Friday, June 25, 2010

My All-Star Selections

We’re on the verge of the 2010 MLB All-Star game and while the out of control voting is going on, I want to drop in my own set of selections, including a few pitchers from each league.

C – Victor Martinez, Red Sox
1st – Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2nd – Robinson Cano, Yankees
SS – Derek Jeter, Yankees
3rd – Evan Longoria, Rays
OF – Carl Crawford, Rays
OF – Alex Rios, Blue Jays
OF – Josh Hamilton, Rangers
DH – Vlad Guerrero, Rangers
SP – David Price, Rays
SP – Phil Hughes, Yankees
SP – Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
SP – Andy Pettite, Yankees
RP – Mariano Rivera, Yankees
RP – Rafael Soriano, Rays
RP – Jose Valverde, Tigers

In most cases it’s hard to argue with a lot of this. I picked Martinez over Joe Mauer because hi overall body of work has just been more solid, although Maur’s been turning it up lately. Cabrera is in a league by himself so far this year and is miles above the other hot shot 1st basemen in Mark Teixeria and Justin Morneau. Cano’s season has been lights out. Jeter’s struggled at times this season, but he’s so far above the other shortstops n the League it’s really not a contest. Longoria’s season has been excellent and the power outage by A-Rod means there’s more than enough of a gap here to warrant his selection, although Adrian Betre’s solid season got some consideration. The outfielders were little harder. Jose Bautista hitting home runs like there’s no tomorrow but his lousy batting average and high strike outs drop him behind the guys I have listed. Guys like Ichiro Suzuki, Torii Hunter and Nelson Cruz got some serious looks in the outfield also. Vlad Guerrero’s amazing comeback year has him looking like the Vlad of 2002 and he holds off the bounceback year that David Ortiez is having. The pitchers weren’t too hard. Price and Hughes have been win machines while Buchholz and Pettite have been dominating. Rivera, Soriano and Valverde not only are among the league leaders in saves, all three have miniscule ERAs and have been scary good so far.

C – Miguel Olivo, Rockies
1st – Albert Puljos, Cardinals
2nd – Martin Prado, Braves
3rd – David Wright, Mets
SS – Jose Reyes, Mets
OF – Ryan Braun, Brewers
OF – Andre Ethier, Dodgers
OF – Garrett Jones, Pirates
SP – Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies
SP – Josh Johnson, Marlins
SP – Mike Pelfrey, Mets
SP – Adam Wainright, Cardinals
RP – Brian Wilson, Giants
RP - Heath Bell, Padres
RP – Jon Broxton, Dodgers

I went a little off the beaten path with some selections here. I considered Brian McCann and Rod Barajas for catcher, but Mccann’s had a shakey season and Barajas’ june has been weak, so Olivo’s solid and surprising season gets rewarded. Guys like Yadier Molina and Pudge Rodriguez are not having great seasons, despite their high vote count in the all-star voting. Pujols’s slow start is gone and he’s back to normal, holding off excellent seasons from the likes of Joey Votto and Troy Glaus, who also got some thought from me. Chase Utley’s having a terrible season overall, and Martin Prado’s having a breakout year so there was little contest there, with Bradon Phillips getting a small look but comng up short. David Wright is back to being David Wright. Solid seasons from Scott Rolen and Casey Magee got consideration, but Magee has slumped for a while now. Vote leader Palcido Palanco got a brief look, but really doesn’t deserve to be the top vote getter. At Short, Reyes was picked mainly because after a very slow start and a season begun on the DL, he’s been on fire for a month now and the Mets are 20-5 in that time. Troy Tulowitzki and Hanley Rameriez both came close, but Tulo’s numbers are Coors Field aided and Rameriez got benched this season for dogging it and showing no class or respect for the game, thus giving him a big strike against him. Jimmy Rollins has been on the DL most of the season and gets no consideration. With the outfielders, I strong considered Jason Heyward but his too low batting average and too many strike outs gave way to my surprise pick of Garret Jones who is putting up a quietly great season in forgotten pittsburg. Barun and Ethier and as solid as they come and their all around numbers were just able to hold out over guys like Jason Werth and Matt Holiday. For the pitchers, Jiminez and Johnson and been SCARY good. Both have had long streaks of no run baseball this season. Pelfrey and Wainwright have been downright dominating in most of their starts holding out over Chris Carpenter, Tyler Clippard and R. A Dickey who are all having great seasons. The closers here, like in the AL, not only have excellent save stats, but have very low ERAs and have been solid.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Time to Start Talking All-Stars: The AL

As the first half of the season starts to wind down, baseball will start to set it’s eyes on the 2010 All-Star Game on July 13th at Angels Stadium.

The voting is going quite well for a few New York baseball players in the Al, and not so well for the NL New Yorkers. Let’s take a look at who’s leading in each league and who the likely pitchers will be while keeping an eye towards possible Yankee and Met selections. We’ll start with the Amercian League.


1. Justin Morneau Twins 1,402,496
2. Mark Teixeira Yankees 1,221,457
3. Miguel Cabrera Tigers 1,009,822
4. Kevin Youkilis Red Sox 642,407
5. Carlos Pena Rays 457,476

THE LEADERS: Teixera was leading for a while, but Morneau has taken a rather slim advantage in the last two updates. Teixera is having a rather rough year with his batting average hovering around .224, while Morneau is quietly having a great year.
MOST DESERVING: Miguel Cabrera. Morneau is having a fantastic year. Cabrera, however, is on another planet. His 19 home runs, 56 RBI and .330 batting average puts him miles above everyone else.


1. Robinson Cano Yankees 1,784,896
2. Dustin Pedroia Red Sox 983,716
3. Ian Kinsler Rangers 827,920
4. Orlando Hudson Twins 718,183
5. Ben Zobrist Rays 472,755

THE LEADERS: Cano seems to have this one pretty much locked up with a fairly large lead of over 800,000 votes. Pedoria’s game has slipped a little and while his numbers aren’t bad, he’s not quite burning up the league.
MOST DESERVING: Cano. He’s had excellent seasons before but nothing like this. 13 HRs, 47 RBI and a .368 batting average makes him the obvious choice.


1. Evan Longoria Rays 1,958,855
2. Alex Rodriguez Yankees 1,271,831
3. Michael Young Rangers 762,266
4. Adrian Beltre Red Sox 462,136
5. Nick Punto Twins 412,268

THE LEADERS: Going into the season you knew that Longoria and A-Rod would be the two top vote gettings and they are. Both have good numbers but A-Rod’s numbers are down for him. Beltre has quietly put together a very good season in Boston.
MOST DESERVING: Longoria. More home runs, more RBI, higher average and he his playing a larger part in the Rays’ wins. A-Rod’s 8 HRs, 43 RBI and .290 batting average is very good… for most 3rd basemen. Not for A-Rod.


1. Derek Jeter Yankees 2,108,659
2. Elvis Andrus Rangers 999,455
3. J.J. Hardy Twins 647,891
4. Jason Bartlett Rays 483,383
5. Alex Gonzalez Blue Jays 446,570

THE LEADERS: Not a lot of exciting shortstops in the AL so far this year with Jeter and Andrus really the only two making much noise.
MOST DESERVING: Jeter. Andrus is having a nice year with a .294 batting average and 19 stolen bases, but Jeter is much more than just his solid numbers of 8 hrs, 39 RBI, .290 average and 7 stolten bases.


1. Joe Mauer Twins 2,617,822
2. Jorge Posada Yankees 822,865
3. Victor Martinez Red Sox 518,608
4. Taylor Teagarden Rangers 341,492
5. Gerald Laird Tigers 258,112

THE LEADERS: You had to know that Mauer would be up there. He’s one of the most important names in the MLB right now so his insurmountable lead is not surprising. Posada’s reputation with the bat has him up there despite two seperate DL stints.
MOST DESERVING: Martinez. As great as Mauer is, he’s been hurt a little and not playing at the level you’d expect for him, and despite the two grand slams this past weekend, Posada’s injuries have hampered him as well. Martinez has put up solid numbers of 8 HRs, 35 RBI and a .300 batting average with only 20 strike outs. Deserving numbers.


1. Ichiro Suzuki Mariners 1,231,950
2. Carl Crawford Rays 1,123,132
3. Nelson Cruz Rangers 1,093,099
4. Josh Hamilton Rangers 1,006,364
5. Nick Swisher Yankees 808,871
6. Curtis Granderson Yankees 766,088
7. Torii Hunter Angels 765,023
8. Brett Gardner Yankees 743,795
9. Vernon Wells Blue Jays 681,795
10. Michael Cuddyer Twins 644,679

THE LEADERS: Despite some rough starts, players like Ichiro and Hamilton have picked up their game to where most people expect them to be. Some of the names up here aren’t having the seasons you would expect like Hunter and Granderson.
MOST DESERVING: Jose Bautista, Carl Crawford and Alex Rios. Bautista’s .227 batting average is terrible, but his 18 HRs and 45 RBI is tops in the AL. Crawford is setting himself up for a heck of a free agent payday with 6 HRs, 36 RBI, 22 SBs, a .300 average and 50 runs scored (which is tops in the AL). Rios is also putting together a solid overall season with 13 HRs, 19 SBs and a .315 average with only 27 strike outs. Guys like Hamilton, Ichiro, Cruz and Swisher are all deserving, but these three stand out in my mind.

The Yankees are having a strong season, currently tied with the Rays for 1st place in the Al and the best record in baseball. Despite some rough performances from guys like Teixeria, A-Rod, Joba and Sabathia, the Yanks haven’t missed a beat. Brett Gardner has exceeded expectations and should get some consideration for the AL outfield, as should Nick Swisher. Cano and Jeter are locks in the voting and I would expect both Mariano Rivera and Phil Hughes to join them without much doubt, seeing they both are having great seasons. Andy Pettitte is also having a solid season and should get consideration as well. My no brainers are Jeter, Cano, Hughes and Rivera. Odds are you’ll see at least one or two from the lot of Swisher, A-Rod, Texieria and Pettite on the team as well.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Future Aces of New York Baseball

The Yankees and Mets both have a big time ace. Two fantastic talented pitchers that should be on most people’s top five list when talking about the best pitchers in MLB. Of course I’m talking about C.C. Sabathia and Johan Santana… but the two aces have competition for the top spot on their respective teams, from two young hot shot pitchers who are making bids to show just how fantastic they can be. Of course I’m now talking about Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey. Two youngsters who are showing their teams that they can hold their own with the big budget pitchers they follow in the rotation.

Hughes is 7-1 with a 2.54 ERA. Pelfrey is 8-1 with a 2.23 ERA. Both have pitched extremely well this season. Both are in the top ten in wins and ERA for their leagues. Pelfrey even stepped in and got a save in the Mets crazy 20 inning game against the Cardinals back in April.

Hughes is following up a great 2009 in which he was 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA (and 3 saves) pitching mostly in the bullpen and eventually settling into the set up role… one he excelled at. He did make seven starts at the beginning of the season going 3-2 with a 5.45 ERA in those starts but had a terrifc year once he established his role in the bullpen. While he did have a shakey playoff role, the Yankees saw Hughes as a starter and he was given a chance to win the 5th starter job in spring training… something he did rather easily. Hughes has gone 7 innings in six of his 11 starts and has struck out 68 batters in 69.2 inning this year, avergaing almost a strikeout per inning.

Pelfrey didn’t have a great 2009, but had an excellent 2008 in which he went 13-11 with a 3.72 ERA in which he started the season 2-6 but went 11-5 down the stretch (include three hard luck losses in which he went at least 7 innings and gave up 2 or less runs). Pelfrey has been almost unstoppable lately, going 4-0 with a 1.19 ERA in his last five starts in which he has faced the Braves, Yankees, Phillies and Padres (the team with the best record in the NL) twice. He’s also struck out 27 while walking only 11 in the 37.2 innings of those five starts. In other words, it’s not like he’s only putting up numbers against the dregs of Major League Baseball. He’s also gone 7, 8 and 9 innings in his last three starts, saving the bullpen.

Ironically, Hughes one loss this year was to the Mets in a game he faced off against Pelfrey.

Hughes is just 23 years old (he’ll be 24 in just under two weeks) and Pelfrey turned 26 just before the season started. Both should be around for quite some time, so feel safe in buying those Hughes and Pelfrey jerseys now, because something makes me think they both will be at the top of their rotations for years to come.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Is Posada Done Behind The Plate?

Since he’s been back from the DL, Jorge Posada has been the Yankees primary DH, a role I thought he was slated to be back in the offseason. In fact, I thought the whole reason that the Yanks really declined to bring back Hideki Matsui was because they wanted to get Posada a few games a week at the DH spot, to keep him and his bat as fresh as possible for the late season and playoff run. Once they signed Nick Johnson, the plan seemed to go out the window. That signing was a strange one because it really didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. However, knowing Johnson as well as many baseball people do, it can’t come to a big surprise that he’s on the 60-Day DL and thus the spot is back open for Posada to play that role, despite the fact he’s not really too happy with it.

Posada’s defensive issues didn’t start with this year. He’s never been particually adept at blocking the plate or throwing out runners, but he hasn’t exactly been a disaster either. There have been pitchers who prefer to throw to other catchers, inlcuding the infamous situation in last year’s playoffs when it seemed AJ Burnett would rather throw to anyone BUT Posada. In the end, you cannot remove the fact that Posada’s bat has been fantastic for the Bronx Bombers though, and getting him out from behind the plate was not something that would be easy, but the fact is, he is 38 (and will be 39 In august) and his already shakey skill set behind the plate has declined. Even if it hadn’t though, his age alone is a huge reason to move him out from back there… just to ensure his bat can be in the lineup more.

Right now, the Yankees are better off with 24 year old Francisco Cervelli as their primary backstop and Posada in the DH role about 80% of the time. Despite Posada’s desire to catch, and Manager Joe Girardi’s reluctance to just name Cervelli as the everyday catcher going forward it’s fairly evident that the Yanks are best served with the 38 year old accepting his new role.

Posada is a five time all-star and a member of the famed “Core Four” still left from the Yankees huge run of championships from the late 90s into 2000. He deserves the teams and fans loyalty, but he also needs to see that the days of even catching 100 games (which he did last season) is past.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Terrible... just terrible

And so, once again, the Mets waste an amazing performance from Johan Santana, and continue to be unable to win even ONE series on the road. It’s the worst road start for the Mets since 1983.

Tonight was one missed oppertunity after another. K-Rod looked bad last night in getting a save and he was bad again tonight in blowing one.

No matter how great Santana and Mike Pelfrey pitch… no matter how well Jose Reyes, David Wright, Rod Barahas and Ike Davis hit… no matter how fast Carlos Beltran gets back from injury… no matter how great they play at home… if this team cannot win on the road at at LEAST a .500 mark, they will not go anywhere.

This game should have been over by the 7th inning. Instead it’s going to be a long flight home and a lot of “What If” talk.

And please, the next time Jerry Manual send up Gark Mathews Jr to hit, the man should be immediately fired. Will SOMEONE get this total hack off the team?

TEAM NOTES: Well, the other night aginast the Padres was a night to forget. 18 runs? Ouch. No one had it last night. Lost in the shuffle was the fact that Oliver Perez gave up 2 runs in 2.2 inning of work and LOWERED his ERA. The Mets scored 6 runs in the first six innings and usually that means things should be good, but yesterday it was basically two field goals to the Padres two touchdowns, 2 two-point conversions and a safety.

Speaking of Oliver Perez, the Mets have made yet ANOTHER plea to the bewildered lefty to accept being sent down to work on his obviously messed up mechanics. This time the Mets told Perez he could go right to Florida and work with Phil Regan instead of going to Buffalo. No word on what Perez has said yet, but word is that many of the Mets players are extremely unhappy with Perez and perhaps will look to peer pressure him into accepting it. Perez has been adament about staying with the club so far and hasn’t given any signs he will relent. At this point the team does need to draw a line in the sand.

The team continues to look very shakey on the road. It’s quite strange that they can look so good at home and look so bad as visitors. The bizarre split makes it very hard to really get a firm grasp on who this team really is. Thankfully Mike Pelfrey and his 7-1 record and 2.56 ERA takes the mound tonight to try and right the ship.

Looks like Luis Castillo is now a platoon player. With the problems he’s been having with his foot, Mets skipper Jerry Manuel has been sitting Castillo vs. right-handers. “I’m going to probably go that way until Luis starts moving a little bit better on that foot,” Manuel told reporters. Alex Cora has been getting the bulk of those starts that Castillo sits during, but keep an eye on Daniel Murphy who is getting work in the minors at 2nd base. Word is, that Murphy can become the Mets version of Mark DeRosa and be able to start at a number of positions.

Jonathan Niese should be off the DL and back with the Mets in a starting role come this upcoming Saturday against the Marlins. He’ll take his spot and send Fernando Nieve back to the bullpen.

Fans still seems to be totally down on David Wright. While I will agree his strikeout total is concerning, I think once again Mets fans are barking at nothing. Wright’s numbers are lower then you would think they should be (especially his .258 bating average) but his numbers aren’t as bad as you might think. Tell me, what does Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Chase Utley, Ryan Braun, Mark Texeria and Adam Dunn all have in commen? ALL have less RBIs and SBs and all but Utley and Dunn has the same or less home runs totals than Wright. Before this weekends explosion, so did Albert Pujlos. Wright has 8 home runs, 35 RBI and 9 SBs. He has struggled at different times this season and the strike outs are worrisome, but it’s not like he’s a liability. Relax will ya?