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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.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.