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.
Today is a showcase of talent. Not all of the best talent are here, but there’s still going to be some amazing players on display like there were in the Futures Game, except of course at the MLB level, where a lot of these guys have for the most part put it all together.
Jeff Passan’s piece on Mike Trout vs. Bryce Harper is something we probably don’t talk enough about, but the Giants have now had the opportunity to see both, and were we ever disappointed. Disappointed that they did so well against our teams, but as a baseball fan, blown away by the fact they’re only 20, and 19 years old, respectively and why the heck couldn’t I do that at 19-20 years old 😦
All told, there were 38 players named or voted to the All Star team for the National League, and 36 voted for the American League squad. 16 National Leaguers are taking part in their first ASG, and for around 10 of them, I’d say this is just the beginning for them. You’d think the American League would be full of non-newbies, but even they have 10 guys new to the festivities and fanfare, with maybe 6 of them figuring this will not be their last trip to the All Star rodeo.
If you add the years up for the number of ASG the rosters have played, you would get 194 ASG played between the 74 players on the roster. The AL has 112 of those years, averaging 3.1111111111111 ASG/player, while the NL only has 90, averaging 2.36842105 ASG/player. There are five players in the ASG that have made 7 or more ASG rosters, can you name them? Think about it… OK I tell you now: Beltran 7; Miguel Cabrera 7; Chipper 8; Papi 8; Jeter 13. The people love them some gift baskets.
A Melky Cabrera homecoming should be heartwarming because Melky’s on record saying he did enjoy his time there, and Royals fans love the guy on their roster as they showed with Wil Myers (oh you thought I was going to talk about someone else, didn’t you?). Chipper Jones should have a nice final All Star Game, whether he plays or not, while Japan should be abuzz that Yu Darvish has the possibility of strutting his stuff on the international stage. Names like Chris Sale, Mark Trumbo, Aroldis Chapman, and Andrew McCutchen should hopefully become bigger household names as I believe all are special players.
So while we may be upset that the likes of Ryan Vogelsong, James McDonald, Johnny Cueto, and even yes, my favorite reliever, Sergio Romo did not make the squad, and others are upset over Matt Cain being chosen over R.A. Dickey and Stephen Strasburg, this should still be an excellent display of the talent that is flourishing within The Show. If you’re going to spend the whole time fuming of this or that, your appreciation for what’s being put out on stage tonight will likely go down, and as a baseball fan, this should be a moment for you to soak it all in, and appreciate some of what today’s game has to offer.
I’ve never seen this guy pitch, although I’m sure I could access some YouTube clip or something, but no thanks, typing’s hard. So is reading, math and writing. No wonder this country is in the crapper. Thank goodness for baseball. Anyway, Mr. Yu Darvish (father is Iranian and mother is Japanese) has been tearing up the Japanese League for a few years now with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (don’t ask about the name, I don’t get it either). In between 2007-2010, the dude has started from 23-26 Games and has put up 200+ IP in 3 of those. Outside of his 2009 poop season where he “only” went 182.0 IP with 167 K’s and a 0.4 HR/9, he’s had 200+ K’s, above a 4:1 K:BB ratio, and has a 1.44 ERA to go alongside his 18 wins (who needs run support with an ERA like that?). Let me give you his IP, K’s and ERA for the years I can find:
2007 (age 20): 207.2, 210, 1.82
2008 (21): 200.2, 208, 1.88
2009 (22): 182.0, 167, 1.73
2010 (23): 202.0, 222, 1.78
2011 (24/25): 1.44 ERA, 18 Wins
I think it’s fair to say he’s ready to be called up to the big leagues (“Dai liigu” as they call it in Japan). But it won’t be without a suggested $15-$40MM posting fee from a baseball club rumored to have names like the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers (no, Giants fans, don’t even think about it). After the posting fee, the club still has to settle a contract with Mr. Darvish. Last time I heard, business in the Japanese Baseball Department was not all that great. They do need the money.
Darvish reportedly has seven pitches he can use and I’ve heard about a scout saying he needs to cut it down to fit in with everyone here. If he uses 7 pitches to get under a 2 ERA, I say you let him use 7 pitches. Dude’s born in August so by the time he makes his way over to some team not on the West Coast (no, Mariners, you have met your quota for superstar Japanese players). Hopefully this guy’s more exciting than that “Dice” guy. I just hope he ends up in the American League somewhere on a team that has its payroll below $90MM right now (that would exclude the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees). Mystery teams, I beg of you: please apply.