These are some of the more questionable/unsubstantiated responses from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick in his chat today.
Rob (DC): A certain rival website picked the Pads to be 3rd in the West, I know that will really be a competetive division, but to me they have by far the best staff in the NL and the hitting should be a smidge better. Am I missing something?
Jerry: I’m just not sure where the offense will come from. They’re counting on guys like Sledge, Kouzmanoff, Josh Bard and a declining Brian Giles, who doesn’t have much power anymore. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the five teams in the NL West separated by a 10-game blanket, so preseason predictions mean even less than usual in that division.
F- for research, Jerry. I’m not saying the Padres will be a good offensive team this year, but you completely neglected to mention Marcus Giles, Mike Cameron, Khalil Greene and Adrian Gonzalez. The neglected quartet’s projected average VORP (which measures only offense) is 27.8. The quartet you mentioned has a projected average VORP of 25.1. That means, Jerry, that you completely whiffed on identifying the team’s most important offensive players. Maybe the offense will come from them. Just a thought.
Steiny (NYC): What are your early World Series predictions?
Jerry: My early World Series prediction is Boston over Atlanta. (And no, this isn’t East Coast, ESPN bias). I just like the Red Sox rotation and the move of Papelbon back to closer.
Now, read this:
San Diego, CA: What are the Indians’ chances this year? Jerry: I know the Indians are a fashionable pick in the AL Central, but I still don’t think they’re as good as
Detroit. And I’m not sold on that bullpen.
I have no idea how Crasnick can pick the Red Sox to make the World Series with their horrendous bullpen (yes I’m including Papelbon), but pick against the Indians because of their (admittedly) subpar bullpen. Remember, the rotation he likes so much is now Papelbon-less. Well, maybe he’s picking Boston because they have a better offense that can overcome their horrendous, shitty, godawful bullpen. Let’s see, Baseball Prospectus projects the Red Sox to score 894 runs, and give up 804. They project the Indians to score 858, and allow 763. Red Sox run differential = 90; Indians’ = 95. Nope, not good enough. In fact, BP projects each team to finish with a 90-72 record, based on these differentials.
The Indians and Red Sox are of about equal quality teams. I don’t disagree with Crasnick in that the Red Sox could get to the World Series, and that the Indians might not make the playoffs. This is, after all, baseball. Anything can happen. But considering all the (readily available) information that even a lazy college kid (that would be me) can find, Crasnick’s answers to these two questions are pretty inconsistent. And also, it’s not like it’s his job or anything. Oh wait.