View Full Version : Joe Sheehan, Yankee Pariah, Predicts a Title for the Bombers

03-30-06, 09:01 AM
I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere, so I thought I'd throw it out there for those of you who have such non-fond memories of Sheehan's infamous "87 win" prediction for last year's Yankees. (Failure to foresee Cashman's in-season maneuverings, I suppose.)

The full article, for BP subscribers only, is here:


The relevant juicy excerpts, covering both the rise of the Yankees and the imminent fall of the Red Sox:

For the first time in a few years, I think the Yankees are the best AL East team heading into the season. Despite a flawed roster--lots of money invested in so-so starters, a poor bench, some aging regulars--the core talent is too good for the competition. This is a 900-run offense with Johnny Damon (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/damonjo01.php) atop the lineup, even if Damon loses some OBP in the move south. I am pretty well convinced that the team won’t endure the season with the declining Bernie Williams (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/willibe02.php) at DH, and an addition there will be the last piece of a very powerful puzzle.

I may be shorting the Yankees some runs allowed, but when you consider that a ton of things went wrong last season and they allowed just 789 tallies, an 18-run jump--roughly what I expect the league to add per team--seems fair. The front of the rotation should be more productive, an improvement that will make up, statistically, the 160-odd random good innings they got from Aaron Small (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/smallaa01.php) and Shawn Chacon (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/chacosh01.php) last year. Even with Damon, the Yankees have a so-so defense; he has more range than Williams, and that’s about all you can say. The combination of right-handed groundball pitchers Chacon and Chien-Ming Wang (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/wangch01.php) with a right side of Robinson Cano (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/canoro01.php) and Jason Giambi (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/giambja01.php) is a mismatch of Lovett/Roberts proportions. Nevertheless, the great offense will be enough for 92 wins and a ninth straight division crown.

The Red Sox are going to miss the postseason for the first time since 2002, as they’ve gotten worse enough at the plate to slide under 90 wins in a league where a number of teams are getting better. As much as I like the pickups of Hee Seop Choi (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/choihe01.php) and Wily Mo Pena (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/penawi01.php)--that’s really one tasty fusion DH--Choi won’t be starting the season in Boston and Pena may be a year away from claiming regular status. This lineup is larded with guys in their early thirties who fall short of the level of “superstar” and have shown enough decline of late to warrant concern about their 2006 performance. Their depth--the Sox’ backup infield is better than the Royals’ starters--and the lineup core still means 870 runs or so.

I’m less enamored of the pitching staff, which is relying heavily on pitchers with battered bodies who haven’t shown any indication that 2006 will be different than 2005. Trading Bronson Arroyo (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/arroybr01.php) for Pena was a good move in the long term; in the short term, it removed one reliable source of league-average innings, something this team lacks. The bullpen is also a patchwork, heavily right-handed in a lefty-power-laden division and suddenly quite old. Francona doesn’t have the personnel to get matchups nor does he have many candidates for two-inning stints. It looks, in fact, a bit like the 2003 bullpen that caused such consternation. Barring in-season upgrades--quite possible given the system’s depth and the caliber of the management team--the 2006 Sox will not prevent enough runs to reach October.

03-30-06, 09:59 AM
I can't disagree with much of that. Pretty evenhanded analysis all the way around. I think he may be a little low on the Yankee victories at 92, but we'll see.

By the way, his prediction of 87 wins last year looked brilliant until about mid-September. The immortal Aaron Small almost singlehandedly kept him from being right.

03-30-06, 04:44 PM
Chacon is a ground-ball pitcher?

:confused: :wtf: :confused:

03-30-06, 04:46 PM
Good for him.

03-30-06, 06:44 PM
Chacon is a ground-ball pitcher?

:confused: :wtf: :confused:

Agreed. And Cano now has a "bad defender" label despite playing only one year in majors??? Hey Joe, did you ever hear of a young player improving? He is not Soriano.

03-30-06, 07:01 PM
Yeah, the only 2 points I disagree with are Cano and Chacon, but then again, if he isn't bright enough to know about those two, his whole article may be good for nothing. After all, he did predict the Yanks to have 87 wins.

I think the Yanks will win it all, but not by any persuasion from this guy.

03-30-06, 07:56 PM
As much as I like the pickups of Hee Seop Choi (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/choihe01.php) and Wily Mo Pena (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/penawi01.php)--that’s really one tasty fusion DH

I assume he's just using the term to say that in theory they would make a nice DH, not forgetting about the guy entrenched in the DH slot because he can't play anywhere else.

03-30-06, 09:23 PM
Chacon is a ground-ball pitcher?

:confused: :wtf: :confused:
Exactly my first thought too. And Sheehan isn't a guy that I would expect to get that one wrong.

Speaking of groundball pitchers, I really hope that when Wang pitches, Torre plays Andy Phillips in the field and DH's Giambi. I know he won't do it, but with such an extreme GB pitcher (51% of batters hit grounders against him last year), infield defense should be the most important thing.