Lorenzo Cain has never been a patient hitter, but perhaps his early walk-drawing this season is a sign of change.
The Royals got swept in Minnesota this week, but Lorenzo Cain stayed healthy for three consecutive games, which is a small moral victory. A slightly larger moral victory for Kansas City was that, in those three games unblemished by injury, Cain walked five times in 13 plate appearances. Over the last five years, Cain had walked only 140 times in 2,226 plate appearances. Last season, in 434 trips to the plate, he walked 31 times.
Cain’s 4.15 pitches seen per plate appearance over the first three contests of the season would be the highest figure of his career, and that’s despite the fact that in seven percent of his plate appearances so far, he was sent to first base without a single pitch being thrown. That, of course, is why the most likely explanation for Cain drawing a bunch of walks this week is sheer randomness. One intentional pass still represents one-thirteenth of his season.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
The Royals center fielder has put his stamp on the postseason, but can he do the same for your fantasy team in 2015?
Though he’s 28 years old, Lorenzo Cain hasn’t played baseball as long as many of the guys in Double-A and Triple-A. As a child, his love was on the basketball court, but as a freshman in high school, he failed to make the team. That heartbreak pushed him onto the diamond, where he flourished… after many growing pains.
Anyway, read this magnificent article by Andy McCullough on Cain’s unlikely and uneven journey in baseball. He chronicles the story much better than I could hope to in this space. It was one of my favorite baseball reads of the year.
Looking at some first-time starters in 2013 to see which ones will stick.
For every top talent like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado who claims a regular role from the moment he makes the majors, there’s a veteran who bounces around for years while he waits his turn for a chance to start somewhere. The following 10 players are looking to make the leap to full-time starter status this season. But do they have what it takes to succeed in their expanded roles, or will they be busted back to the bench?
Brandon Moss, Athletics, 1B
Moss’ power output was impressive last season, but it was partially a product of aggressive platooning by Bob Melvin, who limited him to only 62 PA against lefties. Chris Carter’s departure opens a path to more playing time for Moss (and speaks to Oakland’s confidence that he can repeat his success), but it will also make it more difficult to protect him against southpaws. Can he stick? No. A’s batting coach Chili Davis worked closely with Moss to get him to embrace his pull power, so it’s possible that his pre-2012 stats are deceptive. But the 29-year-old’s projection isn’t pretty: .238/.301/.421 with subpar secondary skills, which wouldn’t come close to cutting it at first base.
Derek goes over his preseason predictions looking for mistakes.
Last week in this space I looked back on my best preseason predictions. While I think my hits far outweighed my misses, it is important (and fair) to look back at the lesser advice I gave this year. For each player, I’ve listed his mixed and AL/NL-only auction value in Tout Wars and LABR (only Tout has a mixed auction, but AL/NL-only values are an average of Tout and LABR) as well as his actual value for the 2012 season according to our Player Forecast Manager. Also take note that I’ve excluded most of the “value picks” from my preseason tier articles, as they’ll get their own review article.
Why the Royals and Padres will win their divisions, and four questions with Dustin Ackley.
The emails and tweets have been most interesting in the days since our staff predictions were posted on the website. Most people think I am nuts for picking the Royals to win the American League Central and the Padres to win the National League West. Perhaps they will be proven right. After all, I was the only one of 27 staff members to pick either team to win its division. Remember, though, that 29 of the 30 people who were on the staff at this time last season picked the Red Sox to win the AL East. The one person who predicted the Red Sox not only wouldn't win the division but also fail to qualify for the postseason? Well, I was a taught at an early age that it's impolite to brag.
While lot of what Jason sees in Arizona doesn't matter, and some of it's just shadows, there's still a lot to report from Surprise.
Day 8: 10:40 PM
It’s late, Patricia, and I’m sorry for not putting fingers to these keys earlier. The sun was magnificent today, like a big, glowing ball of headaches, disorientation, and fire. My eyes starting stinging early, and by noon I realized I was nearing collapse. After the morning workouts and the 1PM game at the big boy stadium–which I will tell you about in a minute–I bypassed a late lunch in order to cool my thoughts in a long shower. I rushed through step three of the showering process because the symptoms of heat stroke were still present and I didn’t feel confident standing in a slippery basin with my eyes closed while negotiating bouts of dizziness. It’s important to avoid cracking your head open.
Day 8: 11:00 PM
I had to drink a glass of flat water with a slice of cucumber gently floating on top. I would have preferred sparkling, but I’ve become particular about my sparkling water and I’m not about to rush into a sloppy water consumption decision just because the selection is limited and my body needs to fight off dehydration. It’s important to stay hydrated, with style when possible. I watched the Royals earlier today, as I tend to do out here in Surprise, and one player in particular caught my eye, as he has every spring since he was drafted. I sat in the scout section behind home plate, allowing the waves of Americana blasting from the stadium P.A. system to crash into my eardrums, waiting to have my eyes opened by a spectacular play or a spectacular player, when from the sky a heroic figure emerged and slowly lowered his human form onto the playing field and picked up a baseball bat. It was Eric Hosmer, and his face was bronze, and his body draped with the cloth of kings, and his skin was wet with the tears of innumerable virgins. His swing was delicious, with a robust finish that was assertive and aggressive, yet tender and passionate.
A look at the disappointing season of Lorenzo Cain but the potential he holds for 2012.
When the Brewers traded for Zack Greinke last season, most figured the Royals would be eager to play Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, and Lorenzo Cain as they entered yet another phase of the rebuilding process. Many viewed Cain, in particular, as a sleeper who could put up some decent fantasy numbers. After all, Cain had a nice run of 158 plate appearances for the Brewers in 2010 in which his slash line was .306/.348/.415, stealing seven bases in eight attempts for a very conservative manager in terms of the running game. The change in scenery would bring him under Ned Yost, who was talking crazy talk in the off-season saying that Billy Butler was going to steal ten bases this season. After all, the only player that currently on the roster to compete with Cain for the centerfield spot was Melky Cabrera, who was the butt of a lot of jokes told by fantasy players rather than someone anyone targeted.
Pegging BP's favorites in both leagues, both in the standings and for the major awards.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division with first-place votes in parentheses, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.