Projecting 2013 End of Year Stat Totals for MLB's Top 25 Stars
From the biggest star to the 25th man on the roster, every player in baseball enters the season with some level of expectations.
They might be expectations that the player has of themselves, or expectations placed on them by the fans and media alike.
For the best players in the game, those expectations are lofty.
Sometimes they are realistic, and other times, not so much.
But they exist, and whether it's fair or not, it's how we judge a player's success—or failure—as it relates to their individual performance in a given season.
What can we expect from the biggest stars in the game in 2013?
Let's take a look.
Rick Weiner is a Featured Columnist covering all of MLB and a member of B/R's Breaking News Team.
Just Missed the Cut
These players just missed the Top 25:
Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants
Starlin Castro, SS, Chicago Cubs
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH, Toronto Blue Jays
Cliff Lee, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Justin Upton, RF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Jose Bautista, RF, Toronto Blue Jays
.262/.378/.535, 34 HR, 112 RBI, 96 R
The Blue Jays teammates that were without Jose Bautista for nearly half of the 2012 season due to a wrist injury that eventually needed surgery to repair are long gone, and they have been replaced by half of the 2012 Miami Marlins. (h/t ESPN).
That's fantastic news for the 32-year-old slugger, who now steps to the plate with an excellent chance that either Jose Reyes or Melky Cabrera—two excellent additions to the Blue Jays lineup—will be sitting on base, waiting for Bautista to bring them home this season.
Bautista—who has hit more home runs (97) than anyone else in baseball in 2010 and 2011 combined—takes a slight step back on his gaudy home run numbers, but he still remains one of the premier run producers in the game.
Ryan Braun, LF, Milwaukee Brewers
.317/.386/.565, 36 HR, 112 RBI, 104 R
Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
.330/.400/.595, 37 HR, 132 RBI, 106 R
Cabrera is the reigning AL MVP after becoming the first player to hit for the Triple Crown since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski accomplished the feat in 1967. He now hits 2013 with even loftier expectations than usual.
Detroit's addition of Torii Hunter, who projects to hit second in the Tigers lineup between Austin Jackson and Cabrera, can only result in good things for Miggy, who, more often than not, will find runners on base when he steps to the plate.
Robinson Canó, 2B, New York Yankees
.315/.370/.540, 37 HR, 118 RBI, 100 R
Entering his walk year, Robinson Canó will do everything possible to maximize his value when he hits the open market at the end of the season.
Coming off of another MVP-caliber season in 2012, Canó was simply awful in the postseason, finishing with an anemic slash line of .075/.098/.125 with no home runs and only four RBI.
As ridiculous as it sounds, 2013 could be Robinson Canó's last season in the Bronx.
With Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner hellbent on getting the team's payroll under $189 million in 2014, and with Scott Boras leading the charge for Team Canó to be paid in excess of $20 million per season (you just know the asking price for a new multi-year deal will be well north of $200 million), anything's possible.
I'm not saying that it's probable (as a Yankees fan, I truly hope it doesn't come to this point), but it's possible.
I expect nothing less than another MVP-caliber season from Canó in 2013—and some ugly and intense negotiations after the season comes to an end.
Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco Giants
33 GS, 16-8, 2.94 ERA, 225 IP, 187 K
The Giants head into 2013 with essentially the same roster that they won the World Series with, setting Matt Cain and the rest of the pitching staff up for success, once again.
Cain, who has come into his own over the past three years, will continue to prove that he is the unquestioned ace of a talented Giants rotation and a perennial Cy Young Award candidate with another outstanding season on the hill.
Prince Fielder, 1B, Detroit Tigers
.300/.410/.515, 32 HR, 115 RBI, 94 R
Carlos Gonzalez, LF, Colorado Rockies
.295/.360/.505, 27 HR, 95 RBI, 94 R, 21 SB
Zack Greinke, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
33 GS, 18-8, 3.35 ERA, 222 IP, 232 K
After spending the bulk of his career being matched up with the opposition's ace—resulting in some tough losses and no-decisions—Zack Greinke is clearly entrenched as the No. 2 starter for the Dodgers behind Clayton Kershaw.
While there are plenty of excellent No. 2 starters throughout baseball, Greinke will benefit from the move and see his numbers improve, thanks to a strong Dodgers lineup and the opportunity to pitch in a pitcher's park like Dodger Stadium.
Josh Hamilton, RF, Los Angeles Angels
.295/.360/.545, 32 HR, 122 RBI, 96 R
Josh Hamilton will miss a handful of games because, well, that's what he does, but when he's in the lineup, Hamilton is going to continue to put up big numbers.
Moving from a bandbox in Texas to a bigger ballpark in Anaheim, Hamilton's home run totals figure to drop from what we've come to expect. But with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hitting in front of him, Hamilton will continue to be one of the game's elite run producers.
Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
33 GS, 16-11, 3.02 ERA, 235 IP, 217 K
Jason Heyward, RF, Atlanta Braves
.275/.365/.493, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 94 R, 24 SB
Jason Heyward got himself back on track in 2012, and his numbers will continue to move in the right direction in 2013.
With Martin Prado and B.J. Upton hitting in front of him (and the emerging Freddie Freeman behind him), the 23-year-old Heyward will reach the 30 HR and 100 RBI plateaus for the first time in his career.
Matt Kemp, CF, Los Angeles Dodgers
.312/.364/.520, 34 HR, 114 RBI, 107 R, 32 SB
Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
32 GS, 20-6, 2.55 ERA, 220 IP, 226 K
Were it not for R.A. Dickey's remarkable season for the New York Mets, Clayton Kershaw would have won his second consecutive NL Cy Young award in 2012.
The best pitcher in the National League, Kershaw will once again find himself in the thick of the Cy Young debate, posting his second straight 20-win season and leading the NL in ERA for the third year in a row.
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
.270/.362/.504, 28 HR, 90 RBI
After missing chunks of the past two seasons with injuries, Evan Longoria's projected stats—and his spot in the Top 25—are on thin ice.
Longoria has averaged only 104 games per season since 2010, making it difficult to believe that he'll be on the field often enough to reach even the most modest expectations as far as his individual stats go.
But Longoria remains incredibly talented, and he still has an on-base machine in Ben Zobrist hitting in front of him. Plus, the eventual arrival of über-prospect Wil Myers to the middle of Tampa Bay's lineup will further help his cause.
Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pittsburgh Pirates
.290/.385/.483, 32 HR, 102 RBI, 100 R, 22 SB
Andrew McCutchen can certainly expect to get on base more often in 2013 as teams will simply pitch around him, rather than to him, in the late innings of close games.
Pittsburgh's failure to add a big bat to pair with McCutchen in the heart of the lineup will keep his numbers lower than some might expect, but he'll still be a productive force in the middle of the Pirates lineup.
Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
.326/.404/.528, 27 HR, 108 RBI, 84 R
The reigning NL MVP, Buster Posey's coming out party continues in 2013, as he'll find himself once again among the league leaders in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS.
David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
31 GS, 20-8, 2.96 ERA, 224 IP, 214 K
Coming off a 2012 season that saw him crack the 20-win mark for the first time in his career and take home the American League Cy Young Award, expectations will be high for David Price in 2013.
He won't fail to meet them, hitting 20 wins, once again, thanks to a Tampa Bay offense that has improved since the end of the 2012 season.
Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angels
.317/.404/.575, 34 HR, 117 RBI, 105 R
CC Sabathia, SP, New York Yankees
32 GS, 16-9, 3.05 ERA, 234 IP, 220 K
The workhorse of the New York Yankees rotation, CC Sabathia battled injuries for the first time in his Yankees career in 2012.
After undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow in October, a healthy Sabathia will once again be among the best starting pitchers in the game—though a slightly less powerful Yankees lineup will cost him a win or two that he normally would have picked up.
Giancarlo Stanton, RF, Miami Marlins
.255/.385/.602, 35 HR, 86 RBI, 82 R
Giancarlo Stanton isn't happy about the state of things in Miami and he's going to take his frustrations out on the ball.
Unfortunately, being the only legitimate offensive force on the Marlins, the opposition will give him nothing to hit, preferring to walk him on four straight pitches rather than watch him crush a ball 450 feet into the stands.
Stanton's numbers will take a dip in 2013—unless of course he gets out of Miami, which would change everything.
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals
31 GS, 18-5, 2.75 ERA, 214 IP, 245 K
For the first time in his career, we will finally get to see what Stephen Strasburg can do over a full season of work.
At least, we should get to see what Strasburg can do over a full season of work (are you listening Mike Rizzo?)
He might have the most overpowering stuff of any pitcher in baseball, and bolstered by having a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder behind him, Strasburg will find himself in the thick of the Cy Young race in 2013.
Mike Trout, CF, Los Angeles Angels
.325/.405/.565, 35 HR, 95 RBI, 142 R, 55 SB
How do you follow up a historic rookie season?
You build upon it.
With a stacked lineup behind him that now includes Josh Hamilton, Trout will once again lead baseball in runs scored and stolen bases, while increasing his own run production.
Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers
33 GS, 22-6, 2.95 ERA, 231 IP, 226 K
Widely considered to be the best pitcher on the planet, Justin Verlander—really, the entire pitching staff of the Detroit Tigers—will see his numbers get better in 2013.
With the addition of Torii Hunter's bat and glove in the outfield, coupled with Victor Martinez' potent bat returning to the middle of the lineup, Verlander will have the best supporting cast of his career around him in 2013.
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
.318/.434/.527, 32 HR, 117 RBI, 92 R
David Wright, 3B, New York Mets
.300/.385/.488, 22 HR, 98 RBI, 92 R, 14 SB
With his contract situation resolved, David Wright will do what he always does—produce in the middle of the Mets lineup.
With an underrated Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy hitting in front of him, Wright should find himself coming to the plate with runners on base more often than not.
If Ike Davis is able to provide him with any protection in the lineup, Wright's numbers could be substantially higher than what I predict for him in 2013.
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