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
Tony Medina/Getty Images
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
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
.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half of the 2012 season due to a wrist injury that eventually needed surgery to repair are long gone, and they have been replaced by half of the 2012 Miami Marlins.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
Mark Hirsch/Getty Images
.317/.386/.565, 36 HR, 112 RBI, 104 R
Had there not been a cloud hovering over his 2011 NL MVP Award, chances are that Ryan Braun enters the 2013 season as a back-to-back MVP.
Braun's 41 home runs and 356 total bases led the National League last season, and, for the second consecutive year, he led the league in OPS, posting a .987 mark.
The Brewers haven't changed a thing in their lineup, which bodes well for Braun to put forth yet another MVP-worthy season hitting in the middle of one of baseball's most potent—and underrated—lineups.
Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
.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
Al Bello/Getty Images
.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
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
.300/.410/.515, 32 HR, 115 RBI, 94 R
While Prince Fielder's 30 home runs were the fewest that he has hit since his rookie season in 2006—when he hit 28—the big man remains a force to be reckoned with hitting cleanup in Detroit.
Fielder really took to playing in Comerica Park, posting a .337/.438/.537 slash line with 18 HR and 57 RBI at home in 2012. With a full season in the American League under his belt—and with Torii Hunter's presence before him in the lineup—Fielder will improve on his excellent 2012 campaign.
Carlos Gonzalez, LF, Colorado Rockies
Chris Gardner/Getty Images
.295/.360/.505, 27 HR, 95 RBI, 94 R, 21 SB
Carlos Gonzalez is as talented a player as there is in the game, but if it wasn't for Coors Field, he wouldn't be sniffing the Top 25.
Check out his splits from last season:
Home: .368/.437/.609, 13 HR, 58 RBI
Away: .234/.301/.405, 9 HR, 27 RBI
But he plays half of his games in Coors, and he's got Troy Tulowitzki hitting behind him, so CarGo is going to get pitches to hit.
A fourth consecutive 20-20 season will be his.
Zack Greinke, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Tim Umphrey/Getty Images
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
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
.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
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
33 GS, 16-11, 3.02 ERA, 235 IP, 217 K
Felix Hernandez has done just fine pitching in front of a putrid Seattle Mariners offense, but that should start to change in 2013 with the addition of 1B Kendrys Morales, who gives the Mariners the run producer in the middle of the lineup that the team so desperately needed.
With the Mariners finally beginning to address their anemic offense, King Felix will see a slight increase in the wins column from where it's been over the past few seasons while still pitching to the incredibly high level that we have come to expect from him.
Jason Heyward, RF, Atlanta Braves
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
.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
Harry How/Getty Images
.312/.364/.520, 34 HR, 114 RBI, 107 R, 32 SB
After getting off to a ridiculous start in 2012—with 12 home runs and 25 RBI over his first 23 games—the rest of Matt Kemp's season was spent battling injuries.
After undergoing shoulder surgery in October, it's unfair to expect such a torrid start to the 2013 season as well. (h/t ESPN)
But he's simply too talented to not produce, and with Adrian Gonzalez hitting behind him for a full season, Kemp's numbers will find him in the MVP conversation once again.
Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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
J. Meric/Getty Images
.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
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
.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
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
.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
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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
Tim Umphrey/Getty Images
.317/.404/.575, 34 HR, 117 RBI, 105 R
With a full season in the American League under his belt, there should be no adjustment period as we saw in 2012 for Albert Pujols.
Over the last four months of the season, Pujols hit .307 with 22 home runs and 77 RBI. That kind of production will continue in 2013, as the three-time NL MVP will get off to a hot start and never look back.
CC Sabathia, SP, New York Yankees
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
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
Jason Arnold/Getty Images
.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
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
.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
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
.318/.434/.527, 32 HR, 117 RBI, 92 R
After missing much of 2012 due to a knee injury, Joey Votto is healthy and finds himself in the middle of one of baseball's most dangerous lineups.
The addition of on-base machine Shin-Soo Choo atop Cincinnati's lineup will only help Votto's run production, as he'll remind people why he was a perennial MVP candidate before he got injured.
David Wright, 3B, New York Mets
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
.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.