2010 projected leaders: Runs scored & RBI

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Over the next several days, I’ll be dipping into my 2010 projections and presenting some leaderboards.
Runs
1. Ryan Braun – 113
1. Albert Pujols – 113
1. Alex Rodriguez – 113
4. Dustin Pedroia – 112
5. Jose Reyes – 110
5. Jimmy Rollins – 110
7. Mark Teixeira – 109
8. Derek Jeter – 108
8. Hanley Ramirez – 108
10. Chase Utley – 107
11. Jacoby Ellsbury – 106
11. Grady Sizemore – 106
13. Carl Crawford – 103
13. Brian Roberts – 103
– On a per at-bat basis, Joe Mauer would be in the top five. I have him scoring 100 runs in 526 at-bats.
– With two exceptions, everyone in my top 28 for runs scored is projected to finish with at least a .360 OBP. Ellsbury comes in just south of that at .356. Rollins, on the other hand, isn’t even close. I have him at .327. Last year, he scored 100 runs despite getting on base at a .296 clip.
RBI
1. Ryan Howard – 133
2. Mark Teixeira – 125
3. Prince Fielder – 124
4. Albert Pujols – 122
5. Evan Longoria – 121
6. Alex Rodriguez – 119
7. Matt Holliday – 117
8. Miguel Cabrera – 116
9. Justin Morneau – 114
10. Mark Reynolds – 111
11. Ryan Braun – 110
12. Jason Bay – 109
12. Carlos Lee – 109
14. Adam Lind – 108
14. Nick Markakis – 108
– If a .360 OBP is the cutoff for the first list, a .500 slugging percentage fills the role here. The lowest mark in the top 15 is Markakis’ .501, though Lee (.510), Reynolds (.512) and Morneau (.514) don’t come in a whole lot higher. Everyone in the top 28, though, is projected with at least a .500 SLG. Victor Martinez is the highest player in the rankings to fail to reach the mark. Since he’ll be batting behind Ellsbury and Pedroia, I have him driving in 99 runs with a .468 SLG.

MLB managers weigh in on anthem protests

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No other Major League Baseball player has taken a knee during the National Anthem since Athletics’ catcher Bruce Maxwell‘s protest on Saturday night. The demonstration was sparked by President Donald Trump’s call for the boycott of the National Football League and the firing of any player who chose not to stand during the anthem. The comments drew harsh criticism from many NFL players, coaches and owners and more than a few in MLB have also lended their support. There is still one game left to play on Sunday, but it’s unclear whether any of Maxwell’s league-mates will show their solidarity by refusing to stand as well.

Given a baseball culture that tends toward conformity more often than not, it seems unlikely. But it’s something league managers are prepared for — even if they don’t all agree with the demonstrations themselves.

White Sox’ skipper Rick Renteria specifically addressed Maxwell’s protest on Sunday, speaking to the league’s policy of inclusivity:

None of the White Sox knelt prior to their series finale against the Royals. Neither did members of the Pirates or the Cardinals, though St. Louis manager Mike Matheny and Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington both weighed in on the situation.

Matheny called the president’s comments “hurtful” and, like the Cubs’ Joe Maddon, appeared content to leave the decision to protest up to each player.

The Pirates, meanwhile, took a firmer tone. “We appreciate our players’ desire and ability to express their opinions respectfully and when done properly,” GM Huntington told Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “When done appropriately and properly, we certainly have respect for our players’ ability to voice their opinion.”

Just what the Pirates consider “appropriate and proper” protocol was left up in the air, and club president Frank Coonelly offered no further insights in a separate statement to the press. Setting strict parameters for players to voice their opinions kind of puts them in a gray area, one they’ll have to clear up should someone elect to protest in the days to come, either with a bent knee and a hand over their heart or in some other fashion.

Equally ambiguous were comments from Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts, who claimed to oppose the movement for personal, if misguided reasons, but also respected the right of his players to make an “educated” statement in protest.

The Indians’ Terry Francona took what was perhaps the most balanced approach of the entire group:

“It’s easy for me to sit here and say, ‘Well, I think this is the greatest country in the world,’ because I do,” Francona told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. “But, I also haven’t walked in other people’s shoes. So, until I think, not just our country, but our world, until we realize that, hey, people are actually equal — it shouldn’t be a revelation — and the different doesn’t mean less. It’s just different. We’ve got work to do.”

These may all be moot points. Maxwell may be the only player to formally protest Trump’s comments, despite the good intentions of his teammates and fellow players around the league. Others may feel too ambivalent, threatened or uncomfortable to protest what the A’s catcher referred to as a “racial divide,” especially in a way that is routinely perceived as unpatriotic.

Even if the protests made by NFL players and Bruce Maxwell fail to gain momentum, however, the underlying issues they speak to are not going away anytime soon. Here, then, is where MLB managers can help foster a more inclusive environment throughout the league, not only by showing respect for a player’s decision to stand against racism but by actively partnering with those who do so. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a start.

Nationals plan to activate Bryce Harper on Monday

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The Nationals are planning to activate Bryce Harper from the 10-day disabled list on Monday, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Janes adds that Harper has been taking his knee injury on a day-to-day basis, so if he experiences pain ahead of tomorrow’s series opener in Philadelphia, then the Nationals won’t activate him.

Harper, 24, suffered a knee injury running out a grounder last month against the Giants. The Nationals hope to get him into some game action before the end of the regular season just so he can get acclimated in time for the playoffs.

When Harper returns, he’ll look to improve on his .326/.419/.614 slash line with 29 home runs, 87 RBI, and 92 runs scored in 472 plate appearances.