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

Corey Knebel sets modern record for consecutive appearances with a strikeout

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Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.

Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.

Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.

Joey Votto thinks he can win the Home Run Derby, but hasn’t been invited yet

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Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.

In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”

Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.

Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.