Tag Archives: dodgers

The Morning Edition (July 21, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Mariners become the first team to ever score 4+ runs while getting just one hit as they beat the Astros in a game in which Bedard left the game without allowing a hit after 6.1 IP
  • Indians waste a solid start by Kluber, fall to the Twins
  • Kuroda shuts down the Sox, Yanks edge past Lackey
  • Rays stay hot against the Jays
  • Greinke and Gio pitch great, but the Nats take it in 10

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Lee, Harvey…Oswald? at Citi Field (1p Eastern)
  • Kershaw takes on Zimmermann in DC (130p Eastern)
  • Felix goes to Houston, strikeout warning in effect (2p Eastern)
  • Wainwright goes against the Padres (2p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Who’s regretting the offseason now?

Something I noticed last night was that 11:25pm, the Blue Jays, Royals, and Angels (the 3 AL teams that made big moves this offseason) all have the same number of wins as the Mariners. All at 45. The lesson here is that big moves don’t make a good team. I’m not knocking what the Blue Jays did, but the Angels and Royals made poor moves. To recap, the Angels gave $125 million to Josh Hamilton (which is risky in itself) instead of doing anything to improve their pitching staff and the Royals traded away a great young hitter for a starting pitcher who can’t help the team win because they don’t score any runs. Even if Shields and Myers were a good swap in terms of dollars and value, it certainly didn’t make sense to trade from a weakness to get more pitching when that new pitching was only enough to make you a .500 team. Setting that aside, my point is that the national media latched onto the big moves and called these teams the big winners in the offseason. That was silly. You have to look at the whole picture and the whole picture almost always favors the club that adds complimentary pieces instead of big names. The media chases stories, MLB teams should chase wins. Remember that next time you’re reading offseason winners and losers. Texas “had a terrible offseason” if you listened to the writers. Funny how that works out.

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The Morning Edition (July 20, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Brandon Barnes hits for the cycle in a loss to the Mariners
  • The Cards shell Marquis, but the Padres make it interesting
  • Holland goes 8, but gives up 3 runs in a loss to the O’s
  • The Phils pummel the Mets setting Kendrick up for a terrible start that still ends in a win
  • The Rays win an 8 HR slugfest with the Jays
  • Soriano coughs up a strong start for Strasburg

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Hamles versus Wheeler at Citi (1p Eastern)
  • Kuroda and Lackey (4p Eastern)
  • Burnett takes on Latos (4p Eastern)
  • Greinke goes against Gio (7p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Where does the cycle rank among cool baseball achievements?

Obviously the cycle is awesome for it’s value (at least four times on base) and it’s cool factor (getting each type of hit) but where does it rank among other cool things. No-hitters, perfect games, 4 HR games, CGSO? Let’s take a look at the numbers since 1916:

  • Perfect Games: 21
  • No-hitters: 204
  • Cycles: 240
  • Cycles w/a walk: 39
  • 4 HR: 14
  • 15 or more K: 232

If you asked me I’d most prefer to attend a perfect game, no question, but all of them would be a lot of fun. I’ve been to about 3-4 near no-hitters and a 14 K game.

The Morning Edition (July 19, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Sadness. There wasn’t baseball.

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Strasburg faces the Dodgers (7p Eastern)
  • Price looks to stay hot against the Jays (7p Eastern)
  • Chen and Holland in Arlington (8p Eastern)
  • Turner tries to keep it up in Milwaukee (8p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Which team who’s out can make a run?

My own personal rule, and the rule of this site, is not to make anything about the standings until after the All-Star Break. You can discuss how individual teams have played, but you shouldn’t care about how they stack up until now. Every team is trying to win until now. At this point, teams take stock and think about buying and selling and whatnot. Now it’s okay to decide if you need some help or if it’s time to pack it in. There are currently 16 teams within 6 games of first place in their divisions, all of whom are at least in it for two more weeks. Some of those teams should sell because they’re not that good, but most of them are reasonably in it for now. Among those teams, the Nationals and Dodgers should be most on the radar as far as comebacks are concerned because the Dodgers are in a terrible division and the Nats have under performed. I bought the Nats in March and I’ll go down with the ship. This is a good team.

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 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 11, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Wheeler great, Cain awful in a big Mets win
  • Another great start for Turner in Miami
  • The Angels unload on the Cubs, get a good start from Wilson
  • Lee gives up four solo homeruns in a loss to the Nationals
  • Toronto tops Cleveland after a wild 9th
  • Nova and the Yanks handle the Royals easily
  • Twins and Rays play deep into the night, Zobrist walks off

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Sale and Sanchez in Detroit (1p Eastern)
  • Zimmermann goes against the Phils (7p Eastern)
  • Bumgarner (underrated) and Marquis (overrated) face off in Petco (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • How should we pick the ASG starter?

There’s been some debate, as there always is regarding ASG stuff, as to who should start for each side. Harvey is the frontrunner in the NL because he is having one of the best seasons and the game is at his home park. It’s not a lock that he should start on merit, but he’s in the conversation and the hometown thing probably pushes him over. I think it’s safe to say Harvey, Wainwright, and Kershaw are the contenders, but depending on what stats you like, you can make a case that any of them are the best starter so far. But should it be about the best starter so far this season? Should it be about the best starter for the last calendar year? The biggest star? The guy who we judge to be the best, because the game does count? It’s not a clear formula. For what it’s worth, Wainwright is schedule to pitch Sunday so he’s probably out. Kershaw and Harvey are both “stop what you’re doing and watch guys” who are having elite years and are top 10 guys since the last ASG. If you’re asking for six outs, they can both get them with the best of them. Is there really a way to separate who should get the start if we don’t have a fixed definition. If Kershaw was far and away having a better season, it might be different, but they’re pretty even, so it just makes sense to go with Harvey…I think. Kershaw’s about to get $200 million. Harvey could have that in his future, but he has more work to do. Let’s go with Harvey.

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?

The Morning Edition (July 8, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • Corbin goes 8, strikes out 10 as the Snakes beat the Rockies
  • Price goes the distance to beat the White Sox
  • The Dodgers get 3 in the 9th to back Kershaw’s 8 strong innings
  • The Cubs walk off in 11
  • Fernandez looks ordinary in loss to the Cards
  • The Nats back Strasburg in a slugfest with the Padres
  • Rivera gives up a game winner to Jones and the O’s

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Derek Holland comes to Camden (7p Eastern)
  • Garza keeps on the trade audition tour against the weak hitting White Sox (8p Eastern)
  • Bailey takes the mound for the first time since the no hitter (8p Eastern)
  • Lester goes to Seattle to face Felix (10p Eastern)
  • Matt Harvey takes his show to SF (10p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • Is this really happening again?

It is. Mike Trout is back on the chase after a homerun on Sunday night and now ranks 3rd among all MLB qualifiers with 161 wRC+, trailing only Cabrera and Davis. Mix in his great baserunning and better defense along with playing a more important defensive position and he’s only looking up at Miguel Cabrera on the WAR leaderboard. It’s Cabrera at 5.8 and Trout at 5.1. It’s happening again and I love it. Trout is essentially on pace to match his 2012 campaign, which would put him on some sort of ridiculous career trajectory. Think about this, Miguel Cabrera became the best hitter in the sport in his late 20s. Trout is 21. He’s probably at his peak defensively and on the bases, but he’s going to get better at the plate. What could this guy do? In the last 365 days, Trout (10.5) and Cabrera (9.2) are 1 and 2 in WAR and Trout already has more than 15 WAR in his career. Since 1901, only 2 players have accumulated more WAR through age 21: Mel Ott and Ty Cobb. That’s a list for ya.

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.

The Morning Edition (July 7, 2013)

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From Last Night:

  • MLB All-Star Game participants announced, see below for commentary
  • Sale goes 7, gives up 2 ER, 1 BB, and Ks 9…loses again….
  • Cardinals walk off on the Fish
  • Santana and Parker both solid, but the bullpens decide it in favor of the Royals
  • Dickey goes deep into the game, but surrenders 6 runs as the Twins beat the Jays

What I’m Watching Today:

  • Kuroda goes against the O’s (1p Eastern)
  • Strasburg toes the slab in DC (1p Eastern)
  • Danks and Price hook up in Tampa (130p Eastern)
  • Fernandez takes on the Cardinals (2p Eastern)
  • Burnett comes off the DL to face the Cubs (2p Eastern)
  • Kershaw faces the Giants (4p Eastern)

The Big Question:

  • How do the All-Star rosters look?

So let me break the ASG rosters down in a very simple way. I’m only going to point out players who got left off criminally and players who probably shouldn’t be on the team. As usual, most of the roster is right, and it’s messed up at the margins. Here are my AL and NL picks and here are the full rosters.

Players Who Should Be on the Rosters:

  • Evan Longoria is 6th in MLB in position player WAR, the only AL reserve who could even reasonably be considered more deserving than Longoria is Machado. It’s a crime that Longo isn’t in the game.
  • Josh Donaldson is 9th in WAR and is on the outside looking in because you can’t have a million 3B on your team. It’s understandable that one of these guys got left off, it’s unacceptable that both didn’t make it. Either could go as a DH, or replace one of the catching backups or one of the 3 backup 2B.
  • Honorable mention to Kyle Seager, because he belongs, but 3B is too deep to make much of a case.
  • Ellsbury and Gardner are also better choices than Hunter and Cruz, but it’s less egregious.
  • Marte and Choo probably belong over Dom Brown
  • Derek Holland is 4th in MLB in pitcher WAR but isn’t on the roster. Not much justification for that.
  • Homer Bailey is 5th in the NL in pitcher WAR but isn’t on the roster, hard to buy Locke, Wood, and Bumgarner over him

Players Who Shouldn’t Be on the Roster

  • I know he was voted by the fans, so it’s a popularity thing, but Adam Jones has very little business being in the game over some of the guys who missed.
  • Bartolo Colon probably doesn’t need to be on the roster, but he has 11 wins, and those are shiny. His A’s teammate Josh Donaldson should get to go in his place even if they play different positions
  • Prince Fielder really shouldn’t be an All-Star, but he’s in because he’s well known, has RBI, and it is a pretty down year for 1B in the AL. Longoria or Donaldson really should go in his place
  • I love Ben Zobrist, but he has to only be in the game over Longoria because he’s versatile and can fill in for injured guys. There is nothing else that justifies him being on the team over Longo
  • Cruz and Hunter together make one good All-Star, but each on their own doesn’t do much for me. Not a huge error, but probably not deserving given who was left off
  • Brandon Phillips should not be an All-Star this year. Fan vote, so can’t say too much.
  • Dominic Brown is probably a no for me, but it’s not terrible.

I’m sure some of you disagree with these comments, but that’s the way this works. Undeserving players get picked because of name value or voters looking at the wrong numbers, but I stand by the ones about which I wrote most strongly. Longoria and Donaldson must be All-Stars. I don’t care who comes off as long as it isn’t Cabrera, Gomez, Trout, Davis, or Wright. Literally, 2 of the top 10 players in baseball aren’t going to the game. Come on guys.

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