Earlier I wrote about how you could validate voting for each Giant on the MLB All Star Ballot, now it’s probably an appropriate time to list my actual All Stars. Since voting doesn’t close until the 4th of July, there’s going to be plenty of room for hot streaks, and hot piles of slumps. As with the online ballot itself, I’ll give you my players for each position, and we’ll leave it at that for now.
1B — Chris Davis (14 HR, .420 OBP, .458 wOBA, 190 wRC+, 2.3 fWAR)
SS — Jhonny Peralta (4 HR, .379 OBP, .364 wOBA, 127 wRC+, 1.7 fWAR)
OF — Mike Trout (9 HR, 9 SB, .400 wOBA, 157 wRC+, 2.4 fWAR)
OF — Jose Bautista (11 HR, .408 wOBA, 158 wRC+, 1.9 fWAR)
DH — David Ortiz (7 HR, .397 OBP, .429 wOBA, 168 wRC+, 1.1 fWAR)
C — Buster Posey (6 HR, .395 OBP, .385 wOBA, 152 wRC+, 1.8 fWAR)
OF — Carlos Gonzalez (11 HR, 8 SB, .390 OBP, .413 wOBA, 154 wRC+, 2.1 fWAR)
OF — Justin Upton (14 HR, .387 OBP, .410 wOBA, 165 wRC+, 2.0 fWAR)
Feel free to put your ballot or changes in the comments because I can see how you might like player B over player A. Short season so far, lots of time left before I have to decide who I’m voting in 35 times.
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 sun and the sky may tell you it’s just another day, but we’re in the playoffs now, baby. What’s beautiful about the postseason is you don’t have to have the best team on paper, nor have had to be the best team in the regular season to win the three sets of series. Familiar face Dusty Baker and his pretty powerful pitchers and position players will come marching in to AT&T for Game 1 on Saturday. All we know about the Giants rotation is that Cain and Bumgarner are going with the other three starters available in the pen in case one of the Game 1 and/or 2 starters have a bad outing. We could potentially see some pretty interesting managing in these Games 1 and 2 from Bochy if he decides to use his starters for more than a side session’s worth of pitches. Over the course of the season, the Reds took 4 of 7 from the Giants, and they’ll try to continue having that little bit of the edge as they work to get through the 2010 Champs for their own chance at a trophy.
Game 1: Saturday, October 6th, 6:30PM PST, TBS — RHP Johnny Cueto vs. RHP Matt Cain
One sentence summary: Cueto’s one of the year’s best, but his last two starts on that came on 5 days rest saw only 8.1 IP, 18 H, 10 ER, 8 K’s combined, while Matt Cain was just fine in his last start where he got 4 days of rest, thank you very much — this Game 1 should be a good one.
Game 2: Sunday, October 7th, 6:30PM PST, TBS — RHP Bronson Arroyo vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
One sentence summary: In the last four Arroyo starts the story is not Arroyo’s pitching, but the average of one run of run support provided by his team, and for Bumgarner the last two opponents he has shut out were the Dodgers, and the Reds when he CG SHO’d them, but that was in late June.
Game 3: Tuesday, October 9th, 2:30PM PST, TBS — I’m guessing RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP Mat Latos
One sentence summary: Latos in his last 3 starts (20 IP, 13 H, 14 K’s, 2 BB, 2 ER) has been pretty sharp, and that could be a problem as he goes for revenge against old division rival… who could be any one of Lincecum/Zito/Vogelsong.
Game 4 (if necessary): Wednesday, October 10th, Time TBD, TBS — I’m guessing LHP Barry Zito vs. RHP Homer Bailey
One sentence summary: If the name “Homer Bailey” sounds familiar, it should, because he just threw a no-hitter against Pittsburgh and hasn’t seen an earned run cross in one of his starts since they played LA.
Game 5 (if necessary): Thursday, October 11th, Time TBD, TBS — RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Johnny Cueto
The Playoff Bats Are Loaded
The Reds and Giants both clinched their division on September 22nd, so their pitchers and bats have had plenty of time to rest and turn it down a notch, so I beefed up my small sample size from the normal “past seven games” to “past fourteen games” to give an idea of the work that’s been put in since around the time the clinch happened.
You may have heard Joey Votto had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus on July 17th, and while he did return on September 5th, he has not homered since June 24th. But don’t be fooled by his lack of four-baggers as he’s still proving productive (.410 wOBA L14, .436 wOBA overall) in the Reds lineup, and finished 1st overall in the NL in OBP. Had he stayed healthy, I imagine he would’ve been in the MVP discussion. Xavier Paul has also proved useful of late for the Reds (.386 wOBA L14, .364 wOBA overall), but he’s typically an extra OF so you might not see him regularly tending the grass out in AT&T and GABP. Drew Stubbs (.128, .278), Ryan Hanigan (.168, .304), and ROY candidate Todd Frazier (.174, .352) have all been underperforming of late. The Reds have seven guys with double digit homer counts and they are: Jay Bruce (34), Ryan Ludwick (26), Todd Frazier (19), Brandon Phillips (18), Zack Cozart (15), Drew Stubbs (14), and Joey Votto (14). Drew Stubbs (30) and Brandon Phillips (15) are the only guys the Reds have with double digit SB.
You’ve come to know the Giants pretty well after 162 games with them, so you know where the power and the speed can come from. Of late, the most productive guy over the past two weeks has been by wOBA…. Hector Sanchez (.448) in 25 PA. I know. He probably gets a start behind the plate for Game 3 or Game 4 with Posey at 1B. Other Giants of over .400 wOBA in the last 14 are Marco Scuatro (.439, .328 wOBA overall), Buster Posey (.425, .404), Pablo Sandoval (.413, .336), and Brandon Belt (.403, .342). Nobody’s been as cold as the coldest Reds players have been for the Giants, but guys that could get a start that have been underproductive are Gregor Blanco (.239, .309), Brandon Crawford (.254, .279), and Hunter Pence (.257, .322). While the Reds are beefy with power, the Giants are not defined by the long ball. Buster Posey (24), Hunter Pence (24), and Pablo Sandoval (12) are the only guys on the active roster with double digit dingers. The Giants can run a little bit, as evidenced by four guys having double digit steals like Angel Pagan (29), Gregor Blanco (26), Ryan Theriot (13), and Brandon Belt (12).
I expect this to be a series that will really test the Giants confidence in their own abilities as this set of games with shift back and forth, ultimately with the Giants coming out on top.
Game 1: Giants win (Cain bests Cueto in pitcher’s duel that gets the nation’s attention)
Game 2: Giants win (Arroyo sees little run support still, MadBum rolls)
Game 3: Reds win (Lincecum hangs too many, gets overpowered by Reds)
Game 4: Reds win (Zito and Vogelsong can’t hold down Reds in high scoring affair)
Game 5: Giants win (Giants solve Cueto while Cain keeps the Reds in the park)
Two division leaders square off at AT&T Park this weekend, and while this may be surprising to hear, the Reds as a team overall (41-33) are good, but not great. They are however, led by some great players. While the pitching matchups outside of the Thursday may not be anything to get all that up about, even in the first half of the season it wouldn’t be out of hand to say this could be a potential playoff preview where both teams will be paying very close attention to each other.
Thursday, June 28th: RHP Johnny Cueto vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
One sentence summary: Well that wasn’t nice of these teams to make the best game of the series on paper the first one.
Friday, June 29th: RHP Mike Leake vs. RHP Matt Cain
One sentence summary: Leake has the highest LD% (28.6) on the staff, which explains his high tERA, and would explain why the Giants might score more than their usual output by a little bit against him.
Saturday, June 30th: RHP Mat Latos vs. LHP Barry Zito
One sentence summary: I’ll be at this game, and of the 3 games I’ve gone to, the home team has won every time.
Sunday, July 1st: RHP Bronson Arroyo vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
One question summary: How the heck did Bronson Arroyo almost get a no hitter in his last start?
Small Sample Sizes (Last 7 Games) and Overall Numbers
Joey Votto with his 14 HR, 1.121 OPS, and .463 wOBA is something to be scared of, but his teammates around him are helping out, which is important when your starting pitchers are used to spinning around after a pitch and watching the ball land in the bleachers. Ryan Ludwick (.483 wOBA, 2 HR, .183 BABIP in L7; .339 wOBA overall) is that player that always seems to be around ready to pounce, as he got those 2 dingers in their last game. Scott Rolen (.432 wOBA, 35.3% K% L7; .260 wOBA overall) is doing his best to contribute, as are guys with double digit homers on the season like Jay Bruce (.354 wOBA overall), Brandon Phillips (.340), in addition to Ludwick, and Votto.
Meanwhile, the only double digit HR guy on the Giants is Buster Posey, who is All Star hot at the moment (40% LD%, 2 HR, .579 wOBA, 0% K% L7; .367 wOBA overall). Brandon Belt still is one of the wOBA leaders in the last 7 at .404, but the Dodgers cooled him off a bit, getting on base only one time in nine chances in the series. Remember how Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco were really dragging the team down going into the rivalry series? Well, they’re t-3rd in L7 wOBA at .325 which is right around what they’ve been doing this season (Pagan .336 overall, Blanco .334).
Lucky for us (I think), the games won’t be measured in home runs hit, because the Reds are bound to take a couple deep at least in their four games at AT&T, and even though the Reds starters between them have given up 19 on the road, you don’t go into these games expecting big orange bombs as a team with only 4 more big flies than they have wins (47-43).
Thursday: Reds win (Cueto’s pretty good; MadBum gets Cain’d)
Friday: Giants win (Matt Cain is better than you)
Saturday: Giants win (Mat Latos hates San Francisco)
Sunday: Giants win (Bronson ArroyLOL and his kitchen sink repertoire)
At the end of the weekend, if the Giants even split the series, it’s hard to imagine them not having sole possession of first in the NL West. We shall see though, and your friendly reminder that we’re not even halfway through the season.
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.
So yesterday I heard this story from @MLBSecrets that the Reds were willing to listen to offers on Joey Votto. Let’s be logical here: The San Francisco Giants might “kick the tires,” but that might be the end of that when it comes to dreaming over the guy who is probably bitter over Jose Bautista claiming the nickname and Twitter handle of “JoeyBats.” Some people are saying, “I’d love me a Joey Votto” but do you know what a Joey Votto brings?
How about: 40 2B, 185 H, 29 HR, 110 BBs in 599 PA, .416 OBP, a .531 SLG%, .996 FLD% in 2011.
2010 was the reason he signed that contract to cover up some of the arbitration years though — 37 HR, 36 2B, .424 OBP, .600 SLG% and a NL MVP award. He’s due $11.5MM in 2012 and $19MM in 2013. He’s a Free Agent after that.
If you stuck GM Brian Sabean and Reds GM Walt Jocketty in a room and told them: “Look, you guys must trade Joey Votto or you will have to relocate to Miami and play in their old stadium,” what would it take to get it done? I think the Giants could go 3-for-1 on this one… not 4-for-1 like the Indians did for Ubaldo.
If it had to happen: SP Matt Cain, CP Brian Wilson, 1B Brandon Belt for 1B Joey Votto
If it had to happen in most fans’ dreams: SP Barry Zito, CP Armando Benitez, CF Aaron Rowand+SS Miguel Tejada, 1B Aubrey Huff for 1B Joey Votto
In my heart, I feel that the first option would fall a bit short — especially with that guy Aroldis Chapman in Cincy, but the Giants could say, “Hey. Your boy (Votto) declined in 2011. Numbers don’t lie, witches!” Without throwing out there that the Reds played more meaningless games in 2011 than they did in 2010 when they played some organization with fans that boo its own players that rupture their achilles on the final out of a series. I wonder if throwing in SS Brandon Crawford would make that deal go through. And that would make it a 4-for-1. Gosh that would not sit well with me. Oh and you know where this would put Aubrey Huff in 2012, right?
Would the Giants ever do this? I already hear some of you, don’t worry. From:
1) You (idiot) (poop)head. Why did I read this (expletive) (garbage)!
2) I could see Sabean doing that. Free Belt!… from San Francisco!
That trade would free up $12MM in 2012. If the Giants actually signed Cain and Wilson for 2013, they would save somewhere around $8-9MM.
But the Giants would never do that.
Or would they?