2012 OPS projections: top 10 shortstops

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Moving right along to shortstop. I have four shortstops projected to top .800, which is the same number that did so last year.

.943 – Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies) – 545 AB – .916 in 2011
.891 – Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) – 538 AB – .712 in 2011
.823 – Jose Reyes (Marlins) – 546 AB – .877 in 2011
.808 – Starlin Castro (Cubs) – 631 AB – .773 in 2011
.783 – Asdrubal Cabrera (Indians) – 594 AB – .792 in 2011
.776 – Stephen Drew (Diamondbacks) – 539 AB – .713 in 2011
.775 – Jed Lowrie (Astros) – 468 AB – .685 in 2011
.772 – Yunel Escobar (Blue Jays) – 550 AB – .782 in 2011
.766 – Jhonny Peralta (Tigers) – 539 AB – .824 in 2011
.766 – Alexei Ramirez (White Sox) – 598 AB – .727 in 2011

– Along with Tulo, Reyes and Peralta, J.J. Hardy was the fourth shortstop to manage an .800 OPS last season. He’s 11th here at .765 for 2012.

– I have Elvis Andrus fourth among shortstops with a .364 OBP (and ranked third at the position in fantasy leagues), but his lack of power keeps him out of the top 10 in OPS.

– Derek Jeter comes in at .282/.353/.373.  He bounced back to hit .297 last season, but his isolated slugging percentage went from .131 in 2009 to .100 in 2010 to .091 last year.

– At the bottom of the list is the Giants’ Brandon Crawford. He gets a .603 OPS in 432 at-bats. Of course, there are some backups and prospects even lower. Boston’s Jose Iglesias is one: he gets a .225/.258/.270 line in 111 at-bats.

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.