Clayton Kershaw

Leaderboards vs. the projections: the pitchers

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Here’s part two of my look at the actual leaderboards versus my projected totals. I’ll be listing players with their season totals and then where I had them ranked and projected.

Wins
1. Justin Verlander: 24 (6th, 16)
2. Ian Kennedy: 21 (67th, 11)
2. Clayton Kershaw: 21 (10th, 15)
4. Roy Halladay: 19 (1st, 19)
4. CC Sabathia: 19 (2nd, 18)
6. Jered Weaver: 18 (19th, 14)
7. Yovani Gallardo: 17 (19th, 14)
7. Cliff Lee: 17 (3rd, 17)
9. Gio Gonzalez: 16 (31st, 13)
9. Zack Greinke: 16 (31st, 13)
9. Dan Haren: 16 (19th, 14)
9. Derek Holland: 16 (67th, 11)
9. Daniel Hudson: 16 (31st, 13)
9. Tim Hudson: 16 (10th, 15)
9. Ivan Nova: 16 (87th, 10)
9. James Shields: 16 (31st, 13)
9. C.J. Wilson: 16 (31st, 13)

I had five pitchers winning 17 games, including Halladay, Sabathia and Lee. The other two were Jon Lester, who finished with 15, and Tim Lincecum, who ended up with 13.

Kennedy was obviously the biggest miss. I had him as a solid fantasy starter because of a strong WHIP and strikeout rate. But I didn’t think he’d be so good and I didn’t expect the team around him (the Arizona bullpen in particular) to perform so well.

ERA
1. Clayton Kershaw: 2.28 (3rd, 2.97)
2. Roy Halladay: 2.35 (2nd, 2.84)
3. Cliff Lee: 2.40 (4th, 3.04)
4. Justin Verlander: 2.40 (23rd, 3.51)
5. Jered Weaver: 2.41 (21st, 3.49)
6. Ryan Vogelsong: 2.71 (no projection)
7. Tim Lincecum: 2.74 (5th, 3.09)
8. Cole Hamels: 2.79 (15th, 3.39)
9. James Shields: 2.82 (76th, 4.12)
10. Doug Fister: 2.83 (113th, 4.38)

As you’ve probably noticed by now, I’m a bit more conservative with pitching projections; not since Pedro Martinez’s prime have I projected anyone to finish with an ERA in the low-2.00s.

I had Felix Hernandez atop my ERA leaderboard this year at 2.74, but he came up well short at 3.47 for the year. Two of the other guys in my top 10 got hurt (Josh Johnson and Brett Anderson), while Mat Latos, Tommy Hanson and Lester failed to make the cut here.

Strikeouts
1. Justin Verlander: 250 (6th, 202)
2. Clayton Kershaw: 248 (5th, 205)
3. Cliff Lee: 238 (28th, 178)
4. CC Sabathia: 230 (11th, 192)
5. James Shields: 225 (34th, 172)
6. Felix Hernandez: 222 (4th, 207)
7. Roy Halladay: 220 (7th, 197)
7. Tim Lincecum: 220 (1st, 232)
9. David Price: 218 (8th, 194)
10. Yovani Gallardo: 207 (2nd, 211)

Seven of the top 10 match up here. The exceptions are Jon Lester (211 projected, 182 actual), Jered Weaver (193 projected, 198 actual) and Jonathan Sanchez (193 projected, 102 actual in 101 1/3 IP). Of course, I had just six pitchers projected to fan 200 batters.  In actuality, 14 did.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.