2005 Season Preview- Part 2 of 4
At this point the question needs to be asked:
Will any Royals position player appear in over 110 games?
1) There's the Sweeney/Harvey/Pickering platoon at 1B/DH. Sweeney's not shown that he's capable of playing a full season anymore, Harvey's a thoroughly disapointing option, and Pickering's gotta fight about three different established biases against ever seeing regular playing time. I predict that Harvey will top 110 games, but its highly possible that all these guys fall into the 70-100 range.
2) Obviously, DeJesus is a good bet for a near-full season... But beyond him, the platoon rotations from hell at the corner spots seem to spell no-full time players. I still like Stairs well enough, but he's a considerable injury risk, and combined with the trio outlined above produces one of the slowest, poorest defensive combos in the American League. I doubt he tops 110 games.
3) The strange 3B/2B situations. Truby? Teahen? Where have you gone Joe Randa??
Onto the PECOTAs.
Donnie Murphy (.260/.322/.405): I don't know who Donnie Murphy is. Honestly. Apparently he's 22 and figures in the Royals 2005 plans. Split-mind point of view: .322/.405 is of course nothing to be excited about// .322/.405 from a Royals middle infielder? I'll take it, Sir.
Abraham Nunez (.231/.312/.388): Just an awful, awful projection. Say hello to one of the worst corner-outfielders in baseball if that line holds up. PECOTA sees this as a kind of make-or-break year for Honest Abe, he's got a 30% chance to collapse (to what??) a 50% chance to improve and a 33% chance to breakout. No, those number don't all add up to 100%, But the "improve" category contains the "breakout" seasons as well, breakout being lots of improvement. Worst case scenario: Nunez his like .280/.310/.450 in April, and Pena plays him for another 4 months. Hey, its not like it hasn't happened (see Harvey, Ken 2004).
Calvin Pickering (.272/.400/.543): (Free Calvin Pickering!) Sorry people, this projection isn't happening. He's not hitting 24 homers next season, and he won't be DHing in roughly 100 games. Just my prediction, based on the ominous comments coming from the Royals leadership this off-season, and the generally tragic nature of Pickering's career. Basically, I've got two interests heading into this season- seeing if the Royals can catch lightening in a bottle and contend in the Central (i.e. going .500 for two months, thus being 4 games behind the Twins on June 1) and seeing if Pick plays. Apparently his audition last season was quite good enough. He better have a good April if he ever wants to make a million dollars. Really, this is exactly the kind of guy we should be rooting for as fans...
Matt Stairs (.267/.359/.472): A year ago he seemed like a cheap, serviceable option. Now, that line just isn't quite good enough. He's an All-Star compared to Nunez, and with that kind of line about once every 10 games he'll do enough to really effect the game. PECOTA sees a 57% chance that he improves from 2004 however, which kinda fits well with Stairs' career: everytime he looks done he rebounds.
Mike Sweeney (.290/.364/.478): Sweeney's place in the heart's of Royals fans is starting to take a Sosa-esque turn, proving once again the old Jamesian (Bill, not William or Joyce) adage about teams taking out their frustration on their best player. Granted, there was that Beltran guy, but until very recently Mike was the only Royals player who could consistently get on-base and hit for power. Yea, he's well-paid (which is what each and every R's fan wanted at the time) and is injury-prone. Its time to move on. I'll never quite get over the sense that Sweeney's injury in 2003 cost this team the Central title, but thats all gone now anyway. Mike's patience has been eroding in this decade, perhaps signalling that he's pressing. I'd sure like to see him slug over .500 again, but considering his inability to leg out many doubles, and the new fences at the K, that might be only a dream. Still, PECOTA sees a 45% chance that Sweeney really rebounds in 2005, coupled with a 25% chance that the bottom-falls out.
Chris Truby (.251/.312/.415): Why?!? He's the insurance plan against Teahen not being ready, but other than a major meltdown type performance (say .200/.220/.250) whats the point? This is like having an insurance policy that just gives you another damaged car or burned-down house. Ehh... maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe I'll close my eyes and imagine that Trubes is a good glove-man, and that he'll have a career year and go .280/.320/.440.
Mark Teahen (.251/.322/.375): Just my negativity. I say he has a rough spring-training and never gets on Pena's good side. PECOTA guesses at 90 games. I say he won't see 50, and may not top 100 ABs. For the curious, Randa's 2005 projection is .269/.331/.402 with an incredibly high collapse rate... So yea... possibilities were limited... I never did write that Randa tribute though.
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