2011 Projection Review: Catchers

8 Comments

What follows is a review of some of my 2011 projections for Rotoworld.com. I’m highlighting my preseason top five for each position and them some other notables, starting today with the catchers.

Catchers

Preseason Top 5

Joe Mauer – Twins – $28 – #1
Projection: .323/.411/.483, 14 HR, 91 R, 82 RBI, 3 SB in 520 AB
2011 stats: .287/.360/.368, 3 HR, 38 R, 30 RBI, 0 SB in 296 AB

It was essentially a lost season for the 2009 AL MVP, but Mauer did hit a solid .314/.393/.416 in 185 second-half at-bats before getting shut down with pneumonia. I’ll project him to hit .310-.320 next year, but the slugging percentage will come down. He has one homer in 396 at-bats at Target Field since the ballpark opened last year.

Buster Posey – Giants – $28 – #2
Projection: .312/.388/.507, 21 HR, 76 R, 85 RBI, 2 SB in 507 AB
2011 stats: .284/.368/.389, 4 HR, 17 R, 21 RBI, 3 SB in 162 AB

Victor Martinez – Tigers – $24 – #3
Projection: .297/.367/.463, 19 HR, 73 R, 95 RBI, 0 SB in 559 AB
2011 stats: .330/.380/.470, 12 HR, 76 R, 103 RBI, 1 SB in 540 AB

Martinez’s 2011 was even more of an outlier than his 2006. That season, he finished with a .316 average and 16 homers. In his other five full seasons, he has never hit better than .305 or finished with fewer than 20 homers.

Carlos Santana – Indians – $20 – #4
Projection: .271/.384/.475, 20 HR, 77 R, 76 RBI, 4 SB in 480 AB
2011 stats: .239/.351/.457, 27 HR, 84 R, 79 RBI, 5 SB in 552 AB

I still believe that Santana is going to hit for decent averages in the majors, but even at .240, he was one of the game’s best offensive catchers this season.

Brian McCann – Braves – $21 – #5
Projection: .274/.352/.472, 21 HR, 62 R, 80 RBI, 3 SB in 468 AB
2011 stats: .270/.351/.466, 24 HR, 51 R, 71 RBI, 3 SB in 466 AB

It’s pretty incredible that McCann hit third and fourth and still got driven in just 27 times all year. After McCann came off the DL in mid-August, he had a 21-game stretch in which the only runs he scored came on his five homers. 21 games!

Others

J.P. Arencibia – Blue Jays – $5 – #27
Projection: .228/.280/.417, 15 HR, 41 R, 47 RBI, 0 SB in 355 AB
2011 stats: .219/.282/.438, 23 HR, 47 R, 78 RBI, 1 SB in 443 AB

Arencibia proved to be quite a bit more valuable in fantasy leagues than expected, but my slash line was awfully close to reality. As a subpar defensive catcher with a .275 OBP after 478 major league at-bats, his future as a regular should be in serious doubt.

Alex Avila – Tigers – $5 – #23
Projection: .257/.338/.405, 11 HR, 41 R, 43 RBI, 2 SB in 358 AB
2011 stats: .295/.389/.506, 19 HR, 63 R, 82 RBI, 3 SB in 464 AB

2011’s breakout catcher. I projected Avila to add about 90 points of OPS from his disappointing .228/.316/.340 season in 2010, but I never believed he had this kind of upside.

Chris Iannetta – Rockies – $11 – #12
Projection: .243/.358/.444, 17 HR, 52 R, 61 RBI, 1 SB in 374 AB
2011 stats: .238/.370/.414, 14 HR, 51 R, 55 RBI, 6 SB in 345 AB

I think the Rockies would be foolish to move on from Iannetta. I’d really like to see what he could do if he weren’t stuck hitting ahead of the pitcher 90 percent of the time.

Russell Martin – Yankees – $9 – #13
Projection: .266/.360/.376, 9 HR, 53 R, 46 RBI, 7 SB in 391 AB
2011 stats: .237/.324/.408, 18 HR, 57 R, 65 RBI, 8 SB in 417 AB

Miguel Montero – Diamondbacks – $13 – #11
Projection: .260/.329/.443, 17 HR, 54 R, 62 RBI, 1 SB in 431 AB
2011 stats: .282/.351/.469, 18 HR, 65 R, 86 RBI, 1 SB in 493 AB

Maybe Iannetta could even put together a season something like Montero just did. Consider that Montero is a lifetime .256 hitter with 35 RBI in 91 games hitting eighth. He’s hit .274 with 211 RBI in 422 games the rest of the time.

Mike Napoli – Rangers – $12 – #10
Projection: .251/.338/.475, 20 HR, 54 R, 57 RBI, 3 SB in 362 AB
2011 stats: .320/.414/.631, 30 HR, 72 R, 75 RBI, 4 SB in 369 AB

Matt Wieters – Orioles – $13 – #8
Projection: .272/.348/.449, 18 HR, 56 R, 62 RBI, 1 SB in 448 AB
2011 stats: .262/.328/.450, 22 HR, 72 R, 68 RBI, 1 SB in 500 AB

Wieters didn’t reach superstardom in year No. 3, but considering that he’s developed into a Gold Glove-caliber catcher, he does appear on his way to becoming one of the AL’s better players. A .280-25 HR season is in reach for 2012. He fanned a modest 84 times in 500 at-bats this season, so there’s no reason he can’t hit for a significantly better average soon.

Matthew Stafford audibles with “Kershaw! Kershaw!”

Getty Images
4 Comments

Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:

Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.

With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.

The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.

You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.

Matt Harvey has a 13.19 ERA since coming back from the disabled list

Getty Images
9 Comments

Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.

Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.

Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.

Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.

Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.