Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Richard Justice talks predictions

You can read it here, but in an effort to collect all predictions related to the 2009 Astros season, here are Richard Justice's predictions:

• I will not write these boys off early. I did it in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The Astros start slow and finish fast. That's what they do. Please remind me of this on June 1 when they're eight games below .500.

• Cecil Cooper will do a terrific job. By the end of this season, he'll have the support of fans, reporters, players and his front office. He'll get an extension for 2010 and a nice fat raise. He was a rookie manager when he took over for Phil Garner in 2007 and had some learning to do. He has learned. He's remarkably relaxed and confident this spring. That confidence will play well in the clubhouse. He unveiled his team motto on Tuesday: Our Team. Our Time. Pretty good, huh?

• Russ Ortiz will be the No. 2 starter by mid-season. He's healthy for the first time in years and throwing the ball free and easy. He's a proven winner. His signing is going to be one of the smarter ones Ed Wade has made.

• Mike Hampton will win more games than Randy Wolf.

• Felipe Paulino will throw a 100-mph pitch this season. In the major leagues.

• J.R. Towles is going to be entrenched as the starting catcher by Sept. 1. He may have to start the season in the minor leagues. That's not important. There's no reason he can't succeed. He's a first-rate catcher and on his way to getting his offensive issues figured out.

• The Astros will have one of the National League's three best bullpens. They've got depth, balance, a mixture of youth and experience. And they've got a great closer. They'd better enjoy that great closer. Jose Valverde seems certain to test the free-agent market after the season.

• Hunter Pence is going to keep getting better. He's big, strong and fast. He's also driven to succeed. He will.

• Bud Norris, Brad James, Chris Johnson, Tommy Manzella and Brian Bogusevic will be pushing for spots on the big-league team by the second half of the season.

• Kaz Matsui will spend time on the disabled list, but it won't matter. Drew Sutton will fill in nicely.

• Roy Oswalt will win his first Cy Young Award. Lance Berkman will be the National League MVP.

• Darin Erstad, David Newhan and Jason Michael will again be invaluable off the bench.

• Lou Palmisano will be Ed Wade's latest shrewd move from the Rule V draft, joining Wesley Wright and Shane Victorino on an impressive list.

• Tim Byrdak will be recognized as one of the most amazing stories in all of big league hardball.

• Lance Berkman and I will make a joint appearance on Pardon the Interruption. It will be studied for years for its wit, intelligence, insight and content.

2 comments:

Ty said...

Damn. If that don't make you feel warm and fuzzy about 2009, I don't know what will. I never read RJ...Is he always this much of a homer, or should I cut him some slack?

Austin said...

* He was right about not writing them off early, but we'll see how they do when they come off the All-Star break with a BRUTAL schedule for a month.

* Cecil Cooper is not doing a great job and winning no fans. Totally wrong on that one.

* Ortiz isn't and won't be the #2 starter, but so far, it has been a very nice pickup.

* He's right so far about Mike Hampton. But, considering 4 of Hampton's 5 wins have been against the Pirates and Wolf is playing for the best team in the NL, I'd be shocked if that held up.

* He does a great job of making it seem like the organization wants Towles to succeed when they're giving him no chances and Quintero too many. He won't be a starter as long as Coop has his say.

* Right now, the Astros don't even have one of their division's best three bullpens. They are 9th in the NL in ERA, behind Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cincinatti AND Pittsburgh. They are 0.01 better than Chicago. They are 10th in the NL in batting average against. Only three teams have allowed more hits, five have allowed more earned runs, and nobody has allowed more homers.

* Hunter Pence has slumped of late, but he's still one of the best hitters on the team even with Coop being a jerk and batting him 6th. Dead on there.

* Matsui did land on the DL. And Maysonet is actually the one that filled in nicely. But, again, Coop is a jerk and doesn't like young players so he sent him down.

* Oswalt and Berkman are finishing the first half nicely, but neither will win those awards and probably never will. Sad they're so overlooked, but it's something they just need to deal with.

* LOL about Erstad, Newhan and Michaels. What a joke.

* Tim Byrdak is a mediocre, overused reliever that will go nowhere because of Ed Wade's infatuation with him.