The Los Angeles Dodgers made two deals prior to this spectacular 2011 trade deadline, starting off by sending shortstop Rafael Furcal to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Alex Castellanos. Furcal has been declining, mostly due to injuries, which has led him to go from hitting .300 last year to .197 in 37 games this…
Jose Reyes, the first half NL MVP in the minds of many, is returning to the lineup for the New York Mets tonight after a little over two weeks on the DL. The team would do well to take care of their star shortstop over the next few series’, but Reyes’ return could not have…
The All Star break is here and with every team playing over half of their 162 games, it’s now the perfect time to look at the stats for the half season of games. After that, we can make up reasons why each winner deserves it over the guys that just barely lost out. So here we go!
Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
I actually found the choice between Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista to be very difficult. Both players are at the top of the heap when it comes to talent as hitters is concerned. You just can’t avoid Bautista and his 7.2 WARP (Wins Above Replacement). Well, that and the fact he has 31 HR at the break to go with a crazy .334 BA. It’s just amazing to see him put up these kind of stats after what he did last year. Many readers and forum members thought he was a fluke and that he had no shot at reproducing the year he had in 2010. He’s actually doing even better than he did last season. That’s why Bautista is the AL MVP! P.S. Homerun Derbies don’t mean anything.
AL CY Young
Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers
If you haven’t heard about Justin Verlander’s freakish performance as of late then you haven’t been following baseball at all. Verlander’s last 8 appearances have yielded only 6 runs for the opposing teams and have seen Verlander pitch at least 7 inning in each of those games. Verlander currently ranks 2nd in the AL in wins (11), 1st in strikeouts (138), 1st in innings pitched (143.1), and 2nd in complete games (4). Verlander was scheduled to make an appearance at the all star game but was instead replaced by….
AL Rookie of the Year
Michael Pineda – Seattle Mariners
Michael Pineda was brought in to start for the Mariners straight out of Spring Training and he has proven to be a legitimate ace in the future, if not already. Pitching in the shadow of King Felix and in the relatively media starved northwest, Pineda has been allowed to pitch without much attention. The local Seattle fans and opposing teams are quickly learning that Pineda could very well already form the best 1-2 punch in all of baseball. Pineda pitched today against the Angels and was crushed for 7 earned runs but his numbers are still very impressive. An 8-6 record, even with the leagues worst offense and an ERA just recently elevated above 3 to 3.03 on top of 113 strikeouts and a BAA of .198 make him an easy selection for AL ROTY. Congrats to Pineda for making the all star team in his rookie season.
AL Manager of the Year
Manny Acta – Cleveland Indians
The fact of the matter is that if anyone outside of maybe Cleveland, had they you that the Indians were going to be any sort of contender this season, they were either lying to you and themselves or were talking about contending for the #1 pick in the 2012 draft. At 47-42 the Indians are only half a game away from the Tigers for the lead in the AL Central and in large part Manny Acta is to thank. We’ll have to wait and see if the Indians can keep up the momentum or if they fill fizzle over the second half.
Lance Berkman – St. Louis Cardinals
Lance Berkman was a player I thought my team should have tried desperately to sign in the offseason. Well, they didn’t and now they have the worst offense in all of baseball. Meanwhile, Berkman has 24 HR and is hitting .290. That’s two of any other hitters combined for my squad. Yes… I’m bitter. Berkman may not be too popular of a selection here but without him, the Cardinals, who had to deal with Superman Albert Pujols starting the season off cold would not be tied for the lead in the NL Central if it wasn’t for Mr. Berkman here putting up the surprising numbers he has.
NL CY Young
Jair Jurrjens – Atlanta Braves
Jair Jurrjens is the NL leader in Wins (12) and is fourth in CG. Throw in his ERA of 1.87 and you have an ace that deserves the half season NL Cy Young award. Braves fans should also be optimistic about Jurrjens keeping these stats up over the second half of the season. In his last 10 starts he has only gone over 100 pitches four times. His arm should hold up the entire season and allow the Braves to keep up with the Phillies and at least keep their grasp on the wild card.
NL Rookie of the Year
Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves
Craig Kimbrel has amassed 27 saves in 32 chances while pitching as the closer for the Atlanta Braves. Not only that but he is 23 years old and has an ERA of 2.35. Not only that but he has a whopping 70 strikeouts in only 46 IP. Not only that be he also just has 18 BB in those 46 innings. Not only that…. ok that’s enough of that. Kimbrel is a solid candidate for the NL ROTY. When you have a gun like Kimbrel, opposing hitters almost have no shot, especially when they only see you once a game.
NL Manager of the Year
Clint Hurdle – Pittsburgh Pirates
Who saw this coming? I mean, the Pirates? Seriously? The Pirates haven’t been contenders since they had those silly hats and Willie Stargell played for them at Three Rivers Stadium. Clint Hurdle has done an amazing job in making the Pirates relevant again in baseball. Not only do they now have one of the best stadiums in the MLB but they also have a product that is worthy of playing in it. For the first time in a very long time the Pirates may be buyers at the deadline instead of their trademark selling of future talent.
So there you have it. The half season MLB award winners. If you have any questions, comments, gripes or complaints…. to bad. Or you can just voice them in the comments below or join our growing sports forum to debate about anything you could possibly want to debate.
The Midsummer Classic has been around for years, so of course there have been some great ones. MLB’s first All-Star game was back on July 6, 1933 . Now, 78 years later, the Midsummer Classic has brought much discussion about the right way to do it, what is wrong with the way it is, how…
With the All Star Break now in effect, everyone is focusing on the game’s “bow outs” and tonight’s Home Run Derby, so I figured I’d bring you an early-report on potential trade candidates with the Trade Deadline looming. It is still early, and the final week of the month will bring about a lot more…
The Seattle Mariners have been performing a balancing act as of late with their win percentage. For the last few weeks they have been at .500 or within a game or two of the mark and they can’t seem to find a way to get over the hump. The Mariners have called up Dustin Ackley in the last month, hoping he could be a boost to the worst offense in all of baseball. Surprisingly, he has played very well posting a .298 avg, .359 OBP and hitting 3 HR in 57 AB’s. Add to that 2 triples and a double and 6 of his 17 hits have been for extra bases.
The Mariners also recently called up Kyle Seager, who happens to be a former little league rival of Ackley’s along with his teammate at North Carolina. Seager was called up a few days ago to replace Chone Figgins at 3rd base. Figgins has been a huge disappointment since joining the Mariners, signing a 4 year, $36,000,000 deal. Figgins still has two years and and a vesting option left in the deal that will see him make an avg of $8,500,000 in each of those two years. It’s interesting to see Seager called up to the MLB level so soon. He had just been bumped up to the AAA level 2 weeks prior. However, in those two weeks at AAA Tacoma, Seager had hit .455 with 25 hits in 55 at bats. That’s a line that you can’t really ignore when your offense is as bad as Seattle’s. If Seager can put up numbers anywhere close to that, or those of his college teammate’s then the Mariners made a great call bringing him up.
Carlos Beltran has been one big name mentioned in recent trade talk as a possible solution to the teams history of horrible left fielders. So far this season the Mariners have thrown Michael Saunders, Mike Wilson, Carlos Peguero, Mike Carp, Greg Halman, Ryan Langerhans and Milton Bradley into the mix. Neither of these seven players have been able to hold down the spot for more than 38 games. Peguero who is the leader in games played at LF is surely going to be sent down sooner than later. Beltran, who has had a history of health issues since signing a massive 7 year, $119,000,000 deal with the Mets looks to finally be healthy again and is putting up solid numbers.
Beltran is hitting .283 with 13 HR and 26 doubles on top of his .372 OBP. That would easily make him the most feared hitter if he was in the Seattle lineup. The advantage of having him hit fourth while dropping Justin Smoak to hit behind in front would be a great help not only to Smoak, who would have a legitimate hitter protecting him in the lineup, but also to the entire Mariners offense. Of course there are potential hold ups preventing a marriage of hitter and team needing said hitter. Beltran is in the last year of his contract, which could be a good thing or bad thing depending how you look at it. However, Beltran also has a full no trade clause in his contract that would make a deal less likely to happen. Lets face it. Not many hitters want to come to Safeco Field. The park is notorious for ruining hitters. Look at examples such as Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre. Beltre has a few sub par offensive seasons after his breakout year with the Dodgers, then magically after joining both Texas and Boston has seen his numbers skyrocket again.
Regardless of what happens over the next few weeks until the trading deadline, if the Mariners want to get serious about contending in 2011 they will have to focus their attention on upgrading what is one of the worst offenses not only in the MLB this season, but in the history of the game.
It’s not too often in baseball that a manager succeeds in several different cities. For Dick Williams, though, this proved to be just the case. Williams, who was 82, died on Thursday due to what was a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Along with fellow Hall of Fame manager Bill McKechnie, Williams was one of two managers…
NL All-Star Jair Jurrjens has become the first NL pitcher to 12 wins this season. He’s ahead of Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee from the amazing Philadelphia Phillies rotation. He’s ahead of the “Freak” in San Francisco, Tim Lincecum, and his other studly teammate, Matt Cain. He’s ahead of the AL All-Star pitchers,…
When you have the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and always have Jose Bautista, you are likely to take a majority in a top 10 hitters list. These AL teams have some big boppers and here’s a look at the top 10 hitters in the AL using a new stat, adjusted offense:
1. Jose Bautista-OF-Toronto Blue Jays
No surprise here! Mr. Toronto and the number one All-Star vote getter finally hit number 22 this past week after struggling a bit to make home run contact behind the plate. He has still kept his average up (.325), but was struggling to hit the the long ball as we watched other home run hitters like Mark Teixiera and Curtis Granderson catch up. I think the knock on Bautista over the course of the entire season will be his lack of RBIs. His numbers with the bases empty (.319 BA, 16 HR, 16 RBI, .719 SLG) crush his numbers with runners in scoring position, RISP, (.246 BA, 4 HR, 25 RBI, .509 SLG). The Blue Jays don’t get on in front of him often, but when they do, he hasn’t done much with the opportunity (14 hits in 57 at bats). He is still the best hitter in the game, the Blue Jays just have to hope that the offense can pick him up.
2. Adrian Gonzalez-1B-Boston Red Sox
It has to be argued that Gonzalez might just be the best hitter in the AL, but his power numbers are down just a bit so far this season. The biggest offseason acquisition by any team has come through with a major league leading average of .359 and 69 RBIs to go along with his 15 home runs. If we are talking about hitting with RISP, Gonzalez is the king. His numbers skyrocket when the Red Sox need him, going from an average of .319 with none on to .385 with RISP to .419 with RISP and two outs! That is absolutely a ridiculous number, which would provide the argument to being the best hitter. For those stat heads, Gonzalez’s WAR is third best in the majors at 4.3, behind Matt Kemp and Bautista.
3. Miguel Cabrera-1B-Detroit Tigers
It’s unfortunate that Cabrera has to play in the same league with Gonzalez, because otherwise he would be the best first baseman in the league. If it weren’t for Cabrera, the Tigers would be hovering around .500 and would not have caught the Cleveland Indians. Yeah, I said it. Cabrera’s OBP is less than only Bautista’s at .455, which helps to drive that team. Cabrera’s power numbers are down a bit so far this season, with just 15 home runs and a .576 slugging percentage, but expect those to go up a bit as the season goes along and he continues to improve his game. I think Cabrera is still getting better with every game and he is already one of the best hitters in the game.
4. Curtis Granderson-OF-New York Yankees
Granderson has had the luxury is hitting for a crazy amount of power so far this season. I watched him play in Chicago a week ago and before the game started, I was watching him throw around and hit in batting practice. There is no way a guy with his build should be hitting 21 home runs to this point in the season. I was blown away. As a midwesterner, I had never seen him in person. He has crazy athletic ability. His numbers against lefties (.267 BA, 9 HR, 22 RBI) are not as much of a cause for concern as they have been in the past, with a .220 career average against lefties. That makes life much easier on Joe Girardi and the Yankees management to keep playing Granderson and watching every day as the freak of nature might just hit another home run.
5. Kevin Youkilis-3B-Boston Red Sox
Youkilis is another Red Sox hitter who gets better when the team needs him, which is what adjusted offense is all about, coming through when you are supposed to. His average with none on sits at a lowly .259, but with RISP and two outs he is hitting .368 in 38 at bats. His career average is .293 and he hasn’t hit below .300 for a full season since 2007, so expect his average of .279 to go up. His WAR has also been higher than four every season since 2007, so expect his 3.2 to go up as well. Youkilis is a veteran who knows how to get the job done, so expect him to keep doing it.
6. Paul Konerko-1B-Chicago White Sox
Konerko is probably the most underrated first baseman in the AL. He is consistently one of the better hitters, but he is so quiet! This season has been one of his more impressive ones so far. He is on pace to set new career highs in both home runs and RBIs, his highs sitting at 41 and 117 back in 2004. People just don’t talk about Konerko much. He should be seriously considered for the All-Star game if he hasn’t gotten voted in yet, as he is having a better season so far than Cabrera. Last season was one of his best overall, and his .326 average and 21 home runs currently show that he should be considered amongst the elite.
7. David Ortiz-DH-Boston Red Sox
Papi is looking like the Papi of old. He is having an extremely productive season for the Red Sox so far, which is just in time for the Red Sox. This is the season that they pushed to win the World Series, and it has been an added bonus that Ortiz has been playing well. He hasn’t held an average over .300 for a season since 2007, so his .312 average is promising as we near the All-Star break. He will most likely receive his seventh All-Star honor this season and the 35-year-old Dominican big man will be looking for another ring before the end of his career.
8. Mark Teixiera-1B-New York Yankees
It’s a good this Tex can hit home runs, because he sure doesn’t hit for a good average the first half of the season. He has always been a notoriously slow started but has shown promise of improvement this season. He is only hitting .244 so far this season, but his 21 home runs have him tied for second in the league. He is another guy I saw in batting practice against the Cubs. I have never seen anyone hit the ball so hard from both sides of the plate. His 1.6 WAR is the lowest he has seen in his game since the first season of his career with the Texas Rangers, but expect that number to rise as the season goes on. He will go on a tear. He always does.
9. Alex Rodriguez-3B-New York Yankees
What did I say about the Red Sox and Yankees earlier? Filling in the sixth spot for those teams in our top 10 is Rodriguez. Ever on the road to redemption in most baseball fans eyes, Rodriguez is trying to shake off the steroid stigma and just get back to playing baseball. The one time future Hall of Famer and home run king, Rodriguez can still reach the 700 homer mark before his career is out, as well as 3,000 hits. He sits at 626 HRs, with 13 this season, so with another 17 to get to 30 (which he can get easily), he will sit just 57 away. His .296 average so far this season looks to get him back close to his .303 career average after struggling for the past few seasons in that category. I will still watch his run to get to 700 and 3,000, regardless of his past history.
10. Victor Martinez-DH-Detroit Tigers
Martinez has done what many believe the new star catchers are going to do in the future, stop catching. Martinez has been one of the most successful DHs in the league this season, hitting for a gaudy .332, the best on the Tigers’ squad. He is helping Cabrera carry the load, driving in 42 runs already this season, but his power numbers are down a bit, just six home runs so far this season. If he keeps swinging his hot bat and making good contact, there’s no doubt he can find that power. He is only 32 this year, so he still has a few good years ahead of him.
When Vernon Wells was acquired from the Blue Jays in a blockbuster deal that sent catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera to Toronto, fans were both ecstatic and cautious. After watching Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre ink multi-year contracts including eight-digit money figures, the Angels decided it was their turn to make a move in a true act of desperation to remain a legitimate playoff contender in the competitive AL West.
Wells has been horrendous to say the least in 2011. Nearing the tail-end of his prime, he has produced a .197/.234/.332 batting line to go along with just 7 HRs and 25 RBIs. Needless to say, he has appeared in just 49 games translating to 205 PAs, but that is still a healthy bit of sample size with little to no production. And as he prepares to collect a $23 million paycheck at year’s end, it’s time to see change.
You ask me, “Are we going to see change, and if so, when”? This question can have a complicated answer. According to ESPN MLB Park Factors from 2010, The Rogers Centre, Wells’ former home, was the fourth most hitter friendly ballpark in the major leagues behind U.S. Cellular Field, Coors Field, and Yankee Stadium. Scroll down the page and you’ll see that Angel Stadium of Anaheim is all the way down at twenty-three, proving to be one of baseball’s most pitcher friendly parks.
While ballpark factors can be a large part of the story, it isn’t all. It is evident that Vernon Wells has been very unlucky in 2011, posting a .209 BABIP and .135 ISO to date. The BABIP shown is .76 ticks below his career average of .285, and his ISO is down as well by a drastic .58 points.
As mentioned previously, Wells is entering the tail-end of his prime and beginning his journey down the downhill slope. He went from one of baseball’s most hitter friendly parks to one of baseball’s most pitcher friendly parks. But we also see that Vernon Wells has been flat-out unlucky in 2011. So, what can we expect from him in the remainder of the 2011 season?
My best guess-timate is production from somewhere in between his spectacular bounceback 2010 campaign and his outright awful 2011 season. A .240/.300/.430 type line seems about right in final form, and as you can see, that is not worth $23 million dollar money or even half for that matter. The bottom line is that the Halos’ made an incredibly irresponsible acquisition in an act of desperation, and it’s going to be extremely hard rid themselves of arguably baseball’s most crippling contract.