Prince Fielder

2012 projections review: first base

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This is the second of a position-by-position review of my 2012 projections. Along with looking at my top preseason top 10 (for fantasy purposes) from each spot, I’m highlighting some other interesting players. Any requests for players not covered can be made in the comments.

1. Albert Pujols – Angels
Projection: .306/.414/.586, 43 HR, 114 R, 117 RBI, 9 SB in 601 AB
2012 stats: .285/.343/.516, 30 HR, 85 R, 105 RBI, 8 SB in 607 AB

After finally settling in above the Mendoza Line on May 15, Pujols came in at .312/.374/.589 the rest of the way. The most striking thing about Pujols’ decline is the huge drop in his walk rate. He drew at least 70 unintentional walks every year from 2004-09 before dropping to 65 in 2010, 46 in 2011 and 36 this year.

2. Joey Votto – Reds
Projection: .314/.426/.564, 33 HR, 105 R, 107 RBI, 9 SB in 567 AB
2012 stats: .337/.474/.567, 14 HR, 59 R, 56 RBI, 5 SB in 374 AB

3. Adrian Gonzalez – Red Sox/Dodgers
Projection: .318/.401/.551, 33 HR, 103 R, 118 RBI, 0 SB in 604 AB
2012 stats: .299/.344/.463, 18 HR, 75 R, 108 RBI, 2 SB in 629 AB

The move to Dodger Stadium will get Gonzalez a weaker projection next year, particularly in runs scored. I may have to ramp up the steals, though. Gonzalez had as many stolen bases in 36 games with the Dodgers (two) as he did in 1,140 career games previously.

4. Prince Fielder – Tigers
Projection: .278/.412/.515, 33 HR, 98 R, 113 RBI, 1 SB in 565 AB
2012 stats: .313/.412/.528, 30 HR, 83 R, 108 RBI, 1 SB in 581 AB

It figured that the move from Milwaukee to Detroit would take a chunk out of Fielder’s home run total. However, he made up for it by hitting .300 for the first time in his career. After such a quick adjustment to the AL, I’ll give him a somewhat better projection next year.

5. Eric Hosmer – Royals
Projection: .293/.365/.487, 24 HR, 89 R, 97 RBI, 8 SB in 598 AB
2012 stats: .232/.304/.359, 14 HR, 65 R, 60 RBI, 16 SB in 535 AB

Hosmer was such a huge disappointment after hitting .293/.334/.465 with 19 homers in 128 games as a rookie. All he seemed to do as a sophomore was hit grounders. The future is still bright, but the Royals need to bring in an alternative at first base and consider sending Hosmer back to Triple-A if he can’t fails to make adjustments next spring.

6. Mark Teixeira – Yankees
Projection: .260/.367/.504, 36 HR, 93 R, 108 RBI, 2 SB in 573 AB
2012 stats: .251/.332/.475, 24 HR, 66 R, 84 RBI, 2 SB in 451 AB

Teixeira’s OPS declined for the fifth straight season, and the Yankees are still on the hook for another four years. Orioles fans should stop booing him and start cheering the fact that their team isn’t the one paying him $22.5 million per year.

7. Ike Davis – Mets
Projection: .277/.363/.501, 29 HR, 81 R, 95 RBI, 1 SB in 553 AB
2012 stats: .227/.308/.462, 32 HR, 66 R, 90 RBI, 0 SB in 519 AB

I don’t know how much the Valley Fever had to do with Davis’s early struggles, but the fact is that he hit .158/.234/.273 with five homers in 183 at-bats through June 8 and then .265/.347/.565 with 27 homers in 336 at-bats the rest of the way. Regardless, he still needs to step up his game against lefties if he’s going to post quality batting averages from year to year.

8. Paul Konerko – White Sox
Projection: .278/.371/.480, 28 HR, 73 R, 98 RBI, 0 SB in 540 AB
2012 stats: .298/.371/.486, 26 HR, 66 R, 75 RBI, 0 SB in 533 AB

Hitting Konerko behind Adam Dunn didn’t really work out for the White Sox. He was still pretty good, but he lost 30 RBI from his 2011 total.

9. Freddie Freeman – Braves
Projection: .282/.348/.476, 24 HR, 73 R, 87 RBI, 3 SB in 561 AB
2012 stats: .259/.340/.456, 23 HR, 91 R, 94 RBI, 2 SB in 540 AB

10. Paul Goldschmidt – Diamondbacks
Projection: .246/.329/.485, 30 HR, 74 R, 85 RBI, 8 SB in 532 AB
2012 stats: .286/.359/.490, 20 HR, 82 R, 82 RBI, 18 SB in 514 AB

One of my most unusual misses: I was off by 40 points of average, 10 homers and 10 steals, yet by only 35 points of OPS and five runs+RBI.

11. Adam Dunn – White Sox
Projection: .230/.347/.489, 37 HR, 80 R, 92 RBI, 1 SB in 538 AB
2012 stats: .204/.333/.468, 41 HR, 87 R, 96 RBI, 2 SB in 539 AB

Dunn was a great story early on, but he was a below average DH over the final four months. In the end, his comeback ranked as only the White Sox’s third best behind Alex Rios and Jake Peavy. While my projection turned out OK, I’ll be going lower next year.

15. Ryan Howard – Phillies
Projection: .261/.350/.499, 21 HR, 51 R, 65 RBI, 0 SB in 337 AB
2012 stats: .219/.295/.423, 14 HR, 28 R, 56 RBI, 0 SB in 260 AB

17. Justin Morneau – Twins
Projection: .269/.361/.473, 23 HR, 71 R, 82 RBI, 0 SB in 490 AB
2012 stats: .267/.333/.440, 19 HR, 63 R, 77 RBI, 1 SB in 505 AB

It’s great that Morneau was able to return from post-concussion syndrome and become a solid contributor. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite resemble the old Morneau at the plate. Even though he was limited to 134 games, he still set a new career high with 102 strikeouts, and he had his worst full season from a power perspective. I expect I’ll give him a similar projection next year.

18. Kendrys Morales – Angels
Projection: .293/.346/.497, 20 HR, 61 R, 73 RBI, 1 SB in 433 AB
2012 stats: .273/.320/.467, 22 HR, 61 R, 73 RBI, 0 SB in 484 AB

As a fantasy projection, this one is pretty great. As far as actually projecting production, it’s a little off; I expected Morales to reach those run and RBI totals in 50 fewer at-bats. Considering that I was projecting a guy who had missed 1 2/3 seasons with a busted leg, I’ll take it either way. Morales had his best two months in August and September, which would seem to be a good sign for next year.

19. Justin Smoak – Mariners
Projection: .258/.350/.440, 22 HR, 70 R, 74 RBI, 0 SB in 539 AB
2012 stats: .217/.290/.364, 19 HR, 49 R, 51 RBI, 1 SB in 483 AB

Smoak was sitting at .190/.258/.316 through the end of August. He hit .341/.426/.580 with five homers in September to seemingly guarantee himself another shot as the Mariners’ first baseman next year.

21. Adam LaRoche – Nationals
Projection: .257/.332/.442, 19 HR, 61 R, 73 RBI, 1 SB in 475 AB
2012 stats: .271/.343/.510, 33 HR, 76 R, 100 RBI, 1 SB in 571 AB

LaRoche hit .172 with three homers in 151 at-bats before undergoing shoulder surgery in 2011. All he did this year was come back with the best season of his career at age 32.

29. Mark Trumbo – Angels
Projection: .248/.297/.460, 16 HR, 39 R, 49 RBI, 4 SB in 315 AB
2012 stats: .268/.317/.491, 32 HR, 66 R, 95 RBI, 4 SB in 544 AB

I’ve been a big skeptic with Trumbo, and I was looking like a big fool with him hitting .307/.358/.630 with 27 homers through 85 games this year. Then he suddenly collapsed to .213/.258/.293 the rest of the way. My feeling is that the flaws in his approach were exposed, and he’s going to have to start laying off bad pitches to survive. That said, he has some of the best power in the league and he can still crush mistakes. He can’t be completely written off.

Previous 2012 projection reviews: catcher

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.