Projections and Paces – Athletics

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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.

Matt Holliday
2008: .321/.409/.538, 25 HR, 107 R, 88 RBI, 28 SB in 539 AB
Proj..: .294/.386/.518, 28 HR, 99 R, 109 RBI, 13 SB in 585 AB
Pace: .275/.376/.437, 21 HR, 82 R, 95 RBI, 10 SB in 589 AB

It was mostly just a bad April. Holliday is hitting .292 with seven homers in 44 games since the beginning of May.

Jack Cust
2008: .231/.375/.476, 33 HR, 77 R, 77 RBI, 0 SB in 481 AB
Proj..: .230/.379/.460, 28 HR, 70 R, 79 RBI, 0 SB in 461 AB
Pace: .228/.320/.423, 28 HR, 90 R, 87 RBI, 3 SB in 553 AB

I don’t think Cust’s attempt to be more aggressive at the plate is
paying off. Cust walked 19 percent of the time and struck out in 33
percent of his plate appearances last year. This year, he’s down to 12
percent and 24 percent, respectively. Unfortunately, the weaker
strikeout rate isn’t resulting in more singles, much less additional
home runs.

Orlando Cabrera
2008: .281/.334/.371, 8 HR, 93 R, 57 RBI, 19 SB in 661 AB
Proj..: .267/.320/.363, 6 HR, 79 R, 66 RBI, 16 SB in 589 AB
Pace: .229/.283/.292, 5 HR, 75 R, 51 RBI, 5 SB in 651 AB

I thought Cabrera would play poorly enough to force the A’s to hit him
lower in the order. He’s actually been far worse than expected, yet
he’s still received all but six of his at-bats in the first and second
spots in the lineup.

Jason Giambi
2008: .247/.373/.502, 32 HR, 68 R, 96 RBI, 2 SB in 458 AB
Proj..: .240/.377/.453, 23 HR, 61 R, 77 RBI, 1 SB in 404 AB
Pace: .212/.344/.394, 23 HR, 82 R, 87 RBI, 0 SB in 522 AB

Oddly, two-thirds of Giambi’s nine homers have come against lefties.
Over the course of his career, 76 percent of his homers had come versus
righties. He’s hitting just .205/.344/.311 against righties this
season.

Ryan Sweeney
2008: .286/.350/.383, 5 HR, 53 R, 45 RBI, 9 SB in 384 AB
Proj..: .276/.345/.408, 11 HR, 80 R, 59 RBI, 8 SB in 529 AB
Pace: .246/.313/.319, 5 HR, 51 R, 39 RBI, 10 SB in 491 AB

Sweeney has proven to be a fine defensive center fielder, so he
deserves to stay in Oakland’s lineup, at least against right-handers.
He’s hitting .169 in 59 at-bats against lefties this year.

Kurt Suzuki
2008: .279/.346/.370, 7 HR, 54 R, 42 RBI, 2 SB in 530 AB
Proj..: .265/.334/.376, 9 HR, 52 R, 57 RBI, 1 SB in 479 AB
Pace: .274/.325/.395, 8 HR, 69 R, 57 RBI, 8 SB in 553 AB

Suzuki started 136 games behind the plate last year, good for third
in baseball behind Jason Kendall and Russell Martin. He’s on pace for
that exact same number this season.

Giants acquire Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 07: Eduardo Nunez #9 of the Minnesota Twins throws for an out at first in the fourth inning during a game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 7, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
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The Giants have acquired All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Twins in exchange for minor league pitcher Adalberto Mejia, the club announced on Thursday night.

Nunez, 29, went 0-for-4 in Thursday night’s game against the Orioles. He’s hitting .296/.325/.439 with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, 49 runs scored, and a league-best 26 stolen bases in 391 plate appearances this season. Nunez has played mostly at shortstop this season, but has also logged significant time at third base and a handful of games at second base, so he’ll give the Giants some versatility.

Nunez will likely play a lot of third base for the Giants as Matt Duffy is still sidelined with a strained left Achilles. He’s earning $1.475 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility heading into 2017.

Mejia, 23, was considered the Giants’ seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento last month after posting a 1.94 ERA with Double-A Richmond. In seven starts with Sacramento, he has a 4.20 ERA with a 43/11 K/BB ratio in 40 2/3 innings.

With a roster spot open, the Twins called up infield prospect Jorge Polanco from Triple-A Rochester, per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger.

Report: Mariners’ Taijuan Walker drawing “strong” trade interest

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 08:  Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker #44 of the Seattle Mariners looks on from the dugout after completing eight innings against the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field on June 8, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot.  He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.

Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.

The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.