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.
I’m not going to lie: I am out of touch with the public when it comes to the feeling of what the fanbase is feeling after this weekend’s sweep, essentially taking a break from Twitter to focus on getting married, and I also never look at fanboards and comment sections to boot. However, after sweeping an MLB team, even if it is the lowly Rockies, probably has people feeling pretty good, including the guys getting paid to play. Now they travel to St. Louis, known for their improbable run to euphoria back last year, and they get mocked a lot for having “the best fans in baseball,” but after seeing them do the wave, it was probably a different time when/if they had the best fans. Something you may have noticed, these squads sport the same record, and we know the NL West hasn’t been all too strong, and some may say the weather may be an issue. I think the Giants already had their bad hot trip, and remember all too well how quickly things can get bad when they start making excuses.
Monday, August 6th: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Jake Westbrook
One sentence summary: The sinkerballer Westbrook is prone to giving up runs, but will eat up innings while Cainer looks to find his stroke after a rough outing vs. the Metropolitans.
Useless trivia: Of the four times Matt Cain has thrown less than 100 pitches, three of those times he’s thrown 97 (the other at 91 in his duel with Cliff Lee).
Tuesday, August 7th: LHP Barry Zito vs. RHP Lance Lynn
One sentence summary: The last two times Zito’s been on the bump the team has seen their opponent score 9, and 10, respectively, while Lance Lynn has been getting some great run support to back his nice strikeout ratio, and win-loss record.
Wednesday, August 8th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. RHP Joe Kelly
One sentence summary: In his 10 starts, Kelly has not seen more than 3 ER get tacked to his record, and Vogelsong still has his amazing streak of 6+ IP in his starts going strong.
Thursday, August 9th: LHP Madison Bumgarner vs. RHP Adam Wainwright
One sentence summary: Bumgarner has only allowed more than 2 walks once this year, and Wainwright has just come off a complete game as this game promises to be one that grabs the attention of baseball fans.
The Bare Bones of the Offense
Alex Pavlovic was talking about Buster Posey putting up video game numbers, and if you’ve taken a look at the last seven days it’s even more video game: .500/.600/.958 with a .629 wOBA including 3 HR — who does that? Melky and Pagan have been contributing lately as well, Pagan especially thanks to the three-game stat-booster in Colorado. It’s been reported Pablo Sandoval won’t be pushed to join the lineup at the tail end of the series, so we’ll just have to wait for the weekend. Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford’s bats have been slowing the boys down within the past week.
You know who else hits 3 HR in a week? Matt Holliday. You know who steals 3 bags in a week? Yadier Molina…. which is shocking because you’re just not used to seeing a Molina with a SB recorded after getting to watch Bengie for so many years. Old friend Carlos Beltran is also swinging the stick well at the moment. Somebody that’s had good numbers all year but you might not know unless you’re into the fantasy baseball aspect of things is Allen Craig, so keep an eye on him. Rafael Furcal has been ice cold with a .090 wOBA in the last 7.
If the Giants sweep in St. Louis that’d be fantastic, but against a team like St. Louis, it’s an incredibly greater task than against a minor league team like the Rox.
Monday: Giants win (Bats still warm)
Tuesday: Cardinals win (Zito’s outing too demoralizing)
Wednesday: Giants win (Joe Kelly gets Cain’d)
Thursday: Cardinals win (Vintage Wainwright)
No more blog posts this week, so enjoy your baseball!
It started out ugly. Real ugly. Matt Holliday. David Freese. Some guy named Salas. Michael Young 1,000 times it seemed made me actually “laugh out loud.” Not PHing for Colby Lewis in the 5th with the bases loaded. This game was a mess. This was before the baseball gods decided, “You know what? This offseason might suck a little, just because.” (I don’t actually believe that as a baseball fan.)
Joe Buck said the game could be on the line in the 6th. I mocked him. I shouldn’t have: everything made this game what it was. 4-4, Texas then tacks 3 on the board. 7-4. If it weren’t for 2002 I’d have thought the game was over. So you know, Neftali Feliz is on the mound, doo-do-doo, couple runners get on, dee-de-dee, then David Freese goes all DAVID FREESE!!!!! OMGGGG HOLY CRAPP WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?! And that was basically how we felt in a nutshell. RBI Triple over Nelson Cruz’s inability to play in a stadium he hadn’t played in since… last week.
So we go to the Top of the 10th. 1 out, Elvis Andrus singles up the middle. Better watch that runn–JOSH HAMILTON I’M A MAN, I’M 40! And then it’s 9-7. Wow, Cardinals can’t get this one. They tried. Oh ok, 1st and 2nd with 0 outs? Oh man, what’s happening now. RBI groundout then LANCE BERKMAN MY BEARD IS SPOTTED AND YOU WILL LIKE IT! Allen Craig grounds out because well, he can’t do it every time.
Then the top of the 11th happens. I think it did, but I can’t remember because the bottom of 11th went all BOOM because DAVID FREESE IS AMAZING. Walk off HR to CF. I can’t believe it. You can’t believe it. My cats can’t believe it.
I can believe baseball is the greatest sport ever. I can believe this was the greatest non-Giants game I’ve ever watched. I have a hard time believing I will see a game better than this. This is a game you tell your kids and grandkids about.