Results tagged ‘ Buster Posey ’

Why I’m Rooting For the American League

Let’s get this out of the way at the top. Thank you, San Francisco Giants! Thank you, NLCS MVP Madison Bumgarner. Thank you, Hunter Pence. Thank you, Santiago Casilla. Thank you, Pablo Sandoval. Thank you, Yusmeiro Petit. Thank you (and congrats), Tim Hudson. Thank you even to Buster Posey.

Thank you, Michael Morse for tying that one game.

Thank you, Travis Ishikawa for walking the birds off the field.

I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today without the efforts and success of the San Francisco Giants. You can drop the #EvenYear hashtag on social media. You can thank a blossomed ace in Bumgarner. You can shower praise on Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff. It’s all deserved. It’s all warranted. “THE GIANTS (WON) THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS (WON) THE PENNANT!”

And as happy as I am today that the senior circuit representative in this year’s Fall Classic plays its home games outside the state of Missouri, my desire for Giant victories ended when that ball left Ishikawa’s bat.

So why am I rooting against them starting tonight? I like the Giants just fine. I like most of their players. Only Angel Pagan really gets my dander up, and he’ll miss this series with injury anyway. So this isn’t about the Giants.

As far as leagues go, I absolutely prefer the National League game to that of its younger brother. The Designated Hitter should be done away with (though I realize it never will be). The strategy and timing of the NL game makes for a beautiful, and sometimes sickening, dance where decisions feel like they loom larger. You can’t always just pitch a guy until he’s done. Maybe you have to lift a pitcher early because of a key offensive spot. Maybe you try to stretch a guy farther because his spot is due up next half inning. Et cetera. There is so much more that goes into it. It’s more interesting and more fun, in my ever so humble opinion.

I’m a stump for the NL way of life. My team plays in the National League, for what that’s worth.

So, again, I ask: Why am I rooting against the Giants?

Well, to be fair it’s about rooting for Kansas City more than it is about rooting against San Francisco.

Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Norichika Aoki. All former Brewers. All good guys who I enjoy watching succeed. But pulling for the Royals is deeper than just that connection. Doug Henry and Dale Sveum. Both former Brewers. Both members of KC’s coaching staff. I like that, and personally like Sveum as a coach, but certainly wouldn’t use that as a reason to cheer for one team over another. Ned? Not even a little bit.

So instead of continuing to tell you why I’m not rooting for them, even though they are fine reasons should you choose to use them, here’s why I am.

I look at the 2014 Kansas City Royals and I see the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers.

It’s not a perfect 1:1 on the field, of course, but the similarities even at that micro level are interesting. It’s more about how they go about their business on the field, the lights out bullpen, trading away young and controllable talent for a shot at the brass ring, the payoff of a long-term plan. You can take it one step farther and compare to 2008 in Milwaukee where the Brewers faltered down the stretch while trying to hold off other teams for the Wild Card. In 2008 there was only the one Wild Card spot available, but the Brewers held off the Mets to win it by just one game. In 2014, Kansas City got the home game by just one game over Oakland (who held off Seattle by just one game).

Kansas City rode years of awfulness to amass a bunch of young talent in their system. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon (drafted the same year as, and ahead of, Ryan Braun, by the way), Wil Myers, the list goes on. In fact, you could almost mark the 2005 draft which got the Brewers the final “homegrown” piece to their playoff runs in Braun as the start of the Royals turnaround. In that way, they’ve been a few years behind the Brewers’ blueprint. Get a bunch of young, talented guys in the system with a goal to hit the Majors at roughly the same time, supplement with free agents, and when the moment is right, make a big trade (or two) at the big league level by sending out minor leaguers to go for it.

Let’s break that down, in case you aren’t agreeing with me.

Milwaukee: Drafted Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, Yovani Gallardo, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun. Traded away Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley (and more)) for CC Sabathia in 2008. Traded away Cain, Escobar, Jake Odorizzi (and more) for Zack Greinke in 2011. Traded Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum in 2011. Supplemented with veterans: 2011 -Mark Kotsay, Craig Counsell, Jerry Hairston, Takashi Saito. 2008 – Gabe Kapler, Mike Cameron, Jason Kendall, Ray Durham, (ironically) Counsell.

Kansas City: Drafted Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakas, Billy Butler, Greg Holland. They scouted international amateurs like Salvador Perez, Kelvin Herrera, Yordano Ventura. Traded away Zack Greinke to acquire several young pieces. Flipped Odorizzi with Wil Myers to acquire James Shields and Wade Davis. Supplemented with veterans like Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, Josh Willingham, and Jason Frasor.

I think I’ve made my point.

Their offensive games differ, to be sure, as the Brewers hit home runs at a great pace in 2011 and the Royals are more about speed and getting hits that raise the ol’ BABIP. But the rotations were similarly solid from top to bottom, but the real crux of what sent me down this comparison exercise are the late inning relievers.

2011 Brewers:

  • Closer: John Axford (1.95 ERA / 2.41 FIP / 46 saves / 1.140 WHIP / 10.5 K/9)
  • Setup man: Francisco Rodriguez (1.86 ERA / 2.23 FIP / 1.138 WHIP / 10.2 K/9)
  • “7th inning guy”: LaTroy Hawkins / Takashi Saito (Combined: 2.28 ERA / 1.200 WHIP / 6.1 K/9)
    • (the Brewers used two veterans so as to keep them fresh)

2014 Royals:

  • Closer: Greg Holland (1.44 ERA / 1.83 FIP / 46 saves / 0.914 WHIP / 13.0 K/9)
  • Setup man: Wade Davis (1.00 ERA / 1.19 FIP / 0.847 WHIP / 13.6 K/9)
  • “7th inning guy”: Kelvin Herrera (1.41 ERA / 2.69 FIP / 1.143 WHIP / 7.6 K/9)

Six inning games are easier to win than nine inning games. Both of these teams had/have that game-shortening bullpen that general managers are yearning to cobble together each and every off-season.

I won’t lie to you though. The former Brewers being on the Royals certainly helps me root for them. In fact, it led to a series of tweets (@BrewerNation) with commentary how the team with the most former Brewers on it was winning every series (and even every game for a while) in the 2014 Postseason.

Market size, payroll relative to MLB’s elite, a fan base desperate for a winner after more than 25 years of missing the playoffs, that their last pennant was won in the 1980’s — these are all comparisons between the two franchises that help me see them in such a similar light.

But when it comes down to it, when all the dust has settled, at the end of the day, when all the clichés have been dropped…

I’m rooting for the 2014 Kansas City Royals because I see the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers and what might have been.

The comparisons can stop there, though, because this Kansas City team won the two games which that Milwaukee team didn’t. The Royals won their pennant and now have a chance to win another World Series, while the Brewers still seek their first championship.

But if these Royals can get the job done, it offers renewed hope that my team can one day get back and accomplish the same.

And that’s worth rooting for more than anything.

MLB Network’s Top 100 Players Right Now Entering 2014

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As I did last year, and the year before, I’ll be keeping a running list of the Top 100 Players Right Now as they are revealed on MLB Network, eventually compiling the entire list.

They will have revealed all 100 by the end of Friday, February 21st. I’ll update this same space as they reveal the remaining entries.

As always, I will understandably highlight the Brewers players on the list. There were six Brewers on the list entering 2012. Rickie Weeks was 83, John Axford was 77, Yovani Gallardo was 72, Aramis Ramirez was 66, Zack Greinke was 64, and Ryan Braun was too low at number 9. Last year, the Brewers only had three players featured on the list (at the time it was revealed). Yovani Gallardo repeated his position at 72, Aramis Ramirez jumped all the way up to 32, and Braun settled in at 6. Kyle Lohse made last year’s list as well.

My early prediction? The Brewers could have six (6) this year (Braun, Ramirez, Kyle Lohse, Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura, Jonathan Lucroy) but I think Garza falls short for sure. (UPDATE: Looks like the Brewers will only have three again. Ramirez and Lohse both fall off the list and Lucroy gets no love either.)

The criteria for the list remains the same:

  • Emphasized stats from the last three (3) seasons, weighting 2012
  • Projected 2014 performance
  • Defensive position
  • Accolades
  • Intangibles

Here now are the Top 100-1* Players as listed by MLB Network:

100. Derek Jeter – SS – New York Yankees

99. Brandon Phillips – 2B – Cincinnati Reds

98. Torii Hunter – RF – Detroit Tigers

97. Andrelton Simmons – SS – Atlanta Braves

96. Shane Victorino – RF – Boston Red Sox

95. Ian Kinsler – 2B – Detroit Tigers

94. Gerrit Cole – SP – Pittsburgh Pirates

93. Shelby Miller – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

92. Michael Wacha – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

91. Trevor Rosenthal – CL – St. Louis Cardinals

90. Patrick Corbin – SP – Arizona Diamondbacks

89. Clay Buccholz – SP – Boston Red Sox

88. Matt Cain – SP – San Francisco Giants

87. Josh Donaldson – 3B – Oakland Athletics

86. Joe Nathan – CL – Detroit Tigers

85. Matt Wieters – C – Baltimore Orioles

84. Billy Butler – DH – Kansas City Royals

83. Jon Lester – SP – Boston Red Sox

82. Koji Uehara – CL – Boston Red Sox

81. Chase Utley – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies

80. Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

79. Pedro Alvarez – 3B – Pittsburgh Pirates

78. Salvador Perez – C – Kansas City Royals

77. Carlos Santana – C/3B – Cleveland Indians

76. Josh Hamilton – RF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

75. Eric Hosmer – 1B – Kansas City Royals

74. Hunter Pence – RF – San Francisco Giants

73. Michael Cuddyer – RF – Colorado Rockies

72. Justin Upton – LF – Atlanta Braves

71. Anibal Sanchez – SP – Detroit Tigers

70. Jason Kipnis – 2B – Cleveland Indians

69. Gio Gonzalez – SP – Washington Nationals

68. Madison Bumgarner – SP – San Francisco Giants

67. Greg Holland – CL – Kansas City Royals

66. James Shields – SP – Kansas City Royals

65. Matt Carpenter – 3B – St. Louis Cardinals

64. Brian McCann – C – New York Yankees

63. J.J. Hardy – SS – Baltimore Orioles

62. Ian Desmond – SS – Washington Nationals

61. Jose Reyes – SS – Toronto Blue Jays

60. JEAN SEGURA – SS – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

59. Matt Kemp – CF – Los Angeles Dodgers

58. Alex Gordon – LF – Kansas City Royals

57. Cole Hamels – SP – Philadelphia Phillies

56. Jordan Zimmermann – SP – Washington Nationals

55. Hisashi Iwakuma – SP – Seattle Mariners

54. Cliff Lee – SP – Philadelphia Phillies

53. Allen Craig – RF – St. Louis Cardinals

52. Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – Los Angeles Dodgers

51. Jacoby Ellsbury – CF – New York Yankees

50. Jose Bautista – RF – Toronto Blue Jays

49. Jayson Werth – RF – Washington Nationals

48. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B – Washington Nationals

47. Carlos Beltran – RF – New York Yankees

46. Prince Fielder – 1B – Texas Rangers

45. Freddie Freeman – 1B – Atlanta Braves

44. CARLOS GOMEZ – CF – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

43. Wil Myers – RF – Tampa Bay Rays

42. Shin-Soo Choo – LF – Texas Rangers

41. Matt Holliday – LF – St. Louis Cardinals

40. Victor Martinez – C/DH – Detroit Tigers

39. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – Toronto Blue Jays

38. Zack Greinke – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

37. Stephen Strasburg – SP – Washington Nationals

36. Jay Bruce – RF – Cincinnati Reds

35. Aroldis Chapman – CL – Cincinnati Reds

34. Joe Mauer – 1B – Minnesota Twins

33. Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers

32. Adam Wainwright – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

31. Yu Darvish – SP – Texas Rangers

30. Chris Davis – 1B – Baltimore Orioles

29. Manny Machado – 3B – Baltimore Orioles

28. David Ortiz – DH – Boston Red Sox

27. Dustin Pedroia – 2B – Boston Red Sox

26. Craig Kimbrel – CL – Atlanta Braves

25. David Wright – 3B – New York Mets

24. RYAN BRAUN – RF – MILWAUKEE BREWERS

23. Yasiel Puig – RF – Los Angeles Dodgers

22. Bryce Harper – LF – Washington Nationals

21. Adam Jones – CF – Baltimore Orioles

20. Giancarlo Stanton – RF – Miami Marlins

19. Chris Sale – SP – Chicago White Sox

18. Jose Fernandez – SP – Miami Marlins

17. Buster Posey – C – San Francisco Giants

16. Hanley Ramirez – SS – Los Angeles Dodgers

15. Evan Longoria – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays

14. Yadier Molina – C – St. Louis Cardinals

13. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies

12. Max Scherzer – SP – Detroit Tigers

11. Carlos Gonzalez – CF – Colorado Rockies

10. David Price – SP – Tampa Bay Rays

9. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B – Arizona Diamondbacks

8. Joey Votto – 1B – Cincinnati Reds

7. Felix Hernandez – SP – Seattle Mariners

6. Adrian Beltre – 3B – Texas Rangers

5. Robinson Cano – 2B – Seattle Mariners

4. Andrew McCutchen – CF – Pittsburgh Pirates

3. Miguel Cabrera – 1B – Detroit Tigers

2. Clayton Kershaw – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Mike Trout – CF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

So that’s the list! Sound off in the comments and let me know what you think. Did your favorite player make the list? Was he too high? Too low?

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Now” Rankings Entering 2014

Each year I compile MLB Network’s “Top 100 Players Right Now” which airs annually before the regular season begins.

This year, I decided to supplement those rankings by giving you a place to find all of the Top 10 Right Now positional rankings as well.

I’ll add to this post as the episodes air on MLB Network over the next few weeks.

On Friday, January 10, 2014 the rankings for both Centerfielders and Shortstops were revealed. (See them below.) On Friday, January 17th both Starting Pitchers and Right Fielders were unveiled. Friday, January 24th brought us Left Fielders and First Basemen. Relief Pitchers and Second Basemen were revealed on Friday, January 31st.

Catchers and Third Basemen will be revealed on Friday, February 7th, so look for a couple more Brewers to make it.


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Centerfielders Right Now”

  1. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  2. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
  3. Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies
  4. Jacoby Ellsbury – New York Yankees
  5. Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers
  6. Carlos Gomez – Milwaukee Brewers
  7. Austin Jackson – Detroit Tigers
  8. Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
  9. Dexter Fowler – Houston Astros
  10. Coco Crisp – Oakland Athletics

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Centerfielders was Darryl Hamilton. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Trout, McCutchen, Ellsbury, Gomez, Gonzalez, Jackson, Jones, Kemp, Desmond Jennings (TB), Leonys Martin (TEX)

James: Trout, McCutchen, Jones, Ellsbury, Gomez, Gonzalez, Jackson, Michael Bourn (CLE), Jennings, Denard Span (WAS)

Hamilton: Trout, McCutchen, Jones, Ellsbury, Gomez, Kemp, Jackson, Crisp, Gonzalez, Bourn


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Shortstops Right Now”

  1. Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
  2. Jose Reyes – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Hanley Ramirez – Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals
  5. Jean Segura – Milwaukee Brewers
  6. Ian Desmond – Washington Nationals
  7. Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers
  8. Andrelton Simmons – Atlanta Braves
  9. J.J. Hardy – Baltimore Orioles
  10. Alcides Escobar – Kansas City Royal

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Shortstops was Bill Ripken. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Tulowitzki, Ramirez, Reyes, Desmond, Andrus, Peralta, Derek Jeter (NYY), Simmons, Segura, Everth Cabrera (SD)

James: Tulowitzki, Hardy, Reyes, Jed Lowrie (OAK), Simmons, Andrus, Segura, Ramirez, Erick Aybar (LAA), Escobar

Ripken: Tulowitzki, Ramirez, Hardy, Simmons, Desmond, Segura, Stephen Drew (FA), Lowrie, Andrus, Reyes


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Staring Pitchers Right Now”

  1. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
  3. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
  4. Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
  5. Jose Fernandez – Miami Marlins
  6. David Price – Tampa Bay Rays
  7. Hisashi Iwakuma – Seattle Mariners
  8. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
  9. Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers
  10. Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Starting Pitchers was John Smoltz. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Kershaw, Verlander, Lee, Hernandez, Wainwright, Yu Darvish (TEX), Scherzer, Fernandez, Madison Bumgarner (SF), Sale

James: Kershaw, Scherzer, Lee, Wainwright, Verlander, Zack Greinke (LAD), Sale, Jered Weaver (LAA), Hernandez, Darvish

Smoltz: Kershaw, Fernandez, Hernandez, Scherzer, Darvish, Verlander, Jon Lester (BOS), Stephen Strasburg (WAS), Wainwright, Price


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Fielders Right Now”

  1. Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
  3. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
  5. Allen Craig – St. Louis Cardinals
  6. Carlos Beltran – New York Yankees
  7. Jayson Werth – Washington Nationals
  8. Shane Victorino – Boston Red Sox
  9. Hunter Pence – San Francisco Giants
  10. Jason Heyward – Atlanta Braves

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Right Fielders was Mark DeRosa. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Braun, Stanton, Puig, Heyward, Werth, Bautista, Craig, Jay Bruce (CIN), Wil Myers (TB), Pence

James: Braun, Bruce, Stanton, Heyward, Pence, Bautista, Victorino, Beltran, Puig, Torii Hunter (DET)

DeRosa: Beltran, Stanton, Bautista, Werth, Craig, Pence, Bruce, Hunter, Puig, Michael Cuddyer (COL)

You read that correctly. Mark DeRosa doesn’t Ryan Braun in his Top 10 Right Fielders Right Now despite Brian Kenny and Bill James both ranking Braun #1 and the Shredder ranking him second. DeRosa says Braun “should be 1″ but since he has to earn back the respect of fans, his teammates, etc. DeRosa “hopes” he comes back and performs and is #1 next year, but he couldn’t discount other guys.

As for the Shredder, Brian Kenny said he was shocked not only that Braun wasn’t first but that Puig was. I’m guessing Braun was dinged by the Shredder for how many games he missed last year. That’ll happen in an algorithm.

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now”

  1. Matt Holliday – St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
  3. Alex Gordon – Kansas City Royals
  4. Justin Upton – Atlanta Braves
  5. Shin-Soo Choo – Texas Rangers
  6. Starling Marte – Pittsburgh Pirates
  7. Daniel Nava – Boston Red Sox
  8. Carlos Quentin – San Diego Padres
  9. Josh Hamilton – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  10. Brett Gardner – New York Yankees

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Left Fielders was Eric Byrnes. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Harper, Choo, Holliday, Marte, Upton, Gordon, Gardner, Yoenis Cespedes (OAK), Domonic Brown (PHI), Khris Davis (MIL)

James: Choo, Holliday, Gordon, Gardner, Nava, Harper, Upton, Brown, Cespedes, Hamilton

Byrnes: Holliday, Harper, Upton, Choo, Alfonso Soriano (NYY), Gordon, Marte, Hamilton, Nava, Brown

MLB Network’s “Top 10 First Basemen Right Now”

  1. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
  2. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
  3. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers
  5. Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins
  6. Mike Napoli – Boston Red Sox
  7. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles
  8. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
  9. Prince Fielder – Texas Rangers
  10. Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the First Basemen was Sean Casey. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Cabrera, Votto, Goldschmidt, Freeman, Mauer, Fielder, Davis, Encarnacion, Brandon Belt (SF), Ad. Gonzalez

James: Cabrera, Goldschmidt, Votto, Davis, Mauer, Freeman, Encarnacion, Ad. Gonzalez, Napoli, Eric Hosmer (KC)

Casey: Cabrera, Votto, Goldschmidt, Freeman, Davis, Fielder, Ad. Gonzalez, Mauer, Albert Pujols (LAA), Encarnacion

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Relief Pitchers Right Now”

  1. Koji Uehara – Boston Red Sox
  2. Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves
  3. Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals
  5. Joe Nathan – Detroit Tigers
  6. Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds
  7. David Robertson – New York Yankees
  8. Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins
  9. Luis Avilan – Atlanta Braves
  10. Joaquin Benoit – San Diego Padres

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode also provides three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Relief Pitchers was Dan Plesac. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Kimbrel, Holland, Jansen, Chapman, Uehara, Trevor Rosenthal (STL), Perkins, Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon (PHI), Benoit

James: Kimbrel, Jansen, Chapman, Uehara, Holland, Nathan, Papelbon, Perkins, Rosenthal, Mark Melancon (PIT)

Plesac: Kimbrel, Holland, Chapman, Uehara, Jansen, Nathan, Jim Johnson (OAK), Perkins, Jason Grilli (PIT), Rex Brothers (COL)

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Second Basemen Right Now”

  1. Robinson Cano -Seattle Mariners
  2. Dustin Pedroia – Boston Red Sox
  3. Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Jason Kipnis – Cleveland Indians
  5. Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies
  6. Ian Kinsler – Detroit Tigers
  7. Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  8. Neil Walker – Pittsburgh Pirates
  9. Aaron Hill – Arizona Diamondbacks
  10. Marco Scutaro – San Francisco Giants

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will apparently also provide three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Second Basemen was Harold Reynolds. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Cano, Pedroia, Kipnis, Utley, Hill, Zobrist, Kendrick, Kinsler, Walker, Omar Infante (KC)

James: Cano, Pedroia, Zobrist, Kipnis, Utley, Brandon Phillips (CIN), Kinsler, Infante, Jose Altuve (HOU), Kendrick

Reynolds: Cano, Pedroia, Phillips, Kipnis, Kendrick, Utley, Kinsler, Scutaro, Infante, Walker


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MLB Network’s “Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now”

  1. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
  2. David Wright – New York Mets
  3. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Josh Donaldson – Oakland Athletics
  6. Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants
  7. Aramis Ramirez – Milwaukee Brewers
  8. Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
  9. Chase Headley – San Diego Padres
  10. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will apparently also provide three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Third Basemen was Mike Lowell. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Wright, Longoria, Beltre, Carpenter, Donaldson, Machado, Zimmerman, Headley, Kyle Seager (SEA), Martin Prado (ARI)

James: Longoria, Beltre, Wright, Carpenter, Zimmerman, Headley, Machado, Prado, Donaldson, Seager

Lowell: Beltre, Longoria, Wright, Machado, Donaldson, Ramirez, Headley, Carpenter, Zimmerman, Pedro Alvarez (PIT)

Neither Brian Kenny or Bill James included Aramis Ramirez in their personal Top 10.

Best line of the show? Kenny asked James why he put Longoria over Beltre and Wright. James’ response: “Probably fear.” He then admitted that he might be biased by working for the Red Sox.

MLB Network’s “Top 10 Catchers Right Now”

  1. Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
  3. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
  4. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
  5. Jason Castro – Houston Astros
  6. Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers
  7. Carlos Ruiz – Philadelphia Phillies
  8. Miguel Montero – Arizona Diamondbacks
  9. Wilin Rosario – Colorado Rockies
  10. Wilson Ramos – Washington Nationals

The rankings above are from MLB Network’s “Shredder” which takes into account a multitude of statistical factors with no human bias. Each episode will apparently also provide three additional lists: One from Brian Kenny, one from Bill James, and one from an MLB Network analyst, who for the Catchers was Dave Valle. Here are their individual Top 10’s.

Kenny: Posey, Molina, Santana, Brian McCann (NYY), Perez, Lucroy, Castro, Ruiz, Russell Martin (PIT), Montero

James: Posey, Molina, Perez, A.J. Pierzynski (BOS), Matt Wieters (BAL), Santana, Rosario, McCann, Lucroy, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (MIA)

Valle: Molina, Perez, Posey, Wieters, Ramos, Martin, McCann, A.J. Ellis (LAD), Lucroy, Castro

So there you have it. All 10 positions worth ranking in MLB by the Shredder and the MLB Network personalities.

There are five Brewers among the 100 names listed by The Shredder. They are: Carlos Gomez (CF, 6th), Jean Segura (SS, 5th), Ryan Braun (RF, 2nd), Aramis Ramirez (3B, 7th), and Jonathan Lucroy (C, 6th)

 

MLB Network’s Top 100 Players Right Now Heading Into 2013

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As I did last year, I’ll be keeping a running list of the Top 100 Players Right Now as they are revealed on MLB Network, eventually compiling the entire list.

They will have revealed all 100 by the end of Tuesday, February 26th. I’ll update this same space as they reveal the remaining entries.

As before I will understandably highlight the Brewers players on the list. Last year there were six Brewers on the list. Rickie Weeks was 83, John Axford was 77, Yovani Gallardo was 72, Aramis Ramirez was 66, Zack Greinke was 64, and Ryan Braun was too low at number 9.

Based on what has been revealed, it would appear a safe bet that Rickie Weeks has fallen off of the list. And how about John Axford? Could he really be in the Top 40 or did he fall off too? I’m guessing he fell off despite his fantastic 2011 season.

Looks like the Brewers will only have three this year.

The criteria for the list remains the same:

  • Emphasized stats from the last three (3) seasons, weighting 2012
  • Projected 2013 performance
  • Defensive position
  • Accolades
  • Intangibles

Here now are the Top 100 Players as listed by MLB Network.

100. Ryan Howard – 1B – Philadelphia Phillies

99. Sergio Romo – CL – San Francisco Giants

98. Yu Darvish – SP – Texas Rangers

97. Elvis Andrus – SS – Texas Rangers

96. Chase Utley – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies

95. Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – Los Angeles Dodgers

94. Jacoby Ellsbury – OF – Boston Red Sox

93. Victor Martinez – C/DH – Detroit Tigers

92. Jordan Zimmermann – SP – Washington Nationals

91. Michael Bourn – CF – Cleveland Indians

90. Aroldis Chapman – P – Cincinnati Reds

89. Adam Wainwright – SP – St. Louis Cardinals

88. Jon Lester – SP – Boston Red Sox

87. Mike Moustakas – 3B – Kansas City Royals

86. Brett Lawrie – 3B – Toronto Blue Jays

85. Michael Morse – 1B/LF – Seattle Mariners

84. Allen Craig – 1B – St. Louis Cardinals

83. Torii Hunter – RF – Detroit Tigers

82. Carlos Beltran – RF – St. Louis Cardinals

81. Carlos Ruiz – C – Philadelphia Phillies

80. Brian McCann – C – Atlanta Braves

79. Miguel Montero – C- Arizona Diamondbacks

78. Curtis Granderson – CF – New York Yankees

77. Jim Johnson – CL – Baltimore Orioles

76. Jason Motte – CL – St. Louis Cardinals

75. Ian Desmond – SS – Washington Nationals

74. Chase Headley – 3B – San Diego Padres

73. Adam LaRoche – 1B – Washington Nationals

72. Yovani Gallardo – SP – Milwaukee Brewers

71. Madison Bumgarner – SP – San Francisco Giants

70. Alex Gordon – LF – Kansas City Royals

69. B.J. Upton – CF – Atlanta Braves

68. James Shields – SP – Kansas City Royals

67. David Freese – 3B – St. Louis Cardinals

66. J.J. Hardy – SS – Baltimore Orioles

65. Kyle Lohse – SP – (FREE AGENT)

64. Wade Miley – SP – Arizona Diamondbacks

63. Johnny Cueto – SP – Cincinnati Reds

62. Jonathan Papelbon – CL – Philadelphia Phillies

61. Mariano Rivera – CL – New York Yankees

60. David Ortiz – DH – Boston Red Sox

59. Jason Heyward – RF – Atlanta Braves

58. Austin Jackson – CF – Detroit Tigers

57. Zack Greinke – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

56. Chris Sale – SP – Chicago White Sox

55. Billy Butler – DH – Kansas City Royals

54. Bryce Harper – LF – Washington Nationals

53. Derek Jeter – SS – New York Yankees

52. Starlin Castro – SS – Chicago Cubs

51. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies

50. R.A. Dickey – SP – Toronto Blue Jays

49. Gio Gonzalez – SP – Washington Nationals

48. Matt Wieters – C – Baltimore Orioles

47. A.J. Pierzynski – C- Texas Rangers

46. Roy Halladay – SP – Philadelphia Phillies

45. Matt Cain – SP – San Francisco Giants

44. Pablo Sandoval – 3B – San Francisco Giants

43. Josh Willingham – LF – Minnesota Twins

42. Yoenis Cespedes – LF – Oakland Athletics

41. Matt Holliday – LF – St. Louis Cardinals

40. Ian Kinsler – 2B – Texas Rangers

39. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – Toronto Blue Jays

38. Joe Mauer – C – Minnesota Twins

37. Jered Weaver – SP – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

36. Jay Bruce – RF – Cincinnati Reds

35. Justin Upton – LF – Atlanta Braves

34. Dustin Pedroia – 2B – Boston Red Sox

33. Paul Konerko – 1B – Chicago White Sox

32. Aramis Ramirez – 3B – Milwaukee Brewers

31. Brandon Phillips – 2B – Cincinnati Reds

30. Carlos Gonzalez – LF – Colorado Rockies

29. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B – Washington Nationals

28. Jose Bautista – RF – Toronto Blue Jays

27. Craig Kimbrel – CL – Atlanta Braves

26. Stephen Strasburg – SP – Washington Nationals

25. Jose Reyes – SS – Toronto Blue Jays

24. Yadier Molina – C – St. Louis Cardinals

23. Adam Jones – CF – Baltimore Orioles

22. David Wright – 3B – New York Mets

21. Buster Posey – C – San Francisco Giants

20. Cole Hamels – SP – Philadelphia Phillies

19. Cliff Lee – SP – Philadelphia Phillies

18. CC Sabathia – SP – New York Yankees

17. Andrew McCutchen – CF – Pittsburgh Pirates

16. Evan Longoria – 3B – Tampa Bay Rays

15. Giancarlo Stanton – RF – Miami Marlins

14. Albert Pujols – 1B – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

13. Adrian Beltre – 3B – Texas Rangers

12. David Price – SP – Tampa Bay Rays

11. Prince Fielder – 1B – Detroit Tigers

10. Josh Hamilton – RF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

9. Joey Votto – 1B – Cincinnati Reds

8. Robinson Cano – 2B – New York Yankees

7. Felix Hernandez – SP – Seattle Mariners

6. Ryan Braun – LF – Milwaukee Brewers

5. Clayton Kershaw – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers

4. Matt Kemp – CF – Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Miguel Cabrera – 3B – Detroit Tigers

2. Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers

1. Mike Trout – LF – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Totals by team:

  • Philadelphia Phillies – 7
  • St. Louis Cardinals – 7
  • Washington Nationals – 7
  • Detroit Tigers – 6
  • Atlanta Braves – 5
  • Cincinnati Reds – 5
  • New York Yankees – 5
  • San Francisco Giants – 5
  • Texas Rangers – 5
  • Toronto Blue Jays – 5
  • Baltimore Orioles – 4
  • Boston Red Sox – 4
  • Kansas City Royals – 4
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 4
  • Los Angeles Dodgers – 4
  • Milwaukee Brewers – 3
  • Arizona Diamondbacks – 2
  • Chicago White Sox – 2
  • Colorado Rockies – 2
  • Minnesota Twins – 2
  • Seattle Mariners – 2
  • Tampa Bay Rays – 2
  • Cleveland Indians – 1
  • New York Mets – 1
  • Chicago Cubs – 1
  • Oakland Athletics – 1
  • Miami Marlins – 1
  • Pittsburgh Pirates – 1
  • San Diego Padres – 1
  • Kyle Lohse – 1

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Braun Finishes 2nd in NL MVP Voting, Ramirez Finishes in Top 10

Okay. I’m calm.

I ranted hard in this space not that long ago about how I’d feel if Ryan Braun were somehow voted outside of the Top 3 by anyone entrusted with submitting a ballot. (Four out of the 32 writers who voted on the award this year did position Braun fourth, but more on that later.)

In the end, logic and reason appear to have won the day over vengeance and retribution…at least on the surface they did.

Full voting and point total breakdown.

The final and official results of the voting for the Most Valuable Player in the National League for the 2012 season found 27 first-place votes for the winner, San Francisco’s Buster Posey. Braun received three first-place votes, 15 second-place votes, 10 third-place votes and four fourth-place votes. That quick math adds up to 32 votes which means Braun did appear on all ballots cast. That’s a good thing for my sanity.

Unfortunately, the writers had a perfect foil to Braun’s candidacy.

Buster Posey led the San Francisco Giants to a NL West Division championship. He performed incredibly well down the stretch in pressure-filled games. He soldiered on after his teammate quite unceremoniously dropped the mantle of “best hitter” on the team when Melky Cabrera was suspended halfway through the season. Posey plays a defensive position which is normally considered more valuable than left field. 2010: Healthy Buster Posey, Giants win World Series. 2011: Injured Buster Posey, Giants miss playoffs. 2012: Healthy Buster Posey, Giants win division (by the time the ballots were due), Posey “wins” batting title.

When the Brewers fell short in their crusade to reach the postseason, it truly was a perfect storm against Braun.

But, like I’ve said many times throughout this off-season, I can understand a vote for Posey. It would have really tanned my hide had Braun not finished at least second. I’m quite pleased, though hardly happy or satisfied, that the majority of voters showed integrity in the ballots.

Do I think that some voters who supported Posey would have voted for Braun instead had these exact same seasons happened two years ago? I do. It would have been a much closer race without everything that happened last off-season. There is no question.

But again, other than trying to understand how you can vote Andrew McCutchen second and Ryan Braun fourth (as Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review did) as an example, I can’t muster the vitriol nor do I feel it necessary to organize an angry mob based on these results.

Ryan Braun has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. His was a fantastic season, one which should have earned him the Hank Aaron Award, but also one which can be argued he finished appropriately in the vote measuring the subjective description of “value”.

Congratulations to Buster Posey. Congratulations to AL MVP Miguel Cabrera.

That said, 2013 is an entirely new campaign, one which will hopefully see Ryan Braun get even better.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t make mention of the face that Aramis Ramirez received enough votes to finish 9th overall in total points. Ramirez got one fifth-place vote, one sixth-place vote, four seventh-place, six eighths, and one ninth.

Congrats to Aramis Ramirez!

Of note, the Brewers were the only team to have two players finish in the Top 10 of voting.

Sanity, Braun May Not Prevail But Presence Cannot Be Denied

Wednesday evening, MLB Network aired a show which laid out the “finalists” for the major awards in baseball as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

(Click here for my pre-show rant.)

On the show they revealed the “finalists” for the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Most Valuable Player awards for each major league.

Five names were rattled off in alphabetical order by surname. Coming in with a “B” and first position was the reigning Most Valuable Player in the National League, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun.

As I state in my aforementioned pre-show rant, it is assumed that the “finalists” for each award are simply the top vote-getters. If this is indeed the case, it means that some semblance of sanity has shown up in the pens of the baseball scribes of the National League. It means that Ryan Braun is in the top five.

On MLB Network’s broadcast, analyst Harold Reynolds (a former MLB player for the Seattle Mariners) stated that if you simply looked at the numbers that Ryan Braun should win the MVP for a second consecutive season. He also stated, however, that given Braun’s previous off-season along with everything that goes into voters deciding who to cast their vote for, the winner would be San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey.

I can understand that vote. What I wasn’t going to able to understand is if the collective somehow viewed Ryan Braun as outside of the Top 5, let alone the Top 10 (meaning that he received mention on every ballot cast).

Other than Braun and Posey, the “finalists” for NL MVP are: Chase Headley, Andrew McCutchen, and Yadier Molina.

Given that information, is there any doubt that Ryan Braun should finish outside the Top 2? Go ahead and leave a comment with your argument for anybody other than Posey finishing ahead of Braun and I’ll give you the staunch counterargument to your logic.

Bottom line is that while we may feel Braun deserves to win the award outright, that he is still assured a Top 5 finish is something of a surprise given the reasons I laid out in my rant piece.

But now? Now I’m greedy and I want Top 2.

For the sake of posterity, here are the finalists for the other awards including the Top 3in NL Rookie of the Year, which many of us hoped would include Norichika Aoki.

Cy Young:

American League: David Price, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver
National League: R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw

Manager of the Year:

American League: Bob Melvin (A’s), Buck Showalter (Orioles), Robin Ventura (White Sox)
National League: Dusty Baker (Reds), Bruce Bochy (Giants), Davey Johnson (Nationals)

Rookie of the Year:

American League: Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish, Mike Trout
National League: Todd Frazier, Bryce Harper, Wade Miley

MVP:

American League: Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout

What The Heck Happened There? (Thoughts on the Hank Aaron Award)

The Hank Aaron Awards were given out recently. One winner from each league is chosen and, prior to Game 3 of the World Series, the respective American and National League winners of the award were honored in an on-field ceremony at Detroit’s Comerica Park.

Fittingly enough, the home team’s third baseman, Miguel Cabrera, was selected as the winner in the American League. He earned the Triple Crown in the AL which no doubt factored in heavily.

The winner in the National League was also present, of course, but because he was set to play in the game that evening as well. Buster Posey of the NL Champion San Francisco Giants was named as the winner for the senior circuit, much to the confusion of yours truly.

Don’t get it twisted, Buster Posey had a fine year. A year which arguably saw him as the most valuable player in his league. But “value”, as it is argued in baseball circles, is not the goal of the Hank Aaron Award. The Hank Aaron Award is described thusly, as lifted from MLB.com:

“This coveted honor is awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in both the American League and National League. Originally introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award was the first major award to be introduced in 30 years.”

Did you catch that part about the “best overall offensive performer”? It’s right there in the first sentence. If you missed it, go ahead back and read it again.

Buster Posey, ladies and gentlemen, was not the National League’s best overall offensive performer in the 2012 regular season. He “won” the batting title after his teammate Melky Cabrera asked to be made an exception to the qualifications of the title, this is true, but as we all know from 2011 simply winning the batting title doesn’t garner you the Hank Aaron Award. Otherwise Jose Reyes would have been shaking hands with Hank Aaron instead of Matt Kemp.

So how exactly does one get selected as the “best overall offensive performer” anyway? Well, part of the problem is that there isn’t anything “exact” about it.

As currently constructed, fan voting counts for 50% of the vote while a five-man panel that consisted of Aaron, and fellow Hall of Fame members Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan and Robin Yount make up the other half.

We all know after the debacle that was the All-Star Game voting this year that Giants fans know how to stuff a ballot box, but the fact that the fans can even influence this award at all is ridiculous. Fans are biased.

“But aren’t you just being a biased Brewer fan by writing this in the first place?”

Fair question, but that helps make my point. In it being a necessity to have evidentiary support for my point as to maintain some semblance of neutrality in this matter, the statistics do all the backing up needed.

Here are the full-season stat lines for both Braun and Posey. See if you can guess which line was produced by which player.

Player A: .336/.408/.549, 178 H, 24 HR, 103 RBI, 39 2B, 1 3B, 69 BB, 96 K, 172 OPS+, 1 SB, 78 R
Player B: .319/.391/.595, 191 H, 41 HR, 112 RBI, 36 2B, 3 3B, 63 BB, 128 K, 159 OPS+, 30 SB, 108 R

Again I’ll state that Posey, Player A above, had a terrific offensive season. He really did. However, when comparing Posey’s line to that of Braun’s (yes, Player B), how can you argue superiority for the Giants’ catcher?

The biggest issue is that we’ll never know how close it was nor how the voting played out among the five-man panel, but in the opinion of this avid baseball fan, there are shenanigans afoot.

It seems obvious that the collective consciousness of certain individuals is still flawed as it is at best heavily influenced by a scientifically-invalid urine sample from 12 months ago.

That’s a shame and those men who have allowed it to cloud their judgment, influence their analysis, and apparently ultimately impact their award voting should be so ashamed.

Those last two sentences apply even more so to the BBWAA members charged with honoring a player as most valuable.

We’ll just have to see where the winter takes us and when another year of excellence is produced by a certain Brewers superstar, perhaps the fog of confusion can begin to dissipate.

For now, the results of the 2012 Hank Aaron Award voting has left me under that same fog’s veil.

2012 National League All-Star Starting Lineup

*image courtesy Major League Baseball Public Relations

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