Five Bold Predictions For 2013
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go on a long-winded and misguided rant regarding the Royals, Luke Hochevar or Manti Te’o. Today, all I have to offer you is some interesting predictions regarding individual performances I think we’ll see this season. And trust me, this feels like a cop out to me as much as it does to you.
1. The Royals Have At Least Two All-Stars
It may not sound very bold, but considering it hasn’t happened in awhile, it will be a welcome sight, specifically among the basement set (hello, friends). What’s more, I’ll say the two All-Stars are Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez, not annual representative Billy Butler nor new starting pitcher James Shields.
2. Ervin Santana Has A Nice Year (around 2.5 fWAR)
Again, “nice” doesn’t sound very shocking, but considering the flak he’s receiving among the blogging circles on everything from his prohibitive one-year salary to his velocity decline to his injury risk, you would think that I’m declaring him a Cy Young candidate. Although last season’s performance concerns me, I don’t see it as the crestfallen and impending doom-ride that others project.
3. Alex Gordon Overtakes Butler As The “Face Of The Franchise”
It’s been boiling for two seasons now. Although Butler has been receiving the public national acclaim in terms of his All-Star appearance (and the requisite Home Run Derby snubbing that came with it), Alex Gordon has quietly collected two Gold Gloves with an OPS+ of 125 or more. He’s also pretty handsome (ladies).
4. Alcides Escobar Doesn’t Regress (Much) Offensively
Although his .344 BABIP will jump out as a red flag, the rest of his hitting profile suggests legitimate improvement. He saw a stark increase in his line drive percentage (taken exclusively from his flyball percentage) and got on base more using his speed (by bunting. Yeah, I know). That’s not to say he will improve, either. Last year is a little higher than what you should expect, but as far as overall regression, I don’t see him tumbling further than, say, .275/.310/.380.
5. Aaron Crow Continues Improving
Writers, particularly sportswriters, are known for developing pet causes. I suspect mine over the next few seasons will be Aaron Crow. Despite his control problems in the minors, which pushed him into the major league bullpen two seasons ago, Crow has continued his improvement season over season in terms of output and control. His wOBA against left-handed hitters has dropped precipitously, and his BB/9 dipped from 4.50 to 3.06 while he continued to strike out more than a batter per nine innings (9.05). As Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland continue to be firmly entrenched in the back end of the bullpen, and with situational guys like Louis Coleman and Tim Collins, depth in the ‘pen could lead to Crow being given another shot at starting. Depending on Wade Davis’ success this season will go along way in determining whether the organization thinks it is worth the risk.
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