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.

Angels sign Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Eric Young Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Braves slides safely into third base on a RBI triple in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the Braves opening series at Turner Field on April 11, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Andrelton Simmons #19 scored on the triple.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.

The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.

Report: Blue Jays close to a deal with Jarrod Saltalamacchia

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 9: Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Detroit Tigers hits an RBI single in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 9, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.

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The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.

Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.

The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.