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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.

What’s on tap: previewing tonight’s action

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 13:  Julio Urias of the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Target Field on July 13, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The big game is in New York, where Julio Urias makes his major league debut against Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets. Urias, 19, has 27 consecutive scoreless innings under his belt. All at Triple-A, of course. The debuts of young pitchers tend not to go too well, but at the very least you’ll see a guy with electric stuff and you’ll be able to say you saw him back when he was just a lad.

Another nice matchup pits Jaime Garcia against Max Scherzer. Garcia has struggled of late but is always capable of a big game. Scherzer has had some of the biggest games of the past couple of years. Masahiro Tanaka vs. Chris Archer is another matchup with star power, even if Archer hasn’t lived up to his billing of late. Tanaka has only pitched on game in Tropicana Field but it was a great game, tossing seven shutout innings while striking out eight. He may be the only person alive who likes it there.

Here’s tonight’s slate. And, well, this afternoon’s game in Chicago too:

Philadelphia Phillies (Adam Morgan) @ Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester), 2:20 PM EDT, Wrigley Field

St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia) @ Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer), 7:05 PM EDT, Nationals Park

Boston Red Sox (Joe Kelly) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez), 7:07 PM EDT, Rogers Centre

Baltimore Orioles (Mike Wright) @ Cleveland Indians (Trevor Bauer), 7:10 PM EDT, Progressive Field

Los Angeles Dodgers (Julio Urias) @ New York Mets (Jacob deGrom), 7:10 PM EDT, Citi Field

New York Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Chris Archer), 7:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field

Miami Marlins (Adam Conley) @ Atlanta Braves (Williams Perez), 7:35 PM EDT, Turner Field

Pittsburgh Pirates (Jonathon Niese) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EDT, Globe Life Park in Arlington

Cincinnati Reds (John Lamb) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Zach Davies), 8:10 PM EDT, Miller Park

Chicago White Sox (Miguel Gonzalez) @ Kansas City Royals (Danny Duffy), 8:15 PM EDT, Kauffman Stadium

San Francisco Giants (Matt Cain) @ Colorado Rockies (Tyler Chatwood), 8:40 PM EDT, Coors Field

San Diego Padres (Christian Friedrich) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray), 9:40 PM EDT, Chase Field

Detroit Tigers (Michael Fulmer) @ Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea), 10:05 PM EDT, Oakland Coliseum

Houston Astros (Mike Fiers) @ Los Angeles Angels (Matt Shoemaker), 10:05 PM EDT, Angel Stadium of Anaheim

The best active players by year of birth

Ichiro Suzuki
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There remains one player in major league baseball who is older than me. One. Bartolo Colon. And he’s only older than me by a couple of months. There is another guy born the same year as me still playing: Ichiro. I’m older than him by a couple of months, but 1973 is still representing. Just barely. It won’t be long now until every single ballplayer is my junior.

Everyone thinks about that from time to time. Our baseball mortality or whatever dramatic thing we want to call it. We all know by now that we’re never gonna make it to the bigs. Most of us knew it when we were still kids. But there is some sort of . . . feeling we all get when we look at a ballplayer who is our age. There’s no element of “I could do that” to it. But maybe a touch of “if things were different, I could’ve been you.” This is much easier for those of us who don’t know how genetics work, of course.

Today Will Leitch of Sports on Earth has a handy post for those of us who think about this stuff. It’s a list of the best baseball players born in each and every year from 1973, when the dinosaurs roamed, until 1996, which will officially be operative this evening as Julio Urias takes the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I hope the list doesn’t depress any of you. If it does, I’ll try to come up with a similar one for cardiologists or research professors or something. A lot of us are still younger than those folks. Even if we have just as much a chance of being them as we have of being the left fielder for the Chicago White Sox or whatever.

Yasiel Puig visits the Statue of Liberty, meets a Yasiel Puig fan

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig reacts in dugout after hitting a RBI sacrifice fly against the San Francisco Giants during fifth inning of a spring baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz., Sunday, March 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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Yasiel Puig is in New York to face the Mets this weekend. Yesterday was a day off so he got to explore New York. You can tell he’s not a New Yorker because he actually went to visit the Statue of Liberty.

I likewise assume that Puig made it to where the boat leaves for Liberty Island with plenty of time to spare, because God knows he’s had a week in which him hustling to make it just in time wasn’t gonna happen.

In other news, Puig made a friend on the boat:

Wade Boggs did not wear his Yankees ring to his number retiring ceremony last night

BOSTON, MA - MAY 26:  Wade Boggs acknowledges the crowd during the retirement of his jersey #26 prior to the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park on May 26, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The other day we had the non-controversy of Wade Boggs wearing his 1996 World Series ring, which he won with the Yankees, to a ceremony honoring the 1986 Red Sox. Last night, however, Boggs was feted as an individual, with his number 26 being retired at Fenway Park.

It was an emotional night for him. He was visibly choked up and said all sorts of things which clearly showed how much more, at heart, he is a Boston Red Sox legend than he is a legend of either of the other teams for which he played. And he made a comment about the Yankees ring thing too:

He wore his Hall of Fame ring on Thursday.

“I’m proud of it,” Boggs said of the ’96 Yankees’ ring. “But I didn’t feel like it was appropriate today being that it’s my day, it’s my number and everything like that. So I left it off.”

The dude hit .328 for his career and had 3,010 hits despite not even playing a full season until he was 25. He could wear a Little Orphan Annie decoder ring out there and no one would have the right to say boo to him.