Troy Tulowitzki

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.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.