Results tagged ‘ Major League Baseball ’

Will 2016 Finally be the Year for the White Sox?

The Washington Nationals were hands down the most disappointing team of the 2015 season, but the White Sox weren’t all that far behind. After picking up Jeff Samardzija last offseason, along with David Robertson, Adam LaRoche and Melky Cabrera to go along with their already decent rotation and lineup, the White Sox were given a great shot byLose many people to make it back to the playoffs (at least via a Wild Card spot) for the first time since 2008.

But a number of things happened that kept the White Sox from ultimately reaching the postseason.

Samardzija, who had posted a stellar 2.99 ERA in 2014 and was being counted on to help the White Sox win a lot of games, was simply a bust this past season, plain and simple. Posting an 11-13 record with a 4.96 ERA, Samardzija did little at all to help the Sox. (Even so, the Giants have signed him to a 5-year, 90 million dollar contract.)

Their other big pickups for 2015 didn’t fare all that much better. David Robertson posted a decent 3.41 ERA, but wasn’t the dominant closer he’s been in the past. In addition, Adam LaRoche hit only 12 homers and batted .207, and Melky Cabrera, while he had a decent year, hitting .273 with 12 homers and 77 RBI’s, didn’t do quite as good as many felt he would.

It wasn’t just the newcomers who performed poorly, however. Of all the players on the roster who played in a full season worth of games, only Jose Abreu (Abreu’s 30 homers and 101 RBI’s were the only true stellar stats of any White Sox player in 2015), Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera hit above .270. With such a poor offensive showing, the Sox placed 22nd in all of baseball with a mere .250 team average.

On the flip side, the Sox 3.98 team ERA wasn’t terrible, but it was still only good enough for 14th best. When you have a lineup that’s hitting on all cylinders, you can make up for a lack of dominant pitching. But when you have a lineup perform like the White Sox did in 2015, a near four team ERA on the year simply doesn’t cut it.

But there is a bit of hope for the White Sox heading into next season. Despite losing Jeff Samardzija to the Giants, they still have Jose Quintana who posted a team best 3.36 ERA in 2015, as well as their Ace, Chris Sale, who recorded a 3.41 ERA. Rookie Carlos Rodon should also be a big piece of the puzzle next season, as while he posted a 3.75 ERA in 2015, he has all the talent in the world to become a dominant starting pitcher.

Furthermore, the White Sox have made several key additions already this offseason that will inevitably help improve their offense immediately beginning on Opening Day 2016. The pickup of catcher Alex Avila will be a nice addition to Fraziertheir lineup, as should the trade they made for Brett Lawrie. But there is one key player the White Sox acquired this past week that has many people abuzz around the baseball world.

In a three-team, seven-player trade on Wednesday, the White Sox picked up Todd Frazier from the Reds to man the hot corner for them in 2016. In return, the White Sox sent Frankie Montas, Micah Johnson and Trayce Thompson to the Dodgers who then sent Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler and Brandon Dixon to the Reds. All in all, I see it as a good trade for everyone, though the loss of three good prospects could wind up hurting the White Sox down the road.

But the White Sox aren’t concerned with “what may have been” a year or two down the road. They’re focused on right here, right now. The pickup of Frazier, in addition to several other smaller pieces, makes the statement that the White Sox are looking to win in 2016. They certainly have the pieces if all of their players can simply live up to expectations.

As we know, however, that hardly ever happens. Teams who seemingly have everything all figured out are usually are the ones who turn out to be the biggest disappointments. Even so, if the White Sox can make a few more moves to better their team in the several months remaining until the start of the 2016 season, I really like their chances of making it a special year when all is said and done.

Then again, I said that about several teams last season . . . .

Q and A With Luke Weaver

Luke Weaver was drafted by the Cardinals in the 1st round of the 2014 draft, after posting a 2.62 ERA over 16 starts his final year at Florida State University.Weaver

Since the draft, Weaver has been even more remarkable, holding a 2.12 ERA over the course of two seasons of pro ball, including a stunning 1.62 ERA in 2015.

For his efforts this past season, Weaver was chosen to participate in the Arizona Fall League where he continued to work towards being the caliber of pitcher that he’s capable of becoming.

Many believe it won’t be all that long before Weaver makes it to the majors. With the stats he’s posted, it would seem that Weaver is certainly poised to be on the fast track. He holds a good fastball and a changeup that many scouts marvel at, as well as a slider that he’s been working on. If Weaver can continue to put it all together, he should be pitching for St. Louis before all is said and done.

Luke Weaver — top prospect in the Cardinals’ organization — took the time recently to answer some of my questions:

1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Who was your biggest baseball influence growing up?

I want to say around 5 years old. Those memories are a little blurring. My biggest influence was my dad. He was always there no matter what and spent countless hours helping me get better. It didn’t matter what he had going on, he would always make time for me.

2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?

I can’t say I ever had one die-hard favorite player. I always enjoyed watching a bunch of players. If I had to say one it would be Juan Pierre. I loved watching him use his speed to make things happen. He’s a low key guy, who is a Christ follower and went about his business the right way. He’s very involved in the community, and is a great role model all the way around.

3.) Back in your college days at FSU, you had the opportunity to pitch for the 2013 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. What was the overall experience of that like? What did you take away from playing with some of the best college talent from around the country?

That experience was amazing. It was such an honor, not only getting to play with some of the best collegiate players out there but to wear the country’s colors. I took a lot away from it. Being able to pick their brains about all kinds of things was really insightful. Getting to mesh with the fun personalities was a blast as well.

4.) You were drafted by the Cardinals in the 1st round of the 2014 draft. What was that process like for you? Where were you when you first found out? Initial thoughts?

That process was exciting but also nerve racking. Not knowing what the future had planned was a moment where I had to rely on God and trust in His plan. It meant a lot that I was able to have my family, fiancé, her family and friends join me in that moment. My thoughts were thoughtless. It was such a surreal moment where reality vanishes for a short period a time and I’m thinking, “Did that just happen?”. Just an awesome night!

5.) Although you can still crank it up when needed, your fastball has seen an overall drop from consistent mid-90’s in early college to lower 90’s now in the minors. How (if at all) has that decrease in velocity impacted your approach when going after hitters?

When you get into professional baseball you learn that it doesn’t matter how hard you throw. There are so many guys who have electric arms, so for hitters it’s nothing they haven’t seen before. I went through a time frame where my velocity dropped due to fatigue from a long season. It’s all back now, but it is something I’ve been working on to see where I am comfortable pitching at; where I can be consistently efficient and have full command of all my pitches. It’s all part of the process to be the best pitcher I can be.

6.) You were selected to participate in the 2015 Arizona Fall League. What type of things did you work on out there to improve as a pitcher moving forward?

I worked on a couple of things. First off trying to get these hitters out. They are super advanced and they make hitting seem like it’s the easier thing out of the two. I’m always trying to work on command, but mainly staying at the bottom of the strike zone. I also worked on a slider that is coming along very nicely and will be a huge boost too for me.

7.) Is there any one stat that you pay attention to throughout the season? Or do you try to steer clear of them altogether?

Definitely try to steer clear, but if there is one stat that I try to stay attentive to it is walks. Nothing drives me more crazy than walking people.

8.) What do you feel went well in 2015? What are your goals for 2016?

I think throwing a lot of strikes and keeping the walks down was a huge part of it. Good things tend to happen when you can stay on top of those two things. I’ve spent a lot of time in bullpens and just playing catch to repeat my mechanics. The more comfortable and less I have to think about those things, the more I can concentrate on throwing it over the plate. [Goals for 2016 are] to continue to glorify God and the platform He has given. None of this is possible without Him. Keep growing as a pitcher and to learn some more as I go. Simple as that. Never a time when you can’t learn something and get better.

9.) Favorite TV show? Favorite food?

Big ‘Modern Family’ guy, but more of a variety than a particular one. [For food] I would go anything Asian. They got the good figured out.

10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?

My advice to them is to have as much fun as possible but make sure you’re working hard along the way. Practice doesn’t make you perfect, it makes you better. Believe in yourself and remember to give God the Glory no matter what.

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Big thanks to Luke Weaver for taking the time to answer my questions.

You can follow him on Twitter: @DreamWeava7

Diamondbacks Land Another Impact Pitcher

The Arizona Diamondbacks rattled the baseball world over the weekend when it was announced that they had signed free agent pitcher Zack Greinke to a 6-year, 206 million dollar contract, coming out to over 34 million a season — the most for any player in baseball history. Greinke

With Greinke coming off an incredibly historic year with a mere 1.66 ERA, he was one of the best players available this offseason, so it was no true shock that he was so highly coveted and thus highly paid.

But while that move was a big one for the Diamondbacks, and is sure to help them out in 2016 and beyond, it was another move they made on Tuesday evening that got people truly looking at the D-backs as potential contenders in 2016.

It was announced that the Diamondbacks have acquired Shelby Miller from the Braves in exchange for Ender Inciarte, Aaron Blair and Dansby Swanson. Although they finished third in the division in 2015, the D-backs are ultimately saying they want to break out as frontrunners in 2016.

Miller’s 6-17 win loss record from last season is one of the most deceptive you’ll ever see. Due to a major lack in run support, Miller wasn’t able to pick up a lot of victories, but he was impressive. Posting a 3.02 ERA over 205.1 innings pitched in which he struck out 171 batters, Miller will undoubtedly give the D-backs a nice one-two punch with Greinke.

While picking up Miller means losing Ender Inciarte — a good outfielder –and Aaron Blair — a highly coveted pitching prospect — those players aren’t all that much to lose in the long term. But including Dansby Swanson in the trade is a MLB: Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Philliesmove that many people feel they may regret when all is said and done.

Swanson was the number one overall draft pick in the 2015 draft, and is seen by many people as a future All-Star caliber shortstop. While the D-backs are obviously in a win-now mindset — picking up Miller certainly pushes them towards that — it will be interesting to see whether they come to regret the loss of Swanson down the road.

However, the Diamondbacks are set up nicely. But with them having added some key pieces, they need to make sure they capitalize on them all.

With a rotation that includes Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin as the top three, as well as a lineup with a lot of thump lead by All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, the D-backs could be in business in 2016.

But they wouldn’t be the first team in history to have all the pieces only to see things not work out. Only time will tell how 2016 will pan out.

Blogging Plan for the Final Month of 2015

It seems like just yesterday that I posted my first blog post of 2015 way back in January, however, the month of December is truly only a few short days away. But just because the year is winding down doesn’t mean my blogging is.

While the month of December is never an exceedingly busy blogging month, there are some things I’m planning to write about.

The MLB Winter Meetings are quickly approaching, set to take place from December 6th to the 10th in Nashville, Tennessee. With some of the biggest offseason transactions usually taking place during those meetings, there is sure to be a ton to write about as teams begin reshaping their teams into what they hope will be 2016 contenders.

Following that, at some point (the date hasn’t been announced), the GIBBY Awards (Greatness In Baseball Yearly) are due to be announced, though I haven’t seen anything about that yet. That seems rather odd, with there usually being something about it written several weeks in advance. But as far as I know, the awards are still being handed out. If so, I’ll be sure to post something about it.

Most of December, I’ll just be writing about what seems relevant at the particular point in time, but the one thing I know I’ll be doing, other than what I previously mentioned, is interviews. I posted my first 2015 offseason interview last weekend, but there are two more already complete, with there to be more in the works, theoretically. Those two interviews will likely be posted this coming month.

Other than that, everything is up in the air. You’ll just have to check back to see what I decide to write about.

Keuchel and Arrieta Win Cy Young Award

The Cy Young award — named after the Hall of Fame pitcher who died in 1955 — was first handed out in 1956 to Don Newcombe, with the goal of recognizing the “most valuable pitcher” from each season. The first eleven years of the award saw one pitcher per year receiving the honor, but in 1967 the Cy Young began being handed out to a pitcher from each league who was voted on as the best from the season.

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 Cy Young award, making a total of thirty voters for each league (fifteen teams, with two voters per city). A first place vote earns a player seven points, a second place vote gets four points, a third place vote receives three points, a fourth place vote is worth two points, with a fifth place vote earning a single point. Once added up, the player with the highest overall total wins.

The 2015 Major League Baseball Cy Young award winners for both the American League and National League were announced Wednesday night on MLB Network. Here are the winners, along with my thoughts on each:

AMERICAN LEAGUE CY YOUNG

Original Pick: David Price

Finalists: Sonny Gray, Dallas Keuchel and David Price

Winner: Dallas Keuchel

Thoughts On Dallas Keuchel Winning

Things couldn’t have been any closer statistically between Dallas Keuchel and David Price. Keuchel posted a 2.45 ERA on the season compared to Price’s 2.48 mark; Keuchel won 20 games, while Price netted 18; Price won in the strikeoutDallas Keuchel race, but only by a total of nine punchouts. To make a long story short, their seasons were nearly identical.

Because of the close race, I unsuccessfully picked Price to win, but Keuchel ultimately had a slight edge by pitching 232 innings that included three complete games and two shutouts.

In addition, Keuchel set the record for most games won at home in a single season without a single loss, with 15 (the previous record was 13). For those reasons, the end result wasn’t as close as many had predicted.

Dallas Keuchel won the Cy Young award fairly easily, receiving 22 of the 30 first place votes for a total of 186 points, with David Price coming in second with 143 points and 8 first place votes, and Sonny Gray coming in third with a total of 82 points.

The season Dallas Keuchel had was inarguably unbelievable, and it should be very interesting to see if he can keep it up moving forward. Keuchel becomes the first Astros pitcher to win the Cy Young award since 2004, when Roger Clemens won the honor.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG

Original Pick: Jake Arrieta

Finalists: Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw

Winner: Jake Arrieta

Thoughts On Jake Arrieta Winning

As close as the American League Cy Young race was, the National League side of things was even closer. With Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw all having terrific seasons in vastly different ways, it was difficult to pick between them for who was most deserving.Arrieta

Even so, it was Arrieta who wound up winning the National League Cy Young award. While Greinke’s 1.66 ERA was unfathomable, and Kershaw continued his dominance with 301 strikeouts, Arrieta did something in the second half of the season that I feel truly put him over the top in the Cy Young voting.

Following the All-Star game, Arrieta went on a stretch never before matched in the history of the game. Arrieta posted a mere 0.75 ERA over the entire second half of the season, bringing his ERA down to 1.77 on the year, and ultimately was a big factor in the Cubs making the postseason.

Jake Arrieta got 17 total first place votes for a collective 169 points, barely beating out Zack Greinke’s 147 points including 10 first place selections, and Clayton Kershaw who received three first place votes of his own but finished third with 101 points.

The fifth Cubs pitcher to ever win the award, and the first since Greg Maddux in 1992, Arrieta continues the Cubs’ offseason award winning streak. With Kris Bryant winning the Rookie of the Year and Joe Maddon picking up the Manager of the Year award, the Cubs become the first team with three major award winners since the Mariners in 2001.

With this year’s Cy Young award race being the closest it has been in years, it makes everyone around the baseball world begin to look ahead to the 2016 season. The best teams are usually the ones with great pitching, and it should be fun to see how Dallas Keuchel and Jake Arrieta, and their respective teams, do in 2016 and beyond.

2015 Silver Slugger Awards

The 2015 Silver Slugger award winners were announced Thursday night on MLB Network. While the Gold Glove awards given out on Tuesday focused on the defensive side of baseball, the Silver Slugger awards are given annually to the best offensive player at each position in both theimages1 American League and the National League.

Marking the 36th annual Silver Slugger awards, which began in 1980, the awards are voted on by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball (managers can not vote for their own players), with voters considering several offensive categories in selecting the winners. Those categories include batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, in addition to coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value.

Barry Bonds’ 12 career Silver Slugger awards stand as the most all-time by a single player at any position, and no one from this season’s winners are even close. Here are the list of winners with my thoughts on each:

OUTFIELD

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

NL Winners – Bryce Harper (1st career), Andrew McCutchen (4th career) and Carlos Gonzalez (2nd career)

AL Winners – Mike Trout (4th career), Nelson Cruz (1st career) and J.D. Martinez (1st career)

The year that Bryce Harper had was historic, and he more than deserves the Silver Slugger, blasting 42 homers all while hitting .330 and tallying a 1.109 OPS (the second highest ever for a player age 22 or younger, behind only Ted Williams). Andrew McCutchen picked up his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger award after another solid year with the Pirates, and Carlos Gonzalez won his second career award by having an explosive second half of the season in which he hit 27 of his 40 homers for 2015. On the American League side of things, it was Mike Trout picking up his fourth Silver Slugger, having now won the award in each of his first four MLB seasons. Trout cranked out 41 homers while hitting just a tick under .300, and proved even further that he is one of the best players in the game. Nelson Cruz and J.D. Martinez picked up their first career Silver Slugger awards for their offensive contributions from 2015.

FIRST BASE

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Miguel Cabrera holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a first baseman, with six.

NL Winner – Paul Goldschmidt (2nd career)

AL Winner – Miguel Cabrera (6th career)

Paul Goldschmidt’s 33 homers and .321 average led all of first basemen in the National League, and he became the first 1st baseman since Vladimir Guerrero back in 2002 with an OPS of over 1.000 and 20+ stolen bases in a season. It was once again Miguel Cabrera receiving the honor for the American League, as although he had a somewhat down year by his standards — playing in only 119 games — he did more than enough to take home the hardware.

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 – Dee Gordon (1st career)

AL Winner – Jose Altuve (2nd career)

Dee Gordon has really broken out over the past few seasons, but he really put it all together in 2015. When all was said and done, Gordon hit a cool .333 on the season after getting off to an unbelievably hot start in April. Gordon is the first NL second baseman since Jackie Robinson to win the league batting title, which truly shows how great of a year he had. Like Gordon, Jose Altuve has become a star in recent years. His 204 hits and 58 stolen bases in 2015 led all of the AL, and Altuve is just the 2nd AL second baseman with multiple 200+ hit, 30+ stolen base seasons, joining Rod Carew.

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 – Nolan Arenado (1st career)

AL Winner – Josh Donaldson (1st career)

Both Noland Arenado and Josh Donaldson picked up their very first career Silver Slugger awards on Thursday night, but it’s likely to be the first of many for both. With 42 homers — tied for most in the NL with Bryce Harper — and 130 RBI’s (most in MLB), Arenado finally cemented himself as a full on superstar player in 2015. Donaldson did much of the same, hitting 41 homers and driving in 123 of his own on the verge of what is likely to be an MVP season for him.

SHORTSTOP

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Larkin holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a shortstop, with nine.

NL Winner – Brandon Crawford (1st career)

AL Winner – Xander Bogaerts (1st career)

As with third base, this category also saw both recipients winning for the first time in their career. But also as with the previous category, it’s likely that these won’t be the only Silver Sluggers for them in their careers. Brandon Crawford exploded this season, increasing his homer total from 10 in 2014 up to 21 this year, and setting career highs in hits, doubles, homers, RBI’s and runs. While Xander Bogaerts didn’t have quite the same caliber year, he still had a good one, with a .320 average and 7 homers, becoming the first Red Sox winner of this award since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997.

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 (3rd career)

AL Winner – Brian McCann (6th career)

Buster Posey has been seen as one of the best hitting catchers in all of baseball for quite some time, and he proved why yet again in 2015. His .318 average and 19 homers led all MLB catchers, as he did in the majority of conceivable categories. In the AL, it was Brian McCann picking up his first American League Silver Slugger with his 26 homers, after winning five others in the past with the National League Braves.

PITCHER

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

Winner – Madison Bumgarner (2nd career)

It’s common knowledge that most pitchers simply can’t hit. However, for the few that can, it is a true thing of beauty. Madison Bumgarner falls in that category, leading all pitchers with hits (17), RBI’s (9) and homers (5) this past season. His .247 average isn’t great upon first glance, but when you consider the fact that he’s a pitcher, it takes on a different context. Hitting a homer off of Clayton Kershaw in 2015, and even being called on to pinch hit a few times, there’s no other option for this award than Bumgarner.

DESIGNATED HITTER

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

Winner – Kendrys Morales (1st career)

Something doesn’t add up with the winner of this category. Don’t get me wrong — Kendrys Morales had a great year, hitting 22 homers and leading the Royals in most statistical categories. But there were several other better candidates, in my opinion. David Ortiz once again had his name in the hat after a 37 homer season, as did Edwin Encarnacion with his 39 dingers (the person many people felt should’ve won). However, despite that, the award was given to Morales. It is what it is, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around this one.

2015 SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS FAST FACTS

  • There were nine first time Silver Slugger award winners.
  • There were five Silver Slugger award winners that also won last year.
  • The Giants led with the most winners, with three Silver Slugger award recipients.
  • There were five Silver Slugger winners who also won a 2015 Gold Glove.

2015 Gold Glove Awards; BBWAA Award Finalists

The 2015 Major League Baseball Gold Glove award winners were announced Tuesday night on ESPN2. Given out each year to the players who are judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding Gold Gloveposition in both the National League and the American League, the award is voted on by the managers and coaches in each league (managers can not vote for their own players).

Marking the 59th annual Gold Glove Awards, which began back in 1957, there have been some terrific players to receive the honor. However, no other player has won more Gold Gloves in their career or in a row than Greg Maddux, who took home 18 total and 13 consecutively.

While Maddux’s records seem fairly safe for now, there were some winners for 2015 who could win quite a few Gold Gloves as the years go on. Here’s a recap of the winners, with my thoughts on each:

CATCHER

AL Nominees – Jason Castro, Russell Martin and Salvador Perez

AL Winner – Salvador Perez (3rd career)

NL Nominees – Yadier Molina, Buster Posey and Wilson Ramos

NL Winner – Yadier Molina (8th career)

Picking up his third straight career Gold Glove award, Salvador Perez was by far the best catcher in all of the American League in 2015. On the National League side of things, Yadier Molina takes home his eighth straight Gold Glove award. One of the best at controlling a pitching staff in all of baseball, it’s no surprise that Molina won yet again.

PITCHER

AL Nominees Mark Buehrle, Sonny Gray and Dallas Keuchel

AL Winner – Dallas Keuchel (2nd career)

NL Nominees – Jake Arrieta, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke

NL Winner – Zack Greinke (2nd career)

Dallas Keuchel had a great year and defended his position well all year long, earning him his second career Gold Glove award. Likewise, Zack Greinke had an equally good year for the Dodgers. Both are strong candidate for winning the 2015 Cy Young awards as well.

LEFT FIELDER

AL Nominees – Yoenis Cespedes, Brett Gardner and Alex Gordon

AL Winner – Yoenis Cespedes (1st career)

NL Nominees – Starling Marte, Justin Upton and Christian Yelich

NL Winner – Starling Marte (1st career)

There are a lot of good left fielders in baseball, but Yoenis Cespedes and Starling Marte stand above the rest. Each picked up their first career Gold Gloves, and both could be looking at many more down the road. With them roaming the outfield, they each give their respective teams great defense each and every game.

CENTER FIELDER

AL Nominees – Kevin Kiermier, Kevin Pillar and Mike Trout

AL Winner – Kevin Kiermier (1st career)

NL Nominees – Billy Hamilton, Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Pollock

NL Winner – A.J. Pollock (1st career)

Keeping with the theme of first time winners, both award recipients for center field won their very first award on Tuesday night. Kevin Kiermier has really broken out for the Rays as both an offensive threat and an outfielder who can grab anything hit his way. A.J. Pollock is also a newcomer who has done much of the same.

RIGHT FIELDER

AL Nominees – Kole Calhoun, J.D. Martinez and Josh Reddick

AL Winner – Kole Calhoun (1st career)

NL Nominees – Curtis Granderson, Bryce Harper and Jason Heyward

NL Winner – Jason Heyward (3rd career)

Although any of the three candidates for the American League would’ve been worth winner, I’m glad Kole Calhoun took home the honor. He had a great season, picking up his first career Gold Glove. Jason Heyward picks up his third career Gold Glove after playing a great right field for the Cardinals.

FIRST BASE

AL Nominees – Eric Hosmer, Mike Napoli and Mark Teixeira

AL Winner – Eric Hosmer (3rd career)

NL Nominees – Brandon Belt, Paul Goldschmidt and Adrian Gonzalez

NL Winner – Paul Goldschmidt (2nd career)

Eric Hosmer takes home his third straight Gold Glove award for first base, as he was a big factor in the Royals making it to, and ultimately winning, the World Series. Paul Goldschmidt didn’t guide his team to the playoffs, but he did play another great season at first base for the D-backs, earning him his second career Gold Glove.

SECOND BASE

AL Nominees Jose Altuve, Brian Dozier and Ian Kinsler

AL Winner – Jose Altuve (1st career)

NL Nominees – Dee Gordon, D.J. LeMahieu and Brandon Phillips

NL Winner – Dee Gordon (1st career)

Both Jose Altuve and Dee Gordon won their first career Gold Glove awards on Tuesday, and each are very deserving. Altuve has always stood out at the shortstop position ever since breaking out offensively a few years ago. Gordon also was very deserving of the first of what is sure to be many Gold Gloves for him.

SHORTSTOP

AL Nominees – Xander Bogaerts, Alcides Escobar and Didi Gregorius

AL Winner – Alcides Escobar (1st career)

NL Nominees – Brandon Crawford, Adeiny Hechavarria and Andrelton Simmons

NL Winner – Brandon Crawford (1st career)

Alcides Escobar is the third Royals player to win a Gold Glove award in 2015, and, like Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez, he is very worthy. Brandon Crawford also picked up his first career award, after having another solid year at the shortstop position for the Giants.

THIRD BASE

AL Nominees – Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria and Manny Machado

AL Winner – Manny Machado (2nd career)

NL Nominees – Nolan Arenado, Matt Duffy and Todd Frazier

NL Winner – Nolan Arenado (3rd career)

Manny Machado won his second career Gold Glove award on Tuesday evening, after another brilliant year at the hot corner for Baltimore. He is one of the most exciting players to watch man his position in all of baseball. As is Nolan Arenado, who makes virtually every play and deservingly won his third straight Gold Glove.

2015 GOLD GLOVE AWARDS FAST FACTS

  • There were nine first-time Gold Glove winners.
  • The Royals had the most Gold Gloves winners, with three.
  • There were seven Gold Glove winners who also won a Gold Glove in 2014.

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Also announced last night were the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) award finalists for 2015 Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player. 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: Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Miguel Sano

National League: Kris Bryant, Matt Duffy and Jung Ho Kang

I have Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant winning the Rookie of the Year award.

CY YOUNG FINALISTS

American League: Sonny Gray, Dallas Keuchel and David Price

National League: Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw

I have David Price and Jake Arrieta winning the Cy Young award.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER FINALISTS

American League: Lorenzo Cain, Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout

National League: Paul Goldschmidt, Bryce Harper and Joey Votto

I have Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper winning the Most Valuable Player award.

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

Here’s the schedule:

AL & NL Rookie of the Year: November 16th

AL & NL Cy Young: November 18th

AL & NL Most Valuable Player: November 19th

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 at some point next week.

2015 Players’ Choice Awards

The 2015 Major League Baseball Players’ Choice Award winners were announced Monday night on MLB Network. Unlike the BBWAA awards, these awards (as the name would suggest) are voted on by players from around baseball MLB Choiceeach September, when they receive a ballot to make their picks for each category. Seven categories in all, American League players vote for American League players, with National League players voting for National League players; with the exception of the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, Always Game award and the Player of the Year award, in which players from both leagues vote for a single player.

The winning player for each category is awarded a grant from the MLB Players Trust, ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 dollars, depending on the award that they win. The money goes to the winner’s choice of charity, with some players deciding to split up the money between multiple causes. This marks the 24th 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 – Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Miguel Sano

AL Winner – Carlos Correa

NL Nominees – Kris Bryant, Matt Duffy and Jung Ho Kang

NL Winner – Kris Bryant

The players absolutely got it right in my opinion. Both winners are likely to pick up the BBWAA Rookie of the Year awards when they are announced next week, as each had terrific campaigns. After a .279 average with 22 homers and 68 RBI’s, all while playing a great defensive shortstop all at the age of 21, Carlos Correa is sure to be a big part of the Astros for the next decade or two. Likewise, Kris Bryant had an unbelievable season, hitting 26 homers and notching 99 RBI’s, helping to send the Cubs back to the playoffs for the first in what would seem to likely be several years to come.

OUTSTANDING PITCHER AWARD ($20,000)

AL Nominees – Sonny Gray, Dallas Keuchel and David Price

AL Winner – Dallas Keuchel

NL Nominees – Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw

NL Winner – Zack Greinke

As with Rookie of the Year, you very well could be looking at the winners of the BBWAA Cy Young award with this category. Dallas Keuchel and Zack Greinke went about their success in different ways, but both had results that made them dominant each and every start. Keuchel had a breakout season, going 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA. All season long, he was lights out for the Astros and was a big part of them making it to the postseason. Greinke was also great each and every start, winding up with unfathomable stats of 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA. That’s certainly worthy of this award.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD ($20,000)

AL Nominees – Prince Fielder, Kendrys Morales and Alex Rodriguez

AL Winner – Prince Fielder

NL Nominees – Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Harvey and Joey Votto

NL Winner – Matt Harvey

After playing all 162 games in three straight years, Prince Fielder participated in only 42 games in 2014 due to a neck injury. Coming back to play all but four games in 2015, Fielder certainly put up stats worthy of this award. This season, Fielder launched 23 home runs and drove in 98 runs, all while hitting a solid .305. Matt Harvey was in much of the same boat as Fielder in 2014, having missed the entire year due to Tommy John surgery. But Harvey came back with a vengeance in 2015. Harvey went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA on the year, and helped the Mets make it all the way to the World Series.

ALWAYS GAME AWARD ($10,000)

Nominees — Jose Altuve, Josh Donaldson and Dee Gordon

Winner — Jose Altuve

This award was brand new for the 2015 season. It was established to honor “the player who — game in and game out — constantly exhibits grit, tenacity, perseverance and hustle; all for the benefit of his teammates and fans”. All of the players nominated for the award were worthy, but Jose Altuve took home the award. Altuve has been a huge part of the Astros over the past few years, and plays the game full on for every single out. He is definitely the player I would have chosen for this award, and I’m glad to see him win.

OUTSTANDING PLAYER AWARD ($20,000)

AL Nominees – Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout

AL Winner – Josh Donaldson

NL Nominees – Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper

NL Winner – Bryce Harper

There were dozens of outstanding players throughout Major League Baseball from the 2015 season. With that said, there were a handful that stood above the rest. For this category, it was Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper voted on as the outstanding players of the year. Many people — myself included — have Donaldson and Harper picking up the MVP for their respective league when the official award is announced next week. With Harper having hit 42 homers to go along with a superb .330 average, and Donaldson blasting 41 of his own, it is no wonder why they each took home this particular honor.

MARVIN MILLER MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD ($50,000)

Nominees – Dee Gordon, Adam Jones and David Robertson

Winner – Adam Jones

In the minds of many people around the baseball world, this is the most important award given out each season. 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, Chipper Jones and Mariano Rivera, among many others. This season, the award was presented to Adam Jones, who certainly does more than his fair share of contributions both to his ball club and to his community each year.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD ($50,000)

Nominees – Josh Donaldson, Zack Greinke and Bryce Harper

Winner – Josh Donaldson

With all three players presenting equally impressive seasons in their own way, you could truly make a strong argument for any of the nominees to win the Player of the Year award. But, in the end, the season Josh Donaldson put together was magnificent. His 40+ home run year truly helped drive the offensive side of the Blue Jays, along with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and the late season pickup of Troy Tulowitzki. Combined, Toronto was able to reach the postseason for the first time since 1993. A lot of that can be credited back to Donaldson, who came up big all season long.

2015 MLB Award Season to Begin Next Week

We’re less than a week removed from the 2015 World Series, but offseason moves are already taking place. On Thursday, news broke that the Rays and Mariners had completed a six-player trade that sent Nathan Karns, C.J. Riefenhauser and Boog Powell (not THAT Boog Powell) to Seattle in exchange for Brad Miller, Logan Morrison and Danny Farquhar. Overall, it appears to be a good trade for both sides.

But while there are sure to be dozens of deals made throughout the upcoming offseason, that’s not what this blog post is for.

In this post, I’m going to give a very brief overview of the upcoming MLB awards schedule, which are going to begin being announced on Monday night with the 2015 Players’ Choice Awards at eight on MLB Network. I’m going to be covering the winners of those in a post following the announcement, with my thoughts on each winner.

The very next night, the BBWAA award finalists for Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and MVP are going to be announced (on MLB Network), in addition to the Gold Glove Award winners (on ESPN). Again, I’ll be sure to typed up a little something about those, as with every other award that gets announced.

Following the Silver Slugger Award winners on the 12th, the most important BBWAA award winners are set to be revealed on consecutive nights throughout the next week. Beginning with Rookies of the Year on Monday the 16th, followed by the Cy Young Awards on Tuesday, Managers of the Year on Wednesday (I won’t be writing about those), and ending with the coveted MVP awards on Thursday the 19th, it’s sure to be interesting to see if they all match up with my predictions I made for each winner.

So, there you have it — an overview of the upcoming MLB Awards. With so much talent this year in baseball, it’s sure to make for a good crop of winners from each and every category of awards throughout the coming two weeks.

Royals Up Two Games Heading to New York City

The World Series is always an exciting time of the year for any baseball fan, no matter who you’re rooting for. With both teams having fought all season long, neither wants to give an inch in their quest for the title, and players from both sides usually step up in a big way for their respective teams. With that said, I’m not sure anyone could’ve predicted such a game as the one that took place on Tuesday night.Escobar

Matt Harvey received the start for the Mets, going up against the Royals’ Edison Volquez. Although you had to figure Harvey would be on top of his game, things didn’t start off that well for him. On the very first pitch of the game, Alcides Escobar drove a ball deep into the outfield, which Yoenis Cespedes was unsuccessful in tracking down. When all was said and done, Escobar had score with the twelfth inside the park homer in World Series history, and the first since 1929. Just like that, it was 1-0, Royals.

Neither team would score again until the fourth inning, as Volquez was able to match Harvey pitch for pitch to begin the game. But an RBI-single in the fourth by Travis d’Arnaud, followed by a Curtis Granderson homer in the fifth and a sacrifice fly by Michael Conforto in the sixth, made it a 3-1 Mets lead. It appeared they were starting to put the game away, especially with Harvey on the hill.

But just as quickly as they took the two-run lead, they lost it in the very next set of swings for the Royals. In the bottom of the sixth, a couple of timely hits tied the game up at three apiece and made it a new ballgame. Even so, the Mets were able to take the late lead in the eighth on a fielding error, putting them up by a run heading into the bottom of the ninth.

GordonHowever, as history has shown, nothing is over until it’s over in the World Series. With one out in the bottom of the ninth against the Mets’ Jeurys Familia, Alex Gordon blasted a solo shot into deep center field to send the game to extra innings.

Due to outstanding relief work by both squads, the game would remain tied all the way until the fourteenth inning, when the Royals ultimately won with an Eric Hosmer sac fly that brought home the go ahead run to put the Royals up 1-0 in the seven game series.

After the longest game one in World Series history, you got the feeling that the entire Fall Classic would turn out to be much of the same.

The five hour and nine minute game one gave fans tons of excitement, as the back and forth lead changing between the two clubs made for a thrilling ballgame. With Jacob deGrom set to go against Johnny Cueto the very next game, things were sure to heat up in game two.

But while the expectation was a pitching duel for the second game of the World Series, it was Johnny Cueto stealing the show. With deGrom not being able to throw the ball past people the way he has in his previous starts, he struggled in this game overall, but Cueto settled in and really impressed a lot of people.deGrom

Although Cueto allowed the game’s first run in the fourth inning, coming from a contribution from Lucas Duda — he had been performing poorly throughout the playoffs until that point — Cueto really pitched well. Cueto wouldn’t allow another run in the game.

Jacob deGrom looked decent to start the game, but the wheels completely fell off in the fifth inning. RBI-singles from Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer (two RBI’s) and Mike Moustakas put the Royals up 4-1, and really gave them momentum with Cueto pitching the way he was (a complete game two-hitter). In the end, the Mets couldn’t mount a comeback and fell down two games to none in the series.

With the Royals up two games heading into game three in New York City on Friday, the Mets certainly have their backs against the wall. However, despite their poor odds, with Noah Syndergaard ready to pitch in game three and Steven Matz on the mound the next night, if the Mets can win at least one of those games, everything changes. Forcing at least a game five, the Mets would once again get Matt Harvey, then Jacob deGrom if they can extend it. Anything can happen after that.

This World Series is far from over.

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