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.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.