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.
The Season Series
May 16th — St. Louis 4, San Francisco 1 (AT&T Park)
May 17th — San Francisco 7, St. Louis 5 (AT&T Park)
August 6th — St. Louis 8, San Francisco 2 (Busch Stadium)
August 7th — San Francisco 4, St. Louis 2 (Busch Stadium)
August 8th — San Francisco 15, St. Louis 0 (Busch Stadium)
August 9th — St. Louis 3, San Francisco 1 (Busch Stadium)
The Cardinals were one strike away from being done. Again. Then Yadier Molina took two balls for a walk. Then they were down to their last strike on three pitches, once again. Then David Freese, Postseason Immortal, took three balls to load the bases. Daniel Descalso singled on the next pitch, and all of a sudden, Drew Storen and the Nats found themselves clinging for their lives, and after Pete Kozma took two quick strikes, then two balls, singled in Freese and Descalso. The Nationals couldn’t rally, and the Giants headed home as the Cardinals champagned themselves in Washington. Carlos Beltran tweeted that the Cardinals got to San Francisco around 6:00AM PST this morning and will have the day off while the Giants have an afternoon workout on tap.
Sunday: Game 1, 5:15PM PST, FOX: RHP Lance Lynn vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
Postseason Performance: Lynn relieved and threw in 4 G, 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K’s. MadBum started Game 2, threw 4.1 innings, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K’s. My fear is that Bumgarner is fatigued, and he will get a chance to show he’s not, likely in two starts because sweeping this St. Louis team is very unlikely in my opinion.
Monday: Game 2, 5:07PM PST, FOX: RHP Chris Carpenter vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
NLDS performance: Carpenter started and surrendered 7 H in 5.2 IP, 2 BB, threw 2 K’s, but saw no runs cross the plate in his start. Vogey threw in Game 3 and despite a slow start, pitched 5 innings, gave up only 3 H, 3 BB, K’d 5, and only 1 crossed the plate in their extra inning thriller. Carpenter just came back, so it must be nice for the Cardinals to have a relatively fresh arm on their staff in October.
Wednesday: Game 3, 1:07PM PST, FOX: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Kyle Lohse
With Wainwright throwing only 53 pitches on Friday, I’m speculating he’ll get the call here and push Lohse to Game 4. Nevermind that.
NLDS performance: Matt Cain started twice, but never got past the 6th inning, going 10.2 IP, giving up 11 H, watching 6 ER cross the plate, while walking 3, and striking out 9. Lohse has been a key to keeping his team in the game to advance past the Braves and the Nationals, striking out 11, walking 2, and surrendering 8 hits in 12.2 IP.
Thursday: Game 4, 5:07PM PST, FOX: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP Adam Wainwright
Postseason performance: Lincecum struck out 8 in 6.1 IP, and not walking anyone in his two appearances while Wainwright was great in Game 1, but left it up in Game 5 and left early and if he continues to do that, he will get punished even by the less powerful Giants offense.
*Friday: Game 5, 5:07PM PST, FOX: LHP Madison Bumgarner vs. RHP Lance Lynn
*Sunday, October 21st: Game 6, 1:45PM PST, FOX: RHP Chris Carpenter vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
*Monday, October 22nd: Game 7: 5:07PM PST, FOX: RHP Adam Wainwright vs. RHP Kyle Lohse
* — if necessary
Playoff Offense: Cardinals — 38 runs, 50 hits in 6 G, Giants — 18 runs, 32 hits in 5 G
Averaging more than 6 runs/game, and 8 hits/game, you’d think the Cardinals had just squared off against the Rockies in Coors Field, but instead they took it to two different playoff teams from the NL East and hit. That’s pretty intimidating considering the Giants really didn’t until their last two games. As for the players that did work, Carlos Beltran (2 HR, .409/.500/.818 in 22 AB) will be the player everyone types “should of” so much that the joke will get old, especially after his 30+ HR, 10+ SB season. Allen Craig has been getting his as well, posting a .348/.444/.609 in 23 AB while manning the 1B spot. Then there’s the infamous David Freese, whose .381/.440/.524 in 21 AB who always seems to be doing something positive for the Cardinals. These three hold the 2, 4, and 6 spots in the lineup, respectively, so you can understand how the Cardinals have been scoring as many runs as they have. On the other side of the pillow has been Yadier Molina, NL MVP vote-getter, and remarkably cold, with a .095/.296/.095 line in 21 AB and leadoff hitter Jon Jay, going .167/.222/.250 in 24 AB. I don’t expect them to stay down forever.
The Giants had only three guys get on base over 30% of the time, and while the Cardinals had five, the Giants highest OBP guy in the playoffs, Gregor Blanco (.375) would rank fifth on the Cardinals for OBP, so needless to say, the Giants don’t necessarily have hitters that are as “hot” to the degree that the Cardinals have been. I like to think the Reds pitched better than the Nationals though, or at least I hope so. Back to Blanco in his 14 AB, he went .286/.375/.571 with his 1 HR included, and Pablo actually had a higher AVG than OBP in his 21 AB with a .333/.318/.571 thanks in large part to his sac fly. Angel Pagan (.150/.217/.350 in 20 AB) and Marco Scutaro (.150/.227/.200 in 20 AB), whose NLDS numbers are overall pretty unattractive started to hit again as the series started to end, so hopefully that rise in hitting will continue against St. Louis.
Their Bullpen is on Fire
St. Louis has Trevor Rosenthal (97.6), Jason Motte (96.8), Mitchell Boggs (95.8), and Joe Kelly (94.4) that all have high velocity stuff, so the Giants go from facing one good bullpen from Cincinnati to a hard throwing one in St. Louis. If those guys can locate, watch out.
The Giants are likely to be billed as the underdog, but the Giants have proved before they can score runs… at least when they leave AT&T Park.
Game 1: Cardinals win (Bumgarner unable to adjust, Cards mash)
Game 2: Giants win (Vogelsong vintage as Carpenter makes enough mistakes for Giants to win)
Game 3: Cardinals win (Cain still struggling)
Game 4: Giants win (Timmy throws a gem)
Game 5: Giants win (Bumgarner gets his revenge)
Game 6: Giants win (Cards still have trouble with Vogelsong as bullpen slams the door, but not without some of that classic torture)
Should be a wild series, and the fun starts tomorrow.
It started out ugly. Real ugly. Matt Holliday. David Freese. Some guy named Salas. Michael Young 1,000 times it seemed made me actually “laugh out loud.” Not PHing for Colby Lewis in the 5th with the bases loaded. This game was a mess. This was before the baseball gods decided, “You know what? This offseason might suck a little, just because.” (I don’t actually believe that as a baseball fan.)
Joe Buck said the game could be on the line in the 6th. I mocked him. I shouldn’t have: everything made this game what it was. 4-4, Texas then tacks 3 on the board. 7-4. If it weren’t for 2002 I’d have thought the game was over. So you know, Neftali Feliz is on the mound, doo-do-doo, couple runners get on, dee-de-dee, then David Freese goes all DAVID FREESE!!!!! OMGGGG HOLY CRAPP WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?! And that was basically how we felt in a nutshell. RBI Triple over Nelson Cruz’s inability to play in a stadium he hadn’t played in since… last week.
So we go to the Top of the 10th. 1 out, Elvis Andrus singles up the middle. Better watch that runn–JOSH HAMILTON I’M A MAN, I’M 40! And then it’s 9-7. Wow, Cardinals can’t get this one. They tried. Oh ok, 1st and 2nd with 0 outs? Oh man, what’s happening now. RBI groundout then LANCE BERKMAN MY BEARD IS SPOTTED AND YOU WILL LIKE IT! Allen Craig grounds out because well, he can’t do it every time.
Then the top of the 11th happens. I think it did, but I can’t remember because the bottom of 11th went all BOOM because DAVID FREESE IS AMAZING. Walk off HR to CF. I can’t believe it. You can’t believe it. My cats can’t believe it.
I can believe baseball is the greatest sport ever. I can believe this was the greatest non-Giants game I’ve ever watched. I have a hard time believing I will see a game better than this. This is a game you tell your kids and grandkids about.