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.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.