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.
60. Matt Cain (219.1 IP, 7.92 K/9, 3.60 tERA, 3.8 fWAR, 3.5 rWAR) – In the battle of Cain v. Kuroda, if you really value WAR, you’ll take Kuroda, but the FIP and tERA speak to me more, as does Cain doing the work in one less start than Kuroda.
59. Elvis Andrus (31 2B, 21 SB, .322 wOBA, 4.2 fWAR, 3.5 rWAR) – Imagine if this kid can get the bat going more, and he will be a talent that not just demands, but deserves the 9-figure deal.
58. Jose Reyes (37 2B, 40 SB, .335 wOBA, 4.5 fWAR, 2.8 rWAR) – I almost had a pretty neat string of 2013 Toronto Blue Jays going, but I think Jose will have a great time frolicking with an organization that isn’t made of pure Snakeinthegrass.
57. James Shields (227.2 IP, 8.82 K/9, 3.52 tERA, 4.3 fWAR, 2.2 rWAR) – Though he may be one of the better pitchers in the game, I think it is reasonable to worry about whether he will be what the Royals traded him for (their ace).
55. Josh Hamilton (43 HR, 31 2B, .387 wOBA, 4.4 fWAR, 3.4 rWAR) – Forever will be remembered by me as “the guy that didn’t hit enough HR” in 2012, or for his 2011 Game 6 HR that really should have given Texas a Title.
54. Melky Cabrera (25 2B, 10 3B, .387 wOBA, 4.6 fWAR, 4.7 rWAR) – Like Chooch, not sure how much the PED helped Melky, but Toronto is certainly willing to find out.
53. Edwin Encarnacion (42 HR, 13 SB, .396 wOBA, 4.4 fWAR, 4.6 rWAR) – Maybe everybody’s hitters should take some time in Toronto over the off-season to get coached to find a new timing mechanism to get them the power. We’ll get to see if this was a fluke year, or if him and Joey Bats are just getting started.
52. Dustin Pedroia (39 2B, 20 SB, .344 wOBA, 4.5 fWAR, 4.4 rWAR) – His glove is what gets him here, along with his low K numbers, power, and speed at a position not known for such attributes.
51. Ryan Zimmerman (25 HR, 36 2B, .352 wOBA, 4.5 fWAR, 3.8 rWAR) – Like Peavy, it was good to see Zimm healthy for most of the season, and reminded the people that he can be an integral part of a championship-level team.
50. Jake Peavy (219.0 IP, 7.97 K/9, 3.99 tERA, 4.4 fWAR, 5.0 rWAR) – Maybe he’s returning to his San Diego performance days, and I know the White Sox are certainly hoping so as well.
49. Adam Wainwright (198.2 IP, 8.34 K/9, 3.72 tERA, 4.4 fWAR, 5.9 rWAR) – Had he a better defense, and better run support, he probably would have been a bigger competitor in any award he was eligible for. Nearly a 0.80 difference between his ERA and FIP.
48. Adam Jones (32 HR, 16 SB, .361 wOBA, 4.6 fWAR, 3.4 rWAR) – Speaking of walks, Adam Jones does not, but he provides the boom as a replacement. May be a problem as he gets older, but he just completed his age 26 season.
47. Wade Miley (194.2 IP, 6.66 K/9, 4.11 tERA, 4.8 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – Just a rookie, Miley did a great job keeping the walks down, as it’s hard to find many of the top starters on this list that had lower than a 2.00 BB/9.
46. Angel Pagan (15 3B, 29 SB, .334 wOBA, 4.8 fWAR, 4.0 rWAR) – Giants fans are just glad he got out of his slump in the leadoff spot well in time for the later months and postseason run.
45. CC Sabathia (200.0 IP, 8.87 K/9, 3.87 tERA, 4.8 fWAR, 3.3 rWAR) – And all that was done in 28 starts, too, which is the same amount of starts Strasburg had.
44. Johnny Cueto (217.0 IP, 7.05 K/9, 3.91 tERA, 4.8 fWAR, 5.8 rWAR) – Had Cueto kept up his first half dominance, he probably would have run away with the Cy Young Award.
43. Josh Reddick (32 HR, 11 SB, .326 wOBA, 4.8 fWAR, 4.5 rWAR) – Shocked that he was healthy a whole year, Reddick proved to be a fantastic surprise of healthiness for the surprise AL West Champs.
42. Max Scherzer (187.2 IP, 11.08 K/9, 3.71 tERA, 4.6 fWAR, 4.0 rWAR) – I was debating how he and Cueto should match up, and a lot of people might sight his ERA, but I’m not sure why the awful defense behind him should give the edge to the NLDS Game 1 SP from Cincy.
41. Cole Hamels (215.1 IP, 9.03 K/9, 2.75 tERA, 4.5 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – Every time I see “Cole Hamels” all I think is “Coal Hammels,” and I have even once typed in “Hammels” on accident.
Good Morning! Why did you go to sleep?
Last night may have been the most eventful night in some time in terms of baseball transactions, with Wandy Rodriguez being traded to the Pirates, Cole Hamels being signed to an incredible 6-year/$144MM extension, and then the cherry on top of Hanley Ramirez being shipped to the Dodgers. There are more pieces to the Pirates and the Dodgers deals, but I’m going to stick with the headliners because I don’t doubt you might have woken up today, and especially if you’re a Dodger/Giant fan you went “UUUWHHHHHHHATTTTTTTT???” which is pretty much the sound I made.
Which Hanley are the Dodgers getting?
The Hanley Ramirez the public will think of when we think of what he can do is the 2007-2010 Hanley Ramirez. In those years he put up 29, 33, 24, 21 HR; 51, 35, 27, 32 SB, an OBP of .386, .400, .410, .378; a wOBA of .411, .405, .410, .373; and an fWAR of 5.7, 7.5, 7.4, 4.6 if you’re into any of those stats.
In 2011 and 2012, we’ve seen somebody different, and granted he only played 92 G in 2011 so perhaps he should get cut some slack. The HR aren’t too bad with 10, 14; 20, 14 SB so he’s a little behind the normal pace this year; an OBP of .333, .322, which is a little concerning; wOBA of .317, .329 which repeats that concern; and an fWAR of 1.3, 1.4 which further drives home the point that he hasn’t been able to put forth what’s been expected of him.
Even if he magically bounces back to 2007-2010 Hanley due to meshing with the Dodgers clubhouse, he’s got 64 games in the regular season left with them, and you may see 10-12 more HR, and SB, maybe gets on base at a .370 clip, and gives the Dodgers maybe two or three extra wins in total (remember, 64 games left, not a larger number) than they would’ve had without him. Something of a close comparison may be the 2010 Matt Kemp that put up 28 HR, 19 SB, but a .310 OBP and a .323 wOBA — he’ll get big hits, but you can see there’s something more there and it will kill you that he’s not reaching that potential.
The consensus fear is that the Hanley of 2007-2010 shows up for the Dodgers. I believe the realistic expectation to kind of echo Wendy Thurm is 2011-2012 Hanley shows up this year, then wait and see what happens in 2013-2014, where he could return to form. He will still be good though, I’m not saying he will do nothing.
So how do we react?
Well, we take it in, and just go, “OK. The Dodgers have Hanley now.” This really shouldn’t change things for the front office because we’ve known all along the Dodgers would try to go big this season, and they might not be done in trying to get Ryan Dempster, and/or Shane Victorino, or maybe there’s other stuff out there we don’t know about (very real possibility). Therefore, the Giants knew before the Hanley deal they needed bullpen help, knew they’re trying to land someone that will help the team in 1B/RF. The only thing that changed because of last night’s Panda stretch is possibly the need for a 3B, especially if the position remains a black hole of hitting production. This deal doesn’t mean, “OHMYGAHH THE GIANTS NEED TO TRADE FOR ZACK GRINKY OR WHATEVR THAT GUYZ NAME IS… OR WHADDABOUT ELVIS ANDRUS FOR NATE SCHIERHOLTZ/?!!?” because really, with the Giants farm system (and wallet) being what it is, it’s not gonna happen.
So the Dodgers have Hanley and the Giants haven’t traded for anyone, OK. 6 days left in the non-waiver trade deadline and I’m sure you know we’ve acquired guys in August in the past as well, so getting an impact arm or bat isn’t out of the question. Relax, have fun speculating what it’ll mean, and enjoy these next couple of days from a trade deadline perspective. Just don’t panic, because if the front office isn’t panicking over that Hanley deal, why should you?
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.