In the next month or so there will be plenty of books and magazines coming out with projections for the 2012 season.
I like looking at them – not because they are accurate; many times they aren't – but because it gives me an idea of how others view specific Orioles.
One of the first ones out, and one that I always page through, is Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster. It’s sort of geared for fantasy baseball players and it has tons of advanced metrics and formulas that the true seamhead can enjoy.
But it also projects the basic stats that most of us recognize without a glossary.
I've put together Shandler's list of projections for some key Orioles, but I wanted to also share with you a few things that stuck out to me. It's just one person's opinion and doesn't really mean anything, but I figured I'd pass on some of his observations.
For one, Shandler lists 100 impact prospects for 2012, guys who didn't play much or at all in the majors last year. He bases it on who he thinks will have a big-league impact in 2012 – not necessarily the best prospects in the minors. And of Shandler's 100, none is an Oriole. Ouch. Makes complete sense, though. The Orioles' top prospects, pitcher Dylan Bundy and infielders Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, aren't expected to be in Baltimore next season.
Shandler projects that Kevin Gregg will save 20 games and Jim Johnson will save 10; in 2011, Gregg had 22 and Johnson had nine. Based on Johnson's numbers, including his strikeouts per nine innings, strikeout-walk ratio and last year's workload, Shandler thinks Johnson should still project as a set-up man. He's not exactly in love with Gregg, either, calling the 34-year-old "riskier than ever" for fantasy closer purposes.
Here's what Shandler had to say about new Orioles starter Tsuyoshi Wada. It was written before he signed with the Orioles: "The diminutive 30-year-old has only an average fastball at best, but is very savvy and has good command of his off pitches. He could be a decent, end-of-the-rotation (starter), but that depends almost entirely where he ends up."
And here’s part of what Shandler says about catcher Matt Wieters: “For those taken in by the premature hype but then got impatient, you missed the boat. It only gets better from here. Upside: 30 home runs.”
Here are key Orioles 2011 stats followed by Shandler's projections for 2012: