Beginning of the end for some

Originally Published: March 16, 2005
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
If I were making a list five years ago of hitters likely to see their numbers drop significantly in that coming season, I'd certainly have included Luis Gonzalez (and probably did). If I were making this list one year ago, I'd certainly have included Melvin Mora. Of course, both Gonzalez and Mora followed up their "career seasons" with seasons just as good. So maybe we shouldn't be so skeptical, right?

The problem with that line of reasoning is that 1) not every player can father triplets (as Gonzalez did) or quintuplets (as Mora did), and 2) if you base your predictions on outliers such as Gonzalez and Mora, you'll finish last in your fantasy league every year. Here, then, are five players likely to suffer significant drops in performance in 2005:

(And by the way, the 2005 projections in this column are lifted from Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster, and they're probably as good as anybody's).

Moises Alou

Avg-HR-RBI OBP Slug

2004 .293-39-106 .361 .557

2005 .290-19- 85 .361 .474

You think Alou will miss Wrigley Field? In his three seasons with the Cubs, Alou hit 26 home runs in road games and 50 at home (including 29 in 2004). In moving from the North Side of Chicago to San Francisco, Alou goes from the third-friendliest National League ballpark to power hitters to the second-least-friendly. Alou's batting average and OBP won't suffer much – perhaps because of the roomy outfield, the Giants' home grounds actually inflate batting average – but his power is going to drop precipitously.

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