Well, it's officially Spring.
Birds are chirping. Flowers are blooming. Everybody and their uncles are heading to hardware stores to start home improvement projects. The major leagues are officially sleepwalking through a bunch of meaningless games, trying to get in shape for the real season.
And the Philadelphia Phillies are preparing for yet another year of disappointment.
Let's analyze how it will happen this year, but first, let's see if I had any idea what I was talking about when I've done this in the past:
In 2005, I predicted a second-place finish, and the Phillies won 88 games, finishing within two of the NL East Champion Braves. If they had the NL West as competition instead of the East, they'd have won their division easily. I predicted that no more than two starting pitchers would rack up 200 or more effective innings, and there were exactly two such pitchers: Brett Myers, (215 IP, 3.72 ERA) and Jon Leiber (218 IP, 4.20 ERA). Cory Lidle was also reasonably acceptable, in 184 IP.
I predicted that Pat Burrell would hit something like .275/35/100 with 180 strikeouts, and he hit .281/32/117 with 160 strikeouts.
I predicted that Chase Utley, if he got the play all year, would hit .270 with 25 homers. He hit .291 with 28 homers.
I predicted that Mike Lieberthal would hit .270 with 15 homers in about 130 games. He hit .263 with 12 homers, in 118 games.
I predicted that David Bell would regress to something close to his career line of .260/.320/.400 and would be hitting 8th by the end of the season. He hit .248/.310/.361, more often in the #7 hole than anywhere else.
I suggested that the Phillies lineup might lead the NL in strikeouts, but the Reds ran away with that one, with the Phillies only 9th, though hey were closer to being third than 10th. I also suggested they might lead the league in runs scored, if not for Colorado, but I did not anticipate the effect that the Great American Ballpark would have, pushing Cincinnati to the top of the NL in run scoring (and allowing), while Colorado's AAA team finished a distant 5th.
In 2004, I didn't make any predictions, and the Phightin' Phils won 86 games, ten behind Atlanta.
In 2003 I predicted that they'd make the playoffs, and instead they won only 86 games and finished 3rd in the NL East, behind 101-game winner Atlanta and eventual World Series Champion Florida. That was the year that Joe Table imploded so badly they thought Mike Williams would be a help. Pat Burrell hit .209, Jimmy Rollins stole only 20 bases (getting caught 12 times), and David Bell hit below the Mendoza Line for three months before getting hurt and missing the other three months of the season. Didn't see that coming.
Anyway, so I did a pretty decent job of prognosticating in 2005, though in 2003...not so much.
Let's see how I do for 2006...
Read the rest at All-Baseball.com...
22 March 2006
Well, it's officially Spring.
Posted by Travis M. Nelson at 3/22/2006