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.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.

Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.

Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.