Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Triple-R Game 2013: Regression

(Sorry, Kuroda fans.  Don't expect a repeat of 2012.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Last year I introduced a simple, mainly space-filling post series during the offseason doldrums of January as a way to start laying the groundwork for season preview posts and setting my own personal expectations for the season.  If you remember it from last year, I called it the "Triple-R Game," the three R's standing for regress, remain, and rebound, and the whole point was to go through the projected 25-man roster and predict whether each played was due to regress from his previous season production, rebound from it, or remain at the same level.  I was admittedly inconsistent with my predictions at best.  I completely botched the infield, pretty much nailed the outfield, and was about 50/50 with the entire pitching staff.

The 2013 edition of the Triple-R Game is starting up later than it did last year, but with the shiny new toy syndrome of Spring Training wearing off, most of the top prospects getting reassigned to MiL camp, and season preview time not too far away, it seems like the perfect time.  I figured it was easier to split the groups up by expected "R" outcome rather than position this year, so we'll start off with the regressors.

Derek Jeter- Even before he went down with the broken ankle, I was already expecting Jeter to not match his 2012 production in 2013.  Hell, I didn't expect him to come close to doing what he did in 2012 to begin with.  Now that Jeter is still working on recovering from his surgery instead of preparing for the season, I'm even more inclined to expect serious regression from his 2012 output.  Hopefully the slow start to the season will help him from getting too worn down at the end of the season, but I don't see another Silver Slugger in the cards for him.

Ichiro Suzuki- To clarify, I expect Ichiro to regress from his post-trade .342 wOBA.  People can talk all they want about how he was rejuvenated by the trade and how his game plays up a bit hitting in YS3 and how his speed is a weapon, but the plain simple truth is that the larger sample sizes from the previous two and a half years don't support the theory that Ichiro can keep taht .342 wOBA pace up for a full season.  I expect a final line similar to what his 2012 total ended up being (.283/.307/.390).

Hiroki Kuroda- Most people didn't expect Kuroda to come over to the AL at his age and have the kind of success he had in 2012, but after watching him pitch a few games I was convinced that what we saw last year was real.  I don't expect Kuroda to be bad in 2013, I just don't see a repeat of last season, especially after his high IP count.  He'll still be a solid #2 starter, but I'd look for a slash line in the mid-to-high 3s.

Andy Pettitte- I know he continues to defy Father Time, but Andy was on a ridiculous pace last year before that damn Kotchman comebacker took him out.  His ERA and FIP were the lowest they'd been in seven years; his strikeout rate was higher than it had been in eight.  There's just no way, even if he manages to stay healthy, that Pettitte strikes out eight and a quarter batters/9 again this season.  No way.  Like Kuroda, I think Andy will have a slash in the mid-to-high 3s range and that's more than enough to be a very good #3.

Boone Logan- The writing is already on the wall for 2013 to be a lost season for Logan as far as I'm concerned, and I've all but got the late April-early May "Boone Logan hits the DL with elbow problems" post written in my head, with the "Logan to have TJS and miss the rest of the season" post not far behind.  The dude just got plain overworked last year, and that's not his fault.  But his body clearly isn't responding positively to that workload in camp this spring and if he does pitch I expect the velocity on his fastball to be slower, the bite on his slider to be weaker, and his stats to plunge as a result.

David Aardsma- This one is kind of a gut feeling, but that's about all anybody can have with Aardsma since he's only pitched one Major League inning in the last two years.  Before he started having health problems, Aardsma had the two best seasons of his career in 2009 and 2010 for the Mariners.  He averaged about a 3.00/3.50 ERA/FIP split in those two seasons, but his numbers before that weren't all that great.  Between the lost time, the injuries, and the fact that he's never been much of a control pitcher, I don't see Aardsma throwing up a 3.00/3.50 line in 2013.

** Coming up tomorrow- The Remainers. **

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