My Final 2010 NL All-Star Lineup

C:  Miguel Olivo (Colorado Rockies)

  • .301 AVG
  • .365 OBP
  • 9 HR
  • 30 RBI (tied for 1st among NL catchers)

Olivo has 30 RBIs in 176 at-bats, as opposed to Brian McCann’s 30 RBIs in 198 at-bats. Olivo’s numbers are all the more impressive when one factors in that he hadn’t been starting on a regular basis until Chris Iannetta was demoted.

1B:  Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals)

  • .302 AVG
  • .422 OBP
  • 53 BB (1st in MLB)
  • 15 HR
  • 50 RBI (3rd among NL 1B)
  • .962 OPS

2B:  Martin Prado (Atlanta Braves)

  • .340 AVG
  • .380 OBP
  • 53 runs (2nd among NL 2B)
  • 103 hits (1st in MLB)

If I hadn’t voted for Prado, I would have voted for Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds.

3B:  David Wright (New York Mets)

  • .291 AVG
  • .380 OBP
  • 12 HR
  • 55 RBI (1st among NL 3B)
  • 39 BB (1st among NL 3B)
  • 19 doubles (1st among NL 3B)
  • 12 SB (2nd among NL 3B)

Wright appears to have found his power once again; meanwhile, he continues to play excellent defense at the hot corner.

SS:  Hanley Ramirez (Florida Marlins)

  • .293 AVG
  • .378 OBP
  • 11 HR (1st among NL SS)
  • 43 RBI (1st among NL SS)
  • 13 SB (3rd among NL SS)

OF:  Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers)

  • .310 AVG
  • .371 OBP
  • 10 HR
  • 46 RBI

OF:  Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates)

  • .310 AVG
  • .386 OBP
  • 45 runs
  • 15 doubles
  • 18 SB (2nd among NL OF)
  • 32 BB

McCutchen has been one of the very few bright spots this season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. I consider him to be one of the best outfielders in Major League Baseball, and I hope he someday gets the recognition he deserves.

OF:  Matt Holliday (St. Louis Cardinals)

  • .308 AVG
  • .379 OBP
  • 11 HR
  • 35 RBI
  • 20 doubles

DH:  Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds)

  • .310 AVG
  • .405 OBP
  • 15 HR
  • 47 RBI

I was tempted to vote for Troy Glaus as the DH in the NL; however, Votto’s numbers were too great to ignore. Don’t be surprised if Glaus makes the All-Star team as one of the NL’s reserves.

SP:  Adam Wainwright (St. Louis Cardinals)

  • (10-3, 2.23 ERA)
  • 1.00 WHIP
  • 101 K
  • 8.34 K/9
  • 13 quality starts (tied for 2nd among NL SP)

Voting for one starting pitcher in the National League has to be torture. There’s pitchers such as Ubaldo Jimenez, Adam Wainwright, Roy Halladay, Matt Cain, Josh Johnson and Chris Carpenter. Nevertheless, I selected Adam Wainwright.

I understand that Ubaldo Jimenez has incredible numbers up to this point; however, Wainwright’s numbers are incredibly similar for the most part. In some categories, Wainwright’s numbers are better!

While Jimenez’s 1.15 ERA dwarfs Wainwright’s 2.23 ERA, both are tied at 1.00 WHIP. Both pitchers have three complete games; Jimenez has two shutouts to Wainwright’s one. Jimenez’s 88 strikeouts are bested by Wainwright’s 101. Despite pitching nearly eight more innings than Jimenez, Wainwright has fewer walks (29 walks to Jimenez’s 36).

There is no anti-Ubaldo stance on my part. If I were a fan playing favorites, I would have voted for Roy Halladay (whom I have considered for years to be the best pitcher in baseball). I firmly believe my rationale for voting for Wainwright is solid.

My Final 2010 AL All-Stars

Hello fans.  As promised, I am revealing my votes for this year’s All-Star Game.  I select a starting lineup, a DH and a starting pitcher for both leagues.  The difficult part of voting for the All-Star Game is knowing that one or two players who are deserving are left out in the cold.  Such players in the case of my selections include David Price and Justin Morneau.

As I present my lineup, keep in mind that statistics are accurate as of June 23, 2010.

My 2010 AL ALL-STAR LINEUP

C:  Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)

  • .303 AVG
  • .333 AVG with RISP
  • .380 OBP
  • 39 runs (1st among AL catchers)

1B:  Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)

  • .327 AVG
  • .353 AVG with RISP
  • .409 OBP
  • 60 RBI (1st among AL 1B)

2B:  Robinson Cano (New York Yankees)

  • .363 AVG (1st in AL)
  • .378 AVG with RISP
  • .412 OBP
  • 53 runs (1st among AL 2B)
  • 14 HR (1st among AL 2B)
  • 50 RBI (1st among AL 2B)

3B:  Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays)

  • .303 AVG
  • .380 OBP
  • .916 OPS
  • 45 runs (2nd among AL 3B)
  • 52 RBI (1st among AL 3B)

SS:  Elvis Andrus (Texas Rangers)

  • .276 AVG
  • .361 OBP
  • 46 runs (1st among AL SS)
  • 19 SB (1st among AL SS)

OF:  Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners)

  • .336 AVG
  • .389 OBP
  • 96 hits (1st among AL OF)
  • 20 SB

OF:  Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers)

  • .339 AVG
  • .383 OBP
  • 17 HR (2nd among AL OF)
  • 53 RBI (1st among AL OF)
  • .996 OPS
  • 93 hits (2nd among AL OF)

OF:  Carl Crawford (Tampa Bay Rays)

  • .310 AVG
  • .369 OBP
  • 56 runs (1st among AL OF)
  • 25 SB (3rd among AL OF)
  • 6 triples (1st among AL OF)

DH:  Vladimir Guerrero (Texas Rangers)

  • .323 AVG
  • .365 OBP
  • 15 HR
  • 57 RBI (2nd among AL hitters)

SP:  Cliff Lee (Seattle Mariners)

  • (5-3, 2.55 ERA)
  • 0.90 WHIP
  • 7.76 K/9
  • 8 quality starts
  • 67 K
  • 4 BB

Lee missed time as he started the season on the DL. While David Price (Tampa Bay Rays) is having a fantastic season, Lee’s numbers match up very well. Despite missing time this season, Lee already has three complete games and one shutout, as opposed to Price’s one complete game and one shutout. Lee also averages more strikeouts per nine innings (7.76 against Price’s 7.17). Lee’s incredible K/BB ratio seals the deal and gives him the nod over Price.

Ken Griffey Jr. Was The Best Of His Time

 


GriffeyRetires.PNGKen Griffey Jr.
recently announced his retirement, ending one of the greatest careers in the history of baseball.  No matter how much I may try, words will never do justice to the greatness of his MLB career.

When I think of Griffey, I think of him as the face of Major League Baseball, just as Michael Jordan was the face of the NBA and Wayne Gretzky of the NHL.  Armed with the sweetest swing in baseball and the innocent smile of a kid, Griffey was a great ambassador to the game.  You couldn’t help but be captivated by Griffey’s personality and his play on the field.

How good was Griffey?  Well, he retired with 630 career home runs (5th in MLB history).  It is widely believed by many – myself included – that Griffey would be the all-time home run king if injuries had not caused him to miss so many games in the second half of his career.

162-game average (1989-2000)
.296 AVG
42 HR
122 RBI

From 1989 to 2000, Griffey averaged 140 games played per season while hitting 438 home runs!  In addition to being the game’s most feared power hitter, Griffey won the Gold Glove ten times (1990-1999).  Griffey’s peak years were between 1996 and 2000, as he averaged 152 games played, hit .290 and averaged a mind-boggling 49 home runs and 137 RBIs per season!  Many experts agree that if not for a season-ending strike in 1994, Griffey might have become the first player to break the single season home run record (then 61 home runs by Roger Maris).  Griffey hit 40 home runs in 111 games that season; the projection over 162 games would amount to 58 home runs.  He was certainly on pace to approach the record that season.

162-game average (2001-2010)
.260 AVG
31 HR
92 RBI

As evidenced by the above numbers, Griffey still had power in the second stage of his career; unfortunately, his average was much lower and injuries often limited his productivity.  Between 1989 and 2000, Griffey played 140 or more games nine times; from 2001 to 2010, Griffey managed to play 140 or more games two times (2007-2008).  From 2001 to 2006, Griffey only averaged 92 games played per season.  After the 2008 season, Griffey never again reached 120 games.

162-game average (career)
.284 AVG
38 HR
111 RBI

Griffey’s 162-game averages for his career are all the more incredible when you factor in all the missed games and limited productivity in the later stages of his career.  It’s hard to believe Griffey only won the MVP once in his career (.304 AVG, 56 HR and 147 RBI in 1997).

Looking back at Griffey’s career, I find it to be a tragedy that he never appeared in a World Series.  Griffey had been to the postseason only three times, appearing twice with the Mariners (1995, 1997) and once with the Chicago White Sox (2008).

Griffey’s career should not be tainted by the lack of a World Series title.  I consider Griffey and Frank Thomas to be the greatest hitters of their time in the MLB.  Although not as patient/disciplined at the plate as Thomas was, Griffey was every bit as dangerous to change the game with one swing and was a far more superb athlete and overall player than Thomas was.  Griffey was the best player of his era and was the face of Major League Baseball; perhaps more importantly, he set these astonishing numbers in the controversial steroid era of baseball’s history and has never been linked to steroids or performance-enhancing drugs!

Griffey will go down in history as one of the greatest players of all time, the best player during the steroid era and have the reputation of “doing it the right way” during the steroid era.

My Current All-Stars (May 31, 2010)

Clearly, ballot-stuffers have no shame and are the very embodiment of what is wrong with fan voting.  Fans of every team do it, but this year’s biggest ballot-stuffers appear to be the fans of the Philadelphia Phillies.  Despite the slump Jayson Werth is in, I can understand voting for him.  I also understand voting for Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley.  But voting for Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino?  I would vote for Victorino if his AVG were much higher.  Victorino has played fantastic defense this season and has over 30 RBIs while batting either first or seventh in the batting order!  If only his AVG were higher…

The absurdity of fan voting is exactly why it was foolish of Bud Selig to award home field advantage to the winner of the All-Star Game.  Such a meaningful advantage falls to the hands of the fans, many of which are clueless and biased twits!  I feel bad for the fans who do know their baseball and do vote for players that deserve to make the team.  Their votes are being drowned out by the clueless masses.

As I’ve said in an earlier entry, I will vote for the players I believe are worthy of a starting spot at each position, including the starting pitcher.  I will publish my final lineup on June 27.

National League
C:  Carlos Ruiz
1B:  Albert Pujols
2B:  Chase Utley
3B:  Casey McGehee
OF:  Ryan Braun
OF:  Andre Ethier
OF:  Carlos Gonzalez
DH:  Jason Heyward

SP:  Ubaldo Jimenez

I know, everybody in Philadelphia (hopefully) knows and everybody in Toronto knows that Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball.  Nevertheless, I can’t vote for him in good conscience while Ubaldo Jimenez has an ERA under 1.00 at this time.

I was tempted to vote for Joey Votto as the DH; however, I couldn’t ignore Jason Heyward’s current numbers.

American League
C:  Joe Mauer
1B:  Justin Morneau
2B:  Robinson Cano
3B:  Evan Longoria
SS:  Elvis Andrus
OF:  Ichiro Suzuki
OF:  Carl Crawford
OF:  Vladimir Guerrero
DH:  Miguel Cabrera

SP:  David Price

For the next few weeks, I expect David Price and Matt Garza to compete with one another for my vote.  While Vladimir Guerrero has been the DH for the Texas Rangers, putting him in the outfield (a position he has played numerous times in his career) was the only way I could fit Guerrero, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Morneau into the lineup together.

I will publish my final lineup on June 27.  At that time, I will finally cast my votes on mlb.com to vote for the position players I believe are worthy of a spot.

Phillies’ Bats Betray Moyer Again

game049.PNG

Less than 24 hours after Roy Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in Major League history (in a 1-0 win), the Phillies’ offense sputtered once again.  Anibal Sanchez and the Marlins’ bullpen blanked the Phillies in yet another 1-0 game.

Jamie Moyer pitched an excellent game, allowing one earned run in six innings.  Moyer has now lost three consecutive starts; he allowed only two earned runs in a May 19 loss to the Cubs.  I lay the blame on the anemic offense.  Prior to Moyer’s three-game losing streak, he had a three-game winning streak.

Jamie Moyer in last six starts
3-3
6.56 IP per start
3.66 ERA
1.02 WHIP

Jamie Moyer during winning streak
3-0
7.11 IP per start
3.80 ERA
0.75 WHIP

Jamie Moyer during current losing streak
0-3
6 IP per start
3.50 ERA
1.11 WHIP

Jamie Moyer vs. NL East
3-3
3.55 ERA
0.95 WHIP

Moyer clearly has good numbers during both his three-game winning streak and three-game losing streak.  The Phillies are just merely struggling to generate any offense.  I say there is no cause for alarm, as the Phillies are prone to hot streaks and cold streaks with the bat; however, I do empathize with the fans’ frustrations with the offense.  It must be very annoying for the pitchers as well.

Jayson Werth is hitless in his last 17 at-bats; Werth has seen his AVG dip from .359 on May 7 to .295 after today’s game.  Werth was 0/4 with four strikeouts in today’s game.  I would recommend sitting Werth out for about two games and let Ross Gload play.  Having a few days off might serve Werth well and give him time to work with the hitting coach.

Halladay Flawless As Phillies Win

game048.PNG

Once again, the Philadelphia Phillies’ offense struggled.  In their defense, they had to face Florida Marlins ace Josh Johnson.  The good news:  one run would be all that was needed, as Roy Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in Major League history!  Halladay struck out 11 hitters in his 115-pitch masterpiece.  Johnson received a tough luck loss as the Phillies’ lone run was an unearned run.

 


HalladayPerfectGame.PNG
Roy Halladay

7-3
1.99 ERA
0.99 WHIP
86 IP
70 K
12 BB
5 CG
3 SHO

 
Halladay’s incredible numbers only make those who criticized him or his pitch counts look more foolish than they already were.  Halladay is used to throwing 100+ pitches in a game; Phillies fans should just simply relax and let him work his magic.

 
Very few tough defensive plays were needed tonight, as Halladay’s dominating performance gave the defense an easy job.  Wilson Valdez, Juan Castro and Chase Utley made the only tough plays presented to the Phillies tonight.

Roy Halladay vs. NL East
5-0
0.64 ERA
0.62 WHIP
37 K
4 BB
3 CG
3 SHO

Notes

  • 20th perfect game in Major League history
  • second perfect game in Phillies’ history (Jim Bunning threw the first)

Phillies In Groove As Rollins Returns

The Philadelphia Phillies have won four consecutive games as they head into tonight’s second game of a two-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  They are first in the NL East with a 24-13 (.649) record, five games ahead of the Washinton Nationals and Florida Marlins.

Ryan Howard had collected only one extra-base hit in his last 60+ at-bats until hitting a grand slam in last night’s 12-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Howard finished the game with six RBIs.  Jimmy Rollins returned last night, delivering with two hits.  Rollins had missed the past 30 games with a strained right calf, which he injured shortly before the April 12 home opener.

Jimmy Rollins
.407 AVG
.528 OBP
1.269 OPS

The Phillies are 6-1 this season with Rollins in the lineup, scoring 7.86 runs per game and allowing 2.86 runs per game.  Rollins has five multi-hit games on the season.

Roy Halladay (6-1, 1.59 ERA) will start tonight’s game against the Pirates.  Halladay has been absolutely dominant with the Phillies this season, compiling a 1.59 ERA and 1.04 WHIP to date.  Halladay also has three complete games and two shutouts thus far.  Halladay is 3-0 this season at Citizens Bank Park with a 1.13 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and .207 AVG against him.

Notes

  • J.A. Happ threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Monday and said he felt good.  Barring any setbacks, Happ may be pitching from a mound soon

Dollars And Sense

The enormous contract extension recently given to Ryan Howard has fans – myself included – wondering if it will have an effect on the Phillies’ ability to re-sign Jayson Werth.  Can the Phillies continue to pay Howard and still keep Werth?  Absolutely!

Jamie Moyer may very likely retire after the 2010 season; if he doesn’t, he will probably have to accept a big pay cut if he wishes to stay with the Phillies (Moyer reportedly makes $8 million in 2010).  I believe Raul Ibañez will be gone after the 2010 season.  Ibañez reportedly makes $12,166,666 in 2010).

If Moyer were to retire and the Phillies were to let Ibañez go, that would give them $20,166,666 to experiment with (barring any decrease in spending).  I believe Werth could be signed for anywhere between $12 million and $16 million.  If I am correct, then this would leave the Phillies anywhere between $4-8 million to spend after signing Werth!  This money could then be used to give raises to other players to be re-signed (Jimmy Rollins).

If this chain of events were to occur, then Domonic Brown would be Ibañez’s replacement.  Ben Francisco will then back up Brown; Werth would remain in right field and Shane Victorino would remain in center field.  Moyer would obviously be replaced by Kyle Kendrick.  If the Phillies feel a need to bring in more relief pitchers, they can always call up players from within the system (Antonio Bastardo).

Domonic Brown 2010
27 games with Reading Phillies to date
.340 AVG
7 HR
21 RBI
.407 OBP
1.088 OPS

The only concern I have with Brown at the moment is the fact that he strikes out more often than he walks.  Nevertheless, he carries an excellent batting average and on-base percentage thus far.  I looked at the prime of Ken Griffey Jr. to get a feel for what type of numbers to expect from Brown.

Ken Griffey Jr. (1996-2000)
.290 AVG
49 HR per season
114 strikeouts per season
83 walks per season

1996-2000 was perhaps the best stretch of Griffey’s career, evidenced by his .290 AVG and 49 home runs per season.  He put up those mind-boggling numbers, despite the fact that he averaged 114 strikeouts to 83 walks during that time.

Don’t read too much into my Griffey/Brown comparison.  I am not insinuating that Brown can become the next Griffey; however, I do believe it’s reasonable to project Brown as a .290 hitter with plenty of power.  I merely brought up Griffey’s numbers to show that even the greatest player of our era had more strikeouts than walks on a regular basis; furthermore, Griffey failed to post a .400 OBP in any season from 1996-2000.

I won’t expect Brown to duplicate Griffey’s 49 home runs per season, however.  Giving a conservative (in my opinion) projection, I believe Brown will be a .290 hitter with 25+ home runs per season in his career.  In other words, he could at least have a career which models that of Fred McGriff.  If he posts numbers which are better than my projections, the Phillies will be extremely happy with his production.

Despite Howard’s enormous contract, I foresee the Phillies as being able to re-sign Werth and let Brown flourish.

Phillies Having Eventful Month Of May

What an eventful month the Phillies are having!  They got hot at the end of April to snap out of a losing funk; now they are first in the NL East with a 20-13 record.  The Phillies are 8-3 in the month of May.  We have seen moronic fans invading the field at Citizens Bank Park on back-to-back nights (one may have ruined a potential Cole Hamels shutout), a coach using binoculars and accused of stealing signs, Ryan Madson losing a fight to a metal chair, and a geriatric pitcher mowing down young hitters.

Jamie Moyer (47 years old) is the oldest pitcher in Major League history to throw a complete game shutout.  Moyer is 4-2 with a 4.38 ERA and 1.08 WHIP on the season.  Moyer is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in his last four starts.

Moyer is pitching much better at home than he is on the road this season.  On the road, Moyer is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and a .307 batting average against him; however, he is 2-1 with a 4.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and .187 batting average against at home.

A fellow Phillies fan made a picture I found to be funny, and a perfect summation of how well Moyer is pitching at home this season:

 

MoyerDominatesAtHome.PNGThe pitching rotation has been fantastic this month.  The starters are averaging 6.91 innings pitched per start and carrying a 2.72 ERA in the month of May.

Carlos Ruiz doesn’t get enough credit or attention outside of Philadelphia.  Ruiz is having a fantastic start to the season (.345 AVG, 21 BB, .472 OBP) but doesn’t get the recognition he deserves because he is overshadowed by the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and Jimmy Rollins.  I don’t believe in ballot-stuffing by voting for players who play for your team; I believe in voting for players who deserve to play at the All-Star Game.  Nevertheless, I encourage Phillies fans to vote for Ruiz, as he clearly deserves to be in the 2010 All-Star Game (so far).

Injuries

  • Madson (surgery on big toe) is on the DL
  • Brad Lidge (sore elbow) is day-to-day
  • J.A. Happ (left forearm strain) is on the DL
  • Brian Schneider (left achilles strain) is on the DL
  • Rollins (strained calf) is on the DL; expected to return next week

Jose Contreras will serve as the Phillies’ closer during Lidge’s absence.  Despite the injuries, the Phillies keep winning games.  The injured players must be happy for their teammates; however, they must also be sad that they are not active participants in these victories.  Perhaps they need an attractive Lebanese nurse/clerk to keep them company until they heal.

 

KlingerPhillies.PNGThe bad news for the rest of the NL:  the Phillies are playing this well while Raul Ibañez continues to struggle and Howard hasn’t been hitting home runs!

My All-Stars (May 7, 2010)

As you may be aware, voting is open for the 2010 MLB All-Star Game.  I usually wait until the last minute to vote, as I believe it’s too early to set a lineup right now.  The beauty of blogging is that I may voice my current all-star picks without actually casting the votes until I feel the time is right!

Although they never let fans vote for the starting pitcher, I’m going to voice my opinion on who deserves to pitch.  I will periodically post my All-Star selections for the game.  I encourage you to do the same.  You should post a full starting lineup, a DH and a starting pitcher for your teams.  Here are my current All-Stars:

National League
C:  Carlos Ruiz (Phillies)
1B:  Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
2B:  Chase Utley (Phillies)
3B:  David Wright (Mets)
SS:  Hanley Ramirez (Marlins)

OF:  Andre Ethier (Dodgers)
OF:  Matt Kemp (Dodgers)
OF:  Jayson Werth (Phillies)

DH:  Ryan Braun (Brewers)

SP:  Roy Halladay (Phillies)

Tough luck:  Pablo Sandoval (Giants), Tim Lincecum (Giants), Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies)

American League
C:  Joe Mauer (Twins)
1B:  Miguel Cabrera (Tigers)
2B:  Robinson Cano (Yankees)
3B:  Evan Longoria (Rays)
SS:  Derek Jeter (Yankees)

OF:  Carl Crawford (Rays)
OF:  Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners)
OF:  Brett Gardner (Yankees)

DH:  Vernon Wells (Blue Jays)

SP:  Matt Garza (Rays)

Tough luck:  Nelson Cruz (Rangers)

Changes in my future selections?

Yes, there may be a few changes in my selections weeks from now and leading up to the deadline.  Some players are on hot starts and may eventually cool off.

There are plenty of players who can make a case for being worthy of being an All-Star Game starter.  Halladay, Jimenez and Lincecum appear to be NL Cy Young favorites thus far.  Lost in the shuffle is Cardinals’ rookie Jaime Garcia.  Garcia has been fantastic on the mound for the Cardinals, and appears to be an early favorite for NL Rookie of the Year.  Colby Rasmus appears to be on the verge of having a breakout season for the Cardinals.  David Freese is off to a hot start for the Cardinals as well.

In the AL, Francisco Liriano appears to have brought his career back from the dead!  Garza isn’t alone in dominating the AL, as John Danks, C.C. Sabathia and David Price have pitched very well thus far.

I will periodically update my All-Star selections.  Who are YOUR selections?  Feel free to share.

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