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MLBGround >> 5th Annual "Rate Your Team" thread


3/23/08 12:39 AM
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Cousin Eddie
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Edited: 23-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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Opening Day is right around the corner, which means that it is once again time to prognosticate on your favorite team. What do you like, what do you dislike, what excites you and what pisses you off as a fan.....all that shit. As per usual, I will start........... HOUSTON ASTROS: Starting Pitching--Far and away the biggest question mark on this team. Just about every team in the game spent the winter trying to find more pitching, and failing. Astros were no exception. Things can kind of go either way with this staff, but I'm not terribly optimistic. Old Reliable, Roy Oswalt can be counted on for 16-18 wins every year (only pitcher in the game to post double-digit wins and a sub-3.50 ERA each of the last 7 seasons). Brandon Backe appears to be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and has had a real good spring, but I'm still not convinced he's a legit #2. Wandy Rodriguez would benefit greatly from a creative rotation that invloves him only starting home games (6-3, 2.94ERA, 1.11 WHIP at home, 3-10, 6.37/1.55 away). But he's improved each of these last three years, and has had a good spring as well. The 4th and 5th spots are open, and I'm praying Woody Williams isn't given one. He's been shelled every outing so far, and had an awful '07. Put simply, he's fucking done. Shawn Chacon will probably end up with one spot.....eh, whatever. 5th spot is up for grabs, and no one "candidate" stands out as being worth mentioning. An extremely optimistic fan could look for all the good and give this staff a "B" or "B+".....I'll stick with "C" until Rodriguez or Backe does something. Lineup--Should be the best one they've had in a while. Berkman and Carlos Lee are still 35/120 guys. Hunter Pence and Miguel Tejada look like 25-30 HR guys who can drive in 90+ apiece. Michael Bourn will be hitting leadoff as a rookie, which concerns me, but he's had a great spring. Kaz Matsui is a good #2 hitter for this lineup, but he'll miss probably the first week after having surgery for an anal fissure......you know, hemorroids (seriously, he had surgery). JR Towles is the starting catcher, and after hitting .375 in 40 AB's in his September callup, is also having a good spring. I look for him to go about .290/18/75 this year. Ty Wigginton is about as "League-Average" as they come. In summary, the offensive upgrades at SS, C, and 2B have me thinking this team could score 950 runs. Defense--Big step down replacing Adam Everett with Miguel Tejada. Everybody else, with the exception of Bourn and Pence, is close to average. Matsui is supposedly a good defensive 2B, but he's awfully fragile and I wouldn't plan on him playing more than 110 games. Bullpen--Completely redone since last year's Opening Day. Brad Lidge, Chad Qualls, Dan Wheeler, Matt Albers.....all gone. Jose Valverde (47 saves in '07), Oscar Villareal, Doug Brocail, Wesley Wright, welcome to Houston. I don't know if this 'pen is better or worse than last year's, just that it's....different. Completely. Wright was a Rule V guy, but has a sub-2.00 ERA this spring. Valverde was quoted as saying he wants 55 saves this year. Villareal is decent, I'm glad they picked him up. Bench--Brad Ausmus, Darin Erstad, Jose Cruz Jr., Mark Loretta, Geoff Blum. Not much pop, not much speed, just a handful of fairly steady veteran bats. Overall, I think this team can win a shitty NL Central Division IF, and only IF, the starting pitching isn't a total disaster (Roy will only get 33 or so starts, not 162). If Oswalt has a standard Oswalt year, and any two of the other 4 guys have solid years (ie. 14+ wins), Houston should win 85-90 games. Which might be enough.
3/24/08 2:07 PM
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Gracie killar
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Edited: 24-Mar-08
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good assesment of the stros cousin eddie im a fan of them too and I really hope and pray we can get decent pitching from somebody else other than roy
3/25/08 4:07 PM
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Tomato Can
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Edited: 25-Mar-08 04:35 PM
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NEW YORK METS: I am usually a pessimistic fan but I am confident the Mets are the team to beat in the NL this year. We have 5 solid-to-amazing starters, a great lineup anchored by the young stars Reyes and Wright, and a solid bullpen. However, despite my high hopes for this season, I must say Omar Minaya remains a horribly overrated GM. His acquisition of Johan Santana was fantastic, but it overshadowed the 2 other horrible moves that he made this offseason: First, he signed Luis Castillo to a 4-year, $20+ million dollar contract. Castillo is already very mediocre at the plate. He is still a pretty solid fielder, but that ability is already starting to fade. It should have been a 1 or 2-year contract at most. By the time this contract is up he will be a complete scrub. Secondly, Minaya traded Lastings Milledge for Ryan Church and Brian Schnieder. Milledge will probably already be just as good as Church this year, and is only 23 years old with huge upside. Brian Schneider can't hit a lick and we already have a better catcher (Ramon Castro) on the bench. Still, that said, the Mets have a fantastic roster and will win their division this year by 5-10 games.
3/25/08 4:20 PM
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Tomato Can
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
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Oh, and just to be a jackass, let me say that the Astros will be one of the worst teams in the NL this year. Their starting rotation is a goddamn mess. Your bullpen better be up for the challenge because guys like Backe and an ancient Woody Williams are going to give them a lot of work. The lineup is solid except you are massively overrating Kaz Matsui (you'd probably be better off starting Loretta) and I don't think Bourn will contribute much, either. Also, Erstad and Ausmus are 2 of the worst players in the majors. Seriously.
3/25/08 5:29 PM
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Hawkeyefan
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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Cubs

Starting Pitching:

Big Z had a bit of an off season last year, which was still a decent season.  I look for him to settle in without the contract worries and be the ace he is expected to be.  Rich Hill has great stuff and I really like him.  Ted Lilly is a proven veteran who has put a couple of nice seasons in a row together.  I would look for him to be worse than he was last year overall.  Then you've got Jason Marquis and what I like about him is you pretty much know what you have with him.  He'll take the ball 30+ times and give up 4.50 runs a game and throw 200 innings.  Works for me.  Then there's Jon Leiber who is probably headed for the pen to start the year.  There's Ryan Dempster who is trying to become a starter again.  I wish they would dump the Dempster & stick Sean Gallagher into the 5th spot, but Gallagher is at Iowa.  Sean Marshall is another guy who I think could be a 5th starter but will be in the pen or at Iowa for now because they don't want to use 3 lefties.  Overall, I'd give the starting pitching a B- to C+ grade.  It's pretty deep with 4th & 5th starters but a little light at the top after Big Z.

Lineup:

The lineup should be decent, even though Sweet Lou will start the season with the worst batting order he could put out there.  Leading off with Ryan Theriot.  Ugh.  This guy is no more than a replacement level (maybe a tad better) player and he is the starting SS.  With the exception of 6 weeks of the season last year he has sucked ass and I fully expect him to do so this year.  He should be hitting 8th but he has played the "scrappy little white guy" card on the fans & management alike.  So the worst hitter on the team will get the most at bats.  Soriano hits second.  I'd expect him to hit .300 with 35 HR  & 80 RBI.  Less RBI if he moves back to leadoff.  Third will be Derrek Lee.  He's a very good hitter and I look for him to up his power numbers from last year when he was still healing from a broken wrist.  .300/32/110 is very doable for him.  Aramis Ramirez will hit 4th and is probably the best hitter on the team.  .310/36/120 is possible.  Fuk-U-Do-Me will play RF & bat 5th.  From all accounts he is an OBP guy with a little pop.  Lefty stick.  I think his power is overrated right now and I'd be happy if he put up a line of something like .280/15/80 with a .385 OBP.  6th will be Mark DeRosa who the Cubs have tried to bump out of 2nd base all offseason.  This is a productive hitter and could put up something like .285/12/75.  7th will be the PCL MVP from last year Geovany Soto.  All the projections seem to like him and he was an absolute beast last year at Iowa.  He does need to produce but there is enough bop in this lineup that he can learn a little bit early on.  He is a certain improvement over Barrett & Kendall.  I can see Geo putting up a .270/18/70 line.  Felix Pie finally gets the nod in CF and will bat 8th, which is the worst place for him.  I think Theriot should be 8th and everybody else move up a spot with Fukudome hitting 2nd.  Felix would see more fastballs in the 7 spot.  As it is, I think Pie will hit .280ish with 15 HR & 12 triples if he's given the time to produce.  I'd give the lineup a B grade.

Defense:

There are really no glaring holes in the D.  Theriot is pretty average, though.  DLee is very good, Aramis is very good despite his reputation.  Soriano & Pie will get to tons of balls and Fukudome is supposed to be a plus defender, too.  Soto is okay behind the dish.  DeRosa is fine at 2nd.  Nothing really stands out as great besides maybe Pie but nothing is a huge hole.  I'd give the defense a B- grade.

Bullpen:

This is the strength of the team.  I'm sure there are plenty of opinions on Kerry Wood being named closer.  My opinion is that I love it.  He still can bring some of the nastiest stuff you've ever seen and he definitely has the attitude & demeaner.  Carlos Marmol & Bob Howry can step in for Woody if needed and they are both very good RP's.  Marmol was about the best RP in the NL last year striking out 96 in 69 innings.  Howry & Michael Wuertz are both very good, as well.  Scott Eyre is an okay Loogie but is injured right now.  Sean Marshall should be in the pen to start the year.  Jon Lieber will be the long man and Kevin Hart is trying to earn a spot.  The pen is filled with power arms to pitch the late innings.  I'd give the bullpen a B+ grade.

Bench:

You've got Hank White (Henry Blanco), Matt Murton, Darryle Ward, Ronny Cedeno & possibly Reed Johnson.  They are all flawed guys but can fill needs when required.  C+ grade.

If Cousin Eddie believes the Astros can win 85-90 games I'd guess the Cubs can win 110-120.

Back in the real world, though, I'll predict a 90-72 season from the Cubs and they'll win the Central by 5 games over the Reds.

 

3/25/08 5:45 PM
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Tomato Can
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
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You are correct about Theriot, he fucking eats. They should just start Ronny Cedeno at SS. The rest of their lineup is rock solid.
3/25/08 6:28 PM
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Cousin Eddie
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
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"If Cousin Eddie believes the Astros can win 85-90 games I'd guess the Cubs can win 110-120" :-) For the record, I think it would be just as easy to envision them LOSING 90 games too. However, I qualified the statement you refer to with "IF" they get good pitching from two guys not named Roy (Wandy Rodriguez and Backe would would be the most likely candidates), 90 wins isn't a reach. Is it likely? Probably not, but it's a week to the season opener, and I choose to be optimistic. If I had to bet my childrens's eyeballs on a win total for the Astros, the smart, unemotional money would be on something closer to .500 (80-83 wins). "Oh, and just to be a jackass, let me say that the Astros will be one of the worst teams in the NL this year. Their starting rotation is a goddamn mess. Your bullpen better be up for the challenge because guys like Backe and an ancient Woody Williams are going to give them a lot of work. The lineup is solid except you are massively overrating Kaz Matsui (you'd probably be better off starting Loretta) and I don't think Bourn will contribute much, either." If Woody Williams makes it into the rotation and stays there all year, a few key guys either slump or get hurt, and the starting pitching struggles, they could easily be among the cellar-dwellers, as they're not very deep. Kaz Matsui may end up batting 7th, it sounds like Cecil Cooper wants to start the season with Pence hitting 2nd, and I would think that two weeks in, he'll have decided that they're better off staying that way. I like what I've seen out of Bourn, he's basically Willy Taveras with gap power and plate discipline. Philly had a tough time justifying bringing him up with Rowand and Victorino blocking him, I think he'll be good. "Also, Erstad and Ausmus are 2 of the worst players in the majors. Seriously" Okay, you got me there.
3/25/08 10:09 PM
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Pretjah
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 04/23/2002
Posts: 22661
i like bourn i think he can be a decent player i think his potential level is jsut slightly on juan pierre.

i'm anxious to see what unfolds in the central this year.

the cubs have all the pieces but lets face it they are still the cubs

the cardinals have nothing right now  where's shadetree at?

the brewers are decent as long as they have no injuries.  i think they put to much money into old bullpen arms on the down swing of their careers myself.

the reds  are probably the biggest question mark  they have some great talent but do they really have any one who can pitch?

the astros have the weakest starting staff in the division (which says alot right now)  but they have the potential to put up alot of 12-10 games this year  i wouldn't be surprised to see them with a 13 man staff for a long time this year

the pirates  of course i'm a homer so take this however you want but i think their pitching as i said is right there at the door...snell and gorzy are as good as any 1-2 in basball and their pen is shaping up nice plus they have the luxury of being able to move a piece or two from the pen come trade time if they find themselves close in  a supposedly weak division.  plus they will probably be moving bay or nady or both at some point in the year whther they are winning or not  to make room for pierce and maybe mccutchen
3/25/08 11:17 PM
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Tomato Can
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
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"i like bourn i think he can be a decent player i think his potential level is jsut slightly on juan pierre. " Considering Juan Pierre is utter junk, that's not high praise. Honestly, I don't think Bourn will be much, at least not this year. His minor league stats are fairly underwhelming and he doesn't get on base enough to make up for his total lack of power. "the cardinals have nothing right now where's shadetree at?" Cards have a solid pitching staff but their lineup is awful. It's basically Pujols and Glaus and that's about it. They're gonna have at least 3 guys in the lineup every day that have no business starting in the major leagues. "the brewers are decent as long as they have no injuries. i think they put to much money into old bullpen arms on the down swing of their careers myself." Brewers will contend this year, IMO. They are rock solid in every category. "the reds are probably the biggest question mark they have some great talent but do they really have any one who can pitch?" Reds are improving but I don't think they're not quite ready to contend for the division title yet. Also, Dusty Baker is a nimrod. "the pirates of course i'm a homer so take this however you want but i think their pitching as i said is right there at the door" Pirates will be crappy as usual. Snell and Gorz are fine and dandy but the rest of the rotation is awful and while the lineup doesn't have any glaring holes, it's not gonna scare anybody.
3/26/08 8:49 AM
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Tomato Can
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Edited: 26-Mar-08
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Posts: 18715
Agreed on the A's. The pitching is pretty solid but that lineup is not gonna score a lot of runs. Who is even starting in the outfield?
3/26/08 10:20 AM
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Tomato Can
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Edited: 26-Mar-08
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Posts: 18718
Buck is pretty good and is only 24 so he will probably continue to improve. As for the rest, I wouldn't expect too much. I guess they're hoping Emil Brown will return to his 2005/2006 form, but I wouldn't count on it.

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