Jose Reyes

2011 Projection Review: Shortstops

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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

Shortstops

Preseason Top 5

Hanley Ramirez – Marlins – $39 – #1
Projection: .317/.398/.533, 27 HR, 104 R, 93 RBI, 30 SB in 559 AB
2011 stats: .243/.333/.379, 10 HR, 55 R, 45 RBI, 20 SB in 338 AB

Count on Ozzie Guillen giving Ramirez a swift kick in the rear. Whether that will get him back to his 2009 level of performance is uncertain, but I’d be surprised if he isn’t an All-Star next year.

Troy Tulowitzki – Rockies – $32 – #2
Projection: .298/.377/.548, 31 HR, 101 R, 104 RBI, 11 SB in 551 AB
2011 stats: .302/.372/.544, 30 HR, 81 R, 105 RBI, 9 SB in 537 AB

Tulo did almost exactly what was expected of him. The guys behind him in the order, on the other hand…

Jose Reyes – Mets – $27 – #3
Projection: .290/.353/.452, 14 HR, 93 R, 60 RBI, 37 SB in 580 AB
2011 stats: .337/.384/.493, 7 HR, 101 R, 44 RBI, 39 SB in 537 AB

This was the best version of Reyes we’ve seen to date: fewer homers, fewer walks and fewer steals, but also fewer strikeouts and a whole bunch more singles. He should be through as a 60-steal guy, as health does need to be a priority.

Elvis Andrus – Rangers – $24 – #4
Projection: .280/.347/.370, 5 HR, 97 R, 49 RBI, 41 SB in 610 AB
2011 stats: .279/.347/.361, 5 HR, 96 R, 60 RBI, 37 SB in 587 AB

Andrus showed a bit of pop this year after finishing with no homers and a .301 slugging percentage as a sophomore. I don’t suspect that he’ll break through and reach double figures in homers next year, but he should get there someday.

Jimmy Rollins – Phillies – $23 – #5
Projection: .266/.328/.423, 16 HR, 92 R, 65 RBI, 32 SB in 617 AB
2011 stats: .268/.338/.399, 16 HR, 87 R, 63 RBI, 30 SB in 567 AB

Rollins gets to take his best season since 2008 with him as he heads into free agency. It might get him a four-year deal this winter, though three years would be safer.

Others

Erick Aybar – Angels – $13 – #13
Projection: .276/.327/.390, 8 HR, 69 R, 56 RBI, 21 SB in 536 AB
2011 stats: .279/.322/.421, 10 HR, 71 R, 59 RBI, 30 SB in 556 AB

Asdrubal Cabrera – Indians – $15 – #10
Projection: .293/.354/.415, 9 HR, 83 R, 63 RBI, 11 SB in 557 AB
2011 stats: .273/.332/.460, 25 HR, 87 R, 92 RBI, 17 SB in 604 AB

I didn’t see Cabrera becoming this kind of power hitter at any point in his career.

Starlin Castro – Cubs – $19 – #8
Projection: .296/.345/.420, 8 HR, 90 R, 60 RBI, 19 SB in 612 AB
2011 stats: .307/.341/.432, 10 HR, 91 R, 66 RBI, 22 SB in 674 AB

Castro hit eight homers after the All-Star break, as compared to just two before. I suspect that some will cite that fact and project him as a 15- or 20-homer guy next year. Still, I think that homer outburst was something of a fluke. He had just 13 non-HR extra-base hits in the second half, compared to 32 in the first half.

Yunel Escobar – Blue Jays – $12 – #14
Projection: .290/.362/.413, 12 HR, 77 R, 63 RBI, 5 SB in 542 AB
2011 stats: .290/.369/.413, 11 HR, 77 R, 48 RBI, 3 SB in 513 AB

One of my best projections, and Escobar hit .256/.337/.318 in 2010, so this was no easy call.

Rafael Furcal – Dodgers/Cardinals – $16 – #9
Projection: .276/.345/.399, 10 HR, 87 R, 48 RBI, 24 SB in 537 AB
2011 stats: .231/.298/.348, 8 HR, 44 R, 28 RBI, 9 SB in 333 AB

J.J. Hardy – Orioles – $8 – #21
Projection: .264/.325/.429, 19 HR, 64 R, 66 RBI, 1 SB in 518 AB
2011 stats: .269/.310/.491, 30 HR, 76 R, 80 RBI, 0 SB in 527 AB

Derek Jeter – Yankees – $21 – #6
Projection: .286/.358/.401, 13 HR, 101 R, 64 RBI, 16 SB in 601 AB
2011 stats: .297/.355/.388, 6 HR, 84 R, 61 RBI, 16 SB in 546 AB

Jeter had reached double figures in homers in 15 straight seasons before coming up well short at age 37. He also finished with a career-low 24 doubles, which should probably be taken as an indication that his homer total isn’t likely to bounce back much or at all.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka – Twins – $10 – #15
Projection: .265/.334/.376, 7 HR, 78 R, 59 RBI, 18 SB in 548 AB
2011 stats: .226/.278/.249, 0 HR, 14 R, 19 RBI, 2 SB in 221 AB

I’ve typically done pretty well with Japanese hitters arriving in the big leagues, but Nishioka proved to be terribly overmatched. There’s still the chance that he’ll hit for a decent average as a sophomore, but he’s not going to generate any power with his current swing.

Alexei Ramirez – White Sox – $20 – #7
Projection: .280/.324/.449, 20 HR, 75 R, 77 RBI, 16 SB in 564 AB
2011 stats: .269/.328/.399, 15 HR, 81 R, 70 RBI, 7 SB in 614 AB

Marlins still searching for starting pitching depth

Aaron Harang
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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The Marlins would like to add “another pitcher or two” before pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Among starting pitchers available, Kyle Lohse, Aaron Harang, and Alfredo Simon are candidates for the Marlins, but they may hold out for the possibility of inking a major league contract. Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee are other potential candidates, per Frisaro.

This offseason, the Marlins signed Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal and Edwin Jackson for the major league minimum. The back of the rotation, though, is still a question mark as Jarred Cosart, Adam Conley, and Justin Nicolino will compete with Jackson for two spots. David Phelps is dealing with an elbow injury and may or not be ready by Opening Day, but he could function in a swingman capacity as well.

Shocker: Bruce Bochy tabs Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

Madison Bumgarner
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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You might want to sit down for this news. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has tabbed ace Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day in Milwaukee against the Brewers, CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reports. Shocking, I know.

The Giants had a busy offseason, adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation, but neither had a shot at getting the Opening Day nod considering what Bumgarner has done for the Giants over the last five seasons.

Since the start of the 2011 season, the 26-year-old lefty compiled a 3.05 ERA with 1,034 strikeouts and 239 walks across 1,050 innings. Among starters who logged at least 800 innings in that span of time, only Clayton Kershaw, Cueto, Zack Greinke, David Price, and Felix Hernandez have posted lower ERAs.  And Bumgarner is the only one among them with a championship ring. In fact, he has three.

Tony Clark is not happy so many players remain unsigned

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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We’re almost halfway through February. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training soon. And yet, there are more than a handful of solid free agents that remain unsigned. Among them: Yovani Gallardo, Ian Desmond, and Dexter Fowler. All three have draft pick compensation tied to them, as each rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from his respective former team. That, undoubtedly, is a reason why they haven’t inked a contract yet.

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark is unhappy about this reality and expects to discuss potential changes when the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. The current CBA expires after the 2016 season. Per the Associated Press, Clark said last week, “I think it’s disappointing when there are as many talented players still without a home. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to be in a world where very talented players are at home for whatever reason they are there. It will likely be a part of the conversation in bargaining.”

Clark also mentioned, among other things, the possibility of a draft lottery, which would take away the incentive for teams to “tank”, or lose on purpose. The Astros and Phillies have notably done this in recent years, finishing with baseball’s worst record and thus netting the #1 overall draft pick.

These are, however, simply two items of many that will be discussed during the upcoming offseason. It will be interesting to see what solutions are eventually put in place.

Michael Pineda hopes to reach 200-inning mark for first time

New York Yankees' Michael Pineda delivers a pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger
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It was reported on Friday that Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day as he makes his way back from arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. His health will be crucial to the Yankees’ chances this season, but the same goes for rotation-mate Michael Pineda, who hopes that this is the year he’ll be able to take on the workload of a frontline starter.

Pineda was on pace for a career-high in innings last season, but he landed on the disabled list in late July with a right flexor forearm muscle strain and missed a month. He struggled upon his return and ended up with 160 2/3 innings, so he fell short of his career-high of 171 innings as a rookie with the Mariners way back in 2011. Now going into his age-27 season, Pineda told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that his goal for 2016 is to reach 200 innings for the first time in his career.

“For me, this year, I’m coming here early to be strong and working hard to pitch 200 innings this year,” Pineda said at the club’s Minor League complex. “I want to throw 200 innings this year. This is my goal, and help my team.”

Pineda had a mediocre 4.37 ERA (90 ERA+) last season despite impressive peripherals with 8.7 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. Among pitchers with at least 160 innings pitched, only Bartolo Colon of the Mets had a lower walk percentage. Pineda managed to increase his ground ball rate to 48.2 percent and also saw an uptick in velocity from 2014, so there’s reason to believe in improvement if he can stay healthy.