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.
The metrics I used for hitting and pitching may be a little predictable for the people that know me, but I’ll tell you what I valued most, especially for those that will have disagreements with my rankings:
- Home Runs
- Stolen Bases
- Strikeouts per 9 innings
- fWAR (Fangraphs’ version) and
- rWAR (Baseball Reference’s version) — here’s a short article on the difference
I’ll start posting the rankings in sets of twenty tomorrow (both for readability and site hit reasons), going backwards,starting with 100th through 81st. To get an idea of what the stuff will say, let me post some “honorable mentions” (“HM”) of what you’ll see of a couple batters and pitchers alike.
HM. Starlin Castro (14 HR, 25 SB, .323 wOBA, 3.3 fWAR, 3.5 rWAR) – Entering only his age 23 season in 2013, writing a Castro report and looking at his numbers are making me wonder why I didn’t put him in the top 100. His focus on the game always seems to be the story, but if/when this kid fills out, it should be pretty what he produces.
HM. Billy Butler (29 HR, 32 2B, .377 wOBA, 3.2 fWAR, 2.9 rWAR) – Ol’ “Country Breakfast” has had his helping of potatoes (ok, I’ll stop), his power on display for the world to see. Even has a couple stolen bases to his name so there are worse cloggers out there, but the bat would be perfect for the DH spot.
HM. Matt Harrison (213.1 IP, 5.61 K/9, 4.76 tERA, 3.8 fWAR, 6.2 rWAR) – Keeping out him will probably be what Texas fans will consider the biggest snub, and I can see why with WAR. Using FIP and tERA primarily, I don’t get it, and I’m probably not looking at all the numbers as I should.
HM. Jake McGee (55.1 IP, 11.87 K/9, 1.88 tERA, 2.0 fWAR, 1.8 rWAR) – I don’t know why, but this is the first time I remember seeing this kid’s name, so I have no visual scouting report of this kid to offer (not that’d it’d be any good anyway). His numbers are so impressive, if Fernando Rodney ever lost his job as “closer,” I think the Rays are not in the worst shape in the world.
Hope everybody enjoys the rankings.
The Texas Rangers are in town for a weekend series, and you may be thinking to yourself, “I’ve heard of these guys before. Where have I seen them? Where….” and you would be the only one wondering that because Texas fans are going to be dam tired of 2010 stories where the pitching-heavy 2010 West an NL Champion San Francisco Giants put a 5-game beating on the Rangers that made you think even if “Everything’s Bigger in Texas,” it’s not always better. We’ll have all weekend to live in the past, let’s advance to the now:
Friday, June 8th: LHP Matt Harrison vs. LHP Barry Zito
Saturday, June 9th: RHP Scott Feldman vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
Sunday, June 10th: RHP Alexi Ogando vs. RHP Tim Lincecum
Small-sample sizes in the Last 7 days: Batters to watch
Mike Napoli with his 1.156 OPS and .504 wOBA is the only one providing some above-average production for Texas right now, who are 2-5 in June thus far. Even Josh Hamilton right now has a .230 wOBA going and has more stolen bases (1) than HR (0). Mitch Moreland has found the time to ground into 4 double plays, while most of the Giants regulars haven’t even hit into that many this season. Nelson Cruz has struck out 34.6% of the time, Hamilton 31.3%. Suffice to say, they’re scuffling right now.
Ryan Theriot is still playing out of his mind with a .500/.563/.607 line with a .519 BABIP and a .516 wOBA with 3 SBs, the most in the last 7 of all regulars Texas or San Francisco, the man is making things happen on offense right now. You are probably aware Gregor Blanco has as many HR as Buster Posey and Angel Pagan (and every other Giant) combined with 2 (he also has a .400 ISO in the last 7). Guess who has the 2nd highest OBP to Theriot at .429? Your favorite baby giraffe, Brandon Belt, although his K% rate at 21.4% is still high. Too bad he probably won’t get much of a chance to improve those numbers tonight.
Honestly I have no idea how angry Texas is coming in, but if their bats are cold through this weekend, this should be a pretty easy series win. I say that because Texas’ starting pitching is not all that scary.
Friday: Giants win
Saturday: Giants win
Sunday: Rangers win
I turned on my phone last night while I was enjoying the public transportation in Long Beach as prior engagements would make it so I would be missing all of the ALCS Game 6. Shocked, but not shocked to see pitching staffs continued to not show up. Chicks dig the long ball, but I love quality pitching, and I think I’ve accepted that I might not see it throughout the rest of this postseason from at least the AL side. CJ Wilson? Despite this horrible postseason he’ll still be overpaid by someone. Derek Holland? Gross facial hair, just as bad performances. Matt Harrison’s been decent enough to pitch in the postseason and I’m having a hard time believing Colby Lewis with his 35 HR allowed this season in 200.1 regular season IP hasn’t imploded yet. This World Series is going to be the ultimate manager’s game is the Cardinals win. I can see it now: Rangers and Cardinals: The Battle of the Bullpens. What happen to the days when a starter could go 7 and we just used 5 relievers in the last 2 innings?
This postseason will feed the minds that “great hitting has beaten great pitching,” which is going to drive me nuts every time I hear some second-rate analyst say it. To be fair, Nelson Cruz is a monster. He’s going to get himself a pinstriped uniform and a 9 digit contract someday, replacing a old and grizzled overpaid veteran. The question is not about Texas’ hitting, though. It’s about their pitching. Specifically their Starting Pitching. Enough about that nonsense for now, though.
Seriously, back-to-back AL Championships? I did think a rematch of 2010 was possible but after the Giants decided to go all “me first” and “runs?” I realized that was probably a longshot. But that’s pretty darned good in these days — repeating. You have to go through some pretty good ballclubs to get there. Sure, they’re in a four-team division but it wasn’t so long ago a monkeyed-color team was the king of the West in the AL. Other clubs have had their chances and the team that’s on top right now has gotten there with some excellent behind the scenes work. They deserve all the congratulations in the world. Cliff Lee somewhere is smiling for them and probably rooting for them (what, you expect him to root for the Cardinals?). To me, there is no standout staff in the NLCS. A couple pitchers, maybe, but not staffs. This is the Rangers’ to lose, and I bet they know it.