Mariner Central wants yer on the record as to Ichiro's numbers for 2010.
Boss Ganondorf ... er, Lonnie ... predicts, reasonably, .325/.375/.425 with 30 SB's. Sandy-Raleigh has the same, adding that an All-Star spot is "automatic." I Want Zduriencik's Job wonders if Ichiro doesn't have to have an off year sometime, and predicts 147 hits, total.
=== HQ ===
The Bearded Prophet is verbally glowing but numerically down about Rose-San, saying that Ichiro is aging "like fine wine" and that "the only concession to aging" was that he ran a bit less in the second half.
However, Shandler amputates 15-20% of Ichiro's 2009 production to arrive at his 2010 line:
- 2009 - 352/383/465 ... 26 SB ... 5.7 runs/game ... $28 roto
- 2010 - 317/357/397 ... 24 SB ... 4.7 runs/game ... $22 roto
That's a reasonable thing to do, when you've got five minutes times 1,200 players. James' Strong Season Leading Index, using the cold benchmarks of math and generalization, says the same: Ichiro's one of the least-likely players in baseball to exceed 2009...
=== SB's ===
Shandler points out that the last two years, Ichiro has run less (though not less effectively) in the second half of the seasons, "the only concession to age we see."
Other players get old and start snapping hamstrings. Ichiro gets older and has to throttle back his running one notch, after game 100. Expect the same, in future seasons -- 20-25 SB's in the first half, 10 in the second.
Lofton stole 50-70 bases in his 20's but only 30 bases when he was older. You know, I'll bet that's why. He just went out there, a lot of games, and his hamstrings were pulled, enough that he couldn't explode out of the sliding pit at 1B.
The great base-stealers probably have no problem stealing just as easily, at age 37, on the days their legs aren't gimp.
=== Comps ===
If you look over Ichiro's comps on b-ref.com, you see two likely career paths from here.
UP Path: Players like Kenny Lofton and Tim Raines did not change at all between ages 32 and 39.
- Lofton age 33: 100 OPS+, .369 OBP, 30 SB's
- Lofton age 40: 105 OPS+, .367 OBP, 23 SB's (and 32 SB's at age 39)
Those are just illustrations; study Lofton's baseball card and you'll see that after his career mega-season at age 27, Lofton was just about the same player from age 28 to 40.
This isn't unusual for HOF speed players. Rock Raines had a mega-season at age 27, but at age 28 he found his level and stayed exactly there all the way through age 37.
DOWN Path: another type of HOF speed player loses his SLG when he gets older, and everything else stays about the same. Rickey was this way: at age 35, he stopped slugging .450+ and started slugging .350.
At some point, this will happen to Ichiro. He won't have the reflexes to take his 1-wood backswing and hit 12 homers. He'll have to go to his tennis groundstroke and serve the ball between SS and 3B.