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.
40. Jimmy Rollins (23 HR, 30 SB, .322 wOBA, 4.9 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – You’ve got the picture now that I love HR and SB when put up in big bunches, and J-Roll, though 33 already, still’s puttin’ out.
39. Miguel Montero (15 HR, 25 2B, .364 wOBA, 5.0 fWAR, 3.7 rWAR) – Wouldn’t be surprised if Arizona fans feel MM is underappreciated. Definitely not talked about as much when we talk about “good catchers.”
38. Chris Sale (192.0 IP, 9 K/9, 4.06 tERA, 4.9 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – Turning 24 at the end of March, some scouts worry about this guy’s delivery, but hopefully Sale will continue to produce and not get injured.
37. Prince Fielder (30 HR, 33 2B, .398 wOBA, 4.9 fWAR, 4.4 rWAR) – Yea, defense kills him also, but that offense is just so hot, it’s no wonder he’s locked up through 2020.
36. Bryce Harper (22 HR, 18 SB, .352 wOBA, 4.9 fWAR, 5.0 rWAR) – Kid turned 20 in October. Really tried to not use his age to rank, but I might be guilty of that here.
35. Yu Darvish (191.1 IP, 10.4 K/9, 4.02 tERA, 5.1 fWAR, 4.0 rWAR) – Not a bad campaign for the “rookie” out of Sendai, and this is probably the guy I wish I would have watched more of. Maybe this year I’ll do that.
34. Joe Mauer (10 HR, 31 2B, .376 wOBA, 5.0 fWAR, 4.1 rWAR) – Just hoping Head & Shoulders is back in the game and ready to mash, especially with that monster contract of his.
33. Matt Holliday (27 HR, 36 2B, .378 wOBA, 5.1 fWAR, 3.9 rWAR) – Who’d have thunk that Holliday would be higher on this list than old buddy Pujols in 2013? Certainly not me.
32. Stephen Strasburg (159.1 IP, 11.13 K/9, 3.34 tERA, 4.3 fWAR, 2.7 rWAR) – Ranking SS was very tough because it’s not his fault the Nats shut him down, and I tried not to extrapolate what he was going to do and just take what he did and rank that. Could be too high, considering most everyone else got through the full season. Maybe it’s just right.
31. Carlos Ruiz (16 HR, 32 2B, .398 wOBA, 5.5 fWAR, 4.4 rWAR) – For how long he was using a substance to help him focus is unknown to me, and maybe it was helping him all year, but that’s not something I feel comfortable speculating on.
30. Torii Hunter (16 HR, 24 2B, .356 wOBA, 5.3 fWAR, 5.5 rWAR) – I do feel kind of bad for him with how things ended in Anaheim, but I think he’ll be happy in Detroit.
29. Austin Jackson (16 HR, 10 3B, .371 wOBA, 5.5 fWAR, 5.2 rWAR) – Someone said to me in the midst of the World Series the Tigers only had two guys in their lineup to fear. Austin Jackson then started his Rodney Dangerfield act, pointing to his regular season numbers.
28. Ian Desmond (25 HR, 21 SB, .362 wOBA, 5.4 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – Really difficult to decide between him, Jackson, and Hunter, but the 20-20 thing is just too sexy.
27. Giancarlo Stanton (37 HR, 30 2B, .405 wOBA, 5.8 fWAR, 5.4 rWAR) – He will enter his age 23 season in 2013, and he did all that in 501 plate appearances. Scary to think that he could get stronger.
26. Martin Prado (10 HR, 17 SB, .345 wOBA, 5.9 fWAR, 5.4 rWAR) – Often overlooked because he doesn’t clear the fence more often, Prado is a solid utility player that hasn’t quite seen his payday yet, but hopefully he will get his.
25. Alex Gordon (14 HR, 51 2B, .357 wOBA, 5.9 fWAR, 6.2 rWAR) – I could see people having a beef with me ranking Gordon too low, but if he gets stronger, those doubles might be going down and turning into dingers.
24. Zack Greinke (212.1 IP, 8.48 K/9, 3.58 tERA, 5.1 fWAR, 3.3 rWAR) – The lefty has a new home in LA, but made due with the Milwaukee and other “LA” team he worked for in 2012
23. Ben Zobrist (20 HR, 14 SB, .365 wOBA, 5.9 fWAR, 5.5 rWAR) – Another year of Ben playing multiple positions, and he still churns out the numbers that make him a solid attribute to the club. Good thing they have two team options on him for 2014 and 2015.
22. Joey Votto (44 2B, 19.80% BB%, .438 wOBA, 5.9 fWAR, 5.6 rWAR) – Even if he wasn’t 100%, he still ended up being a big contributor to the NL Central Champs.
21. Gio Gonzalez (199.1 IP, 9.35 K/9, 3.34 tERA, 5.4 fWAR, 4.5 rWAR) – Homey needs to bring that walk rate down, but to have this guy and him not be the #1 in your staff is pretty telling of what the Nationals have.
MLB Draft Day was not always the big production it is now with it being streamed on MLB Network, online, and with the crazy amounts of analysis from big networks in addition to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and the like. Something I know that has been covered by writers/bloggers here and there are articles in which they talk about what players your team could’ve had. Not every year is the same as some years for most teams you may have even more than one first round pick, or you can have drafts like the 2005 Giants did with nothing until the 4th round. Now, the biggest name from their draft that year? Why it would be no other than your favorite frisbee thrower, Sergio Romo, picked in the 28th round! Here’s some players you probably wouldn’t mind having on your roster that were picked after the 5th round of their respective drafts.
To make things a little more fun, what if we made this also a 25-man roster? I’ll put an asterisk next to the guys that wouldn’t have made the cut for the team I’m putting together. I’ll even provide a prospect for some of the positions to make it more 40-man-ish and these guys will be marked with a double-asterisk
A.J. Ellis (Dodgers; Drafted in 2003 in the 18th round by the Dodgers) — Ellis has been an OBP machine for the Dodgers whether he’s been batting 2nd where he should be, or 8th in the lineup, because he’s a catcher or something.
Mike Napoli (Rangers; Drafted in 2000 in the 17th round by the Angels) — Remember when the Angels traded Napoli to the Blue Jays and then the Blue Jays traded him to the Rangers where he would hit 30 dingers for them? Good times.
**Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox; Drafted in 2008 in the 6th round by the Red Sox) — Just debuted on the 18th of August!
Albert Pujols (Angels; Drafted in 1999 in the 13th round by the Cardinals) — Lifetime 472 HR in his Age 32 season. Has never had a season with less than 32 HR (27 this year).
Mark Trumbo (Angels; Drafted in 2004 in the 18th round by the Angels) — Only 26, the kid has posted back-to-back 29 HR seasons.
**Jonathan Singleton (Astros; Drafted in 2009 in the 8th round by the Phillies) — Has an ETA of 2013 per MLB.com and he’s from my part of town in Long Beach as well.
Ian Kinsler (Rangers; Drafted in 2003 in the 17th round by the Rangers) — Has been a 30/30 guy in 2009 and 2011.
Dan Uggla (Braves; Drafted in 2001 in the 11th round by the Diamondbacks) — biceps bigger than my head; Had five straight 30-HR seasons coming into 2012.
**Scooter Gennett (Brewers; Drafted in 2009 in the 16th round by the Brewers) — how can you not love that name? ETA 2013.
Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays; Drafted in 2000 in the 9th round by the Rangers) — Has he discovered something new in Toronto a la JoeyBats? 31 HR in his age 29 season after only two-20+ HR seasons in 2010 (21) and 2008 (26).
**Nick Delmonico (Orioles; Drafted in 2011 in the 6th round by the Orioles) — Not in any Top 100s that I’ve seen. ETA 2015.
Ben Zobrist (Rays; Drafted in 2004 in the 6th round by the Astros) — Super utility guy that gives you double digit bombs and double digit stolen bags.
**Tyler Saladino (White Sox; Drafted for the second time in two years in 2010, drafted in the 7th round by the White Sox in ’10) — The SS prospect after the 2nd round is difficult to find, and Saladino probably isn’t even a prospect at all. I mean, he is in the White Sox’s system.
Matt Kemp — (Dodgers; Drafted in 2003 in the 6th round by the Dodgers) — A legitimate 40/40 threat when healthy
Jose Bautista (Blue Jays; Drafted in 2000 in the 20th round by the Pirates) — On his way to three straight 30-HR seasons
Josh Willingham (Twins; Drafted in 2000 in the 17th round by the Marlins) — Six 20-HR seasons, with his first 30-HR season this year
Austin Jackson (Tigers; Drafted in 2005 in the 8th round by the Yankees) — .308/.392/.897 line in 2012
Corey Hart (Brewers; Drafted in 2000 in the 11th round by the Brewers) — Five 20-HR seasons
*Dexter Fowler (Rockies; Drafted in 2004 in the 14th round by the Rockies) — Would be a great bench guy amongst these guys listed with his speed.
**Tyler Austin (Yankees; Drafted in 2010 in the 13th round by the Yankees) — An ETA of 2015 for the kid that’s chillin’ in High-A at the moment.
Jake Peavy (White Sox; Drafted in 1999 in the 15th round by the Padres) — finally looking to pitch a season with more than 30 starts since 2007 with the Padres
Mat Latos (Reds; Drafted in 2006 in the 11th round by the Padres) — although he really was a villain with San Diego, Latos will give you what you expect out of a pitcher in the 2 or 3 spot.
Tim Hudson (Braves; Drafted in 1997 in the 6th round by the A’s) — In his 14 seasons of pitching (and 2009 really shouldn’t count because he only had 7 starts), only one season (2006) has he had an ERA+ under 110
James Shields (Rays; Drafted in 2000 in the 16th round by the Devil Rays) — A great season last year, Shields is on his way to another 200+ IP campaign although he is susceptible to the long ball
Matt Moore (Rays; Drafted in 2007 in the 8th round by the Devil Rays) — Still a baby, Matt Moore’s potential is more than enough to “forgive” the season he’s having right now.
*James McDonald (Pirates; Drafted in 2002 in the 11th round by the Dodgers) — A product of my old workplace at Poly HS in Long Beach, James has been given his chance to shine in Pittsburgh and was considered one of the ASG snubs this year.
*Chris Capuano (Dodgers; Drafted in 1999 in the 8th round by the Diamondbacks) — A 4th/5th SP type throughout his career that’s pitching like a 2 or 3 and really helping the Dodgers in their pennant chase this year
**Dellin Betances (Yankees; Drafted in 2006 in the 8th round by the Yankees) — an ETA of 2012 for the kid that’s been geting lit up in his stops in the International and Eastern Leagues.
**Brad Peacock (A’s; Drafted in 2006 in the 41st round by the Nationals) — I just wanted to include a 41st rounder who is considered a legitimate prospcet. Seriously, how cool is that.
Tyler Clippard (Nationals; Drafted in 2003 in the 9th round by the Yankees) — Tyler has been blowing the competition away in the last four years, posting a double-digit K/9 and when Storen went down with an injury, Clippard was more than ready to pick up the slack.
David Robertson (Yankees; Drafted in 2006 in the 17th round by the Yankees) — The original heir to the throne of Mariano Rivera, Robertson, like Clippard is going double-digit K/9 for five-years running now including a crazy 399 ERA+ in 2011.
Greg Holland (Royals; Drafted in 2007 in the 10th round by the Royals) — With Joakim Soria down, and Jonathan Broxton finally being shipped out, Greg Holland gets to be put in the spotlight with his power of missing bats as he looks to post a career-high in strikeouts in 2012.
Sergio Romo (Giants; Drafted in 2005 in the 28th round by the Giants) — A known injury risk, Romo still can dominate you with the spin he puts on that frisbee slider of his has been baffling hitters for years
Vinnie Pestano (Indians; Drafted in 2006 in the 20th round by the Indians) — A Cal State Fullerton product (Gary Brown fans know that school well), Pestano has climbed up the ladder but is still what I feel to be a relative unknown because he plays for Cleveland. Currently a set-up man, he is to be taken seriously even if you haven’t heard of him.
Jason Motte (Cardinals; Drafted in 2003 in the 19th round by the Cardinals) — Motte is well known for his 2012 performance but he’s been doing well since 2010 really, and is what I’d think to be a household name in St. Louis.
Sean Marshall (Reds; Drafted in 2003 in the 6th round by the Cubs) — I wonder if Theo would’ve traded Marshall since this guy has been pretty darn good as a reliever when he started doing that full-time in 2010.
*Luke Gregerson (Padres; Drafted in 2006 in the 28th round by the Cardinals) — If Padres fans read my stuff, they’d hate my decision to leave him off my roster, and I understand their gripe: solid ERA+ especially this year, but who do I kick out for him?
*Joe Nathan (Rangers; Drafted in 1995 in the 6th round by the Giants) — Giants fans know the name well, and I won’t make them revisit any trades associated with him, but when healthy, really outside of 2011, he’s done some good work making hitters miss, including a 7 K/BB this year.
**Brody Colvin (Phillies; Drafted in 2009 in the 7th round by the Phillies) — An ETA 2014 and I know you’re not supposed to judge minor leaguers by their stats, but holy crap is this SP getting destroyed right now. A number of things could be going on here, but I put him in the bullpen, just because I can.
Maybe Brian Wilson (24th round in 2003) can be on my 60-Day DL. Sorry if I missed anybody, I don’t hate your team, this was a tough list to compile in certain positions!