2012 projections: top 10 catchers

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I’ll save the fantasy projections for the Rotoworld Draft Guide, but here are my top catchers for 2012 going by OPS:

.878 – Buster Posey – Giants – 486 AB – .756 in 2011
.868 – Mike Napoli – Rangers – 413 AB – 1.046 in 2011
.867 – Carlos Santana – Indians – 524 AB – .808 in 2011
.855 – Matt Wieters – Orioles – 497 AB – .778 in 2011
.852 – Joe Mauer – Twins – 473 AB – .729 in 2011
.819 – Brian McCann – Braves – 461 AB – .817 in 2011
.816 – Alex Avila – Tigers – 468 AB – .895 in 2011
.799 – Geovany Soto – Cubs – 422 AB – .721 in 2011
.790 – Miguel Montero – Diamondbacks – 473 AB – .820 in 2011
.767 – Ramon Hernandez – Rockies – 338 AB – .788 in 2011

– I have six catchers projected to hit 20 or more homers: Napoli, Santana, Wieters, McCann, Posey and J.P. Arencibia. Arencibia is the lone holdout from the list above; he’s projected for a .290 OBP.

– White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers is another very capable of hitting 20 homers, though it’ll either take an A.J. Pierzynski trade or another Adam Dunn implosion to get him the at-bats. I have him projected to hit .224/.323/.438, giving him a .761 OPS that puts him just below Hernandez here.

– Jesus Montero also misses out, though I’m not sure I would have considered him a catcher for these purposes anyway. I had him projected for an .832 OPS initially, but the trade that sent him from the Yankees to the Mariners pushed him all of the way down to .760.

– As for the bottom of the list, Rod Barajas has the low OPS for anyone projected with at least 300 at-bats (.684). Jose Molina is the low man with 200+ at-bats (.602), and Drew Butera is at the bottom of the 100+ AB guys (.529).

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.