Goatriders of the Apocalypse

2009 Player Previews - Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster

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Many of you know that I predicted a World Series Championship last season during Spring Training. Wait a minute that was Ryan Dempster. Well, I really predicted that Dempster would be an All-Star and rack a 17-6 record with a 2.96 ERA, not to mention a 1.20 WHIP in 206 innings. Who am I kidding, nobody thought Dempster would or could do that in any amount of innings.

Before last season, his best season as a starter came back in 200 with the Marlins. He posed a 3.36 ERA with 1.356 WHIP. During the spring, I was actually rooting for Jon Lieber to win a rotation spot. I really didn’t think Dempster was going to be able to hold up as a starter, but in reality was our best pitcher last season.

So, where does that leave us? Of course the Cubs went out and resigned Dempster to a 4-year 52 million dollar deal before the market crumbled. Will this hurt the Cubs? That truly is the question.

A few things alarm me about Dempster:

  • He was in a contract year.
  • It was first season starting since his surgery.
  • He walked a gazillion people in Game 1 of the NLDS.
  • He was in a contract year, oh wait I said that before. Still he was in a contract year.

Does this mean that Dempster can’t repeat his numbers? No, but I’m very worried that he is going to regress at least a lot. I hope he proves me wrong, but I can’t see a way he puts up those Cy Young type numbers this season. The guys at Baseball Prospectus seem to agree with me.

They have Dempster’s line at 11-9 with a 4.10 ERA in 168 innings to go along with his 1.38 WHIP.

I hope these numbers are wrong, but I would have thought his line would’ve been closer to this last season. The Cubs success will rest in large part on the shoulders of Dempster. Honestly, you have to think that Carlos Zambrano might be a little better (if healthy), and Ted Lilly (who I will talk about Thursday) will be about the same. The Cubs are putting a lot of faith into one year, and I hope the Canadian is up to the challenge, because he was a joy to watch last season.

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