Matt Kemp

2011 Projection Review: Outfielders

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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

Outfielders

Preseason Top 10

Carlos Gonzalez – Rockies – $37 – #1
Projection: .314/.366/.561, 31 HR, 112 R, 103 RBI, 23 SB in 602 AB
2011 stats: .295/.363/.526, 26 HR, 92 R, 92 RBI, 20 SB in 481 AB

Gonzalez’s average was down 40 points from his outstanding 2010 season, but if not for the injuries, he would have been right there with the other elite fantasy outfielders. His stats prorated over 580 at-bats: 31 homers, 111 runs, 111 RBI and 24 steals.

Ryan Braun – Brewers – $35 – #2
Projection: .310/.376/.552, 33 HR, 109 R, 107 RBI, 16 SB in 616 AB
2011 stats: .332/.397/.597, 33 HR, 109 R, 111 RBI, 33 SB in 563 AB

Here’s a prediction: Braun gets 10 times as many intentional walks next year. He finished with just two while hitting ahead of Prince Fielder this season.

Carl Crawford – Red Sox – $33 – #3
Projection: .309/.360/.474, 16 HR, 108 R, 82 RBI, 38 SB in 593 AB
2011 stats: .255/.289/.405, 11 HR, 65 R, 56 RBI, 18 SB in 506 AB

Crawford spent the entire season standing too away from the plate and then flailing away at pitches just off the outside corner. He had a 104/23 K/BB ratio in 506 at-bats for Boston. That’s exactly as many strikeouts and exactly half as many walks as he had in 600 at-bats the year before.

Matt Kemp – Dodgers – $32 – #4
Projection: .290/.349/.512, 31 HR, 96 R, 99 RBI, 27 SB in 607 AB
2011 stats: .324/.399/.586, 39 HR, 115 R, 126 RBI, 40 SB in 602 AB

From .249 to .324. Also huge from a fantasy standpoint, Kemp went from 19-for-34 stealing bases to 40-for-51. Kemp had 602 official at-bats in both 2010 and 2011, but he had 45 more hits and 21 additional walks this year.

Matt Holliday – Cardinals – $30 – #5
Projection: .311/.402/.529, 27 HR, 96 R, 116 RBI, 10 SB in 573 AB
2011 stats: .296/.388/.525, 22 HR, 83 R, 75 RBI, 2 SB in 446 AB

The disappointing OBPs at the top of the Cardinals’ lineup took a toll on Holliday’s RBI numbers. Not only did Cards leadoff hitters get on base at a poor .310 clip, but Albert Pujols came in at .366 instead of his usual .430 or so (and even that is a bit misleading, since home runs made up a bigger part of his OBP than ever before).

Jacoby Ellsbury – Red Sox – $28 – #6
Projection: .294/.351/.418, 11 HR, 96 R, 56 RBI, 51 SB in 574 AB
2011 stats: .321/.376/.552, 32 HR, 119 R, 105 RBI, 39 SB in 660 AB

Ellsbury was even better than Crawford was bad. Despite hitting first all season (well, except for a handful of games batting ninth), he finished fourth among outfielders in RBI.

Nelson Cruz – Rangers – $28 – #7
Projection: .286/.352/.525, 31 HR, 85 R, 102 RBI, 20 SB in 545 AB
2011 stats: .263/.312/.509, 29 HR, 64 R, 87 RBI, 9 SB in 475 AB

That’s more the kind of season I projected Cruz to have in 2010, when he shocked me by batting .318. Throwing in the postseason for fun, Cruz finished with 37 homers and 103 RBI in 537 at-bats.

Shin-Soo Choo – Indians – $27 – #8
Projection: .293/.390/.490, 23 HR, 98 R, 97 RBI, 20 SB in 569 AB
2011 stats: .259/.344/.390, 8 HR, 37 R, 36 RBI, 12 SB in 313 AB

A lost year for the two-time 20 HR/20 SB outfielder. I imagine he’ll rebound next year and that could lead to the best run and RBI numbers of his career now that Cleveland’s lineup is looking stronger.

Andrew McCutchen – Pirates – $27 – #9
Projection: .293/.372/.472, 18 HR, 92 R, 76 RBI, 34 SB in 563 AB
2011 stats: .259/.364/.456, 23 HR, 87 R, 89 RBI, 23 SB in 572 AB

McCutchen fanned 30 times in 246 at-bats in the second half of 2010, 62 times in 327 at-bats in the first half of 2011 and then 64 times in 245 at-bats in the second half of 2011. I don’t believe that he’ll keep trending in that direction, but it’s worth watching. He can’t be penciled in as a perennial All-Star just yet.

Josh Hamilton – Rangers – $26 – #10
Projection: .307/.374/.557, 30 HR, 91 R, 100 RBI, 7 SB in 521 AB
2011 stats: .298/.346/.536, 25 HR, 80 R, 94 RBI, 8 SB in 487 AB

Others

Jay Bruce – Reds – $20 – #25
Projection: .271/.350/.505, 31 HR, 83 R, 92 RBI, 7 SB in 549 AB
2011 stats: .256/.341/.474, 32 HR, 84 R, 97 RBI, 8 SB in 585 AB

Throw out his huge May and Bruce hit .236 with 20 homers and 64 RBI the remaining five months of the season.

Alex Gordon – Royals – $8 – #66
Projection: .254/.346/.434, 19 HR, 66 R, 65 RBI, 11 SB in 507 AB
2011 stats: .303/.376/.502, 23 HR, 101 R, 87 RBI, 17 SB in 611 AB

I missed pretty big on all three Kansas City outfielders. I hadn’t written off Gordon, but given the Royals’ past handling of him, I kept the projection pretty modest. That said, if I had projected a breakout, it would have been something more like .270-25-90. The .300 average was a big surprise.

Curtis Granderson – Yankees – $23 – #17
Projection: .265/.343/.485, 29 HR, 97 R, 80 RBI, 19 SB in 559 AB
2011 stats: .262/.364/.552, 41 HR, 136 R, 119 RBI, 25 SB in 583 AB

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a projection quite like this, where I’m close on average and at-bats and yet so far away on runs scored and RBI. Of course, the extra 12 homers had something to do with that. Still, even so, 136 runs and 119 RBI were just remarkable totals. Granderson led the majors in runs scored by 15 and the AL in RBI.

Jason Heyward – Braves – $23 – #14
Projection: .287/.395/.519, 27 HR, 87 R, 91 RBI, 14 SB in 540 AB
2011 stats: .227/.319/.389, 14 HR, 50 R, 42 RBI, 9 SB in 396 AB

I’m still a believer, though next year’s projection is going to be a tough call. I’ll probably drop the average to .270 or so but call for 25 homers.

Adam Jones – Orioles – $16 – #39
Projection: .279/.330/.455, 22 HR, 77 R, 80 RBI, 11 SB in 573 AB
2011 stats: .280/.319/.466, 25 HR, 68 R, 83 RBI, 12 SB in 567 AB

Mike Morse – Nationals – $8 – #62
Projection: .273/.332/.441, 19 HR, 66 R, 75 RBI, 2 SB in 531 AB
2011 stats: .303/.360/.550, 31 HR, 73 R, 95 RBI, 2 SB in 522 AB

Hunter Pence – Astros/Phillies – $24 – #12
Projection: .292/.350/.503, 28 HR, 90 R, 87 RBI, 14 SB in 596 AB
2011 stats: .314/.370/.502, 22 HR, 84 R, 97 RBI, 8 SB in 606 AB

Alex Rios – White Sox – $23 – #15
Projection: .282/.335/.462, 22 HR, 78 R, 83 RBI, 26 SB in 571 AB
2011 stats: .227/.265/.348, 13 HR, 64 R, 44 RBI, 11 SB in 537 AB

Mike Stanton – Marlins – $19 – #30
Projection: .251/.326/.516, 37 HR, 85 R, 98 RBI, 5 SB in 570 AB
2011 stats: .262/.356/.537, 34 HR, 79 R, 87 RBI, 5 SB in 516 AB

Stanton didn’t lead the NL in homers in his first full season as I thought he might, but he wasn’t all that far away. He’ll rate as the favorite for 2012 unless Pujols lands in Wrigley Field.

Ichiro Suzuki – Mariners – $24 – #13
Projection: .316/.362/.406, 8 HR, 94 R, 45 RBI, 36 SB in 658 AB
2011 stats: .272/.310/.335, 5 HR, 80 R, 47 RBI, 40 SB in 677 AB

If he maintained that .272 average, it would have taken Ichiro 736 at-bats to get to 200 hits for the 11th season in a row.

B.J. Upton – Rays – $23 – #16
Projection: .266/.349/.459, 21 HR, 79 R, 74 RBI, 36 SB in 538 AB
2011 stats: .243/.331/.429, 23 HR, 82 R, 81 RBI, 36 SB in 560 AB

Upton had a very good year for a guy with a .243 average, but this makes three straight seasons with an average right in that range. I’d still like to think he can take a step forward, but maybe it’s time for me to stop projecting him to hit .270.

Justin Upton – Diamondbacks – $25 – #11
Projection: .281/.362/.524, 29 HR, 84 R, 91 RBI, 20 SB in 540 AB
2011 stats: .289/.369/.529, 31 HR, 105 R, 88 RBI, 21 SB in 592 AB

If not Stanton, then Upton is a realistic candidate to lead the NL in homers. He hit 16 n 244 at-bats after the All-Star break this year, and it was just his age-23 season.

Vernon Wells – Angels – $15 – #40
Projection: .270/.324/.464, 23 HR, 75 R, 90 RBI, 10 SB in 563 AB
2011 stats: .218/.248/.412, 25 HR, 60 R, 66 RBI, 9 SB in 505 AB

I projected Wells’ OPS to fall from .847 to .788. It hardly seemed overly optimistic at the time.

Jayson Werth – Nationals – $21 – #24
Projection: .265/.356/.471, 25 HR, 95 R, 84 RBI, 17 SB in 552 AB
2011 stats: .232/.330/.389, 20 HR, 69 R, 58 RBI, 19 SB in 561 AB

I projected Werth’s OPS to fall from .921 to .827. It hardly seemed overly optimistic at the time.

Ichiro was happy to see Pete Rose get defensive about his hits record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Miami Marlins warms-up during batting practice before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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You’ll recall the little controversy last month when Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose’s hit total. Specifically, when Ichiro’s Japanese and American hit total reached Rose’s American total of 4,256 and a lot of people talked about Ichiro being the new “Hit King.” You’ll also recall that Rose himself got snippy about it, wondering if people would now think of him as “the Hit Queen,” which he took to be disrespect.

There’s a profile of Ichiro over at ESPN the Magazine and reporter Marly Rivera asked Ichiro about that. Ichiro’s comments were interesting and quite insightful about how ego and public perception work in the United States:

I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record. Obviously, this time around it was a different vibe. In the 16 years that I have been here, what I’ve noticed is that in America, when people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up. But then when you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive. I kind of felt that this time.

There’s a hell of a lot of truth to that. Whatever professional environment you’re in, you’ll see this play out. If you want to know how you’re doing, look at who your enemies and critics are. If they’re senior to you or better-established in your field, you’re probably doing something right. And they’re probably pretty insecure and maybe even a little afraid of you.

The rest of the article is well worth your time. Ichiro seems like a fascinating, insightful and intelligent dude.

There will be no criminal charges arising out of Curt Schilling’s video game debacle

Curt Schilling
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In 2012 Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, delivered the fantasy role-playing game it had spent millions of dollars and countless man hours trying to deliver. And then the company folded, leaving both its employees and Rhode Island taxpayers, who underwrote much of the company’s operations via $75 million in loans, holding the bag.

The fallout to 38 Studios’ demise was more than what you see in your average business debacle. Rhode Island accused Schilling and his company of acts tantamount to fraud, claiming that it accepted tax dollars while withholding information about the true state of the company’s finances. Former employees, meanwhile, claimed — quite credibly, according to reports of the matter — that they too were lured to Rhode Island believing that their jobs were far more secure than they were. Many found themselves in extreme states of crisis when Schilling abruptly closed the company’s doors. For his part, Schilling has assailed Rhode Island politicians for using him as a scapegoat and a political punching bag in order to distract the public from their own misdeeds. There seems to be truth to everyone’s claims to some degree.

As a result of all of this, there have been several investigations and lawsuits into 38 Studios’ collapse. In 2012 the feds investigated the company and declined to bring charges. There is currently a civil lawsuit afoot and, alongside it, the State of Rhode Island has investigated for four years to see if anyone could be charged with a crime. Today there was an unexpected press conference in which it was revealed that, no, no one associated with 38 Studios will be charged with anything:

An eight-page explanation of the decision concluded by saying that “the quantity and qualify of the evidence of any criminal activity fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and as such the Rules of Professional Conduct precluded even offering a criminal charge for grand jury consideration.”

Schilling will likely crow about this on his various social media platforms, claiming it totally vindicates him. But, as he is a close watcher of any and all events related to Hillary Clinton, he no doubt knows that a long investigation resulting in a declination to file charges due to lack of evidence is not the same thing as a vindication. Bad judgment and poor management are still bad things, even if they’re not criminal matters.

Someone let me know if Schilling’s head explodes if and when someone points that out to him.