San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito delivers a pitch to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 22, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt
This is shaping up to be the make or break season for Zito. I think he will perform and turn in a campaign that is his best since his years in Oakland.
Most projections that you will see give you one line of stats. I know my limitations, so I will gave you that line of stats, but also a best case and a worst case scenario, so you can get an idea of my general range for that player.
Without further ado, the projection:
Zito is still a good pitcher. He's not elite, but he is still average and I believe that he can be above average.
For Zito, the key is limiting walks and maintaining a decent strikeout rate. If Zito can keep the free passes to a minimum, he has more then enough "stuff" to get people out. He just shoots himself in the foot too much after putting people on base for free.
Zito cannot work around his mistakes in the same way that Jonathan Sanchez does, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that he'll do that this season. This is probably the first limb I have climbed out on and I picked the creakiest one, but gosh darn it, I want to believe in this.
I wish I had some great statistical analysis to back this up, but there isn't a whole lot to point to. The one thing that gives me comfort is the last two seasons, he has gotten his strikeout and walk rates back in line with his Oakland days and maybe with a little luck on the hits, it will be enough to silence some critics.
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