The Gold Glove continues to be a screwy award

November 4, 2012

> If there’s going to be an award called a “Gold Glove” handed out to a player at each position every year, it should go to the best defensive player at that position for that given year, no?

Apparently not. Before I get into my point, here are the 2012 GG winners for each position:

American League:

C: Matt Wieters, Orioles
1B: Mark Teixera, Yankees
2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
SS: J.J. Hardy, Orioles
3B: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
LF: Alex Gordon, Royals
CF: Adam Jones, Orioles
RF: Josh Reddick, Athletics
P: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays/Jake Peavy, White Sox

National League:

C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
2B: Darwin Barney, Cubs
SS: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
3B: Chase Headley, Padres
LF:
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
CF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
RF: Jason Heyward, Braves
P: Mark Buehrle, Marlins

Plenty of guys were considered “snubbed” at their respective positions because of their reputation for making spectacular defensive plays. Take Mike Trout, for instance. He robbed home runs (literally going up the wall and bringing the ball back into the park) on three occasions this year as the center fielder for the Angels. But why did Jones win?

Statistically, Jones actually had a better defensive season than Trout; Jones had the better defensive WAR. Denard Span of the Twins also had a better defensive WAR than Trout.

In my opinion, that’s the way it should be- the guy who is statistically the best defender at each position should win. That happened in a few cases this year: Rollins had the best fielding percentage among NL shortstops, Barney committed just two errors at second base (which led NL second baseman, obviously), Teixera had just one error all year, Cano was tied for first in fielding percentage at second base, and so on.

But, of course, when it came to the possibility of a Brewer getting a Gold Glove, he got screwed. Aramis Ramirez led the NL in fielding percentage and had the fewest errors among qualifying third basemen. So who obviously wins the award at third base? Headley, duh.

But why? If one player has better defensive statistics than another player at a certain position, that player should win the Gold Glove. This is the one award I think should be strongly influenced by statistics, because there’s always going to be one player who is definitively better than another (statistically) at each position. Most of the defensive statistics go hand-in-hand, so it’s unlikely there’s going to be two players who each have one better defensive statistic than the other. This is a far different award than something like the MVP or Cy Young Award, in which there are a series of different statistics that don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with each other. That makes for more of an argument for who should win those award, which is why it’s okay for there to be voters.

But there shouldn’t be a vote for the Gold Glove. There’s a best defensive player at each position, and that’s that.

THE NEWS

> The Brewers signed free agent righty Michael Olmsted to a minor league contract.

> Travis Ishikawa officially elected free agency.

> Two Brewers were selected to play in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game- Hunter Morris and Johnny Hellweg. Morris hit clean-up and went 1-for-1 with an infield single and a sacrifice fly.

> The Cubs nearly sent Carlos Marmol to the Angels in exchange for Dan Haren last night, but the deal wound up not going through. The Angels were looking for anything they could get before they had to decline Haren’s option for 2013, but, since the trade didn’t come to fruition, they were forced to decline the option. Haren is now a free agent and could be a possible fit for the Brewers.

> 10 teams are reportedly interested in lefty free agent Mike Gonzalez. I’d take him, seeing as the Brewers will be very thin on lefty relievers once again next year (if they have any). Manny Parra, the only lefty in the Brewers’ bullpen in 2012, is probably going to be one of the next guys to go.

> Minor moves:

Rockies: Outrighted Carlos Torres to Triple-A; reinstated Josh Sullivan, Todd Helton, Juan Nicasio, and Christian Friedrich from the 60-day DL.
Orioles: Outrighted Lew Ford, Zach Phillips, and Steven Tolleson to Triple-A.
Mets: Outrighted Mike Nickeas to Triple-A.
Twins: Outrighted Sam Deduno to Triple-A.
Royals: Outrighted Manny Pina to Triple-A; reinstated Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino from the 60-day DL.
Mariners: Signed Hisashi Iwakuma to a two-year extension; re-signed Oliver Perez.
Blue Jays: Acquired Esmil Rogers from the Indians.
Indians: Acquired Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes from the Jays.
Cardinals: Outrighted Steven Hill, Bryan Anderson, and Adam Reifer to Triple-A.
Pirates: Outrighted Ali Solis to Triple-A.
Astros: Outrighted Chuckie Fick to Triple-A; outrighted Brian Bogusevic, Jorge De Leon, and J.B. Shuck, all of whom elected free agency.
Athletics: Re-signed Bartolo Colon to a one-year deal.
Marlins: Signed Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jordan Smith to minor league deals.


Analyzing the veteran starters on the market

October 30, 2012

> Doug Melvin and the Brewers have made it known that they’re probably going to go after a free agent starter this offseason, preferable an experienced guy to anchor what looks to be a young rotation. Personally, I’m still debating whether or not that’s the right decision; the bullpen probably needs more tending to than the rotation. But, if the Brewers do choose to go after a free agent veteran starter, there’s actually a surprisingly decent market for that category this offseason. Here’s a list of the key possibilities for the Brewers:

Ryan Dempster
Zack Greinke
Jeremy Guthrie
Edwin Jackson
Hiroki Kuroda
Kyle Lohse
Brandon McCarthy
Anibal Sanchez*
Dan Haren*
Jake Peavy*

*Sanchez, Haren, and Peavy all have options (or other contract impediments) with their current teams, so it remains to be seen if they actually reach the free agent market.

Basically, the guys I listed are possibilities that I wouldn’t mind the Brewers signing, and most of them are relatively realistic for the Brewers as well. Greinke, obviously, isn’t very likely, but you still can’t count him out.

Dempster was stellar with the Cubs in 2012, but sort of fell off a cliff with the Rangers (despite a winning record in Texas). He’s clearly better in the National League, but I’d say one of the only benefits of the Brewers signing Dempster is that they wouldn’t have to face him (he has 15 career wins against the Brewers).

Guthrie might be the worst option on the list. He was awful with the Rockies, probably because of Coors Field, but resurrected himself with the Royals during the second half, posting a 3.16 ERA. Guthrie is still one of the riskier options on the list, however, and the Brewers will probably try and go with someone else.

Jackson quietly had a decent year as the fifth starter in the Nationals’ rotation, but he’s had an inconsistent career, and the number of teams he’s played for will tell you that. I wouldn’t mind the Brewers signing him, but there’s a bit of a risk with him as well.

For me, Kuroda is the best option on the list. After years of getting no run support in Los Angeles, he blossomed on the big stage in the Bronx. He proved he can pitch in the hitter-friendly environment of Yankee Stadium, meaning he probably wouldn’t do too bad at Miller Park.

There’s no denying Lohse had an unbelievable season in 2012, but I just don’t see him fitting in with the Brewers. Plus, he’s going to draw a ton of money (at least $12 million a year), and I don’t see the Brewers spending that on a starter.

In my opinion, McCarthy is one of the more underrated pitchers in the game; he knows how to shut down a good offense. But, it’s not often that he isn’t injured, whether it be shoulder/elbow problems, or taking line drives off the head.

Those are my top options. There are also guys like Joe Blanton, Jeff Francis, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, but there’s no doubt that those guys would turn into Jeff Suppan-like signings, so I hope the Brewers stay away from them.

THE NEWS

> Now that the offseason has officially started, the Brewers made a series of roster moves today. Shaun Marcum, Francisco Rodriguez, and Alex Gonzalez all elected free agency. Marcum and K-Rod are both as good as gone, but Gonzalez has a chance of returning as the back-up shortstop (or starter, depending on Jean Segura’s status). The Brewers also reinstated Mat Gamel and Chris Narveson from the 60-day disabled list. Lastly, they re-signed shortstop Hector Gomez to a minor league deal.

The Brewers’ other free agents, Livan Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba, are already on the market, as they elected free agency during the NLCS.

> The Gold Glove Finalists were announced today. Here’s a list of them at each position:

American League

Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, Peavy, C.J. Wilson
Catcher: Alex Avila, Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Wieters
First base: Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer, Mark Teixera
Second base: Dustin Ackley, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Ryan
Third base: Adrian Beltre, Brandon Inge, Mike Moustakas
Left field: Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, David Murphy
Center field: Austin Jackson, Adam Jones, Mike Trout
Right field: Shin-Soo Choo, Jeff Francoeur, Josh Reddick

National League

Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo, Mark Buehrle, Clayton Kershaw
Catcher: Yadier Molina, Miguel Montero, Carlos Ruiz
First base: Freddie Freeman, Adam LaRoche, Joey Votto
Second base: Darwin Barney, Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips
Shortstop:
Zack Cozart, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins
Third base: Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez, David Wright
Left field: Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Martin Prado
Center field: Michael Bourn, Andrew McCutchen, Drew Stubbs
Right field: Jay Bruce, Andre Eithier, Jason Heyward

That awkward moment when Gonzalez isn’t on the Red Sox anymore, yet could win the AL Gold Glove at first base.

Anyway, Ramirez should win the third base GG, seeing as he had the fewest errors in the league at the position. But Braun won’t win the GG in left field, because steroids. (You can bet that’s what all of the voters are thinking.)

> Minor moves:

Yankees: Exercised 2013 options for David Aardsma, Cano, and Curtis Granderson.
Phillies: Declined 2013 options for Ty Wigginton, Jose Contreras, and Placido Polanco.
Twins: Declined 2013 option for Scott Baker; signed P.J. Walters to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Exercised 2013 option for Luis Ayala.
Athletics: Optioned 2013 option for ex-Brewer Grant Balfour; declined Stephen Drew’s option; signed Mike Ekstrom to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Declined 2013 options for ex-Brewer Todd Coffey, Juan Rivera, and Matt Treanor.
Pirates:
Outrighted Jeff Clement, Eric Fryer, and Daniel McCutchen to Triple-A.
Indians: Signed Takuya Tsuchida.


Braun’s goose-egg ends up drowning Brewers

August 15, 2012

> The Brewers dropped their second straight series to one of baseball’s worst teams tonight, losing to the Rockies, 8-6. You can put some of the blame on Randy Wolf, who got pounded for six runs in five innings, with his ERA escalating to 5.65 in the process. But most of the blame, at least offensively, falls on Ryan Braun, whose inexplicable struggles continued tonight.

The Rockies jumped on Wolf right away in the first inning. Carlos Gonzalez hit a two-run single to put the Rox up early, then Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco each followed him with RBI hits. The Brewers didn’t get on the board until the third inning on Norichika Aoki’s RBI bunt single.

Fast-forward to the ninth inning, where the Brewers appeared to be starting a rally. The score was a comfortable 8-3 in favor of the Rockies, so they put in Rex Brothers to hopefully finish the game. But the Brewers jumped all over him, with Corey Hart, Martin Maldonado, and Carlos Gomez getting three straight hits off him to produce a run. Brothers was pulled before he could record an out for closer Rafael Betancourt. Betancourt promptly recorded an out, which was a pretty lucky Jean Segura lineout. But Jonathan Lucroy followed that up with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 8-5. Then Aoki hit a first-pitch RBI single, and things were starting to look interesting. But, Rickie Weeks popped out, then Braun flew out on the first pitch. Rally killed in a matter of seconds.

LOOKING INTO BRAUN’S SLUMP

> Throughout his career, Braun has always been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2007, then took home the National League MVP last year. There was the drug scandal that put doubts into other’s minds, but Braun vindicated himself after his monster first half of this season.

But, the past few weeks, we’ve been seeing a different Braun. He’s been struggling mightily at the plate, something we have seen him do very seldom. Last Wednesday, Braun hit a double in the eighth inning of the Reds-Brewers game, and that snapped an 0-for-17 slump prior to that game. Unfortunately, that hit didn’t snap him all the way out of the slump. Coming into today, Braun was hitting .303 (keep in mind he was hitting around the .320′s not too many weeks ago). An 0-for-5 mark- with five important runners left on- dipped his average below .300 for the first time since May.

Recently, I’ve been analyzing Braun’s at-bats more closely than I have in a while, and here’s what I’ve noticed. Braun is swinging at the first pitch a lot more often than he usually does, and lately it hasn’t been working. You can bet that other teams are scouting this, and pitchers aren’t giving him as good of a pitch to hit on the first pitch. Second, Braun is looking at pitches that he normally wouldn’t, particularly late in the count, such as pitches right down the pipe. I’ll admit the entire team is actually doing that right now, but a hitter of Braun’s caliber shouldn’t be caught guessing that often.

Now, it’s worth noting that Braun has been dealing with blisters on his left hand lately, which can be a nagging issue. But, I highly doubt blisters can cause a slump like this. If they were really a problem, I think Braun would have said something by now.

I’m not trying to put all the team’s struggles on Braun’s back right now, because most of that is on the bullpen. But, when basically everyone in the lineup is productive on a night where they score six runs, yet Braun didn’t even have a hit, you know there were a few runs left on the field. And some of those are due to this slump of Braun’s.

THE NEWS

> Brandon Kintzler was promoted to Triple-A today as he continues his comeback trail following various arm surgeries. Kintzler went down in early 2011, but had been solid going into May, posting a 3.86 ERA. He also spent a little time with the Brewers in September of 2010.

If Kintzler can prove he’s completely healthy, don’t be surprised to see him up come this September.

> There have been rumors flying that the Brewers are going to shut down Jed Bradley, one of their two first-round picks in 2011, for the season. Bradley is currently in Double-A, and has dealt with his share of injuries.

> After designating him for assignment last week, the Royals released Yuniesky Betancourt today. Is it bad that I had a dream about him returning to the Brewers last night?

> Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky passed away yesterday, at age 92. Pesky had a short career in the 40′s and 50′s because of his time spent in the military, but he quietly had a nice career, as his career .307 average shows. He stuck around with the Red Sox organization for basically the rest of his life after his career ended, and proved as a very influential figure for Boston. Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with the Sox organization and their fans.

THE NUMBERS

> Weeks and Braun, both of whom ended the ninth inning rally, each went 0-for-5 today, out of the two and three spots, respectively. Figures.

> Maldonado went 2-for-4 to bring his average up to .283, and Lucroy’s pinch-hit single brought his average up to .330. It might be safe to say that they’re one of the better young catching tandems in the Majors, considering either of them can start and put up consistent numbers at the plate while doing it.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Mark Rogers (0-1, 4.08 ERA) vs. ???


Braun gets two hits in NL’s third straight win

July 11, 2012

> Welcome to the new and improved Breaking Wisconsin (at least for now). More on the new setup later, but for now let’s get straight to the All-Star Game.

> The National League defeated the American League, 8-0, for the third consecutive year. Personally, I thought some of the NL’s starters shouldn’t have gotten the nod, as did many others. But, it was some of those starters in particular who may have won the game for the NL.

Justin Verlander was starting for the AL, and I’m sure everyone thought he would have a tidy six-up, six-down two innings. But he did exactly the opposite. After striking out Carlos Gonzalez to start the game, he gave up a single to Melky Cabrera. Then, Ryan Braun represented the Brewers with an opposite field RBI double off JV to give the NL an early 1-0 lead. Verlander struck out Joey Votto the next batter, but struggled with his control after that, giving up back-to-back walks to Carlos Beltran and Buster Posey to load the bases. Pablo Sandoval then made him pay with a bases-clearing triple (yes, Sandoval hit a triple). Dan Uggla followed that up with an RBI single, but got a little help from some sheepish defense by Prince Fielder. Corey Hart would have made the play.

The NL added three more runs in the fourth against Matt Harrison. Matt Holliday hit an RBI single off him, then Cabrera put the icing on the cake with a two-run home run to extend the lead to 8-0. The biggest deficit ever recovered from in ASG history was five runs, and that didn’t change tonight.

The NL pitching staff was stellar, as shown by the nine goose eggs in the AL box score. Matt Cain started, and he threw two solid innings to begin the game. From there, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, R.A. Dickey, and Cole Hamels each threw scoreless innings. Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman combined for an eighth inning that was filled with high-90′s and low-100′s fastballs, and Wade Miley, Joel Hanrahan, and Jonathan Papelbon each got an out in a scoreless ninth inning. The only NL pitchers who didn’t make an appearance were Huston Street, the Padres’ only representative, and Lance Lynn. But who knows- maybe Tony La Russa called to the bullpen for Lynn, but got someone else this time.

Other than Verlander and Harrison, the AL pitching staff didn’t give up a run, either. Joe Nathan, David Price, Jered Weaver, Chris Sale, Ryan Cook, Jim Johnson, and Fernando Rodney each threw scoreless innings. The only AL player not to enter the game was position player Adam Dunn, but he would have probably just struck out to end the game.

> As I sort of expected, Cabrera took home the ASG MVP award this year after going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. I was gunning for Braun to win it- he also had a triple to go along with his RBI double- but Cabrera was definitely worthy as well.

> Here was a cool moment in the game. Chipper Jones got into the ASG thanks to an injury to Giancarlo Stanton. Chipper announced at the beginning of the year that this will be his last year before he retires, so everyone wanted him to get into the game somehow, and that opportunity presented itself.

Not only that, though- Chipper got a hit in his only at-bat. He hit a weak tapper to the right side, and second baseman Ian Kinsler may or may not have let the ball sneak through for a hit. That was probably the case, because Chipper was laughing his head off by the time he got to first base. Still, though, that was a cool moment.

> That’s about all I’ve got about the game.I could go on forever about all of the different storylines that were going on, but I think I covered the main points.

> You’ve probably noticed by now that I’ve given BW a new theme. I’ve been pondering that idea for a while, actually going all the way back to near the time I started the blog. The old theme was supposed to be temporary, and this one is also probably going to end up not being around very long. But I haven’t found a theme I like for the long-term yet.

Anyway, you guys probably don’t care much about themes, but, to go along with quality writing, there needs to be a catchy theme to grab the eye of the reader.

> And that’s about it. Tomorrow I’ll try and put up an article with my ratings of all of the players on the Brewers’ roster up to this point in the season. But for now, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Will the NL use the DH?

February 5, 2012

> Earlier today, I was reading an article in an issue of Sports Illustrated. I think it was the latest edition, but I’m not sure, because I just found it lying around the house. Anyway, the article regarded the use of the designated hitter, and how the AL has the luxury of throwing money at free agent sluggers more than the NL. Why? Because of the DH.

The DH provides a cushion for hitters as they get older, as we all know. Because of this, AL teams can give out mammoth deals of 6-10 years worth anywhere between $150-200 million. Probably about five to six years into that deal, the hitter- at least defensively- will start to slug off because of age. So, regardless of his position on the field, he can move into what the article referred to as a “semiretirement position”- the DH.

And we’re seeing this happen more and more nowadays. Albert Pujols and his 10-year, $254 million deal with Angels. Prince Fielder’s 9-year, $214 million deal with the Tigers. Pujols is already 31, and Fielder is 28. But, because of the DH rule in the AL, age isn’t a factor.

You would never see an NL team give out a deal like that. NL teams don’t have the comfort of the DH, so, once players get too old to play in the field, they’re forced to retire, or sign with an AL team (i.e. Adam Dunn).

We have seen a few mega-deals, as I like to call them, in the NL over the past few years. Obviously, there’s Ryan Braun, who just keeps getting extensions, and is now under team control until 2020. Then, there’s the Rockies, who signed both Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to monster deals prior to the 2011 season. And there’s Ryan Howard of the Phillies. Dan Uggla of the Braves. I could probably keep going.

But, there’s one difference between the deals that the NL give than the AL- most of them are five-year deals. Howard’s and Uggla’s deals are both for five years. The Gonzalez, Tulowitzki, and Braun deals are longer, but they’re a bit younger.

Anyway, I think I’ve made my point- there’s more risk involved when NL teams sign players to huge deals.

But probably not for long.

Starting in 2013, assuming Bud Selig follows through on moving the Astros to the NL, thus forming two 15-team leagues, there will be Interleague games every day. With the rules that are in place right now- the AL using the DH and the NL not- the rules of the game would be changing every day, which would be a hassle for all teams, and just the sport in general. So, there are two possible theories, one of which is going to have to happen- the NL adds the DH rule, or the AL drops it.

You and I both know very well that the AL isn’t going to get rid of the DH rule, after its success ever since it was experimented with in the 80′s.

Which means, inevitably, the NL is going to add the DH. I never thought the day would come, but when Selig announced that he was moving the Astros to the AL (despite the fact he moved the Brewers from the AL to the NL back in 1998, which to this day I still don’t really understand), it came to my mind immediately that the NL would finally have to use the DH.

To be honest with you, I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing. A lot of people I know absolutely hate the DH, and, up until recently, I kept telling myself that I did too.

But now I don’t know. It could really benefit the NL, as the cumulative batting average of all pitchers has constantly dropped over the years.

But, whether or not we want it to happen, I think it’s coming.

> Anyway, with all that aside, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been gone for a few days. So, I might as well go through the news that happened while I was away.

> The Brewers came to terms with Shaun Marcum on a one-year, $7.725 million deal on Friday, minutes before their scheduled arbitration hearing. This is alright, I guess, but I was hoping the Brewers would sign Marcum to a multi-year extension. Even a two-year deal would be fine for now, but a one-year deal is dangerous, because Marcum is a free agent after 2012.

The Brewers still have all season to sign him to an extension, assuming Marcum isn’t one of those players who doesn’t allow negotiations during the season, though.

Marcum also said the other day that he’s going to start using his legs more in his pitching motion. His September/postseason faults probably came from him being all arms, and he said using his legs more should generate more velocity.

> And that’s about it for now. Again, sorry for my brief absence, but everything should be back to normal now. Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


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