17 February 2010
2010 Fan Projections: As we fight our way through January and February towards the start of a new baseball season, we'll be looking at each player on the Red Sox roster and predicting how they will perform in 2010. But we want you guys to get in on the action too! Use the form at the bottom of each post to submit your projections for each player. After the 2010 season, we'll announce who did the best and award some prizes to the winners!
Click a name to make other 2010 projections:
Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP
After winning 18 games and posting a 2.90 ERA in 2008, Matsuzaka missed most of the 2009 season due to injury. As if that didn't make our job difficult enough, Dice-K managed to won those 18 games while walking 94 batters (most in the AL) and averageing just 5.7 innings per start. In short... I'm still not sure how he did it.
So what can we expect from Matsuzaka in 2010? Until this morning, I had expected great things after hearing reports that he was in great shape and had been training at API... but after arriving in Fort Myers, Dice-K told Japanese reporters that he is dealing with a sore back and Theo Epstein now plans to ease him into the ST routine.
Matsuzaka should be ready for Opening Day, but you have to wonder if his body is starting to show signs of wear and tear after throwing over 1,400 innings in Japan from 1999 through 2006. Even during his 2008 campaign, Matsuzaka missed time in June and finished the year with 29 starts, giving him back-toback years with injury concerns.
The Sox say this back injury is minor, so let's take them at their word and assume Matsuzaka is in really good shape. Dice-K said his ineffectiveness last season (when he did pitch) was due to a leg injury that forced him to throw more with his upper body. He managed to keep his velocity in the 90s, but he was fooling anyone while attempting to change speeds and nibble at the corners. We discussed this in January and pointed out that batters hit 68% of his pitches that were out of the strikezone, up 13% from 2008. He also gave up on the curveball and threw more change-ups than ever before last season... but again, batters hit .325 against him in 2009.
What seems to work best for Matsuzaka is a more direct approach... at least early on in the count. In his first two years with Boston, he threw a first pitch strike 60% of the time. Last year it fell to 55%. Having that strike in his pocket, gives him more room for the nibbling he likes to do, but Dice-K should feel good about being aggressive with an improved defense behind him. If he stays aggressive and healthy, I expect Dice-K to do well in 2010...
Bottom Line Prediction: 30 GS, 180 IP, 15-9, 4.15 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 175 SO
Make your predictions using the form below. Just plug in your email address and the stats you expect to see from Dice-K this season and hit the SUBMIT button. We'll give away some prizes during the offseason for those who come closest...
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