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.
100. Lance Lynn (176.0 IP, 9.20 K/9, 4.11 tERA, 2.9 fWAR, 2.0 rWAR) – Beginning the season as a reliever, Lynn did pretty well as a starter, and I don’t think the Cardinals have any plans of moving him back to the bullpen anytime soon.
99. Jose Bautista (27 HR, 14 2B, .378 wOBA, 3.2 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – This work by Joey Bats was done in 92 games, which I find to be pretty incredible. Although his defense wasn’t the greatest in the ASG, I have heard to be that bad all the time.
98. B.J. Upton (28 HR, 31 SB, .323 wOBA, 3.3 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – The newest Brave entering his age 28 season should be a welcome addition to a team that lost a pretty good CF already.
97. Jered Weaver (188.2 IP, 6.77 K/9, 3.99 tERA, 3.0 fWAR, 3.7 rWAR) – I’m surprised he was this far down the list, but here he is. I expect him to see many pitcher wins for him in the next couple of years. That stat though won’t get him up this list if I do it again.
96. Dan Uggla (19 HR, 29 2B, .325 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.7 rWAR) – Nobody wants his contract, but Uggla is at the very least producing some of the power that is expected of him. Not that it makes his current deal worth it, though.
95. Aroldis Chapman (71.2 IP, 15.32 K/9, 1.66 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 3.6 rWAR) – The Cuban Missile’s time as a reliever may be done, and if that’s true, can’t wait to see how he does as a starter. It’s been well documented that he’s been lights out as a reliever.
94. Mat Latos (209.1 IP, 7.95 K/9, 4.09 tERA, 3.1 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – While I might remember him from his Padres days as being a little evil, but he is still very good at what he does – pitch, that is.
93. Jeff Samardzija (174.2 IP, 9.27 K/9, 4.27 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 1.6 rWAR) – Perhaps the second-most misspelled name in the majors, Samardzija is making the public know that he is a name worth getting to know.
92. A.J. Pierzynski (27 HR, 18 2B, .351 wOBA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Perhaps he’s becoming one-dimensional, but he should still be able to provide the power Texas is used to out of their catchers.
91. Mike Moustakas (20 HR, 34 2B, .305 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.9 rWAR) – A well-rated defensive 3B that can also hit for power? Yes, please! Good thing they have another powerful bat coming to their lineu—hhh wait. Sorry, too soon?
90. Desmond Jennings (13 HR, 31 SB, .309 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 3.0 rWAR) – The world is waiting for the 26-year old to explode on to the scene, and while what he’s done with the bat hasn’t been all that noteworthy, the game he’s carried with the help of his legs will keep him useful at the very least.
89. Trevor Cahill (200.0 IP, 7.02 K/9, 4.13 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.5 rWAR) – Hard to say he was worth what Arizona gave up for him, but that’s hardly his fault their GM loves giving up pitching prospects. Like one of the guys he was traded to in Parker, Cahill must bring down those walks.
88. Matt Kemp (23 HR, 22 2B, .383 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Beastmode took a back seat to injuries in 2012, and his crashing into the wall in Coors has some wondering how close to 100% he’ll be in 2013 and beyond.
87. Kyle Seager (20 HR, 13 SB, .321 wOBA, 3.6 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Not a bad line for a kid we didn’t hear too much about this year. I gave Seager the nod over Kemp mainly due to Seager being healthy, and his better defense. The Dodgers also drafted Kyle’s kid brother this year.
86. A.J. Burnett (202.1 IP, 8.01 K/9, 3.71 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.9 rWAR) – Often the butt of jokes the last couple years, AJ was able to silence the critics a bit this year in Pittsburgh, despite a line drive to the face early on this past baseball season.
85. Jordan Zimmerman (195.2 IP, 7.04 K/9, 4.21 tERA, 3.5 fWAR, 4.4 rWAR) – When you see the top three SP on a “Best of” list (any, not just this very raw one), you get the feeling that team has the potential to be good. Luckily for Washington, they also have a bunch of bats.
84. Carlos Gomez (19 HR, 37 SB, .329 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Talk about an underrated season, I was shocked looking at these numbers from Gomez, but I do remember and love his “all-or-nothing” swing that he exhibits.
83. Craig Kimbrel (62.2 IP, 16.66 K/9, 0.96 tERA, 3.6 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – I struggled with where to start including the high leverage pitchers, or “closers” as they’re often used, but Kimbrel produced elite numbers when he was brought in and couldn’t be put off to the side any longer. As closers are used in roughly a third to a quarter of the innings a SP would put out, I probably give those pitchers that level of respect when it comes to building this list. Would I love a Craig Kimbrel on my team? Absolutely.
82. Danny Espinosa (17 HR, 20 SB, .313 wOBA, 3.8 fWAR, 2.4 rWAR) – The former Long Beach State Dirtbag is an interesting case, what with his very high strikeout numbers, but good pop, speed, and D from a position more known for its defense.
81. Madison Bumgarner (208.1 IP, 8.25 K/9, 3.55 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.8 rWAR) – An early Cy Young candidate, MadBum’s flaw in his pitching motion that was corrected in the postseason very well could have been the result of fatigue, as he struggled at the end of the regular season.
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)
MLB Draft Day was not always the big production it is now with it being streamed on MLB Network, online, and with the crazy amounts of analysis from big networks in addition to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and the like. Something I know that has been covered by writers/bloggers here and there are articles in which they talk about what players your team could’ve had. Not every year is the same as some years for most teams you may have even more than one first round pick, or you can have drafts like the 2005 Giants did with nothing until the 4th round. Now, the biggest name from their draft that year? Why it would be no other than your favorite frisbee thrower, Sergio Romo, picked in the 28th round! Here’s some players you probably wouldn’t mind having on your roster that were picked after the 5th round of their respective drafts.
To make things a little more fun, what if we made this also a 25-man roster? I’ll put an asterisk next to the guys that wouldn’t have made the cut for the team I’m putting together. I’ll even provide a prospect for some of the positions to make it more 40-man-ish and these guys will be marked with a double-asterisk
A.J. Ellis (Dodgers; Drafted in 2003 in the 18th round by the Dodgers) — Ellis has been an OBP machine for the Dodgers whether he’s been batting 2nd where he should be, or 8th in the lineup, because he’s a catcher or something.
Mike Napoli (Rangers; Drafted in 2000 in the 17th round by the Angels) — Remember when the Angels traded Napoli to the Blue Jays and then the Blue Jays traded him to the Rangers where he would hit 30 dingers for them? Good times.
**Ryan Lavarnway (Red Sox; Drafted in 2008 in the 6th round by the Red Sox) — Just debuted on the 18th of August!
Albert Pujols (Angels; Drafted in 1999 in the 13th round by the Cardinals) — Lifetime 472 HR in his Age 32 season. Has never had a season with less than 32 HR (27 this year).
Mark Trumbo (Angels; Drafted in 2004 in the 18th round by the Angels) — Only 26, the kid has posted back-to-back 29 HR seasons.
**Jonathan Singleton (Astros; Drafted in 2009 in the 8th round by the Phillies) — Has an ETA of 2013 per MLB.com and he’s from my part of town in Long Beach as well.
Ian Kinsler (Rangers; Drafted in 2003 in the 17th round by the Rangers) — Has been a 30/30 guy in 2009 and 2011.
Dan Uggla (Braves; Drafted in 2001 in the 11th round by the Diamondbacks) — biceps bigger than my head; Had five straight 30-HR seasons coming into 2012.
**Scooter Gennett (Brewers; Drafted in 2009 in the 16th round by the Brewers) — how can you not love that name? ETA 2013.
Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays; Drafted in 2000 in the 9th round by the Rangers) — Has he discovered something new in Toronto a la JoeyBats? 31 HR in his age 29 season after only two-20+ HR seasons in 2010 (21) and 2008 (26).
**Nick Delmonico (Orioles; Drafted in 2011 in the 6th round by the Orioles) — Not in any Top 100s that I’ve seen. ETA 2015.
Ben Zobrist (Rays; Drafted in 2004 in the 6th round by the Astros) — Super utility guy that gives you double digit bombs and double digit stolen bags.
**Tyler Saladino (White Sox; Drafted for the second time in two years in 2010, drafted in the 7th round by the White Sox in ’10) — The SS prospect after the 2nd round is difficult to find, and Saladino probably isn’t even a prospect at all. I mean, he is in the White Sox’s system.
Matt Kemp — (Dodgers; Drafted in 2003 in the 6th round by the Dodgers) — A legitimate 40/40 threat when healthy
Jose Bautista (Blue Jays; Drafted in 2000 in the 20th round by the Pirates) — On his way to three straight 30-HR seasons
Josh Willingham (Twins; Drafted in 2000 in the 17th round by the Marlins) — Six 20-HR seasons, with his first 30-HR season this year
Austin Jackson (Tigers; Drafted in 2005 in the 8th round by the Yankees) — .308/.392/.897 line in 2012
Corey Hart (Brewers; Drafted in 2000 in the 11th round by the Brewers) — Five 20-HR seasons
*Dexter Fowler (Rockies; Drafted in 2004 in the 14th round by the Rockies) — Would be a great bench guy amongst these guys listed with his speed.
**Tyler Austin (Yankees; Drafted in 2010 in the 13th round by the Yankees) — An ETA of 2015 for the kid that’s chillin’ in High-A at the moment.
Jake Peavy (White Sox; Drafted in 1999 in the 15th round by the Padres) — finally looking to pitch a season with more than 30 starts since 2007 with the Padres
Mat Latos (Reds; Drafted in 2006 in the 11th round by the Padres) — although he really was a villain with San Diego, Latos will give you what you expect out of a pitcher in the 2 or 3 spot.
Tim Hudson (Braves; Drafted in 1997 in the 6th round by the A’s) — In his 14 seasons of pitching (and 2009 really shouldn’t count because he only had 7 starts), only one season (2006) has he had an ERA+ under 110
James Shields (Rays; Drafted in 2000 in the 16th round by the Devil Rays) — A great season last year, Shields is on his way to another 200+ IP campaign although he is susceptible to the long ball
Matt Moore (Rays; Drafted in 2007 in the 8th round by the Devil Rays) — Still a baby, Matt Moore’s potential is more than enough to “forgive” the season he’s having right now.
*James McDonald (Pirates; Drafted in 2002 in the 11th round by the Dodgers) — A product of my old workplace at Poly HS in Long Beach, James has been given his chance to shine in Pittsburgh and was considered one of the ASG snubs this year.
*Chris Capuano (Dodgers; Drafted in 1999 in the 8th round by the Diamondbacks) — A 4th/5th SP type throughout his career that’s pitching like a 2 or 3 and really helping the Dodgers in their pennant chase this year
**Dellin Betances (Yankees; Drafted in 2006 in the 8th round by the Yankees) — an ETA of 2012 for the kid that’s been geting lit up in his stops in the International and Eastern Leagues.
**Brad Peacock (A’s; Drafted in 2006 in the 41st round by the Nationals) — I just wanted to include a 41st rounder who is considered a legitimate prospcet. Seriously, how cool is that.
Tyler Clippard (Nationals; Drafted in 2003 in the 9th round by the Yankees) — Tyler has been blowing the competition away in the last four years, posting a double-digit K/9 and when Storen went down with an injury, Clippard was more than ready to pick up the slack.
David Robertson (Yankees; Drafted in 2006 in the 17th round by the Yankees) — The original heir to the throne of Mariano Rivera, Robertson, like Clippard is going double-digit K/9 for five-years running now including a crazy 399 ERA+ in 2011.
Greg Holland (Royals; Drafted in 2007 in the 10th round by the Royals) — With Joakim Soria down, and Jonathan Broxton finally being shipped out, Greg Holland gets to be put in the spotlight with his power of missing bats as he looks to post a career-high in strikeouts in 2012.
Sergio Romo (Giants; Drafted in 2005 in the 28th round by the Giants) — A known injury risk, Romo still can dominate you with the spin he puts on that frisbee slider of his has been baffling hitters for years
Vinnie Pestano (Indians; Drafted in 2006 in the 20th round by the Indians) — A Cal State Fullerton product (Gary Brown fans know that school well), Pestano has climbed up the ladder but is still what I feel to be a relative unknown because he plays for Cleveland. Currently a set-up man, he is to be taken seriously even if you haven’t heard of him.
Jason Motte (Cardinals; Drafted in 2003 in the 19th round by the Cardinals) — Motte is well known for his 2012 performance but he’s been doing well since 2010 really, and is what I’d think to be a household name in St. Louis.
Sean Marshall (Reds; Drafted in 2003 in the 6th round by the Cubs) — I wonder if Theo would’ve traded Marshall since this guy has been pretty darn good as a reliever when he started doing that full-time in 2010.
*Luke Gregerson (Padres; Drafted in 2006 in the 28th round by the Cardinals) — If Padres fans read my stuff, they’d hate my decision to leave him off my roster, and I understand their gripe: solid ERA+ especially this year, but who do I kick out for him?
*Joe Nathan (Rangers; Drafted in 1995 in the 6th round by the Giants) — Giants fans know the name well, and I won’t make them revisit any trades associated with him, but when healthy, really outside of 2011, he’s done some good work making hitters miss, including a 7 K/BB this year.
**Brody Colvin (Phillies; Drafted in 2009 in the 7th round by the Phillies) — An ETA 2014 and I know you’re not supposed to judge minor leaguers by their stats, but holy crap is this SP getting destroyed right now. A number of things could be going on here, but I put him in the bullpen, just because I can.
Maybe Brian Wilson (24th round in 2003) can be on my 60-Day DL. Sorry if I missed anybody, I don’t hate your team, this was a tough list to compile in certain positions!