Yesterday the counts for the American League were released, and so today the home National League’s vote count is out to the people where you can view here. Some facts and reactions:
NL @allstargame voting leaders:1B: Votto2B: Phillips3B: SandovalSS: TulowitzkiC: PoseyOF: J. Upton OF: Harper OF: Braun
— MLB (@MLB) June 4, 2013
Surprises for me are Pablo Sandoval at third, Bryce Harper gets the celebrity vote, as you could argue Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez, and Shin-Soo Choo are among those more deserving with the stats, but I’ll let that slide.
Posey leads all NL with 1,275,956 votes, J. Upton is second w/ 1,184,249. Upton leads all OFs. Would be 1st fan selection for 2-time AllStar — David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) June 4, 2013
Buster Posey is the story of the day with the amount of votes he’s getting, but he’s not blowing away the competition.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) June 4, 2013
Brandon Crawford is about 350,000 votes behind Troy Tulowitzki, Brandon Belt is about 500,000 behind Joey Votto, and Marco Scutaro is 200,000 behind Brandon Phillips. I really feel like Matt Carpenter needs to be getting more of a look, as he’s quietly put up a pretty valuable year.
Giants fans vote a lot. Belt 2nd, Scutaro 2nd, Sandoval 1st, Crawford 2nd, Posey 1st; Pence 6th, Pagan 8th, Blanco 11th in OF
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) June 4, 2013
The challenge for other clubs is can they get their fanbase to vote their one guy (for the Brewers two guys) in to out do what the Giants fans are doing for all their outfielders.
This will be a real test for Giant fans — to see how many unworthy players they can vote into the starting lineup
— Ray Ratto (@RattoCSN) June 4, 2013
Right now, I’d say Posey is the only ASG starter I could argue that the Giants have. Yadier Molina winning that over Buster would not be a problem by me, he’s really good as well. We saw what Giants fans did last year, voting in Melky Cabrera in addition to Panda and Posey, and Matt Cain took the bump for the NL. There were many unhappy within the NL, although the NL would end up winning, with the Giants players providing plenty of production, in a shutout victory over the American League, giving the Giants of all teams home field advantage in the 2012 World Series.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, on Tuesday, July 16.
Hot starts don’t necessarily dictate the results of May through October, because that’s only one month of baseball done, and even one month’s worth of goodies is a small sample size of information. Still, it’s not like it’s not fun to look at some of the numbers that were a little unexpected.
Win and Losses Division
The AL East really was, and still is anybody’s division to win, and so maybe Boston’s 18-8 record — and the best in baseball — shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. What is the bigger surprise can be found at the bottom of the division where the Toronto Blue Jays reside at 10-17. There are three teams with a worse record than that, two won’t surprise you, one may: Astros, Marlins, Angels.
Another unexpected positive performance has come from the NL West leading Colorado Rockies, and second place Kansas City are only a half game back of the 2012 AL Champs. Different league, but still the Central, the top four teams in the NLC are all within one game of each other.
Position Players Division
Surprising that Justin Upton has 12 homers? Probably not. Surprising that New York Mets catcher John Buck is tied for second with 9? Very! We always knew Chris Davis had power, just wondered if his contact rate would get in the way. You expected him to have more of a slash line like Anthony Rizzo than one like Bryce Harper.
This may not surprise you, but I did not think Carl Crawford would have as solid of an April as he’s had. 1.3 fWAR with a .390 wOBA, including 4 HR and SB. You do that every month and that gets you MVP votes.
Players in the bottom 15 of fWAR include players like Melky Cabrera (0 HR), Matt Kemp (84 wRC+), and Josh Hamilton (51 wRC+). I’m sure Melky’s place there doesn’t surprise the PED skeptics, but bottom 15 bad?
Starting Pitchers Division
Continuing with the bottom, it surprises me that two of the bottom seven fWAR performances belong to starters on the Giants staff, and neither of them are Barry Zito (Matt Cain, and Ryan Vogelsong). Brandon McCarthy may sport a horrible 7.48 ERA, but his 3.67 FIP is better than league average, and that 3.82 residual is pretty astounding for anybody.
In a shocking development, Stephen Strasburg and Jeff Samardzija‘s 1-4 W-L record may not tell you that they’ve actually done quite alright for their team, it’s just, you know, that whole run support thing.
Sergio Romo, Jason Grilli, Mariano Rivera, and Jim Johnson may have ten saves, but your leader for relievers in fWAR is James Russell of the Cubs and Craig Kimbrel, Matt Belisle, and four others at 0.6.
Speaking of Sergio, no “closer” has been brought into more games than him. 15. Brad Ziegler leads in appearances with 17. That’s a pretty healthy dose of usage early on.
I know John Axford was on the decline, but that 8 ERA and 7 FIP are more of a fall from grace than just a “decline.”
If you added Brandon League and Huston Street‘s K% (I know it doesn’t work like that, but work with me here), it would be 20.0%. Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Bailey, and Greg Holland would still have more than double that K%.
So there are some of your surprises from this month, definitely varying on the spectrum of surprisability, but those are some of the things that got my attention. What surprised you this month?
Melky Cabrera spoke today with the Blue Jays about his 2012 season and how he’s going to stay quiet about the drug use that happened, but at the same time he did acknowledge his mistake in trying to break the rules while he was on the squad that would eventually win the 2012 World Series. We also probably won’t know for a while if and for how long in 2011 while Melky was in Kansas City that he was doing some un-allowed activities that led KC to try and trade high for him. For most that have read my stuff over the course of time it’s been around, you know my stance will not only be that he should get a ring, but even like Melky has said, he deserves one. Did he break the rules set out by both MLB and the MLBPA? Yes. Do we know anything about how much PEDs aid performance? Ehhhhhhh, all we know about PEDs is MUSCLES and how it’s so unnatural and then slippery slope from there about what’s “natural.” So I understand if the general sentiment is something like this:
@bnightengale cheaters don’t deserve anything f him
— hangonsloopy (@hangonsloopyosu) February 15, 2013
@bnightengale deserves a ring? No. He already got what he deserves.
— John Bunn (@johnnybunn) February 15, 2013
Which is fine, they’re entitled to their opinion (probably the majority opinion, also), but I very much disagree. In any case, there’s also this:
@bnightengale He’s protected by the CBA to get his full share. Seems like a moot argument.
— Bhavin (@bhavinforapples) February 15, 2013
Melky already got his full share from the Giants, so what makes anyone think he’s not getting a ring? While there would be a sizable number of pitchfork and torch holding fans eager to cheer on the organization not to give the trophy to Melky, drug-aided or not, he helped the Giants get to where they ended up going. (Don’t worry, I can hear you’re “yea, but he cheated” responses.) It would also set up a nightmare precedent for discussion of taking away World Series rings from proven PED users, which would lead into discussion of erasing stats, and even from the first suggestion, to me it’d be nauseatingly dumb and unnecessary. Debate is fine and cool and everything, but as to advancing the sport, I fail to see how this would do that.
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.
To celebrate the seventh World Series title by the Giants — five happening in New York and two now in The City by the Bay — I thought we’d look at the best seven moves before and within the 2012 baseball season. You’ll probably have your own list, the rankings being a little different than mine, perhaps. I’ll start backwards from the honorable mentions, then from number seven and move on to what I see as move number one.
Honorable Mention (in no particular order)
Skipping Madison Bumgarner’s NLCS start
Jose Mijares pickup
Finally giving Belt a chance
“Closer by committee”
Extending control of Matt Cain
#7 — The Spring Training Invites
Namely, that of Gregor Blanco and Joaquin Arias, two guys that were merely names on a roster for those of us looking at the invitees, and admittedly, not taking them very seriously. This team would not have been the same though without these guys in 2012. Gregor Blanco replacing Melky Cabrera, Joaquin Arias being a decent replacement for when Pablo was out and Crawford was struggling. Both of these guys also have highlights where they have been immortalized into Matt Cain’s perfect game: Gregor Blanco’s diving catch which not many other people make, and Joaquin Arias fielding the final out with that shuffle to his right and then gunning it over to Belt for the end of that wonderful game.
#6 — Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera
So Melky Cabrera wasn’t a part of the last third of the baseball season, but maybe more importantly Jonathan Sanchez was not a part of the Giants rotation this season. How long would the Giants have put up with Dirty in the rotation or in the bullpen before possibly dumping him for nothing? Jonathan Sanchez became the problem of the Royals, then the Rockies. It wouldn’t be fair to say Dirty’s horrible performances for both squads would have been exactly the same for the Giants, but some had a feeling the intangibles would start to catch up with him. He will always have his part in 2010 lore, but like our next subject was for his old team, it was time for Jonathan Sanchez to go.
Angel Pagan had worn out his welcome in New York, and to give them two 2010 heroes for someone they wanted out seemed like a fair deal for both squads. Angel Pagan with his sometimes odd routes to the ball, had his contract year, and Andres Torres played like 2011 Andres with Ramon Ramirez being much less effective than during his time with his previous three clubs. Sometimes a change of scenery can do good for a player, and for Angel Pagan, I think it’s fair to say it worked out here.
#4 — Setting of the 25-man roster at the beginning, and the end of the regular season
People worried at both the beginning and end of the season that the rosters would not utilize all the talent an MLB roster had to offer, and the Giants much to the relief of bloggers, felt the same way we did in who was the best 25. There was a feeling that the best 25 were on the roster when all was said and done at both the beginning and end of the season, with the only question mark being Melky Cabrera. If we had it my way (boy that sounds snobby), Melky would’ve been on the bench at the very least, but I’m not going to go on a criticizing spree since everything worked out.
#3 — Signing Ryan Vogelsong to an affordable 2-year contract with a 3rd year option
Two years and eight million, with a $6.5MM option for a third year to the deal or a $300K buyout for Vogey. Taking a gamble on the Rally Enchiladas has been good since 2011, and if he keeps this up, he will be an even bigger steal of a pitcher. Here are some names that had worse ERA and FIP than Ryan Vogelsong in 2012: Tim Hudson, C.J. Wilson, Yovani Gallardo, and Edwin Jackson to name a few. All four are names you’d rather not go up against, and all four are getting Paid. I guarantee Ryan Vogelsong would cost more than $5MM for 2013 if the Giants had only gone one year on him going into 2012.
#2 — Putting Tim Lincecum in the bullpen
This could be a potentially ground-breaking move for the Giants, since Timmy could not really find his stuff in 2012 but in the Postseason all of a sudden the Cy came back. The Giants unfortunately really don’t have a candidate in-house to take Timmy’s spot in the rotation right away and $22.25MM is a lot to pay for a super-reliever, but if that’s what it takes to get him back, I believe he can still have incredible value easily leading the league in games appeared.
Sure Jonathan Mayo loves Culberson, but most people don’t love him enough to say he will definitely be the everyday infielder for the Giants, and thus, Sabean and co. made what ended up being the trade of 2012. Dodger fans mocked the deal, thinking that Sabean reacted to the Dodgers making a blockbuster trade of their own. You don’t just do trades to do them, the Giants clearly had a hole at 2B, and Scutaro was one of those “lightning in a bottle” candidates for the Giants. For now, the crow on the plates of Dodger fans in their mouths is hot and fresh, and “Blockbuster” helped carry the Giants to their second title in three years.
Sorry I couldn’t put this in slideshow format if that’s your thing. Feel free to put your top 7 in the comments or tell me on the twitter or FB or whatever!
National League Champs! Yes! This post isn’t about the triumph, but of the ignorance that will suggest one player is to be given thanks for the Giants starting Game 1 at home.
Something that will be an annoying narrative mostly because it’s not true is “well the Giants got home field advantage in the World Series because Melky Cabrera! He was the MVP!” Yes, he was the MVP, but in saying the Melky gave the Giants HFA ignores everything else that happened throughout the game. The play-by-play from the top of the 1st:
Melky singled. I’ll give you that he started a rally, but Ryan Braun doubled him in. 1-0, National League never looks back. Beltran walks, Posey walks, Pablo triples now they’re up 4-0. Uggla even contributes and the NL goes up big enough on the AL that the game ended up being rather unexciting. Matt Cain and the rest of the NL pitchers shut down the American League with 9 goose eggs up on the scoreboard. Melky did get a 2-R HR, and maybe that was the nail in the coffin, but don’t tell me that Melky gave the Giants HFA. It’s too convenient of a scapegoat reason to either hate the Giants or give full credit to Melky. It may be a ticky-tack argument by me, and I realize a lot of people know that Melky wasn’t the only one that did work with the bat, but it’s going to be something that’s pinned on the Giants because Melky is the name that came out of the All Star Game. It really would be more accurate to pin it on Giants fans for putting the players there than to pin it on one athlete, but that’s one fan’s opinion.
While I was busy being heart-healthy, the Giants made their statements on Melky. The short-version: they’re not bringing him back. The longer version:
“We’ve moved on and so we’re going to move forward without Melky.” — Bruce Bochy
“While I am disappointed that I won’t have the chance to join my team in the playoffs, I wish my teammates the best in the postseason and I’ll be rooting hard for them to bring another World Championship to San Francisco!” — Melky Cabrera
From a PR perspective, ever since Melky bolted from the team and had a fake site exposed, he’s made an effort to make it look like he does care about how he is perceived to the baseball community. Still, there are a lot of people that couldn’t be happier to see him gone.
Personally, as one of the leaders of the Melky bandwagon, it did break my heart to see him suspended and for so many people to just say that his bat is “not needed” in a lineup that’s heading to the playoffs. Since I’ve always been a fan of hitting and defense, but on the flip side do not get to see the clubhouse environment with and without Cabrera, I would imagine there’s still a solid group of fans that are with me on this one.
I mean, in 501 PA, he gets 11 HR, 13 SB, on pace for 200 H, .387 wOBA, .379 BABIP — which maybe means he was due for regression anyway — and some memorable grins from the outfield, how do you not need that in your lineup, I ask those who say such things. He also took himself out of contention from the batting title, which was odd, but another PR move on his part.
Jon Miller brought up a good point in today’s game that I believe he said was discussed, that if hypothetically the Giants won their NLDS in less than five games, and wanted Melky on the NLCS roster, they would have to play a man short until he’s eligible for at least one game. While you may not see Bochy use every bat on his bench in one game, I don’t think the FO was too on board with the idea of playing with 24 for a couple of games, if that situation came to fruition. Fair to say though that I don’t think that was the only reason he was not brought back.
I believe that this is the end for Melky with the Giants. Some team will pick him up on the cheap (rest assured it won’t be the Dodgers), and I will wish the Giants had signed him. So, Melky, it was fun. Should you come back instead of Pagan or Pence (unlikely, in my opinion), I’ll welcome you back, but I know I’ll be in the minority. I just hope you’re done trying to cheat the system, even though I know there’s no hard data proving that PED usage helped you get all your hits and BABIP.