Yes, this is the time of year that brings a lot of predictions, where authors spend a day voicing their opinion as boldly as possible, then spend most of the rest of the year trying to make people forget about what they said. I thought I’d try something different: Do a post that provides some points we can argue either side of, then let the discussion go from there. So, here are my over/unders for the 2012 season:
Over/Under Number One: 19 homeruns for Mat Gamel
A month ago, most people would have took the under on this, but Gamel’s extremely promising Spring has raised expectations significantly. Gamel certainly has the power to hit 20 homers a year, but whether he will get the necessary amount of playing time or make enough contact are both still in question.
Over/Under Number Two: .305 BABIP for Zack Greinke
Greinke’s season will be one to watch for the statistically-minded among us, thanks to the conundrum that has been mentioned here enough times already: Going by traditionally defense-independent stats, Greinke is an ace-level starter, but the righty has a strange track record of getting hit harder than it would seem he should. We’ll see if the exorcism of Yuniesky Betancourt, Casey McGehee, and Prince Fielder from the Brewers infield (and hopefully some regression to the mean) will bring with it a season more in line with Greinke’s perceived talents.
Over/Under Number Three: 90 innings for Marco Estrada
The de facto sixth starter, Estrada is going to be the first option to enter the rotation if any of the Brewers’ starters go down. As an emergency option, you could do far worse, but Estrada is likely to fall short over an extended stint. If the rotation regulars miss enough time for Estrada to get more innings than he did last year, the Brewers might be in trouble.
Over/Under Number Four: .280 batting average for Ryan Braun in April
I was hoping to avoid this, but it’s an ugly truth: Braun is going to spend most of the season under a very powerful microscope, and the focus is going to be even narrower at the beginning of the season. Even if a slow start by Braun isn’t the end of the world, it will probably be the target of a comparable amount of news coverage, whining, and conspiracy theories. We all really need to hope that this becomes a non-issue as soon as possible.
Over/Under Number Five: 100 OPS+ from Nyjer Morgan
This could be important for a quite a few reasons, but we’ll cut ourselves off at two: For one, the Brewers will be counting on Morgan’s bat this season in a way they weren’t when they picked him up on the penultimate day of camp last year. Second, Morgan suffered drops in offense with each of his last two clubs (Pittsburgh and Washington), and nearly as soon as his bat went, his likability did, too. I don’t think anyone here wants to see Morgan go from a “great character” to an “annoying psychopath.”
Have a strong (or lukewarm) opinion on any (or all) of these? Let your voice be heard in the comments or on Twitter (@TheBrewersBar, @n_prill, or @andycoppens.)