Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reviewing my 2010 pre-season Pirate predictions

In an effort to provide an internal audit of my posts, I thought I would go back and re-visit my 2010 Pre-Season Pirates Predictions post.
Listed below is the original prediction and comment in italics, with my new thoughts in bold.

1. The Pirates will win 76 games -- OK, I've covered this one in my WAR-based analysis of the team. Give me a +/- of 2 wins on this one. I think the makings of a winning team will start to materialize this season.
When I said +/- 2 wins, I really meant to say +/- 20 wins. Yeah. That's it. The "what the heck went wrong" with the 2010 Pirates will be coming shortly as its own post.

2. Robbie Grossman's LH-hitting struggles will continue and he will give up switch hitting -- As a RH hitter his OPS was 897 and his K-rate was 24%. As a LH hitter his OPS was 679 and his K-rate was 40%. I think if the trend continues up to mid-season, he will abandon switch-hitting.
This is a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that Grossman's K rate as a LH hitter dropped to 25%. The bad news is that his OPS stayed at 668. The even worse news is that as a RH hitter his OPS dropped to 746 this year and his isolated power was bad from both sides (.114 and .095, respectively). So Grossman still has a sizeable platoon split, but that the switch-hitting experiment will continue.

3. Quincy Latimore will continue to show that he is not a prospect -- Admittedly, I seem to have an ax to grind with Latimore. I think it's just that people want so badly for him to be a prospect when in reality he is not even close. His K/BB rate last year was 25%/5% with a .251 BA, 3 steals, and poor defense as a LF. The BB rate will not play as he continues to move up. He is already low on the defensive spectrum. He doesn't make great contact and he's not fast on the bases. Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
Latimore put together a .266/.323/.444 line in 2010 for a 767 OPS. This constitutes a career high in OPS for Frederick Quincy Latimore. Most of this was built off of an insane August that had a 942 OPS, which was far and away the outlier to his monthly numbers. But he had one last year too in July and numbers count no matter when you put them up.
Latimore had 30 BB and 136 K's in 518 AB's for a 6% BB rate and a 27% K rate. His 2011 in AA will be very telling.

4. Pedro Alvarez will hit .260 with 20 HR's but a 30% K rate in the majors -- Pedro will show us enough to warrant setting the Excitement Meter to 10 in 2011. Cutch-22 spoiled us last year with an electric debut. I think Pedro will be more of a rookie with his struggles, but ready to explode in 2011.
Pedro had a very herky-jerky debut. He was ice cold in June (411 OPS), took off in July (especially after the All Star Break, had a 855 OPS), came back down in August (735 OPS), and then terrorized pitchers with a 932 OPS in September and giving us all a glimpse of what could be in store in 2011.
Pedro hit .256/.326/.461 (787 OPS) with 16 HR's and a 34.3% K rate. Not bad on the estimates all the way around. His struggles against lefties were a little disconcerting at times.

5. Andrew McCutchen will more or less consolidate his gains in 2010 -- I'm not saying he'll have a Sophomore Slump, but rather he will put a similar line to his .286/.365/.471 2009 season. His counting stats will increase proportionally, not exponentially as some are hoping/predicting.
Cutch-22 will get his own follow-up post about his 2010 season, but here was his final line for 2010:
Seriously. His BA and OBP were exactly the same as 2009. That about as close to "he will put up a similar line" as you can get. He hit 16 HR's and stole 33 bases which were a mild disappointment for how he started the season, but fairly close to proportions from 2009 (His rough proportional totals would have been 17 HR's and 31 SB's). I think we have established Cutch-22's baseline.

6. Tony Sanchez will put up a season in 2010 that will make Ryan Doumit expendable -- I think Sanchez ends 2010 in Altoona and has a season significant enough to warrant Huntington trading Doumit in the 2010 offseason. Jaramillo will hold the fort in 2011 until Sanchez is ready to come up.
This one was looking like another good prediction until Brad Holt parked a fastball into Sanchez's cake-cruncher in June. He was out the rest of the season. His offense was just as good as last year up to that point, but his defense suffered from a lingering shoulder injury, causing Sanchez to only throw out 15% of baserunners. He will need all of 2011 in the minors, hopefully split between AA and AAA.

7. Zach Von Rosenburg will fail to live up to the lofty expectations in 2010 -- It actually semi-pained me to type that, but I think his present stuff (high 80's FB, shaky secondary stuff) will get him lit up in full-season ball in 2010. He was always more of a projection than a present-day stud, so I think folks will see sub-par numbers and write him off. Similar to Quinton Miller last year.
ZVR spent the whole season in State College, which was a mild disappointment in and of itself. He also started the season off slowly with some less than stellar numbers until his last 10 starts. ZVR put up a 2.11 ERA in 47 IP, giving up 42 hits, allowing 10 BB, and striking out 35. The fastball is still in the high 80's though, and his stuff was not swing and miss this year. His season was better than Quinton Miller's 2009, but there is still something that needs to shine with ZVR.

8. Diego Moreno and Brock Holt are going to have breakout seasons in 2010 -- Holt seems like a slightly lesser version of Chase D'arnaud to me and you saw how his 2009 season went. I think Moreno is going to be a fast-mover this year and put himself in the prime discussion for a bullpen spot in 2011.
This was a spot-on prediction, too, but with some qualifiers. Moreno humiliated High-A hitters and was moved up to Altoona where he had success as well. However, he was disciplined for behavioral problems and demoted for a short time back to High-A. He wound up back with Altoona by the end, though. He is now said to be the best reliever in minor league baseball by Baseball America.
Holt got off to a scorching .351/.410/.438 (848 OPS) in Bradenton until he ripped his ACL in June. He should be back and fine in 2011 and hopefully will see Altoona sooner rather than later.

9. John Russell and Neil Huntington both get extensions -- I think NH deserves 3 more years to see his work through. It usually takes 3-4 years to see a draft class come up to the surface so he needs AT LEAST 2011 to see his 2008 class, right? Plus, I have agreed with the concepts of his trades, if not all the pieces received. As for Russell, I'm not thrilled about this part of the prediction, but I think they will give him 2 years (2011/2012) to actually have some impact players to work with and make a go of it. 2 more years of wanting to use a defribrulator on him during his press conferences.
I got this one right too, but again there were qualifiers. The Pirates actually secretly extended both Russell and Huntington in October of 2009 for the 2011 season and never told the media or the public. Then, Russell went and dropped a 105 loss season on Pittsburgh and was fired this week.
Huntington will (theoretically) go into 2011 GM'ing for his job and a future longer extension.

10. Nutting brings in a minor partner to the ownership group -- Unless his will is made of complete iron, I think Nutting hears the natives beating the drums. He will try to appease them by finding a partner willing to infuse a small percentage of cash into the enterprise. It will be a local businessman, not Lemieux/Burkle, that has been out of the public's radar screen.
This was the boldest of my 10 predictions and did not happen. However, I have recently said that this offseason is an Inflection Point for the future of this franchise and Nutting's financial committment is at the forefront.

All in all, not too bad on the predictions, aside from the most important one about the win total!

1 comment:

  1. Good work with the Cutch-22 prediction. He must read your blog and tried to get as close as he could for you. :) ~