There’s a 2007 Predictions thread in the sidebar at VeB. Here’s my “contribution” with some added commentary:
T.J. Nall makes the gNats opening day roster and is their best setup man by the all-star break.
(He toiled away in the Dodgers farm system and left as a minor-league free agent, being swept up in the Great Gnats Minor-League Free Agent Dragnet of 2006. He’s so far failed to adjust to AAA level batters. The dude dominated AA last season, striking out 155 batters against 30 walks and just 10 home runs. He’s a groundball machine who gets the strikeouts. The difference between AA hitting and AAA hitting isn’t so great that you’d expect him to struggle so badly in AAA. I could easily see him fixing whatever problem he’s got in Spring Training with an organization that’ll take him seriously and making the big jump. I would be unsurprised if he made the gNats roster as a swingman and earned higher leverage bullpen roles as the season goes on. After seeing his MLE’s, I’d hope the Cards would sign him to a minor-league deal.)
Brian Lawrence signs a split contract with the Rockies and has an exceptional spring, joining a rotation of Cook/Francis/Hirsh/Fogg. He contends with Kip Wells and Mark Mulder for the 2007 NL Comeback Player of the Year award, but loses to Mike Hampton. (Gagne wins it in the AL.)
I discussed Brian Lawrence here a while back.
Taylor Buchholz struggles with home runs and with finding a role in Colorado and, after he fails to clear waivers, is traded to the Cardinals, when we suddenly find ourselves with three of the game’s better curveballers in our rotation.
You can see video of him striking out 8 batters in a game at his MLB.com page. His curveball really is a beauty. He’s been sporadically home-run prone throughout his professional career. It remains to be seen whether the move to Colorado increases that tendency. Coors field, strangely enough, had a lower HR factor by .004 compared to Minute Maid
We at VeB argue over who should lose their rotation spot during Mark Mulder’s (stunning) minor league rehabilitation period.
Chris Narveson is claimed off waivers by the Nationals at the end of Spring Training. He wins a rotation spot and puts together a solid season for a fifth starter. We at VeB argue frequently over whether he would have had the same success in NL Central parks compared to NL East parks like Shea and RFK.
I’m sure he won’t clear waivers and every team in the league could use a Darren Oliver type of lefty longman in the ‘pen. Including the Cardinals, but he won’t stay here unless a trade happens to move off one of the three lefties ahead of him on the depth chart. (Rincon, TJ, Flores).
Online ad revenues increase to the point where Jeff Sackmann, lboros, Al Yellon, and a few others break away from SBNation, form their own LLC, and negotiate extensive access rights to interview players and personnel with their respective baseball teams.
I’m bitter about certain people shoveling truckloads of cash into the bank while paying the people doing the actual creative and research work what I presume to be a pittance. Sackmann and Yellon have the technical expertise to code up the thing, I’m sure. It’s none of my business, of course, what these folks do and how much they’re paid for it. At least I’d love to see the sidebar posts called something other than “Diaries,” a word that has no place on a forum for discussing baseball.
Update: Jeff linked to this post, describing it as “inscrutable.” I’m satisfied that my comments in this post convey my mild embarassment in making the prediction. To disambiguate unambiguously, the prediction was intended as a compliment of Jeff’s writing and web-app development abilities, that he could make money in this racket if he felt like it. I skirted the boundary of baseball and politics in writing that comment—I’ll leave it at that. For what it’s worth, lboros isn’t going anywhere.
Jason Marquis is DFA’d after giving up over 2 HR/9 in Wrigley and after Mark Prior dominates during his minor league rehabilitation. He signs with the Mets to fill the hole left by Pedro Martinez’ unpromising recovery from surgery and puts together a fairly decent season.
Time for Illinois vs. Xavier. It would appear we’re off to a bad start…
Update: One more prediction… (I’m going to keep them all in this post so I can grade myself after the 2007 season is complete.) Larry Bigbie will revive his career with an exceptional offensive season. I figure he’ll join the Minnesota Twins or possibly the Marlins, both teams who need help in the outfield. I liked what little I saw of his defense last season and like his swing and line-drive potential. He’d likely do better for the Marlins as a centerfielder, but the Twins could use him in left.