2006 Braves Predictions

I’ve thought about a lot of things that I’ve wanted to blog about lately, but haven’t had the time. Here are a few predictions for 2006. I have my reasons, and I may reveal them in time.

— Oscar Villarreal will pitch less than 30 innings.
— Horacio Ramirez is going to have his worst season yet.
— Lance Cormier will be the most-reliable middle-reliever in the pen.
— Chris Reitsma will be a solid set-up man or closer.
— Andruw Jones will make 2005 look mediocre.
— Chipper Jones will continue his excellent play. If he stays healthy, he is an MVP candidate.
— Marcus Giles will have an OPS of less than .800.
— Adam LaRoche will have an OPS greater than .800 (does not apply if he isn’t platooned).
— Kelly Johnson will out-hit Jeff Francoeur (assuming KJ stays healthy and isn’t sent to AAA).
— Andy Marte will out-hit Jeff Francoeur (the Indians will find room for him).
— Brian McCann will out-hit Jeff Francoeur.
— Johnny Estrada will have an OPS greater than .750.
— The O’s ERA will drop and the Braves ERA will rise. Their ERAs will be within 0.25 runs.

Addendum: Looks like Dave Pinto has called me out on my Jeff Francoeur prediction—rightly so—so I’ll at least answer why for this one. Here are the PrOPS for the Braves. Though Francoeur predicts quite well, when I published the numbers back in December I wrote the following:

Francoeur’s projection is higher than what I think he will do. Since I happened to watch most of his at-bats, I think much of his good contact was the product of terrible scouting. I’ll never forget the 0-2 change-up that dropped into the zone Odalis Perez threw him, which Jeff deposited in the bleachers. I was thinking, “how dumb can you be?” That won’t happen again this year, but he will prove his worth as a pro by his adjustments. I can’t say how he’ll do, and neither can PrOPS. The same should be said for ALL of the rookies.

I didn’t see as many problems with the other rookies. Johnson and McCann showed much better patience at the plate, and Johnson was extremely PrOPS unlucky. He was hitting line-drives right at people when he started his big-league career 0-30 (or something like that). The only question about Kelly is his arm health.

8 Responses “2006 Braves Predictions”

  1. Cyril Morong says:

    Why the pessimistic projection for Giles? Is there some physical problem? I don’t follow the Braves that closely, so I might have missed something.

    He has been over .800 the last three years and his career OPS is over .800. He is 28 and Bill James projects him for .837 this year.

  2. JC says:

    Giles is a good-hitting second baseman, but PrOPS shows he’s been lucky most of his career. I have come to the conclusion that 2003 was a fluke. Maybe PrOPS doesn’t handle Giles well (he certainly gave the Braves organization’s projection system fits), but I I’m going to stick by the projection. And I absolutely love Giles. He’s still an excellent player who is very valuable to the Braves with the bat, glove, and running the bases.

  3. Andrew says:

    JP, any Renteria predictions? Also, I fully agree with the Francoeur slump, Andruw’s bombshell, and Villareal’s injury plagued season. I also think Devine takes the closer job from Reitsma by May, and keeps it until somewhere around 2011 when he’s traded before hitting free agency.

  4. Frank says:

    JC, I’m wondering about your call on Lance Cormier as the most effective middle reliever. I’m thinking that Boyer, McBride, or a loser in the starting rotation derby (Davies or James perhaps) might ultimately be more effective.

    You’re predictions are internally consistent. If Cormier is the most effective middle reliever, then your prediction about the Braves ERA rising will likely be true. :-)

  5. Chuck Oliveros says:

    On what basis do you project LaRoche to have an OPS of over .800? With that little loop in his swing it is almost impossible for him to make last moment adjustments.

  6. JC says:

    He had an OPS of .821 in 2004. That loop may look ugly, but it gets the job done.

  7. Adam says:

    JC. Andruw making 2005 look mediocre? Is this hyperbole? That would be incredible, but what type of numbers are you expecting that will make 51 bombs , 128 steaks, and a .575 slugging % look mediocre. And why? I guess Chipper’s reemergence will help. Thanks in advance. Also like to hear what you think about Devine.

  8. JC says:

    Andruw had some bad luck last year hitting the ball right at people. He actually had a much better season hitting the ball than his numbers showed. Luckily, he found the best way to get hits was to hit the ball over the fielders. His iso-power was silly last year. I expect him to keep it when his batting average goes up. I look for an OPS approaching 1.000.

    I don’t think Chipper being in or out of the lineup helps Andruw in any way. See here.

    On Devine, I’m not in a position to judge. He had good college stats, but he’s pitched so little in pro ball, it’s too hard for me to tell. And even if I got to watch him every day, I wouldn’t know what to look for. He might be Huston Street, but who knows.