Projections and Paces – Astros

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The article below is meant to provide a quick look at how my
preseason projections match up with the paces of select major league
hitters.

Lance Berkman
2008: .312/.420/.567, 29 HR, 114 R, 106 RBI, 18 SB in 554 AB
Proj : .291/.405/.537, 31 HR, 105 R, 103 RBI, 9 SB in 546 AB
Pace: .256/.387/.507, 35 HR, 85 R, 98 RBI, 5 SB in 550 AB

Berkman is getting a lot closer now. He’s raised his average from .162
in April to .286 last month and .357 in 13 games so far during June.

Carlos Lee
2008: .314/.368/.569, 28 HR, 61 R, 100 RBI, 4 SB in 436 AB
Proj : .293/.352/.519, 32 HR, 86 R, 118 RBI, 8 SB in 588 AB
Pace: .313/.363/.520, 29 HR, 77 R, 106 RBI, 5 SB in 603 AB

In theory, the improvement from Hunter Pence, Miguel Tejada and
Michael Bourn should be resulting in better run and RBI numbers for
Berkman and Lee. But that’s hardly been the case. Lee’s hitting pretty
much as expected, yet he has just 69 runs plus RBI. Ryan Howard, with
the same OPS, has 92. Dan Uggla has 71 even though he’s been hitting
.218 from the fifth and sixth spots in the Florida lineup.

Hunter Pence
2008: .269/.318/.466, 25 HR, 78 R, 83 RBI, 11 SB in 595 AB
Proj : .280/.337/.493, 28 HR, 79 R, 100 RBI, 14 SB in 592 AB
Pace: .323/.406/.509, 21 HR, 96 R, 69 RBI, 21 SB in 584 AB

Pence’s power numbers are a bit off, but he’s more than made up for
it with a huge increase in his OBP. He currently has a 35/33 K/BB ratio
after finishing last year at 124/40.

Miguel Tejada
2008: .283/.314/.415, 13 HR, 92 R, 66 RBI, 7 SB in 632 AB
Proj : .288/.343/.427, 16 HR, 91 R, 83 RBI, 5 SB in 611 AB
Pace: .344/.366/.506, 16 HR, 96 R, 96 RBI, 5 SB in 672 AB

Tejada is worthy of his own post. He’s struck out or walked in just
21 of his plate appearances. In 2000, Tejada has 102 strikeouts and 66
walks in 607 at-bats. Right now, he’s on pace for 40 strikeouts and 16
walks in 672 at-bats.

Ivan Rodriguez
2008: .276/.319/.394, 7 HR, 44 R, 35 RBI, 10 SB in 398 AB
Proj : .278/.319/.406, 10 HR, 51 R, 57 RBI, 5 SB in 453 AB
Pace: .247/.280/.393, 13 HR, 50 R, 69 RBI, 0 SB in 473 AB

Pudge’s average has really tumbled of late, and he has just one
extra-base hit since May 17. Time will tell if he has another rally in
him. His OPS was 845 on this day a month ago.

Michael Bourn
2008: .229/.288/.300, 5 HR, 57 R, 29 RBI, 41 SB in 467 AB
Proj : .256/.325/.354, 5 HR, 68 R, 42 RBI, 43 SB in 503 AB
Pace: .290/.367/.394, 3 HR, 98 R, 37 RBI, 58 SB in 613 AB

Bourn is also on pace for 135 strikeouts, so I’m not at all
convinced that he’ll maintain that .290 average. Still, that he’s
showing a better walk rate, at least against righties, and more doubles
power provide hope that he’ll last as a leadoff man.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.