Pedantic wrote:Ah, but Oak-town's offense wasn't in such a sorry state before their acquisition of Kendall. I think you're underestimating the effect Kendall could have at the top of the order. Their offense will be better than advertised.
Looking it up, they were 15th in the league in runs. a little higher than I expected, but still nothing to write home about. And a career .300+ hitter at the top of the lineup will help them out, but not a considerable change IMO. Kendall, Durazo, and maybe Kotsay are the only bats I see breaking .290. the bottom of that lineup is ugly, but thats to be expected. And a lot is depending on how Hatteberg performs in the 5 hole. I don't expect very much at all from their offense, so it probably will be better than I expect, but I still can't see it standing out in the crowd of average hitting teams.
A's offense has been upgraded considerably. A's bullpen has been upgraded tremendously.
now, if haren pitches good enough to make it on a "draftable sleeper pitcher" list...how does this equate to marginal win totals; with a large upgrade to an offense that was able to lead the A's to 91 victories a season ago?
and for the record i would hardly call haren a K pitcher anyway... his minor league K #'s were strong at 8.77 but converting that number to the majors puts him just about where he is now with a career k/9 at 5.69
based off that #, if he averages 5-6 innings over the course of the year, you'll get roughly 3K's/game. (3 being "high" adding in potential/progression)
If we wanted to find some real K sleepers we could do alot better than haren.
Haren is more aptly a "win" sleeper than a "K" sleeper.
Upgraded considerably? No. Seattle considerably upgraded their offense. I like Kendall and Kotsay, but it's not that much of an improvement.
Can't believe nobody's mentioned Jeff Francis, yet.
Oakland will win 90+ games. The new pitchers are worse than the old, but not that much worse. And the offense has huge upgrades at C, 2B, and OF (Swisher). Those are huge upgrades not because the players they got are so great (although Kendall is), but because they got so little production out of those places last year.
Sleepers for strikeouts? Grant Balfour or Scott Baker. Either of those two could be had very late, just keep a close eye on the battle for the last rotation spot for the Twins in spring training. The current contenders are Balfour, Baker (rookie), J.D. Durbin (rookie), and (gasp!) Terry Mulholland.
Durbin is supposed to have the biggest upside among himself, Balfour, and Baker, but word is that he hasn't quite developed a quality second pitch to complement his triple-digit fastball, which means he's most likely to open 2005 in AAA.
Balfour, in parts of three major league seasons for the Twins, has posted a 9.8 K/9. He made a lot of progress through the course of last season. The two innings he threw against the Yankees before Rincon blew the Twins' final game of 2004 were numbing. Six up, six down, and two rung up, on scarcely more than four pitches per batter.
Baker, in only his second professional season, after playing just part of a season in Rookie ball in 2003 after beind drafted out of Oaklahoma St., shot through three levels of the Twins minor system in 2004, finishing the year in AAA. Baker has posted a 7.85 K/9 in 220 career minor league innings, but even more impressive, a 4.6 K/BB during that time.
While it looks like Cleveland and Chicago have made some imrpovements from last season, the Twins still don't play in the toughest division. Full seasons from Mauer and Morneau (arguably the Twins' two best hitters) could provide a slightly improved offense. I think the Twins are in line for another 90 win season, which means there will be plenty of wins to go around for memebers of their rotation.
Baker, and especially Balfour, could post some very high strike-out totals to go along with a few wins if either winds up in the rotation. Kyle Lohse is no sure bet to turn the failure of last season around either, so both may be starting for the Twins' after the all-star break.