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2011 Projection Review: First basemen

Oct 25, 2011, 3:21 PM EST

Miguel Cabrera Getty Images

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.

If you missed the catchers last week, click here. I hope to bang the rest of these out a lot more quickly.

First Basemen

Preseason Top 5

Albert Pujols – Cardinals – $41 – #1
Projection: .322/.435/.609, 40 HR, 112 R, 119 RBI, 11 SB in 562 AB
2011 stats: .299/.366/.541, 37 HR, 105 R, 99 RBI, 9 SB in 579 AB

That Pujols barely missed out on another .300 season got some attention, but it was his OBP that really tumbled. His previous low mark was a .394 back in 2002, and he had finished at .414 or better every year since. Pujols walked just 61 times this year after coming in over 100 each of the previous three years. As a result, he actually had more at-bats than my projection called for despite missing 15 games.

Miguel Cabrera – Tigers – $36 – #2
Projection: .315/.400/.586, 39 HR, 103 R, 117 RBI, 3 SB in 577 AB
2011 stats: .344/.448/.586, 30 HR, 111 R, 105 RBI, 2 SB in 572 AB

Cabrera’s remarkable season resulted in a mere 105 RBI because the Tigers got OBPs of .311, .329 and .317 from the top three spots in the order. It certainly wasn’t Cabrera’s fault: he hit .388 and slugged .673 with RISP.

Adrian Gonzalez – Red Sox – $31 – #3
Projection: .308/.394/.550, 35 HR, 104 R, 116 RBI, 0 SB in 607 AB
2011 stats: .338/.410/.548, 27 HR, 108 R, 117 RBI, 1 SB in 630 AB

Gonzalez’s shoulder problems sapped him of some power as the year went on, but he had an incredible season anyway. Plus, even though his swing was supposed to be tailor-made for Fenway Park, 17 of his 27 homers and 26 of his 45 doubles came on the road.

Joey Votto – Reds – $30 – #4
Projection: .296/.400/.545, 32 HR, 100 R, 103 RBI, 12 SB in 558 AB
2011 stats: .309/.416/.531, 29 HR, 101 R, 103 RBI, 8 SB in 599 AB

One of these years I’ll stop underestimating Votto’s ability to hit for average. Of course, Votto didn’t get a whole lot of help this season. He had to hit .339 with runners on and .383 with RISP just to get to 103 RBI.

Mark Teixeira – Yankees – $29 – #5
Projection: .289/.391/.545, 37 HR, 105 R, 118 RBI, 1 SB in 589 AB
2011 stats: .248/.341/.494, 39 HR, 90 R, 111 RBI, 4 SB in 589 AB

I’d be more optimistic about Teixeira going forward if it was some sort of lengthy slump that produced the poor average. However, the fact is that he was the same hitter all year long. He had a .264 average in his best month of 2011. He has some work to do on his swing this winter if he wants to get back to hitting more singles and doubles.

Others

Lance Berkman – Cardinals – $8 – #22
Projection: .271/.387/.442, 15 HR, 69 R, 75 RBI, 5 SB in 439 AB
2011 stats: .301/.412/.547, 31 HR, 90 R, 94 RBI, 2 SB in 488 AB

I’m not completely stunned that Berkman reemerged as one of the NL’s top hitters this year, but I never thought he’d manage to play in 145 games as an outfielder.

Adam Dunn – White Sox – $22 – #8
Projection: .247/.357/.516, 40 HR, 94 R, 111 RBI, 1 SB in 562 AB
2011 stats: .159/.292/.277, 11 HR, 36 R, 42 RBI, 0 SB in 415 AB

I believe this was my biggest OPS miss since Javy Lopez posted his crazy .328/.378/.687 season with the Braves in 2003.

Prince Fielder – Brewers – $27 – #6
Projection: .281/.400/.548, 39 HR, 94 R, 118 RBI, 2 SB in 566 AB
2011 stats: .299/.415/.566, 38 HR, 95 R, 120 RBI, 1 SB in 569 AB

Freddie Freeman – Braves – $4 – #29
Projection: .267/.329/.418, 13 HR, 54 R, 57 RBI, 3 SB in 479 AB
2011 stats: .282/.346/.448, 21 HR, 67 R, 76 RBI, 4 SB in 571 AB

I was down on Freeman in part because the Braves started off hitting him eighth. Fortunately for his owners, that lasted a mere 10 games. He ended up batting fifth more than anywhere else.

Ryan Howard – Phillies – $26 – #7
Projection: .272/.357/.528, 39 HR, 92 R, 120 RBI, 2 SB in 585 AB
2011 stats: .253/.346/.488, 33 HR, 81 R, 116 RBI, 1 SB in 557 AB

Howard bounced back a bit in the RBI department, but he posted a career-low OPS for the second straight season. He hit 105 homers in his first two full seasons, 93 the next two years and just 64 the last two.

Paul Konerko – White Sox – $14 – #13
Projection: .266/.352/.473, 29 HR, 76 R, 94 RBI, 0 SB in 545 AB
2011 stats: .300/.388/.518, 31 HR, 69 R, 105 RBI, 1 SB in 543 AB

Konerko had the best season of his career at age 34 in 2010 and now the second best at age 35. These kinds of things can happen without steroids, apparently.

David Ortiz – Red Sox – $13 – DH #3
Projection: .261/.358/.500, 27 HR, 78 R, 94 RBI, 0 SB in 490 AB
2011 stats: .309/.398/.554, 29 HR, 84 R, 96 RBI, 1 SB in 525 AB

Ortiz bouncing back to hit .309 definitely qualifies as one of the most surprising stats of the season. He came in at .264, .238 and .270 the previous three years, and the .270 season in 2010 came in spite of a career-high strikeout rate.

Carlos Pena – Cubs – $11 – #20
Projection: .231/.365/.480, 31 HR, 73 R, 88 RBI, 2 SB in 471 AB
2011 stats: .225/.357/.462, 28 HR, 72 R, 80 RBI, 2 SB in 493 AB

Gaby Sanchez – Marlins – $12 – #17
Projection: .276/.349/.442, 19 HR, 73 R, 86 RBI, 4 SB in 561 AB
2011 stats: .266/.352/.427, 19 HR, 72 R, 78 RBI, 3 SB in 572 AB

  1. halladaysbiceps - Oct 25, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Ryan Howard – Phillies – $26 – #7
    Projection: .272/.357/.528, 39 HR, 92 R, 120 RBI, 2 SB in 585 AB

    That’s a pretty optimistic projection, being that he ruptured his achilles and will no doubt miss a good portion of the season.

    • halladaysbiceps - Oct 25, 2011 at 3:39 PM

      I so dumb today, more than usual. You are reflecting back on the 2011 season, not the 2012 season. Sorry, Matt.

      I’m done commenting for today, and maybe for the rest of the week.

      Stupid bicepts.

      • halladaysbicep - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:08 PM

        Jeez, wtf Matt, no one can agree that HB is an idiot without the comment being deleted? I recommend HB take a few years off from commenting and it gets deleted, just as I assume this will be deleted as well. Last I checked this was America and NOT China…

      • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:15 PM

        I’d be more leniant if you weren’t copying someone’s username. As is, I’m just going to keep deleting.

      • dlevalley - Oct 25, 2011 at 5:57 PM

        Happens to the best of us, biceps. It is Tuesday, after all.

      • Reflex - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:52 AM

        Yet another who does not understand the first amendment. Hint: It protects you from the *government*, and last I checked that was not NBC…

    • thefalcon123 - Oct 25, 2011 at 3:42 PM

      Slight misunderstanding. These are not projection for 2012. Rather, Matthew is reviewing his projections for 2011 and comparing them with what the player actually did.

  2. hansob - Oct 25, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    Admittedly I wasn’t watching a lot of Yankee games this year, but Teixeira seems like a big time bounce back candidate for 2012. His strike out rate was actually better this year than last. BABIP of 0.239 won’t repeat itself, and he did show power with 39 HRs (17 on the road).

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 25, 2011 at 5:35 PM

      I certainly wouldn’t rule it out, but it is a swing issue. Each of the last three years, he’s established a new career high in fly-ball percentage and a new career low in line-drive percentage.

      Fangraphs link

  3. tuloisgod - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    And Todd Helton? He had a (surprisingly) decent season — better than Sanchez, Freeman, Pena, Dunn and arguably better than Fielder and Howard, if you roll in Helton’s still-excellent defense. And don’t give me that “he plays half of his games in Coors Field” crap, unless you’re going to start discounting the warped offensive stats produced in more-homerific bandboxes in Philly, Arlington, Houston, the Bronx, Boston, etc.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 26, 2011 at 1:05 PM

      Helton had a nice year. Outslugged my projection by 40 points….

      Projection: .289/.393/.426, 10 HR, 59 R, 62 RBI, 0 SB in 432 AB
      2011 stats: .302/.385/.466, 14 HR, 59 R, 69 RBI, 0 SB in 421 AB

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