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Projections: Pitchers and Catchers

 
 By Lucas Ruprecht and Brian Mead

They're here!

It's not too early start thinking about 2007. For starters, PROTRADE has released its first edition of the most comprehensive, analytically sound projections for next season. Let's start with pitchers and catchers.

PROTRADE Projections

Projections 101
Middle Infielders
Corner Infielders
Outfielders

On PROTRADE.com, the fantasy baseball season never ends.The 2007 crop of MLB players is now available to buy and sell.

Join our Hot Stove Challenge. Build the 2007 MLB portfolio that appreciates the most and win prizes and cash.

Starters and relievers. Two sides of the same coin.

While one pitcher from either group can put your fantasy team -- or PROTRADE Sports Stock Market portfolio -- in contention, there's simply no such thing as a 21st-century hurler who can cover all five fantasy categories with value to spare. In other words, the days of Mike Marshall are long behind us.

And so they exist together, despite having different roles with slightly different goals.

The names near the top of this list will surprise no one.
Johan Santana has been the best pitcher in the world since 2004, and our 2007 projection for him reflects that. There aren't many pitchers, let alone players, who show this type
of consistency, but Santana is one of them. As a result, the difference between him and the second-best
pitcher in the Majors is gargantuan. But will he stay healthy enough to earn the $260 we're projecting for him? It seems that only a bum elbow could keep him from doing it.

While the names at the top of the reliever rankings are just as predictable, it's interesting to consider how much things can change in a year's time. J.J. Putz? Takashi Saito? These hurlers have certainly earned their spots among the bigger names, but who could have predicted a year ago that they would be here? And does this say more about closers as a group or Putz and Saito as individuals? Research would suggest the former, so when it comes to investing in relievers, remember those two famous words: Buyer beware.


 Closer Projections (12/12/06)
Rk Pitcher IP Sv W Ks ERA WHIP EARN
1 Joe Nathan 72 40 6 91 2.80 1.10 171.4
2 Francisco Rodriguez 71 45 3 95 2.89 1.12 170.8
3 Billy Wagner 69 40 4 89 2.69 1.07 162.6
4 J.J. Putz 73 39 4 85 2.76 1.07 161.6
5 B.J. Ryan 73 41 3 95 2.97 1.15 160.7
6 Huston Street 74 43 4 69 3.02 1.10 159.9
7 Bobby Jenks 72 41 4 89 3.14 1.17 158.0
8 Takashi Saito 71 31 5 96 2.52 1.02 156.7
9 Mariano Rivera 74 42 5 64 3.18 1.12 155.8
10 Brad Lidge 73 38 3 99 2.85 1.13 155.5
11 Francisco Cordero 63 41 6 71 3.38 1.22 154.4
12 Trevor Hoffman 66 44 2 63 3.50 1.14 143.5
13 Brian Fuentes 69 34 4 83 3.42 1.19 137.3
14 Chad Cordero 71 33 6 66 3.89 1.17 134.3
15 Chris Ray 71 35 4 64 2.93 1.27 134.1


 Starter Projections (12/12/06)
Rk Pitcher GS IP W Ks ERA WHIP EARN
1 Johan Santana 33 226 21 241 2.83 1.14 257.9
2 Jake Peavy 33 219 17 213 2.90 1.21 216.4
3 Chris Carpenter 33 228 20 172 3.13 1.24 205.6
4 Roy Oswalt 34 234 19 167 3.11 1.23 204.4
5 Brandon Webb 33 231 20 167 3.21 1.27 198.7
6 Roy Halladay 32 220 20 138 3.28 1.18 194.5
7 John Smoltz 32 212 18 168 3.37 1.23 186.4
8 Carlos Zambrano 33 214 17 197 3.50 1.32 184.9
9 John Lackey 33 217 17 190 3.48 1.27 184.5
10 Chris Young 32 192 19 162 3.45 1.26 184.1
11 Ben Sheets 28 175 15 158 2.86 1.14 183.5
12 C.C. Sabathia 32 220 16 168 3.18 1.26 182.9
13 Aaron Harang 34 226 16 173 3.22 1.26 182.8
14 Curt Schilling 31 204 16 167 3.47 1.18 182.1
15 Mike Mussina 32 197 20 147 3.59 1.20 182.0
16 Brett Myers 32 204 15 174 3.24 1.27 175.3
17 Danny Haren 34 223 17 157 3.51 1.25 174.3
18 Jeremy Bonderman 33 208 17 168 3.54 1.28 171.4
19 Randy Johnson 30 186 17 171 3.86 1.25 170.6
20 Felix Hernandez 32 197 14 168 3.19 1.25 170.0




CATCHERS


Long regarded as little more than dead weight on a fantasy roster, the catching position has seen a renaissance over the last 10 years, and the good times don't look they'll be stopping soon. With the likes of Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, Brian McCann and an aging but productive Mike Piazza still filling out MLB rosters, the current crop of signal callers is productive as ever.

And even if you're unable to snag one of the three elites, there's potential value to be had in other places as well. Josh Bard, for instance, is coming off a career year in San Diego, hitting .338 with 28 extra-base hits in just 260 plate appearances. We currently have him ranked 20th at his position. Will he keep it up and obliterate that $80 projection? And what about Kenji Johjima of the Mariners? KJ hit .291 with 18 homers in his first exposure to American League competition. Will a greater familiarity with the league translate into increased production, making that $136 projection seem antiquated?

At this point, only time will tell.

 Catcher Projections (12/12/06)
Player Team AVG HR RBI R SB EARN
Joe Mauer Twins .333 16.3 83.3 85.3 6.3 199.21
Victor Martinez Indians .303 20.8 92.6 75 0 175.18
Brian McCann Braves .315 22.7 85 63.5 3.4 172.90
Mike Piazza Athletics .280 26.1 80.5 61.6 0 146.62
Jorge Posada Yankees .265 26.6 86 67.3 0 146.43
Ivan Rodriguez Tigers .297 11.8 72.1 67.1 5.7 143.65
Russell Martin Dodgers .293 13 65.2 66.4 6.3 136.74
Kenji Johjima Mariners .290 15.1 70.6 62.1 4.1 136.17
Ramon Hernandez Orioles .266 19.5 77.6 65.4 1.7 130.45
A.J. Pierzynski White Sox .291 13.2 68.5 60.4 0.7 125.71
Jason Kendall Athletics .299 1.4 48.7 79.3 7.3 123.95
Michael Barrett Cubs .283 15 65.9 62.4 0 121.25
Paul Lo Duca Mets .304 7.8 55.2 59.2 2.6 119.36
Jason Varitek Red Sox .266 15.6 70.4 60.6 3.2 118.87
Mike Napoli Angels .237 22.1 62.4 61.9 2.4 112.28
Miguel Olivo Marlins .245 17.2 59.1 54.9 3.6 97.63
Johnny Estrada Brewers .290 10.2 59.5 39.9 0 95.32
David Ross Reds .246 19.8 56.5 44.8 0 94.40
Bengie Molina Blue Jays .272 11.3 57.3 45 0.9 90.63
Josh Bard Padres .279 9 44 45.8 0 80.40


Lucas Ruprecht and Brian Mead are analysts with PROTRADE.com: the Sports Stock Market. For more analysis, weekly projections and a new spin on fantasy, visit PROTRADE. On PROTRADE.com, the Sports Stock Market, the Fantasy baseball season never ends. The 2007 crop of MLB players has now been released for traders to buy and sell. Join our 'Hot Stove Challenge.'Build the 2007 MLB portfolio that appreciates the most and win prizes and cash. It's free.


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