Results tagged ‘ Awards ’

Story Lines Worth Watching In the Final Month

It’s hard to believe but the 2013 MLB regular season is almost over. (Today marks exactly one month until the final games of the season, on September 29th.) Teams are making their final push for the post season, and every player is doing their best to finish out the season strong. With all of this going on, I thought I’d post an entry on the five main story lines I plan to keep an eye on throughout the final stretch.

American League Home Run Race

Davis_Cabrera_6jrfjauv_n0whcjqfIt’s a two-man race, between the Orioles’ Chris Davis and the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, for who will receive the title of 2013 home run champion. But more importantly for Cabrera, he’s not just chasing down Davis for that title alone; Cabrera is trying to do what no one in the history of the game has ever been able to do: Win back-to-back Triple Crowns.

Davis currently holds a four home run lead over Cabrera (who is day-to-day, after suffering an injury in Thursday’s game) — Cabrera leads all of baseball in batting average and RBI’s — and with a mere month left of the season, it’s going to take a real display of power for Cabrera to overtake Davis. But if anyone can do it, Miguel Cabrera can.

Candidates for Rookie of the Year Award

puig_original_original_crop_exactThe Rookie of the Year award is going to be a difficult award to decide, for both the American League and National League. Both leagues have several players that have strong cases, so it’s going to be interesting to see which player will have a great final month to move themselves above the rest.

Currently, top candidates from the American League, for the R.O.Y. award, include Wil Myers, Chris Archer and David Lough, while the National League has quite a few more top candidates, in Yasiel Puig, Matt Adams, Nolan Arenado, Jedd Gyorko, Evan Gattis, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Jose Fernandez and Shelby Miller, among others. Making this a story line well worth watching.

National League Central Division

imagesCAQNTVO6The National League Central is currently the closest of all the divisions in Major League Baseball. Less than four games separate the top three teams, being the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds. (This is the first season in 21 years that the Pirates will finish with a winning record.) With the Diamondback’s slowly falling out of the race to catch up — though there’s still a slight chance they could — it would appear to be between these three teams for who will win the division.

No matter which team is able to hold on in the final month of the season, to win the division, all three are likely to make the post season, with the extra Wild Card spot, that was added last season.

Max Scherzer’s Cy Young Quest

untitledOf all of the great pitchers in the American League none have been as dominant throughout the entire season as Max Scherzer. Having gone 19-1 — only the third pitcher to ever start a season winning 19 out of their first 20 decisions — with a 2.90 ERA, Scherzer is well on his way to winning the Cy Young award, if he can keep up the great performance.

Though I think Yu Darvish will get a lot of consideration for the award — rightfully so, currently sitting at 12-5, with a 2.68 ERA, leading all of baseball in strikeouts — the award is currently Scherzer’s to lose, in the minds of many around the baseball world.

Houston Astros’ Loss Record

afbe15b4-c329-4994-8d21-cec9680d2991news_ap_org_r620x349With 30 games left to play, the Houston Astros hold a win-loss record of 44-88 — the worst record in all of baseball. They currently sit 33.5 games out of first place in their division, and look to have a losing record for the fifth straight season. Having lost 107 games in 2012, and 106 in 2011, it will be interesting to see if the Astros can finish with fewer than 100 losses this season.

They’ll have to go 19-11, in their final 30 games, which isn’t impossible, but with it being the Astros, it’s not all that likely. It should be interesting to see if the Astros can at least finish out the year on a high note, after yet another disappointing season.

What’re you looking forward to? Leave a comment below.

2012 Silver Slugger Awards

Thursday night was the 32nd annual Silver Slugger Awards, which began in 1980.

The Silver Slugger Award is awarded 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.

These 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.)

Below is a list of the NL and AL 2012 Silver Slugger Award winners. I’ve included my opinions as well as some facts that I found interesting:

OUTFIELD

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Bonds holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as an outfielder, with twelve.

NL Winners: Andrew McCutchen (1st S.S. award), Jay Bruce (1st S.S. award) and Ryan Braun (5th S.S. award).

AL Winners: Mike Trout (1st S.S. award), Josh Hamilton (3rd S.S. award) and Josh Willingham (1st S.S. award).

Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Mike Trout and Josh Willingham are all first time recipients of the Silver Slugger award. Putting up impressive stats throughout the 2012 season, they’re all worthy, thus I fully agree with the voters’ picks. I also agree with the selections of Ryan Braun and Josh Hamilton for the award, as both had career best years in many categories. This is Braun’s 5th straight Silver Slugger, and Hamilton’s 3rd career award.

FIRST BASE

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- Adam LaRoche (1st S.S. award)

AL Winner- Prince Fielder (3rd S.S. award)

Adam LaRoche earned his first career Silver Slugger award by posting a .271 batting average with 33 home runs and 100 RBI’s this past season. While LaRoche was impressive, Prince Fielder was even more impressive, as he batted .313 with 30 homers and 108 RBI’s. The thing that really jumps out at me about Fielder is that he was able to compile 108 RBI’s while spending the year batting behind the Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera (who recorded 139 RBI’s of his own). That’s absolutely mind boggling, and so I fully agree with him winning his second straight Slugger.

SECOND BASE

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Ryne Sandberg holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a second baseman, with seven.

NL Winner- Aaron Hill (2nd S.S. award)

AL Winner- Robinson Cano (4th S.S. award)

Aaron Hill took home his 2nd career Silver Slugger award, batting .302 with 26 home runs and 85 RBI’s this season. There were a few other National League candidates I felt were just as worthy of the award, but I can’t say I disagree with the selection of Hill. As far as Cano goes, he once again led all American League second basemen in the major categories, and as a result, won his third straight Slugger award.

THIRD BASE

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Wade Boggs holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a third baseman, with eight.

NL Winner- Chase Headley (1st S.S. award)

AL Winner- Miguel Cabrera (4th S.S. award)

Chase Headley was the shock of this years awards for me. It wasn’t that he didn’t deserve it–I mean, he put up great stats–but I didn’t expect him to beat out the other candidates. But hey, congratulations to him. As far as Miguel Cabrera goes, he was a no brainer to win. Cabrera led all American League batters in home runs, RBI’s and batting average, so it was no surprise when he received his 4th career Silver Slugger award.

SHORT STOP

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 (1st S.S. award)

AL Winner- Derek Jeter (5th S.S. award)

Ian Desmond posted some impressive numbers this season, earning him his 1st career Silver Slugger award. He came through in the clutch a lot for the Nationals, and proved to be one of the best hitting short stops of the 2012 season. The American League portion saw Derek Jeter taking home his 5th career Slugger, which was no shock. Jeter led all of baseball in hits (the 3rd oldest to ever do so), and most deserved the award.

CATCHER

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Piazza holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a catcher, with ten.

NL Winner- Buster Posey (1st S.S. award)

AL Winner- A.J. Pierzynski (1st S.S. award)

If Chase Headley was the shock of this year’s awards, A.J. Pierzynski was the second greatest surprise. Many had Joe Mauer winning the award (myself included) but it was Pierzynski winning his first career Silver Slugger. While the AL winner was somewhat of a surprise, the National League winner Buster Posey was just the opposite. Posey put up MVP caliber numbers, and thus was able to win his first career Slugger award.

PITCHER

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Hampton holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a pitcher, with five.

Winner- Stephen Strasburg (1st S.S. award)

Pitchers aren’t really known for their offense, but there are a few who can actually hit. None more so in 2012 than Stephen Strasburg who was able to record 13 hits in 47 at-bats, which comes out to a .277 batting average. In addition, Strasburg amassed 7 RBI’s, including his first career homer, making him the most deserving of the Slugger award among pitchers.

DESIGNATED HITTER

Most Silver Slugger Awards: David Ortiz holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a Designated Hitter, with five.

Winner- Billy Butler (1st S.S. award)

Posting a batting average of .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI’s, Billy Butler proved to be the most consistent Designated Hitter of the 2012 season, earning him his first career Silver Slugger award. Comparing Butler’s stats to the other DH’s throughout baseball, he was the most deserving of them all, so I agree with the voters.

2012 SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS FAST FACTS

  • There were 11 first time Silver Slugger winners.
  • Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun were the only winners who also won a Silver Slugger last year.
  • The Nationals had the most winners of any team, with three.
  • There were four Silver Slugger winners who also won Gold Glove awards this year.
  • Derek Jeter received a 1.5 million dollar bonus for winning the award.

2012 BBWAA ROY, Cy Young and MVP Award Finalists

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) award finalists for 2012 Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP were announced Wednesday night on MLB Network. For the most part I agree with the finalists, but there are a few I’m surprised about, so I thought I’d take the time to share my thoughts, starting with Rookie of the Year:

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

American League: Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish and Mike Trout.

There’s really no contest when it comes to American League Rookie of the Year. If your last name isn’t Trout, you don’t stand a chance. While both Cespedes and Darvish had great rookie seasons, neither came close to the year that Mike Trout had. Posting a .326 batting average with 30 home runs and 83 RBI’s, Trout led all AL rookies in every conceivable category. So, unless they change the voting procedure and decide to draw the winners’ name out of a hat, Mike Trout will be the recipient of the award.

National League: Todd Frazier, Bryce Harper and Wade Miley.

As far as National League Rookie of the Year goes, it’s a bit more of a challenge to make a selection–especially when your original pick isn’t one of the finalists. I still feel that Wilin Rosario (my original pick for the award) should at least be in the final three, but alas he’s nowhere to be found. I knew it was a long shot for Rosario to win, but to not be a finalist is a real shame in my opinion. But anyway, looking at the players that did make the final list, I would have to say that Bryce Harper stands the best chance of winning the award by popularity alone. Having been in the spotlight for so long, that’ll probably be just enough to put him over the top with the voters.

CY YOUNG

American League: David Price, Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver.

A lot of people feel that Fernando Rodney should be one of the finalists for American League Cy Young, but personally I’m glad he isn’t. I don’t like the idea of a non-starter winning the award; even if Rodney did have an ERA of 0.60. Of the finalists, I still side with my original pick of Jered Weaver, but I have a feeling it’s going to be David Price that wins the award, though to be honest, I wouldn’t be shocked or disappointed with any of the three winning. They’re all worthy.

National League: R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw.

As with the AL, many feel that closers Aroldis Chapman and/or Craig Kimbrel should be finalists for National League Cy Young. You already know how I feel about closers winning the award, so I’ll move on to picking between the three remaining pitchers. My original pick of Clayton Kershaw is one of the finalists, but I don’t feel very confident that he’ll win. I think it’ll go to Dickey or Gonzalez, but as with American League, I wouldn’t be upset with any of them taking home the award.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

American League: Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout.

As far as the American League portion goes, you can go ahead and eliminate Beltre, Cano and Hamilton. They all had great years, but it’s going to come down to Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. As I’ve stated many times, I feel strongly that Trout should win the award. He exemplified just what it means to be the Most Valuable player to your given team, which is what the award is all about. So, while many feel Cabrera should win the MVP–mainly because he was the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown–I’m still sticking with my original pick of Mike Trout.

National League: Ryan Braun, Chase Headley, Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina and Buster Posey.

My opinion of who should win the National League MVP isn’t quite as strong as with the AL portion, but I still feel that Ryan Braun should win the award over Buster Posey. One of the reasons people are leaning towards Posey over Braun is that Posey and the Giants won the World Series while Braun and the Brewers didn’t even make the playoffs, but that’s not really a fair thing to base your vote on. MVP is an individual award for the player who most impacted their team, and in my opinion that was Ryan Braun.

The winner of each award will be announced next week on MLB Network.

Here’s the schedule:

AL & NL Rookie of the Year : Monday, November 12th

AL & NL Cy Young: Wednesday, November 14th

AL & NL Most Valuable Player: Thursday, November 15th

As stated in a previous blog post, I plan on posting a recap of the winner–along with a look at how well I did with my predictions–in a blog entry following the day each award is announced. So be sure to check back for that…..

Finally Back Up and Running

Question: What do you get when you combine a shattered computer screen with an internet connection problem?

Answer: A two week gap in blog posts–which is the case here.

Unfortunately, since I wasn’t able to hop on my laptop and type up a blog entry over the past couple of weeks, I missed out on writing about the World Series like I had been planning to. In addition, I was unable to post entries on the Gold Glove awards, as well as the Player’s Choice awards, but although I missed out on those, I’m still planning to post something on the Silver Slugger awards, which are set to be announced Thursday night.

After that will come posts on the 2012 Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP award winners. They will be published the day after each is announced and will include a recap of the winner along with a look at how well I did with my predictions (probably not all that well).

Following the award winners blog posts–which will run through the end of next week–I’m just planning to post my thoughts on the latest MLB news as it happens. That’ll be the case for most of the offseason, but I might change it up here and there; I haven’t decided yet. One thing I am going to attempt to do is post an offseason Q and A with a MiLB or MLB player once every two weeks starting after next weeks’ awards posts. I should be able to pull it off, but it really comes down to player cooperation.

So, as of right now, that’s the plan for the offseason. Keep in mind, however, that a lot can happen between now and the beginning of the 2013 MLB season, so make sure to check back often. I’ll be sure to let you know if my plans change….

My Blogging Plans for Next Week

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile you know that every now and then I like to post an entry detailing my blogging plans for the next week or so. It’s just something I like to do to give you (the reader) a general idea of what’s to come.

All of next week I’m going to be posting blog entries on which players I feel deserve the three major awards of Most Valuable Player (MVP), Cy Young and Rookie of the Year (ROY). I’ll be giving my take on both the American League and National League, and as of right now, the plan is as follows:

Tuesday, October 9th: National League Most Valuable Player

Wednesday, October 10th: American League Cy Young

Thursday, October 11th: National League Cy Young

Friday, October 12th: American and National League Rookie of the Year

While the blog posts are going to be about which player I feel deserves each award, I don’t want you to think of them as predictions. Just because I think a particular player deserves an award doesn’t necessarily mean that’s who I think will win it–as was the case with my post on American League M.V.P.

Now, you may be wondering why I’m taking the time to blog about awards, that won’t be voted on until November, during a time when the playoffs are beginning to heat up. It’s really quite simple: I can’t blog about EVERY game that’s taking place at the moment–that would take too much time and effort–and closer to voting time the World Series will be taking place (which I fully plan to blog about, just as I did last year). So in reality, this is the only shot I have at fitting it in.

If anything MAJOR happens in the playoffs between now and Friday I’ll be sure to blog about it, but odds are that while there will definitely be some dramatic moments, nothing extremly blog worthy will occur.

So, unless something unexpected happens, get ready for a busy week of blog posts.

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