2010 projected leaders: On-base percentage

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Over the next several days, I’ll be dipping into my 2010 projections and presenting some leaderboards.
OBP
1. Albert Pujols – .443
2. Joe Mauer – .420
3. Todd Helton – .417
4. Manny Ramirez – .409
5. Prince Fielder – .406
6. Hanley Ramirez – .403
7. Matt Holliday – .403
8. Lance Berkman – .403
9. Chipper Jones – .400
10. David Wright – .398
11. Nick Johnson – .397
12. J.D. Drew – .396
13. Alex Rodriguez – .394
14. Kevin Youkilis – .393
15. Mark Teixeira – .392
16. Miguel Cabrera – .391
17. Brad Hawpe – .391
18. Adrian Gonzalez – .391
19. Chase Utley – .390
20. Nick Markakis – .388
21. Conor Jackson – .385
22. Milton Bradley – .385
23. Dustin Pedroia – .383
24. Bobby Abreu – .381
25. Adam Dunn – .378
– There are three Yankees and three Red Sox in the top 25, but oddly enough, nine of the top 10 here are National Leaguers.
– The Rays aren’t represented, even though they had Ben Zobrist at .405 and Jason Bartlett at .389 last year. My top Ray is Carlos Pena at .370, followed closely by Evan Longoria (.369). B.J. Upton, Zobrist and Carl Crawford are also in the .360s.
– The Giants’ had baseball’s worst OBP at .309 last year (Seattle, at .314, was next to last). After Pablo Sandoval at .373, their next highest regular in the projections is Mark DeRosa at .335. I have Buster Posey at .358 in limited action.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

Associated Press
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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.