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.
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)
Today is a showcase of talent. Not all of the best talent are here, but there’s still going to be some amazing players on display like there were in the Futures Game, except of course at the MLB level, where a lot of these guys have for the most part put it all together.
Jeff Passan’s piece on Mike Trout vs. Bryce Harper is something we probably don’t talk enough about, but the Giants have now had the opportunity to see both, and were we ever disappointed. Disappointed that they did so well against our teams, but as a baseball fan, blown away by the fact they’re only 20, and 19 years old, respectively and why the heck couldn’t I do that at 19-20 years old 😦
All told, there were 38 players named or voted to the All Star team for the National League, and 36 voted for the American League squad. 16 National Leaguers are taking part in their first ASG, and for around 10 of them, I’d say this is just the beginning for them. You’d think the American League would be full of non-newbies, but even they have 10 guys new to the festivities and fanfare, with maybe 6 of them figuring this will not be their last trip to the All Star rodeo.
If you add the years up for the number of ASG the rosters have played, you would get 194 ASG played between the 74 players on the roster. The AL has 112 of those years, averaging 3.1111111111111 ASG/player, while the NL only has 90, averaging 2.36842105 ASG/player. There are five players in the ASG that have made 7 or more ASG rosters, can you name them? Think about it… OK I tell you now: Beltran 7; Miguel Cabrera 7; Chipper 8; Papi 8; Jeter 13. The people love them some gift baskets.
A Melky Cabrera homecoming should be heartwarming because Melky’s on record saying he did enjoy his time there, and Royals fans love the guy on their roster as they showed with Wil Myers (oh you thought I was going to talk about someone else, didn’t you?). Chipper Jones should have a nice final All Star Game, whether he plays or not, while Japan should be abuzz that Yu Darvish has the possibility of strutting his stuff on the international stage. Names like Chris Sale, Mark Trumbo, Aroldis Chapman, and Andrew McCutchen should hopefully become bigger household names as I believe all are special players.
So while we may be upset that the likes of Ryan Vogelsong, James McDonald, Johnny Cueto, and even yes, my favorite reliever, Sergio Romo did not make the squad, and others are upset over Matt Cain being chosen over R.A. Dickey and Stephen Strasburg, this should still be an excellent display of the talent that is flourishing within The Show. If you’re going to spend the whole time fuming of this or that, your appreciation for what’s being put out on stage tonight will likely go down, and as a baseball fan, this should be a moment for you to soak it all in, and appreciate some of what today’s game has to offer.