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2011 Projection Review: Third 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

Third Basemen

Preseason Top 5

Alex Rodriguez – Yankees – $33 – #1
Projection: .284/.383/.541, 37 HR, 101 R, 114 RBI, 10 SB in 545 AB
2011 stats: .276/.362/.461, 16 HR, 67 R, 62 RBI, 4 SB in 373 AB

Rodriguez was doing fine until his body broke down, coming in at .295/.366/.485 in the first half. Still, he was a zero after that and it’s hard to see why manager Joe Girardi kept him in the cleanup spot all along. Even prorating A-Rod’s stats to 545 at-bats would have given him a mere 23 homers and 91 RBI.

Evan Longoria – Rays – $32 – #2
Projection: .296/.381/.542, 31 HR, 98 R, 114 RBI, 12 SB in 568 AB
2011 stats: .244/.355/.495, 31 HR, 78 R, 99 RBI, 3 SB in 483 AB

Leading up to his big finish, Longoria was hitting .229/.324/.447 on Aug 16. Injuries were behind his struggles to hit for average initially, and given the way he ended 2011, he’ll enter next season as one of the favorites for MVP honors in the AL.

David Wright – Mets – $31 – #3
Projection: .294/.378/.509, 27 HR, 95 R, 100 RBI, 18 SB in 595 AB
2011 stats: .255/.345/.427, 14 HR, 60 R, 61 RBI, 13 SB in 389 AB

The Mets are going to bring in the fences at Citi Field in an attempt to return Wright to superstardom. The problem here is that Wright hasn’t exactly been a stud in road games lately, either. Wright needs to stop worrying about the strikeouts and try to get his old swing back.

Jose Bautista – Blue Jays – $25 – #4
Projection: .265/.372/.533, 37 HR, 95 R, 103 RBI, 6 SB in 563 AB
2011 stats: .302/.447/.608, 43 HR, 105 R, 103 RBI, 9 SB in 513 AB

I wish I had been gutsier in projecting a higher average for Bautista. He came in at .260 during his breakthrough 2010 campaign, but that looked like the result of some pretty awful luck on balls in play. I did project a slight increase, but I should have gone further.

Ryan Zimmerman – Nationals – $25 – #5
Projection: .297/.372/.509, 28 HR, 93 R, 96 RBI, 3 SB in 589 AB
2011 stats: .289/.355/.443, 12 HR, 52 R, 49 RBI, 3 SB in 395 AB

It just wasn’t a good year for the supposed elite at third base (or my projections for them). Zimmerman managed to hit for a solid average when healthy, but the power wasn’t there and his RBI total was shockingly low. That’s not really his fault, though: he hit .293/.409/.478 with RISP.

Others

Pedro Alvarez – Pirates – $17 – #11
Projection: .252/.331/.482, 30 HR, 81 R, 96 RBI, 3 SB in 548 AB
2011 stats: .191/.272/.289, 4 HR, 18 R, 19 RBI, 1 SB in 235 AB

A catastrophe. Alvarez failed to resemble a major leaguer offensively or defensively in 2011. The Pirates need to make him a full-time first baseman and stick him in Triple-A at the beginning of next year.

Adrian Beltre – Rangers – $22 – #6
Projection: .280/.329/.488, 27 HR, 86 R, 98 RBI, 7 SB in 586 AB
2011 stats: .296/.331/.561, 32 HR, 82 R, 105 RBI, 1 SB in 487 AB

The projection doesn’t look too bad until one notices that I had him achieving that kind of production in an extra 100 at-bats. Beltre led the majors in RBI per at-bat this year. He came in at .216, while actual major league RBI leader Matt Kemp was at .209. If Beltre had maintained that production over the course of 586 at-bats, he would have driven in 126 runs.

Chipper Jones – Braves – $9 – #19
Projection: .280/.392/.454, 17 HR, 67 R, 63 RBI, 2 SB in 421 AB
2011 stats: .275/.344/.470, 18 HR, 56 R, 70 RBI, 2 SB in 455 AB

Aramis Ramirez – Cubs – $17 – #10
Projection: .280/.350/.492, 25 HR, 75 R, 94 RBI, 1 SB in 514 AB
2011 stats: .306/.361/.510, 26 HR, 80 R, 93 RBI, 1 SB in 565 AB

Mark Reynolds – Orioles – $18 – #7
Projection: .230/.318/.471, 36 HR, 85 R, 93 RBI, 10 SB in 552 AB
2011 stats: .221/.323/.483, 37 HR, 84 R, 86 RBI, 6 SB in 534 AB

It’s hard to get excited about a season in which a guy hits .221, but unlike that other high-strikeout slugger in Chicago, Reynolds made the adjustment to the AL pretty well. He hit .231 with 35 homers in 451 at-bats from May 1 onward. The Orioles should keep him around, preferably as a first baseman.

Pablo Sandoval – Giants – $18 – #8
Projection: .296/.352/.489, 22 HR, 74 R, 83 RBI, 5 SB in 568 AB
2011 stats: .315/.357/.552, 23 HR, 55 R, 70 RBI, 2 SB in 426 AB

Ian Stewart – Rockies – $11 – #12
Projection: .261/.345/.471, 22 HR, 67 R, 75 RBI, 6 SB in 459 AB
2011 stats: .156/.243/.221, 0 HR, 14 R, 6 RBI, 3 SB in 122 AB

Michael Young – Rangers – $17 – #9
Projection: .291/.343/.436, 16 HR, 84 R, 86 RBI, 5 SB in 594 AB
2011 stats: .338/.380/.474, 11 HR, 88 R, 106 RBI, 6 SB in 631 AB

It’s kind of odd how we think of Young as this consistent hit machine, yet he’s never had a season that was just slightly better that his previous season and he’s been way up and down lately. I thought 2009 would prove to be Young’s last exceptional season. Now I imagine 2011 will be it. He was terrific, but he is 35 and he’s been pretty average three of the last five years.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this:

Tony Clark responds to Rob Manfred’s claim that union had a “lack of cooperation”

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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Earlier, Craig covered Rob Manfred’s comments in which he accused the Major League Baseball Players’ Association of “a lack of cooperation” concerning some proposed rule changes. The union would need to agree to any such changes, which have included automatic intentional walks, limiting mound visits, pitch clocks, and swapping batting practice times for home and visiting teams.

Manfred went on to say that MLB will impose those rule changes unilaterally next year as allowed in the latest collective bargaining agreement.

Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, responded to Manfred’s comment. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

“Unless your definition of ‘cooperation’ is blanket approval, I don’t agree that we’ve failed to cooperate with the Commissioner’s office on these issues.”

“Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this off season we’ve been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened.”

“I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don’t continue, notwithstanding today’s comments about implementation. As I’ve said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open.”

“My understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2min limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of Game warning/fine adjustments.”

Clark’s response isn’t anything too shocking. Manfred’s accusation was pretty baseless, but it’s behavior to be expected of a commissioner who comes down on the side of the owners over the players almost always.