Robinson Cano, Al Alburquerque, Tony Randazzo, Alex Avila

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.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.

Rusney Castillo disappoints again by not running out a routine grounder

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 18:  Rusney Castillo #38 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after he was caught off third base for the third out of the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 18, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.