Leaderboards vs. the projections: the hitters

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For those who may not know, I do a big set of projections every year over on Rotoworld, and while I’ll be doing an in-depth review of those over on that site in the next few weeks, I thought it’d be fun here to take a look at how the leaderboards compared to my picks.

I’ll be listing each player with their actual total and then where I had them ranked and projected.

Batting average
1. Miguel Cabrera: .344 (5th, .315)
2. Adrian Gonzalez: .338 (13th, .308)
3. Michael Young: .338 (40th, .291)
4. Jose Reyes: .337 (44th, .290)
5. Ryan Braun: .332 (11th, .310)
6. Victor Martinez: .330 (24th, .297)
7. Matt Kemp: .324 (42nd, .290)
8. Jacoby Ellsbury: .321 (31st, .294)
9. Hunter Pence: .314 (38th, .292)
10. Joey Votto: .309 (30th, .296)

There were no huge surprises in the top 10; I projected everyone here to hit .290 or better. No. 11, on the other hand, was a big shock; David Ortiz came in just behind Votto at .309. I had him projected to hit .261.

None of my top four choices finished in the top 10. Those were Joe Mauer (.323), Albert Pujols (.322), Hanley Ramirez (.317) and Ichiro Suzuki (.316).

Home runs
1. Jose Bautista: 43 (6th, 37)
2. Curtis Granderson: 41 (24th, 29)
3. Matt Kemp: 39 (15th, 31)
3. Mark Teixeira: 39 (6th, 37)
5. Prince Fielder: 38 (3rd, 39)
6. Albert Pujols: 37 (1st, 40)
6. Mark Reynolds: 37 (10th, 36)
8. Dan Uggla: 36 (13th, 32)
9. Mike Stanton: 34 (6th, 37)
10. Ryan Braun: 33 (12th, 33)
10. Ryan Howard: 33 (3rd, 39)

Granderson going from 24 homers in his first year with the Yankees to 41 this season was the big upset on the home run leaderboard. I had Kemp building on his total of 28 homers from last year, but I couldn’t project that much of a breakout.

My projected leaderboard had Pujols and Adam Dunn at 40, followed by Cabrera, Fielder and Howard one behind. Dunn, of course, ended up with 11 homers. Cabrera, although he was the AL’s second best hitter behind Bautista, dropped from 38 homers in 2010 to 30 this year.

RBI
1. Matt Kemp: 126 (20th, 99)
2. Prince Fielder: 120 (3rd, 118)
3. Curtis Granderson: 119 (72nd, 80)
4. Robinson Cano: 118 (10th, 113)
5. Adrian Gonzalez: 117 (6th, 116)
6. Ryan Howard: 116 (1st, 120)
7. Ryan Braun: 111 (12th, 107)
7. Mark Teixeira: 111 (3rd, 118)
9. Michael Young: 106 (53rd, 86)
10. Adrian Beltre: 105 (21st, 98)
10. Miguel Cabrera: 105 (5th, 117)
10. Jacoby Ellsbury: 105 (181st, 56)
10. Paul Konerko: 105 (30th, 94)
10. Troy Tulowitzki: 105 (13th, 104)

I didn’t exactly call Ellsbury’s power outburst, even if I did project him to hit more homers (11) than he did in either of his previous full seasons (nine and eight). I had him slugging .418, compared to his actual mark of .552.

The RBI leaderboard did have a lot of the usual suspects, though. The most notable absence was Pujols. I had him projected to finish second with 119 RBI, but he came in at 99.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: