Posted on: July 15, 2009 2:22 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2009 2:41 pm
Well, a disappointing 2009 for me as a Cubs fan so far. I'm hoping to see the Cubs turn it around, get a few games above .500 and win the division. Anyway, my point wasn't to gripe about how poorly the Cubs are playing, this is the mid-season edition, looking at who's doing well, and who's not... Without further ado, let's start with the MVP awards:
Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels
.305 BA, 17 HR, 65 RBI, .380 OBP, .938 OPS
Surprise surprise, I decide to go with my favorite non-Cub player. Here's why Torii deserves this award though, for the first half at least. He's hitting for power, he's driving runners in. What the Angels need him to do, he's done it. And guess what? The Angels are in first place in the AL West, in what was supposed to be a down year for this team (some thinking (including myself) it was the A's year). The pitching has helped a little, but Torii Hunter is making a huge impact for this team.
Others Considered: Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins, Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins, Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers, Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners
Can Torii keep it up after returning from injury?
Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
.332 BA, 32 HR, 87 RBI, .456 OBP, 1.179 OPS
Honestly, was there really any other choice? So what, he didn't win the home run derby. He's the reason, the only reason, the Cardinals are in first place. Pujols is just unstoppable. A ridiculous OPS of 1.179, .456 OBP, pitchers so scared of him that they're thinking about giving him the Barry Bonds treatment. Hint pitchers: It's still not working. If it were up to me, I'd be as cautious as ever with this guy, probably still allowing him to hit 20 more home runs. This was the biggest no-brainer since, well, the NBA Draft and choosing Blake Griffin as the #1 pick.
Others Considered (sort of): Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins, Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers, Raul Ibanez - Philadelphia Phillies, Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies
A Real No-Brainer.
AL Cy Young
Zack Greinke - Kansas City Royals
10-5, 2.12 ERA, 129 SO, 21 BB, 1.08 WHIP, .245 BAA, 127.1 IP
This kid, as you may know, got off to one of the best starts for a starting pitcher. He's not been terrible since then, maintaining an ERA in the low 2's and still having a nice K/BB ratio. Only Justin Verlander and Jon Lester has more K's in the American League right now and Kevin Millwood, James Shields, and CC Sabathia are the only other pitchers to have pitched more innings than Greinke. Also, Greinke hasn't missed a start (Halladay) and hasn't really been plagued by inconsistencies (Hernandez). The Royals may be well out of contention, but this kid is about the only bright spot on the team and he's keeping the Royals shining, um, dimly..
Others Considered: Roy Halladay - Toronto Blue Jays, Felix Hernadez - Seattle Mariners, Edwin Jackson - Detroit Tigers, Jered Weaver - Los Angeles Angels, Nick Blackburn - Minnesota Twins
Greinke continues pitching well.
NL Cy Young
Dan Haren - Arizona Diamondbacks
9-5, 2.01 ERA, 129 SO, 16 BB, .81 WHIP, .189 BAA, 130 IP
The D-Backs ace says "HI" to NL manager Charlie Manuel. I'm not implying anything, but something says to me that Tim Lincecum shouldn't have been starting the All-Star game for the NL (though he's pitched admirably). The only thing plaguing Haren is well, the lack of run support and the lack of a good team around him in Arizona. Haren is like the random oasis in a desert. OK, bad analogy, but, no matter what you say, Haren is second in IP to Adam Wainwright, third in K's to Tim Lincecum and Javier Vazquez, and has had a couple of unfair losses because of the lack of run support. I know, if he were playing for the Cubs, it wouldn't be much better, but if he were playing for, I don't know, maybe the Brewers or the Dodgers, well, let's just say he could very well have 1 or 2 losses. Weird, I picked two Cy Youngs from two losing teams. Oh well.
Others Considered: Tim Lincecum - San Francisco Giants, Matt Cain - San Francisco Giants, Josh Johnson - Florida Marlins, Javier Vazquez - Atlanta Braves
Whether it be in Oakland or Arizona, Haren seems to go unnoticed.
AL Rookie of the Year (er, Mid-year)
Ricky Romero - Toronto Blue Jays
7-3, 3.00 ERA, 69 SO, 30 BB, 1.26 WHIP, .252 BAA, 87 IP
So, who is this guy? Well, despite an injury around April (sneezing while listening to rap (blech)), Romero has been an outstanding pitcher. Yeah, you have Bailey for the A's, and Bergesen for the O's, but the "J's" (I just had to) have a guy who's stepped up when the injured birds had fallen. Not only is he winning, but he's pitching well, not giving up many runs, not walk a WHOLE BUNCH, and keeping nice control. Plus, he's helped my fantasy baseball team in the Omnipotent League a whole lot.
Others Considered: Andrew Bailey - Oakland Athletics, Brad Bergesen - Baltimore Orioles, Scott Richmond - Toronto Blue Jays, Jeff Niemann - Tampa Bay Rays
Romero has had a great rookie year so far.
NL Rookie of the Year (er, Mid-year)
Randy Wells - Chicago Cubs
4-4, 2.72 ERA, 53 SO, 17 BB, 1.12 WHIP, .243 BAA, 76 IP
I apologize for the random act of biasness, but Pablo Sandoval doesn't qualify as a rookie (how sad for Kung Fu Panda). Really, it came down to two rival players, Colby Rasmus of the Cardinals and Wells for the Cubs and I went true to my heart, yes I went there. OK, if the Cubs had half the offense they did last year, I guarantee Wells would be 8-1 or 9-1 in his first 12 starts instead of the horrendous 4-4 he really is. He's got great control, not walking a whole lot of hitters, and he also trusts his defense. He's kept his ERA low, he's progressively pitching more innings for each start he takes. Besides Ted Lilly, Wells has been the most valuable to this Cubs team (jury still out on Am-Ram).
Others Considered: Colby Rasmus - St. Louis Cardinals, Casey McGehee - Milwaukee Brewers, Ramon Troncoso - Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Hanson - Atlanta Braves
Wells has gotten little help from the Cubs' offense.
AL Manager of the Year
Don Wakamatsu - Seattle Mariners
46-42, 4 GB in AL West
What a job Wakamatsu has done with this Mariners team. It helps that he has Ichiro hitting all over the place, but this is a team many expected to finish dead last in the AL West and possibly be the worst team in the AL. Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Jarrod Washburn has helped prevent that, but Wakamatsu has stepped up as the Mariners manager. Look at what Russell Branyan has done, how Felix Hernandez has turned his season around, and how Ichiro came back from injury. Watch out for the M's.
Other(s) Considered: Ron Washington - Texas Rangers
NL Manager of the Year
Jim Tracy - Colorado Rockies
47-41, 9 GB in NL West
Yes I went there. It may be a little unfair to use the entire season's record for Jim Tracy, since Clint Hurdle kinda messed it up at the beginning of the year, but honestly, it's the Rockies, who cares? I'm just messing with you all, but seriously, Tracy has turned around a team heading into the cellar of that the NL West. Tracy is 29-13 since taking over for Hurdle, has helped turn around Aaron Cook and has helped make Ubaldo Jimenez a consistent pitcher. Will "Rocktober" return?
Other(s) Considered: Joe Torre - Los Angeles Dodgers, Tony La Russa - St. Louis Cardinals
AL Silver Slugger Awards
C Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
1B Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
2B Aaron Hill - Toronto Blue Jays
3B Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays
SS Jason Bartlett - Tampa Bay Rays
OF Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels
OF Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners
OF Jermaine Dye - Chicago White Sox
DH Adam Lind - Toronto Blue Jays
Wild Card: Ben Zobrist - Tampa Bay Rays (Didn't know where to honestly put him)
Others Considered: Victor Martinez - Cleveland Indians, Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers, Paul Konerko - Chicago White Sox, Robinson Cano - New York Yankees, Scott Rolen - Toronto Blue Jays, Michael Young - Texas Rangers, Derek Jeter - New York Yankees, Juan Rivera - Los Angeles Angels, Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles, Shin-Soo Choo - Cleveland Indians, Carl Crawford - Tampa Bay Rays, Bobby Abreu - Los Angeles Angels, Jason Kubel - Minnesota Twins
NL Silver Slugger Awards
C Brian McCann - Atlanta Braves
1B Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
2B Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies
3B Pablo Sandoval - San Francisco Giants
SS Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins
OF Raul Ibanez - Philadelphia Phillies
OF Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers
OF Brad Hawpe - Colorado Rockies
P Micah Owings - Cincinnati Reds
Others Considered: Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers, Todd Helton - Colorado Rockies, Brandon Phillips - Cincinnati Reds, Ryan Zimmerman - Washington Nationals, Mark Reynolds - Arizona Diamondbacks, Miguel Tejada - Houston Astros, Adam Dunn - Washington Nationals, Justin Upton - Arizona Diamondbacks, Hunter Pence - Houston Astros, Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Ross - Florida Marlins, Yovani Gallardo - Milwaukee Brewers, Carlos Zambrano - Chicago Cubs
Rest of 2009 Predictions (not including records)
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
AL Wild Card
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
NL Wild Card
San Francisco Giants
New York Mets
Red Sox over Tigers in 4
Angels over Yankees in 4
Red Sox over Angels in 6
Dodgers over Cardinals in 4
Giants over Phillies in 5
Dodgers over Giants in 7
Dodgers over Red Sox in 7
I hope you enjoyed reading this. Any disagreements you may comment on, but no "BLAH BLAH BLAH I HAVE A LOUD COMPLAINING VOICE," OK? I have rights to be homer and will be at any cost. :) Have a good rest of the season, good luck to your team, and enjoy baseball fans.
Posted on: February 25, 2009 2:29 am
Edited on: March 26, 2009 2:54 am
All right... So, Spring Training is about to start and people have been wondering who will be in the '09 playoffs. Well, I just couldn't wait for Manny Ramirez to get signed, so I just decided what the heck and I'll fix them whenever Manny gets signed. I apologize, I don't have the team logos, it keeps making them large, I have no idea why I can't fix it... I've decided to add playoff projections and projected lineups and starters (don't have the bullpen) (as according to CBS (all stats are from 2008 season)). I just have AL East so far, I'll do the rest later..
Mark Teixeira's presence definitely adds some more power to this Yankees lineup. There are some aging players with Posada, Rodriguez, Jeter, Matsui, Damon, but they are still solid. This lineup has a good balance of lefties and righties. I actually would switch Matsui and Posada in terms of order, but they both still provide solid enough protection for A-Rod and Teixeira. I'm almost certain that Nick Swisher will be able to do enough to get the majority of the at-bats in center field, despite CBS having Cabrera as the starting CF (which is interesting). It's possible that Cody Ransom will have to step in for A-Rod's injury.
Starting Rotation w/ Closer
I think the key to this rotation is definitely health. A.J. Burnett is a major concern while Sabathia and Wang have a little bit of injury history. Chamberlain and Petitte are along the same lines, but isn't too much of a concern. Chamberlain, I feel, will have his sort of breakout year as the starter. I think he has learned enough about what it'll be like to start in the majors and I hope not to see him in the bullpen again (though he does excel).
Very nice top of the order with a very powerful middle of the order, especially w/ the presence of Carlos Pena, who has quietly become one of the better first basemen in the league. There may be some more young talent incoming for the Rays with Reid Brignac and Tim Beckham (though Beckham is probably a couple of years away). Also watch for Fernando Perez and Gabe Kapler get a few spot starts.
Starting Rotation w/ Closer
This young rotation is looking very good for the Rays, especially knowing how much they still have left in them. Shields has emerged as the leader of this rotation with Kazmir and Garza not far behind. Sonnanstine is a solid 4 starter while David Price will look to continue from where he left off in last year's playoffs.
Boston Red Sox - The Red Sox did the least, in my opinion, to improve their team. They added Brad Penny, who's coming off an injury, John Smoltz who was injured and will be out until at least June, and are without Manny Ramirez, who had a bigger impact than Jason Bay in my opinion.
The lineup isn't changed much from the end of last year except for the fact that you don't see Julio Lugo starting at shortstop. Lowrie has the potential to be a good shortstop for this Red Sox team. Youkilis will definitely have to continue the success he's been having when batting and providing protection for David Ortiz.
Starting Rotation w/ Closer
I don't think this Sox rotation is much improved from last year. Penny is coming off an injury and Wakefield is really fading. John Smoltz should be around mid-season, so he might be able to provide an improvement over Wakefield. Still a decent rotation, just I don't feel it is better than last year's.
The lineup is a bit weak for the Blue Jays this year. Scutaro at leadoff? Rios and Wells are solid hitters in the 3-4 spots, but otherwise, not much that is notable. Travis Snider's progression will be interesting to watch this year as he gets his first chance at a full time job. Adam Lind also needs to become a presence in the 5 spot, protected Wells and Rios.
Starting Rotation w/ Closer
I admit I don't know too much about this rotation other than Roy Halladay and upstart Jesse Litsch. Purcey and Janssen are names I heard of but Richmond doesn't really ring a bell to me. Any Blue Jays fans that can help me out, please do so. B.J. Ryan's a solid closer and should be once again for 2009. Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan will surely be missed as Marcum is out for the year and McGowan won't return until at least May and could be as late as August.
The top of the lineup is fairly decent w/ Aubrey Huff coming off a great second half of last year. The bottom of the linup seems pretty weak, but there's still a little potential w/ Felix Pie. Roberts will continue to be a spark plug, getting on base and providing speed for Markakis and Huff. Adam Jones looks like has plenty of potential, having a fairly decent year last year.
Starting Rotation w/ Closer
The rotation isn't very good. When you have walk-o-matic Rich Hill in the 3 spot, you know you have some pitching troubles and are just reaching. Guthrie is really the only bright spot of this rotation with UeHara in his rookie year and a chance to impress. Sherrill turned out to be a decent closing option and will be the closer despite the return of Chris Ray.
Cleveland Indians - The Indians made plenty of moves in the off-season, one of them gaining versatile Mark DeRosa and also the signing of Kerry Wood. Shin-Soo Choo made nice strides late in the year last year. The rotation is still a little questionable with Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona heading it, but the pitchers behind them may not be as reliable.
Detroit Tigers - I don't see Detroit being as bad as they were last year, but they won't be the best in the AL Central. The emergence of Armando Galarraga was a nice surprise as he and Justin Verlander will head the rotation. Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya need to stay healthy in the bullpen.
Chicago White Sox - Last year's victors of the AL Central look to be facing some tough times in 2009. John Danks and Gavin Floyd were nice surprises, but can they keep it up? Jermaine Dye also as he gets older. The center field and third base positions look uneasy as the South Siders need someone to step up at each position.
Kansas City Royals - Alex Gordon and Billy Butler need to become the players they were projected as when they came into the league. Much of the question marks are within the pitching though as after Zack Greinke and Gil Meche, it doesn't look good. Brian Bannister or Luke Hochevar really need to step up.
Oakland Athletics - The addition of Matt Holliday was key this off-season for the A's as they'll definitely close the gap w/ the Angels. The starting rotation may be what will hold Oakland back though w/ Justin Duchscherer leading a group of young arms ready to prove themselves.
Texas Rangers - Much like last year, this team will be all offense and basically no pitching. The young players in the rotation and also on the field will need to step up to make the Rangers a contender. Guys like Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Scott Feldman, Brandon McCarthy.
Seattle Mariners - The M's are in a rebuilding year, just look at their lineup. The rotation looks dynamic with Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Brandon Morrow at the top of it. It'll be interesting to see how some of the young players will respond as they'll get an opportunity to prove their worth.
AL Wild Card
Philadelphia Phillies - The defending World Series champs may be looking up to the Mets this year. There's no denying they have an explosive offense w/ Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley in the middle of it all. The rotation is the slight weakness on this team with Cole Hamels as the ace (and rightfully so).
Atlanta Braves - This Braves team has the potential to be dangerous. Fairly young as some rookies will get their chances like Josh Anderson and maybe Tommy Hanson later on in the season? I applaud the additions of Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez to bolster their rotation. Watch out, Atlanta may sneak ahead of Philly or New York.
Washington Nationals - Oh no I didn't, actually, yes I did. I really didn't like the Marlins' off-season moves and I liked much of the Nationals'. Adding Josh Willingham will be more beneficial than some may think as well as Scott Olsen and Adam Dunn. John Lannan is coming off a terrific first full year for Washington to head a semi-weak rotation. This is just a surprise pick, not much behind it.
Florida Marlins - This team has plenty of potential, but a lot of players will really have to step up this year including Gaby Sanchez and Cameron Maybin. The rotation is fairly talented and young, but Andrew Miller will need to improve and Chris Volstad will need to pitch much like he did last year.
St. Louis Cardinals - I didn't really like the Cardinals' off-season either, but there's no denying Tony LaRussa gets the job done. Todd Wellemeyer and Kyle Lohse will need to continue overachieving while Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter need to stay healthy.
Milwaukee Brewers - Despite losing CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, the Brewers are still a very talented team w/ an explosive offense. Yovani Gallardo will look to lead the Milwaukee rotation after a "freak injury" (I'll take your word for it Brew Crew fans) ended his year early last year.
Cincinnati Reds - We're still waiting for the youngsters on this team to emerge. Jay Bruce was impressive during his first few weeks in the league, but slowed down after awhile. Edinson Volquez is a great pitcher as this rotation looks fairly impressive, Aaron Harang coming back from injury w/ Bronsen Arroyo, Micah Owings, and Johnny Cueto rounding it out.
Houston Astros - Teams 2-5 could be flip-flopped in many ways, with Houston being the silent hunters. They were impressive to finish the year last year, showing much of their resilliency. The rotation may be a trouble spot, but that didn't really stop them last year.
Pittsburgh Pirates - Quite possibly the worst team in the majors right now, the Pirates did next to nothing during the off-season. The rotation is fair as youth is still prevelant. There are bright spots, but don't look for much improvement if any at all for Pittsburgh.
San Francisco Giants - The Giants may have a chance to contend with the Dodgers, that is if they can get some hitting. Bengie Molina, Fred Lewis as potential cleanup hitters? Yikes. The rotation, though, is very good, w/ Cy Young Award winner last year Tim Lincecum being the ace.
Colorado Rockies - They lost Matt Holliday, but the Rockies will still have the Coors hitting advantage. Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe will continue to hit well in the mountain air. Troy Tulowitzki will be back. The rotation might be nasty. After Ubaldo Jimenez, who really came along at the end of 2008, it's Jason Marquis, Jorge De La Rosa, and Greg Smith. They have talent and youth, let's just wait and see.
Arizona Diamondbacks - This team just fell apart after a great 2008 start and really didn't do much in the off-season. Brandon Webb is still there along with Dan Haren, but not too much more after that. There is plenty of youth with Mark Reynolds, Stephen Drew, and Justin Upton, so they may come along soon.
San Diego Padres - It might be an ugly year for the Padres. The Jake Peavy sweepstakes may be at a standstill for now, but he'll probably be gone by the trade deadline. This would be a great time for the young guys to step up like Chase Headley. Adrian Gonzalez may be the most underrated player in the league at this point in time.
NL Wild Card
There ya go. Maybe some ridiculous predictions, maybe some safe. Either way, it'll be another fun year in baseball.