Opinionated

Our statistical wunderkind predicts the booms and busts of the 2009 Cubs and White Sox


From left: The sizzlers, Ramirez and Soto; the fizzlers, Dempster and Quentin

 

ABOUT THE STATISTICIAN
Silver, 31, who lives in Wicker Park, got his start as a baseball statistician for the think tank Baseball Prospectus. But he earned his following by applying his wizardry to politics—namely, correctly predicting the outcome of the 2008 presidential race in 49 out of 50 states and the winners of the 2008 Senate races.

SIZZLERS

ALEXEI RAMIREZ
2008: .290 avg. // 21 HR // 77 RBIs
2009**:
.289 avg. // 19 HR // 78 RBIs
For him to do what he did in his first year in American baseball was impressive. Expect him (like Soto, below) to avoid a sophomore slump.

GEOVANY SOTO
2008: .285 avg. // 23 HR // 86 RBIs
2009**: .288 avg. // 25 HR // 83 RBIs
What we saw last year is a fair reflection of his skill set, and he might even be a touch better with a year of experience under his belt.

 

POWER NUMBERS

FIZZLERS

RYAN DEMPSTER
2008: 17-6 // 2.96 ERA
2009**: 10-9 // 4.10 ERA
With Dempster, everything about 2008 screams “career year.”  Expecting him to be as good as he was last year is rather optimistic.

CARLOS QUENTIN
2008: .288 avg. // 36 HR // 100 RBIs
2009**: .273 avg. // 21 HR // 72 RBIs
A case of regression to the mean. He had been a mediocre producer before 2008. There’s a chance he’s a late bloomer, but there’s also a chance he just had a career year.

 

PROJECTED SEASON STANDINGS

SOX IN 2009: 73-89

We’re projecting the Sox to finish at the bottom of their division. They haven’t added much talent, and can expect weaker seasons out of Jermaine Dye, A. J.  Pierzynski, and Mark Buehrle. Players usually get worse once they’re in their 30s.

 

CUBS IN 2009: 97-65

We’re expecting the Cubs to win their division easily. They should get a lot better in right field, where Milton Bradley is replacing Kosuke Fukudome. On the other hand, the bullpen looks to be a lot weaker than it was a year ago.

 

KEY:  CUBS | White Sox  

**Projected

 

 

Photography: (From left) Ben Margot, Paul Beaty, Brian Kersey, Duane Burleson/All, Associated Press

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