2010 projected leaders: batting average

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Over the next several days, I’ll be dipping into my 2010 projections and presenting some leaderboards.
1. Joe Mauer -.331
2. Albert Pujols – .325
3. Ichiro Suzuki – .323
4. Hanley Ramirez – .321
5. Pablo Sandoval – .316
6. Miguel Cabrera – .315
7. Dustin Pedroia – .313
8. Robinson Cano – .311
9. Howie Kendrick – .311
10. Carl Crawford – .310
11. David Wright – .310
12. Ryan Braun – .309
13. Vladimir Guerrero – .309
14. Matt Holliday – .308
15. Kendry Morales – .307
16. Nick Markakis – .307
17. Todd Helton – .304
18. Billy Butler – .304
19. Yunel Escobar – .304
20. James Loney – .303
Nowhere to be found are Derek Jeter (.334), Joey Votto (.322) and Michael Young (.322), all of whom finished in the top 10 in the majors last season.
I have Jeter at .298. It’d be the first time since 2004 that he’s hit under .300 and just the fourth time in his career, but it seems reasonable, given that he finished at .300 in 2008 and he’s 35 now. Votto struck out significantly more frequently than any of the other average leaders last year, with 106 Ks in 469 at-bats. I pushed him down to .290 for this year. The 33-year-old Young comes in at .296, six points below his career average.

The Cubs have been baseball’s unluckiest team

1908 Cubs
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If you throw the word “luck” into a sports conversation you’re gonna anger some people because people don’t like to ever chalk up their own success or their team’s success to anything apart from their own skill, worthiness and merit. What we usually refer to as “luck,” however, is not meant to detract from one’s merit. It’s more about outcomes that were not necessarily predictable or expected given all of the known variables.

Thing is, we really don’t have a concise and compact word that captures the notion of “unreasonably underperforming or unreasonably outperforming one’s statistical expectations,” so the word “luck” is about as good as we can do. Sorry if that offends, but focus more on what we’re getting at when we talk about sports luck and less about how you feel about the concept of luck in general, OK?

With that in mind, know that, according to Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight, the Cubs have been the unluckiest franchise in baseball history in terms of turning success into championships. Given how much they’ve won over the years, they should have had six or seven championships and not the two they have (with none for 108 years, of course).

The luckiest? The Yankees. While they have obviously been immensely talented throughout their history, the numbers suggest that they should “only” have 19 or 20 World Series titles. They have 27. They’d still have the most if everyone performed at their level of statistical expectations, but their 16-title lead over the next most successful World Series team — the Cardinals — should not be as great as it is.


Kyle Schwarber is in The Best Shape of His Life

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 16:  Injured player Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs is seen in the dugout before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on August 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Kyle Schwarber made a quicker-than-expected recovery from ACL surgery and then, after an Arizona Fall League rehab assignment, was shuttled up to Cleveland for the World Series. But that’s not all he has done.

Schwarber is now the latest ever Best Shape of His Life All-Star. Or so says Kris Bryant, talking to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:

“We’ve seen first-hand the work that he’s putting in and how hard he’s been going . . . Honestly, I saw him out — maybe a couple weeks after his surgery — and he’s moving around, walking. And I’m like: ‘Dang, this guy’s not human. How? I saw your leg bend in half, and you’re walking around. This is unbelievable . . .(It’s) watching him dripping with sweat every single day. Every single day, this guy is drenched. I feel like he’s in the best shape of his life (now). There was no doubt in my mind that he could do it. It was just a matter of if they let him.”

May as well just forfeit now, Indians. No way you can deal with an October BSOHL guy.