The Detroit Tigers have a pretty good set of names on their roster, and amongst those names is Prince Fielder, a pretty good hitter, I guess you could say. Not everybody has good nights, and last night was one of those for Prince Fielder in the batter’s box. In what would end up being a fourteen-inning game, Prince Fielder went 0-for-6 with 5 K’s and one lineout. Prince wasn’t alone in his K-ing ways, as there were forty (!) between the two teams. Prince’s five whiffs, consisting of one backwards K, is not a record, as there have been players that have done it six times in a game. The forty strikeouts also is not a record for an extra-inning game between two teams, as that one has held strong since 1971. Don’t mean to pick on Prince here, but thought you might like to see his five strikeouts
1st inning, 93 MPH fastball outside vs. Felix Hernandez
4th inning, 92 mph fastball inside vs. Felix Hernandez
6th inning, 93 MPH fastball well outside vs. Felix Hernandez
9th inning, 96 MPH fastball outside vs. Tom Wilhelmsen
13th inning, 91 MPH fastball high above the zone vs. Charlie Furbush
Everybody put away Prince with speed in a night at the plate he’d like to forget. However, he was part of the throw that would get to catcher Brayan Pena that would nail Justin Smoak at the plate to end the game.
The Mariners and Tigers have a little less than 14 hours between the end of that game and the start of today’s getaway game.
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.
Do you remember who was supposed to play in the 2010 World Series? Of course you do: Yankees and Phillies. Who else would it be? Instead, two boring mystery teams that most people have never seen win a World Series in the Giants, and play with Nolan Ryan in the stands in the Texas Rangers, came together to fight it out in 5 games ultimately with the good guys winning. No hand gestures necessary.
Then came the 2011 Free Agency period. Cliff Lee was going to the Yankees. No, the Rangers. No, the Yankees. Oh wait there’s a mystery team?!?!? Who could it be? Giants? No, they need a bat. Dodgers? Ha, that’s funny. The Dodgers don’t care about baseball! Silly. Ok, the whole “mystery” thing was made up, everyone get back to work. Yankees, Rangers, rinse and repeat. Cliff Lee signs with the Phillies. In February when camp was about to break, the Phillies had won Free Agency 2011.
Who was picked to go to the 2011 World Series? You probably remember. Fried chicken and beer vs. Subway. The ultimate American showdown of American eating versus Americans thinking they’re eating healthy. It would’ve brought crazy ratings. Basketball fans nationwide might have cared about baseball instead of whining about their lame, boring 82 game sport. Real athletes play 162 games of 9 innings or something like that. Back to the point, we have the Rangers and the Cardinals now. The Rangers don’t surprise anyone, but the Cardinals are a shocker. Mystery team! I know I didn’t pick them for any postseason spot and any postseason series. Can you imagine if they pitched the NLDS like they did the NLCS? It’d be Phillies-Red Sox by some miracle of osmosis (why do people always go to osmosis?).
The real reason I wrote this was to talk about Free Agency 2012. We have many big names like CC Sabathia (who is big), CJ Wilson (half big), Albert Pujols (machine big) and Prince Fielder (tofu big). How many of these guys will get lasso’d in by a “mystery team” this winter? My guess: two. Here’s who I think gets who:
CC Sabathia – Chicago Cubs (CC goes to CC. It was meant to be.)
CJ Wilson – Yankees (Who else would overpay for him?)
Albert Pujols – Cardinals (What, you expect Lance Berkman to play first?)
Prince Fielder — San Franci… not. Baltimore Orioles. (Unless you think they want to have more years of sub-par Derrek Lee-ness. How will they compete for 4th without Prince?)
I’ll be wrong with about… four of these predictions. Don’t worry. Can’t wait for the Free Agency period to begin though.
There’s not much to do nowadays, so I thought I’d do a “season in review” for as many players as I can. Since I have until Spring Training, I think I can cover the roster that put in some time, maybe a free agent or two as well as some new acquisitions (CC, Jose Reyes and Prince Fielder, right guyzz?!??!!). So we begin here and by the power vested in me, I chose to start with Dan Runzler.
2011 Pitching Stats: 31 G, 27.1 IP, .367 BABIP, 8.23 K/9, 5.27 BB/9, 6.26 ERA, 2.95 FIP
For most of the season, the 26 year old Danny Boy would have me screaming at whatever was displaying the Giants game. I would bring out the kleenex, get the pillow to yell obscenities in and throw across the room after he had thrown his first pitch, and roll my eyes after every 95 MPH fastball that ended up outside the strike zone by a foot. But then all of a sudden he starts having a nice September. Seriously! In 11 G, even though he was only used in 5.1 IP, he only allowed 2 H and 2 BB in facing 20 batters and didn’t allow an ER. Sure, the competition may have been weaker, but this was the same guy that couldn’t get through 2 innings of Houston Astros baseball.
I don’t remember this above highlight, so I thought I’d include it. It was something good that happened for him, and as much grief as I gave him all year, I feel like he is still owed a positive highlight to counter….
…This. Poor Danny Boy. Overall, April wasn’t so good (8 ER in 12 IP, but 10 Ks and a 1.167 WHIP in 49 Batters Faced though), May sucked (6 BB, 6 ER, 12 H in 7.2 IP) and August I can’t find the word for (19.29 ERA, 3.857 WHIP, 0.5 K/BB ratio in 2.1 IP). Was September a glimpse into what he can be, or was it merely a facade created by inferior opposition? We all want to hope it’s the former, and as long as his injury doesn’t hinder him being at 100% when pitchers and catchers report, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sporting a 4 ERA in the bullpen of the 2010 Champs.
Status in 2012: Long Relief Man/Zito extinguisher/Brandon Belt AAA roommate
Projected Salary for 2012: $425,000
Discussion and disagreement are part of sports life, and after reading a post from @BayCityBall (http://www.baycityball.com/2011/10/02/my-postseason-rooting-order/) I thought this would be a good post for today. The idea is of course, there are eight teams in the postseason and if we had to rank who you would root for, what would that order be? Everyone’s list will be different and who can blame them? There’s some attractive talent (both on the field and in the dugout) for us to be amazed and stupefied at.
1. Tampa Bay Rays – expansion team, lost to the Phillies in 2008, came from a huge deficit to defeat one of the more despised franchises in baseball. They have lovable characters like Evan Longoria, One-A-Day 50+ sponsor Joe Maddon, Madison Bumgarner pitch-a-like Matt Moore (alike in that the Rangers couldn’t touch either of them). Shoot, their version of Eli Whiteside even hit two HRs against CJ Wilson. Awesome
2. Texas Rangers – When the Giants and the Rangers met up last year in 2010, you had a ratings nightmare: no Yankees? no Red Sox? no Phillies? We’ll just have Joe Buck and Tim McCarver do this one. Nobody’s watching, anyway. You also had two franchises starved for a World Series trophy. The Giants got their portion in 2010, but the Rangers were left hanging and from what I heard, the Rangers were very classy in defeat. Their exciting players are mostly hold bats and hit HRs for a living, their staff has the experience of winning so the jitters should be mostly out of the way.
3. Detroit Tigers – The playoff team I probably know the least about. I guess they’re like the Tampa Bay Rays or a Texas Rangers-lite on offense and some other team with their pitching. Justin Verlander? Hot. Jose Valverde? He should make a dance instruction DVD. As for everyone else? Whatever, just beat the Yankees.
4. St. Louis Cardinals – Just beat the Phillies, Tony La Russa. Use your craftiness when you get back home to even the series at 2 or something. Sprinklers, stadium lights, rain dance, Buffalo Wild Wings commercials, whatever. I laugh a little that Rafael Furcal is on this team.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks – They’re not far down on the list because I despise their team; really, I’m OK with them. Justin Upton, Chris Young, Aaron Hill, Kirk Gibson. I think he’s done a great job with the team and GM Kevin Towers a wonderful job rebuilding the bullpen. I don’t want them winning the World Series because I don’t know why, but I don’t. I may have this fear that winning the WS would convince idiots to vote Ian Kennedy for Cy Young even though it’s just a regular season award. Edit: Forgot that ballots are submitted before the post-season. Therefore, Kennedy performance in post-season will not change likelihood of getting Cy. Their twitter account is annoying as babies on a plane, by the way.
6. Milwaukee Brewers – I am very not fond of a certain player on their team that claims to have an alter-ego that rhymes with “Phony-Flush.” I do not want to see him happy. Does that make me a bad person? Probably, but no one’s perfect. I’m not too fond of Prince Fielder, either, but TofuMan doesn’t both me as much as the current CF. I like Ryan Braun. I like John Axford.
In between 6 and 7, please note that there’s a gap larger than the 6 hour drive from Long Beach to San Jose I have to endure at least twice a year.
7. Philadelphia Phillies – I have a strong dislike for the Phillies. They have become the Yankees of the NL. I will laugh at them in 2015 when they are still paying Ryan Howard $25MM to strike out with a sandwich in his mouth.
8. New York Yankees – Look, they have exciting players. They’re the freaking Yankees. But the only time you want a team like that to win is when: a) it’s your team or b) you’re playing a video game and you’ve constructed a super team that isn’t possible in real life and you don’t have to worry about hurting other people’s feelings.
In 2012, the list will be different. Buster ain’t havin’ it.