Happy New Year’s Eve (Day)! Let’s crank out one more set of fan projections before the decade is over. Today’s players: Mark Ellis, Josh Willingham, and Luke Hochevar.
It seems like just yesterday that A’s second baseman Mark Ellis was the toast of the on-line baseball nerd community for his outstanding second base fielding. We threw a collective fit (or at least released a collective sigh) when he signed a far-below market deal with Oakland (right before the market collapsed). Our thoughts on Ellis today? As I’m typing this, he hasn’t even passed the threshold for fan projections. Sure, Ellis missed much of 2009 due to injury, but are our memories that short? C’mon.
About this same time last season, the Jim Bowden-run Nationals were seemingly intent on fielding Ryan Zimmerman, a pitcher, and seven outfielders. One of the many outfielders acquired in Bowden’s final bonanza before the end of his career as a baseball executive was Josh Willingham. While sometimes forgotten between Elijah Dukes, Nyjer Morgan‘s incredible year in the field, and Adam Dunn‘s amazing (in very different ways) year at the plate and in the field, Willlingham had another season that was below average with the glove, but good with the bat. But what will he do going forward?
We certainly need more pitcher projections, and for this last one we have another forgotten man: 2006 #1 overall draft pick Luke Hochevar. While he has been generally disappointing in the majors so far, Hochevar did have several dominant starts last season, including a 13 strikeout game. Which Hochevar is the real one? How will he fare against (fading) expectations in 2010?