2012 projections: top 10 first basemen

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Last night’s go at the catchers led to some hard feelings apparently, so let me make it clear, these are just OPS projections for 2012, they’re not meant for a hard statement on the game’s best at a position. Anyway, here are the top 10 at first base:

1.017 – Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) – 589 AB – 1.033 in 2011
.993 – Albert Pujols (Angels) – 596 AB – .906 in 2011
.990 – Joey Votto (Reds) – 567 AB – .947 in 2011
.946 – Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox) – 604 AB – .957 in 2011
.921 – Prince Fielder (Tigers) – 563 AB – .981 in 2011
.873 – Mark Teixeira (Yankees) – 583 AB – .835 in 2011
.864 – Ike Davis (Mets) – 553 AB – .925 in 2011
.860 – Lance Berkman (Cardinals) – 485 AB – .959 in 2011
.850 – Ryan Howard (Phillies) – 380 AB – .835 in 2011
.846 – Paul Konerko (White Sox) – 551 AB – .906 in 2011

– I’ll rank Cabrera with the first basemen for now. He’ll open the season at third for Detroit, but I doubt he’ll finish it there. Of course, he would have topped that list, too. The 1.017 projection is the highest I’ve given to any player this year.

– I would have had Fielder higher had he stayed in the NL, but there will probably be an adjustment period with the league switch. Also, Comerica Park favors right-handed hitters over lefties, which will probably cost Fielder some homers. I have him hitting 32 this year after he finished with 38 last season.

– Just missing the cut were sophomores Eric Hosmer and Freddie Freeman. I have Hosmer improving from .799 to .836 in year two and Freeman going from .795 to .823.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.