Unlike 2004 my predictions this year were only average.
The best of them were Mota to lose the closers job in Florida, Beltran to be a bust in NY and not steal 25 bases and to avoid Jason Schmidt. I kept warning people of this one but evidently no one listened. I also said Everyday Eddie would close for Seattle all season with excellent numbers.
I was wrong about RJ, Suzuki and Lidge to name but a few.
Talking of that 2005 prediction list, I've got to give major wraps to Bleach for his list. It wasn't too far off the mark at the end of the day. Certainly the best I saw.
C - Ivan Rodriguez. He didn't need to lose 15 lbs. Maybe he was on steroids or maybe he's trying to extend his career a la Benito Santiago but you don't want Benito on your fantasy team do you? Catchers tend to break down in their early 30's and Pudge may collapse any year now. Look for an .800 or worse OPS this year.
C - Mike Piazza. Piazza is what Pudge will be four years from now - tired and broken down, getting worse every year. Yet some people still think he will rejuvenate himself even though all signs point to a continuing decline. Expect .750 OPS or worse.
1B - Carlos Delgado. Adjusting to a new league and playing in a pitchers park for the first time is going to kill Delgado's value. With first base being ridiculously deep, you could get an equally valuable player in Morneau, Hafner, Konerko, or Green many rounds later. .850 OPS at best
2B - Luis Castillo. My friends, we have the most worthless fantasy starter in baseball. He can't hit for power, can't score 100 runs, he can barely steal 20 bases and hit for .290. I can find better production off waivers.
3B - Adrian Beltre. I've followed Beltre's career very closely. Contract years may mean little to other players but it definately meant something to Beltre. If you don't count his first homer (which was an inside-the-park variety off an outfielder who broke his ankle on the play) he didn't hit a homer in his first 50 spring at bats. He didn't go more than 40 at bats last year without hitting a home run. Include the fact that this is off mostly AA and AAA ballplayers and not pitching friendly Safeco, you're looking at Beltre hitting 30 homers tops this year. Beltre should be the 8th 3B taken off the board not 3rd.
SS - Edgar Renteria. 84 runs, 10 hrs, 72 rbis, .287 in a lineup that was every bit as good as Boston's. His only value comes from steals and Boston doesn't like to run. Talk about worthless!
OF - Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro just got lucky last year, plain and simple. All his 2004 numbers are in line with career averages. What is worrisome is that his steals are in decline. He might not even get 30 steals this year.
OF - Juan Pierre. Declining SB% doesn't bode well for Pierre's best asset. A bad calf not only hurts his SBs but kills his batting average as he can no longer get any bunt singles. Pierre may soon be joining the likes of Alex Sanchez and Endy Chavez.
OF - Vernon Wells. I just don't see what everyone is hyped up about. Even if he repeats his 2003 numbers, he's still only a .310/30/100 guy. Heck maybe not even 100 since he has no one to drive in. Remember, after the success of 2003, he changed his diet and lost 15 lbs. That led to a dismal 2004 that isn't likely to change in 2005.
OF - Magglio Ordonez. I can't think of what's right with this guy. He's injury plagued (he got some kind of intestinal flu today and may miss opening day). He used to be able to steal, but stole
zero last year in 202 at bats. Don't draft him thinking .300/30/100 because he's moving from a hitters park to a pitchers park and into a worse lineup no less.
OF - Moises Alou. Hit 10 homers on the road last year. Now playing full time in a pitchers park, he won't even top 20 home runs, Bonds or no Bonds.
SP - Randy Johnson. There is just way too much risk here. He is beyond ancient and on artificial knees. You're just as likely to get RJ's 2003 debacle as you will a good season. On top of that, the move from the NL to the AL is going to do damage to his numbers. With the Yankees always eyeing the post season, watch for Torre to play it safe with RJ and rest him a lot down the stretch.
SP - Mark Prior. When the wind is blowing out at Wrigley, no flyball pitcher is safe. It's a huge gamble owning Prior as one bad outing due to bad weather can destroy 2 months of good starts. Oh yeah, he's injury prone too thanks to Dusty.
SP - Carl Pavano. Should be titled Javier Vazquez pt II. Or maybe Esteban Loaiza pt II. Or how about Kevin Brown pt. II. I know, Jose Contreras pt II. Ah, screw it, Jeff Weaver pt. II.
SP - Mike Mussina. Was 2004 an aberration or a sign of things to come? With Mussina being 36 years old, I'm betting it's the latter.
RP - B.J. Ryan. Won't be able to shield his weakness (right-handers) in the closer's role. Expect a whip around 1.40 with a similarly ugly ERA.
RP - Mariano Rivera. Boston has figured him out. It won't be long before the rest of the league figures him out too. Gagne, Lidge, K-Rod, Foulke, Benitez, Nathan, Wagner, even Hoffman are all better options.
RP - Octavio Dotel. He's not the same pitcher he was 2 years ago. Something, I don't know what, has caused his fastball to be mediocre. He got lucky last year to "only" blow nine saves. I don't see him losing his job, but his final ratios will be closer to Mesa's than Nathan's.
Besides Delgado, Rivera and Ryan he was spot on.
Well done Bleach