Category Archives: baseball stats

TWO MORE AND DONE – HOF THIS YEAR

There are two more players on the Hall Of Fame ballot (in addition to Ken Griffey Jr – see previous post  I think should be elected making it a trio of inductees as we saw last year (see the full list of candidates here). The first is a relief pitcher who held the record for career saves until someone named Rivera came along and the second is a catcher who hit the most home runs ever for a player at that position. Continue reading

POST SEASON AWARDS – 50% AIN’T BAD

 Dallas Keutchel (check), Bryce Harper (incorrect), Jake Arietta (incorrect), and Jeff Donaldson (check). That’s how it went in the Cy Young and MVP Awards for me. 
Noticing that both of my incorrect picks were unanimous winners certainly is something to give me pause. Maybe it’s time to hop on the Bryce Harper bandwagon……who knows. What I do know though is that Paul Goldschmidt is wallowing away in the Arizona desert and no one seems to recognize him. Or, maybe Bryce Harper is just that good.

Rookie Of The Year honors…….not really a big deal when you consider that such household names as Tom Tresh, Curt Blefary, John Castino, Pat Listach, and Marty Cordova also were awarded this honor. It’s nice, but prove it twice. Continue reading

DAVID ORTIZ – A FINAL LAP AROUND THE TRACK?

So, David Ortiz has announced that the upcoming season will be his last. The reason behind this announcement may have been to give all teams an opportunity to plan well in advance for a tribute day as he takes his final lap as a visiting player in each ballpark the Red Sox are scheduled to play in.

Really? In a way,  it doesn’t surprise me simply because ortiz-red-soxthis man apparently has a ego the size of his body mass. Get real David. You are not Derek Jeter. No way, no how. I mean can you imagine the fans in Houston (for example) checking the schedule to find out when Ortiz is coming to town? Fans did that for Jeter and virtually every game was sold out….. Continue reading

THE CY YOUNG AND MVP AWARDS – REVISITED

Five weeks ago, I took a stab at who might win the Cy Young (left) images (8)and MVP (below) awards in each league. Yesterday, the top three finalists were announced in each category (somebody had a good idea). The field looks remarkably images (7)similar to the players I predicted would be in contention, except for the inclusion of Sonny Gray who emerged as a candidate for the AL Cy Young. 

While my reasoning behind the selections I made remains constant, my selections now are a bit different, mainly because the Post Season is now over. In the same way I put stock in a player’s TEAM making the playoffs, I now think that player’s performance in the Post Season counts equally as much. So, let’s get to the picks….. Continue reading

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST……

A constant theme being developed on this blog is how the length of the baseball season plays out with intrigue and mounting interest as we move closer to the playoffs. With only 35 or so games remaining to be played, images-3several players and teams seemingly have saved their best for last……..

Perhaps the biggest move forward comes off the bat of Josh Donaldson (right) who has already passed the 100 RBI mark while leading the Blue Jays to the top of the AL East. A sure fire candidate as MVP, he stars on a team where nine other teammates make more than his $4.3 million. If Toronto gets to the World Series, they should order a ring for Billy Beane and hand deliver it to his office in Oakland.

Another late bloomer this season is Nelson Cruz (left) of the sub-par Seattle Mariners. Cruzimages-5, a late signee off the free agent market back when the season was young and promising for the Mariners, leads his team in every offensive category except stolen bases. Only trouble is that Robinson Cano still labors around the .250 mark. For the Mariners and a (perhaps) regretful Cruz, this season can’t end soon enough.

Remember when Paul Goldschmidt (right) was in the top ten of virtually every offensive category in the National League back in April and Mayimages-6…………a mark of consistency…….he still is. He’s turned into a complete hitting machine while piling up big numbers and leading the D-Backs to a late season run for the final wild card spot. They have a long road to the make the playoffs and Goldschmidt is definitely saving his best for last. Fun to watch.

At the other end of the spectrum, remember when Adrian Gonzalez (left) was lighting it in April and May…..batting .600….. and no one could get him out? Well look now,images-4 his numbers have plummeted and he struggles to maintain a very pedestrian .280 batting average. The Long Season may not only be too long for him but for the Dodgers as well as the Giants seem ready to pounce for another late season run…………

So down the stretch they come…………and as the saying goes……cream always rises to the top and baseball (unlike football where a 1-4 start all but knocks a team out of the playoffs) offers opportunities for teams (remember the Royals about this time last year) and players to imagine and realize new heights and fortune in the upcoming Second Season.

BITS AND PIECES………..THINGS TO PONDER

Can you imagine the conundrum of ridicule from Met fans and the the N.Y. media if the team played in the American League and they had to field a DH every day from their regular roster of .150 hitters………

How do you explain a Cy Young winner of last year owning a 3-9 record ththis year while his team is 3-13 in games he’s started……….Did Cory Kluber wake-up one morning and forget how to pitch…….not likely but you have to wonder

Don’t you get the feeling that the Giants are just playing with the Dodgers until September rolls around…….

Based on the proven record of his betting on baseball, Pete Rose should never th-2be allowed to have a formal association with Major League Baseball. But he should be elected to the numbers driven Hall Of Fame. His record of most career hits is not likely to be broken by another player in a era when high salaries negate the need to play the twenty years it would take to challenge this phenomenal stat.

Although I consider myself a fan of the Yankees, I have to admire the way Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles play baseball day in and day out.

If you are wondering where the Minnesota Twins came from this year, th-1look no further than the signing of Torri Hunter. Not only is he on target for 25 home runs and 90-100 RBI, he is also the go-to guy in the clubhouse. We might also be seeing a manager in training too……

Did you hear the Secret Service caught another man trying to scale the wall at the White House…….They had to tell him “I’m sorry Mr. President, you have another year and a half to go in your term”.

Phone lines are buzzing everywhere as we move towards the July 31 deadline.images-6 Who are the buyers and who are the sellers………Who is able to land the one or two guys that brings their team over the top. Who overpays and who robs the bank netting the under the radar player who makes it seem like a no-brainer to everyone else. Johnny Cueto isn’t that under the radar guy but he is certainly underrated. Someone needs to go get him……now!

And finally, Happy Birthday America!

 

“Where Have You Gone Giancarlo – A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You…..”

Bah injuries! The bane of all professional athletes. They’ll tell you it comes with the territory but when you’re restricted by age time on the playing field is paramount.     And any time lost cannot be given or earned back.

And yes we argue about Ted Williams and how he missed three years piloting a plane during the Korean War during his prime playing years…….and what his numbers would have been…..but that’s just it……the numbers are the numbers.

And so it was sad  to see Giancarlo Stanton mag_giancarlostanton001_saint_1600x1000go down this weekend while (of all things) swinging  at and missing a pitch. He’s scheduled to miss four to six weeks and that includes the All Star Game for which he was to be the starting right fielder for the National League.

With no argument, he is the premier power hitter in the game today.

Another Towering Blast

Another Towering Blast

Moreover, he is the consummate professional the game so dearly needs following the departure of Derek Jeter.

Consider this.  In just 74 games prior to going on the DL, he amassed 26 home runs and 67 RBI. At that pace he could (and in his case probably would) be closing in on 60 home runs and 150 RBI by the end of the 2015 season.

And so,  like Williams his numbers will be his numbers falling far short of those projections and this injury will be a mere footnote in his career narrative.

It’s not like the Florida Marlins are going anywhere. They are a miserable team made even worse now by the loss of Stanton.

Instead it’s the fans who are the real losers when a player of this caliber goes down. Because you don’t leave your seat when he comes to bat…………somthing really special could happen and often it does. One of those towering majestic drives that takes forever to land…..or maybe one of those heat seeking missles that comes off his bat and leaves the yard in a split second……..

Indeed…….a nation of your fans turns its lonely eyes to you………..Come back soon…..we miss you Giancarlo.

 

 

Let’s Lighten Up On The Steroids Thing

Too often, we tend to view things outside the all important context of historical perspective. We forget why Richard Nixon ordered the break in of the Democratic Headquarters  (he was a tortured man who believed everyone – especially the press – was out to get him. We also forget that J Edgar Hoover was wire tapping Martin Luther King during the same period. This is not to excuse what either man did – but it is to suggest that there is a “context” that must be recognized and explored when forming opinions about individuals and events.

In the same vein, remember that the emergence of steroids images-4occurred immediately after the 1994 season strike. The strike hit baseball hard. There was no World Series that year. Fans turned away from the game. A few never came back.

Owners needed as George Steinbrenner liked to say “asses in the seats”. And what better way to do that than with a high dose of power and home run bombs every night. And let’s spread the power around the league too…….no sense having just one player smash 60 home runs……1372350453_big-head-barry-bonds-clearLet’s have three (Bonds, McGuire, and Sosa).

They knew. They not only knew and looked the other way………they also fattened their wallets…….big time.

The players were perplexed. In the same way that Nixon knew others were engaging in questionable tactics to gain an advantage……hey why not me too? The playing field needs to be leveled and if he’s taking steroids then I’d better do the same.

And so it goes……..as Buffalo Springfield suggested…..”Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”.

But wait a minute. Baseball is a game more reliant on stats than any other sport. Even your average baseball fan knows “the numbers that matter”. And therein lies the rub…….what to do about all these records? It’s not the steroids that bother many fans…….it’s more about “keeping score”.  How do you judge (for example) the accomplishments of a Barry Bonds when you cannot quantify the number of home runs he hit BECAUSE of steroids. It drives  ’em nuts.

But I look at it differently. No one has ever proved or even suggested that steroids augment the level of hand to eye coordination required to make contact with a 97mph fast ball. So whether or not use of performance enhancing drugs causes a hit ball to travel further is really a moot point. It doesn’t matter if you can’t hit the pitch to begin with.

In the same way, do steroids have anything to do with the ballet that we see at second base every time a double play is turned?

Let’s lighten up a bit. Let’s enjoy the game and put aside the numbers game………….there’s too much to marvel at……..and I for one simply want to watch every at bat of a player like Mike Stanton……….and yes….Alex Rodriguez too!

 

All Star Voting – Time For A Change (Again?)

True or false?…….the American people elect the President of the United States.

If you answered false, you are correct. The election of a President is determined by the number of electoral votes – not popular votes. As recently as the 2000 election, Al Gore received more popular votes than George W Bush but lost the election when the Supreme Court granted Bush Florida’s electoral votes.

So much for our history lesson…….but the point is all-starrelevant as we look at this year’s MLB All Star Fan Vote  as of today.

If the current results hold, the Kansas City Royals could field two-thirds of the starters  in the American League – and  Omar Infante would be the starting second baseman over

Omar Infante - our .220 All Star

Omar Infante – our .220 All Star

Jose Altuve – even though he’s struggling to keep his batting average above .220 while Altuve peppers the field with base hits every day.  And for that matter, a vote for Joe Panik of the Giants over Altuve would have merit……..but Infante???

But don’t blame the Kansas City fans. They got the memo from MLB that said “Vote early and vote often”.  They’re just playing by the rules and having a fun time doing it .

Still, it’s an embarrassment to baseball that needs an adjustment. Regrettably, many fans appear to be voting with their hearts – not their head. As an example, when I cast my ballot my heart said to vote for Mark Texieria as a fan of the Yankees. To be sure, he’s having a monster year and my vote would have merit. But my head took over and  Miguel Cabrera clearly deserves the spot at first base.

A better system might be to have the players elect the starters and then have the fans fill out the rest of the team in the spirit of democracy.  After all, who knows better than the players who is deserving of this honor? The All Star Game is diminished enough already……we don’t need to make it worse by “electing” our home town favorites when others are clearly more credible as true All Stars. If we don’t get more serious about this privilege,  you can bet MLB will act sooner rather than later taking the vote away from fans like you and me.

The Real Ace Of The Mets Staff

Generally, major league teams consider the “Ace”  of their starting pitching staff to be the one guy who you can rely on to go out there every fifth day pitching well enough (consistently) to give your team a chance to win the game.

Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey

This is usually measured by a stat termed “quality starts” ( 6 innings minimum giving up three runs or less).

Most of the N.Y. media long ago appointed Matt Harvey (shown here demonstrating his level of maturity with his middle finger) as the Ace of the Mets Staff.  To be sure, while he has demonstrated flashes of brilliance he has been anything 14815987731607.BU7vgGIi8fyAiHVZIK5i_height6402but  consistent.

Jacob deGrom is the real ace (and face) of the N.Y. Mets. And I’m thinking not only about his  stats which clearly outweigh Harvey’s – but the public persona he brings to a team clearly looking to replace their fallen hero – David Wright.

Can you even imagine deForm posing for a pic with his middle finger raised….ain’t gonna happen. Unlike Harvey, he lets his right arm do all the talking. And right now, though you’ll never hear anyone on the Mets say it,  it’s the young and talented Jacob deGrom they look to every fifth day.