Leaderboards vs. the projections: the hitters

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For those who may not know, I do a big set of projections every year over on Rotoworld, and while I’ll be doing an in-depth review of those over on that site in the next few weeks, I thought it’d be fun here to take a look at how the leaderboards compared to my picks.

I’ll be listing each player with their actual total and then where I had them ranked and projected.

Batting average
1. Miguel Cabrera: .344 (5th, .315)
2. Adrian Gonzalez: .338 (13th, .308)
3. Michael Young: .338 (40th, .291)
4. Jose Reyes: .337 (44th, .290)
5. Ryan Braun: .332 (11th, .310)
6. Victor Martinez: .330 (24th, .297)
7. Matt Kemp: .324 (42nd, .290)
8. Jacoby Ellsbury: .321 (31st, .294)
9. Hunter Pence: .314 (38th, .292)
10. Joey Votto: .309 (30th, .296)

There were no huge surprises in the top 10; I projected everyone here to hit .290 or better. No. 11, on the other hand, was a big shock; David Ortiz came in just behind Votto at .309. I had him projected to hit .261.

None of my top four choices finished in the top 10. Those were Joe Mauer (.323), Albert Pujols (.322), Hanley Ramirez (.317) and Ichiro Suzuki (.316).

Home runs
1. Jose Bautista: 43 (6th, 37)
2. Curtis Granderson: 41 (24th, 29)
3. Matt Kemp: 39 (15th, 31)
3. Mark Teixeira: 39 (6th, 37)
5. Prince Fielder: 38 (3rd, 39)
6. Albert Pujols: 37 (1st, 40)
6. Mark Reynolds: 37 (10th, 36)
8. Dan Uggla: 36 (13th, 32)
9. Mike Stanton: 34 (6th, 37)
10. Ryan Braun: 33 (12th, 33)
10. Ryan Howard: 33 (3rd, 39)

Granderson going from 24 homers in his first year with the Yankees to 41 this season was the big upset on the home run leaderboard. I had Kemp building on his total of 28 homers from last year, but I couldn’t project that much of a breakout.

My projected leaderboard had Pujols and Adam Dunn at 40, followed by Cabrera, Fielder and Howard one behind. Dunn, of course, ended up with 11 homers. Cabrera, although he was the AL’s second best hitter behind Bautista, dropped from 38 homers in 2010 to 30 this year.

RBI
1. Matt Kemp: 126 (20th, 99)
2. Prince Fielder: 120 (3rd, 118)
3. Curtis Granderson: 119 (72nd, 80)
4. Robinson Cano: 118 (10th, 113)
5. Adrian Gonzalez: 117 (6th, 116)
6. Ryan Howard: 116 (1st, 120)
7. Ryan Braun: 111 (12th, 107)
7. Mark Teixeira: 111 (3rd, 118)
9. Michael Young: 106 (53rd, 86)
10. Adrian Beltre: 105 (21st, 98)
10. Miguel Cabrera: 105 (5th, 117)
10. Jacoby Ellsbury: 105 (181st, 56)
10. Paul Konerko: 105 (30th, 94)
10. Troy Tulowitzki: 105 (13th, 104)

I didn’t exactly call Ellsbury’s power outburst, even if I did project him to hit more homers (11) than he did in either of his previous full seasons (nine and eight). I had him slugging .418, compared to his actual mark of .552.

The RBI leaderboard did have a lot of the usual suspects, though. The most notable absence was Pujols. I had him projected to finish second with 119 RBI, but he came in at 99.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.