Results tagged ‘ MLB ’

Blogging Resolutions for 2016

Happy New Year, everyone!

As I’ve done for the past several years, I wanted to take the time to go over the main things I’m hoping to accomplish, blogging wise, throughout the coming year. All but one of the goals listed are basically the same as 2015, but I wanted to post them anyway just to give everyone an idea of what to expect in 2016.

The five main resolutions/goals I have for this blog in 2016 are as follows:

1. Blog at least once every 5 days:

This is the exact same goal number one that I set in 2015, but I feel it’s one of the most important ones. If I were to go more than five days in between entries, this blog wouldn’t be nearly as up-to-date as I would like it to be, or as I feel it should be. But any more often than once every five days on average would make things way too stressful for me to even want to attempt to tackle. For that reason, I’m keeping it at a maximum of five days. That number worked well in 2015, and I feel it will work equally as well in 2016.

2. Post 100 blog entries:

I didn’t succeed in reaching this number last year, but I’m going to make it a point to hit 100 somehow in 2016. It just seems like a nice round number. I was able to publish a record 128 blog posts in 2014, but I never feel that I will be able to come close to that again. In 2015, the number I hit was 95. That’s a lot of entries in a year, but I would like to hit 100 this year. Due to me being extremely busy throughout most of the year, I don’t have the time to dedicate to writing nearly as often as I used to, but I still wanted to keep this blog going. (For now, at least.)

3. Get more views than 2015:

My visitor numbers saw a huge drop in 2015 from 2014, so I feel this will be an easy goal to reach. If I can blog as often as I want to, I think my visitor numbers should also increase, but that’s out of my control. All I can do is write the posts and hope people continue to come back to read them. One of the things I would like to do and am planning to try to do is to write about things that aren’t necessarily being talked about by the bigger media markets. A lot of times I simply recycle news on here, but I’d like to have a few more original posts in 2016.

4. Go on a 4-post-blogging-streak:

In 2015, this was a three-post-blogging-streak. This year, however, I’ve raised it to four. Likely, this will occur around the All-Star break when there is a ton to write about, as it has in the past. However, it could be any time throughout the year. Getting posts up on back-to-back days is somewhat difficult, and doing so on numerous days in a row is obviously even harder. But I always like to post entries on multiple days in a row each year, and I feel confident that I can reach my goal of four days in a row at least once, if not twice, this year.

5. Reply to every comment that is left:

This has been one of my goals since this blog was first developed. Whenever a comment is left — being either a comment or a question — I like to always write the person back. It’s my way of letting the reader know that I’m paying attention and am interested in what they have to say. After all, it’s the readers that make this blog worth producing, and I feel that replying back to every comment is the least that I can do. This is always the easiest goal of the five for me to accomplish, but I feel like making it a goal once again anyway.

So, there you have it. My top five blogging resolutions/goals for 2016.

As I stated last year — a recurring theme in this blog post — I hope to make this my best year of blogging yet. If I can accomplish what I want to (and plan to), I feel it truly will be. That’s always the overall goal, to get better and better. I think 2016 is going to be an exciting year.

Last Blog Post Until 2016

This was originally going to be my last blog post ever. I had decided back in August that I wouldn’t be continuing this blog into another year and would end things with a final, definitive post in December. But things have changed. I have several interviews with some amazingly talented ballplayers already conducted, and I don’t want those to not be published. In addition, the closer the final day got, I found myself not wanting to give up blogging. That day is coming (likely in 2016), but that point hasn’t arrived just yet.

With all of that said — back on January 1st of this year, when I posted my blogging New Year’s Resolutions/Goals, I stated that I was going to attempt to blog at least once every five days in 2015, post 100+ entries, get more views than the year before, go on a christmas3-post-blogging-streak and reply to every comment that was left.

I was successful in blogging at the set pace, posting three blog posts on back-to-back-to-back days and replying to every comment, but I only wound up posting 95 entries this year and didn’t surpass my total views from last year. Even so, I think it was a rather successful year of blogging.

After another long, tedious blogging year, this will be my final post until 2016 rolls around (as the title suggests). It’s Christmas time, and therefore I don’t want to spend it working multiple hours on putting any blog posts together. I’ll save that for January. Meaning, if any major baseball news stories break, no matter how big they are, I won’t be writing about it. At least not until 2016.

My first post of the new year will be my blogging resolutions/goals for 2016, followed by my Hall of Fame ballot a few days after. Then I’ll take the time to recap the elected members after they’re announced, and write a five year blog anniversary post on the 20th. Along the way I’ll hopefully post an interview or two, in addition to providing my thoughts from time to time on the latest baseball news. After that, heading into February, things are up in the air.

To conclude the year, I just want to take the time to thank everyone who’s read my blog throughout the past year, and throughout its nearly five year existence. Whether you’re a regular or just check in from time to time, if it weren’t for you all I’d have no reason to blog. So thank you. I’m going to do my best to make 2016 the best year yet — even better than 2015 — and hopefully you will all continue to come back every so often to read what I have to say.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a Happy New Year.

I’ll be back in 2016.

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.

What Can We Expect from the Red Sox In 2016?

When the Red Sox finished in last place in 2012, not many people predicted too much from them the next year, but they went on to win the 2013 World Series. Following their championship, there were a lot of expectations out of the Sox in 2014, but they once again finished dead last in their division. With Boston not faring any better this David Pricepast season, there is little guarantee as to where they will wind up when the 2016 season comes to a close.

But the Red Sox made a big splash in the free agent market on Tuesday evening, acquiring David Price for a record breaking contract. Price was signed to a seven year, 217 million dollar contract, locking him up in Boston through the 2022 season, and possibly for the rest of his career, with him being 30 years old.

The mega deal makes Price the highest paid pitcher in Major League Baseball history, beating out Clayton Kershaw’s 215 million dollar deal. His annual value of 31 million a season is over four times what Price earned in 2015, so it is undoubtedly a happy day for David Price.

But it’s also a happy day for Boston and their fans. While there are plenty of people who would say the Red Sox vastly overpaid for Price (I could easily see anyone making that case), there is no doubt that Price, who holds a 1.95 career ERA at Fenway Park, will ultimately help the Sox push towards the playoffs after another disappointing season in 2015.

One of the things that held the Red Sox back last season was their lack of good starting pitching. Their collective team ERA of 4.31 was 25th in all of baseball in 2015, with none of their starters having good, consistent years. Price, who spent the first six seasons of his career with Tampa before heading to Detroit in 2014 and the Blue Jays for the second half of 2015, holds a 3.09 ERA and went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA last season alone. He will definitely prove to be a bettsbogaertsvaluable addition.

On the flip side of things, the Sox offense was somewhat under the radar decent. They were able to post a .265 team average on the year, which tied them for fifth best in all of baseball. If their additions of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval from last offseason can have bounce back seasons, combined with further contributions from their young stars Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr., as well as veterans Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, they could have a special season.

With David Ortiz already announcing that he will be retiring after the 2016 season, it should be interesting to see how the Red Sox perform next year. They have a few more things that need to be addressed to help their club overall for next season, but I like the signing of Price, as well as the pickup of Craig Kimbrel earlier this offseason, and the general direction that those moves take them.

No matter what happens, acquiring David Price for the next seven years is sure to make for some exciting seasons to come up in Boston.

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.

Correa and Bryant Win Rookie of the Year Award

The Rookie of the Year award was first handed out in 1947 to Jackie Robinson, after he broke baseball’s color barrier and went on to have a great first season of what would become a Hall of Fame career. Given out to a single player again in 1948, the award was expanded in 1949 to include a player from each league, and has been that way ever since.

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 Rookie of the Year award, making a total of thirty voters for each league (fifteen teams, with two voters per city). A first place vote earns a player five points, a second place vote gets three points, with a third place vote receiving one point. Once added up, the player with the highest overall total wins.

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

AMERICAN LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Original Pick: Carlos Correa

Finalists: Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Miguel Sano

Winner: Carlos Correa

Thoughts On Carlos Correa Winning

For a player who made his MLB debut two full months into the season (June 8th), Carlos Correa put up unbelievable stats in 2015. The former number one overall pick in 2012, Correa batted .279 with 22 home runs and 68 RBI’s, all AstrosRoyalswhile stealing 14 bags to boot.

Carlos Correa received 17 of the 30 first-place American League Rookie of the Year votes, for a total of 124 points, to edge out runner up Francisco Lindor, with his 109 points, and Twins’ slugger Miguel Sano, with a mere 20 points. At just 21 years old, Correa was the youngest position player in the big leagues this season, and with him still learning how to go about life in the big leagues, he will only improve as the years go on.

Correa became the 14th shortstop in history to win the award, and is just the second Astros player to earn the honor, joining Jeff Bagwell who won back in 1991.

Although some players have posted great rookie seasons only to go onto have poor MLB careers, it’s safe to say that Carlos Correa is bound for many more historic seasons moving forward.

NATIONAL LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Original Pick: Kris Bryant

Finalists: Kris Bryant, Matt Duffy and Jung Ho Kang

Winner: Kris Bryant

Thoughts On Kris Bryant Winning

Kris Bryant’s journey to the major leagues was a short one, going from first round draft pick in 2013 to MLB All-Star this past season (Joc Pederson was the only other rookie in the Midsummer Classic). Furthermore, in the minds of many, it was Bryant’s performance all season long was one of the many key factors that helped carry the Cubs to the postseason. MLB: JUN 25 Dodgers at Cubs

Winning the National League Rookie of the Year by a unanimous vote (just the 20th such player in history), Bryant follows in the footsteps of fellow Chicago slugger Jose Abreu, who won the American League Rookie of the Year last season, earning all 30 first-place votes.

Bryant batted .275 with 26 homers and 99 RBI’s this season (breaking both the homers and RBI’s mark for a Cubs’ rookie), and, despite his league-leading 199 strikeouts, was truly the only logical choice for the award. He was consistent for the most part throughout 2015, and came up big each and every time the Cubs needed him to.

Picking up each of the 30 first-place votes, Bryant’s 150 points overall easily carry him past the runner up, Matt Duffy, who picked up 70 points, and Jung Ho Kang, who placed third, with his 28 overall points from the BBWAA.

As with Carlos Correa, the newest Chicago Cubs’ superstar, Kris Bryant, will likely only get better as time goes on. It should be interesting to see how Correa and Bryant, and their respective teams, fare over the next decade or so.

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.
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