When baseball fans hear the names of certain players, they may not think of their most recent accomplishments.
When you hear Alfonso Soriano, you don't think .240 and 24 home runs. Anyone who has followed baseball the last few years will think of one of the most exciting power/speed combinations in the game.
These are some players who have a chance this season to relive their past exploits—some in good ways and some in bad. They are trying to go back in time to a specific year to a stat line we could see them repeat in 2011.
Brandon Webb's 2006: .667 winning percentage (16-8), 3.10 ERA, 1.132 WHIP, 6.8 K/9
Yes, the win total is a bit optimistic, but he has been progressing well. There are definitely wins to be had in the AL West as a Texas Ranger. He gets to pitch divisional road games at Safeco Park and the Oakland Coliseum.
Brandon Webb won’t win 20 games. He won’t have an ERA under three. He won’t pitch 200 innings. But he looks good so far. The Rangers don’t seem too hurried to fill the rotation. They haven’t given Alexi Ogando or Neftali Feliz rotation spots.
They are likely sending Tanner Scheppers down to Triple-A. That tells me they think Webb can be a legitimate part of this rotation when he is ready.
If Webb makes 20 starts, there's no reason a fully healthy Webb can't win 12.
Francisco Liriano's 2006: 12 wins, 2.16 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10.7 K/9
Remember when Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano were essentially the best two starting pitchers in baseball?
Liriano showed that same flash last season, finally seeming 100 percent back from Tommy John surgery. His K/9 jumped back up over nine, and he won 14 games with a low WHIP. He might still have another level to reach.
It doesn’t seem reasonable to expect him to replicate the numbers from that magical year, before the injury, but there is top-10 starter talent here. He is a dark horse AL Cy Young candidate in 2011.
Zack Greinke's 2008: 13 wins, 3.47 ERA, 1.275 WHIP, 8.1 K/9
The wins would be a bit low, but now he will start the year on the DL and miss at least a few starts. The injury sounds comparatively minor and he should be fine once he returns.
Greinke may never come close to his amazing 2009, but his 2008 numbers seem perfectly reasonable. The Brewers would probably be fine with those numbers, but fantasy owners would be disappointed.
At the very least, those are the numbers I'd have in mind when trying to trade for him or bid on him in an auction. You likely won't be disappointed.
Grady Sizemore's 2005: .289, 22 HR, 81 RBI, 22 SB, 111 R
All of those numbers could happen in 2011. The runs might be hard with that lineup behind him, but the home runs and stolen bases could be there.
It's not encouraging that we are hoping for numbers he put up as a 22-year-old. But it seems unlikely he gets to the 30/30 plateau. On the other hand, he's 28 years old.
It seems like he should be older, but at 28, there is still room for Grady to get back to the 30/30 talent he once was.
Adrian Beltre's 2008: .266, 25 HR, 77 RBI, 8 SB, 74 R
He’s never batted over .280 in a non-contract year. He’s never knocked in 100 runs in a non-contract year. Beltre just got a big payday and can be expected to revert to his good, but not great, career averages.
Ranger fans, expect numbers in the ballpark of .275, 25 HR, 80 RBI and you will be satisfied. Look for .300-30-100 and you are sure to be severely disappointed.
Beltre is a .263 hitter if you remove his 2004 and 2010.
Nick Markakis' 2008: .306, 20 HR, 87 RBI, 10 SB, 106 R
Hitting in a stacked lineup should help Markakis get more pitches to drive and score more runs.
Markakis’ power has fallen off a cliff and he has yet to reach 30 years old. He is one of the most consistent .290-300 hitters in baseball, but he finally has protection in the lineup and still plays in Camden Yards, one of the more homer-friendly parks in baseball.
Expect 20-25 HR from Markakis, which should translate into 90 RBI, and the lineup is heavy enough for him to score 90 or more runs as well.
Alex Rodriguez' 2000: .316, 41 HR, 132 RBI, 15 SB, 134 R
His new conditioning program has apparently paid off, as he looks healthier and more athletic than any time in recent memory.
He likely won’t see the outrageous numbers of his doping days, but .300-40-120 is not an outlandish hope. In seasonal leagues, that puts him back among the elite third basemen, making it a four-man group with Ryan Zimmerman, Evan Longoria and David Wright.
You might choke on 40-plus HR, but if anything, I'd say the steals might not come back. The home runs are reliant on his health. He hit 30 HR in 124 games in 2009, and 30 with 125 RBI in 137 in 2010.