It's time for a little baseball prognosticating.
I admit to being a stats addict, and as such, I'm going to look at the stats from spring training in 2008, compare them to the stats from the 2008 regular season, and then see what conclusions can be drawn for this season based on this year's spring training numbers.
Whew. Good thing I'm a stats freak...'cause that's a lot of numbers.
We'll start by looking at the captain, and see if his 2009 will be better than 2008.
'Tek hit .320 in 2008 Spring training, with three homers and seven RBI.
In 2008, he hit .220 with 13 home runs and an astounding 122 strikeouts in 131 games.
So far this spring, Varitek has hit .206 with 3 homers and 12 RBI. Maybe the lower spring training batting average bodes well for 'Tek; his 2007 spring training batting average was .108, and he ended up hitting .255 with 17 home runs in 2007.
Prediction: 'Tek will hit somewhere between .229 and .245 for 2009. We'll see.
Next, we'll take a look at Jacoby Ellsbury.
In 2008 spring training, Jacoby hit .209 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.
During the regular season, despite slumps, Jacoby finished with .280, 47 RBI, 98 runs scored and 50 stolen bases.
This spring, Jacoby has hit .250 with 8 runs scored, 5 RBI, and one steal.
Look for him to hit around .300 this season, with more runs scored and more stolen bases if he can avoid the slumps. Since this will be (sort of) his third year in the majors, maybe he can avoid the sophomore slump. If he does, Ellsbury will be one of the game's elite leadoff hitters. That, combined with his great defense, should lead to an excellent player.
Now lets look at the AL MVP Dustin Pedroia.
In 2008 spring training, Dustin batted .179 with one homer and four RBI.
By the time the 2008 season rolled around, he stepped up his game considerably, hitting .326 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI.
This spring, not including his brief stint at the World Baseball Classic, Pedroia has hit .370 with four RBI and 10 hits.
Pedroia throws off the stats a little, because so far, he's been a slow starter (he hit .196 in 2007 spring training, then hit .317 for the year). But because of the World Baseball Classic, we don't have all his stats. If you figure them all out, Dustin's spring average is .279—considerably higher than his usual spring training average. That means I have to forget stats and just guesstimate.
Look for Pedroia to do better than his stellar year last year, hitting around the .335 to .350 mark. This may be overly optimistic, but he's got the will and the drive.
That's it for part one. Next, I'll look at Lowrie, Lowell, and Youkilis, and see what kind of years they will have.