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.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.