July 2013

Frontrunners For MLB Awards At the All-Star Break

The final MLB games until after the All-Star break were played on Sunday, and although the baseball world is buzzing about Yoenis Cespedes winning the 2013 Home Run Derby, with it being half way through the season, I figured I’d post a blog entry not on the derby, but on the players who I feel stand the best chance, as of right now, to win the three major awards of Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year and Cy Young. All three awards have several players who could be argued are worthy, but I have my own opinion as to who deserves each award the most.

Most Valuable Player Award

BS sp-orioles-twins-p30 lamAmerican League: It’s a two-man race for who deserves the MVP award for the American League. Both Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera have already posted numbers that would be a great full year for many players, and there’s still nearly three more months left until the end of the season. But I’m going to have to go with Chris Davis, as of right now. Davis has been one of the best players in all of baseball for the past year, and if he can keep up the pace, should be the AL MVP.

National League: It’s a little more of a challenge to pick one player for who will inevitably win the National League MVP, assuming they keep on playing the way they have been. With guys like Yadier Molina, Michael Cuddyer and Buster Posey in the running, it’s not a very obvious choice. I’m going to go with Michael Cuddyer, though. While Posey and Molina are having great years, Cuddyer is making a bigger individual impact on whether or not his team wins than anyone else in the NL.

Rookie of the Year Award

Wil+Myers+Tampa+Bay+Rays+v+Boston+Red+Sox+vTHBR4fXaxixAmerican League: This was the easiest of all of the categories, for me. There’s no doubt in my mind that Wil Myers deserves the American League Rookie of the Year award. Altough I gave a bit of consideration to both Nick Franklin and David Lough, I just feel that Myers is going to have an even better second half to the season than any rookie in baseball. If he can play to his full potential, he should be able to blow away all of the other competition.

National League: It came down to Yasiel Puig, Matt Adams, Jedd Gyorko, Evan Gattis and Marcel Ozuna, for the player I felt most deserved the National League Rookie of the Year award, as of right now. All of them have been having fantastic seasons, and while they should continue to have great years, I had to go with Matt Adams. I still like Puig, and feel he will be a super star for years to come, but Adams deserves the award, in my opinion. The way he’s been contributing is truly incredible.

Cy Young Award

Clayton+Kershaw+Los+Angeles+Dodgers+v+St+Louis+tphRSOeazpAxAmerican League: When you have to pick between Felix Hernandez, Bartolo Colon and Max Scherzer, for American League Cy Young, it’s not an easy choice. All have been having great seasons, and you can make an argument for and against each player. But after going back and forth between them, I ended up going with Max Scherzer. While it would appear an easy decision, with Scherzer’s record of 13-1, it wasn’t. Eight AL pitchers have a better ERA, but when you combine everything, I still have Scherzer for the Cy Young.

National League: I had several different pitchers on my list of players deserving of the National League Cy Young award, including guys like Matt Harvey, Jeff Locke, Adam Wainwright, Patrick Corbin, Jordan Zimmermann and Madison Bumgarner, but I didn’t go with any of them. I ended up going with Clayton Kershaw. While I’m a huge fan of Harvey, and could’ve easily picked him, Kershaw is having the overall better year, and that’s why I have him winning the award.

But there’s still plenty of time left in the season, and anything can happen.

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With all of that said, this will be my last blog post for a good bit of time.

I’m going on a 24-day road trip around the country, starting Wednesday, and won’t have the time to put in the effort necessary to keep up this blog. Though I hate breaking one of my original goals of blogging at least once every four days, it can’t be helped; but I’m still on pace for my goal of 100 posts for the year. At least I’m incorporating baseball into the trip, among numerous other things, as I’ll be attending the Mariners game in Seattle, on July 26th, versus the Twins. So that should be fun. (I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be blogging about the game.)

Therefore, this is all for awhile. I’ll be back in a month.

Derek Jeter Returns; All-Star Final Vote Announced

After rehabbing a broken ankle for nearly nine months, Derek Jeter received a standing ovation on Thursday, in his first major league plate appearance since October of 2012. Reaching first, in his first at-bat of the game, on an infield single, Jeter showed all of the baseball world what he’s been hoping to show for a long time: His ankle is fully healed. -01f3958563617e32

The Yankees finally have their Captain back.

But it’s going to take a lot more than the return of Jeter, who went 1-4 in his 2013 debut, for the Yankees to turn around what has been a downhill slide as of late. While they won in their first game with Jeter back, he’s not the player he used to be, and they could use even more help.

But help is coming, in the form of Alex Rodriguez, who is currently down in the minors, working his way back from hip surgery. How much help he will provide is yet to be seen, but the Yankees are hopeful that A-Rod can return to even a portion of his former self.

Either way, I’m not counting out the Yankees just yet. I’ve had them making the playoffs since the beginning of the season, despite the majority of baseball fans thinking otherwise. It will be interesting to see how things play out after the All-Star break.

The rosters for the 2013 All-Star game were announced late last week, however, fans around the country have been voting all week long for the player they feel most deserved to receive the final spot for each league.

The candidates for the American League included Joaquin Benoit, Steve Delabar, David Robertson, Tanner Scheppers and Koji Uehara. The National League had Ian Desmond, Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez, Hunter Pence and Yasiel Puig. I was hoping to see David Robertson and Yasiel Puig make it in, but neither did.

It was announced Thursday afternoon that the winners of the All-Star game final vote were Steve Delabar and Freddie Freeman. While I’m not all that upset with either of them getting voted in, I disagree with Freeman over Puig. There’s no player in the major leagues at the moment with more hype around him than Puig. I don’t understand why he didn’t make it in, other than maybe the fact that he’s been in the big leagues for merely a month, but I’m really looking forward to watching the game, nonetheless.

The All-Star game is set to take place on Tuesday, July 16th, at Citi Field.

Cano & Wright Pick Their Home Run Derby Teammates

The players set to participate in the 2013 home run derby were announced on Monday, and for the most part, I’m not shocked with any of them. As a matter of fact, four of the six players I stated that I’d like to see in the derby this year were selected. (Not bad, if you ask me.)

My original list included Chris Davis, Yoenis Cespedes and Prince Fielder, for the American League, with Evan Gattis, Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton for the National League; at the time, Gattis was healthy. Cano ended up selecting Chris Daivs, Prince Field and Yoenis Cespedes, all of which I wanted to see. Wright got Bryce Harper, as well as a couple of players I didn’t pick, in Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez, to participate, and while I would’ve like to have seen Stanton over Cuddyer, it is what it is.

With the field for the home run derby nearly set, I wanted to take a second to give my thoughts on how I feel the derby will go.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

I feel like Michael Cuddyer won’t last very long in the derby, probably not making it past the first round. He’s having a great year, but just doesn’t have what it takes to excel, in my opinion. Carlos Gonzalez and David Wright should do a bit better than Cuddyer, however, I see Bryce Harper outdoing them both, for the National League team. I could easily see him making it to the final round. Harper has the power, as well as the endurance needed, to thrive in a home run derby.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

I have Robinson Cano doing the worst of the four players for the American League. But it all depends on which Cano shows up. He has the ability to do well, having won the derby in 2011, however, he can also flop under pressure, as he didn’t hit a single homer last year. I feel Yoenis Cespedes will do fairly well, but it will come down to Chris Davis and Prince Fielder, in my mind, with Fielder winning out in the end; though, not by much.

I could easily see a final round of Bryce Harper and Prince Fielder.

If indeed Harper and Fielder make it to the very end, I think Fielder has too much pop for even a young phenom like Harper to compete with. So, for the second straight year, that’s who I have winning–Prince Fielder. It shouldn’t come as a real surprise. Not many people have the home run hitting ability of Fielder.

Prince Fielder is going for home run derby title number three, as well as a win in back-to-back years. Both are feats that only Ken Griffey Jr. has ever been able to accomplish, and if all goes as I see it playing out, Prince Fielder will soon join him.

2013 MLB All-Star Game Rosters Unvieled

The rosters for this year’s All-Star game, set to be held up at Citi Field on July 16th, were announced on Saturday evening. As always, there is great debate around the baseball world concerning the list. People are arguing that some players that made the cut shouldn’t have, while others that were left off should’ve made the team. But that comes each and every year.

Before I go any further, talking about my thoughts, here are the rosters for the 2013 MLB All-Star game:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Starters
C: Joe Mauer
1B: Chris Davis
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: J.J. Hardy
3B: Miguel Cabrera
OF: Mike Trout, Adam Jones, Jose Bautista
DH: David Ortiz
Pitchers
RHP: Clay Buchholz
LHP: Brett Cecil
RHP: Bartolo Colon
RHP: Jesse Crain
RHP: Yu Darvish
RHP: Felix Hernandez
RHP: Hisashi Iwakuma
RHP: Justin Masterson
RHP: Joe Nathan
LHP: Glen Perkins
RHP: Mariano Rivera
LHP: Chris Sale
RHP: Max Scherzer
RHP: Justin Verlander
Reserves
C: Jason Castro, Salvador Perez
1B: Prince Fielder
2B: Jason Kipnis, Dustin Pedroia, Ben Zobrist
SS: Jhonny Peralta
3B: Manny Machado
OF: Nelson Cruz, Alex Gordon, Torii Hunter
DH: Edwin Encarnacion

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Starters
C: Yadier Molina
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Brandon Phillips
SS: Troy Tulowitzki
3B: David Wright
OF: Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez, Bryce Harper
Pitchers
LHP: Madison Bumgarner
LHP: Aroldis Chapman
LHP: Patrick Corbin
RHP: Jose Fernandez
RHP: Jason Grilli
RHP: Matt Harvey
LHP: Clayton Kershaw
RHP: Craig Kimbrel
LHP: Cliff Lee
LHP: Jeff Locke
RHP: Adam Wainwright
LHP: Travis Wood
RHP: Jordan Zimmermann
Reserves
C: Buster Posey
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, Allen Craig
2B: Matt Carpenter, Marco Scutaro
SS: Everth Cabrera, Jean Segura
3B: Pedro Alvarez
OF: Domonic Brown, Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gomez, Andrew McCutchen

I agree with every pick for the starting lineups of both the American League and National League rosters. While the players I picked for the All-Star game vary a bit, they were done two months ago, and therefore, my picks have changed, and for the most part, coincide with who made the teams. So I really have no complaints.

In the end, I have no complaints with any player that made the All-Star team. All are worthy, and while there are a few players who I feel should’ve been selected, I don’t have any major problems. Of the pitchers, I hope to see Matt Harvey and Max Scherzer make the start for their respective leagues. If that happens, combined with the already loaded rosters, I truly think this year’s All-Star game will be one of the best in years.

FINAL VOTE
But the rosters aren’t completely finished just yet. There is still one spot left for each league, and the fans all get to pick who gets the final spot.

For the American League, the final vote candidates are Joaquin Benoit, Steve Delabar, David Robertson, Tanner Scheppers and Koji Uehara. Of the five, I voted for David Robertson, based on his consistent stats over the course of his career. For the National League, the final vote candidates are Ian Desmond, Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez, Hunter Pence and Yasiel Puig. Though a strong group, I’m sticking to my original pick of Yasiel Puig, just because of the incredible start to his career.

(You have until Thursday at 4 pm to vote.)

Yasiel Puig Deserves To Be An All-Star This Year

There is currently a great debate going around the baseball world as to whether or not Yasiel Puig should be an All-Star this year. He certainly has the stats to warrant it, but some say he hasn’t been in the major leagues long enough to receive the honor. I for one think Puig deserves to take part in the 2013 All-Star game at Citi Field, on July 16th. 02-yasiel-puig-2

Just taking a look at his insane stats makes it an easy decision for me. Puig is currently batting .440 with 8 home runs and 18 RBI’s, including a .466 on base percentage. While that’s only coming over the course of 28 games, that translates into 116 plate appearances; so it’s not like it’s an extremely small sample size. Puig has proven to be consistent, regardless of the amount of time he’s been in the big leagues.

But it’s not just the physical stats. Puig brings a level of intensity to the field that you don’t find with many other players–it could be argued that he plays even harder than Bryce Harper. He give 110% every game, and never gives up on plays no matter how unlikely they seem. That’s the kind of player I want to see as an All-Star. Just because he doesn’t have a lot of experience, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a lot of natural talent. That beats experience any day, in my book.

Having the ability to impact any team he’s on–showing that presence by helping to turn around the Dodgers–Puig would be a vital asset to the National League team, in my opinion. As important as the All-Star game has become, I would think they’d want all the help they can get, and that includes a star like Puig.

Puig has been compared to guys such as Bo Jackson, and is coming off of the best first month to start a career since Joe DiMaggio. Anytime you’re associated with names like that, then of course I feel you should be an All-Star. I truly don’t get why some people don’t think Puig should be. Time in the majors doesn’t mean anything when you’re as good as Puig is.

If Puig can keep up his hot start, he could possibly win rookie of the year; if the Dodgers make the playoffs, he stands a good shot to win MVP; but even before all of that, with the way he’s playing, I think he should be an All-Star.

Latest MLB Leaders (March 31st-June 30th)

With the first three months of the 2013 MLB season in the books, I thought I’d take the first day of the new month to recap the season thus far. It’s been exciting, as well as disappointing, depending on how you look at it, and who you’re rooting for.

Instead of talking about the events that have taken place so far this year, I decided to make a list of different categories and beside them name the player(s) that lead that particular category. I did the same thing last year, and it was so well-received that I wanted to do it again this season. I’m planning on posting an entry like this on the first day of each month. (That would make 3 more of these if you’re keeping score at home.)

The following lists are categorized into hitting and pitching, but NOT AL or NL:

MLB LEADERS (AL and NL)- HITTING

Most Games Played-Four players tied for most. (83)

Most At-Bats-Manny Machado (358)

Most Hits-Miguel Cabrera (118)

Highest Average-Miguel Cabrera (.373)

Highest OBP-Miguel Cabrera (.461)

Highest SLG-Chris Davis (.728)

Most Runs-Miguel Cabrera (64)

Most Doubles-Manny Machado (38)

Most Triples-Carlos Gomez (9)

Most Home Runs-Chris Davis (31)

Most RBI’s-Miguel Cabrera (82)

Most Base On Balls-Joey Votto (60)

Most Strikeouts-Chris Carter (111)

Most Stolen Bases-Jacoby Ellsbury (32)

Most Caught Stealing-Gerardo Parra (9)

Most Intentional Base On Balls-David Ortiz and Joey Votto. (11)

Most Hit By Pitch-Shin-Soo Choo (20)

Most Sacrifice Flies-Victor Martinez, Daniel Nava and Albert Pujols. (7)

Most Total Bases-Chris Davis (217)

Most Extra Base Hits-Chris Davis (56)

Most Grounded Into Double Plays-Matt Holliday (20)

Most Ground Outs-Elvis Andrus and Norichika Aoki. (137)

Most Number Of Pitches Faced-Shin-Soo Choo (1,595)

Most Plate Appearances-Mike Trout (380)

MLB LEADERS (AL and NL)- PITCHING

Most Wins-Max Scherzer (12)

Most Losses-Cole Hamels (11)

Best ERA-Clay Buchholz (1.71)

Most Games Started- Lucas Harrell and Justin Masterson. (18)

Most Games Pitched-Scott Rice (44)

Most Saves-Jim Johnson (28)

Most Innings Pitched-Adam Wainwright (125.2)

Most Hits Allowed-Joe Blanton (126)

Most Runs Allowed-Willy Peralta (70)

Most Earned Runs Allowed-Four tied for most. (57)

Most Home Runs Allowed-Jeremy Guthrie, Dan Haren and Tommy Milone. (19)

Most Strikeouts-Yu Darvish (151)

Most Walks-Jason Marquis (53)

Most Complete Games-Adam Wainwright (4)

Most Shutouts-Justin Masterson (3)

Best Opponent Avg.-Matt Harvey (.184)

Most Games Finished-Jim Johnson (35)

Most Double Plays Achieved-Lucas Harrell and Paul Maholm. (17)

Most Wild Pitches-Trevor Cahill (11)

Most Balks-Six tied for most. (2)

Most Stolen Bases Allowed-Scott Feldman and Edinson Volquez. (16)

Most Pickoffs-Julio Teheran (6)

Most Batters Faced-Justin Masterson (511)

Most Pitches Thrown-Justin Masterson (1,874)

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