Tag Archives: braves

The Morning Edition (July 25, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Strasburg goes 8, allows 1 R on 2 H/0 BB/12 K, but loses despite a 4-2 final score…yeah…think about that…#KillTheWin
  • Price goes the distance on 97 pitches to lead the Rays over the Sox
  • Santana pitches well, but the Royals need a walk off to beat the O’s
  • Garza is superb in his Rangers debut, beats the Yanks 3-1
  • Braves beat the Mets but lose Hudson to a broken ankle
  • Dodgers get 5 in the 10th to beat the Jays
  • Kamzir helps the Indians pummel the M’s
  • The Angels blank the Twins, 1-0

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Wood and Wheeler in NY (1230p Eastern)
  • Burnett faces Gio (1230p Eastern)
  • Kuroda takes on Holland (2p Eastern)
  • Latos goes against Greinke (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Are the Royals even a self-aware entity at this point?

Apparently, the Royals who are 47-51, 8 GB, and have no reason to expect they will play better, are considering buying at the deadline despite it being a seller’s market. Additionally, they are considering upgrading in right field. I wonder if the Rays would part with Wil Myers? I legitimately feel pain for Royals fans. This is embarrassing.

The Morning Edition (July 23, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • MLB suspends Ryan Braun for the remainder of the season
  • Rangers acquire Garza from the Cubs
  • Matt Moore gets the CGSO as the Rays beat the Sox, move to 18-2 in their last 20
  • Feldman’s solid start lifts the O’s over the Royals
  • Gee flirts with a no-no, but the Braves take the game in the 9th
  • Grilli hurt in win over the Nats

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Jarrod Parker and Jarred Cosart pitch in Houston (8p Eastern)
  • Miller pitches against the Phils (8p Eastern)
  • Jose Fernandez heads to Coors (830p Eastern)
  • Corbin gets the Cubs (930p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Thoughts on the Braun suspension?

Obviously the Braun news populated the headlines on Monday, and I have a lot of disjointed reactions I’d like to share. Recognize that these don’t all go together or in order:

  • I want MLB or MLBPA to lay out the evidence they have against him. I understand Braun accepted the punishment, which is a partial admission of wrongdoing, but the info that has been made public is not grounds for punishment. I want to know what it is they have on him before I make my final judgments about a person’s character. I see no reason to rush to judgment.
  • Braun broke the rules, it appears, and lied about it boldly. That was wrong, but let’s not act like this is such a terrible thing. He should be punished, but this is a sport that has no punishment for dangerous felonies like DUIs. Braun behaved badly, but this isn’t the worst thing an MLB player has done in the last two seasons. Perspective would be nice.
  • Also, most people break rules to get advantages in life. Braun is to blame and deserves punishment, but you’re not perfect either.
  • Braun being linked to BioGen doesn’t mean the failed test in 2011 was legitimate. The two may not be related. Again, I want to see some evidence. If they are related, my reaction will be different. Evidence is important, speculation is not.
  • People are going to town on Braun for tearing down the “sample transporter” person from 2011 and think he should apologize. That person didn’t do his job correctly, even if Braun was dirty. Braun’s guilt doesn’t make up for that guy’s failure. Braun might not have been nice to him, but Braun’s career was at stake. You might have done the same.
  • Finally, imagine how you would feel if it was you or a close family member. I’m not asking you to feel sorry for him, but I am asking you to temper your reaction accordingly. He’s a public figure and there are no consequences for anything you say behind a keyboard, so you probably feel okay spewing vitriol. But seriously, this is a person who made a bad choice. He didn’t kill anyone, he didn’t endanger others. The reaction to Braun is not properly weighted to the severity of the offense.
  • If he’s guilty, he should be punished. But that’s it. The focus should be on the field, not on the people who made choices to take themselves off of it. Instead of vilifying Braun, why don’t you celebrate the ones left in the game.

The Morning Edition (July 14, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Greinke twirls a CGSO to beat the Rockies despite Chatwood’s CG, 1 ER gem.
  • Davis homers again, but Orioles fall to the Jays
  • Lincecum no hits the Padres, featuring 13 Ks. (Late out west, hence the lack of intense attention)
  • The White Sox tops the Phillies with 2 in the 11th
  • Hughes K’s 10, but gives up 4 as the Yanks fall to the Twins
  • Haren and Fernandez pitch well, Marlins win in 10

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Shields takes on the Indians (1p Eastern)
  • Hamels tries to stay on a role (1p Eastern)
  • Wainwright and Wood take the final stage before the break (8p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Who will replace the Sunday starters and injured players on the All-Star rosters?

Enjoy the last day before the break. It’s going to be a slow few days!

The Morning Edition (July 13, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Price gives up 2 runs in a CG against the Astros and loses…to Jared Cosart in his MLB debut, who went 8 scoreless
  • Kluber twirls a fine outing, Indians beat the Royals
  • Marlins rough up Strasburg, chase him after two
  • Chris Davis homers, Orioles win, lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Pirates grab a walk off single in 11 against the Mets
  • Arroyo shuts down the Braves, Dusty listens and drops Cozart to 7th

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Burnett faces the Mets (7p Eastern)
  • Lynn and Garza in Chicago (7p Eastern)
  • Holland and Scherzer (7p Eastern)
  • Jose Fernandez faces the Nats (7p Eastern)
  • Felix against the Angels (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Who are your first half ROY?

Let’s break it down by position players and pitchers. For the NL position player, Puig is a pretty good choice with his 2.1 WAR and 198 wRC+, but he’s short on games. Pollack (2.1 WAR), Gattis (1.8 WAR), Gyrko (1.8 WAR) are also good choices. It’s tough to pick rookies because you have to balance overall value and rate stats. Probably Puig, but Pollack would be a good choice too. For the AL position player it’s slim pickens, to this point it’s probably Jose Iglesias (1.6 WAR), but Nick Franklin, Gomes, and Martin have a case and they all have Wil Myers charging. AL pitching is thin, but it’s probably Straily if you want a starter, but there are a lot of good relievers too. Many the AL rookie class is weak. The NL pitchers are much more fun. Miller, Fernandez, Ryu, and Teheran. I love Shelby Miller, but Fernandez right there.

The Morning Edition (July 12, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Salazar impresses and helps beat the Jays in his debut with the Indians
  • Reds lose to the Braves with Votto waiting on deck…again
  • Kendrick squeaks past Zimmermann and the Nationals
  • Both starters stumble, Red Sox beat the Mariners in 10
  • Jeter returns to the Yanks, national media doesn’t spend much time talking about it
  • Moore K’s 10 in 7.1 innings as he’s named to the ASG
  • Tulo’s back!

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Cosart makes his MLB debut against Price (7p Eastern)
  • Strasburg heads to Miami (7p Eastern)
  • Corbin goes against the Crew (930p Eastern)
  • Kershaw welcomes the Rockies to LA (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Does the media see the irony?

So recently there have been a number of things written about MLB’s problem getting good national TV ratings and some people have suggested more playoff teams and other stuff I don’t think will be a good idea, but today was the perfect example of how the media is responsible for the problem. Two shortstops came back from injuries today to help their clubs who are on the edge of the postseason race. 99% of the coverage was about Jeter and almost none was about Tulowitzki, who is one of the most dynamic players in the game. I don’t have anything against Jeter, and he’s had a wonderful career, but if you’re wondering why national ratings are down, it’s because the national media recycles the same tired stories about the same 3 or 4 teams. It’s time for Fox, ESPN, and MLB to plug players on smaller market clubs. Tulowitzki could easily be the face of MLB, but you don’t see many Rockies games on national TV.

The Morning Edition (July 9, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Lannan sharp before Papelbon tries to give it away to the Nats
  • 6 run 6th inning helps the Rangers and Holland top Feldman and the O’s
  • Colon out duels Locke
  • Gomez robs a Votto homerun to end the game in Milwaukee
  • Braves score 6 in the 14th to beat the Fish
  • Good starts on the west coast

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Shields and CC hook up in NY (7p Eastern)
  • Norris faces Wainwright in St. Louis (8p Eastern)
  • Nolasco makes his first start with LA (930p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Do you care about the homerun derby?

The HR Derby picks came out yesterday and NL features Wright, Cuddyer, Harper, and CarGo while the AL offers Cano, Fielder, Davis, and TBA (because apparently Cano can’t even get that right). A lot of people were upset with some of the picks because their hometown guy didn’t get picked or because someone strange (Cuddyer) or someone who was hurt (Harper) got picked. I don’t really care too much about the Derby, but someone people really seem to. It’s always seemed like a really weird publicity stunt that didn’t quite make sense. I’d like to see a reformatting. Thoughts?

Revisiting The Nine Best First Basemen for 2013

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In the weeks leading up to the 2013 season, I unveiled my predictions for The Nine best players at each position. Some of the lists look good, some look terrible at this point, but that’s all part of the fun. Over the next two weeks leading up to the All-Star Game I will be revisiting these lists to see how things are going so far, around the halfway mark.

Obviously, the early evaluations will feature fewer than half a season and the later lists will feature a bit more, but try to think of these as the state of the position at the halfway mark. I’ll be using Wins Above Replacement (WAR) to generate the rankings because it is the number that best captures the entire value of a player. It isn’t perfect, so don’t take the precise values too seriously, but it’s certainly the best way to make any type of holistic list. WAR values offense, defense, baserunning, and playing time, so it represents exactly what I was trying to capture when I made the rankings during Spring Training.

Here’s how this will work. Below, you’ll see all nine players I ranked in the preseason and any player who currently ranks in the top 9 at that position. The current ranking drives the order and the preseason ranking and their current WAR is noted. Hit, miss, and push distinctions are based on where their first half places them going forward. For example, I can miss on a player even if I expect them to play much better in the second half if their first half was so poor that it is impossible to make up the ground overall.

We’ve already covered the catchers, so let’s move on to first base. Here’s The Nine Best First Basemen for 2013. Numbers reflect start of play on July 6.

56. Mark Teixeira, Yankees (Preseason Rank: 6, 2013 WAR: -0.2)

Teixeira was more hurt than I knew when I wrote the original list. Nothing you can do about a guy who only plays 15 games during a season due to injury. MISS

49. Albert Pujols, Angels (Preseason Rank: 2, 2013 WAR: -0.1)

Albert Pujols stated slow last season and came on strong in the second half. I’m not sure if that’s going to happen again or if his foot and ankle injury will improve enough that he can contribute the way he should. Granted, I knew Pujols was on the wrong side of 30 when I wrote the list, so maybe I should have been more cautious about his decline, but it’s safe to say one shouldn’t assume an all-time great player will simply cease being valuable out of nowhere. He’s producing at league average with a 99 wRC+ from a position that demands offense and is below average on defense and on the bases. Pujols likely won’t be this bad all season, but there is no way he can recover enough to save the prediction. MISS

31. Adam LaRoche, Nationals (Preseason Rank: 4, 2013 WAR: 0.5)

He’s lost some power from his career year in 2012, but the OBP is nearly identical. LaRoche was my bold, wild card type pick, so I’m fine with being off the mark a bit. He’s defense rates below average this year despite being good each of the last three seasons. I assume that will turn around because 1B defensive skills shouldn’t deteriorate that quickly, so he’s probably more of a 2.5 WAR player than a 3.5 WAR player and that’s not a huge whiff. He’s probably a 10-13 1B for the whole season, so this is a miss, but not a huge one. MISS

30. Prince Fielder, Tigers (Preseason Rank: 3, 2013 WAR: 0.5)

Fielder, currently at 123 wRC+, is performing well on offensive relative to league average, but not compared to the bar he set for himself. At this pace, he’s like to finish near the 8-10 mark, but he could easily snap out of it and start hitting for more power at any moment. There’s nothing physically wrong with him and he’s had the occasional season in his career that was just pretty good instead of great at the plate, so he could easily slug .550 the rest of the way and no one would find it strange. He’s costly on defense, but that’s a constant. He’s a top 9 1B on offense right now, but not comfortably enough to make up for his defense. MISS

15. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs (Preseason Rank: 8, 2013 WAR: 1.3)

Despite some recent slumping Rizzo is only a bit off the pace he set in 2012 on which I based my evaluation. He’s 0.3 WAR back of 8th place, so I’m feeling pretty good right now. He’s playing strong defense and has a 110 wRC+. With a little better second half, he’s dead on. HIT

12. Freddie Freeman, Braves (Preseason Rank: 5, 2013 WAR: 1.4)

Freeman spent 15 days on the DL early in the season, but while he’s been on the field during the 70+ other games, he’s been right on pace for 5th. He’s the 6th best 1B by wRC+ and is hovering just below average on defense. Assuming he’s healthy and plays 140 games or so this season, he’s perfectly on track for the middle of the top 9. HIT

10. Allen Craig, Cardinals (Preseason Rank: 7, 2013 WAR: 1.5 WAR)

Craig is having essentially the exact season I’d have expected from him. In the initial ranking I said he was a phenomenal hitter (he’s 5th in wRC+) and nothing special with the glove (-2.2 UZR). His only issue would be health, which hasn’t bitten him yet and is just 0.1 WAR away from 7th on the list. If he doesn’t miss much time, this one looks great. HIT

9. Eric Hosmer, Royals (Preseason Rank: 9, 2013 WAR: 1.5)

Ha! Nailed it. He started a bit slow but things are picking up nicely and he has added value with the glove too. I’m a fan of his skills and think he can be a great player despite 2012’s disappointment. I’m not going to say much more and just bask in this precisely accurate ranking while it lasts. HIT

8. Brandon Belt, Giants (Preseason Rank: N/A, 2013 WAR:1.6)

I like Belt, but the Giants have been screwing with his swing and playing time so much over the years it’s hard to feel good about any sort of prediction. He’s a patient hitter with a solid glove and I like him a lot as a player, I just didn’t think it was a good idea to rank him in the top 9 because I couldn’t predict the playing time. MISS

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers (Preseason Rank: N/A, 2013 WAR: 1.6)

Someone asked about him when I posted the original piece and I said he’d have been 10 or 11 for me, so finding him at 7, just ahead of that spot isn’t surprising. He’s hitting for a little more power than I thought, but other than that is right on track for the season I thought he’d have. HIT

6. Mark Trumbo, Angels (Preseason Rank: N/A, 2013 WAR: 1.9)

Trumbo wasn’t ranked in the preseason because I expected him to get most of his reps at DH. Nothing you can really do about that one, but he’s a lowish OBP, high power guy who tends to run hot and cold. He’s actually be solid with the glove in Pujols’ stead, so I’m comfortable expecting him to finish near the back half of the list. PUSH

5. James Loney, Rays (Preseason Rank: N/A, 2013 WAR: 2.3)

I saw this coming. Not this exactly, but I did. Go to #30 on this list of bold predictions and you’ll see. I didn’t think he’d be a top 9 guy, but I’m taking credit for this because so few people had good things to say abut Loney going into the year. He’s always been a guy who could play defense and hit for average, but he was caught in between while looking to add power in LA, so arriving in Tampa and being told not to worry about it seems to have helped. HIT.

4. Edwin Encarnacion, Jays (Preseason Rank: N/A, 2013 WAR: 2.5)

I had Encarnacion figured in for a lot of games at DH, which has sort of happened. 45 games at 1B, 29 at DH, 10 at 3B so I didn’t expect him to add as much value because of the DH positional adjustment in WAR. I expected him to mash, but not to add this kind of overall value. I’m calling it a push because it was more of a playing time mistake than a production one. PUSH

3. Joey Votto, Reds (Preseason Rank: 1, 2013 WAR: 3.4)

Joey Votto is great and I said he would be great. His defensive rating is below average, which I don’t think will continue and that is the only think keeping him from another MVP type season. Votto is right on track for the 6.5-7.5 WAR season that I figured for him. HIT

2. Paul Goldschmidt, Dbacks (Preseason Rank: N/A, 2013 WAR: 3.4)

Goldy was someone I agonized over and left him off with A-Gon right on the cusp. He’s been good enough to make that prediction a miss, but I do want to make clear I liked him a lot coming in, just not quite as much as I should have. He has amazingly gotten better from year to year across the board since coming to the big leagues and is very much in the MVP conversation with Votto and several other guys who will appear on other lists. I’m a Goldy fan and regret not putting him on the preseason list. MISS

1. Chris Davis, Orioles (Preseason Rank: N/A, 2013 WAR: 4.6)

Yeah, didn’t see this coming. No one did. Not even Chris Davis’ mother expected him to elevated his game to near-Cabreraian levels. He’s mashing and is right in the thick of the AL MVP race. He’s not this good, but he’s also clearly good enough to hang on this list the rest of the way and I wouldn’t have put him in the top 12. Easily a miss and pretty darn impressive. I’m not buying him to finish #1, but he’s earned it for now. MISS

Check back for more The Nine updates featuring the other positions. How will these lists look come October? Sounds off in the comments section.

Picking the National League All-Stars

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With the All-Star rosters looming ahead this weekend, New English D weighs into the fray with these picks. We covered the AL yesterday. A few notes up front. First, I’ve conformed the roster size to the official requirements and have selected starters I feel are most deserving based on their 2013 seasons and have given no deference to the voting up through this point. My view is that the All-Star Game should showcase the game’s standout performers from the first half of 2013, not the best players over the last year or the best players by talent even if they haven’t performed. I think the game should highlight the players who play well, not the players MLB thinks are “marketable.” Every team is represented and I’ve given a list of players who are the first replacements for injuries and such. As you know, this site appreciates advanced statistics, so should you choose to comment on these selections, please do so without using “RBI” or “Wins.” Finally, I watch a ton of baseball, but I watch fewer NL games by function of being a Tigers fan, so some of the down ballot selections are a bit less sure footed.

And I just couldn’t leave Puig out. He has to play in this game.

PLAYER TEAM POSITION
Yadier Molina Cardinals C
Joey Votto Reds 1B
Matt Carpenter Cardinals 2B
Jean Segura Brewers SS
David Wright Mets 3B
Carlos Gomez Brewers OF
Andrew McCutchen Pirates OF
Carlos Gonzalez Rockies OF
Buster Posey Giants DH
Matt Harvey Mets SP
Russell Martin Pirates C
Paul Goldschmidt Dbacks 1B
Allen Craig Cardinals 1B
Chase Utley Phillies 2B
Ian Desmond Nationals SS
Pedro Alvarez Pirates 3B
Starling Marte Pirates OF
Bryce Harper Nationals OF
Shin Soo Choo Reds OF
Yasiel Puig Dodgers OF
Michael Cuddyer Rockies OF
Todd Frazier Reds 3B
Adam Wainwright Cardinals SP
Cliff Lee Phillies SP
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers SP
Homer Bailey Reds SP
Mat Latos Reds SP
Jeff Samardzija Cubs SP
Jordan Zimmermann Nationals SP
Jose Fernandez Marlins SP
Craig Kimbrel Braves RP
Sergio Romo Giants RP
Mark Melancon Pirates RP
Jason Grilli Pirates RP
Ryan Braun* Brewers OF
Troy Tulowitzki* Rockies SS
Evereth Cabrera* Padres SS
FIRST REPLACEMENTS
Jhoulys Chacin Rockies SP
Patrick Corbin Dbacks SP
Shelby Miller Cardinals SP
Stephen Strasburg Nationals SP
Chris Johnson Braves 3B
Carlos Beltran Cardinals OF
Dominic Brown Phillies OF
* INJURED

The Morning Edition (July 5, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Mets and Dbacks each score once in the 13th and 14th before the Snakes win it in 15
  • Hamels looks great as he beats Cole and the Bucs
  • The A’s takes the Cubs in a 1-0 pitchers’ duel
  • Tampa beats the Astros in 11
  • Shields struggles, but the Royals storm the Indians with 10 in the final 3 innings to win
  • Quintana dominates, but Jones coughs it up for the Sox, only to walk off in the 9th

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Lee takes on the Braves (7p Eastern)
  • Zack Wheeler heads to Miller Park (8p Eastern)
  • Jacob Turner gets the Cards (8p Eastern)
  • Ryu and Cain out west (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Who will be named All-Stars as the voting closes last night at midnight?

The interesting one is going to be the AL 3B spot. Obviously, Cabrera is going in as the starter, but between the players and Leyland it’s hard to imagine more than 2 others getting in, three at most. Here are the candidates though:

Name PA HR R RBI AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Miguel Cabrera 383 26 65 85 0.364 0.454 0.670 0.470 202 5.4
Evan Longoria 356 17 52 48 0.294 0.365 0.537 0.382 149 4.4
Manny Machado 392 6 53 42 0.319 0.349 0.481 0.359 125 4.2
Josh Donaldson 353 14 46 55 0.314 0.382 0.526 0.389 151 3.8
Kyle Seager 361 12 43 38 0.280 0.338 0.465 0.348 127 2.9
Adrian Beltre 354 15 47 43 0.299 0.339 0.494 0.358 121 2.2

Longoria and Machado are the most deserving overall, but Donaldson is the best overall hitter and no one really cares about defense when it comes to picking All-Stars. Plus Beltre has the name recognition and Seager should get some credit for being a great hitter on a terrible club. Third base in the AL is a deep spot. We’ll have more on the All-Star Selections as the happen.

The Morning Edition (July 4, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Felix and Holland hold both clubs to 2 runs, but the bullpens settle it in 10 on a Seager bomb
  • Gomes walks off on the Padres
  • Nolasco does well in front of the scouts, beats the Braves
  • Norris pitches well in trade audition to beat the Rays
  • CC goes 7 to beat the Twins
  • Grilli gives up 2 runs, gets a save anyway because the save rule is silly
  • Lohse twirls a gem to top the Nats

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Cain and Leake in Cinci (1p Eastern)
  • Gerrit Cole Hamles matchup! (1p Eastern)
  • Shields continues to get no help from his team (2p Eastern)
  • Wainwright takes on the Angels (9p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • What’s your take on the no-hitter war?

Brian Kenny, who we’re quite fond of at New English D, took to the airwaves and Twitter on Wednesday to mock the attention give to no-hitters because walks and hit batters are part of the game and that separating it into hits and other ways to get on base is misguided. While I understand the sentiment and am I big believing in walks as offensive weapons, there is a different argument that Kenny hasn’t responded to at this point. No hitters are not always great performances, I fully agree. A one hit shutout is better than a 5 walk no hitter, but no hitters in all their forms are much rarer that no walk games. Since 1916, there have been more than 9,000 CG with no BB or HBP, but less than 300 CG with no hits. Less than 30 with no baserunners, period. The point here is that one baserunner is one baserunner no matter how he gets on, but it is much rarer to allow no hits than no walks and that is something worth celebrating. Kenny is right that the mainstream press doesn’t cover one hitters appropriately compared to no hitters with several walks, but I think the problem is in the other direction. Kenny thinks no-hitters are no big deal when the pitcher walks a couple guys, but I think we just don’t give enough credit to 1 and 2 hitters. Here at New English D, we make an attempt to highlight all great pitching performances, but do value the no hitter because the no hitter is rare and it’s quirky. After all, baseball is fun. I don’t usually disagree with Kenny, but on this issue I do.

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