2012 OPS projections: top 10 center fielders

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It’s an AL East-heavy top 10 in the center field projections:

.903 – Matt Kemp (Dodgers) – 597 AB – .986 in 2011
.847 – Curtis Granderson (Yankees) – 574 AB – .916 in 2011
.845 – Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox) – 612 AB – .928 in 2011
.845 – Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) – 560 AB – .820 in 2011
.825 – Colby Rasmus (Blue Jays) – 525 AB – .688 in 2011
.808 – Adam Jones (Orioles) – 571 AB – .785 in 2011
.794 – B.J. Upton (Rays) – 572 AB – .759 in 2011
.790 – Chris Young (D-backs) – 545 AB – .751 in 2011
.787 – Grady Sizemore (Indians) – 471 AB – .706 in 2011
.780 – Shane Victorino (Phillies) – 541 AB –  .847 in 2011

– All five AL East teams are represented in the top seven here. I’m guessing people will have reservations about me placing Rasmus so high, but he did come in at .859 in 2010 and he’s in a better environment for offense now. Of course, I’m not applying much weight to the fact that he was terrible after being traded to Toronto last year (.173/.201/.316 in 133 at-bats).

– Melky Cabrera and Dexter Fowler cracked the top 10 in 2011, but I don’t see encores coming up. I have Cabrera dropping from .805 to .738 in San Francisco. Fowler’s fall isn’t quite so severe;  I have him at .755, down from .795 last year. I’m not sure he can continue to maintain a .260-.270 average as often as he strikes out.

– The low man among regular center fielders is Houston’s Jordan Schafer at .680. Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez checks in at .653 in 335 at-bats.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.