Tagged: Justin Upton

Water Cooler Day Off Talk: My May 23rd All Star Ballot

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.

American League

C — Carlos Santana (8 HR, .405 OBP, .410 wOBA, 163 wRC+, 1.7 fWAR) over Joe Mauer (2 HR, .416 OBP, .386 wOBA, 144 wRC+, 1.9 fWAR)

1B — Chris Davis (14 HR, .420 OBP, .458 wOBA, 190 wRC+, 2.3 fWAR)

2B — Dustin Pedroia (8 SB, .420 OBP, .375 wOBA, 132 wRC+, 2.0 fWAR) just over Robinson Cano (13 HR, .335 OBP, .375 wOBA, 134 wRC+, 1.6 fWAR)

SS — Jhonny Peralta (4 HR, .379 OBP, .364 wOBA, 127 wRC+, 1.7 fWAR)

3B — Miguel Cabrera (13 HR, .459 OBP, .480 wOBA, 206 wRC+, 3.0 fWAR) over Evan Longoria (9 HR, .399 OBP, .420 wOBA, 171 wRC+, 2.9 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)

OF — Alex Rios (10 HR, 8 SB, .372 OBP, .397 wOBA, 146 wRC+, 1.7 fWAR) just over Alex Gordon (6 HR, .387 OBP, .396 wOBA, 150 wRC+, 1.9 fWAR)

DH — David Ortiz (7 HR, .397 OBP, .429 wOBA, 168 wRC+, 1.1 fWAR)

National League

C — Buster Posey (6 HR, .395 OBP, .385 wOBA, 152 wRC+, 1.8 fWAR)

1B — Joey Votto (7 HR, .484 OBP, .438 wOBA, 182 wRC+, 2.7 fWAR) over Paul Goldschmidt (12 HR, .400 OBP, .420 wOBA, .166 wRC+, 2.1 fWAR)

2B — Matt Carpenter (3 HR, .387 OBP, .365 wOBA, 137 wRC+, 2.1 fWAR) over Marco Scutaro (1 HR, .382 OBP, .358 wOBA, 133 wRC+, 1.6 fWAR)

SS — Jean Segura (7 HR, 14 SB, .390 OBP, .407 wOBA, 2.4 fWAR) just over former Long Beach State Dirtbag Troy Tulowitzki (9 HR, .409 OBP, .427 wOBA, 163 wRC+, 2.3 fWAR). You could go either way here.

3B — David Wright (6 HR, 10 SB, .395 OBP, .385 wOBA, 151 wRC+, 2.1 fWAR) over Chase Headley (does not play on the Mets)

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)

OF — Shin-Soo Choo (9 HR, .449 OBP, .426 wOBA, 174 wRC+, 2.0 fWAR) over Carlos Gomez (152 wRC+, 2.6 fWAR) and Ryan Braun (9 HR, .412 wOBA). Just don’t put Choo in CF.

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.

GIFPost: The Swings of Justin Upton’s Twelve Homers

Justin Upton‘s swing is a thing of beauty, and the good people of MLB have noticed and compiled a video of his twelve homers from the month of April. The video is here for your viewing pleasure:

The dates of all those games you may not know, although you’ve probably heard his RBI count is pretty low:

Rk Gtm Date Opp Rslt HR RBI BA OBP SLG
1 1 Apr 1 PHI W,7-5 1 1 .250 .250 1.000
2 2 Apr 3 PHI W,9-2 1 2 .286 .444 1.143
4 4 Apr 5 CHC W,4-1 1 2 .308 .375 1.000
5 5 Apr 6 CHC W,6-5 2 2 .389 .429 1.278
7 7 Apr 8 @ MIA W,2-0 1 1 .423 .448 1.192
12 12 Apr 14 @ WSN W,9-0 1 1 .348 .415 .891
13 13 Apr 16 KCR W,6-3 1 1 .340 .404 .900
15 15 Apr 18 @ PIT W,6-4 1 1 .328 .394 .862
19 19 Apr 23 (1) @ COL W,4-3 1 1 .296 .378 .775
20 20 Apr 23 (2) @ COL W,10-2 1 2 .307 .391 .813
23 23 Apr 27 @ DET L,4-7 1 2 .302 .384 .779
12 19 .299 .400 .722
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/2/2013.

All those homers within the first twenty-three games of the season. Better than a one homer every other game average! For that stretch, that’s amazingness. I present to you the swings of each of his twelve homers, in order:

 

It’s like the fourth and fifth homer go to the same place just based on what you see in the GIFs. Love that bat drop.

 

Thanks for playing, pitchers. This was a fun post to do.

Highlights: What I Liked from the Second Opening Day

While I was workin on the railroad all the live-long day (or like, about a third of it), MLB was celebrating its second of three Opening Day, and things were happening. Baseball things. I didn’t get to watch the team I support most play its game, but they’ll have 161 games left that I might get to watch in parts or in its entirety, so it’s not all that bad. If it seems like I’m biased towards good pitching and home runs, and Buster Posey, well… you’d be right.

We’ll start off with Bryce Harper hitting multiple dingers against the Marlins

Really, this kid is so incredibly good. He is someone that has brought himself into the game so young, baseball enthusiasts will talk about this kid for years to come, no matter what happens with his career.

Justin Upton begins his Atlanta tenure with a bang

Did I mention I have him tabbed to be my NL MVP this year?

Collin Cowgill had an Opening Day salami

Gave the projected bottom-half of the division Mets beat the projected bottom-half of the division Padres

Speaking of not projecting to win, the Chicago Cubs had a huge blast from Anthony Rizzo

I wanted to link more from this game and the other Chicago game, but nothing else was embeddable 😦

Give credit where credit is due, Clayton Kershaw kept the Giants bats quiet, and his complete game shutout of the Champs reminded everybody that he never minds squaring off against his NorCal rivals, and if you can keep an open mind if you’re a Giants fan, he is an amazing pitcher to watch

Also, Kershaw said he didn’t want to discuss a contract extension during the season, and it sure didn’t get done, so how will that affect his price tag going forward? To those yelling that it won’t matter, we don’t know it can’t keep them from getting a decent set-up reliever in the future.

Baseball has only had one walk-off this season, and it comes courtesy of the Milwaukee Brewers

Too bad I couldn’t embed Dexter Fowler‘s game-tying homer vs. John Axford. I’ll just link you.

MLB’s being a little slow to embed a lot of different videos, so hopefully they’ll speed that up in the future, because who doesn’t like embedding stuff to their website to generate site hits let people watch over and over!

Postseason and Award Predictions: Don’t Worry, They’ll Be Wrong

The regular season begins this Sunday tomorrow at 5:05PM PST when the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in that famous AL West rivalry, which means this week is all about previews, bold predictions, and message board put downs. I will say I am not good at predicting things, so let’s get that straight. Like everybody else though, I have an opinion on the matter of how events will play out.  Let us preview the postseason, where the best team doesn’t always win due to the randomness of how the short series will go. It’s a first team to eleven wins once the DS begins, and normally the team that catches fire tends to do the celebrating. Also in my analysis, the team that scores more runs tend to win games. I’ll start with who I have going into the playoffs, then the predictions of the resulting postseason series. After that, I’ll go into regular season awards.

NL Playoff Seeding

1. Washington Nationals

2. Cincinnati Reds

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

4. Atlanta Braves

5. San Francisco Giants

Wild-Card Play-in Game

Atlanta beats San Francisco

NLDS

Atlanta beats Washington

Cincinnati beats Los Angeles

NLCS

Cincinnati beats Atlanta

AL Playoff Seeding

1. Detroit Tigers

2. Toronto Blue Jays

3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

4. Tampa Bay Rays

5. Texas Rangers

Wild-Card Play-in Game

Tampa Bay beats Texas

ALDS

Detroit beats Tampa Bay

Toronto beats LA of A

ALCS

Detroit beats Toronto

World Series (game will be in AL Park when AL wins ASG)

Detroit beats Cincinnati

Don’t worry Tiger fans, I’m sure my predictions won’t be correct!

—————————

Regular Season Awards

I will go into who the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year for both leagues will be. These will also probably be wrong.

AL MVP — Mike Trout

Asking me if I’m mad, bro? Nah, not mad, but let’s say Mike Trout does even 80% of what he did in 2012 in 2013, and his team gets to the playoffs, the voters are going to give him his “redemption,” and feel good that “see, we don’t hate advanced stats,” as we roll our collective eyes together. Sophomore slump? Maybe a little, but the only thing that will stop this fish is if he gets hurt playing the game.

NL MVP — Justin Upton

They say a change of scenery can do wonders for a player, and how about playing with an organization that wants you? I’d say that’s a good start. I think Upton will have a career year, players like Braun and Posey will regress a little, and Upton will find his team in the playoffs. Justin Upton may not have the best year of everybody, but I think he gets the award.

AL Cy Young — Justin Verlander

Kind of like Trout, he’s only going to get stopped by an injury. He should continue to rack up the pitcher wins, satisfying the old school, and his team will make the playoffs all with lots of money, and lots of strikeouts. Probably not many multi-homer against games though. Verlander is just excellent.

NL Cy Young — Clayton Kershaw

Dickey was a great story in 2012, but I still side with the overall metrics a bit on Kershaw, believing he got snubbed by just a little bit, nothing too controversial. Kershaw, like Verlander, will be getting plenty of pitcher wins behind a boosted offense, and he’s still really, really good. Oh, and his team will be going to the playoffs so that equals instant votes.

AL Rookie of the Year — Jackie Bradley Jr. 

Shot up the prospect lists in 2012 into 2013, and is projected to start with the team. For the kid, the defense will be getting peoples attention, while the stick may not be able to do anything super special, it’ll be enough. Lots of names for both RoY awards, JBJ just happens to be my guess right now.

NL Rookie of the Year — Zack Wheeler

Wheeler will not come up until June and he’ll still get the award. Dominating the minors, and yes, I understand the pain he’s going to cause Giants fans, but the kid is good, and will be going after his opposition from the get-go with heat and curveballs and breaking balls and strikeouts.

Let’s hear what your predictions are! Pretty much anything goes before the season gets going.

The Long Nightmare is Finally Over: Justin Upton Traded to Atlanta

Wednesday afternoon reports surfaced that GM Frank Wren of the Braves had sent an offer to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 25-year old OF Justin Upton. Thursday morning, reports have come out that GM Kevin Towers has accepted that offer. Finally, after months of speculation that Justin Upton be traded, he does. There was some speculation that the DBacks would try to trade Jason Kubel to the Baltimore Orioles but now that Justin has been traded, that possibility seems pretty much done.

The Braves get:

OF Justin Upton (Already 108 HR, but a change of scenery could do wonders)

3B Chris Johnson (traded from Houston to AZ last season, 15 HR, defense not his calling card)

The Diamondbacks get:

UT Martin Prado (plays all over the place, in my opinion a little underrated, fans should like him but doesn’t have Upton power)

SP Randall Delgado (92.2 IP in MLB in ’12, will enter age 23 season)

SP Zeke Spruill (Double-A in ’12)

SS Nick Ahmed (High-A in ’12)

CI Brandon Drury (Single-A in ’12)

There was speculation yesterday that Braves top prospect Julio Teheran would be in the deal, but apparently he was swapped out and Prado and Delgado were brought in. Looking at the deal, I can’t say I hate it too much for either side, and I assumed the Braves would “win” this deal on paper. There are some people like me that didn’t feel trading Upton was appropriate, but getting Prado and Delgado back isn’t bad of a return at all. Atlanta now has a platoon partner for Juan Francisco, a pair of Uptons in the outfield to join another young star in Jason Heyward, it’s hard not to love this trade for the Braves. The Diamondbacks get a great player in Prado, another guy that they could ease into the rotation in Delgado who can be around until the latter part of the decade, and they get three guys that were all Baseball America Top 30 prospects (Spruill being the only Top 10 at #9; Ahmed #11, Drury #27, per JJ Cooper), this isn’t the worst thing in the world done by Kevin Towers. Really! I mean, the Trevor Bauer trade was easily much worse than this trade if you’re looking for an axe to grind.

If you clicked on the links to MLBDepthCharts on the team names, you’ll notice at how the rosters might take shape. Funny how the Diamondbacks used to have guys like Chris Young (now with the A’s), Justin Upton (traded today), Trevor Bauer (now with the Indians), and could’ve stayed content with Jarrod Parker (also now with the A’s). Their replacements are Cody Ross, Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton (all this combined is a downgrade because Upton is a pretty good player), and Trevor Cahill, Randall Delgado (could we call this a “push” for the pitching in the short-term?).

Both teams after this trade are left in pretty good shape, sending a message to their fans that they want to compete in 2013, but after the offseason the Diamondbacks have had, I’m not sure if I can say they are in better shape than what they ended 2012 with.

Winter Meetings: Day One

The Winter Meetings are holding up to the excitement as ESPN has started a consecutive days-long chat, MLB Network is upping coverage, and contracts are being signed. The news today:

  • Mike Napoli has signed a 3 year-$39MM deal with the Red Sox. Probably the biggest FA catcher on the block is now off, and ESPN’s Jayson Stark suggests this takes them out of the Adam LaRoche sweepstakes. 
  • Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to undergo left hip surgery and will need 4-6 months to recover.
  • The Meetings have let the Justin Upton rumors start to circle again, making us wonder if a trade for the young Diamondback will actually happen. The team has said to be aggressive on the trade front.
  • The San Diego Padres have signed Jason Marquis to a one year-$3MM deal.
  • Per Dylan Hernandez, Shohei Otani wants to decide this week whether to stay in Japan, or come to the Dodgers
  • The Detroit Tigers offered Anibal Sanchez 4 years-$48MM but apparently that wasn’t seen favorably by Sanchez’s camp, who is rumored to be seeking a 6/$90MM deal.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays have claimed Eli Whiteside, per Ken Rosenthal. Ken notes that Eli is now their fourth catcher because you can never have too many game callers.
  • Angel Pagan and the San Francisco Giants have an agreement for 4 years and $40MM, a trade-off between below-market money and more years made between the clubs.
  • Joakim Soria and the Texas Rangers appear to have a deal in place for two years. I really like Soria and hope he can be of some use to the Rangers, but only enough that he doesn’t help the Rangers beat the Giants in a World Series matchup.
  • Scott Hairston was reportedly offered a two-year deal to the Tigers, first I saw was from Jon Morosi. However, Adam Rubin from ESPN NY says he’s been told the Giant killer will not sign on with Detroit. Jon Morosi has since said he was mistaken in his report about Hairston, but Rubin does say there are five teams pursuing Hairston.
  • In other New York news, the Metropolitans asked the Red Sox for top prospects Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. for in exchange for R.A. Dickey, but the team that calls Fenway home is not likely to give away either prospect.
  • There is an offer on the table for Ryan Ludwick from the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Out of South Beach, there are whispers that Yunel Escobar is being shopped to Tampa and Oakland, and Ricky Nolasco has had enough of Miami and wants out.

This will be updated throughout the day, but who knows if I’ll be able to keep up. There’s a lot going on, and it’s very exciting.

Series Preview: #SFGiants (81-62) vs. #DBacks (71-72)

Catcher Miguel Montero and his Diamondbacks, while maybe out of NL West contention, and very real contenders in the Wild Card.

The fourth through sixth games of the month (out of nine) of September between these two clubs brings the Giants to Chase Field for the last time of the regular season, and the black + orange hope they can do better than the last series, where they were outscored 22-17, and lost two out of three from the Snakes. The Diamondbacks will be either 3.5 or 4.5 back of the Wild Card leaders tomorrow depending on how the Cardinals and Dodgers fare tonight, and are currently 10 back of the Giants for the West. For the Giants, the Diamondbacks are that annoying team that never seems to stop bothering you, and will throw three lefties at the Giants this weekend. The DBacks lead the season series 7-5, and with six to go, it actually would not surprise me if the Giants did not win the season series with Arizona.

Friday, September 14th: RHP Matt Cain vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs

One sentence summary: Tyler Skaggs’ starts have gotten shorter as his debut season has progressed — 6.2 IP, 5.2, 5.0, 3.2; Matt Cain has gone at least 7.0 IP in 5 of his last 6 starts.

Saturday, September 15th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Wade Miley

One sentence summary: Miley has allowed 11 baserunners in his past two games, giving both teams a chance to win, while Zito hopes to strike out the Snakes like he did last time (6), but with better results for the team.

Sunday, September 16th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. LHP Patrick Corbin

One sentence summary: Corbin hasn’t allowed less than 3 ER in a game since a little over a month ago; while Vogelsong still struggles to find what made him a 2011 sensation after only going 8.1 IP in his last two starts combined.

The Bats are Hot… But That’s the Phoenix Heat’s Fault

I mean, have you ever been to Phoenix in the summer months? It’s death outside. I realize it’s September, but that’s still a summer month for Arizona, as are seven to nine other months there. For a team that’s been slithering closer to playoff contention, they don’t have any super-stand-out-crazy-hot batters doing the work for them. Sure, Miguel Montero has been hitting (.404 wOBA L7, .362 wOBA overall), Jason Kubel has been mashing a little bit (.395 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7; .358 wOBA overall, 29 HR overall), but it’s also a point that outside of John McDonald (.063 wOBA L7, -80 wRC+ L7; . 275 wOBA overall, 63 wRC+ overall), nobody is particularly cold over the past week. Kubel (29) and Hill (22) are still the only 2 DBacks with 20+ HR, but Goldschmidt (18), Montero (15), Johnson (14), Young (14), Upton (13) are all legitimate power sources. Chris Young hasn’t appeared in a game since September 7th, as he’s healing from a quad strain. The primary base-stealers on the club are Goldschmidt (16), Hill (14), Upton (15), and Parra (13).

By averaging 6 runs/game in the last six game, you’d figure there might be some guys doing work, and there are. One of those guys leading the charge might have a new nickname of “MVP” when the regular season ends: Buster Posey (.588 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7; .402 wOBA overall, 21 HR overall) has been fantastic in the second half for the Giants. Not to be ignored, Gregor Blanco (.450 wOBA L7, 2 SB L7; .312 wOBA overall, 22 SB overall), and Angel Pagan (.443 wOBA L7, 2 SB L7; .337 wOBA, 25 SB overall) have been working to set the table up for Giants rallies. Marco Scutaro has also been a more than decent contributor to the offense (.385 wOBA L7, .316 wOBA overall) of late. It’s not lost on anybody who is ice cold: that of the Panda, Kung Fu (.098 wOBA L7, -50 wRC+; .319 wOBA overall, 101 wRC+ overall), who may be hurting more than we comprehend at the moment, or could just be tired because he’s so…. exhausted after playing a lot of games in a baseball season (I already wrote an article on fat, I don’t need to go back to it here).

Series Prediction

How wild will it get in Arizona this weekend? Can the Giants finally put Arizona away for now so that they can focus on clinching the West? Arizona is the one team in the West that worries me the most, especially as the Dodgers continue to be of the LOLs Angeles variety.

Friday: Giants win (Skaggs tires, Cain rises)

Saturday: Giants win (Zito throws a gem because I’m not watching this game due to being at a separate baseball event)

Sunday: DBacks win (It’s not that Vogelsong will stink it up, it’s that the DBacks will do just enough)

Hopefully the Giants can come home with a single-digit magic number, giving them a chance to do some celebrating at AT&T like they did in 2010, but without the last game dramatics.