Idea: Rank the best individual seasons of the 2012 MLB regular season (Spring Training, Minor Leagues, and Postseason are not included), while considering offensive and defensive facets of the game.
Consider: Using the individual metrics to measure individual performance; full avoidance of projecting results for shortened seasons, and past years performance to justify or dictate standings.
This is not: “Most Valuable” anything. Rather, this is “best,” like Baseball America does, so there is no confusion as to what I am ranking. It is also not a “this is a ranking of who I want in 2013, or wanted in any other year.”
This is: My opinion, and will be disagreed with by many.
100. Lance Lynn (176.0 IP, 9.20 K/9, 4.11 tERA, 2.9 fWAR, 2.0 rWAR) – Beginning the season as a reliever, Lynn did pretty well as a starter, and I don’t think the Cardinals have any plans of moving him back to the bullpen anytime soon.
99. Jose Bautista (27 HR, 14 2B, .378 wOBA, 3.2 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – This work by Joey Bats was done in 92 games, which I find to be pretty incredible. Although his defense wasn’t the greatest in the ASG, I have heard to be that bad all the time.
98. B.J. Upton (28 HR, 31 SB, .323 wOBA, 3.3 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – The newest Brave entering his age 28 season should be a welcome addition to a team that lost a pretty good CF already.
97. Jered Weaver (188.2 IP, 6.77 K/9, 3.99 tERA, 3.0 fWAR, 3.7 rWAR) – I’m surprised he was this far down the list, but here he is. I expect him to see many pitcher wins for him in the next couple of years. That stat though won’t get him up this list if I do it again.
96. Dan Uggla (19 HR, 29 2B, .325 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.7 rWAR) – Nobody wants his contract, but Uggla is at the very least producing some of the power that is expected of him. Not that it makes his current deal worth it, though.
95. Aroldis Chapman (71.2 IP, 15.32 K/9, 1.66 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 3.6 rWAR) – The Cuban Missile’s time as a reliever may be done, and if that’s true, can’t wait to see how he does as a starter. It’s been well documented that he’s been lights out as a reliever.
94. Mat Latos (209.1 IP, 7.95 K/9, 4.09 tERA, 3.1 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – While I might remember him from his Padres days as being a little evil, but he is still very good at what he does – pitch, that is.
93. Jeff Samardzija (174.2 IP, 9.27 K/9, 4.27 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 1.6 rWAR) – Perhaps the second-most misspelled name in the majors, Samardzija is making the public know that he is a name worth getting to know.
92. A.J. Pierzynski (27 HR, 18 2B, .351 wOBA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Perhaps he’s becoming one-dimensional, but he should still be able to provide the power Texas is used to out of their catchers.
91. Mike Moustakas (20 HR, 34 2B, .305 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.9 rWAR) – A well-rated defensive 3B that can also hit for power? Yes, please! Good thing they have another powerful bat coming to their lineu—hhh wait. Sorry, too soon?
90. Desmond Jennings (13 HR, 31 SB, .309 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 3.0 rWAR) – The world is waiting for the 26-year old to explode on to the scene, and while what he’s done with the bat hasn’t been all that noteworthy, the game he’s carried with the help of his legs will keep him useful at the very least.
89. Trevor Cahill (200.0 IP, 7.02 K/9, 4.13 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.5 rWAR) – Hard to say he was worth what Arizona gave up for him, but that’s hardly his fault their GM loves giving up pitching prospects. Like one of the guys he was traded to in Parker, Cahill must bring down those walks.
88. Matt Kemp (23 HR, 22 2B, .383 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Beastmode took a back seat to injuries in 2012, and his crashing into the wall in Coors has some wondering how close to 100% he’ll be in 2013 and beyond.
87. Kyle Seager (20 HR, 13 SB, .321 wOBA, 3.6 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Not a bad line for a kid we didn’t hear too much about this year. I gave Seager the nod over Kemp mainly due to Seager being healthy, and his better defense. The Dodgers also drafted Kyle’s kid brother this year.
86. A.J. Burnett (202.1 IP, 8.01 K/9, 3.71 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.9 rWAR) – Often the butt of jokes the last couple years, AJ was able to silence the critics a bit this year in Pittsburgh, despite a line drive to the face early on this past baseball season.
85. Jordan Zimmerman (195.2 IP, 7.04 K/9, 4.21 tERA, 3.5 fWAR, 4.4 rWAR) – When you see the top three SP on a “Best of” list (any, not just this very raw one), you get the feeling that team has the potential to be good. Luckily for Washington, they also have a bunch of bats.
84. Carlos Gomez (19 HR, 37 SB, .329 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Talk about an underrated season, I was shocked looking at these numbers from Gomez, but I do remember and love his “all-or-nothing” swing that he exhibits.
83. Craig Kimbrel (62.2 IP, 16.66 K/9, 0.96 tERA, 3.6 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – I struggled with where to start including the high leverage pitchers, or “closers” as they’re often used, but Kimbrel produced elite numbers when he was brought in and couldn’t be put off to the side any longer. As closers are used in roughly a third to a quarter of the innings a SP would put out, I probably give those pitchers that level of respect when it comes to building this list. Would I love a Craig Kimbrel on my team? Absolutely.
82. Danny Espinosa (17 HR, 20 SB, .313 wOBA, 3.8 fWAR, 2.4 rWAR) – The former Long Beach State Dirtbag is an interesting case, what with his very high strikeout numbers, but good pop, speed, and D from a position more known for its defense.
81. Madison Bumgarner (208.1 IP, 8.25 K/9, 3.55 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.8 rWAR) – An early Cy Young candidate, MadBum’s flaw in his pitching motion that was corrected in the postseason very well could have been the result of fatigue, as he struggled at the end of the regular season.
Another day, another series against a division-leading opponent. Although the Giants play in a division that’s sub-par, these are the games you want to play if you’re anything like Ryan Vogelsong to prove you’re worth taking seriously. The Giants have the bats to win games, and they certainly have the pitching, and the bullpen, it’s just a matter of execution, which over the past 6 games, the Giants have had trouble doing. Things won’t get easier against Pittsburgh whose pitchers do oddly well at home, a trend that hopefully take a turn towards regression while the boys are in town.
Friday, June 6th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Erik Bedard
One sentence summary: This will probably be labeled as a “must win” game for the Giants, but keep in mind there will be 78 games after this one.
Saturday, June 7th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. RHP James McDonald
One sentence summary: This should be an intriguing one to watch as McDonald, like the other Pirates, does very well at home, and Vogey always seems to do more to impress.
Sunday, June 8th: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP A.J.Burnett
One question summary: Lincecum faced a very good lineup in the Nats and didn’t fare well, but how will he do against one that’s not as strong… but still kinda hot?
Small Sample Sizes (Last 7 Days) and Overall Numbers
You may find it no surprise that Andrew McCutchen has been lighting the ball on fire with his bat lately (.646 wOBA, 2 HR), but Garrett Jones (.548 wOBA, 3 HR) has also been making some loud contact (the two have 16, and 12 HR, .428 and .348 wOBA overall, respectively). Drew Sutton has been enjoying his time thus far with his .434 wOBA overall but that’s just in 37 PA, and with a .522 BABIP, I think it’s fair to say this honeymoon won’t last forever. Remember when the Giants went into the Nationals series and most of their lineup was hot? Same thing with the Pirates: Alex Presley (.484 wOBA L7, .290 wOBA overall), Neil Walker (.467, .322), Pedro Alvarez (.456, .332), and Casey McGehee (.414, .315), and all of those guys but McGehee has HR’d in the L7.
Meanwhile, the Giants have only had 2 guys with wOBA over .340 in the last 7 and kudos if you can name them: Pablo Sandoval (.509 with 2 HR, .372 overall), and Brandon Crawford (.405, .271). That’s it. However, unlike going into the Dodgers series, no one is hitting below .200 wOBA in their L7 — progress and consistency! If you feel like Belt has been striking out a lot lately, he has done it 5X is his last 20 PA. Belt also has the night off tonight, punishment for not being named Hector Sanchez, personal catcher to Barry Zito. This though, may not continue in the second half, as Bochy has implied, but I don’t see it happening right away as they continue to monitor and be careful with Buster Posey, All-Star actor.
This is the last series before the All Star Break (some of them need it more than others, for sure), and I don’t care where the Giants are in relation to whom, all I care is that they win the series in Pittsburgh.
Friday: Giants win (Erik Bedard and Barry Zito will battle for who walks more people tonight, don’t worry, should be fun)
Saturday: Pirates win (James McDonald gets his revenge and shows his All Star case)
Sunday: Giants win (Giants confuse this day for last day of the season and explode for runs)
I know we’d all love a sweep, but I’m pretty sure anybody would take 2 out of 3 from a division leader.