Results tagged ‘ Andrew McCutchen ’
Coming off an exciting 2013 Major League Baseball season and heading into what’s sure to be another fun year of baseball, things are beginning to heat up again. Spring Training camps have seen all their respective pitchers and catchers report, with the remaining players reporting over the course of this week.
With the arrival of baseball comes the annual rankings of teams and subsequent predictions of how they will perform. While my predictions for each team, and numerous players from around the league, won’t be posted until sometime next month, I wanted to take the time to post a “top players” list, of sorts.
But instead of making my own version of a top 10 list as many are doing, I decided, as I did last year, to make a list of the top player for each year of age throughout Major League Baseball. Meaning, of the 20 year olds in Major League Baseball, I’ll list the player I feel is the best of them all; with the same holding true for the players age 21, 22, 23, 24, and so on.
The range of ages this season runs from 20 years old, with Jose Fernandez, among others, all the way up to age 43, with Jason Giambi — excluding age 42, which has no players this season. Just so you know, before I reveal my list, I’m going by the age each player will be to start the season. Therefore, a few players will be listed a year older than they currently are, due to them having a birthday between now and March 22nd.
Also, with there being SO many names, I’m not going to be listing my reasoning behind each pick. I’m just giving a general list of the player (either a hitter or a pitcher) I feel is the best for their age category:
20 years old: Jose Fernandez
21 years old: Manny Machado
22 years old: Mike Trout
23 years old: Yasiel Puig
24 years old: Giancarlo Stanton
25 years old: Craig Kimbrel
26 years old: Clayton Kershaw
27 years old: Andrew McCutchen
28 years old: Evan Longoria
29 years old: Max Scherzer
30 years old: Miguel Cabrera
31 years old: Robinson Cano
32 years old: Brandon Phillips
33 years old: C.C. Sabathia
34 years old: Albert Pujols
35 years old: Cliff Lee
36 years old: Carlos Beltran
37 years old: A.J. Burnett
38 years old: David Ortiz
39 years old: Derek Jeter
40 years old: Ichiro Suzuki
41 years old: LaTroy Hawkins
42 years old: No Players
43 years old: Jason Giambi
So, there you have it. The best players by age, in my opinion, from 20 through 43, going into the 2014 season. Do you agree with my picks? If not, who would you pick to replace the name(s) you disagree with? Let me know in the comments section below.
The Most Valuable Player award was first given out in 1911 to Ty Cobb of the American League and Frank Schulte of the National League. Originally known as the Chalmers award, named after Hugh Chalmers, the award didn’t catch on as well as had been hoped, and therefore was discontinued after the 1914 season.
In 1922 the League Awards were established to honor the baseball player in the American League (National League began being recognized in 1924) who provided the greatest all-around service to their club. The winner — who received a medal and cash for winning – was voted on by a committee of eight baseball writers, with a player not being able to win more than once. Like the Chalmers awards, these awards didn’t last long, stopping in 1929.
Finally in 1931 the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Most Valuable Player award was established, which is the award still given out today.
Sixty-three players who have won the Most Valuable Player award have gone on to the Hall of Fame up until this point — several of those players are still active, however. The current record for most MVP awards is held by Barry Bonds, with seven, but thirty total players have won multiple Most Valuable Player awards in their career.
Voting for the award is fairly straightforward.
Two writers from each city of both the American League and National League make up the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) voters for the Most Valuable Player award, making a total of thirty voters for each league (fifteen teams, with two voters per city). A first place vote earns a player fourteen points, a second place vote gets nine points, a third place vote receives eight points, a fourth place vote is worth seven points, and so on, all the way until tenth place for one point. Once added up, the player with the highest overall total wins.
The 2013 Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player award winners for both the American League and National League were announced Thursday night on MLB Network. Here are the winners, along with my thoughts on each:
AMERICAN LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Original Pick: Chris Davis
Finalists: Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis and Mike Trout
Winner: Miguel Cabrera
Thoughts On Miguel Cabrera Winning
Although I was pulling for Mike Trout to win the Most Valuable Player award last season, Miguel Cabrera ended up taking home the honor after having an incredible year in which he won the Triple Crown award. An injury in the last month of this season kept Cabrera from a second straight Triple Crown award, however, it didn’t stop him from winning his second straight MVP — something only eleven other players have been able to accomplish.
Receiving a total of 385 points, 23 of the 30 first-place votes, Cabrera was the overwhelming choice by the voters. The runner-up — with five first-place votes and a total of 282 points – Mike Trout, and the third place recipient, Chris Davis — with a single first-place vote netting 232 total points — weren’t even close. Although I had Chris Davis winning, I have no issues with Cabrera getting the award. He was very deserving; as was Trout.
Batting .348 with 44 home runs and 137 RBI’s, Cabrera put together an amazing season, and in addition is the only player of the three finalists to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, that’s a big part of why I feel he won. Davis posted a batting average 62 points lower than Cabrera, but led the majors in both homers and RBI’s, with 53 and 138 respectively. Had the Orioles played better as a whole, making it to the playoffs, Davis would likely be the winner.
Instead, Miguel Cabrera takes home the award for the second straight year.
The BBWAA’s vote had Mike Trout finishing second, with Chris Davis coming in third.
NATIONAL LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Original Pick: Paul Goldschmidt
Finalists: Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen and Yadier Molina
Winner: Andrew McCutchen
Thoughts On Andrew McCutchen Winning
Anytime a player bats .302 with 36 home runs and 125 RBI’s you have to strongly consider them for the Most Valuable Player award. That player, Paul Goldschimdt, was the most deserving of the MVP award in my mind, however, the baseball writers didn’t agree. Andrew McCutchen received the honor instead, getting 28 of the 30 first-place votes (Goldschmidt didn’t get a single one) for a total of 409 points.
Goldschmidt had to settle for second, with 242 points, just ahead of Yadier Molina, who received the other two first-place votes, earning him a total of 219 points. While Molina had a career year, and is a true leader for the Cardinals, he didn’t do enough to win. It came down to a two-man race between Goldschmidt and McCutchen. But after seeing the results of the vote, I suppose it was just a one-man race.
Although McCutchen hit for a .317 batting average with 21 home runs and 84 RBI’s — second in the National League in multi-hit games, with 60 — I don’t feel he was the most valuable.
I won’t spend a lot of time giving my reasons why (if you want to read that, click HERE) but ultimately I feel many people voted for McCutchen for the sole reason that the Pirates made the postseason (for the first time in 21 years) and Goldschmidt’s Diamondback’s didn’t. That’s not fair to base your vote on, in my opinion.
There were several other great reasons for McCutchen winning the award besides making the playoffs, but I just feel it should have gone to Goldschimdt, who had 15 more home runs and 41 more RBI’s than McCutchen this season.
Also, McCutchen didn’t lead the Pirates to the playoffs by himself; it was a team effort. He hit 10 more home runs and drove in 12 more runs last season than he did this year, yet the Buccos finished fourth in 2012, with McCutchen placing third in MVP voting. There’s too much inconsistency with the voting “criteria” for me.
In the end, while I don’t agree with McCutchen winning, I’m not all that upset that he did; though it may seem that way. He was still deserving despite not having the best stats.
Andrew McCutchen becomes the first Pirates’ MVP winner since Barry Bonds in 1992.
The BBWAA’s vote had Paul Goldschmidt finishing second, with Yadier Molina coming in third.
The 2013 Silver Slugger award winners were announced last night on MLB Network. The Silver Slugger awards are given annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League, as determined by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball.
The voters consider several offensive categories in selecting the winners, including batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, in addition to coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value. (Managers can not vote for their own players.)
This marks the 33rd annual Silver Slugger Awards which began in 1980.
Here are a list of the winners with my thoughts on each:
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Bonds holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as an outfielder, with twelve.
NL Winners: Michael Cuddyer (1st career), Jay Bruce (2nd career) and Andrew McCutchen (2nd career)
AL Winners: Torii Hunter (2nd career), Mike Trout (2nd career) and Adam Jones (1st career)
The National League saw Michael Cuddyer, Jay Bruce and Andrew McCutchen receiving Silver Slugger awards. All three are deserving, as they had great offensive years. This is just Michael Cuddyer’s first Silver Slugger, despite being in the Majors for thirteen season. Adam Jones also receives his first career Silver Slugger, after batting .285 with 33 homers and 108 RBI’s. In addition, Mike Trout and Torii Hunter pick up the award for the American League after great years.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Todd Helton is tied with Albert Pujols for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a first baseman, with four.
NL Winner- Paul Goldschmidt (1st career)
AL Winner- Chris Davis (1st career)
Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Davis picked up their first career Silver Slugger awards for first base. They both led their respective league in home runs and RBI’s in 2013, so it’s not really a shock that they received the honor. Both have the potential to win more in their careers.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Ryne Sandberg holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a second baseman, with seven.
NL Winner- Matt Carpenter (1st career)
AL Winner- Robinson Cano (5th career)
After a great breakout season, Matt Carpenter won his first career Silver Slugger award on Wednesday. Batting .318 with 13 home runs and 78 RBI’s, Carpenter was a major impact player for the Cardinals this season — a big reason why they made it to the World Series. Robinson Cano picks up his fifth career Silver Slugger, with this being his fourth one in a row.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Wade Boggs holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a third baseman, with eight.
NL Winner- Pedro Alvarez (1st career)
AL Winner- Miguel Cabrera (5th career)
Pedro Alvarez had a career season, leading to his first Silver Slugger award. Though his batting average was a mere .233, Alvarez hit 36 home runs and drove in 100 runs. Alvarez was a big part of the 2013 Pirates team and should remain so for years to come. Miguel Cabrera received the award for the American League, and it’s no surprise at all. Cabrera hit .348 with 44 homers and 137 RBI’s, nearly winning the Triple Crown for a second straight season. Truly remarkable.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Larkin holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a short stop, with nine.
NL Winner- Ian Desmond (2nd career)
AL Winner- J.J. Hardy (1st career)
Ian Desmond won his second consecutive Silver Slugger award last night, as he had another great year. On the AL side, this is J.J. Hardy’s first career Silver Slugger — Derek Jeter won last year but was injured most of 2013 — and he was very deserving. Hardy didn’t have a very high batting average at just .266, however, his 25 home runs and 76 RBI’s put him over the top for the award.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Piazza holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a catcher, with ten.
NL Winner- Yadier Molina (1st career)
AL Winner- Joe Mauer (5th career)
Surprisingly, this is Yadier Molina’s first career Silver Slugger award, despite multiple good seasons in the past. Molina batted .318 with 12 homers and 80 RBI’s and is a true leader for the Cardinals. As with Molina, Joe Mauer is also a leader for his respective Twins, however, this makes his fifth Silver Slugger of his career; just his first since 2010.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Hampton holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a pitcher, with five.
Winner- Zack Greinke (1st career)
You don’t often think of a pitcher with offensive skills, but Zack Greinke showed off his, and was the best hitting pitcher this past season. Batting .328 over the course of 58 at-bats, Greinke truly deserves this award and has the ability to win another one in the future.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: David Ortiz holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a Designated Hitter, with six.
Winner- David Ortiz (6th career)
David Ortiz is the record holder for most career Silver Sluggers as a DH, and he picked up yet another one for this season. Ortiz hit 30 home runs with 103 RBI’s to go along with a .309 batting average. Ortiz was a big reason the Red Sox made it to the World Series, and ultimately led them to winning the Championship.
2013 SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS FAST FACTS
- There were nine first time Silver Slugger award winners.
- There were six Silver Slugger award winners that also won last year.
The Orioles had the most Silver Slugger winners, with three.
There were four Silver Slugger winners that also won a Gold Glove award this year.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) award finalists for 2013 Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player were announced Tuesday night on MLB Network. For the most part, I agree with the finalists; but there are a few I’m surprised about.
Here are the finalists, with who I have winning (click their names to find out why):
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
American League: Chris Archer, Jose Iglesias and Wil Myers
National League: Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller and Yasiel Puig
CY YOUNG FINALISTS
American League: Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma and Max Scherzer
National League: Jose Fernandez, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER FINALISTS
American League: Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis and Mike Trout
National League: Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen and Yadier Molina
The winner of each award will be announced next week on MLB Network. Here’s the schedule:
AL & NL Rookie of the Year: November 11th
AL & NL Cy Young: November 13th
AL & NL Most Valuable Player: November 14th
As stated in a previous blog post, I plan on posting a recap of each winner, along with a look at how well I did with my predictions, in a blog entry after each award is officially announced. So be sure to check back for that . . . .
The 2013 MLB Players Choice Awards were announced last night on MLB Network. These awards, as the name would suggest, are voted on by players from around baseball — American League players vote for American League players, with National League players voting for National League players, in most categories – each September, when they receive a ballot to make their pick for each category.
The winning players for each category are awarded a grant from the MLB Players Trust, ranging from 20,000-50,000 dollars depending on the category they win. The money goes to the winners’ choice of charity, with some players deciding to split up the money between multiple causes.
This marks the 21st annual Players Choice Awards, which began in 1992.
Here’s a recap of the winners, with my thoughts on each:
OUTSTANDING ROOKIE AWARD ($20,000)
AL Nominees- Chris Archer, Jose Iglesias and Wil Myers
AL Winner- Wil Myers
NL Nominees- Shelby Miller, Jose Fernandez and Yasiel Puig
NL Winner- Jose Fernandez
In my opinion, the players got it right. While there were several good candidates from both leagues to win the Outstanding Rookie, none deserved it more than Wil Myers and Jose Fernandez. Myers batted .293 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI’s while Fernandez went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA. Truly incredible inaugural seasons, and I hope the baseball writers pick them for the Rookie of the Year award next week.
OUTSTANDING PITCHER AWARD ($20,000)
AL Nominees- Anibal Sanchez, Yu Darvish and Max Scherzer
AL Winner- Max Scherzer
NL Nominees- Francisco Liriano, Clayton Kershaw and Jose Fernandez
NL Winner- Clayton Kershaw
There was really no competition here. While every nominee had a great season, both Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw stand above the rest. While Darvish’s 2.83 ERA and 277 strikeouts are impressive, beating out Scherzer in each category, it’s hard to ignore Scherzer’s win-loss record of 21-3. Likewise, it’s hard to ignore Clayton Kershaw’s ERA of 1.83 for the season. Both will likely be named the Cy Young award winners for their respective league.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD ($20,000)
AL Nominees- Scott Kazmir, Victor Martinez and Mariano Rivera
AL Winner- Mariano Rivera
NL Nominees- Marlon Byrd, Francisco Liriano and Troy Tulowtzki
NL Winner- Francisco Liriano
Of the American League nominees, you knew it was going to be Mariano Rivera. There was no way his final season, in which he recorded 44 saves after suffering a season ending injury in 2012, was going to be overlooked. Rivera truly had a comeback year for the ages. On the National League side, Francisco Liriano had a great year, going 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA, however, I thought Troy Tulowitzki deserved the award, after the subpar seasons he’s had lately. But it is what it is.
OUTSTANDING PLAYER AWARD ($20,000)
AL Nominees- Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Chris Davis
AL Winner- Miguel Cabrera
NL Nominees- Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen and Yadier Molina
NL Winner- Andrew McCutchen
It came down to Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis for me in the AL, as both had amazing years — not to take anything away from Mike Trout. Cabrera ended up receiving the honor, as his batting average of .348 to go along with 44 homers and 137 RBI’s made the hard decision a little easier. Andrew McCutchen won for the NL, and I by no means agree with that. McCutchen had a great year, no doubt about that, but Paul Goldschmidt’s .302 average with league leading 36 home runs and 125 deserves it more.
MARVIN MILLER MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD ($50,000)
Nominees- Carlos Beltran, Raul Ibanez and Mariano Rivera
Winner- Mariano Rivera
The Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award is given each year to the player most recognized for outstanding on-field performance and off-field contributions to his community. Past winners include Mark McGwire, Albert Pujols and Chipper Jones. This year it went to Mariano Rivera, and I couldn’t think of a better person to receive this award.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD ($50,000)
Nominees- Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis and Clayton Kershaw
Winner- Miguel Cabrera
It’s always difficult to pick between a hitter and a pitcher, as their stats are completely different. Having to choose between a .348 average, in Miguel Cabrera, 53 home runs, in Chris Davis, and a 1.83 ERA, in Clayton Kershaw, makes things even more complicated. But the players went with Cabrera, and I can’t argue against that. This is the second straight season Cabrera has been named player of the year by the players. In addition, it was announced that Miguel Cabrera will be the new cover player for MLB 14 The Show. Not a bad year for Cabrera.
As I stated in my American League MVP blog post, choosing the Most Valuable Player from each league is the most difficult decision of all the major baseball awards handed out at the conclusion of each season. With Rookie of the Year and Cy Young you can look solely at which player had the better stats, however, Most Valuable Player involves a bit more than just stats. While it’s important that a MVP winner had a great statistical year, the best offensive player doesn’t automatically become the most valuable, in my opinion.
The way I view things, MVP has to come from a team that had a decent year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their team had to make the playoffs. Contrary to what many believe, I feel the Most Valuable Player award needs to go to a player on a team that helped their team win the most, regardless of a postseason appearance. Remove them from the lineup and the team would be nowhere near the same.
Therefore, after considering the stats and going over a few other of my “requirements”, I narrowed down my top candidates for National League MVP to Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen and Yasiel Puig.
Every single one of those players had a great season, however, I feel McCutchen can quickly be knocked off the list. While he had a good year, McCutchen wasn’t the only reason the Pirates made the postseason for the first time in over twenty years. Other players on the team made a big impact as well. Last season McCutchen batted 10 points higher, blasted 10 more home runs and drove in 12 more runs than he did this year, yet the Pirates finished fourth in their division – further proving my point.
Of the three remaining candidates, in Goldschmidt, Freeman and Puig, as much as I feel Puig made an incredible impact, and initially had him as my vote up until a few days ago, I thought the better of picking him. But that’s not to knock what he did this season. Batting .319 with 19 homers and 42 RBI’s in 104 games, Puig came up in June and helped completely turn around a struggling Dodgers team, taking them from 7.5 games back of first upon his arrival, to winning their division by eleven games. The impact he made is vastly evident, but it wasn’t quite enough, when you take the time to really think about it.
In the end, I went with Paul Goldschmidt for National League Most Valuable Player, despite the fact that the Diamondback’s missed the playoffs.
Goldschmidt had an incredible year, leading all of the National League in home runs (36) and RBI’s (125), to go along with a batting average of .302. The D-back’s didn’t make the postseason, but Goldschmidt came up big in key spots all throughout the entire season to give his team a great chance to win. Therefore, when choosing between Freddie Freeman — even though the Braves made it past the regular season — and Paul Goldschmidt, I had to go with the D-back’s first baseman — the difficult but logical choice.
With a win on Tuesday night, against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Pittsburg Pirates secured a non-losing record for the first time since 1992.
Letting that sink in for a minute — their first .500 or above season in 21 years — this is a big deal. Not only for the Pirates and their fans, but for fans of all teams around the baseball world. Anytime a teams goes on such a bad skid for so long, you find yourself rooting for them to succeed. And that’s just what everyone has been doing as of late.
But now isn’t the time to celebrate, according to many. While the Pirates have accomplished something great, by their recent standards, they still need to keep their focus on winning; which they will assuredly do. Although they will undoubtedly make the playoffs, they still determine their own fate, in terms of whether their playoff appearance will be via a division title, or a Wild Card spot — the title, obviously, being their goal.
Many, however, don’t see the Pirates as having a good enough team to hold off the Cardinals and Reds for first place in the National League Central, but I have to disagree. While the Reds and Cardinals are both excellent teams, the Pirates are a completely different team than they have been in years past. A team that I could see making a deep playoff push.
The Pirates have a decent pitching staff — in veterans A.J. Burnett and Jason Grilli (their closer), as well as rookie Gerritt Cole — and while they haven’t been anywhere near dominant for the majority of the year, they’ve found a way to come through in big games–the same holding true for the rest of the team. Andrew McCutchen has had a great season, and newly acquired players, Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd, are sure to help out in the final stretch.
With just over three weeks remaining in the regular season, where anything can happen, it’s game on in the National League Central. The Pirates, Cardinals and Reds are likely to exchange places a few times in the standings before all is said and done, but in the end, I feel that the Pirates’ magic they’ve had all season long will continue into the post season.
Whether it’s Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks, Red Sox vs. Rays, or Reds vs. Pirates, more and more lately have pitchers been hitting opposing teams’ star players for retaliation against what they feel a player, or the team as a whole, did to “show them up”. While there are a few baseball fans who seem to enjoy this kind of baseball, I, along with many other baseball fans, am getting somewhat tired of it all. I have no problem with evening the score when necessary, but things have gone far beyond that recently.
To me, the only time it’s “acceptable” to intentionally hit a batter is after you feel an opposing pitcher did the same to a player on your team, for whatever reason. Then, if you feel the need, after you plunk the batter, that should be the end of it. You evened the score. But all of this hitting a batter because he celebrated too much after a home run, or a great play, is absolutely ridiculous.
The best way to get back at that player is to get them out. That’s your job anyway. I’ve never understood getting upset for excessive celebrating anyway. Are you supposed to just hold it all in after you hit a home run, or make a diving play? I don’t think so.
But there’s really not much that can be done to stop it. Some have suggested increasing the penalties for suspensions resulting from intentionally hitting a batter, especially when it’s up around the head, but I don’t think that would do a lot of good.
Like with performance enhancing drugs, you’re going to have players who don’t care about the consequences, no matter how great, and just do what they want. And while worsening suspension time might defer a few, there’s no fair way to do it for a pitcher. If you suspend them for 5-10 games, it’s usually only one start. But if you suspend them for 5-10 starts, they miss nearly two months. It’s all very complicated. It’s hard to say exactly what should be done.
So I guess what I’m saying is, I’m tired of what baseball is turning in to. It’s time to go back to striking a guy out for his past antics, instead of throwing up around his head. It’s time to stop all of this before it gets so far out of control that you’ll never return things to the way they used to be. But unfortunately, it may already be at that point.
We’re just over a week into the 2013 MLB regular season, and I wanted to post a blog, just like last year, on the fastest and slowest starts to the season for both entire teams and individual players. While it’s a small sample size, the list gives you an idea of what’s been taking place so far this season. Some of the players and teams are performing nearly as well as expected, but others are putting on performances that I never would’ve predicted them to begin the season with.
FASTEST STARTS TO THE SEASON
1) Braves (6-1)
2) Diamondbacks (5-2)
3) Rockies (5-2)
4) Red Sox (5-2)
5) Athletics (5-2)
6) Rangers (5-2)
7) Reds (5-2)
8) Mets (5-2)
The Braves currently lead all of baseball with a win percentage of .857. Justin Upton has been making a major impact, hitting six home runs in the first seven games, and I fully expected the Braves to have a season long performance like the one they’re currently starting out with. The Diamondbacks, Rockies, Red Sox and Mets are all surprising me, so far, as I expected them to all have poor seasons, and while it’s still very early, at the moment, they’re making things interesting. As far as the Athletics, Rangers and Reds go, it’s not a shock that they’re doing so well. Though I thought the Rangers would have a bit of a struggle this season, without Josh Hamilton, they seem to be doing just fine. It should be interesting to see if they can keep it up.
1) Adam Jones (.500)
2) Jed Lowrie (.500)
3) Carlos Santana (.500)
4) Michael Cuddyer (.478)
5) Carl Crawford (.450)
6) Jean Segura (.450)
*Minimum of 20 AB’s
Adam Jones is the only player on the list of fastest start players that I’m not surprised with. Having recorded a 32 homer, 82 RBI season, in 2012, Jones is in the prime of his career, and is set to have another fantastic season. For Jed Lowrie, Carlos Santana, Michael Cuddyer, Carl Crawford and Jean Segura, they better enjoy the hot start while it lasts, because I don’t see any of them having an all that spectacular year. But as with anything in baseball, there’s always the chance for me to be proven wrong.
SLOWEST STARTS TO THE SEASON
1) Astros (1-6)
2) Marlins (1-6)
3) Padres (1-5)
4) Pirates (2-5)
5) Brewers (2-5)
6) Phillies (2-5)
7) Cubs (2-5)
After beating the Rangers, 8-2, on Opening Night, the Astros have done nothing but go down hill, ever since. With 155 games left to play, and just 94 losses away from 100, it’s likely the Astros’ season will end with yet another year of 100+ losses. The Marlins, Padres and Pirates are all teams that have the potential to win now, but it’s likely to be a year or two before they start to become big time contenders in their divisions. The Brewers and Phillies are the only teams that surprise me, somewhat, on this list, but they just haven’t performed well so far this year. And as for the Cubs, they’re just being themselves; destined to make it 105 seasons without a World Series title.
1) Jeff Keppinger (.048)
2) Ryan Hanigan (.050)
3) Aaron Hicks (.067)
4) Pedro Alvarez (.080)
5) Neil Walker (.083)
*Minimum of 20 AB’s
No one on this list surprises me, other than Neil Walker. Walker is arguably the best player on the list, but he hasn’t been able to find his groove so far this season. I look for him to get things going, however, and record another season like he has the past few years–10-15 homers and 65-80 RBI’s, with a high 200′s batting average. For Jeff Keppinger, Ryan Hanigan, Aaron Hicks and Pedro Alvarez, it will be interesting to see if they get their acts together, or if this is a sign of things to come for them this season, as things can certainly only go up.
Keep in mind, while those are the players and teams with the fastest and slowest starts to the season, there’s still a lot of baseball left to be played, and anything can happen. Only time will tell if the current trends will last; that’s why they play 162 games.
This is the first of four blog posts I plan to publish over the coming days; all of which will focus on who I feel should win the three major awards of Most Valuable Player (MVP), Cy Young and Rookie of the Year (ROY).
I’m not all that influenced by stats, and I especially don’t lean towards a player just because their team made it to the playoffs and another player’s team didn’t. I’ve always chosen to look at it by which player had the greatest positive impact on their team, and I’m not about to change things.
As I stated in a previous blog entry, I don’t want you to think of these as predictions, but rather as cases for which player I feel deserves each award. The player I feel most deserves a specific award isn’t necessarily the player I think will win it. (Keep that in mind as you’re reading.)
If MVP voting took place during the All-Star break Andrew McCutchen would have my vote, hands down. McCutchen was a big reason the Pirates were 11 games over .500 and atop the NL Central at the time. With McCutchen leading the way, it appeared that the Pirates were well on their way to the teams first .500+ season since 1992–but things didn’t go as planned for McCutchen and the Bucco’s.
In the games following the Midsummer Classic, the Pirates did nothing but tumble; with McCutchen sharing in the same fate. Losing a spot in the standings each month following July, the Pirates finished the year 18 games back of first place in their division (good enough for 4th); with McCutchen’s batting average falling from .362 to .327 over that time span.
Though McCutchen batted .327 on the year, with 31 home runs and 96 RBI’s, he couldn’t keep up the pace throughout the entire season, which is very key in my book when it comes to making a selection for MVP. When a team relies on a player as much as the Pirates relied on McCutchen, that player has to be able to step up all season long to ensure that the team succeeds. Unfortunately, McCutchen wasn’t able to pull if off.
Thus, McCutchen isn’t my pick for MVP…
When Melky Cabrera was suspended in August for his PED use, the Giants’ needed someone to step up and start impacting the team in a major way, should they have a hope at keeping up with the sizzling Dodgers; who were one game ahead in the division standings at the time. That person would end up being Buster Posey….Brandon Belt…Pablo Sandoval…and pretty much 75 percent of the team. But wait….that’s more than one person. I know. (That’s exactly my point.)
Buster Posey put up incredible stats this season, batting .336 on the year, with 24 home runs and 103 RBI’s, but he didn’t single-handedly put the Giants in the postseason; which is what I’ve been hearing a lot of lately. While Posey certainly played a major role in the Giants’ run to the playoffs, he wasn’t the only one coming up big night, after night, after night. There were several other guys that made major contributions as well.
That’s one of the main reasons I feel voting for MVP based on whether or not a player’s team made the playoffs is crazy. Nearly 100 percent of the time, a player didn’t push his team into the playoffs without some help from his teamates along the way.
So, although Posey had a stellar year, he didn’t quite make my cut…
My Vote for M.V.P.
My vote for Most Valuable Player of the National League goes to Ryan Braun.
While he didn’t ‘lead his team to the playoffs’, no player in the National League had the impact that Braun had on the Brewers. Without Braun, the Brewers don’t finish out the season as strongly as they did. Which is one of the key reasons he’s my pick for MVP.
Braun was ‘that guy’ for the Brewers all season long, and he didn’t let up when September rolled around, even though it appeared the Brewers were out of contention; if anything, Braun got even better. That’s the kind of player Braun is. He impacts his team day in and day out, even when it would be easy to hang it up.
Something I’ve been hearing a lot of lately is that Braun won’t win the MVP award due to his 2011 Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) accusation. Even though Braun was found not guilty, some are still holding it against him. My response to that being: Get over it.
By putting up even better numbers than last year, Braun has proven to the world that he doesn’t need banned substances to make him a beast; he’s a beast by nature. Though his batting average fell 13 points from last year, Braun smacked 8 more home runs–and for good measure, an extra RBI–than he did in 2011. While I don’t hold too much stock in stats, that really jumps out at me.
It’s incredible what Braun was able to do all season long to help out his team. He had the greatest impact of any other player in the NL, and doing so earns him my pick for 2012 National League MVP.