Using two of the most accurate projection systems in the game, here's a look at what to expect from Philadelphia's key players this year.
C - Carlos Ruiz
My thoughts: Not a bad projection for the young catcher. He's a solid, often unheralded piece to a fine offense. Often overshadowed, he's an ideal hitter down in the order, especially for a catcher. I say this projection looks good, and due to limited playing time (somewhere in the vicinity of about 400 at-bats), he should be good for between 7 and 12 HR.
1B - Ryan Howard
My thoughts: While ZiPs goes a little overboard, PECOTA notes that players of Howard's skill set, while quick to reach their peak, don't usually advance to any higher level. Either one of the projections is an MVP season, and I'd say go with the average. If he reaches the average and stays healthy, 45-50 HR is nearly a cinch. I love watching this guy play, and I'm a Braves fan. Go figure.
2B - Chase Utley
Average: .299 / .379 / .519
My thoughts: Sounds about right. I honestly thought he was more deserving of MVP honors than Jimmy Rollins last year, but he missed a few games and missed out on the trophy. His HR total should fall into the 25-30 range, so expect yet another great season from the game's best 2B.
3B - Pedro Feliz
My thoughts: This is kind of why I used both systems - they're quite different. While some of you probably scoffed at PECOTA in a few earlier projections, I'll admit that I trust it a lot more, so that's a good thing. Not to mention it takes into account his new ballpark. Either way, it's hard to get excited about him offensively. He's going to create a lot of outs, which will get frustrating. You will, on the other hand, get Gold Glove defense from him, which he should have won last year. For the contract, that's a fair deal. This team will score enough runs already. They needed some defense added in, and that's what they got. Alright pickup, I think. Not great, but decent. Expect 15-20 HR or so.
SS - Jimmy Rollins
My thoughts: The man who keeps Matt Holliday's MVP trophy (couldn't resist) is due for another big year in 2008. I expect roughly 40 doubles, 10 triples, 25 homers, and 35 steals. He's a really, really good player, and one I've enjoyed watching blossom.
LF - Pat Burrell
My thoughts: So many people will see these batting averages and think Burrell is projected to have a poor season, but that's not anywhere close to accurate. PECOTA is calling for an OPS over 900, and ZiPs' OPS is well over 800. That's pretty impressive. Burrell knows how to get on base, and he can hit for power. That's VERY valuable. I expect 25-30 HR from Burrell this year.
CF - Shane Victorino
My thoughts: He's really a lot of fun to watch, and this projection indicates that he'll be helpful this year, but he won't be one of the league's elite by any means. That's the choice Philadelphia made when they let Aaron Rowand walk, and for the money they saved, they could've done a lot worse out there. Expect between 10 and 15 HR for him.
RF - Geoff Jenkins
(I've had to stop for a while so I've put the bulk of this preview here, and I'll try to finish it tomorrow)
Posted on: February 14, 2008 1:40 am