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.
The Phillies have all the normal faces back in the lineup and in their rotation that you’re used to seeing, but luckily the Giants get to miss Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee while they throw out 2 of the 3 weaker links on their rotation, but especially with Cliff Lee not being involved this weekend unless something crazy happens (a la Roy Oswalt Game 4), this is another winnable series — for both sides, of course.
Friday, July 20th: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP Vance Worley
One question summary: Timmy’s thrown up 0’s against the Dodgers and the Astros recently, but can he establish his fastball against a team with a more respectable offense?
Saturday, July 21st: RHP Matt Cain vs. LHP Cole Hamels
One sentence summary: Insert redundant comment about how we’ll see this matchup more in the coming years when Hamels resides in LA.
Sunday, July 22nd: LHP Barry Zito vs. RHP Joe Blanton
One sentence summary: The Giants just faced a guy that gave up 20 HR (Mike Minor) and that just happened to be the day he threw darts for strikes and hopefully Joe Blanton doesn’t copy that.
The Offensive Perspective
Carlos Ruiz (.424 wOBA, .365 BABIP, 27.4 wRAA, 14 HR) has done a ton of the work for the offense this year, which unfortunately hasn’t come through for their starting pitchers and relief corps enough to be 52-41 team as opposed to the 41-52 team they are today. Then again, if the Giants scored more runs for their pitchers, their record would kick so much tail, too. Hunter Pence isn’t doing too bad himself (.351 wOBA, 17 HR, 12 GIDP). Juan Pierre (21), Shane Victorino (21), Jimmy Rollins (14) is where Philadelphia gets its speed from, and I know these are all names you’re probably familiar with for one reason or another. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley just got back so if they can do damage, the Phillies might have to change course in terms of buying/selling, but the question is if it’s too late.
Meanwhile, for the team whose fanbase is getting mocked and yelled at by angry Braves fans disputing the un-racist ways of “The Chop,” the guy who was catching the most heat from their fanbase, Melky Cabrera (.395 wOBA, .391 BABIP, 9 HR, 10 SB), continues to lead the way for an offense that enjoyed two games of 9 runs scored in that Atlanta series. Buster (.372 wOBA, 11 HR, 12 GIDP) also is swinging it well this season, as is the Panda (.361 wOBA), but I’m still looking for more bombs out of him, as is everybody else. Speaking of bombing, do you know who’s second in GIDP to Posey with 10? If you guessed Joaquin Arias, you’re either really good, or a really big cheater. Brandon Belt is mystifying people to the point where trade talks are being proposed by fans after the game today, and I’d bring up monthly splits, but it hurts. We shall see, and remember that trade deadline is July 31st.
I’m impressed that I’ve been right with all 6 games thus far this post-All Star Break. Perhaps while I’m in Vegas this weekend (which might control my inability to post a series preview for the Pads-Giants series that starts Monday), I’ll put money on the Giants to win. Nah.
Friday: Phillies win (Ryan Howard parties)
Saturday: Giants win (Matt Cain Matt Cain’s Cole Hamels)
Sunday: Giants win (Joe Blanton can’t stop with the big flies)
Have a good weekend, everybody, and enjoy all the 2010 NLCS replays that are bound to show up.
Fans around the world are voting for their favorite players to be in the All Star Game in Kansas City next month. For some reason voting opens unnecessarily early and lasts until I don’t know when. If it were up to me, I’d have a couple weeks of voting starting around a week ago, and then close it before the last week of June. A lot of people are already voting on small sample sizes (SSS), so why open it up so early? That’s another argument for another day.
There are a few ways to go about voting for your All Star team when you fill out your ballot:
1. You try to pick the players having the best season statistically
2. You pick the players you want to see out there on the field, no matter if they’re not as hot as someone else
3. You pick every players from the team you root for because that page or stadium billboard told you so
4. You pick the best looking players because that’s the only reason you watch baseball anyway
5. You pick the worst players for both sides (I see you trollin’), or just the opposition in hopes your team of All Stars will crush the other team of Brandon Crawfords.
I’m going to go for #1 in this post and get an understanding for why Buster Posey is leading the way he is, but in the end, I believe the fans of baseball vote with their heart (option #2… and maybe 4) and want to give what they believe to be Buster’s due of playing in an All Star Game.
Entering today’s games, here’s some rankings of some stat categories and where you can find the Buster amongst NL catchers:
Home Runs: Y Molina, McCann, Wilin Rosario (9), C Ruiz, Posey (8)
RBI (Because some fans use this stat because they think this is a reasonable measuring stick, but it isn’t): Molina (36), C Ruiz, Posey (35)
SB: Molina (6), Rosario (3), Ruiz, J Lucroy (2), Posey, McCann (1)
OBP: AJ Ellis (.434), Ruiz (.424), Lucroy (.387), Molina (.378), Ryan Hanigan (.368), Miguel Montero (.358), Posey (.353)
ISO: Rosario (.259), Lucroy (.237), Ruiz (.216), Molina (.191), McCann (.185), Posey (.178)
Line Drive %: Buster is 11th; Molina leads at 25.9%
wOBA: Ruiz (.427), Lucroy (.414), Ellis (.389), Molina (.388), Posey (.356)
wRAA: Ruiz (18.9), Molina (14.1), Ellis (12.6), Lucroy (11.9), Posey (7.6)
wRC+ has the same order as wOBA.
fWAR: Ruiz (3.2), Ellis (3.0), Molina (2.9), Lucroy (1.8), Posey (1.8)
So perhaps I’ve played devil’s advocate here by showing the numbers really don’t support Buster, and I hope I haven’t tainted your view of Buster’s performance this season (he’s still doing pretty good). Due to his success in 2010 and the tragedy of 2011, I think the fans will put him in the 2012 ASG one way or another, which is fine by me, because like many other Giants fans I have numerous Buster Posey things (does that sound creepy?) around my place that I look to every time he does well. So if you’re going to #VoteBuster, go for it, just if you do it, don’t say right now you’re doing it because he has better numbers than everyone else, since frankly that would be a pile of poop.
We are approaching a third of the season gone by, so it’s becoming about time to consider All Star Game roster considerations. The sample sizes are larger, but I’d still prefer MLB wait to open voting until mid-June since so many people have access to the internet the general public is perfectly capable of voting for their favorite player 25 times in a span of 2-3 weeks. These picks consider numbers up until today, and are not projections as to what they’ll do through June/July. I promise this post won’t be all Giants. Promise.
C: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
I’m going with the guy with more HR, a lower K%, higher SLG%, wOBA, and wRC+ than AJ Ellis, who gets a lot of attention in this region.
Reserves: Jonathan Lucroy (only his BB% and OBP are worse than Ellis), AJ Ellis
1B: Joey Votto, Reds
Don’t mind him, he’s just walking around (21.0% of the time) beasting the competition. .321/.465/.590 line with a .447 wOBA and a 185 wRC+.
Reserves: Bryan LaHair (10 jacks, but a 30% K% rate), and yes you’re reading this right — Adam LaRoche (the only other NL 1B with over a .500 SLG%)
2B: Omar Infante, Marlins
This guy had a hot start and he’s actually been holding up his numbers, since he’s the only NL 2B with over a .200 ISO, .500 SLG, and .400 wOBA
Reserve: Jose Altuve, who I stupidly traded away in my fantasy league
SS: Rafael Furcal, Cardinals
The BABIP may be up there, but he’s leading the pack in a lot of categories like the batting line except for SLG (3rd), and I know he doesn’t have the pop that someone like Troy Tulowitzki might have
Reserves: Jed Lowrie, Ian Desmond, Tulo
3B: David Wright, Mets
He’s blowing everybody out of the water WRIGHT NOW (HA!) with his numbers — .390/.489/.604 with a .453 wOBA, 194 wRC+. It’s beautiful. Yes I know it will regress but still.
Reserves: Pablo Sandoval, Chipper Jones, David Freese (OK I might have too many guys on the roster, so sue me.)
OF1: Matt Kemp, Dodgers. You haven’t forgotten about him, have you? .368 ISO, .726 SLG%, 12 HR, .473 wOBA, 207 wRC+. Wowzers.
OF2: Ryan Braun, Brewers. 13 HR, .300 ISO, .612 SLG%, .425 wOBA, 172 wRC+.
OF3: Carlos Beltran, Cardinals. omg he hatez the giants how could you include him u looser. 14 HR, .304 ISO, .422 wOBA, 172 wRC+. Will need an injury replacement.
Reserves (5): Andre Ethier, Andrew McCutchen, Martin Prado, Melky Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton off your bench. OFF THE BENCH.
Not a bad roster, if I do say so myself if it had to be made today.