Braun comes in second

November 16, 2012

> I knew all along that the NL MVP voters were going to get it wrong, but at least they didn’t push it too far.

Buster Posey won the NL MVP today, something we’ve felt would happen ever since the regular season ended. I predicted him to win it, but, once again, that doesn’t mean I think it’s the right choice.

Ryan Braun came in second place. That is actually much better than I thought the voters were going to give him. When the five finalists- Braun, Posey, Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina, and Chase Headley- were announced, I was sure Braun would get fifth as a result of being unfairly penalized for something that he was actually exonerated from. (Looking back, the exoneration literally meant nothing, except that Braun got to play while being showered by boos for the first 50 games as well.)

The voting wasn’t at all close. Posey received 27 of the 32 possible votes, while Braun got just two. However, Braun got the most second place votes by a large margin, with his 15 votes being at least nine more than every other candidate. Posey finished with 422 points to Braun’s 285 (the next closest to Braun was McCutchen with 245).

But, as mentioned earlier, the voters got it wrong. Here’s a complete list of the stats Posey topped Braun in:

1. Batting average
2. OBP
3. OPS+

And Posey didn’t have Braun beat by too much in each of those stats, while Braun murdered him in most of the other stats. Plus, batting average hasn’t been, for some reason, considered as much of a factor because of the rise of sabermetrics (but until Carlos Pena wins an MVP with a sub-.200 batting average, I’m not buying it).

Oh well. Not much else I can do to defend Braun, considering I attempted to defend him when Matt Kemp was in this position last year.

But, had it not been for the false PED accusation, Braun would have won the MVP- easily.

> Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera won the AL MVP over Mike Trout. Something told me I wanted him to win it, but I had a much tougher time defending his case than I thought. Perhaps it was because I actually opened my ears a bit more; most Cabrera-backers heard “TRIPLE CROWN!!!!” and nothing else.

> Following a very injury-plagued year for the Brewers as a whole (at least early on), they’re going to “focus as much or more on preventing injuries as on treating them.”

> Minor moves: 

Braves: Signed Gerald Laird to a two-year deal.
Cubs: Signed Dioner Navarro to a one-year deal.
Blue Jays: Signed Neil Wagner to a minor league deal.
Angels: Signed Billy Buckner, Luke Carlin, Brendan Harris, Trent Oeltjen, Jo-Jo Reyes, and J.B. Shuck to minor league deals.
Nationals: Signed Will Rhymes to a minor league deal.
Royals: Signed Brandon Wood to a minor league deal.


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.


Fielder helps Brewers seal series win against Astros

August 7, 2011

9:23p It looks like the Astros have pretty much given up hope on this season, and it’s really starting to show now. Looks like the Brewers came to Houston at the right time.

Brewers-Astros Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 7-5, in a game that became somewhat of a thriller at the end. Prince Fielder and Yuniesky Betancourt both had great games, with Fielder going 3-for-3 and Betancourt going 4-for-5.

The Brewers jumped on the Astros with three runs in the first inning for the second consecutive day on Fielder’s three-run homer off Astros starter Brett Myers, who would end up taking his 12th loss of the season.

The Astros got on the board in the second inning, when Carlos Lee hit a solo shot off Brewers starter Chris Narveson. But, the Brewers immediately answered in the third on a pair of questionable calls that led to two runs. Betancourt hit an RBI double down the left field line, but the ball appeared to land in foul territory. Third base umpire Lance Barksdale called the ball fair, however, and the Brewers took a 4-1 lead. Astros manager Brad Mills came out to argue, and it wouldn’t be the last time he had to do that. On the very next play, Felipe Lopez hit a grounder to first baseman Carlos Lee. Lee threw home and it appeared that catcher Humberto Quintero had applied the tag on Fielder, who had been at third, but home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom called him safe.

Those two runs would prove costly for the Astros, because J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning to make the game 5-4. But, Fielder added to the Brewers lead in the sixth inning with an RBI double. Jonathan Lucroy also hit a solo home run in the ninth inning to give the Brewers some insurance.

Anyway, Narveson exited after just 5 1/3 innings. He definitely didn’t have his best stuff, but it was good enough to get him his eighth win of the season. He gave up four runs on five hits while walking two and striking out four. The bullpen bailed him out, however, with Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins, and Francisco Rodriguez combining for 2 2/3 scoreless innings before John Axford entered for the save.

It was a pretty shaky save for Axford, as he gave up a one-out solo homer to Clint Barmes. And, the last out of the game was crazy, but got it done. J.B. Shuck hit a line drive off the leg of Axford. Then, Axford tried to throw Shuck out at first, but completely botched it and the ball rolled into right field.

After that, it was Tony Plush to the rescue.

Nyjer Morgan, who was playing right field, jogged over to the ball and picked it up. Then, he noticed that Shuck was trying to get all the way to third, so he threw it all the way across the diamond to Casey McGehee. McGehee applied the tag, and that was game over for the Astros, thanks to a rookie mistake by Shuck.

I think Fielder can hit Myers.

Coming into today, Fielder was hitting .308 against Myers with three home runs and six RBI. He’s shown those numbers are no fluke twice this year. The second one was his mammoth homer earlier today, which hit the foul pole. But his huge homer against Myers came earlier this year, when Fielder hit a 486-footer off him. That home run was the longest this year until Jim Thome of the Twins hit a 490-footer to break the record.

Hart exits with bruised hand

This definitely isn’t good. Corey Hart left today’s game in the seventh inning after getting hit in the left hand by Astros reliever David Carpenter. Nyjer Morgan shifted from center field to right field to take over his position in the field, and Jerry Hairston Jr. took Morgan’s place in center field.

Hart had been on a hot streak coming into today, including a hitting streak spanning over the last eight games. If he has to miss any time, it wouldn’t be good for the Brewers, who have already lost two key players in Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez. This is probably the worst part of the year to be losing good players since the Brewers are in the middle of a pennant race.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a series sweep against the Astros tomorrow in an afternoon game. The Brewers will send Zack Greinke (9-4, 4.41 ERA) to the mound, who currently has a string of five straight quality starts going, including a win in his last time out against the Cardinals. This will be Greinke’s first start against the Astros as a Brewers. He is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his career against the Astros.

The Astros will counter with Bud Norris (5-7, 3.47 ERA), who has pretty much dominated the Brewers in his career. That’s shown by his 3-0 mark and 2.32 ERA against them. He has one start against them this year, and he went 7 2/3 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cubs continued to be hot and blew out the Reds, 11-4. They are 15 and 9.5 games out, respectively.
  • The Pirates just continued to fall apart today, losing to the Padres 13-2. They are now nine games out, and are also riding a nine-game losing streak that started when they were tied for first place in the division.
  • The Cardinals are just refusing to lose, as the beat the Marlins again, 2-1. They remain three games back.

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