2011 Projection Review: Third basemen

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What follows is a review of some of my 2011 projections for Rotoworld.com. I’m highlighting my preseason top five for each position and some other notables.

Catchers
First basemen
Second basemen

Third Basemen

Preseason Top 5

Alex Rodriguez – Yankees – $33 – #1
Projection: .284/.383/.541, 37 HR, 101 R, 114 RBI, 10 SB in 545 AB
2011 stats: .276/.362/.461, 16 HR, 67 R, 62 RBI, 4 SB in 373 AB

Rodriguez was doing fine until his body broke down, coming in at .295/.366/.485 in the first half. Still, he was a zero after that and it’s hard to see why manager Joe Girardi kept him in the cleanup spot all along. Even prorating A-Rod’s stats to 545 at-bats would have given him a mere 23 homers and 91 RBI.

Evan Longoria – Rays – $32 – #2
Projection: .296/.381/.542, 31 HR, 98 R, 114 RBI, 12 SB in 568 AB
2011 stats: .244/.355/.495, 31 HR, 78 R, 99 RBI, 3 SB in 483 AB

Leading up to his big finish, Longoria was hitting .229/.324/.447 on Aug 16. Injuries were behind his struggles to hit for average initially, and given the way he ended 2011, he’ll enter next season as one of the favorites for MVP honors in the AL.

David Wright – Mets – $31 – #3
Projection: .294/.378/.509, 27 HR, 95 R, 100 RBI, 18 SB in 595 AB
2011 stats: .255/.345/.427, 14 HR, 60 R, 61 RBI, 13 SB in 389 AB

The Mets are going to bring in the fences at Citi Field in an attempt to return Wright to superstardom. The problem here is that Wright hasn’t exactly been a stud in road games lately, either. Wright needs to stop worrying about the strikeouts and try to get his old swing back.

Jose Bautista – Blue Jays – $25 – #4
Projection: .265/.372/.533, 37 HR, 95 R, 103 RBI, 6 SB in 563 AB
2011 stats: .302/.447/.608, 43 HR, 105 R, 103 RBI, 9 SB in 513 AB

I wish I had been gutsier in projecting a higher average for Bautista. He came in at .260 during his breakthrough 2010 campaign, but that looked like the result of some pretty awful luck on balls in play. I did project a slight increase, but I should have gone further.

Ryan Zimmerman – Nationals – $25 – #5
Projection: .297/.372/.509, 28 HR, 93 R, 96 RBI, 3 SB in 589 AB
2011 stats: .289/.355/.443, 12 HR, 52 R, 49 RBI, 3 SB in 395 AB

It just wasn’t a good year for the supposed elite at third base (or my projections for them). Zimmerman managed to hit for a solid average when healthy, but the power wasn’t there and his RBI total was shockingly low. That’s not really his fault, though: he hit .293/.409/.478 with RISP.

Others

Pedro Alvarez – Pirates – $17 – #11
Projection: .252/.331/.482, 30 HR, 81 R, 96 RBI, 3 SB in 548 AB
2011 stats: .191/.272/.289, 4 HR, 18 R, 19 RBI, 1 SB in 235 AB

A catastrophe. Alvarez failed to resemble a major leaguer offensively or defensively in 2011. The Pirates need to make him a full-time first baseman and stick him in Triple-A at the beginning of next year.

Adrian Beltre – Rangers – $22 – #6
Projection: .280/.329/.488, 27 HR, 86 R, 98 RBI, 7 SB in 586 AB
2011 stats: .296/.331/.561, 32 HR, 82 R, 105 RBI, 1 SB in 487 AB

The projection doesn’t look too bad until one notices that I had him achieving that kind of production in an extra 100 at-bats. Beltre led the majors in RBI per at-bat this year. He came in at .216, while actual major league RBI leader Matt Kemp was at .209. If Beltre had maintained that production over the course of 586 at-bats, he would have driven in 126 runs.

Chipper Jones – Braves – $9 – #19
Projection: .280/.392/.454, 17 HR, 67 R, 63 RBI, 2 SB in 421 AB
2011 stats: .275/.344/.470, 18 HR, 56 R, 70 RBI, 2 SB in 455 AB

Aramis Ramirez – Cubs – $17 – #10
Projection: .280/.350/.492, 25 HR, 75 R, 94 RBI, 1 SB in 514 AB
2011 stats: .306/.361/.510, 26 HR, 80 R, 93 RBI, 1 SB in 565 AB

Mark Reynolds – Orioles – $18 – #7
Projection: .230/.318/.471, 36 HR, 85 R, 93 RBI, 10 SB in 552 AB
2011 stats: .221/.323/.483, 37 HR, 84 R, 86 RBI, 6 SB in 534 AB

It’s hard to get excited about a season in which a guy hits .221, but unlike that other high-strikeout slugger in Chicago, Reynolds made the adjustment to the AL pretty well. He hit .231 with 35 homers in 451 at-bats from May 1 onward. The Orioles should keep him around, preferably as a first baseman.

Pablo Sandoval – Giants – $18 – #8
Projection: .296/.352/.489, 22 HR, 74 R, 83 RBI, 5 SB in 568 AB
2011 stats: .315/.357/.552, 23 HR, 55 R, 70 RBI, 2 SB in 426 AB

Ian Stewart – Rockies – $11 – #12
Projection: .261/.345/.471, 22 HR, 67 R, 75 RBI, 6 SB in 459 AB
2011 stats: .156/.243/.221, 0 HR, 14 R, 6 RBI, 3 SB in 122 AB

Michael Young – Rangers – $17 – #9
Projection: .291/.343/.436, 16 HR, 84 R, 86 RBI, 5 SB in 594 AB
2011 stats: .338/.380/.474, 11 HR, 88 R, 106 RBI, 6 SB in 631 AB

It’s kind of odd how we think of Young as this consistent hit machine, yet he’s never had a season that was just slightly better that his previous season and he’s been way up and down lately. I thought 2009 would prove to be Young’s last exceptional season. Now I imagine 2011 will be it. He was terrific, but he is 35 and he’s been pretty average three of the last five years.

Once again, Cy Young votes from the Tampa Bay chapter were interesting

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In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.

In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.

Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.

If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.

Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.

Upton had another tweet for the occasion: