UCB Roundtables

The United Cardinal Bloggers group features various projects that the members collaborate on throughout the year. Some of the most popular of these projects is the February round-table discussions.

Day One of these discussions was kicked off by the great site Cardinals GM. You can read that first discussion regarding the membership’s trust of the 2011 Cardinal bullpen by clicking here. Of course, you can always keep track of all the discussions, and the upcoming schedule, by dropping by the official site located here.

Day Two of these discussions belongs to I-70 Baseball and I asked the membership to give me some predictions on four key players on the Cardinals roster this year. I asked for slash line predictions and a short paragraph if they so desired on the following:

Potential MVP – Albert Pujols
Potential CYA – Adam Wainwright
Needs a good year – David Freese
Was he worth it – Lance Berkman

Here is what the faithful had to say:

Mark, Retrosimba

Albert Pujols: .325/40/115.

He’s either playing for a big free-agent contract or playing to justify a huge contract extension.

Adam Wainwright: 17-7/2.95.

If the elbow is good, so is Wainwright.

David Freese: .290/15/70.

He can produce if healthy.

Lance Berkman: .280/24/80.

Seems motivated to show he still has something to offer.

J.D., Bleed Cardinal Red With Me

Albert Pujols: .323 BA/.440 OBP/38 HR/122 RBI

Keeps up Pujols numbers and walks away to the Mets or Dodgers in FA

Adam Wainwright: 22-7 W-L/2.60 ERA/1.05 WHIP/230 IP/210 K’s

Has better numbers than Halladay and Lincecum, but gets 2nd or 3rd in CY again

David Freese: .285 BA/.350 OBP/15 HR/75 RBI

Just hoping for health.

Berkman: .290 BA/.390 OBP/25 HR/95 RBI

Becomes our 1st baseman on a 2 year contract after Pujols leaves

Daniel, C70 At The Bat

Albert Pujols .315/36/115

Age gets to AP a little bit, but not enough to effect his earnings potential (if he is indeed a free agent at the end of the year) or to make us regret a huge contract (if he’s signed before the season starts).

Adam Wainwright 16-8, 3.12 ERA, 200 K

Two superb years in a row, so I’m thinking maybe a small step back. Still the ace of the rotation, though.

David Freese .285/18/72

Hopefully Freese will be out there on a regular basis, staying healthy and all that. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t have at least one stretch where he sits on the bench nursing something sore, but isn’t hurt enough to go on the DL.

Lance Berkman .282/21/84

Depending where he winds up hitting, he could be a major force in the lineup. Figure he’ll get replaced often in the seventh inning of games, but I think the bat won’t be an issue.

Dennis, Pitchers Hit Eighth

Albert Pujols – .320 AVG, .435 OBP, 38 HR, 120 RBI

I envision AP consciously taking a few less pitches this year to avoid pitcher’s counts. More aggression, fewer strikeouts to compensate for a slightly slower bat. Same phenomenal stat line.

Adam Wainwright – 20-10, 2.65 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 205 K

I believe he’s already one of the top 10 starters in the league, and he won’t do anything in 2011 to change that opinion. If anything, he may suffer from trying to be too fine at times. Even so, an ERA in the mid 2’s is nothing to scoff at.

David Freese – .305 AVG, .360 OBP, 14 HR, 85 RBI

When healthy, Freese may be one of the most efficient run producers on the team. If he gives the team 600+ plate appearances, I have a lot of faith that the team will be fine. When you consider what was lost when he went down, it’s impressive that the team stayed in the race as long as it did last season.

Lance Berkman – .275 AVG, .330 OBP, 20 HR, 80 RBI

This stat line is more of an expectation than a prediction. It’s really hard to get value out of an $8M deal for a rightfielder.

Steve, The Outfield Ivy

Albert Pujols: .322/40/119 and lets tack on 12 steals.

Always dominating and just playing his game. Big Al posts another incredible MVP-worthy season and further cements himself as a Hall of Famer.

Adam Wainwright: 18-9/2.83/192Ks

A little regression after his stellar 2010 season. But still gets to pitch in the NL Central with a lineup that includes Pujols, Holliday,
& Berkman.

David Freese: .267/10/62

He had a great start last year and will be dependable at 3rd. But I don’t see him developing more power in the majors and posting 20-25 homeruns with 90+ RBIs as he did in high A and triple A ball.

Larry Walker, um I mean Lance Berkman: Yes. he was worth it. .272/22/82

He can still hit. Whether he needs the occasional day or half day off (late inning, pinch-hitting duties) he was worth it. What would you rather have in right field; Berkman at 1yr/$8M or Kosuke Fukudome at 1yr/13.5M

Christine, G9 Sports

Albert Pujols .329 avg/45 HR/123 RBI

Adam Wainwright 18-7, 3.05 ERA, 211 K

David Freese .285 avg/17 HR/72 RBI/145 games played (seems a relevant number)

Lance Berkman .292 avg/35 HR/107 RBI

I will keep with the optimistism during my January headlines prediction

Aaron, El Maquino

Albert: .320/48/130, NLMVP

Waino: 21-9/2.90/210, NLCY

Iceman: .315/15/75

Berkman: .275/25/80

Dustin, Welcome To Baseball Heaven

Albert Pujols – .323 AVG, 43 HR, 132 RBI, .432 OBP

Whether this is an audition year or year one of a new mega deal with the Cardinals I expect a motivated Albert Pujols.

Adam Wainwright – 18-8, 2.74 ERA, 225 K, 1.20 WHIP

The ‘Ace’ of the rotation will put together another fantastic season. I’m leaning towards the strikeouts and walks escalating due to a mindset of a slightly downgraded defense. Maybe trying to do too much at times instead of pitching to contact.

David Freese – .292 AVG, 16 HR, 78 RBI, .358 OBP

I’m basing this outcome on a healthy season. I try and take the optimistic approach with anything Cardinals. If David can stay on the field I look for a very solid campaign.

Lance Berkman – .278 AVG, 24 HR, 84 RBI, .390 OBP

I really do think we’ll see an energized and refreshed Berkman. He’s only 1 year removed from a similar stat line. The thing that really worries me is him playing a full season in the outfield. Good communication will be needed between himself and TLR about him getting off days when needed. I’m sure he’ll also cover Albert’s 3 off days at 1st as well.

Bob, The Outside Corner

Albert Pujols – .328 32 HR 105 RBIs. For only the 3rd time in his career, his OPS drops below 1.000

Albert does indeed sign a long term contract, and in doing so, plays extra hard to prove to the fans and ownership that he is worth it. He will try to run down a ball in foul territory and have a run-in with the tarp, slipping and injuring his leg. He will miss nearly a month of the season, but will return as it nothing had happened. He will rally late, and maintain his streak of 100 RBIs.

Adam Wainwright – 22-8 2.85 ERA. Cy Young Award winner

For all of the talk of the Phillies rotation, Wainwright will be the star pitcher in the National League in 2011. He will lead the league in wins and be third or fourth in ERA, that that will be enough to earn him the Cy Young Award he deserved in 2009.

David Freese is hit by a piece of the International Space Station while taking batting practice in Jupiter, Florida and will miss the entire 2011 season. OK, maybe that was an exaggeration.

David Freese – .305 15 HR 105 RBIs

On paper, the starting 8 of the 2011 Cardinals remind me a lot of the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers. They had unbelievable production up and down the batting order. This team may not hit home runs with the regularity of Harvey’s Wallbangers, but the high on-base percentages the heart of the order will put up will give ample RBI opportunities for Freese. His production will look more like a 5th place hitter than the 6th that he will actually hit.

Lance Berkman – .290 18 HR 110 RBIs OBP will approach .380

Berkman will cut down his swing significantly, due to his new role with the Cardinals. The result will be fewer home runs, but a couple of trips to Minute Maid Park will give him some chances to make a statement. Because of hard base running and astronomical on-base percentages of Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols ahead of him, the RBI numbers will rise unexpectedly.

John Mozeliak will look like a genius when Lance Berkman takes over at first base during the Pujols injury.

Dathan, Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Night

Pujols: .328/41/136

Waino: 19-9 Top 3 CY voting (w Halladay, 1 other)

Freese: If 125+ games, he’ll rake. In the lineup with Pujols, Holliday, Berkman? Yeah, he’ll get some pitches to drive–if he doesn’t produce, it won’t be due to lack of opportunity.

Berkman: .271/16/65 – Decent. Not $8MM (unless you compare his salary to good ole #26), but decent. How about I characterize this way: Less than Ludwick would’ve done in the same situation, but more than Ludwick will do, now that AGon IS Gone…from SD.

Mike, Stan Musial’s Stance

AP: .310/.400/.590, 45HR, 120 RBI.

Every time Albert’s HR production has dropped from the previous year – like his 42 in 2010, down from 47 in 2009 – he has bounced back to hit at least 5 more HR the next season. I’m going with 3 more given he’s 31 this season.

Wainwright: 230 IP, 215K, 1.200 WHIP, 18-11, 3,25 ERA.

I think Adam will suffer from weaker defense up the middle and in RF. He’ll be top 5 in the Cy Young voting.

Freese: 120 G, .285/.350/.420, 15HR, 75 RBI.

Still not convinced Freese will play more than 100 games in 2011, but let’s be optimistic shall we?

Berkman: Where does he hit in the order – 2nd? 5th? Lower? There’s no way he hits between Pujols and Holliday; I’d rather have Rasmus and his speed hit second. So assuming he hits fifth: .285/.340/.440, 15 HR 105 RBI.

I’m not convinced his power will return, but with Rasmus/Pujols/Berkman (and hopefully Theriot) on in front of him he’ll have a chance to drive in a lot of runs.

Andy, Gas House Graphs

I trust the projection systems already in place than my own knee-jerk guesstimate. In that spirit, I’ll provide the most pessimistic and optimistic predictions from the leading projection systems (Pecota, Bill James, Marcel, ZIPS, and Cairo). These systems take many things into account, but at the most basic level, they consider at least three years worth of data, the player’s age, and regress towards some mean. Each individual system follows its own model (you can find specific information about them pretty easily by conducting a Google search), but they universally take into account more than I could off of the top of my mind, and are definitely more objective, eliminating the bias of my fandom.

Marcel – .312/.413/.581, 34, 103
Bill James – .327/.436/.625, 42, 118

It doesn’t really matter which projection system you consult, Albert Pujols’ numbers are always impressive.

Cairo – .262/.374/.445, 19, 78
Bill James – .275/.393/.486, 22, 79

I’d be thrilled with that line from Bill James, but to be honest, I’d take the projection from Cairo too. I’m actually quite surprised that this is the harshest prediction I found for Berkman after last season. That should remind us just how productive he was with the bat pre-2010. He’ll be a butcher in the field, but he’ll take a lot of walks and I expect his slugging to regress positively in 2011.

Cairo – .257/.323/.399, 10, 50
Bill James – .295/.353/.452, 16, 85

That’s quite the discrepancy. Bill James has notoriously optimistic offensive projections, but some of the difference here can be attributed to playing time. Most of the other projection systems are more conservative with Freese’s estimated plate appearances. Personally, I’d take the under on James’ prediction and over on Cairo’s.

(ERA, WHIP, BB/9, K/9)
Bill James – 3.37, 1.21, 2.52 BB/9, 7.46 K/9
ZIPS – 2.85, 1.13, 2.3 BB/9, 8.13 K/9

Adam Wainwright is really good. For James, that would be Wainwright’s highest ERA since 2007, his first year as a SP. He should be better than that considering his steady progression over the past few years.

Big Thank You’s to everyone who took the time to answer the question today.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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