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Community Projection '07: Millar, Payton, Corey and Ramon

Let's just do a bunch at once for funsies.

Kevbo came through better than expected in his first season with the O's, jumping his numbers across the board after a rough final year in Boston. It was hard to get used to rooting for Millar in some ways, since he was the spiritual head honcho of the famed Idiots, responsible for cowboying up and all of these other things, the man who took The Walk that made The Steal possible. Kevin Millar is a walking, breathing New England folk hero. But he deserves it. He plays his ass off, even when he's struggling, he's humble, and he's just so much damned fun. It took him, like, five minutes to get a tattoo on Leo Mazzone.

As for this year, the changes in the team make it unclear how much my boy Millar will actually get to play, but if he produces like he did in the second half of 2006, I hope he's in there regularly. He was our best player as far as getting to first base was concerned, and even if they're slow, a guy on the basepaths is better than a light bulb signifying one of the three outs of the inning.

Millar's last three years, and the line to project:

       AB   AVG   OBP   SLG   HR   RBI   BB
2004 BOS   508  .297  .383  .474   18    74   57
2005 BOS   449  .272  .355  .399    9    50   54
2006 BAL   430  .272  .374  .437   15    64   59

Speaking of guys I'll have a tough time rooting for, here's Jay Payton. I've never much cared for Payton, as he seemed like an insecure, egotistical, mediocre ballplayer on other teams. Maybe having him around will make me change my tune there, too. Often times, a guy wearing your team's jersey makes all the difference in the world.

Payton is no impact player, and in truth has had some very bad seasons offensively, but he can play a solid outfield and hit some singles, and he's shown a little pop in the past -- nothing to write home about, but certainly more than Brandon Fahey. Payton's another guy whose playing time is tough to project, because any number of different things happening could have a huge effect on the final number of at-bats he gets.

Payton's last three, and the routine, simple line to project, as Jay doesn't do anything unique that's worth spending the time on:

           AB   AVG   OBP   SLG   HR   RBI
2004 SDP       458  .260  .326  .367    8    55
2005 BOS/OAK   408  .267  .306  .444   18    63
2006 OAK       557  .296  .325  .418   10    59

Corey started out as a great little pickup, vastly outplaying that bum Luis Matos and winning the center field job, where he made some spectacular catches, caught fire at various times, and stole a shitload of bases. Guys who can steal bases well are awesome and quickly become fan favorites. Actually, the Orioles spent the 2005-06 offseason picking up a bunch of guys that I wound up having a lot of fun watching last year. Corey, Millar, Razor Ramon. This year? Paul Bako. Yaaay!

As the year progressed, I personally grew more and more cautious about my Corey Patterson fandom. I had seen enough of Corey the Cub and I know enough Cubs fans that I was constantly being reminded, either by myself or by someone else, that Corey Patterson is always a second away from making you, the fan, pull your hair out with frustration. He still refuses to take walks, and he's a hacker, but that's honestly just the way it is. And I don't harp on strikeouts all that much, but seriously, if Corey could cut his swing down and rap out some singles instead of those times he tries to prove he can hit a 600-foot home run, and instead he winds up embarrassing himself and putting his helmet back in its little helmet home in the dugout, it would probably be easier for him to hit .300+ and thus be a bigger offensive asset.

Of course, if you start screwing with the way a guy has swung a bat his whole life, you might just go and make a bad situation worse. As it is, he's got some power, he's got phenomenal speed that was even more impressive last year than it ever had been before, and he can play center field. I have no clue what to make of Corey Patterson, and I probably never will. His last three years, and his projection line (the last stat is mostly for kicks -- the ratio will undoubtedly suck):

       AB   AVG   OBP   SLG   HR   RBI   SB   BB/K
2004 CHC   631  .266  .320  .452   24    72   32  45/168
2005 CHC   451  .215  .254  .348   13    34   15  23/118
2006 BAL   463  .276  .314  .443   16    53   45  21/94

George Jones had a song called "She's My Rock," and that has nothing to do with anything other than I like George Jones and Ramon Hernandez was a rock behind the plate last season. He also hit a little bit, which was super nice.

Razor was brought in because Javy Lopez was getting long in the tooth, and boy did that turn out to be a good call, because otherwise we wouldn't have had a catcher last season and probably would be seeing what Toby Hall's up to right now. Instead, Razor Ramon is firmly entrenched as the No. 1 backstop for the forseeable future. The worrisome thing with Ramon is that his injury history doesn't sparkle, and his 2006 was easily his biggest workload ever. Paul Bako (yaaaay!) is around to provide some so-called relief, although the days Bako is in the game will probably just provide the public with gas. It's not likely that Ramon plays in 144 games this year, and it's probably for the best that they don't even try to have him do so.

Razor's last three years, and his line:

       AB   AVG   OBP   SLG   HR   RBI
2004 SDP   384  .276  .341  .477   18    63
2005 SDP   369  .290  .322  .450   12    58
2006 BAL   501  .275  .343  .479   23    91