October 25, 2010

HALLADAY, HERNANDEZ OVERWHEMING WINNERS OF WALTER JOHNSON AWARD

2010 was often referred to as “the year of the pitcher.” However, not all pitchers are created equal.

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance announced today that Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay was the unanimous selection for the National League Walter Johnson Award, receiving all nineteen first place votes. In the American League, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez was almost as dominant, garnering all but four of the first place selections from the BBA membership.

Halladay, who came over to Philadelphia in an off-season deal with Toronto, wasted no time getting comfortable in his new league, posting an 2.44 ERA, striking out 219 batters, winning 21 games, and throwing a perfect game to boot. While only the regular season was considered for voting, he also became only the second player to throw a post-season no-hitter when he faced the Reds in the National League Divisional Series. Halladay received 133 points, well ahead of the runner up, St. Louis’s Adam Wainwright, who received 66.

Hernandez’s win was statistically more impressive, due to more ballots being cast in the American League and a wider range of pitchers receiving votes. His 2010 season, where he put up a sparkling 2.27 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP, and struck out 232 in just under 250 innings pitched, led voters to bestow upon him 137 points, with second place being New York’s CC Sabathia, who received three first place votes and 62 points over all.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League

Felix Hernandez, Seattle (18) 137
CC Sabathia, New York (3) 62
David Price, Tampa Bay (1) 57
Cliff Lee, Seattle/Texas 41
Jered Weaver, Los Angeles 22
Jon Lester, Boston 18
Clay Buchholz, Boston 14
Francisco Liriano, Minnesota 13
Trevor Cahill, Oakland 5
Justin Verlander, Detroit 5


National League

Roy Halladay, Philadelphia (19) 133
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 66
Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado 52
Josh Johnson, Florida 43
Tim Hudson, Atlanta 16
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco 7
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles 2
Mat Latos, San Diego 2
Heath Bell, San Diego 1
Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee 1

Prior Winners: 2009: Zach Greinke, Kansas City; Tim Lincecum, San Francisco

October 19, 2010

POSEY, FELIZ WIN TWO-MAN RACES FOR WILLIE MAYS AWARD

The battle for the Willie Mays Award, given by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance to the top rookie in each division, turned out to be a two-man affair in both leagues, with Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey finishing solidly ahead of their closest competition, Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson and Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, respectively.

Feliz posted a 2.73 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP while tallying 40 saves and helping Texas into the postseason for the first time since 1999. Feliz only blew three save opportunities while fashioning a 3.94 strikeout to walk ratio.

Feliz garnered eighteen first-place votes and 102 points overall, finishing 22 points ahead of Jackson, who received six nods at the top of the ballot.

Posey did not begin the season in the major leagues, but did so much with his time in San Francisco that voters selected him as the National League’s top rookie. Posey hit .305 and slugged .505 in just 108 games, tallying 18 home runs and 67 RBI after his callup at the end of May. Posey’s offense helped San Francisco make up ground and eventually pass San Diego for the divisional crown.

Posey received 103 total points, including fifteen first-place selections, to outpace Heyward by 17 points. Heyward received ten first-place votes for his work in helping Atlanta secure the National League Wild Card.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League

Neftali Feliz, Texas (18) 102
Austin Jackson, Detroit (6) 78
Danny Valencia, Minnesota 16
Brian Matusz, Baltimore (1) 12
Brennan Boesch, Detroit 11
Wade Davis, Tampa Bay 3
John Jaso, Tampa Bay 3


National League

Buster Posey, San Francisco (15) 103
Jason Heyward, Atlanta (10) 86
Jaime Garcia, St. Louis 20
Starlin Castro, Chicago 7
Ike Davis, New York 7
Gaby Sanchez, Florida (1) 6
Tyler Colvin, Chicago 2
Mike Stanton, Florida 2
Neil Walker, Pittsburgh 2

Prior Winners
2009: Andrew Bailey, Oakland; Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh

October 15, 2010

No more baseball in Florida

People in Florida don't appreciate baseball. Tampa/St. Pete had a team in the playoffs for the 2nd time in 3 years and literally had to give away 20,000 free tickets at the end of the season to attract spectators. The Marlins have proven to be a consistant .500 or better baseball team year in and year out, but they play in an absolute cavern of a stadium and draw under 10,000 fans with great regularity. It's given that when you live in an area of the country with beautiful weather, there is much more to do outdoors than spend 40 dollars for a ticket and 10 dollars for a stale beer. But it's my opinion that baseball needs to look at making changes in the state of Florida. Outlined below are several Bleacher GM suggestions/ideas/solutions.

1. Consolidate and move to Disney




Obviously the type of negotiating with owners, MLB, and the Players Association needed would make this solution difficult to become a reality, but take time to think about it. Baseball has two above average orginizations with below average fan bases located in the same state. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida, Miami is located in the South East corner of the state. Orlando is near the center of the state. Instantly, you begin drawing Floridians who are slightly too far from Tampa or Miami to your stadium. Being near Disney also attracts tourists. While you cant count on repeat business from tourists, you can guarantee that any red blooded American traveling with the family to Disney will take a look at the baseball schedule and pick up tickets if the home team is in town (Clark Griswold would!). Let's also think about how this affects the rest of baseball. The guys from the Rays and Marlins that can't make the 25 man roster and are MLB calibur will find spots on other teams, thus improving the overall league talent. I know I would support the Orlando Marlin Rays!

2. New York is ready to have a 3rd Team (again)

Riddle me this Batman: Who would draw more fans, a winning team in Tampa or a winning team in Brooklyn? A simple survey of Floridians would tell you a majority would rather watch and have a football winner in their state (Bucs, Gators, Hurricanes, Seminoles) than a winning baseball team....Leaving FL would not be difficult. A simple survey of New Yorkers would tell you that they are bonkers for baseball. It makes sense. Can you imagine how intense September and October baseball would be if the Rays and Yankees were going at it for a playoff spot while both calling New York home? The very idea is arousing Evan Longoria as we speak. This idea seems to be most feasible, as there are plenty of rich, old, New Yorkers who harken back to the days of the Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants, and would pay dearly to bring baseball back to Brooklyn. Also, no division alignment changes would need to be made.

3. Move the Marlins to Indy

Ever been to Indianapolis before? One of the most underated sports cities in America. The Hoosier state is crazy for all things sports. A simple divisional swap moving, say, the Pirates to the NL East and the Marlins to the Central instantly creates regional rivals all within driving distance. Initially, the stadium might be more Cubs, Reds, and Brewers fans than Marlins, but Indy will rapidly get behind their Fightin' Fish and before you know it, you will hear, "Marlins used to play in Miami? Really?" at great repetition. The balance of power will not shift with this move either. Despite being an above average team every year, the Marlins are consistantly finishing behind the Phillies, Mets, and Braves. The Pirates will be just as dreadful in the East as they would in the Central, and the Cardinals and Reds look to be atop their division for years to come.

I'm always hearing the debate about which sport will be the first to plant their seed in Las Vegas. I'm here to tell you something you probably already know...Baseball is about 10 years behind Football and Basketball. If Bud Selig cant find his way to reinstating the "White Sox 8" or Pete Rose, he for sure will not approve any moves to the gambling capital of the world. So what do you think? Maybe the Marlins could move to Vancouver and be renamed the Trout...Is there another city that could support multiple teams? Would you like to see another Expos franchise in Montreal? Perhaps I'm wearing tin foil on my head in my parents basement and have no idea what I'm talking about and all is well in Florida? Make sure to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @TheKman84 and let me know your opinion. Happy October!

An Arguement for Carlos Santana over Buster Posey

For Carlos Santana

No doubt these are two of the best young catchers in baseball and any team would be ecstatic to have them in their lineup. If I’m starting a team tomorrow and could pick either of them to be my backstop, I’d probably choose Buster Posey; however, we aren’t talking about real life here, we’re talking about Fantasy. In fantasy baseball defense means NOTHING. For fantasy baseball I would take Carlos Santana ahead of Buster Posey.

One major thing to look at here is the freak knee injury Santana suffered in early August this past season. At the time the injury looked so gruesome that we weren’t sure if Santana would ever be able to play baseball again, let alone the catcher position. After multiple MRIs it was determined that he would miss 4-6 months, but should be fine for spring training. Still, the injury cannot totally be discounted and it might ultimately lead to a change of position down the road, but we can only go by the information we have and that says Santana will be back in the Cleveland lineup in 2011.


Basic 5x5 Fantasy Stats

Carlos Santana-
2009 (AA): PA-535, R-91, HR-23, RBI-97, SB-2, AVG-.290
2010 (AAA + MLB): PA-438, R-62, HR-19, RBI-73, SB-9, AVG-.288

Buster Posey-
2009 (A, AAA, MLB): PA-514, R-85, HR-18, RBI-80, SB-6, AVG-.324
2010 (AAA + MLB): PA-651, R-89, HR-24, RBI-99, SB-1, AVG-.327

At first glance it clearly looks like Posey has the offensive edge (especially in 2010), but remember Carlos Santana missed the end of the season with a knee injury and was playing great up to that point. So, let’s look at the weighted averages should each of these guys end up with a similar number of plate appearances;

Carlos Santana-
2009 (600 PA): R-102, HR-29, RBI-109, SB-2, AVG-.290
2010 (600 PA): R-85, HR-26, RBI-100, SB-12, AVG-.288

Buster Posey-
2009 (600 PA): R-99, HR-21, RBI-93, SB-7, AVG-.324
2010 (600 PA): R-82, HR-22, RBI-91, SB-1, AVG-.327

These numbers are much closer. In fact, Carlos Santana averages more runs, home runs, rbi’s and stolen bases per at bat than Buster Posey. 4 out of 5 standard categories!


Advanced Stats

Now let’s look at some of the more advanced statistics to try and predict future performance.

BB%: 19% CS vs. 10% BP
OBP: .424 CS vs. .400 BP

The higher BB% leads to a higher OBP even with Santana’s lower average. While runs are more dependent on your team and supporting cast than HR or SB, this means that Santana is likely to have more runs then Posey year in and year out.

SLG: .532 CS vs. .529 BP
LD%: 21% CS vs. 18% BP
FB%: 44% CS vs. 33% BP

In 2010 the downward trend continued for power stats leaguewide. There are more and more teams playing small ball with defense, pitching and speed and less and less players hitting the long ball (I think we all know why...). Anyway, this is why SLG, LD% and FB% is more important than GB% for fantasy purposes. While a higher GB% will lead to a higher batting average, it also means less chance for HRs and RBIs, which are critical to fantasy success.


Other Factors

Age & Seasoning – Yes Posey is younger by 1 year, but for the immediate future that means Santana is closer to his prime years 27-32 than Posey. Santana has also had more seasoning in the minor leagues, so he should be less prone to prolonged slumps and the pitchers figuring him out in year 2.

Stolen Bases – Santana might slow down a little due to the injury, but he was never caught stealing in 9 attempts in 2010. You wouldn’t be drafting either of these guys for their speed or SB potential, but the extra 5-10 SB can be a nice bonus from your catcher position.


Conclusion
When I originally decided to take the Carlos Santana side of this debate, I questioned whether or not I could make a compelling argument for keeping him over Buster Posey. Now, I’d take him first hands down. I’m not the only one either. Rotoprofessor, Hard Ball Times and Dave Cameron of Fangraphs all have Santana ranked higher for 2011 as well. Watch the reports out of spring training; if Santana is healthy I see a big season on the horizon.

October 14, 2010

Are Maggs and Damon Hall of Famers?

It's well known I'm a Tigers fan. So since we acquired Damon, and paired him with Maggs, I wondered would they make the Hall of Fame? The answer is a big time NO! These 2 are very good players. And they will be remembered for all their great feats, but like so many other very good players like them, Trammel, Gibson, etc. they can't compare to the Ruths and Williamses.


What do you think?

BBA - Connie Mack Award Winners!

WASHINGTON, BLACK WIN CONNIE MACK AWARD

Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers and Bud Black of the San Diego Padres were named winners of the Connie Mack Award by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, noting them as the best managers in their respective leagues for 2010.

Washington, who weathered a drug controversy in spring training, led Texas to their fifth divisional title since 1994 and their first since 1999. While the voting was based on his regular season accomplishments, Washington also guided his team to their first ever postseason series victory when they eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays in five games in the American League Divisional Series. Washington received ten first place votes in route to accumulating 74 total points. He edged out Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who received 67 points.

In the National League, Black’s guidance of a Padres team almost universally expected to finish last to first place most of the summer helped him edge Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds by the slimmest of margins. The fact that the Padres fell just short of the playoffs while the Reds won the NL Central helped lead to the tight race. Black garnered nine first place selections and 53 total points to Baker’s seven first place nods and 51 total points.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League
Ron Washington, Texas (10) 74
Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota (7) 67*
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay (4) 35
Terry Francona, Boston (3) 20
Cito Gaston, Toronto 9
Buck Showalter, Baltimore 9
Joe Girardi, New York 2

National League
Bud Black, San Diego (9) 53
Dusty Baker, Cincinnati (7) 51*
Bobby Cox, Atlanta (2) 33
Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (3) 29
Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia (1) 27
Brad Mills, Houston 3
Mike Quade, Chicago 2

* Bleacher GM Choice for the Connie Mack (Manager of the Year) Award

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 224 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.

The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.

Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot. Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.

Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and tabulated on a 5-3-1 point scale for first, second and third. In the interest of transparency, links are given below for the ballots. Chapter affiliation is in parenthesis. Those chapters that decided on the group method are noted with an asterisk.

American League
Camden Crazies (Baltimore)*
Boston Red Thoughts (Boston)*
Toeing The Rubber (Boston)*
The Tribe Daily (Cleveland)*
Motor City Bengals (Detroit)
Switch Hitting Pitchers (Detroit)
One Royal Way (Kansas City)
Seth Speaks (Minnesota)
Bronx Baseball Daily (New York)*
Contract Year (Oakland)
Jeff’s Mariners Fan Blog (Seattle)
Rise of the Rays (Tampa Bay)
Baseball Is My Boyfriend (Texas)*
The Blue Jay Hunter (Toronto)
500 Level Fan (Toronto)
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)*
Misc. Baseball (History)*
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)*
Blogging From The Bleachers (General)*


National League
Prose and Ivy (Chicago)*
Cincinnati Reds Blog (Cincinnati)
Astros County (Houston)
Feeling Dodger Blue (Los Angeles)
Bernie’s Crew (Milwaukee)*
Brewers Bar (Milwaukee)*
The Eddie Kranepool Society (New York)*
Dugger’s Corner (Philadelphia)
Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? (Pittsburgh)*
i70 Baseball (St. Louis)
The Outfield Ivy (St. Louis)
Friar Forecast (San Diego)*
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)*
Misc. Baseball (History)*
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)*
Blogging From The Bleachers (General)*
Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf (Miscellaneous)*


Prior Winners2009: Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles of Anaheim; Jim Tracy, Colorado

The official website of the BBA is located at www.baseballbloggersalliance.com. The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba. Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio every Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk, which may also be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes. For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at founder@baseballbloggersalliance.com.

October 13, 2010

AL/NL Walter Johnson (Cy Young) Award



Who's got what it take to get this guy?!


The year of the pitcher. Year of the Tiger, in Chinese time that is. Coincidence? Yes, but it seems like a lot of pitchers had the "Eye of the Tiger" this season. The looked forward to "the thrill of the fight". They rose up to the challenge of their rivals. Whoa! I blacked out for a second. When I get a Rocky theme song stuck in my head I go into a zone. Anyway, how do you choose the best pitcher? Stats? Which stats? New age ones like WAR, BABIP, WHIP, or classics like ERA, Wins and Strikeouts? Is it his value to his team? How he dominated the rest of the league? So many questions. To me, hitters are easy. Pitchers, well, watch TV, which players do you see 75% of the time. Catchers and pitchers....and those creepy guys behind the plate. Always creepy.


AL Cy Youngers:

Top 5-ish


W ERA IP SO
Sabathia (21) Hernandez (2.27) Hernandez (249.2) Weaver (233)
Price (19) Bucholz (2.33) Sabathia (237.2) Hernandez (232)
Lester (19) Price (2.72) Weaver (224.1) Lester (225)
Cahill (18) Cahill (2.97) Verlander (224.1) Verlander (219)
Verlander (18) Weaver (3.01) E. Santana (222.2) Liriano (201)
Hughes (18)

WHIP WPA
Lee (1.00) Hernandez (5.12)
Hernandez (1.06) Sabathia (4.09)
Weaver (1.07) Weaver (4.02)
Cahil (1.11) Bucholz (3.75)
Marcum (1.15) Lester (3.51)


So these are the categories I look at when deciding who to give the award to. I highlighted and did other neat-o things to point out who stands out the most in each category. King Felix clearly has the edge over the other pitchers. However, even though him and Weaver both had dominant years, both of their teams did not make the playoffs. They were so far off I think they could have packed their bags in June. All 3 deserve it, but like you hear time and time again, pitching is not all about the W's anymore. It's an individual award that needs to be given to an individual. King Felix outpitched them all. And like I've said for, what seems like, 100 years, If Barry Sanders was on the Dallas Cowboys instead of Emmit, he'd have the record. Wait, wrong sport.....If King Felix were on the Yanks, he'd have the 21 wins, if not more. Felix Hernandez is my pick!


NL Cy Youngers:

Top 5-ish


W ERA IP SO
Halladay (21) Johnson (2.30) Halladay (250.2) Lincecum (231)
Wainwright (20) Wainwright (2.42) Carpenter (235.0) Halladay (219)
Jimenez (19) Halladay (2.44) Wainwright (230.1) Jimenez (214)
Hudson (17) Garcia (2.70) Hudson (228.2) Wainwright (213)
Arroyo (17) Oswalt (2.76) Myers (223.2) Kershaw (212)


WHIP WPA
Oswalt (1.03) Halladay (5.70)
Halladay (1.04)
Jimenez (4.41)
Wainwright (1.05) Johnson (4.04)
Lilly (1.08) Oswalt (3.94)
Latos (1.08) Santana (3.53)
Cain (1.08)

In the eyes of the voters, every women in Toronto and Philly, and your truly, there's only one man for this award:

Roy Halladay

This dude was on fire, from start to beginging! You had your hot starters, Ubaldo, and your end of the years studs, Oswalt, but noone pitched like Roy for the whole season!....wait...huh?...another guy? Adam wayne-who?......That's right! Adam Wainwright! This guy was just a slight worse then Doc, which is saying a lot! I'm sure Adam will be hearing this a lot, but just about any other year, and The Cy would be his. Roy Halladay is my pick!


Thanks to fangraphs for the info

October 12, 2010

Bleacher GM Tribute to Bobby Cox

"The only thing I tell them is, 'Look, don't give the other (expletive) team too much credit. It's a baseball game. Just try to win the game.' We had a lot of things go wrong. But my theory is, you got a game every day."




Manager. Fan favorite. Player favorite. Future Hall of Famer. Bobby Cox can be described in all these ways. As is evident by his above listed quote, Cox was an intense, yet grounded baseball manager. Bobby Cox managed his last baseball game last night as his Atlanta Braves were ousted from the National League Playoffs by the San Francisco Giants.

While many baseball fans (myself included) were hoping to see Cox go out on top, it was perhaps more fitting to see the Braves eliminated in the first round. Unfortunately, most will remember Bobby Cox as the manager who underachieved given the amount of talent he had. We have heard the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL referred to as "The Braves of football" as they are in the playoffs every year but never win. Cox lead his Braves to 14 consecutive division titles and most recently a wild card berth, but only winning the World Series once in 1995. I submit every fan base (except maybe the Yankees) would take that type of "underachievement" any time of the year and twice on Tuesday. ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said in a discussion on BBTN that he does not feel as if 14 consecutive division titles in baseball will EVER happen again. I agree.

Cox had two seperate stints with the Atlanta Braves. Since he was re-hired in 1990, his division rivals the Mets, Phillies, Marlins, and Nationals/Expos have had a combined 31 total managers. In a position with little to no job security, Cox has been a beacon of stability and consistancy. Compared to the other major U.S. professional sports, only the Utah Jazz's Jerry Sloan (hired in 88') has coached/managed longer than Cox for the same team.

Bobby Cox currently ranks 4th all time on the career Wins-Losses list of baseball managers. Among the managers ahead of Cox on the list, only John McGraw of the legendary New York Giants has a better win percentage. An asterisk might be applied to Connie Mack because he managed for 54 seasons, but lets take a look at the list above Cox.

1. Connie Mack 3,731-3,948 W/L - .486 Win Pct
2. John McGraw 2,763-1,948 W/L - .586 Win Pct
3. Tony LaRussa 2,638-2,293 W/L - .535 Win Pct
4. Bobby Cox 2,504-2001 W/L - .556 Win Pct

Derek Lowe said after last night's ballgame that Bobby Cox was the best "players" manager he has ever played for. He went on to say that Bobby would go out of his way to leave pitchers in during late inning jams / statistically bad scenarios to build up his players' confidence. He would also do the opposite, pulling pitchers for pinch hitters earlier than he would have liked in hopes of getting a few more runs for his starters at the cost of working his bullpen a bit more. Another great show of Bobby Cox and his confidence in his players is what happened to Brooks Conrad. After making 4 errors and screwing up a bunt in the first 3 games of the NLDS, Cox went back to Conrad in a pinch hitting situation in the 9th inning trailing by a run. Most managers would have buried Conrad on the end of the bench and forget about him until spring training. What made Cox unique was his ability to dole out tough love when needed despite being known as a "players" manager. I will never forget watching a game in which Cox pulled his star center fielder Andruw Jones for dogging it on a fly ball....in the middle of the inning. At the time, Jones was arguably the best outfielder defensively and offensively in baseball. Imagine Lou Piniella pulling Ken Griffey in the middle inning....or Baker pulling Barry Bonds... That NEVER happens. Not only did Bobby show his superstar outfielder that not giving 100% was unacceptable, but he also showed the entire baseball world that even the stars are accountable for their actions.

After the Braves grounded out to 3rd base to end Cox's career, the Braves fans and Giants players displayed their affection and respect for the retiring manager. At first, Bobby treated the game like none other, simply walking into the clubhouse as he would do after a Tuesday night game against the Nationals. The fans erupted with chants of "BOBBY BOBBY BOBBY BOBBY." Cox walked back up the tunnel and out on to the field one last time and tipped his cap to the Braves fans. At the same time this was happening, the San Francisco Giants were on the field celebrating their first NLCS berth since 02'. When Cox was spotted on the field, the entire Giants roster stopped what they were doing, turned to the Braves dugout, and applauded Bobby Cox.

Few managers in baseball are respected as highly as Bobby Cox. Among current managers, only Torre and LaRussa are truly his peers. Questions surround Torre and LaRussa whether they will return to baseball in 2011, paving way for the next generation of baseball managers to follow in their footsteps. Bobby Cox, without question will go down as one of the greatest managers in baseball history...certainly he will be thought of as a member of the Braves "Mt. Rushmore" along the likes of Eddie Matthews, Warren Spahn, Henry Aaron, and Dale Murphy.

So who is the next Bobby Cox? Do you have a favorite Braves/Cox moment?

October 8, 2010

AL/NL Willie Mays (Rookie of the Year) Award

NL

1. Jason Heyward, OF, Braves:
18HR 72RBI 11SB 0.277AVG 0.393OBP 0.335BABIP
-there is no question in my mind that Jason Heyward is the NL Rookie of the year. His only downfall was a small DL stint in the middle of the season. This kid came into the major with some crazy hype. Not to the level of some dude in Washington, but he had his fair share. Not only did he live up to that hype, in my opinion, he added another level. The Braves were scraping to get into the playoffs, and instead of playing the rookie card, he kept on hitting, and coming up big in those key spots.

2. Buster Posey, C, Giants:
18HR 67RBI 0SB 0.305AVG 0.357OBP 0.315BABIP
-now talk about coming up big when it matters! Buster was huge down the stretch! The Giants would not be in the playoffs it weren’t for pitching, and this guy! Buster’s success seems to be a little more realistic then Jason’s with the BABIP, so fantasy owners take note. Also, Buster is doing this at the catching position! I see a Mauer-ian type future. Heck! I think I just talked myself into giving the ROY award to Buster!

3. Gaby Sanchez, 1B, Marlins:
19HR 85RBI 5SB 0.273AVG 0.341OBP 0.299
-Talent, and Gaby is oozing with it. He reminds me of a young Miguel Cabrera. Power, some discipline issues, but he can still take a walk. Very good season, and I see him really building off this. Florida is a great team that nurtures young talent well. Next year for FBB, make sure you get this guy in a CI spot. Pay the extra couple $$

4.: Jaime Garcia, LHP, Cardinals
13W 8L 163IP 2.70ERA 1.32WHIP 7.27 K/9
-Very good season, but it seems like a young pitcher comes out of the wood work every year and dazzles the league. For me, I have to see the pitcher do solid in2-3 season before I buy in.

-I think the voters are going to have a real tough time between Posey and Heyward. It’s a win win and they both deserve it. But seriously, look at the list below too! The NL is chalk full of talent. The AL has been the better division for awhile, but with this huge influx of talent, it’ll swing to the NL very quick, if it hasn’t already.

Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs, Strasburg, RHP, Nationals; Chris Johnson, 3B, Astros; Tyler Colvin, OF, Cubs; Ike Davis, 1B, Mets; Mike Leake, RHP, Reds; John Axford, RHP

AL

1. Austin Jackson, OF, Tigers:
618AB 103R 41WBI 0.293AVG 0.345OBP 0.396
-The thing I love most about AJ, is he played eveyr game, start to finish this year, and he held that AVG up around.300! That really says a lot to me. He's a baseball player, and I think he's going to have a nice long career. His BABIP was insanely high, lots of luck, and too many K's, but you get a real sense he knows how to handle the stick. I see a major drop off next year, take note FBBers, but this was a special rookie season, and he deserves the hardware for it.

2. Neftali Feliz, RHP, Rangers:
4W 3L 69IP 2.73ERA 0.88WHIP 9.22K/9
-like I stated above, pitchers come and go, they dazzle us one year, and rip out hearts out the next. Feliz had a great season, but not ROY worthy.

3. (and a distant 3 it is) Danny Valencia
7HR 40RBI 2SB 0.311AVG 0.351OBP
-Yes people are talking about Danny Valencia, but why should he get it? He's done it for half the time! Only because it was at the end of the season during the "playoff hunt". Really?! Does anyone really think that if this kid didn't "blow up", the Twins wouldn't have made the playoffs? Why not give it to Brennan Boesch then? In about the same number of ABs, Brennan tore the cover off the ball. When the Tigers had a chance at the playoffs, and with noone hitting but Cabrera, Boesch was at a records pace! It just doesn't make sense to me for Valencia to even be considered when you have Felix and Jackson who did it for the whole year.

just for fun:

Brennan Boesch
14HR 67RBI 7SB 0.256AVG 0.320OBP

October 7, 2010

Baseball, Apple Pie, and Umpire Conspiracy



The regular season is over. Many sites (including BGM) are handing out post season awards, discussing who surprised us, who disappointed us, and what might happen next season. One group never seems to get the discussion it deserves at the conclusion of the season...The Umpires. Ever feel like that certain ump always sticks it to your team when you are at the ballpark? Ever have a bad feeling while watching the game on TV when you see a particular umpire behind the plate? Let's break down some 2010 Umpire stats to see if we can come to any conclusions. A quick thanks and shoutout to www.TheLogicalApproach.com for providing BGM with the 2010 umpire statistics reviewed and discussed in this post. A minimum of 25 games behind the plate was the cutoff point for control purposes.

Root Root Root for the Home Team

These guys are statistically proven to work home team winners more than any other umpires in the league, while handling home plate duties. Quite frankly, the numbers are shocking. Most fans will recognize these names.

1) Tim McClelland - Home Team W/L: 28-5, Home Team Win Pct: 84.8%
2) Kirwin Danley - Home Team W/L: 25-8, Home Team Win Pct: 75.8%
3) "Cowboy" Joe West - Home Team W/L: 26-10, Home Team Win Pct: 72.10%
4) Mark Foster - Home Team W/L: 18-7, Home Team Win Pct: 72.0%
5) Jerry Layne - Home Team W/L: 23-9, Home Team Win Pct: 71.9%



Let's think about these numbers for a minute...84 times out 100 the home team wins when Tim McClelland is behind the plate. Baseball historians will recall Tim McClelland as the umpire responsible for calling George Brett out after homering due to excessive pine tar on the bat. Younger fans may recall a questionable "safe" call at the plate during the 2008 NL Wild Card Play In game (Padres vs Rockies). Replays show Matt Holliday slid into home, but never touched the plate. McClelland called him safe. Both contraversial calls were in favor of...you guessed it, the home team. BGM suggests for the baseball fan who hates going to games only to see their team lose, to check the umpire assignments prior to purchasing tickets. If you want to see a win, make sure one of these guys is behind the plate.

On The Road Again

These umpires are the guys you cheer to see behind the plate when your team is on the road. The only thing worse than seeing these umps behind the plate at a home game would be seeing these umps behind the plate at a home game, while being forced to listen to Joe West's country album.

1)CB Bucknor - Away Team W/L: 21-13, Away Team Win Pct: 61.8%
1b) Adrian Johnson - Away Team W/L: 21-13, Away Team Win Pct: 61.8%
3) Angel Hernandez - Away Team W/L: 21-14, Away Team Win Pct: 60.0%
4) Bill Welke - Away Team W/L: 18-12, Away Team Win Pct: 60.0%
5) Laz Diaz/Mike Dimuro - Away Team W/L: 20-14, Away Team Win Pct: 58.8%

Interesting to note the numbers are not nearly as tilted for the road team friendly umps as are the home team favorite umpire numbers. Really, only one assumption can be made: Home crowd/field matters. The numbers prove the home team most likely will get a close call tossed their way. It's possible certain umpires are swayed by the ranting and ravings of the home fans. So next time your home team jumbotron tells you to make loud noise, remember, by doing so you might be swaying an ump in your team's favor!

Steady Eddy

This list of umpire statistics is what MLB would like to see across the board. These guys are statistically proven to be the least biased and most consistant home or away.

1) Bob Davidson - Home Team W/L: 18-18, Home Team Win Pct: 50.0%
2) Gary Darling - Home Team W/L: 17-17, Home Team Win Pct: 50.0%
3) Paul Nauert - Home Team W/L: 16-16, Home Team Win Pct: 50.0%
4) Jim Joyce - Home Team W/L: 14-14, Home Team Win Pct: 50.0%
5) Tom Haillion - Home Team W/L: 18-17, Home Team Win Pct: 51.4%

Obviously not every umpire is going to call exactly 50% winners and 50% losers for Home/Away, but snaps to the top 5 for being the closest. In fairness to the unmentioned umpires, the league average Home Win Percentage this year was 55.9%. What BGM takes from that is a majority of umpires are unbiased pro's who do their job to the best of their ability and are not swayed by thunder sticks, goofy mascots, or rally monkeys. BGM would also like to acknowledge that it has been noted from Tigers fans that Jim Joyce should not be eligible for any praise or atta' boys for at least 10 years.

So what do you think? Are these numbers telling a story that you believed all along (positively or negatively)? Have you confirmed your belief that Tim McClelland is the devil? Does baseball need to do something to achieve greater umpire consistancy? Or are you satisfied with the overall performance of the umpires this year? In the end the only consistancy amongst umpires we will EVER get is that every year we will have inconsistancy....and despite what you might think or say, isnt that part of the beauty of baseball???

2010 Goose Gossage Award - NL

And now for the NL...

National League

1.) Brian Wilson – Broke the Giants single season record for saves and was a rock at the back end of their bullpen. He had to preserve many 1-2 run low scoring games in route to helping the Giants get back to the postseason. Finished with 48 saves while racking up 93 strikeouts in just 74.2 innings. Had an ERA of 1.81 and a WHIP of 1.18.

2.) Billy Wagner – Was tough to leave him off of the number 1 line. He had more strikeouts (104) in less innings (69.1) and also had a better ERA (1.43) and WHIP (0.87) then Wilson. However he did have 7 blown saves to just 37 saves on the year. If the Braves would have missed the playoffs he would have been kicking himself. Either way, a great finish to a potential Hall of Fame career.

3.) Heath Bell – Amid all of the talk about being traded, Bell came out and did what he always does, provide assurance in the closer role. Was part of a storybook year for the Padres that ended just short of the playoffs despite the lowest payroll in baseball. Stats wise he had 47 saves (to just 3 blown saves), a 1.93 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 86 k’s in 70 innings

2010 Goose Gossage Award - AL

The Goose Gossage Award is the Baseball Bloggers Association’s award for reliever of the year. In analyzing candidates for reliever of the year I looked at many criterion including; K/9, WHIP, ERA, Saves vs. Blown Saves, total Innings pitched, etc. While my candidates ultimately came down to closers, that was not a prerequisite and there were also many solid middle relievers and set-up men this year. My top three relievers in each league are outlined below.

American League

1.) Rafael Soriano - Solidified the 9th inning for a team that had been closer by committee for a couple years. Finished with an ERA of 1.73 and a WHIP (the more telling statistic) at 0.80, both outstanding. He also led the AL with 45 saves and averaged almost a strikeout per inning. Also, doesn’t hurt that he helped his team win an AL East championship.

2.) Joakim Soria – While his team disappointed (again) it was no fault of his. Like Soriano he had an outstanding ERA (1.78) and WHIP (1.05) and actually finished with more strikeouts than innings pitched. Only blew 3 saves while converting 43 in 2010.

3.) Neftali Feliz – Has been lights out since joining the big club late in 2009. His time in the bullpen was supposed to be short term as he transitioned to the rotation. Well, he has given the Rangers organization something to think about as his stuff has played very well in the late innings. Finished with a 2.73 ERA and 0.88 WHIP with 40 saves and more than a K/inning. Oh, did I mention he was still a rookie? Teaser alert, you might see him in my rookie of the year article in the next couple days.

Honorable Mention: Mariano Rivera and Jose Valverde

October 5, 2010

2010 Connie Mack Award - National League

Yesterday I looked at the Connie Mack (manager of the year) candidates for the American League, today I'll take a look at the National League.

Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year)

When I think about who should win the Connie Mack award for Manager of the Year, a couple criteria come to mind. First, who did the most with the least? To answer that question I looked at the payrolls of each of the clubs as well as how many games their respective teams won. I’m not saying that if you have a high payroll you can’t be eligible for the award, but in general it takes more managerial skill to get a win with less talented players. I also looked at the adversity each manager may have had to face. Whether it is injuries, division battles, outside influences (media), etc., having to deal with adversity is a major part of a manager’s job description.

National League

In the discussion...

Bobby Cox – Atlanta Braves: He’s a great manager and has proven that over his long tenure in Atlanta. This year he took a solid team to the playoffs and hopefully they’ll give him a good run. But, they didn’t really over-achieve and almost lost the wild card spot in the last week of the season.

Bruce Bochy – San Francisco Giants: The Giants didn’t take over the lead in the NL West until the middle of September. Still, once they moved into 1st they held off the Padres to win the division (barely). A very good rotation and weak offense is what we expected, and for the most part, what we got.

Bud Black – San Diego Padres: What a ride! The team with the lowest payroll, who almost traded their best hitter and closer in the offseason, wins the NL West! Well, not quite... 90 wins is extremely impressive but the first time they were challenged they fell behind the Giants in the race and given one last chance to make the playoffs, they failed to score again. Did not play well when the pressure was on.

Dusty Baker – Cincinnati Reds: Conversely, when the Reds were challenged by the Cardinals late in the year (actually, they were swept), everyone wrote the Reds off as the next to fall victim to the Cardinals in the NL Central. Instead they came roaring back and wrapped up the division title with a week to spare.

Ed Wade – Houston Astros: Probably won’t get much mention as a manager of the year candidate, but can you name the Astros starting lineup or rotation? Yeah, me either. They started off horribly, but rather than folding up the tent they battled till the last game and actually won 76 games, a strong testament to their manager.

Charlie Manuel – Philadelphia Phillies: Again, we have a team with a huge payroll and loaded with All-Stars. Still, the Phillies were written off by many at the end of July. They finished the season on a tear, ran away with the NL East and ended up with the best record in baseball.


The Verdict...

1.) Dusty Baker (5)
2.) Bud Black (3)
3.) Charlie Manuel (1)

October 4, 2010

Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year) - American League

Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year)

When I think about who should win the Connie Mack award for Manager of the Year, a couple criteria come to mind. First, who did the most with the least? To answer that question I looked at the payrolls of each of the clubs as well as how many games their respective teams won. I’m not saying that if you have a high payroll you can’t be eligible for the award, but in general it takes more managerial skill to get a win with less talented players. I also looked at the adversity each manager may have had to face. Whether it is injuries, division battles, outside influences (media), etc., having to deal with adversity is a major part of a manager’s job description.

That said, here are my AL choices for the 2010 Connie Mack Award. NL to come tomorrow.

American League

In the discussion...

Bob Geren – Oakland Athletics: Finished in 2nd place in the AL West going .500. Most picked the A’s as the 4th place team in the preseason and the roster was anything but loaded. Even though they finished in 2nd place, they never really made a push for the division crown.

Cito Gaston – Toronto Blue Jays: 85 wins in the AL East is no small task. In many other divisions this team would have competed for the pennant. They had interchangeable parts for much of the year and stayed competitive, still 4th place in any division probably isn’t enough.

Joe Maddon – Tampa Bay Rays: Although they have been a good team for the past 3-4 years and they have many talented position players and a great rotation, finishing atop the AL East with the best record in the American League has to get you in the conversation.

Ron Gardenhire – Minnesota Twins: The AL Central was a battle for most of 2010. Even with their top slugger (Justin Morneau) out for much of the season, Gardenhire kept the Twins on top and even pulled away in late September. Has finished 2nd many times, is this the year he wins one?

Ron Washington – Texas Rangers: With Seattle everyone’s darling and the Angels the perennial favorite in the AL West, the Rangers we’re an afterthought early in the year. Washington put his offseason issues to bed early and worked in many young pieces to help Texas win the division.

Terry Francona – Boston Red Sox: With a $168 million payroll, I have less sympathy for the Red Sox than most. Still, having that many injuries and having to mix so many youngsters into the lineup, and still keeping pace with the Rays and Yankees until the end of September is a solid accomplishment.


The Verdict...

1). Ron Gardenhire (5 points)
2.) Ron Washington (3)
3.) Joe Maddon (1)