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.

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers 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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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.