I have a way of keeping my optimism up for individual players, a habit which ends up making me look quite silly at the end of the year. It's something that mostly occurs during the doldrums of the offseason: creating unrealistic projections for my favorite players.
When my Astrology professor is getting into the lunar cycle for the 100th time, my thoughts drift into space (sorry, I've been pun-deprived this week) and into the wonderful world of projections. They're always sky-high because, well, realism is boring. I can do whatever I want in my own mind, dammit! If I want to construct a line for Pablo Sandoval that looks like this:
.340/.412/.579, 37 HR, 129 RBI's, MVP and Gold Glove because he showed the panel he can hit
then I will, because he will approach that production one day. I can feel it in my bones. Pandaaaa.
Just to demonstrate how optimistic I can get with these, for a sense of scale, last year's Nate Schierholtz projections:
.293/.374/.501, 27 HR, 89 RBI's, Gold Glove because it's a hitting award
All of my absolutely accurate* predictions lead me to believe that we will, in a years time, have more blue-chip prospects to trade than the current deficit of trade bait we have now. Which is probably false, but let me delude myself a bit.
Say the pitching hydra of Stratton, Crick and Blackburn all have monster years and rocket to the top 20-30 prospects in baseball on most official lists. Brown regains the form and promise he showed at San Jose but at the Triple-A level, cutting down on strikeouts and stealing at a higher rate. Joe Panik proves the skeptics wrong by becoming the Derek Jeter of second base. Or maybe a different prospect has a monster year besides Panik (Hembree tears it up, Gustavo Cabrera proves he's legit in his first year, etc). Now this is all speculation, and based on pretty much ZERO FACTZ, but shoot for the stars, land on the moon people.
We would have the most hyped amateur pitching trio since Foppert/Williams/Ainsworth, and I'd like to use one or two of them, along with complementary pieces, to catch a fish. A big fish. The biggest of all the fishies. I want me some of that Giancarlo Stanton, as does everybody else in the observable universe. If he isn't dealt at the deadline, he most surely will be dealt next offseason. And it just reminds me of the Miguel Cabrera scenario so much I can't help but think about it every waking moment of my existence. How's he doing for the Tigers now, that Cabrera fellow? Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller sure ended up being a steeeep price to get him (hindsight is 20/20, i know), he better be putting up triple crown numbers to offset those losses!
So if I sign my soul over to the devil (anyone else want to volunteer? They're taking donations) and my prospect projections were to come true, would a Stratton/Blackburn/Brown+either Panik/Hembree package get the job done? Maybe we can pull a coup and get away without including Stratton, thereby keeping Zito's eventual replacement.
I just want Stanton, man. He's staring at the Chevron cars in left field now, counting how many times he can break the painted-on windows like they were scoreboards.
*Jury's still out on many of these predictions. Schierholtz could still hit 27 home runs with the Cubs! Right? Wind blowing out at Wrigley, pshh...heck, he'll reach 50 easy.