Maybe not first round picks in 2012, but it is clear the next generation of fantasy baseball has arrived. Brett Lawrie has done nothing wrong since he was called up 26 days ago. If you project what he has done this month over a full season, he would finish with 41 home runs 20 steals 115 RBI 88 runs and a .329 average. In other words, with those numbers he’s worth the first overall pick.
Then there’s Mike Trout. He just turned 20 three weeks ago and has hit three home runs over his last two games. He is 8 for his last 14 and hasn’t even begun to show us his base-stealing capabilities. Just a quick glance at his numbers versus those of Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter, and Bobby Abreu suggests that he’s up to stay and will be in the outfield on Opening Day next year for the Angels. He projects to have 39 home runs 8 steals 100 RBI 116 runs and a .246 average based on his first 21 games. Those numbers would be an upgrade to what Mark Teixeira did as the 35th best player last season.
Typically, this is where the statistician in me pulls back the reins and says that the sample sizes are too small. Pitchers will adjust. Hitters are a very streaky species. This is the equivalent of projecting everyone’s April accomplishments over 162 – eventually Sam Fuld and Kevin Correia stop. And all of that is true. This case presents some interesting counter punches to that argument though.
With Lawrie, let’s remember that he broke his hand just under three months ago. He didn’t swing a bat for more than a month and had been on fire before that time. You would figure that he would take a while to get his timing and strength back, but you would be wrong. He came back and hit like he didn’t miss a beat. As if he was just naturally gifted at baseball (hmm).
In the case of Trout, we’ve already the power of streaks. He started out 4 for 30 and now of course he is on fire. As far as the projections are concerned, he may not jack up over 30 bombs, but two of those numbers probably undersell him. He stole 56 bases in the minors last year and had 33 at Double-A this year. He also has put together seasons of .352, .341, and .326 in terms of batting average. It’s pretty safe to say that Trout will go over 8 steals and a .246 average.
With both Trout and Lawrie, we also need to consider that both of them have been used almost exclusively at the bottom of the order. Sure pitchers will adjust to them, but once they do they’ll also be in some situations where they have to groove a ball because of what might be on base or looming in the on-deck circle. Before this season Lawrie and Trout were called the #40 and #2 prospects respectively by Baseball America. That’s nice, but now it’s time we just call them professionals.
- It appears that Lance Berkman will be staying in St. Louis. Berkman reportedly told Cardinals GM John Mozeliak that he wouldn’t resign with the Cards next year if he were traded. The Rangers were most interested in Berkman after losing Nelson Cruz for what could end up being the season.
- The Mariners are going to shut down Michael Pineda after three more starts.
- Casey Janssen left the Blue Jays game with latissimus tightness (short for lat for all you weight-lifters and code for side of back for everyone else still out of the loop). Janssen has a scoreless streak that has lasted almost two consecutive games and did have appeal on the waiver wire as a closer.
- The Cubs GM needs to have a background in sabremetrics, but some GMs argue that less is more when it comes to all the new measurements for player performance.
- Justin Upton got hit by his 15th pitch last night and admitted that most of them haven’t been intentional. He thinks that pitchers are simply trying to get him off the plate. That said, the team does worry a little about retaliation from Justin one of these times.
- Ubaldo Jimenez’s numbers look awful with Cleveland since joining the team, but he has an 0.60 ERA in two home starts.
- C.C. Sabathia got his first win of the season against the Red Sox last night, but it wasn’t easy. Sabathia threw more pitches (129) than he has in any start he’s made with the Yankees and still only lasted 6 innings. He did look really good against Adrian Gonzalez though.
- Andrew McCutchen has joined the 20/20 club this season, but insists he isn’t done yet.
- Bryce Harper will be playing in the Arizona Fall League starting on October 4th.
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