Friday, April 3, 2009

Season Preview: Recalcitrant Cobbler

While it does roll off the tongue nicely, "Recalcitrant Cobbler" is just way too hard to type for a devout hunt-and-peck stylist like myself. As a result, I hereby rechristen this team "Peach Cobbler", which is both simpler to type and considerably more delicious.

This franchise is coming off a mid-pack finish last year, as the team nursed along a very young pitching staff and tried to deal with the age- or injury-related declines of multiple Yankees. They chose to keep all the young pitching in the hopes that they pull it together this season. A lot is riding on that risk, as the hitting is already injury-riddled and we haven't even made it to opening day yet.


This squad has probably the highest beta of any unit we've looked at so far. Ian Kinsler, Justin Morneau, and Prince Fielder are solid building blocks. However, things get interesting in a hurry from there. The catching will be split among the recently injured Jorge Posada and the currently injured Joe Mauer, leading to a mutant Joehay Mauada platoon that will need split-second injury timing in order to be effective. However, if the timing does work, the combined Mauada line will be fun.

There's a similar logjam at 3B, with the oft-injured Troy Glaus teaming up with the flukey Aubrey Huff. Huff is coming off a great season last year. However, we can't help but feel that Huff is pulling a Wile E. Coyote at this point--he's already run off the edge of the cliff; at some point he's going to look down, realize where he is, and plunge to his doom. Derek Jeter is cooked.

This unit is still a strength of the team, but with question marks at three spots they're going to need a bunch of things to break right here to be competitive.


Considerably more solid, with uber-stud Grady Sizemore fronting PECOTA darling Corey Hart and steady performer Jermaine Dye. The OF pool in the league is considerably shallower than it seems like it should be; this squad could be sneaky good.


Brandon Webb and a whole bunch of kids. Francisco Liriano should be all the way back from sugery and give the team a legit second ace. Joba Chamberlain and Yovani Gallardo have yet to put it together over a full season, though you'd have to think that at least one of them will make The Leap this year. John Danks is also lurking. If this team gets full seasons out of any four of these guys, they'll be in contention in the W/K/ERA/WHIP categories.

The 'pen features guys with less injury risk, but considerably more performance risk. There are three current closers on hand in former shut-in Brian Wilson, Jack "That Pederast" Hanrahan, and Brad "Ian" Ziegler, three guys who play for second division teams and have less than overwhelming major league performance records. If the starters aren't around to bail out the rate stats, these guys will drive the staff ERA and WHIP into the ground pretty quickly.


This is a very tough team to predict, given the injury concerns and the youthful staff. As we'll see in a bit, PECOTA deals with the risk by splitting the difference and calling for a mid-pack finish. Probably not going to hit the board, but certainly one to watch.

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