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Community Projections: Number One and Number Two

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As the lollygaggers straggle in before the first full squad workout tomorrow, as Garner is ending the questions about Morgan Ensberg's status, as Alyson Footer is having video of herself posted at astros.com, and most importantly, as I prepare for a second consecutive weekend trip up to Astros camp, I thought it might be time to return to our Community Projections.

Since we'll all probably want to know a little bit more about how the race for the rightfielder's spot goes this spring before predicting numbers for Luke, and since I felt that projecting offensive stats for Brad Ausmus might degenerate into a grisly exercise in negativity, why don't we start on the pitching staff?

How about our number one and our number two?

Since 2004, only Livan Hernandez has thrown more innings than Roy Oswalt, and no-one, according to Lee Sinins, has more neutral wins. Not even Johan Santana. In looser terms, you can say that Oswalt is the best and most durable pitcher in baseball over the last three years. And everyone expects that dominance and durability to continue. Phil Garner, if you caught the Footer interview, jokingly suggested 25 or 30 wins.

And back on Planet Earth, ZIPS suggests 34 starts, 18 wins and a 3.17 ERA. And while PECOTA actually has the balls to predict a 14 - 10 and a 3.69 ERA record for Roy*, it still calls him a horse at 213 innings.

I'll tell you right here: I don't know about the innings pitched, anything can happen, but I'd put a paycheck down that Oswalt doesn't have a 3.69 ERA in 2007. After six years in the majors, his highest ERA came in 2004, when he posted a 3.49. His career ERA is 3.05, and his career component ERA is 3.18. So take the under, folks.

PECOTA predicts Jennings at 11 - 11 with a 4.23. I'd imagine he'll win more than 11 even if his ERA doesn't end up 5% better than league average as PECOTA predicts. PECOTA also says that there's only a 5% chance that Jennings has a breakout season, but then again, maybe that's because last year was the breakout. It does go on to say* that there is a 33% chance of improvement for Jennings in 2007.

Which sounds as fair as can be.

So time to give it up, folks. For our staff ace, for the man with the scowl, for the pitcher who walks off the mound with more disdain for the hitter than anyone in baseball, for the soon-to-be eighth pitcher in team history to win 100 games in his career, please predict:

Wins
ERA
Strikeouts
Walks
Hit Batters

And for the new guy, give your best guess at

Wins
Losses
ERA
Home Runs Allowed
Walks

Here are some stats.

Royboy
W L G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP ERA WHIP
2006 15 8 33 32 220 2/3 220 76 73 18 38 166 6 2.98 1.17
6-Yr Avg 16 8 31 30 200 1/3 192 74 68 16 44 169 7 3.05 1.18
JJ
Year W L G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO   HBP ERA  WHIP
2006 9 13 32 32 212    206 94 89 17 85 142 3 3.78 1.37
6-Yr Avg 10 9 26 26 156 2/3 172 88 83 17 71 104 5 4.74 1.55

You can still place your bets for the Captain and the Kid, the Killer E's, and the Boppers at the clickable links just placed. Those who participate in all segments will of course have the best chance at the baseball cards.

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*I never get tired of that lame little joke they make where they pretend that PECOTA is a human being instead of an algorithm.