2011 Projection Review: Second basemen

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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 some other notables.

Catchers
First basemen

Second Basemen

Preseason Top 5

Robinson Cano – Yankees – $32 – #1
Projection: .313/.368/.518, 28 HR, 96 R, 113 RBI, 4 SB in 620 AB
2011 stats: .302/.349/.533, 28 HR, 104 R, 118 RBI, 8 SB in 623 AB

It was a little disappointing that Cano went from a 77/57 K/BB ratio in 2010 to a 96/38 K/BB ratio this year, but it certainly didn’t stop him from putting up outstanding numbers. Now that he’s the Yankees’ No. 3 hitter, he could crack 650 at-bats next year and finish with 30+ homers and 110+ runs scored.

Ian Kinsler – Rangers – $27 – #2
Projection: .283/.363/.478, 23 HR, 99 R, 73 RBI, 25 SB in 558 AB
2011 stats: .255/.355/.477, 32 HR, 121 R, 77 RBI, 30 SB in 620 AB

I wonder if Kinsler will ever put it together and have a truly monstrous year. He hit .319 in 121 games in 2008 and .286 in 103 games in 2010, but he’s finished in the .250s in his two healthiest seasons. Maybe the .320 was a fluke, but there’s no reason he can’t hit .290-.300 given his very modest strikeout rate.

Dustin Pedroia – Red Sox – $26 – #3
Projection: .300/.372/.463, 17 HR, 110 R, 75 RBI, 15 SB in 613 AB
2011 stats: .307/.387/.474, 21 HR, 102 R, 91 RBI, 26 SB in 635 AB

Since they’ll probably want to give Carl Crawford a chance to bat second, the Red Sox should just go ahead and make Pedroia their full-time cleanup hitter next year. He’s hit .397/.439/.678 with 28 RBI in 31 games in that spot.

Brandon Phillips – Reds – $25 – #4
Projection: .280/.335/.446, 20 HR, 90 R, 81 RBI, 22 SB in 599 AB
2011 stats: .300/.353/.457, 18 HR, 94 R, 92 RBI, 14 SB in 610 AB

Phillips turned in his best offensive season since 2007, but since the Reds as a whole were a disappointment, it didn’t result in 100 runs or RBI.

Dan Uggla – Braves – $21 – #5
Projection: .257/.351/.488, 32 HR, 92 R, 95 RBI, 3 SB in 553 AB
2011 stats: .233/.311/.453, 36 HR, 88 R, 82 RBI, 1 SB in 600 AB

Uggla simply took too long to get going. He hit .185 in the first half and .296 after the break.

Others

Dustin Ackley – Mariners – $3 – #28
Projection: .259/.334/.406, 7 HR, 46 R, 39 RBI, 8 SB in 340 AB
2011 stats: .273/.348/.417, 6 HR, 39 R, 36 RBI, 6 SB in 333 AB

It’s always nice to get a rookie pretty much right. The pathetic thing here is that Ackley had such mediocre run and RBI numbers even though he hit third in 71 of his 87 starts.

Gordon Beckham – White Sox – $15 – #12
Projection: .272/.344/.440, 18 HR, 86 R, 72 RBI, 10 SB in 577 AB
2011 stats: .230/.296/.337, 10 HR, 60 R, 44 RBI, 5 SB in 499 AB

I don’t know what to do with Beckham now. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be getting a change of scenery this winter, but maybe the switch from Ozzie Guillen to Robin Ventura in the dugout will serve the same function. I still believe the ability is there, but two years of such obvious regression at ages 23 and 24 is extremely discouraging.

Maicer Izturis – Angels – $4 – #25
Projection: .271/.337/.382, 5 HR, 53 R, 39 RBI, 11 SB in 343 AB
2011 stats: .276/.334/.388, 5 HR, 51 R, 38 RBI, 9 SB in 449 AB

Perfect projections just aren’t easy to come by. This one looks flat-out awesome until one notices the at-bats. Of course, if I had projected Izturis for 450 at-bats, then I also would have given him seven homers, 70 runs scored and 50 RBI.

Kelly Johnson – Diamondbacks/Blue Jays – $18 – #9
Projection: .275/.356/.478, 22 HR, 89 R, 74 RBI, 11 SB in 559 AB
2011 stats: .222/.304/.413, 21 HR, 75 R, 58 RBI, 16 SB in 545 AB

The Aaron Hill-Johnson swap came too late for either to salvage the season, but Johnson did hit .270/.364/.417 in 115 at-bats after the deal.

Howie Kendrick – Angels – $18 – #7
Projection: .304/.344/.442, 11 HR, 75 R, 74 RBI, 17 SB in 565 AB
2011 stats: .285/.338/.464, 18 HR, 86 R, 63 RBI, 14 SB in 537 AB

Kendrick finally turned in a really good season in his sixth year in the bigs, but it wasn’t the kind of campaign I thought it’d be. I figured the breakthrough would come in average, not power.

Chase Utley – Phillies – $19 – #6
Projection: .281/.389/.480, 19 HR, 77 R, 67 RBI, 10 SB in 427 AB
2011 stats: .259/.344/.425, 11 HR, 54 R, 44 RBI, 14 SB in 398 AB

Neil Walker – Pirates – $12 – #16
Projection: .278/.330/.434, 16 HR, 78 R, 76 RBI, 5 SB in 572 AB
2011 stats: .273/.334/.408, 12 HR, 76 R, 83 RBI, 9 SB in 596 AB

Rickie Weeks – Brewers – $17 – #10
Projection: .260/.360/.446, 22 HR, 91 R, 63 RBI, 16 SB in 534 AB
2011 stats: .269/.350/.468, 20 HR, 77 R, 49 RBI, 9 SB in 453 AB

I don’t imagine that Weeks will stay in the middle of the order following Prince Fielder’s likely departure this winter. Even with all of his power, he makes a lot more sense as a leadoff man, particularly since it gets him an extra at-bat every other game.

Ben Zobrist – Rays – $14 – #14
Projection: .251/.353/.399, 15 HR, 87 R, 64 RBI, 22 SB in 562 AB
2011 stats: .269/.353/.469, 20 HR, 99 R, 91 RBI, 19 SB in 588 AB

Zobrist rebounded a lot further than I thought he would after going from hitting .297/.405/.543 in 2009 to .238/.346/.353 in 2010.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.