We’re Number 15! We’re Number 15!

I’m putting together a look at how some of the online pubs and soothsayers foresee the Cubs season ahead. In the meantime, the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview edition is on the street. SI has the Cubs pegged for second in the NL Central, behind the Cards and out of the post-season picture. The magazine, which ranks the Cubs as MLB’s 15th strongest club overall, figures the Brewers, Astros, Pirates and Reds will fall in order behind our heroes in the Central. In a sidebar to Albert Chen’s full preview of the Cubs, Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus suggests that the Cubs would be 39 runs better off by the end of the season if Michael Barrett hit leadoff and Alfonso Soriano batted cleanup. The conclusion is based on a computer simulation of the season using BP’s PECOTA projections. I agree with the notion that Soriano could help the team more if he hit further down in the lineup, though Matt Murton would strike me as a better replacement in the top spot than Barrett. Still, it’s kind of a cool idea. I wonder if they’d kick Barrett out of the catchers union if he told them he was batting first.
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Comments

I think the Tigers were looking at IRod to leadoff

Doesn't Jason Kendall also lead off occasionally for the A's?

Sheff-

Yes Kendall does.

Red face and red nose Tony Larussa-

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/20...

evidently edmonds is feeling a little better...their local rag has him maybe even back by this weekend and having a shot at breaking with the team out of ST.

Edmonds takes a little hiatus to Key West and is all better. Like someone gave him a kick in the pants "sort of speak".

# 15 sounds about right. The Cubs are a much better ballclub and no longer have an idiot as manager, but they still do have issues.

I'm not convinced Detroit will be great again this year. Interesting to see if Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman regress given heavy workloads of the past. And if Kenny Rogers starts acting his age. Plus their lineup is nothing to write home about. Pudge Rodriquez has caught nearly 2,000 games for his career and is bound to slow down in a big way. So too is Gary Sheffield.

My predictions

NL Central...Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Pirates, Reds, Astros

NL East...Mets, Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Nationals

NL West...Dodgers, Padres, Giants, D-Backs, Rockies

AL East...Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, Blue Jayes, D-Rays

AL Central...White Sox, Twins, Tigers, Indians, Royals

AL West...Angels, Rangers, Mariners, A's

I thought of Jason Kendall after posting the piece. Also, many years ago, the Expos had a catcher named Ron Brand who also played some shortstop.

I always thought that was a pretty amazing combination. Of course, he stunk at both, so maybe not.

aaronb-

HAHAHAHA.

ST-
Don't underestimate the Tribe.

Brewers are over rated they are counting on Kerry... I mean Ben Sheets.

I think the Giants may be a bit tougher this year than you think. Also, the Padres won't do quite as well. Brewers over the Cubs? That's silly unless you think that all these things will happen: (1) Ben Sheets healthy all season (2) All young Brewers hitters come into their own (3) Billy Hall repeats last years production. I just don't see all that happening.

Plus, you're forgetting about the Cubs' secret weapon this year... MILLER! :) Now how can the Brewers beat the Cubs when we've got Miller on our side? There's just something inherantly wrong with that idea.

So Sayeth the God of WAR!

The Giants have a dreadful bullpen. That, more than anything, is why I don't like their chances. The Brewers are a very interesting team. This spring Ben Sheets has looked very solid and healthy. If he holds up, then I think they are solid competitor for the NL Central. I also think Rickie Weeks is on the verge of superstardom. But, they are a risky pick in the NL. Central.

braves up mccann 6yrs...dude had 1.something years of service time behind him. no financials ive seen yet.

McCann's annual salary breakdown over the course of the contract is as follows: $500,000 in 2007, $800,000 in '08, $3.5 million in '09, $5.5 million in '10, $6.5 million in '11 and $8.5 million in '12.

Wood got bumped from today until tomorrow, Lou said there just weren't enough inning today....although it doesn't look like the game will get in.

I thought opposite on the Giants - I see Arizona finishing ahead of them this year. The Backs O will likely be streaky but they have a very solid pitching staff.

Barrett batting leadoff?! Wow, those stats guys really think outside the box. I gotta pick up that issue just to read the sidebar.

SI had the Giants at the bottom of the NL West fwiw...

They have the potential of an pretty decent starting rotation in Zito, Cain and Lowry...but fuck, Russ Ortiz?

One Bonds injury and their lineup is for shit again.....

Beware the Rockies!!!!! they're better than people think....

D'Backs are a nice pick too....

Ouch, rotoworld says Furcal was carried off the field after colliding with Repko on a pop-up today.

j.papelbon expected to be named BOS closer according to ESPN.

game on ESPN, btw...bos/phi

Damn, I was hoping Furcal wouldn't get hurt until April 19.

Dempster may or may not be training to be a ninja...
http://www.azstarnet.com/sports/174627.php

the dude's got a sense of humor, no doubt, would love to sit near the bullpen and hear them talking it up.

sprained left ankle for Furcal, going in for X-rays though, said he appeared to be in a lot of pain...

that's funny stuff..

"I think the Giants may be a bit tougher this year than you think."

I dunno Tehmpus...I suppose if the SP K's every batter they'd be in decent shape but their D(aside from Vizquel, Winn & Alfonzo) and bully are awful. If they start Johnathan Sanchez instead of Morris or Ortiz, and insert Lincecum as closer that would be beneficial too.

"One Bonds injury and their lineup is for shit again….."

Even at 100% Bonds is not that great a player anymore. IF he played 162 games this season I would bet he would hit 30 homers. Now don't get me wrong, that's still good, but that is not much of a lineup difference maker.

Novoa optioned to AAA...via rotoworld.

Article about Prior's mechanics being the source of his problems... doesn't say exactly how or even who is suggesting this, though.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=insider...

I think Steve Stone said much the same....damn you Will Carroll and everyone else who proclaimed the mechanics master.

Well Stan McNeal said so, then it must be true. F him. He doesn't know crap.

Well a major league pitching coach said so....Stan McNeal just reported it.....a bit of a difference and particularly amusing after your rant in the previous thread about writers and coaches.

Will Carroll isn't a mechanics master. I can promise you that.

I wish that guy would have gotten the anonymous pitching coach to at least go on record with the flaw he saw in his pitching motion.

I can't see it, but I'm also not a big league pitching coach. I just play one on this blog.

hehe...I meant everyone who proclaimed Prior the mechanics master but my Carroll comment was based off his "saving the pitcher" book where he used Prior as an example of "perfect mechanics" or at least that's how I remember it.....he repeats the same thing everytime (or at least he use to), but obviously there's some flaws there.

Prior repeats the same motion everytime is what I meant.....

must start paying attention to what I write...

my anonymous source told me something i cant tell you 3 years ago, but it seems to be true and i still cant tell you, but he's right and i knew it 3 years ago...ya know, the thing i cant tell you.

brilliant article.

well fair enough crunch, but honestly this isn't revealing news, we've heard this before from a few sources.

yeah, i was just left with a "why write the article at all?" feeling...it seems to be more of a story you tell at a party with your peers more than something for public consumption.

http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/story/2007/3/2...

just need to point out that even some BCB'ers (who I also assume frequent here) seem to think us being left off is a croc of shit.

I feel better now...

I will agree that Prior has very repeatable mechanics. Big Willie Style is right about that. That motion is the same every darned time. And I personally share the sentiment that they're pretty fundamentally solid, as well.

But I don't know if they're perfect. I'd say they apparently aren't. If they were perfect, HE WOULDNT BE THROWING 84.

Pagan 8
Theriot 4
Lee 3
Ramirez 5
Jones 9
Barrett 2
Murton 7
Izturis 6
Prior 1

Pads sending their A group for the most part:

M Giles 4
B Giles 9
A Gonzalez 3
Bard 2
Cameron 8
Greene 6
Kouzmanoff 5
Sledge 7
Maddux 1

Are they going to play the game?

Yeah, it's on.

gameday thread up...

Len says he thinks that rain won't be a problem.

'Sweet Lou' will be 'Blue Lou' by the end of the season. He after all is a Cub now.

Former Dodger Mike Marshall (the pitcher) was actually one of the first guys I heard to go on record on criticizing Prior's mechanics. I think he actually said that he had among the worst he'd ever seen. I can't believe Wood's wouldn't be worse, but I can't imagine the Hawpe liner off of his elbow, and getting dumped on his shoulder in the M.Giles collision helped either. I won't even go into the alleged roids rumors or how Baker used him in 2003.

For what it's worth, Baseball America picks the Cubs fifth in the NL Central, just ahead of the Pirates.

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