2011 Projection Review: Catchers

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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.

Odubel Herrera went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts today

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Did you have a bad day? It’s OK. We all do sometimes. It’s just part of life. Even ballplayers have bad days. Even the good ones.

Odubel Herrera is a good one. He’s only 25, but he’s already got two seasons of above average hitting under his belt. Dude gets on base. He could be a regular for tons of teams, so there’s no shame at all in him having a bad day. And boy howdy did he have a bad day today. He went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in the Phillies extra innings win against the Rockies.

“I feel that I am making good swings but I’m just missing the pitches,” Herrera said.

Well, that is how strikeouts work.

Four strikeouts in a game is known as a Golden Sombrero. Players don’t strike out five times in a game very often so they don’t have an agreed upon name, but I’ve seen it referred to as the “platinum sombrero,” which seems pretty solid for such a feat. Six is a titanium sombrero or a double platinum sombrero, though there are references to it as a “Horn,” for Sam Horn, who deserves something to be named in his honor. Horn is like Moe Greene — a great man, a man of vision and guts — yet there isn’t even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him!

But I digress.

The last time a Phillies player did it was when Pat Burrell K’d five times in September 2008. The Phillies won the World Series that year, of course, so maybe this is an omen. [looks at standings] Or maybe not.

Anyway, get a good night’s sleep tonight, Odubel. Shake it off. Tomorrow is another day.

Rachel Robinson to receive O’Neil Award from the Hall of Fame

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NEW YORK (AP) Rachel Robinson will receive the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from baseball’s Hall of Fame on July 29, the day before this year’s induction ceremony.

She’s the wife of late Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who broke the major league color barrier in 1947. Rachel Robinson created the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 1973, a year after he husband’s death. Rachel Robinson, who turns 95 in July 19, headed the foundation’s board until 1996.

The O’Neil award was established in 2007 to honor individuals who broaden the game’s appeal and whose character is comparable to that of O’Neil. He played in the Negro Leagues, was a scout for major league baseball teams and helped establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

The award was given to O’Neil in 2008, Roland Hemond in 2011 and Joe Garagiola in 2014.