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.
100. Lance Lynn (176.0 IP, 9.20 K/9, 4.11 tERA, 2.9 fWAR, 2.0 rWAR) – Beginning the season as a reliever, Lynn did pretty well as a starter, and I don’t think the Cardinals have any plans of moving him back to the bullpen anytime soon.
99. Jose Bautista (27 HR, 14 2B, .378 wOBA, 3.2 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – This work by Joey Bats was done in 92 games, which I find to be pretty incredible. Although his defense wasn’t the greatest in the ASG, I have heard to be that bad all the time.
98. B.J. Upton (28 HR, 31 SB, .323 wOBA, 3.3 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – The newest Brave entering his age 28 season should be a welcome addition to a team that lost a pretty good CF already.
97. Jered Weaver (188.2 IP, 6.77 K/9, 3.99 tERA, 3.0 fWAR, 3.7 rWAR) – I’m surprised he was this far down the list, but here he is. I expect him to see many pitcher wins for him in the next couple of years. That stat though won’t get him up this list if I do it again.
96. Dan Uggla (19 HR, 29 2B, .325 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.7 rWAR) – Nobody wants his contract, but Uggla is at the very least producing some of the power that is expected of him. Not that it makes his current deal worth it, though.
95. Aroldis Chapman (71.2 IP, 15.32 K/9, 1.66 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 3.6 rWAR) – The Cuban Missile’s time as a reliever may be done, and if that’s true, can’t wait to see how he does as a starter. It’s been well documented that he’s been lights out as a reliever.
94. Mat Latos (209.1 IP, 7.95 K/9, 4.09 tERA, 3.1 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – While I might remember him from his Padres days as being a little evil, but he is still very good at what he does – pitch, that is.
93. Jeff Samardzija (174.2 IP, 9.27 K/9, 4.27 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 1.6 rWAR) – Perhaps the second-most misspelled name in the majors, Samardzija is making the public know that he is a name worth getting to know.
92. A.J. Pierzynski (27 HR, 18 2B, .351 wOBA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Perhaps he’s becoming one-dimensional, but he should still be able to provide the power Texas is used to out of their catchers.
91. Mike Moustakas (20 HR, 34 2B, .305 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.9 rWAR) – A well-rated defensive 3B that can also hit for power? Yes, please! Good thing they have another powerful bat coming to their lineu—hhh wait. Sorry, too soon?
90. Desmond Jennings (13 HR, 31 SB, .309 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 3.0 rWAR) – The world is waiting for the 26-year old to explode on to the scene, and while what he’s done with the bat hasn’t been all that noteworthy, the game he’s carried with the help of his legs will keep him useful at the very least.
89. Trevor Cahill (200.0 IP, 7.02 K/9, 4.13 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.5 rWAR) – Hard to say he was worth what Arizona gave up for him, but that’s hardly his fault their GM loves giving up pitching prospects. Like one of the guys he was traded to in Parker, Cahill must bring down those walks.
88. Matt Kemp (23 HR, 22 2B, .383 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Beastmode took a back seat to injuries in 2012, and his crashing into the wall in Coors has some wondering how close to 100% he’ll be in 2013 and beyond.
87. Kyle Seager (20 HR, 13 SB, .321 wOBA, 3.6 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Not a bad line for a kid we didn’t hear too much about this year. I gave Seager the nod over Kemp mainly due to Seager being healthy, and his better defense. The Dodgers also drafted Kyle’s kid brother this year.
86. A.J. Burnett (202.1 IP, 8.01 K/9, 3.71 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.9 rWAR) – Often the butt of jokes the last couple years, AJ was able to silence the critics a bit this year in Pittsburgh, despite a line drive to the face early on this past baseball season.
85. Jordan Zimmerman (195.2 IP, 7.04 K/9, 4.21 tERA, 3.5 fWAR, 4.4 rWAR) – When you see the top three SP on a “Best of” list (any, not just this very raw one), you get the feeling that team has the potential to be good. Luckily for Washington, they also have a bunch of bats.
84. Carlos Gomez (19 HR, 37 SB, .329 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Talk about an underrated season, I was shocked looking at these numbers from Gomez, but I do remember and love his “all-or-nothing” swing that he exhibits.
83. Craig Kimbrel (62.2 IP, 16.66 K/9, 0.96 tERA, 3.6 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – I struggled with where to start including the high leverage pitchers, or “closers” as they’re often used, but Kimbrel produced elite numbers when he was brought in and couldn’t be put off to the side any longer. As closers are used in roughly a third to a quarter of the innings a SP would put out, I probably give those pitchers that level of respect when it comes to building this list. Would I love a Craig Kimbrel on my team? Absolutely.
82. Danny Espinosa (17 HR, 20 SB, .313 wOBA, 3.8 fWAR, 2.4 rWAR) – The former Long Beach State Dirtbag is an interesting case, what with his very high strikeout numbers, but good pop, speed, and D from a position more known for its defense.
81. Madison Bumgarner (208.1 IP, 8.25 K/9, 3.55 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.8 rWAR) – An early Cy Young candidate, MadBum’s flaw in his pitching motion that was corrected in the postseason very well could have been the result of fatigue, as he struggled at the end of the regular season.
Since August 14th, the Diamondbacks have had trouble reversing trends right away, as they’ve been winning/losing in consecutive games. The results: lose 2, win 4, lose 2, win 2 (more impressively it was a double-header), lose 6, win 2, lose 2. That’s an 8-12 stretch, so it’s understandable that they’ve lost ground against the Giants, who’ve gone 13-5 over that same set of dates. Interesting that on August 14th, we go back to the days of the Giants being tied for 1st place in the NL West with the Dodgers. Even though the Diamondbacks are 10.5 back, they still have 9 games left against the Giants, and while it’s extremely unlikely the DBacks make up 9 games, they can still play spoiler. The Giants return from a roadtrip that featured some NL Central cupcakes and now the San Francisco Orange & Black begin the final stretch of the season against only NL West opponents.
Monday, September 3rd: LHP Patrick Corbin vs. LHP Barry Zito
One sentence summary: The Giants’ fourth consecutive day game features Corbin, who’s given up 5 HR in his last 3 starts, and Zito, who had his shortest outing of the season against Houston, possibly playing through some upper back pain.
Tuesday, September 4th: RHP Ian Kennedy vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
One sentence summary: August wasn’t the friendliest of months to either of these two starters as Kennedy saw his second worst ERA month of the season (4.54), while Vogelsong had by far his worst month of the year (6.32), as both look to change things up with the coming of September.
Wednesday, September 5th: RHP Trevor Cahill vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
One sentence summary: Cahill also had a heightened ERA in August (5.08) but wasn’t necessarily getting dominated like Vogelsong was; meanwhile, after Madison had his worst outing of the year since the first series of the year, he faces the team that gave him that first bad outing in the Diamondbacks.
And Now, the Bats
Hard to imagine that guys like Paul Goldscmidt ever go cold, but he’s not his normal self in the past week (.223 wOBA, .368 wOBA overall — best on the team), and said unhotness also applies to names like Justin Upton (.268 wOBA L7, .327 wOBA overall), Chris Young (.232, .321), and Jason Kubel (.263, .356), despite 3 HR between Upton and Kubel in the past week, including a couple bombs against the Dodgers. Mostly-utility-infielder John McDonald (.450, .297) has been the biggest contributor recently although in only 15 PA, with Miguel Montero being the biggest regular contributor of late (.321, .362). The Diamondbacks have a total of eight guys with double-digit dingerz on their squad, led by Jason Kubel (27), and Aaron Hill (20). Three guys have 13 SB on their squad led by Lincecum-killer Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Upton, and Gerardo Parra.
The Cubs series wasn’t the sweep many fans had hoped it would be, but some guys added on to what they’d be doing in Houston. Guys like Angel Pagan (.457 wOBA L7, .340 wOBA overall), and Hunter Pence (.405, .326). Gregor Blanco (.143, .308) may see his playing time reduced as Bochy rides the X-line straight to Veteranville, and Brandon Crawford (.162, .272) may be in the midst of regressing, but I imagine he starts taking the field back over Arias since Joaquin can’t keep his August pace up forever. On a team starved for the big flies, Buster is one HR away from 20 (as is Hunter), and we’re still waiting for round-trippers from Panda and Belt. Pagan (23) and Blanco (20) both have a high number of SB, and I’m sure it’ll be watched to see if either of these rabbits can rack up 30 for the year.
Get familiar with these boys, because you’re going to see a lot of them in September, and you just hope you’re playing them at the right streaky time.
Monday: Giants win (Giants ride homer — like an actual home run — to victory)
Tuesday: DBacks win (Ian Kennedy out-pitched Kershaw, will out-pitch Vogelsong)
Wednesday: Giants win (Madison takes his revenge out on Arizona)
Thursday is a day off before the Giants and Dodgers get going for their second to last series of the year, and the last one at AT&T.