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TeamBoone
02-12-2007, 09:08 AM
Ouch! Pretty horrible review.


MLB Teams Due For A Fall
By Ernest Miller / WagerWeb.com Contributing Writer


On Saturday, we highlighted the three big-league teams that look to be the most improved over the winter. It's only fair that we examine the flip side of that coin. So, today, we'll look at the three steepest declines from 2006, which actually covers four teams since there is a tie for third.

First, a note about season-to-season fluctuations might be in order. In a typical season, there are usually about five teams that enjoy (or suffer) double-digit swings on either end of the spectrum.

Last season, there were four teams that improved by at least 10 games over 2005 (Tigers, Dodgers, Mets and Twins) and five that dropped by at least 10 games (Nationals, Braves, Cubs, Indians and Cardinals).

Keep in mind that these fairly large shifts in win totals occur every season, without fail. Targeting which teams are going to rocket upwards or tumble downwards is another matter, an inexact science at best.

Prognosticators, especially mainstream writers, tend to largely foresee repeat performances from the previous season. The upward and downward shifts that they do forecast are invariably a reaction to high-profile player acquisitions and departures.

However, year-to-year statistical regression, new talent ascending from the minor leagues and typical aging patterns (both plus and minus) almost certainly, as a whole, have a much greater effect on the movement in the standings than the front page signings and trades.

While there is no perfect way to anticipate the standings of a coming season, anyone who is interested in doing so would do well study statistical projections put out by any number of Web outlets and publications aimed at the analytically inclined.

By using the kind of solid, objective criteria that the many practicing sabermetricians employ, you can uncover some of those less obvious trends and stay ahead of the game, so to speak.

Now, on with our falling teams, listed by projected number of wins declined.

1. CINCINNATI REDS (-17): Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky looked at a team that went 80-82 in baseball's worst division and was outscored by 52 runs and decided that, what the heck, let's stand pat. Isn't the object of the game to get better? It's not like Cincinnati's is a roster full of young players on the upswing. Only third baseman Edwin Encarnacion fits that bill. The only position-player change of note was bringing in one of the Alex Gonzalezes to play shortstop. Jeff Conine was brought in to shore up the bench. He's 90 years old. The outfield defense is one of the saddest sights you'll ever see with decrepit, brittle Ken Griffey Jr. in center field and statuesque Adam Dunn in left. Right fielder Ryan Freel is fast, but he can't catch everything -- and he can't hit enough to justify an everyday spot at an outfield corner. Last year's pitching staff overachieved to finish in the middle of the pack in National League ERA. The only significant new face brought in was fifth starter Kirk Saarloos. This team is in a lot of trouble.



2. OAKLAND ATHLETICS (-14): Oakland is far from hopeless, but when a team loses its best hitter (Frank Thomas) and best pitcher (Barry Zito) without bringing in new talent to replace them, a projected drop is going to be the most likely result. GM wiz Billy Beane is banking on a healthy season from Rich Harden to replace Zito's production. As for the offense, his hope is that Mike Piazza will replace a good chunk of Thomas' monster 2006 season and improvement from Bobby Crosby, Eric Chavez and Dan Johnson will bring them the rest of the way. One possible portent of doom is that because Oakland is well known for using analytical methods in managing its franchise, it generally does well in statistical projections. The fact that this year the A's do not may suggest that this time around, Beane has done a little bit too much wish casting.

3. (tie) CHICAGO WHITE SOX (-12): Has tinkerer deluxe GM Kenny Williams finally gone too far? The numbers sure seem to think so. The outfield, which includes Scott Podsednik (assuming he returns from hernia surgery) and Brian Anderson is two-thirds lousy, and Jermaine Dye will almost certainly regress significantly from his career season of 2006. That outfield and a starting rotation thinned by the departures of Freddy Garcia and Brandon McCarthy leave the White Sox vulnerable for a fall.

3. (tie) TEXAS RANGERS (-12): You gotta love the Rangers' infield of Mark Teixeira, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Hank Blalock. But unless newly acquired closer Eric Gagne shows a dramatic improvement in health, that will be the Rangers' only strength. With a shaky starting rotation, the lineup will need to outscore opponents just as Texas lineups of yore were expected to do. But an outfield/DH combo of Frank Catalanotto, Kenny Lofton, Nelson Cruz, Brad Wilkerson and Jason Botts will do well to yield league-average production once you factor in defense. The Rangers will have a decent offense, but it won't be nearly enough to offset the pitching and defense. And, when you think about it, that's pretty much business as usual for the Texas Rangers.
http://www.wagerweb.com/expert-columns/4253.html

redsmetz
02-12-2007, 09:12 AM
Ah, this guy can go soak his head. This team isn't the greatest, but they won't be lousy either. And soaking his head is the nicest thing I can say.

George Anderson
02-12-2007, 09:37 AM
OH NO!!! Ernest Miller of Wagerweb.com thinks we are going to bad this year:runaway: Now just who exactly is Ernest Miller???

DaReds22
02-12-2007, 09:39 AM
I think Ernest Miller better do some more research on our team before he starts to drowned us. We have a few young stars looking to have a huge impact on the team this year. HOmer Bailey, Chris Denorfia, Brandon Philips and of course Edwin are all young and ready to help get the Reds heads above the water.

Johnny Footstool
02-12-2007, 09:40 AM
If he would have projected the Reds to improve instead of decline, people would be singing his praises.

Personally, I don't place too much stock what any sportswriter says. It's his opinion, and it should be taken as that.

RANDY IN INDY
02-12-2007, 09:45 AM
:beerme:

redsmetz
02-12-2007, 09:58 AM
If he would have projected the Reds to improve instead of decline, people would be singing his praises.

Personally, I don't place too much stock what any sportswriter says. It's his opinion, and it should be taken as that.

I probably wouldn't have been so vociferous, but if he had said the opposite, I would have been equally skeptical. This team will have to work to equal last year or be slightly better, but that's about what I'm expecting this year.

My reaction was just getting sick of everybody saying we're dogs when I think that is also inaccurate.

Tom Servo
02-12-2007, 10:09 AM
I wasn't aware The Cat himself was now an internet sports writer. Somebody call his momma!

Chip R
02-12-2007, 10:18 AM
I wasn't aware The Cat himself was now an internet sports writer. Somebody call his momma!

:laugh:

paintmered
02-12-2007, 10:20 AM
If his over/under is 63 wins, I'd love take him up on that offer.

Slyder
02-12-2007, 11:50 AM
How many of these "experts" said we would be lucky to finish ahead of Pittsburgh last year?

HalMorrisRules
02-12-2007, 11:54 AM
In 2001 we won 66 games with a stellar starting staff consisting of people like Lance Davis, Juan Acevedo, Rob Bell and how can we ever forget, Osvaldo Fernandez. Now our rotation this year might not remind anyone of the rotations that the Braves had in the 90's but it isnt as bad as what we had in 2001. Now way in the world that this years team is a candidate to lose nearly 100 games.

terminator
02-12-2007, 12:15 PM
-17 is flat out wrong IMHO, but I agree with the jist of what he wrote. On paper, the Reds are a worse team in 2007. Gonzo for Lopez is a push, Freel/Deno for Kearns is a minor downgrade, everyone else is the same (some are on the upswing like EE, others are on the downswing like KGJ), the pitching staff is the same, and the bullpen is the same guys with different names. Our backup utility guys are Conine and Castro instead of Aurilia and Freel. If Bailey comes up and contributes they could improve, but otherwise, on paper, they sure look worse to me. Just not 17 games worse IMHO.

Always Red
02-12-2007, 12:27 PM
Granted, there are a lot of question marks- if Griffey moves to RF, and can still produce, if Dunn rebounds, if Eddie steps up and becomes a big bat, if Ross, Arroyo and Phillips can duplicate their 2006 numbers... (I won't go on!)

The bullpen is deeper, certainly not a great one, but almost league average now (IMHO), and the SP is certainly better than it's been in a while.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet on 81-81.

63 is ridiculous, but hey, chicks dig the long ball (apparently so do sportswriters), and this team is getting away from that philosophy, which never got us anywhere to begin with.

flyer85
02-12-2007, 12:37 PM
This team has serious holes and there is no getting around it.

Ltlabner
02-12-2007, 01:24 PM
This team has serious holes and there is no getting around it.

I agree Flyer, but 63 wins?

Philips, Ross and Hatteburg regress somewhat. EE takes another leap forward in growth and Dunn rebounds. Jr plays a while and is injured but Deno, Freel and ? fill in the gaps.

Milton is Milton and Loshe regresses. Arroyo can regress somewhat and still be good. Harrang is Harrang and I think the cast of charicters fighting over the #5 spot this year is far better than the group from last year (as far as #5's go).

Weathers and Stanton regress. But Bray, Coffey and Majic all improve over their 2006 outings.

I agree totally that their are a lot of holes, question marks and pitfalls. But 63 wins? There are some areas where players have the potential to step up and improve their game. Seems to me you can run down a number of team rosters and find lots of holes, question makrs and pitfalls.

I seem to remember last year that all of the national "experts" were predicting doom and the demise of the franchise. Instead we improved our win total by 7 or 8 wins. I'm not saying we'll do that again, but 63 wins is a joke IMO.

flyer85
02-12-2007, 01:38 PM
I agree Flyer, but 63 wins? I think they will win ~ 70, but win predictions aside, little was done to address the obvious deficiencies.

There is still no back end of the bullpen, WK has at best a pen full of middle relievers.

There are still huge rotation questions and few candidates.

The offense has huge question marks(Hatty, Phillips, Gonzo, Ross) and the bench is atrocious.

M2
02-12-2007, 01:48 PM
I don't think the Reds have to worry about 99 loses if the team stays healthy. If it doesn't, then things are going to get hideous because the Reds are beyond thin. If more than one starting position player gets injured or if Arroyo or Harang miss any sort of time (or are rendered ineffective due to something nagging) then the amount of trouble headed the Reds' way will be considerable.

Though the Reds played like a 90-loss team during the second half of the season. No one's been added who profiles as significant help for the offense or the pitching. Alex Gonzalez will help the defense, but, as has been mentioned, what he adds there will likely be offset by what he loses the team at the plate. So I can see where someone might look at the Reds and forecast a sizable dropoff.

remdog
02-12-2007, 02:01 PM
Focusing on the 'number' is the joke (on everyone that fixates on it). Focus instead on the gist of the article. Not too far off in my opinion.

Those experts that predicted we'd be lucky to finish above Pittsburgh? Correct. We were lucky. Lucky in the sense that we got 'career years' out of several players and, well, Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh and they're in our division. (shrug)

We also play in the division that has the World Champs!---that only finished a few games over .500 in regular season play. (shrug)

We had teams in our division that were too young, too old and too mis-managed. (shrug)

Weird things happen in baseball every season. But, numbers aside, the author of this article gave a good general overview of the problems that are facing the Reds as of the week that ST opens. (shrug)

Overall, is there anyone here that, in his heart of hearts, is thrilled with the Reds performance in the off-season? (shrug)

Lotta' shrugs there, huh? Just the nature of the game. What is is what it is until it isn't....(shrug)

Rem

Sean_CaseyRules
02-12-2007, 02:09 PM
I think Ernest Miller better do some more research on our team before he starts to drowned us. We have a few young stars looking to have a huge impact on the team this year. HOmer Bailey, Chris Denorfia, Brandon Philips and of course Edwin are all young and ready to help get the Reds heads above the water.

Don't you forget about Bill Bray!

Ltlabner
02-12-2007, 02:13 PM
Focusing on the 'number' is the joke (on everyone that fixates on it). Focus instead on the gist of the article. Not too far off in my opinion.

The jist of the article is that the Reds totally suck and are basically slated to have a 100 loss season. IMO, that's way off. We have holes, yes. We have the potential for disaster if a key player or two are injured. Which other teams in MLB have no holes and are completey injury proff? Oh yea, none.


Those experts that predicted we'd be lucky to finish above Pittsburgh? Correct. We were lucky. Lucky in the sense that we got 'career years' out of several players and, well, Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh and they're in our division. (shrug) And Milwaukee. And we hung with St. Louis and Houston all year. Yea, we all sucked, but we all sucked at generally the same rate and the fact is with a little luck, or better decision making we could have won the division.


Weird things happen in baseball every season. But, numbers aside, the author of this article gave a good general overview of the problems that are facing the Reds as of the week that ST opens. (shrug) He not only pointed them out, he fixated on them and basically claimed that we might as well pack it in for the season.


Overall, is there anyone here that, in his heart of hearts, is thrilled with the Reds performance in the off-season? I can only answer for me. No I wasn't happy with the off-season. Nor do I think there is a limit on when trades and additional moves could be made. Nor do I think we are destined for the basement and a dismall season.

remdog
02-12-2007, 02:34 PM
He not only pointed them out, he fixated on them and basically claimed that we might as well pack it in for the season.

Fixated? Eleven lines? You just wrote more than that in your reply to my post. :rolleyes:

So he doesn't think the Reds will do well. Big deal. Get over it. Trust your own judgement, make your own evaluations and let the Ump yell, "play ball"! These are for fun and don't require you to debate every written line. Trust me, you'll enjoy it more that way.

Rem

Ltlabner
02-12-2007, 03:06 PM
So he doesn't think the Reds will do well. Big deal. Get over it. Trust your own judgement, make your own evaluations and let the Ump yell, "play ball"! These are for fun and don't require you to debate every written line. Trust me, you'll enjoy it more that way.

Sorta defeats the purpose of an interent forum don't ya think? I'm sure BossHog and GIK woudn't like it, but I guess if there's no need to debate or discuss baseball then we can go ahead and shut down Redszone.

TeamBoone
02-12-2007, 05:21 PM
If he would have projected the Reds to improve instead of decline, people would be singing his praises.

Personally, I don't place too much stock what any sportswriter says. It's his opinion, and it should be taken as that.

Opinions are fine, but shouldn't they base them on facts?

He didn't have the facts and went so far as to lie (regarding there being only one up-and-coming young player on the team).

I didn't particularly like the comment about last year's "over achieving" pitching staff either.

terminator
02-12-2007, 05:51 PM
The gist of the paragraph is that the Reds are worse than last year's team. I think if you look at it on a position by position basis (as I briefly did above), it's pretty hard to argue that on paper we're not worse than last year. Mostly we have the same players (the career years and bad years will likely even out) with a few changes and most of those changes were probably minor downgrades over what we had. -17 is too many for the small differences, but does anyone think on paper that we have made moves to close our run differential from last year? (Not that we could be better with good luck, but that we are better on paper.)

jmac
02-12-2007, 06:18 PM
I probably wouldn't have been so vociferous, but if he had said the opposite, I would have been equally skeptical. This team will have to work to equal last year or be slightly better, but that's about what I'm expecting this year.

My reaction was just getting sick of everybody saying we're dogs when I think that is also inaccurate.

just remember....same things were said last season including some predicting 100 losses.

MartyFan
02-12-2007, 07:35 PM
I'm curious why we think these holes won't be addressed in ST?

Look what Special K did last ST w=to help the team? I also think this is a team that will be built "As they go"...Look at all the new faces from a year ago to now...Undoubtedly moves will be made in ST and during the season.

offseason was for overpaid, overhyped FA signings.

BLEEDS
02-13-2007, 12:00 AM
Gonzo for Lopez is a push, Freel/Deno for Kearns is a minor downgrade, everyone else is the same

Our backup utility guys are Conine and Castro instead of Aurilia and Freel. If Bailey comes up and contributes they could improve, but otherwise, on paper, they sure look worse to me. Just not 17 games worse IMHO.

Aurilia batted .301 and had 23 hrs last season - you think we're going to get that from Conine?!?! To me, that's the biggest drop-off on this team.

I'll trade Freel's speed and OF play for Kearns - especially long-term. I'll also give up 10-15 HRs from Lopez for Gonzo's Defense - I think his D will save more than those HR's.

But, we can't replace ALL of that offense with Conine, Denorfia, and what, Josh Hamilton?

In a perfect world, we'd put Dunn at 1B and get a $10M/yr .280/25-30/80-100 guy to roam the OF. We're going to need one in a couple years unless they allow Griff to play DH anyhow. I guess they're banking on Joey Votto. But I digress...

To me, I think the season is on Eddie and Phillips - if they fall back to Earth, we suffer immensely. If they can play 150 games each and keep their bats from last year, we MIGHT get to .500. IF they continue to Improve - Defensively and Offensively, we MIGHT get Homer up after the All-Star Break.

Otherwise - and not to borrow a Cubs-ism - I think we are looking at NEXT YEAR to make a FA acquisition after Hattengerg and Conine, and everyone else over 50 is off the team.

I think we are $20M away from making a playoff push. But on paper, I'd say we're 10 losses more than last year - especially considering how much everyone else has improved in our Division.

PEACE

-BLEEDS