Some spring thoughts while I continue to search fruitlessly for a box — or even a pack — of 2007 Topps (as if I needed another reason to hate Derek Jeter):
We all know spring training records are useless (no, I’m not saying this because the Sox only today won their first game while the Yanks have yet to lose. Oh wait. Yes, I am). The stats, though. That’s what counts. Nothing means more for predicting the regular season than 10 at-bats in early March.
Sample size, you say? Pssh. If Manny Ramirez’s four walks in eight plate appearances don’t mean he’ll be the first non-juiced player with a .500 regular-season OBP since Mantle and Williams both did it in 1957, then I don’t know how you can even bother analyzing stats at all (after all, if it’s not good enough for Murray, it’s not good enough for me!)
Without further ado, some predictions for the 2007 season, based solely on the last five games of Red Sox baseball:
- Julio Lugo (.300/.364/.300) will be an adequate leadoff man, but his lack of power will be a bit disconcerting.
- More of the same from Kevin Youkilis (.333/.455/.556). Well, OK, a little bit better than the same.
- A sadly disappointing year from Big Papi, including a .250 BA and no home runs.
- The aforementioned .500 OBP from Manny Ramirez but shockingly, the first player to go 0-for-250 with 250 walks.
- J.D. Drew plays less than half the team’s games and despite a decent OBP (.400), loses his power entirely.
- A big rebound from Jason Varitek (.500/.500/.500)
- One of the top-30 slugging seasons of all-time from Mike Lowell (.714) and an AL record 71 home runs (one every 7 at bats).
- Coco Crisp’s 2006: Not a fluke (.143/.250/.143).
- Ditto Dustin Pedroia (.182/.250/.273).
- Wily Mo Pena, though, astounds with a .357 BA, and Alex Cora likewise, with a .417 OBP.
- As for the invitees, look for Alberto Castillo (1.600 OPS), who has caught the knuckleball, to replace Doug Mirabelli (.500), and Alex Ochoa (1.556) and David Murphy (1.045) to replace … anybody.
I know, these are some bold predictions, but I’m confident in their accuracy. I’ll come calling in October to collect my accolades.