MMLN – Over/Unders: A Look Back – Part I

Francisco Pena exceeded our prediction

Inside Pitch continues its look back at preseason predictions, but this time we look at the individual efforts predicted prior to the season. In this next series, find out whether specific players held up to the metrics we sought out during Spring Training. How many wins would Jonathon Niese capture? How many saves for Eddie Kunz? Find out the answer to those questions and more.

For reference you can find our preseason predictions here

Over/Unders:

Home Run Total for Nick Evans:

Preaseason: 18 - OVER
Actual: 14

Evans, who slugged from the four-hole in the B-Mets order for 75 games this past season, would have easily eclipsed this prediction had he not gone up to the big league club for good in early July. At the time of his departure, Evans averaged five home runs for nearly every 100 at-bats and was on pace to finish the year with roughly 23-25 home runs had his season continued in Double-A. Interesting note about his home runs splits, Evans evenly split his total against right-handers and lefties, and hit seven home runs both at home and away.

Amount of Wins for Jonathon Niese:

Preseason: 11 - OVER:
Actual: 11

The left-hander won just six games in 22 starts with Binghamton, but got hot while pitching in New Orleans as he captured five wins in seven starts—though his last start was a 2 2/3 inning tune-up for his big league promotion. Had Niese received some more run support early on in the Double-A [he took three no decisions when allowing one earned run or less], perhaps he would have eclipsed this prediction. Nonetheless, the organization's top pitching prospect ended the year matching his 2008 win total.

Batting Average for Francisco Pena:

Preseason: .250 - UNDER:
Actual: .264

Coming off the 2007 in which he hit .210 in 103 games, it was rather unknown what kind of production could be expected out of the 18-year-old Savannah backstop. His hottest streak of the season came in late June/early July when he hit four home runs and nearly .300 for a three week span, but overall Pena was consistent in the .250 range throughout the season. He headed into the last month of the season with a .257 batting average before hitting .295 during the month of August to push his overall average to its final mark. He would have gone over .300 during August if not for a cold spell down the stretch in which he hit .211 over his final 38 at-bats.

Stolen Bases for Hector Pellot:

Preseason: 35 - OVER:
Actual: 1

The biggest discrepancy in the entire list comes from the St. Lucie second baseman whose season ended before it could even really start as he succumbed to hip surgery in early May. During the 23 games he did play this season, the injury prevented the usually limber and speedy Pellot from swinging the bat effectively let alone stealing bases. Though disappointed by the outcome of his season following a turnaround year in 2007, Pellot was confident he would have surpassed his 35 stolen bases from 2007.

Number of Levels for Tobi Stoner:

Preseason: 1.5 - OVER:
Actual: 2

Like his 2007 season, Stoner earned his promotion after effectively clamping down where he originally began his season. This time, Stoner silenced Florida State League bats in nine starts—despite a 1-5 record—as he allowed 15 earned runs in 52 innings pitched, walking just nine. The right-hander made his Double-A debut in late June, and though the first seven starts were rocky [0-4, 6.11 ERA, .308 OBA], he recovered over his last eight outings, posting a 4-2 record, 2.89 ERA and a .227 opponent's batting average. Stoner's 2009 season may follow a similar trend up to Triple-A, but he continues to pitch ahead of expectations.

Walk Total for Eric Brown:

Preseason: 40 - UNDER:
Actual: 29

The fourth-year right-hander certainly endured his troubled spots this year, moving in and out of the rotation a number of times and seeing his earned run average swell to nearly 6.50 at one point. But one thing remains a constant for Brown and that is his impeccable control. He never walked more than nine batters in any given month as he worked his way to a 2.12 BB/9 IP ratio over 123 innings pitched. After walking just 30 batters in 143.2 innings pitched with St. Lucie last year, his 2008 total was an encouraging sign as he jumped to another level.

Home Run Total for Mike Carp:

Preseason: 19 - UNDER:
Actual: 17

Carp's career-high for home runs is 19 which came during his 2005 season with former Low-A affiliate Hagerstown. After hitting 11 home runs in an injury disrupted 2007 season, it was anticipated Carp's power would return, but he came up just two longballs shy of tying his high-water mark. His most prodigious month came in April when he hit six home runs in his first 22 games, and he closed the year hot as he homered five times in his final 28 games. However, he hit a dry spell in May during which he went homerless for the month. Nonetheless, it is evident Carp's power has returned and is growing as he eye and swing continue to strengthen.

Total Saves for Eddie Kunz:

Preseason: 20 - OVER:
Actual: 27

The second-year right-hander flew by the prediction as he proved to be one of the most effective closers in the entire Eastern League during his tenure in Binghamton. He blew only four save opportunities and grew stronger as the year went on. Though walks were a pain point for Kunz in the early going, he became even tougher when he finally attained command of his secondary pitches and could hammer the lower third of the strike zone with his heavy, sinking fastball. He finished third in the Eastern League in saves.

ERA for Dylan Owen:

Preseason: 3.50 - UNDER:
Actual: 3.66

Owen's late-season promotion to Binghamton boosted his ERA over the preseason prediction as he posted a 5.51 ERA in three starts with the B-Mets. However, he exited St. Lucie with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts on his way to 12 victories. His excellent command in a notorious hitters' league kept him out of much trouble, and it was that consistent success that influenced the Mets into sending him to Double-A for an end of season test against much more skilled hitters.

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