Projections and Paces – Brewers

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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.

Prince Fielder
2008: .276/.372/.507, 34 HR, 86 R, 102 RBI, 3 SB in 588 AB
Proj..: .289/.401/.552, 38 HR, 93 R, 116 RBI, 3 SB in 567 AB
Pace: .302/.430/.595, 39 HR, 98 R, 157 RBI, 0 SB in 569 AB

If he can keep it up, Fielder would be the first National League to
drive in 150 runs since Sammy Sosa in 2001. Ryan Howard just missed in
2006 (149) and 2008 (146).

Ryan Braun
2008: .285/.335/.553, 37 HR, 92 R, 106 RBI, 14 SB in 611 AB
Proj..: .296/.352/.567, 39 HR, 110 R, 107 RBI, 18 SB in 626 AB
Pace: .321/.416/.575, 34 HR, 120 R, 118 RBI, 12 SB in 589 AB

Braun was talked about as a legitimate MVP candidate for his 2008
performance. He’ll be more deserving this year if he maintains his
current pace, but he’s still not the best hitter on his own team.

Mike Cameron
2008: .243/.331/.477, 25 HR, 69 R, 70 RBI, 17 SB in 444 AB
Proj..: .248/.338/.455, 23 HR, 74 R, 78 RBI, 18 SB in 517 AB
Pace: .250/.358/.477, 29 HR, 76 R, 76 RBI, 5 SB in 540 AB

Cameron remains one of the game’s most underrated players, but he
hasn’t been quite as valuable as the OPS suggests this year, as he’s
hitting just .118 in 51 at-bats with RISP. Nine of his 12 homers have
come with the bases empty.

Corey Hart
2008: .268/.300/.459, 20 HR, 76 R, 91 RBI, 23 SB in 612 AB
Proj..: .286/.339/.480, 22 HR, 83 R, 98 RBI, 20 SB in 594 AB
Pace: .264/.325/.452, 22 HR, 101 R, 79 RBI, 10 SB in 587 AB

Hitting at the top of the order has resulted in a reversal of Hart’s
run and RBI numbers. I think his speed would be more useful behind
Braun and Fielder, since it makes little sense to risk getting thrown
out on steal attempts with those two up. Cameron is the better fit as a
No. 2 hitter.

J.J. Hardy
2008: .293/.343/.478, 24 HR, 78 R, 74 RBI, 2 SB in 569 AB
Proj..: .274/.335/.456, 23 HR, 86 R, 72 RBI, 3 SB in 570 AB
Pace: .219/.301/.344, 15 HR, 79 R, 71 RBI, 0 SB in 528 AB

Perhaps he’s finally starting to come out of it now. Hart went
5-for-12 with a homer and four RBI in the series against the Indians.

Jason Kendall
2008: .246/.327/.324, 2 HR, 46 R, 49 RBI, 8 SB in 516 AB
Proj..: .260/.343/.328, 2 HR, 55 R, 40 RBI, 6 SB in 470 AB
Pace: .232/.324/.276, 0 HR, 49 R, 44 RBI, 2 SB in 454 AB

Unfortunately, there’s just nothing separating him from Brad Ausmus at this point.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.