"Guess the Rotation" Results
So the reason we posted the "Guess the Rotation" contest on Wednesday was because - well, because people would have to make their choices before, say, one of the presumed starters went down with soreness in his forearm.
With that, I'll disclose how I picked mine last Tuesday.
Moments afterward, I thought about Matt Chico, and his 31 starts last year. There was much discussion about him in the "Guess the Rotation" post, and Manny Acta has said it will be awfully hard not to include him because of all he did in 2007, not flinching when he was basically being thrown to the wolves. There's a bit of a division in the organization about him, with some folks liking his demeanor and thinking he can learn to be a true finesse lefty, and others just thinking his stuff is a tad sub-par.
But you know what? The kid had never pitched above Class AA before last year, and he posted a 4.63 ERA. You know what the National League average for a starter was? That would be 4.64.
With that, I officially regret leaving Chico off my list.
Injuries, of course, will play a significant part in determining the 2008 rotation that starts the season. Remember last year: Jason Simontacchi had basically sealed up a spot midway through spring training, but he tweaked a groin muscle, and that opened a spot for Jason Bergmann. So the breakdown last year went like this:
1. John Patterson
2. Shawn Hill
3. Matt Chico
4. Jason Bergmann
5. Jerome Williams
Obviously, the rotation from the first five games changes much over the course of a season. I mean, Levale Speigner started as many games (six) as did Jerome Williams. Tim Redding, Joel Hanrahan, Mike Bacsik, Jason Simontacchi and - for goodness sake - Micah Bowie all started more games than Bowie. This is, as they say, a fluid situation.
This year, we had 80-something votes, so it's a fairly good sample. And remember, this was before Shawn Hill's forearm situation. Just like last year, I awarded five points for a first-place vote, four for a second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. People who wussed out and split their votes had them divided evenly (except for the person who tried to split one vote three ways; that one was discarded).
So without further ado, here we go:
1. Shawn Hill, 388 points (47 first-place votes)
2. John Patterson, 378 (39)
3. Jason Bergmann, 215 (3)
4. Odalis Perez, 145
5. Matt Chico, 108.5
6. Tim Redding, 47
7. John Lannan, 20.5
8. Tyler Clippard, 14
9. Collin Balester, 10.5
10. Garrett Mock, 5.5
11. The raccoon from 2007, 1
(Naturally, I have a soft spot for the raccoon, but I think being tossed n that cage took something off his fastball. I really haven't seen him around this spring.)
Some other stuff from the voting. Patterson and Hill each appeared on 86 ballots, Bergmann on 80. Three people gave Odalis Perez second-place votes. Only one voted for Chico second, and 14 people voted for him third, even though he was third out of the block last year.
Moving on. I have passed on 15 of your questions to Jason Bergmann (who is, at last check, healthy). Hopefully we'll get an early-week post out of that. You can read the assessment of Hill's injury here, and Boz's take on Patterson and Hill and how this all affects the staff here. There's a notebook full of stuff that NJ readers probably know about here.
And, finally, metro reporter Dan Leduc, who is in charge of reporting on the ballpark and the development around it, has this take on the ongoing work there. There's also a photo gallery on the ballpark to go along with it, with recent photos and some dating back to last year, showing the progress.
I'll be traveling to Kissimmee on Sunday morning for a split-squad game against the Astros. Most of the regulars are headed that way, while a few - I believe Cristian Guzman and Lastings Milledge among them - will be in Fort Lauderdale for the Orioles. Garrett Mock going against Baltimore, with Steven Shell going against the Astros. (I'm disappointed not to get another chance to see Mock.)
Enjoy your Sunday morning.
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