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.
As the Giants are 3-0 since their last off day, and the Dodgers are 1-3 in their last 4, fans of both franchises have seen a separation starting to form with 30-31 games left to go. Nothing is done by any means, but the Giants now square off in a weekend series against the Cubbies who are 4-10 since their last off day, but had a nice comeback win over the Brewers in yesterday’s game, with the final score of 12-11. These are still games the Giants need to win, but beat writer Alex Pavlovic was noting on Twitter (above), the team is tired, since they got to their hotel rooms around 3:15 AM, I’m guessing local time, and they’re already in the locker room. Travel is a part of professional sports and it wouldn’t be the first time a team’s played lower on energy. They should still be able to get the job done against a rebuilding Chicago squad.
Friday, August 31st: LHP Madison Bumgarner vs. RHP Chris Volstad
One sentence summary: Volstad’s last start was his first of the year where he allowed less than 4 hits, and had no ER attached to his line, and MadBum would like to put his last start behind him, but he has allowed 15/19 of his HRA on the road this year.
Saturday, September 1st: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP Justin Germano
One sentence summary: Germano hasn’t had many starts with the Cubs, but he has allowed a HR in four straight starts while never walking more than two in 2012; Lincecum hasn’t struck out more than 5 since July, but has also been able to keep the walks relatively down (6 in 4 starts).
Sunday, September 2nd: RHP Matt Cain vs. LHP Travis Wood
One sentence summary: Wood’s gone 7 IP in three of his last four starts, along with only two walks allowed in the last four; Matt Cain has done what’s expected against his last four opponents of HOU, LA, SD, and COL, so look for that to continue against the ChiCubs.
Another series preview, another one where Joaquin Arias has barely over 10 PA and leads the last seven for the team in wOBA (.623, .315 wOBA overall). There’s no one contributing to that level on the Giants, but after a series in Houston, you will have some guys that have inflated numbers like Pence (.437 wOBA L7, .327 overall), Pagan (.420, .338), and Belt (.406, .337), and will have a chance to improve upon those numbers against a group of pitchers that are a couple notches below the quality of pitchers more competitive teams might throw out there. Brandon Crawford (.117, .270), and Pablo Sandoval (.195, .335) have not really had their bats heard from in the past week, although Pablo did contribute to the win last night.
Former Top 100 prospect Brett Jackson (.603 wOBA L7, .346 wOBA overall) is lighting the way for the Cubs of late, with 3 HR in the past week, and having 4 in his 88 PA overall, but I believe the book on him was about him hitting enough, as the power and speed will be there. No one else on the squad is quite as hot right now, but Starlin Castro (.366 wOBA L7, .313 wOBA overall), and Luis Valbuena (.352, .303) have been healthy contributors of late as well. The slack has come from guys like Josh Vitters (.098, .139), and Darwin Barney (.133, .289), but at least with Barney, you don’t expect that to keep happening. Guys with more than 20 SB are Starlin Castro and Tony Campana, while you can look from their power to come from guys like Alfonso Soriano (23 HR), Starlin Castro (12), and Anthony Rizzo (9 in 236 PA).
Gotta say, I’m feeling pretty good about these Giants, so that probably means these predictions will be not be 100% correct.
Friday: Giants win (Chris Volstad, pretty much)
Saturday: Giants win (The bats relieve Tim Lincecum)
Sunday: Giants win (Matt Cain toys with the lesser competition)
We got ourselves a 4-gamer, wrap-a-round series with those loveable Cubbies who we used to share this adorable World Series Champions drought with. I’m glad we don’t share that anymore. I think the games to watch here are Saturday’s and Monday’s as I look at the pitcher matchups. Saturday’s 1912 promotion should be pretty cool anyway:
Friday, June 1st
LHP Paul Maholm (50.2 IP, 4.62/5.55/4.67 line with a 5.53 tERA. 5.15 K/9, 3.02 BB/9, including a .239 BABIP, and 9 HRA. Has thrown 43.4% FB, 30.6% SL, 15.4% CB, and 10.7% CH, making it more difficult to sit on one pitch)
LHP Madison Bumgarner (66.0 IP, 3.14/.366/3.72 and a 3.42 tERA. 6.41 K/9, and a nice 1.91 BB/9, plus a .237 BABIP, 7 HRA. 41.9% FB, 38.1% SL, 11.7% CB, and 8.4% CH. Couple of fastball-slider guys match up, eh?)
Saturday, June 2nd (Turn Back the Clock Day)
RHP Matt Garza (53.1 IP, 4.22/4.32/3.70 line with a 4.91 tERA. A 8.27 K/9, and 3.21 BB/9, plus a .252 BABIP, 8 HRA. 57.1% FB (avg. velo at 93.3 MPH), 26% SL, 9.4% CB, 7.5% CH.)
RHP Matt Cain (71.0 IP, 2.79/2.94/3.58, and a 3.13 tERA, with a 8.37 K/9, and a nicer 1.65 BB/9, and 6 HRA. 51.1% B, 19% SL, 18.5% CH, and 11.4% CB.)
Sunday, June 3rd
LHP Travis Wood (In 16.2 IP, 5.94/7.82/4.51 and a 9.86 tERA. Sports a 5.94 K/9, and a 4.32 BB/9 with a .133 BABIP, and 6 HRA, which certainly is a lot in that period. 61.7% FB, 13.8% Cutter, 13.5% CH, 8.2% SL, 2.8% CB)
LHP Barry Zito (58.0 IP, 3.41/4.59/5.20 line and a 4.30 tERA, showing off a 5.28 K/9, and a 4.03 BB/9. A .243 BABIP and 6 HRA, same as his opposite for 6/3. 38% SL, 31.4% FB (avg. velo at 83.6MPH), 17.7% CB, 13% CH)
Monday, June 4th
RHP Jeff Samardzjia (64.0 IP, has a 3.09/2.99/3.15 line with a 3.79 tERA and a 9.14 K/9 in contrast with a 2.67 BB/9. A BABIP of .304 with 5 HRA. 54.2% FB (avg. velo at 94.9MPH), 18% Splitter, 14.6% SL, 13.2% CT)
RHP Ryan Vogelsong (61.0 IP, 2.36/3.74/4.47 and a 3.64 tERA, plus a 6.79 K/9 and a 3.84 BB/9. Has a BABIP of .256 and leads the starters with 4 HRA. 55% FB, 17.5% CB, 14.5% Cutter, 12.8% CH)
Hitters in the Last 7 Days
Darwin Barney (1.268), Alfonso Soriano (1.226), Starlin Castro (1.024), and David DeJesus (1.033) all with OPS over 1.000 and a series with the Padres I believe helped out a little bit. If you take out DeJesus and add in Ian Stewart, those 4 have hit a combined 8 HR in the last 7 days. Melky Cabrera has hit 2 HR for the Giants in the last 7 days, and he’s the only one that’s big flyed for the SFGs in that timespan. The Giants by the way have three guys with an OPS over 1.000. Can you guess them? That’s right: Melky (1.328), Blanco (1.214), and Pagan (1.098).
Four hitters have K% over 27%: Brandon Belt (27.8%), Brandon Crawford (28%), Alfonso Soriano (29.2%), and Ian Stewart (30.8%).
Three hitters have a Line Drive % at 40.0% or better: Reed Johnson (40.0), Ryan Theriot (41.2), Melky (41.7).
Brandon Belt will likely only get two starts at the most, and I know the fanbase is getting impatient. He has to get things going, and soon.
Starlin Castro is not being shopped around, per Theo Epstein.
The Cubs swept the Padres after going on a pretty dam long losing streak.
Friday: Giants win
Saturday: Giants win
Sunday: Cubs win
Monday: Cubs win
Hope it doesn’t make me a bad person that I think the series will be split. Just feel like Zito will be old Zito and Vogey will get Cain’d.