needs to go right for them. Love TTI's "worst-case scenario" of the Braves, but I see more youth and assets in their org than ours, at the moment. Nats could sustain 2-3 big injuries and still be favored to win the division. Hoping that at least Brown and Revere bring some needed energy to the offense (and defense--loved Brown's diving catches in the spring!) At least we won't have to watch them run out Hector Luna and Ty Wigginton this year. So there's that. 88 wins feels on the optimistic side, but they still have something to show for that payroll. I would rather be a Phillies fan today than a Yankees fan...

Sophist: My theory: national reporters, who aren't necessarily focused on any particular team, tend to notice what teams acquire, but not so much what they lose.

Record: 92-70, 1st
ERAs: Lee 2.6, Hamels 2.8, Doc 3.3
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Lee, Adams
Awards: Revere SB crown
Utley games: 140
Dom's line: .290/.360/.480
Best lineup: Rollins-Utley-M.Young-Howard-Chooch-Brown-Nixberry-Pitcher-Revere
Charlie back: No

Sophist and BAP: I think part of it is just that they view the acquisitions/departures as canceling each other out.

I.e., you lose Bourn/Prado/Chipper, but gain Upton/Upton, and that largely equals out. Given that the team won 94 games last year, you can see how that would end up with them still making the playoffs and being a 90 win team.

Now, obviously you can quibble with the analysis (losing Bourn/Prado/Chipper probably means you lost *more* than Upton/Upton gains you). But the point is they're starting from a 94-win team last season, so (ignoring other factors and just focusing on acquisitions/departues), anything close to equal would still result in a very good team.

I agree with b_a_p. All you hear the national media talk about in regards to the braves is their outfield. Never hear anything about losing Chipper and Prado, or Venters elbow.

They also are probably factoring in some internal upgrades for young guys like Heyward, Freeman, and Andrelton Simmons (who likely gives them much more than the 100 games at SS they got from Paul Janish/Tyler Pastornicky last year).

I'm not arguing the Braves are better than last year--in fact, I have them at 90 wins, 4 wins worse than last year, and I'm somewhat inclined to push that down to 87-88 if Venters is hurt. Being 6-7 wins worse is a decent decline.

I'm just laying out why I think most people see a pretty good team there, still. When you win 94 games last year (and have the run differential to back it up), you're starting from a good place.

Jack: Maybe, but I just don't see the Uptons canceling out Bourn, Prado & Chipper. I also see Hudson continuing to decline & Tommy Hansen being replaced by a rookie.

The Braves do have some wild cards. Uggla & McCann were both terrible last year, & Heyward & Freeman both seem to have lots of room for improvement. And, of course, their young pitching has tons of potential. But there are some huge question marks. If I were a Braves fan, I would not be nearly the beacon of optimism that you usually see on Beerleaguer.

Record 84-78
Doc's ERA > 4
Cole in running for Cy but loses to someone on a "winning team"
Dom Brown final slash: 260/.320/.444

And my now-annual prediction for first Phillie position player to get ejected during an on-field fracas: Laynce Nix

My crystal ball also sees Ryne Sandberg getting tossed at least twice this season.

Charlie back next year: Yes. And, I will celebrate by setting myself on fire.

Play ball!

Jack - I have a lot of doubts about their pitching. Between losing 3 key players, regression in the pen, and question marks in the SP, 6-7 wins worse wouldn't be surprising. I don't think it should be the consensus pick. I'm just saying I'm surprised it didn't get any traction as a "hot pick." Something a few people did to stand out.

If I had to make a pick, I'd say that their lineup will mash and their pitching won't be great but good enough. I think 91 wins is a good number for the Braves. Not as good as last year, but a solid team that's only going to get better in the next few years.

BAP: But you see my point, that saying they're worse and predicting them to win 88-90 games isn't contradictory? Predicting even 90 wins for the Braves (which is optimistic, I think, and no better than what I've seen experts predict, who almost all have the Nats winning the division and Braves wild-card) means you DO think there is a downgrade. It means you think they're 4 wins worse than last year.

I agree that the Uptons don't cancel out losing Bourn/Prado/Chipper. Which is why I think the team will be worse than last season. But they should still have enough to win 88-90 games, in my opinion.

Braves did outplay their Pytag by 2-wins last year as well. 700-600 RS/RA is good for 92 wins with whatever error bars usually apply.

I see what you're saying, though, Jack. I'm not saying they should be labeled an 86 win team. I'm just surprised there weren't a few writers making it a "trendy" pick.

Potential wise the Upton Brothers are an upgrade over Bourn/Prado/Chipper collectively (possibly).

But on the field wise they have not been. Again- high OBP guys who make contact are being replaced by guys who strike out a ton. That offense is going to be feast or famine- which is fine if you have a lights out pitching staff. They don't.

'Forest through the trees' with the Braves is that their offense hasn't been particularly good either last year or in '11. It improved last year but they were still just 7th in the NL (outscored the Phils by a whopping 16 runs).

Rotation has been solid but not great the last 2 years. Teheran looks like he might have a breakout year but I bet it gets offset largely by a failoff from Hudson. They desperately needed Medlen to pitch like he did in the 2nd half.

Bullpen is the key for them. Braves have arguably the best bullpen on paper if everyoen is healthy. Its got incredible top-end talent, its 7-deep with a few younger arms who could help out, and allows Fredi to go on autopilot from the 7th inning on the last 2 years.

If Fredi has to all of a sudden manage and make some tough choices in the 7th-8th innings, the Braves are in some trouble. They don't have a bunch of starters who are going to work deep into games & Fredi is one of the worst managers in MLB at making pitching changes. Anyone who has watched the NL East the past 5-6 years closely knows this first hand.

TTI: You seem to be implying that OBP and strikeouts are mutually exclusive, when that is simply false.

Justin Upton has a career .357 OBP, which is better than both Prado and Bourn.

And B.J. Upton's career OBP is .336, virtually identical to Michael Bourn's career .339 OBP.

Record: 88-74, win NL East by 1 game
ERAs: Cole 2.80, Cliff 2.90, Doc 3.85
Phillies All-Stars: Hamels, Dom Brown
Awards: Revere SB title, Hamels 3rd in CY vote
Utley games: 100
Dom's line: 280/360/480
Best lineup: Revere/Utley/Brown/Howard/Rollins/M. Young/Chooch/RFD-Nix
Rube back: Yes, 100%.
Charlie back: Retires gracefully, moves to the Dallas Green chair in the front office (that’s the one with the phone blocked for calls to Rube and Sandberg.).

On paper though, I can see why people are so enamored with the Braves vs. Phils. Braves have really have a nice core of younger talent and I would say are a better overall team from a talent perspective than the Phils.

Just don't see them being able to win 90+ games again this year. Then again I thought they would win only in the high 80s last year too.

Jack: Yeah, I do get that. I just don't think they're a 90-win team.

I think BJ Upton is a downgrade from Bourn, & Justin Upton isn't nearly as much of an upgrade over Prado as people seem to believe.

I think their pitching has huge question marks. Medlen came out of nowhere last year & I expect serious regression. Beachy is still out. Maholm is good one year, bad the next. The other guys are inexperienced.

Venters is gone &, despite his last 2 years, I'm still not 100% convinced that Kimbrel's control problems, which plagued him throughout his minor league career, are forever behind him.

I think McCann will bounce back somewhat (when he gets off the DL), but I think Uggla is what he is at this point -- which is to say, not very good.

I think one of Freeman and Heyward will break out, but not both.

The Braves are kind of like the Phillies in that I can see a huge range of possible outcomes -- ranging from very good to very mediocre.

I eagerly await the beginning of permanent Chase Field-less Justin Upton's career.

Chase Field-less Justin Upton is currently a .250/.325/.406 hitter. Enjoy Atlanta.

I seem to have stumbled onto Braves Beerleaguer. Where is the blog for the Phillies?

Off the wall prediction:

Darin Ruf will DH for the Phillies in the World Series.

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EST. 2005

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