Projections and Paces – Cardinals

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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.

Albert Pujols
2008: .357/.462/.653, 37 HR, 100 R, 116 RBI, 7 SB in 524 AB
Proj..: .328/.440/.624, 40 HR, 108 R, 118 RBI, 6 SB in 543 AB
Pace: .320/.444/.689, 56 HR, 126 R, 140 RBI, 22 SB in 544 AB

On the off chance that the current paces hold up, Pujols will lead the
Cardinals in homers by 34, in runs by 46, in RBI by 63 and in steals by
seven.

Skip Schumaker
2008: .302/.359/.406, 8 HR, 87 R, 46 RBI, 8 SB in 540 AB
Proj..: .287/.343/.396, 7 HR, 80 R, 44 RBI, 8 SB in 508 AB
Pace: .284/.333/.387, 7 HR, 80 R, 46 RBI, 2 SB in 537 AB

The transition to second base has gone about as well as hoped, but
Schumaker is back hitting like the fifth outfielder it was assumed he’d
be prior to last year.

Chris Duncan
2008: .248/.346/.365, 6 HR, 26 R, 27 RBI, 2 SB in 222 AB
Proj..: .256/.337/.473, 18 HR, 48 R, 53 RBI, 2 SB in 336 AB
Pace: .255/.345/.417, 12 HR, 51 R, 73 RBI, 0 SB in 493 AB

Duncan is hitting .230 since his strong April, and he’s due to start
losing more playing time to Colby Rasmus once the Cardinals are
finished in AL parks.

Yadier Molina
2008: .304/.349/.392, 7 HR, 37 R, 56 RBI, 0 SB in 444 AB
Proj..: .274/.332/.381, 9 HR, 42 R, 60 RBI, 1 SB in 457 AB
Pace: .284/.358/.397, 12 HR, 58 R, 53 RBI, 10 SB in 493 AB

Molina did hit an empty .300 last year, but most of his success came
against lefties. He’s currently at .292/.355/.390 against righties,
which would top his previous best OPS by 55 points.

Colby Rasmus
2008: N/A
Proj..: .245/.329/.416, 12 HR, 55 R, 44 RBI, 14 SB in 368 AB
Pace: .272/.322/.467, 17 HR, 68 R, 63 RBI, 2 SB in 471 AB

Rasmus has been all over the place as a hitter during his young
career. He finished April at .254/.357/.305 with no homers in 59
at-bats. In May, he hit five homers on his way to a .212/.256/.447 in
month. In June, he’s been a singles and doubles machine, but he’s yet
to walk in 51 at-bats, giving him a .392/.392/.686 line.

Ryan Ludwick
2008: .299/.375/.591, 37 HR, 104 R, 113 RBI, 4 SB in 538 AB
Proj..: .264/.337/.484, 27 HR, 87 R, 100 RBI, 3 SB in 541 AB
Pace: .233/.306/.423, 22 HR, 48 R, 77 RBI, 7 SB in 394 AB

Ludwick was hitting .274/.339/.538 before suffering a hamstring
injury of May 12. He’s been awful since returning at the end of the
month, but he still might find his way to 25 homers and 90 RBI.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: