Saturday, February 25, 2012

MVP Snubs

Now this is a little late, but it needs to be said. 2011 was the year of MVP snubs. First off Justin Verlander definitely didn't deserve to win MVP. I can name the reason. For starters Verlander's season wasn't even close to one of the greatest seasons of all time. You look at his ERA+ and yes it is above average, but so was Clayton Kershaw, so was Roy Halladay, but they didn't win MVP. In my opinion Kershaw had a better season. He had a lower ERA, a higher strikeout per nine innings. The reason Verlander won was because he had 24 wins, but Kershaw had 21 wins on a bad team. Don't get me wrong Justin Verlander deserved Cy Young, but If Pedro Martinez couldn't win it in 1999, then Verlander shouldn't have won it in 2011. Now if you look at the two position players that deserved it, it was Jose Bautista or Jacoby Ellsbury. Jose Bautista had the highest WAR and OPS+ in the AL. He led the MLB in home runs and walks. If I recall Barry Bonds did that on multiple occasions and he won MVP for doing it. My personal pick though is Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury had a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger and the Comeback Player of the Year. He was also the first Red Sox to go 30-30. Also he had the 2nd most hits, the most total bases and most extra base hits. Two years ago he was a premier base stealer, now he's a five tool player. He had an MVP year, but they gave it to a pitcher.
Second, Ryan Braun shouldn't have won either. Before Braun tested positive he still wasn't the best player, but I'll get into the Braun/PED situation another time. Ryan Braun had a fantastic season, but he had another MVP quality player on his team in Prince Fielder. Now if Prince wasn't on the team and the Brewers made it to the playoffs, Braun would have been MVP. Now take into account Verlander won MVP, which he shouldn't have, then Claton Kershaw or Ian Kennedy should have won MVP. If you look at Brauns numbers and the fact that he had Prince hitting behind him, he shouldn't have won. Now Matt Kemp, he should have won MVP. Matt Kemp was on the verge of the triple crown and a 40-40 season. Matt Kemp made the Dodgers hard to beat. On a statistical stand point, Matt Kemp was better than Ryan Braun in almost every category. Ryan Braun had a higher batting average, but Matt Kemp had a higher WAR, more home runs, more RBIs, more steals, the highest OPS+ in the NL and the most total bases in the NL.
So why did Verlander and Braun win MVP? Because their teams made the playoffs. The writers missed the fact that it was Most Valuble Player in their respective leagues, not Most Valuable Player on a playoff team.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cubs 2012 Chances

2012 is a rebuilding year for the Cubs. Contrary to that the Cubs have an okay team. So what are the Cubs chances? Very slim. Can they take the Wildcard? Not likely. Can anything happen in baseball? Absolutly. The NL Central has lost it's two biggest power hitters in Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. The Brewers are also about to lose Ryan Braun. That leaves Joey Votto as the premier offence in the Central. That's why the Cubs can't be counted out. If you look at their rotation the have Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Chris Volstad and Travis Wood, Likely in that order. That put Randy Wells and Andy Sonnanstine in the Bullpen and Casey Coleman in AAA. That's the pitching depth they need. If Dempster and Wood have bounce back years and Garza and Maholm have the years they had last year you have a very good rotation. All they would need is solid defence behind them and run support and if they get that they have a potential of at least three starters with 15 win. Run support is something they will get. Starlin Castro, David DeJesus and Marlon Byrd will start off the lineup. They are all get on base guys with a little power, but like Moneyball says get on base. Then you have the anchor of the lineup in Bryan LaHair. It does not matter if Alfonso Soriano is on the team or not, they have to play Bryan LaHair in left field. He had over 100 extra base hits in AAA, MLB and winter league ball. It does not matter if you're paying the other guy out the ass, when someone get over 200 hits and over 100 extra base hits they get to play. After LaHair you have newly aquired Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo has amazing potiental, the potiental to hit 30-35 homeruns. Hit him behind LaHair and you have a devastating 4-5 combo. Follow them up with Geovany Soto, who can hit 20-30 homeruns. He's a power hitting catcher, who needs to wait for the ball to come to him. He has shown he can do it, when he hit 3 homeruns in one game. Newly aquired Ian Stewart will hit next. He's a strickly power guy. He'll give 20-25 homeruns but he will hit for a low average and give you about 100 hits. But that power is good to have when you're batter seventh. Finally Darwin Barney will bat eighth. Originally used for defence, he showed he can hit. He has no power but he can get at least 150 hits. He probably could've got more but he had a stint on the DL. You add that offence with that pitching and you have a winning team, in my opinion. Now they still have to get through the Reds, Brewers and Cardinals and you never know about the Pirates, but anything could happen.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Closest Division Race in 2012

The closest race next year will be in the American League East. We say that every year because of the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays. But in 2012 it will be so much tougher than usual. The Red Sox and the Yankees are always at the top regaurdless of the pieces they are missing and their aging players. Each team has their own strengths, the Rays being the only team who's strength is pitching. Each team has homerun hitters and Gold Glove defenders. The biggest threat in 2012 in the AL East in my opinion will be the Blue Jays. The have one of the top lefties in Ricky Romero and a new closer in Sergio Santos. Having Jose Bautista and young Brett Lawrie in there lineup will make them dominate. Also I'm not going to count out the Orioles. It's really anyones division and I can see no one in the division winning the Wild Card with the race being to close. Now for the speculated lineups. Blue Jays first.
  1. Yunel Escobar               .290/77/149/24/3/11/48/3
  2. Kelly Johnson               .222/75/121/27/7/21/58/16
  3. Jose Bautista                 .302/105/155/24/2/43/103/9
  4. Adam Lind                   .251/56/125/16/0/26/87/1
  5. Brett Lawrie                 .320/90/148/32/10/27/87/20 (MLB-AAA)
  6. Colby Rasmus              .225/75/106/24/6/14/53/5
  7. Edwn Encarnacion       .272/70/131/36/0/17/55/8
  8. Eric Thames                 .307/96/168/49/9/19/82/7 (MLB-AAA)
  9. J.P. Arencibia               .219/47/097/20/4/23/78/1
Now they are a young team, but a powerful team. I could have gone a couple of ways with this lineup, but this was the most likely.
Next is the Orioles.
  1. Jai Miller                  .276/81/113/24/4/32/88/16 (AAA)
  2. Nick Markakis         .284/72/182/31/1/15/73/12
  3. Adam Jones             .280/68/159/26/2/25/83/12
  4. J.J. Hardy                .269/76/142/27/0/30/80/0
  5. Matt Weiters           .262/72/131/28/0/22/68/1
  6. Wilson Betemit       .285/40/092/22/4/08/46/4
  7. Mark Reynolds       .221/84/118/27/1/37/86/6
  8. Chris Davis             .319/66/127/34/1/29/43/2 (MLB-AAA)
  9. Ryan Flaherty         .280/74/133/31/3/19/88/5 (AAA-AA)
Once again a young team. I speculated they would use Ryan Flaherty at second base, because of his excellent year in AAA and AA.
Now Tampa Bay.
  1. Desmond Jennings       .267/112/157/28/7/22/64/37 (MLB-AAA)
  2. B.J. Upton                    .243/82/136/27/4/23/81/36
  3. Ben Zobrist                   .269/99/158/46/6/20/91/19
  4. Evan Longoria              .244/78/118/26/1/31/99/3
  5. Carlos Pena                   .225/72/111/27/3/28/80/2
  6. Luke Scott                    .284/70/127/29/1/27/72/2
  7. Matt Joyce                    .277/69/128/32/2/19/75/13
  8. Jose Molina                  .281/19/048/12/1/03/15/2
  9. Reid Brignac                .193/18/048/04/0/01/15/3
The Rays will live and die with pitching next year. They have amazing pitching so they have a good chance. But there offence isn't bad so look out
Now the Yankees. With aging players and players who strikeout a lot, they'll have trouble, but they hit a lot of homeruns so you never know.
  1. Derek Jeter                  .297/84/162/24/4/6/61/16
  2. Curtis Granderson      .262/136/153/26/10/41/119/25
  3. Robinson Cano           .302/104/188/46/7/28/118/6
  4. Mark Texiera              .248/90/146/26/1/39/111/4
  5. Alex Rodrigez            .276/67/103/21/0/16/62/4
  6. Nick Swisher              .260/81/137/30/0/23/85/2
  7. Raul Ibanez                .245/65/131/31/1/20/84/2
  8. Russell Martin           .237/57/100/17/0/18/65/8
  9. Brett Gardner            .259/87/132/19/8/07/36/49
The Yankees are an aging team with young pieces. Jeter was the Jeter we know after he hit his 3000 hit, but A-Rod, who's career homerun average is 42 homeruns a season, had only 16. Yes he was plagued with injury, but it will be hard to come back as strong as they hope he does.
Now the Red Sox
  1. Carl Crawford                 .255/65/129/29/7/11/56/18
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury               .321/119/212/46/5/32/105/39 
  3. Dustin Pedroia                 .307/102/195/37/3/21/91/26
  4. Adrian Gonzalez             .338/108/213/45/3/27/117/1
  5. Kevin Youkilis                .258/68/111/32/2/17/80/3
  6. David Ortiz                     .309/84/162/40/1/29/96/1
  7. Cody Ross                      .240/54/097/25/0/14/65/9
  8. J. Saltalamacchia           .235/52/084/23/3/16/56/1
  9. Mike Aviles                   .281/52/116/25/5/16/64/20
Now the Red Sox had 3 MVP quality players and one player, Jacoby Ellsbury, should have won MVP. But they still managed to blow it. A bad season from Carl Crawford, no right fielder and a hurt Kevin Youkilis led to an offensive downfall. Not to mention faultering pitching and hurt pitchers. They have the most work to do this offseason.
So my vote for winner of the AL East is the Blue Jays

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yu Darvish, Will He Translate?

Japanese pitchers are becoming more and more common. Hideo Nomo was the first truely successful Japanese pitcher and Daisuke Matsusaka was the most expensive. Both of them are going to be blown out of the water by Yu Darvish. Darvish is only twenty-five years old and he is already looking like the greatest pitcher to ever play in Japan. His staggering consistant numbers will translate much better than Daisuke and Nomo. Don't get me wrong Nomo was a very good pitcher and Daisuke had his moments, but even in Japan their numbers don't even compare. Let's look at his stats                                    ERA/GS/K/BB/IP/CG/SO/W-L/
Yu Darvish 2007        1.82/26/210/49/203/12/3/15-5
Yu Darvish 2008        1.88/24/208/44/200/10/2/16-4
Yu Darvish 2009        1.73/23/167/45/182/8/2/15-5
Yu Darvish 2010        1.78/25/222/47/202/10/2/12-8
Yu Darvish 2011        1.44/28/276/36/232/10/6/18-6
These are the stats for the past five years. He's pitched for seven years total and he already has 1250 Ks. Now I don't care if people say the numbers don't translate in America, but looking at this year he can pitch a lot of innings and get a lot of strikouts without walking many. The ERA is the only thing I could see changing. I believe it will go up, but even if it goes up a full point he'll still have an amazing ERA. But if I had to make a comparison, I say he's a right handed Cliff Lee. A strikeout pitcher who doesn't throw above 94 mph and having amazing secondary pitches. Trust me he'll translate nicely. Hopefully he doesn't go to the Yankees

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Most Underrated Free Agents This Offseason

The top Free agents this year are, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, C.C. Sabathia, C.J. Wilson Aramis Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins, Heath Bell, Jonathan Papelbon, Ryan Madson and K-Rod. But everyone is talking about them espically King Albert and the Prince. So I want to talk about the top free agents that could make a big impact next year.
We'll start with a personal favorite in Wily Mo Pena. This season, combined with AAA and MLB, had 32 homeruns and a .281 batting average. The problem with him is he strikes out alot. I believe he strikes out because he doesn't get enough playing time and when he does play, he tries to hit a homerun everytime. But if he gets regular playing time he'll be able to make an impact, because he'll cut down on strike outs, increase contact and hit homeruns.
Next is Wilson Betemit. Betemit is a switch hitter with even power on both sides. He didn't get much playing time due to the Royals calling up Mike Moustakus and when he was traded to the Tigers they also didn't give him alot of playing time after they recalled Brandon Inge. Betemit needs some work on his glove, but the power is there and with a full season under his belt, he'll produce.
Now Super Utility man Bill Hall. Bill Hall can play almost every position, except catcher and 1st base. He prefers to play 2nd base, but is willing to play left field, right field, and 3rd base. He can play shortstop and center field, he just perfers not to. His rocket arm and good glove allow him to play all these positions. He can also swing a mean bat. He has a lot of homerun power even when he doesn't get a lot of playing time. So give him a chance and let him produce.
Rick Ankiel. Rick has one of the best throwing arms in the game. He has a great glove and good range. Plus he can play all outfield posistions. The only problem is he's been have trouble at the plate. He has a lot of power and good contact he just has trouble finding the ball. If he can work on that he would be a big part of any team.
These are in my opinion the best underrated free agents. The best part is these players won't break the bank. They just want some time to play and they should get time.

Monday, October 17, 2011


There are about five player up for MVP, excluding Justin Verlander. Miguel Cabrerra, Jose Bautista, Jacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson and Adrian Gonzalez. I will explain who should win, who shouldn't and who will and show the numbers so you can decide. But first to be honest I want Ellsbury to win.
Jose Bautista. Bautista lead in multiple catagories. He had the most homeruns and the highest WAR. But the problem is he was on a team that wasn't contending. He was also accused of stealing signs. I personally don't believe that, but it will be taken into account.
Adrian Gonzalez. A-Gon was the best player in the game through the first half. Then after the All-Star break he slumped. He kept up the batting average and base hits but his homerun power diminished. Then the series against the Rangers rolled around and he hit 5 homeruns in three games so we thought he was back. But once september came and he dropped to second in batting average and tied for first in hits. At the All Star break he was on pace for 250 hits possibly more, but his slumps and shoulder fatigue prevented him from being the best.
Curtis Granderson. Granderson also lead in multiple categories. The problem is he didn't even come close in other categories. He lead in runs and RBIs, but only batted .262 with 152 hits. Granderson was a great speed and power man, which is why he's up for MVP, but his numbers won't let him win it.
Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury, to put simple, was a beast. Jacoby blew us away with 32 homeruns. Sure it wasn't the most but the fact that his most was 9 prevously is pretty incredible. He was the first 30-30 man in Red Sox history and Come Back Player of the Year. He was the shining star in the Red Sox collapse. But that's the problem, even though he was great he couldn't get the Sox to the playoffs and it will cost him.
Miguel Cabrerra. Cabrerra had the highest batting average and the most doubles. He lead the Tigers, along with Verlander, into the playoffs and past the Yankees. He will win MVP and the numbers support it.
Here are the numbers you decided
Jacoby Ellsbury
Runs: 119 (3rd)
Hits: 212 (2nd)
Doubles: 46 (T-3rd)
Triples: 5 (T-6th)
Homeruns: 32 (T-5th)
RBIs: 105 (T-6th)
Stolen Bases: 39 (4th)
Batting Average: .321 (5th)
On Base Percentage: .376 (T-9th)
Slugging: .552 (T-5th)
OPS: .928 (5th)
Extra Base Hits: 83 (1st)
Total Bases: 364 (1st)
Wins Above Replacement: 7.2 (2nd)
Runs Above Replacements: 75 (2nd)
30-30 Club (First in Red Sox History)
Come Back Player of the Year Award

Miguel Cabrera
Runs: 111 (4th)
Hits: 201 (3rd)
Doubles: 48 (1st)
Homeruns: 30 (7th)
RBI: 105 (T-6th)
Walks: 108 (2nd)
Batting Average: .344 (1st)
On Base Percentage: .448 (1st)
Slugging: .586 (2nd)
OPS: 1.033 (2nd)
Extra Base Hits: 78 (3rd)
Total Bases: 335 (3rd)
Win Above Replacement: 7.1 (3rd)
Runs Above Replacement: 73 (3rd)

Adrian Gonzalez
Runs: 108 (5th)
Hits: 213 (T-1st)
Doubles: 45 (T-4th)
Homeruns: 27 (T-10th)
RBI: 117 (3rd)
Batting Average: .338 (T-2nd)
On Base Percentage: .410 (3rd)
Slugging: .548 (6th)
OPS: .957 (3rd)
Extra Base Hits: 75 (5th)
Total Bases: 345 (2nd)
Win Above Replacement: 6.9 (4th)
Runs Above Replacement: 71 (4th)

Curtis Granderson
Runs: 136 (1st)
Hits: 153 (T-24th)
Doubles: 26 (T-19th)
Homeruns: 41 (2nd)
Triples: 10 (2nd)
RBI: 119 (1st)
Most Strikeouts: 169 (4th)
Batting Average: .262 (T-30th)
On Base Percentage: .364 (14th)
Slugging: .552 (T-5th)
OPS: .916 (6th)
Extra Base Hits: 77 (4th)
Total Bases: 322 (5th)
Wins Above Replacement: 5.2 (T-10th)
Runs Above Replacement: 56 (T-7th)

Jose Batista
Runs: 105 (6th)
Hits: 155 (T-21)
Doubles: 24 (T-20th+)
Homreuns: 43 (1st)
RBI: 103 (T-7th)
Walks: 132 (1st)
Batting Average: .302 (T-10th)
One Base Percentage: .447 (2nd)
Slugging: .608 (1st)
OPS: 1.056 (1st)
Extra Base Hits: 69 (10th)
Total Bases: 312 (6th)
Win Above Replacement: 8.5 (1st )
Runs Above Replacement: 89 (1st)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Are the Nationals Contenders?

In my opinion the Nationals will be contending for the Wild Card. The Phillies will take first place even though Ryan Howard will be out the first month or two. But before the Nationals can contend they have to complete the team. They have a top notch bullpen so they won't have to worry about relivers. They have a great infield. Ryan Zimmerman is by far their best player. He hits for a high average and hits for power. Due to injury he saw limited playing time this year, but managed to produce when he played. Danny Espinosa really showed his power this season with 21 homeruns and 29 doubles. His average wasn't great, but he just needs a little more plate discipline which should come with experience. But he really showed off with his glove this season. If Brandon Phillips wasn't in the National League, Espinosa would win the Gold Glove. Ian Desmond, the National's shortstop, started to show power in September, which will really help the leadoff postition. His speed and contact already make him a good leadoff man, but with power he'll be ideal. Desmond just needs a little work on defence. First baseman Adam Laroche had his season end at the very beginning of the season, but the Nationals signed him for his glove and his production. Adam LaRoche has had limted playing time for most of his career, but when he was giving full playing time he rewarded his team with a good batting average and 25 homeruns and 100 RBIs. His glove is where he truely shines though. He has Gold Glove caliber defence that can be compare to Carlos Pena, a former Gold Glover. Wilson Ramos was a very pleasant surprise this year. He showed he was a clutch player when the game was on the line. He's proven to be an everyday catcher even at his young age. I have to give credit to Ivan Rodrigez for helping move him along, because Pudge is one of the greatest catchers to ever play the game. The outfield has two great contributers in Michael Morse and Jayson Werth. Werth didn't produce offencively like he should have, but he never lost his glove. Werth, like Carl Crawford, is going through a transition into a new team. Werth will produce in 2012 and beyond. Michael Morse was the biggest surprise. He showed if given full playing time he will produce. Morse hit a .303 batting average and 31 homeruns. He can play left field and first base, but can play right to fill the posistion. For Center Field they could use Rick Ankiel at the beginning of the season. Ankiel wants to be back in Washington so that helps. He has a great glove and a rocket arm. He's just lacking at the plate. He's got the power he just has poor plate discipline. If they bring him back as their starting center fielder then he'll have to work hard to get his swing back. But Bryce Harper should be ready mid-season, maybe before. When Harper comes up then Werth can move to center and that will solve their center field problem.
The lineup with Rick Ankiel
  1. Ian Desmond               .253/65/148/27/5/08/49/25
  2. Rick Ankiel                 .239/46/091/20/0/09/37/10
  3. Ryan Zimmerman       .307/85/161/32/0/25/85/4 (2010)
  4. Michael Morse            .303/73/158/36/0/31/95/2
  5. Jayson Werth              .232/69/130/26/1/20/58/19
  6. Adam LaRoche           .261/75/146/37/2/25/100/0 (2010)
  7. Danny Espinosa          .236/72/135/29/5/21/66/17
  8. Wilson Ramos            .267/48/104/22/1/15/52/0
  9. Pitcher
That's a good lineup. Now let's add Bryce Harper.
  1. Ian Desmond             .253/65/148/27/5/08/49/25
  2. Jayson Werth            .232/69/130/26/1/20/58/19
  3. Ryan Zimmerman    .307/85/161/32/0/25/85/4
  4. Michael Morse         .303/73/158/36/0/31/96/2
  5. Adam LaRoche        .261/75/146/37/2/25/100/0 (2010)
  6. Bryce Harper           .306/75/137/27/3/23/82/29 (AA-A-AFL)
  7. Danny Espinosa       .236/72/135/29/5/21/66/17
  8. Wilson Ramos         .267/48/104/22/1/16/52/0
  9. Pitcher
If they had that lineup I think they'd be able to grab the wild card. Plus you add Jesus Flores, who tore up the Winter League, they have a great back up catcher too. That's a top notch offence.
The rotation would look like this.
  1. Stephen Strasberg (On limited Innings)
  2. Gio Gonzalez
  3. Jordan Zimmerman
  4. Edwin Jackson
  5. Chien-Ming Wang/John Lannen/Ross Detwiler
That's a rotation that has the ability to shut down other teams. They have several options for their number 5 starter, plus guys to cover Stephen Strasberg after he comes to his innings limit. Then you throw in the bullpen and you have contending pitching. If they do take the Wild Card, they should bring back Strasberg. He will be rested enough for only about ten games max.
So they are a playoff team. Will they be in 2012? I think so, but they could have to wait until 2013.