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.
80. Adrian Gonzalez (18 HR, 47 2B, .346 wOBA, 3.6 fWAR, 0.7 rWAR) – The centerpiece of the deal that sent him from Boston to LA, Gonzalez was below average (for him) last year, so the Dodgers are certainly hoping for the 2006-2011 versions of the 1B.
79. Carlos Beltran (32 HR, 13 SB, .355 wOBA, 3.6 fWAR, 3.6 rWAR) – Plays pretty well for a guy with a bad everything. Should he do something like this again next year, he will be well worth the money the Cardinals paid him.
78. Doug Fister (161.2 IP, 7.63 K/9, 4.13 tERA, 3.6 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – Suffered a very unfortunate typo in his name, but hopefully he was not aware of that, and the former Seattle Mariner is showing he has plenty of value in Detroit’s rotation. Also glad he was not seriously hurt on that line drive off his head in the World Series.
77. Paul Goldschmidt (20 HR, 18 SB, .363 wOBA, 3.7 fWAR, 3.1 rWAR) – Arizona’s resident Tim Lincecum-masher also nearly had a 20-20 season, and he has established himself to be a force to be reckoned with.
76. Jarrod Parker (181.1 IP, 6.95 K/9, 4.32 tERA, 3.7 fWAR, 3.8 rWAR) – Can’t wait to see that changeup in action again, but Parker needs to tune down the walks to further reach that projected ceiling of his.
75. Adam LaRoche (33 HR, 35 2B, .361 wOBA, 3.8 fWAR, 4.0 rWAR) – Must be nice to have a team with hitters that can just boom every which way. I still have nightmares about the series San Francisco had in Washington this past season.
74. Kyle Lohse (211.0 IP, 6.10 K/9, 4.20 tERA, 3.6 fWAR, 3.9 rWAR) – Still looking for a team at the moment I’m writing this, but it sure helps when your defense is behind you and you don’t walk guys, doesn’t it?
73. Nick Swisher (24 HR, 36 2B, .363 wOBA, 3.9 fWAR, 3.5 rWAR) – Really hope he helps Cleveland out, because I’m tired of seeing them be bad, same way I feel for the Royals.
72. Denard Span (38 2B, 17 SB, .325 wOBA, 3.9 fWAR, 4.8 rWAR) – May not have pop, but Washington traded for a good CF, which along with an Adam LaRoche signing, has set in motion some Michael Morse trade discussion amongst the people
71. Albert Pujols (30 HR, 50 2B, .360 wOBA, 3.9 fWAR, 4.6 rWAR) – Pretty remarkable numbers considering The Machine did very little in April, and only one big fly in the last month of the season.
70. Josh Willingham (35 HR, 30 2B, .380 wOBA, 3.9 fWAR, 2.9 rWAR) – His 3-year/$21MM deal sure seems like a steal now, doesn’t it? Especially if you put 1.0 WAR = ~$5MM.
69. Josh Johnson (191.1 IP, 7.76 K/9, 4.19 tERA, 3.8 fWAR, 3.1 rWAR) – Another new Blue Jay, and as long as he can stay healthy, he should be a pretty reliable starter, although maybe not the ace of the staff, especially if Dickey goes all 2010-2012 on everybody.
68. David Murphy (15 HR, 10 SB, .369 wOBA, 4.0 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – Definitely an under-the-radar type season from Murphy, so there is good reason as to why he is projected to start in the OF for Texas in 2013.
67. Anibal Sanchez (195.2 IP, 7.68 K/9, 4.07 tERA, 3.8 fWAR, 1.2 rWAR) – I’d say Anibal’s audition for Free Agency went pretty well, and should make for plenty of pitcher wins in the coming years.
66. Brandon Phillips (18 HR, 15 SB, .325 wOBA, 4.0 fWAR, 3.5 rWAR) – I did not consider his flashy plays or his twitter account in his evaluation. Had I, he would’ve been ranked higher.
65. Alfonso Soriano (32 HR, 33 2B, .350 wOBA, 4.0 fWAR, 1.8 rWAR) – Soriano may not have wanted a trade to the Giants due to the climate, so I do wonder whom he’s waiting for in terms of a trade partner.
64. A.J. Ellis (20 HR, .373 OBP, .341 wOBA, 4.1 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – What will always bother me about this guy is not even on him, but on his manager for not putting him in a better spot to have that OBP being taken advantage of. At least the pitchers had someone to bunt over.
63. Matt Wieters (23 HR, 27 2B, .331 wOBA, 4.1 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – Looks like he’s ready to bust into the next tier of catchers with that power that he’s showing off from his position.
62. David Freese (20 HR, 25 2B, .365 wOBA, 4.1 fWAR, 3.6 rWAR) – I’m probably the only one with this problem, but when I think “David Freese” I only think of him in the Postseason, not what he can do to you in the regular season. My fan-side showing, I guess.
61. Hiroki Kuroda (219.2 IP, 6.84 K/9, 4.15 tERA, 3.9 fWAR, 5.2 rWAR) – You will see no tears out of the NL West that Kuroda is once again locked into playing in the AL East in 2013.
As the Giants are 3-0 since their last off day, and the Dodgers are 1-3 in their last 4, fans of both franchises have seen a separation starting to form with 30-31 games left to go. Nothing is done by any means, but the Giants now square off in a weekend series against the Cubbies who are 4-10 since their last off day, but had a nice comeback win over the Brewers in yesterday’s game, with the final score of 12-11. These are still games the Giants need to win, but beat writer Alex Pavlovic was noting on Twitter (above), the team is tired, since they got to their hotel rooms around 3:15 AM, I’m guessing local time, and they’re already in the locker room. Travel is a part of professional sports and it wouldn’t be the first time a team’s played lower on energy. They should still be able to get the job done against a rebuilding Chicago squad.
Friday, August 31st: LHP Madison Bumgarner vs. RHP Chris Volstad
One sentence summary: Volstad’s last start was his first of the year where he allowed less than 4 hits, and had no ER attached to his line, and MadBum would like to put his last start behind him, but he has allowed 15/19 of his HRA on the road this year.
Saturday, September 1st: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP Justin Germano
One sentence summary: Germano hasn’t had many starts with the Cubs, but he has allowed a HR in four straight starts while never walking more than two in 2012; Lincecum hasn’t struck out more than 5 since July, but has also been able to keep the walks relatively down (6 in 4 starts).
Sunday, September 2nd: RHP Matt Cain vs. LHP Travis Wood
One sentence summary: Wood’s gone 7 IP in three of his last four starts, along with only two walks allowed in the last four; Matt Cain has done what’s expected against his last four opponents of HOU, LA, SD, and COL, so look for that to continue against the ChiCubs.
Another series preview, another one where Joaquin Arias has barely over 10 PA and leads the last seven for the team in wOBA (.623, .315 wOBA overall). There’s no one contributing to that level on the Giants, but after a series in Houston, you will have some guys that have inflated numbers like Pence (.437 wOBA L7, .327 overall), Pagan (.420, .338), and Belt (.406, .337), and will have a chance to improve upon those numbers against a group of pitchers that are a couple notches below the quality of pitchers more competitive teams might throw out there. Brandon Crawford (.117, .270), and Pablo Sandoval (.195, .335) have not really had their bats heard from in the past week, although Pablo did contribute to the win last night.
Former Top 100 prospect Brett Jackson (.603 wOBA L7, .346 wOBA overall) is lighting the way for the Cubs of late, with 3 HR in the past week, and having 4 in his 88 PA overall, but I believe the book on him was about him hitting enough, as the power and speed will be there. No one else on the squad is quite as hot right now, but Starlin Castro (.366 wOBA L7, .313 wOBA overall), and Luis Valbuena (.352, .303) have been healthy contributors of late as well. The slack has come from guys like Josh Vitters (.098, .139), and Darwin Barney (.133, .289), but at least with Barney, you don’t expect that to keep happening. Guys with more than 20 SB are Starlin Castro and Tony Campana, while you can look from their power to come from guys like Alfonso Soriano (23 HR), Starlin Castro (12), and Anthony Rizzo (9 in 236 PA).
Gotta say, I’m feeling pretty good about these Giants, so that probably means these predictions will be not be 100% correct.
Friday: Giants win (Chris Volstad, pretty much)
Saturday: Giants win (The bats relieve Tim Lincecum)
Sunday: Giants win (Matt Cain toys with the lesser competition)
We got ourselves a 4-gamer, wrap-a-round series with those loveable Cubbies who we used to share this adorable World Series Champions drought with. I’m glad we don’t share that anymore. I think the games to watch here are Saturday’s and Monday’s as I look at the pitcher matchups. Saturday’s 1912 promotion should be pretty cool anyway:
Friday, June 1st
LHP Paul Maholm (50.2 IP, 4.62/5.55/4.67 line with a 5.53 tERA. 5.15 K/9, 3.02 BB/9, including a .239 BABIP, and 9 HRA. Has thrown 43.4% FB, 30.6% SL, 15.4% CB, and 10.7% CH, making it more difficult to sit on one pitch)
LHP Madison Bumgarner (66.0 IP, 3.14/.366/3.72 and a 3.42 tERA. 6.41 K/9, and a nice 1.91 BB/9, plus a .237 BABIP, 7 HRA. 41.9% FB, 38.1% SL, 11.7% CB, and 8.4% CH. Couple of fastball-slider guys match up, eh?)
Saturday, June 2nd (Turn Back the Clock Day)
RHP Matt Garza (53.1 IP, 4.22/4.32/3.70 line with a 4.91 tERA. A 8.27 K/9, and 3.21 BB/9, plus a .252 BABIP, 8 HRA. 57.1% FB (avg. velo at 93.3 MPH), 26% SL, 9.4% CB, 7.5% CH.)
RHP Matt Cain (71.0 IP, 2.79/2.94/3.58, and a 3.13 tERA, with a 8.37 K/9, and a nicer 1.65 BB/9, and 6 HRA. 51.1% B, 19% SL, 18.5% CH, and 11.4% CB.)
Sunday, June 3rd
LHP Travis Wood (In 16.2 IP, 5.94/7.82/4.51 and a 9.86 tERA. Sports a 5.94 K/9, and a 4.32 BB/9 with a .133 BABIP, and 6 HRA, which certainly is a lot in that period. 61.7% FB, 13.8% Cutter, 13.5% CH, 8.2% SL, 2.8% CB)
LHP Barry Zito (58.0 IP, 3.41/4.59/5.20 line and a 4.30 tERA, showing off a 5.28 K/9, and a 4.03 BB/9. A .243 BABIP and 6 HRA, same as his opposite for 6/3. 38% SL, 31.4% FB (avg. velo at 83.6MPH), 17.7% CB, 13% CH)
Monday, June 4th
RHP Jeff Samardzjia (64.0 IP, has a 3.09/2.99/3.15 line with a 3.79 tERA and a 9.14 K/9 in contrast with a 2.67 BB/9. A BABIP of .304 with 5 HRA. 54.2% FB (avg. velo at 94.9MPH), 18% Splitter, 14.6% SL, 13.2% CT)
RHP Ryan Vogelsong (61.0 IP, 2.36/3.74/4.47 and a 3.64 tERA, plus a 6.79 K/9 and a 3.84 BB/9. Has a BABIP of .256 and leads the starters with 4 HRA. 55% FB, 17.5% CB, 14.5% Cutter, 12.8% CH)
Hitters in the Last 7 Days
Darwin Barney (1.268), Alfonso Soriano (1.226), Starlin Castro (1.024), and David DeJesus (1.033) all with OPS over 1.000 and a series with the Padres I believe helped out a little bit. If you take out DeJesus and add in Ian Stewart, those 4 have hit a combined 8 HR in the last 7 days. Melky Cabrera has hit 2 HR for the Giants in the last 7 days, and he’s the only one that’s big flyed for the SFGs in that timespan. The Giants by the way have three guys with an OPS over 1.000. Can you guess them? That’s right: Melky (1.328), Blanco (1.214), and Pagan (1.098).
Four hitters have K% over 27%: Brandon Belt (27.8%), Brandon Crawford (28%), Alfonso Soriano (29.2%), and Ian Stewart (30.8%).
Three hitters have a Line Drive % at 40.0% or better: Reed Johnson (40.0), Ryan Theriot (41.2), Melky (41.7).
Brandon Belt will likely only get two starts at the most, and I know the fanbase is getting impatient. He has to get things going, and soon.
Starlin Castro is not being shopped around, per Theo Epstein.
The Cubs swept the Padres after going on a pretty dam long losing streak.
Friday: Giants win
Saturday: Giants win
Sunday: Cubs win
Monday: Cubs win
Hope it doesn’t make me a bad person that I think the series will be split. Just feel like Zito will be old Zito and Vogey will get Cain’d.