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 two number three seeds in the Postseason have championed their respective leagues in their own fashion: one used its pitching to outlast a story everybody wanted to see and then swept an imploded opponent, another used elimination games to win six of their seven games on their way to the World Series. Each team does this on the backs of multiple players, and the decisions of their managers can shift the balance of the game, and possibly of the series itself. The drama and excitement begins on Wednesday in San Francisco, and the audience will get to continue to have the opportunity to critique each word spitted by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. All games are scheduled for 5:00PM PST. Games 2-4 starters for the Giants have not been announced yet, so those listed are my guesses.
Wednesday, Game 1: RHP Justin Verlander vs. LHP Barry Zito
One sentence summary: JV has owned this Postseason, and Good Zito just showed up against the Cardinals, so this has the potential to be the 20+ run game we all expect it to be.
Thursday, Game 2: RHP Doug Fister vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
One sentence summary: Fister has provided 13 K’s in 13.1 IP, but allowed 10 baserunners in his last outing even though the Yankees were unable to cash in, and if Madison Bumgarner can show he’s cashed in on some extra time off in fixing his delivery, it could make for a very happy flight to Detroit.
Saturday, Game 3: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez
One sentence summary: In May, Anibal Sanchez was involved in a 14-7 loss to the Giants while he was with Miami, surrendering 7 hits and striking out 7, while Vogelsong has just come off a career performance of striking out nine.
Sunday, Game 4: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Max Scherzer
One sentence summary: 18 K’s in 11 IP for Scherzer is a tribute to his high strikeout ratio while only seeing five hits go by him in his two starts, while Matt Cain will get one day’s extra rest to put it together and hopefully get lucky against the Tigers like he did with the Cardinals by not getting the mistake pitches crushed.
Monday, Game 5*: LHP Barry Zito vs. RHP Justin Verlander
Wednesday, October 31st, Game 6*: RHP Doug Fister vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
Thursday, November 1st, Game 7*: RHP Anibal Sanchez vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
A Possible Difference in Performance
While the Postseason is full of small sample sizes, it’s still interesting to take a look at how players have fared thus far. Take a look at how the Tigers have done in the LCS, and in the Postseason overall:
Pretty good overall hitting, getting on base at a reasonably good tick, and slugged the stuffing out of the Yankees in four games. Now, the Giants:
Getting on base nearly as much as the Tigers have over a few more games, and who’d have thunk it that Pablo Sandoval is slugging the best out of all the starters remaining in the Fall Classic? Really amazing how the Tigers manhandled the Yankees and how the Giants just scraped by the Cardinals, who were rumored to be immortal.
Needless to say, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence need to wake the f up because if you’re relying on Belt, Blanco, and Crawford to drive in your runs, then expect that elimination games streak to be challenged once again. I can only wonder how many more runs this team would have if those two were even hitting at the rate Belt and Blanco have for the postseason.
Power, Production and Speed from the Motor City
Everyone has heard about Miguel Cabrera and his famed Triple Crown. The 44 HR within that and the .417 wOBA for the season are pretty scary, but the 28 double plays he grounded into are certainly exciting. Prince Fielder had another 30 HR season with exactly that round number, a .398 wOBA, and grounded into 19 double plays, which is the same number that Buster Posey grounded into. Delmon Young and Jhonny Peralta also grounded into 20 double plays a piece. However, these two do have double digit HR (Jhonny 13 and Delmon 18), as did Omar Infante with 12, and leadoff man Austin Jackson with 16, and AJ is 3rd on the team with a wOBA of .371. The burners on this club are Quintin Berry (21 SB), Omar Infante (17), and Austin Jackson (12), so these guys can add an extra element to the game if/when they get on base.
Who’s the Designated Hitter for the Giants?
There’s a part of me that is hoping that this Hector Sanchez-Barry Zito/Tim Lincecum experiment really takes a back seat in this series, but we’ve had enough messing around with a free-swinging switcher and watching Belt be benche. However, with the DH, Bochy can have his cake and eat it too. My heart says Bochy and company wise up and keep Hector from catching, but my head says if Lincecum is given a start, we will see Posey DH a game. I like the idea of Pablo DH-ing and Joaquin Arias starting at 3B, maybe even to break up the line of LHH the Giants have going on in that 6-7-8 spot. Hector Sanchez will be an option for a DH, as will Aubrey Huff, but I’m thinking Pablo sees the DH the most of the three possible games he can be there.
Prediction Time: Sticking With What Works
If you’re a reader who’s stopped by often, you know how this part works. I pick the Giants to win a series, and tell you how they do it. It’s not going to be any different here.
Game 1: Giants win (Crazy World Series is crazy)
Game 2: Tigers win (Starting pitching not slid as Tigers continue to hit)
Game 3: Giants win (Vogelsong lights up Detroit)
Game 4: Tigers win (Tigers take advantage of Giants mistakes)
Game 5: Giants win (Giants beat Verlander twice, Kate Upton asks me if I’m available)
Game 6: Giants win (Giants come back against Detroit’s bullpen to seal their 2nd title in 3 years)
I hope this or any variation of the Giants winning in 4-7 games happens. Boy I’d like to attend a parade.