Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves delivers to a Washington Nationals batter at Nationals Park on March 31, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Ten More Rookie Predictions
Here ten more rookie predictions. Although each of them is intended to be plausible, this is just for fun. Don't take these especially seriously.
Dustin Ackley, 2B, Seattle Mariners: Send to Triple-A to begin the season, Ackley will provide better defense than expected, but get off to a surprisingly slow start offensively. His bat will come alive in late June, he will reach the majors in late July, then have the same pattern: a slow start, followed by good hitting late in the year setting him up for success in 2012.
J.P. Arencibia, C, Toronto Blue Jays: Arencibia will hold his job all year, hitting .239 with a .304 OBP and 21 homers.
Brandon Beachy, RHP, Atlanta Braves: Beachy will very quietly have a nice rookie year, going 10-13 due to shaky run support but a 109 ERA+ in 175 innings of work. His best game will be a three-hit complete game, 102-pitch shutout against the San Diego Padres in late June.
Zach Britton, LHP, Baltimore Orioles: Replacing the injured Brian Matusz in the rotation, Britton will alternate good outings with bad ones (resulting in an ERA over 5.00) and get sent back to Triple-A when Matusz comes off the DL in late May. He will completely dominate the International League, be promoted back to Baltimore in early August, and have an outstanding six-start stretch until being shut down for precautionary workload reasons in September.
Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Kansas City Royals: Jeffress will hold his roster spot all season but won't be used in high-leverage situations very often. He'll finish with 62 innings pitched, with a 51/39 K/BB ratio and an ERA of 4.70. He'll get one save opportunity late in the year and blow it. He'll also hit 100 MPH on several occasions.
Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Atlanta Braves: Kimbrel will hold the closer job through late July and pitch quite well until he goes on the disabled list with a knee injury. He'll return in early September and pick up right where he left off, but misses enough pitching time to fall out of ROY consideration. He ends up with a 56/28 K/BB in 49 innings, 18 saves, and a 119 ERA+.
Cory Luebke, LHP, San Diego Padres: Luebke opens the year in the Padres bullpen and pitches well due to sharp control, leading to some spot starts and an eventual look in the rotation in August. He finishes with 87 innings pitched, an ERA+ of 107, a 65/17 K/BB ratio, and a "pay close attention to this guy" rating as he heads into 2012 as a starter.
Brent Morel, 3B, Chicago White Sox: Morel hits well in April, poorly in May, well in June, poorly in July, well in August, and poorly in September, but plays well enough with the glove to stay in the lineup despite his very streaky hitting. He finishes at .261/.329/.422 but quietly swipes 17 bases.
Michael Pineda, RHP, Seattle Mariners: Pineda will have several brilliant outings in April and May, leading to "Duke Michael" parallels with "King Felix" ("Duke" instead of "Prince" because "Prince Michael" doesn't sound too dominant). He'll have some bad starts in June, go on the DL in July with a sore elbow and scare the hell out of everyone, but come back healthy and sound in September.
Jordan Walden, RHP, Los Angeles Angels: Walden will thrive in the seventh and eighth innings, then move into the closer role in June after the Angels give up on Fernando Rodney and his 5.90 ERA. Walden's walk rate will creep up as the season progresses and he'll have some rough patches, but he'll end up with 20 saves, a great K/IP ratio, and a 112 ERA+.