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.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

Associated Press
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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Hall of Fame baseball announcer Rafael ‘Felo’ Ramirez dies

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) Rafael “Felo” Ramirez, a Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster who was the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over three decades, has died. He was 94.

The Miami Marlins announced Ramirez’ death Tuesday.

Ramirez, who died Monday night, began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 before calling 31 All-Star games and World Series in Spanish. He was the Marlins Spanish-language announcer since their inaugural season in 1993 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was known for an expressive, yet low-key style and his signature strike call of “Essstrike.”

Several Spanish-language broadcasters, including Amury Pi-Gonzanez of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, have admitted to emulating his style.