Comparing the mega-teams from LA

December 17, 2012

> Following the 2011 season, Los Angeles was not in a good state as far as the sport of baseball goes. The Angels and Dodgers hadn’t reached the postseason in 2010 or 2011, posting some of their worst seasons in decades (by their standards). The Angels were struggling to find any offensive consistency to back their decent starting pitching. The Dodgers were having similar issues, but their problems extended off the field as well, as Frank McCourt left them bankrupt.

I don’t think the Dodgers were expecting to contend in 2012 (at least early on) because of where they were financially, but their one huge move was giving Matt Kemp an eight-year, $160 million deal following his MVP-caliber campaign in 2011. The Angels, however, made themselves early favorites for the World Series by signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $254 million deal, and C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million deal.

Fast-forward to the 2012 offseason- following yet another season in which neither of these teams made the postseason- and a lot has changed. The Dodgers are nowhere near bankrupt; in fact, they’re the polar opposite, thanks to Magic Johnson and Co. The Angels are in the same position they were last year, but if they don’t make the postseason this time around, there’s something very wrong.

Anyway, let’s take a look at each of these teams from every angle- the lineup, the rotation, the bullpen, and so on. Both of them are considered near locks for the playoffs, but one has to be better than the other, right?

THE LINEUPS

Angels: 

1. Mike Trout, CF
2. Erick Aybar, SS
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Josh Hamilton, RF
5. Mark Trumbo, LF
6. Kendrys Morales, DH
7. Howie Kendrick, 2B
8. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
9. Chris Iannetta, C

Dodgers: 

1. Mark Ellis, 2B
2. Luis Cruz, 3B
3. Matt Kemp, CF
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Hanley Ramirez, SS
6. Andre Ethier, RF
7. Jerry Hairston Jr., LF
8. A.J. Ellis, C
9. Pitcher

OK, first off, Hairston isn’t going to start the entire season. Once Carl Crawford returns from the disabled list, he’ll take Hairston’s spot, and that’ll change the whole culture of the lineup (many project Crawford to hit second). But, until Crawford comes back- which will probably sometime in late May- that’s what I’m guessing the Dodgers’ lineup will look like.

Anyway, those are both powerhouse lineups. The each feature possibly the best 3-4-5-6 combos in their respective league in Pujols-Hamilton-Trumbo-Morales and Kemp-Gonzalez-Ramirez-Ethier. It’s hard to say which is really better than the other; both are going to be very exciting to watch. While I think the Angels’ lineup might be the more exciting with three perennial MVP candidates in Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton, I think the Dodgers have the overall better lineup. The reason I say this is because there are more experienced hitters in the Dodgers lineup, and by experienced, I mean hitters that you know what you’re going to get from them. Kemp, A-Gon, Ramirez, and Ethier aren’t necessarily “veterans” yet, but they’ve certainly been around the block a few times and have shown they can produce consistently at the big league level from year to year. The Angels definitely have that experience in Pujols and Hamilton, but they have a lot of younger, inexperienced hitters who I think we need to see more from. There’s no denying that Trout had the best offensive rookie season in quite some time, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be susceptible to a sophomore slump. Trumbo hit over .300 for the most of the season last year, but then flamed out for the last two months and fell to a .268 average.

I think if everyone in the Angels’ lineup performs to their ability (and that includes Kendrick, who everyone thought was going to be a batting champion one day), then they’ll have the better lineup. But until that happens, I’d put my money on the Dodgers’ lineup, especially once Crawford gets back.

Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp

THE ROTATIONS

Angels: 

1. Jered Weaver
2. C.J. Wilson
3. Tommy Hanson
4. Joe Blanton
5. Garrett Richards

Dodgers

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Zack Greinke
3. Chad Billingsley
4. Hyun-Jin Ryu
5. Josh Beckett

Coming into this offseason, both teams wanted to improve their starting rotations, and I think each did. However, I think the Angels losing Greinke really hurt them. I also wasn’t in complete agreement with them just giving up on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana; I really wonder if they’re going to get what they could have gotten from those two from Hanson and Blanton. And Richards is going to be good somewhere down the road, but I’m not so sure he’s ready for a full-time rotation spot. There are even some question marks surrounding Wilson, who had a terrible second half for the Angels in 2012. Weaver is no doubt the ace, but health is a bit of a concern with him; same goes for Hanson.

To me, the Dodgers obviously have the better rotation, even though there are a few enigmas in theirs as well. Kershaw/Greinke is one- if not the best- 1-2 punches in baseball, and they get to throw half of their games at the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. After Kershaw and Greinke, however, there are a few questions. Billingsley can be an All-Star caliber pitcher when he’s on, but that isn’t always the case. Perhaps not having the pressure of being a #2 starter will help him. Anyway, the 4-5 spots in the Dodgers’ rotation should go to Ryu and Beckett, in my opinion. The Dodgers also have veterans Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang, all of whom are capable of starting, but I think Ryu and Beckett will give them better results than any of the other two.

Clayton Kershaw

It’s evident that both of these teams will have to back up their rotations with those huge lineups, but I think the Dodgers are better off starter-wise.

THE ‘PENS 

(NOTE: I only put the six guys who I thought were guaranteed spots. There are probably going to be a few other long relievers in each bullpen>)

Angels: 

Ryan Madson
Ernesto Frieri
Scott Downs
Sean Burnett
Kevin Jepsen
Jerome Williams

Dodgers: 

Brandon League
Kenley Jansen
Ronald Belisario
Scott Elbert
Matt Guerrier
Javy Guerra

This is actually the one category in which I think the Angels are better off. There’s only one guy that I think the Dodgers can count on to be consistent, and that’s Jansen. The rest of the guys- including League, who they named their closer and threw $22 million at- have had up-and-down careers.

The Angels, on the other hand, have a nice mix of young flamethrowers and veteran guys who know how to pitch. I loved the Madson pick-up; I expect him to have a good year even though he missed all of 2012. Frieri can also close if need be. Then they have a great tandem of lefties in Downs and Burnett. This has the makings of a great bullpen for the Angels.

Frieri

These are both going to be very exciting teams to watch, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we saw an LA vs. LA World Series (though it never seems to work out that way). I think the Dodgers have the slight edge, but that’s not to put a damper on the team the Angels are going to field.

> The Phillies signed Mike Adams to a two-year, $12 million deal (plus a vesting option for a third year), so that puts to bed any rumors that spoke of his possible return to Milwaukee. But Doug Melvin probably wouldn’t have been willing to give him $6 million a year anyway.

> The Mets are being the Mets once again, as they have a deal in place to send the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner- R.A. Dickey- to the Blue Jays in a seven-player deal. The deal also includes Josh Thole and another prospect going to the Jays along with Dickey, while the Mets are getting back Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, and a prospect.

I’m starting to wonder why the Mets gave an extension to David Wright if this is what they intended to do all along, but that’s their screwed-up organization for you. But I like the deal for the Blue Jays. They may have hurt themselves in the long run, but they’re making themselves favorites for the AL East next year. They’ve assembled a pretty nice rotation in Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Brandon Morrow, and Ricky Romero, all of whom have been considered aces at some point in their careers.

> Minor moves: 

Phillies: Signed John Lannan to a one-year deal.
Marlins: Signed Jonathan Albaladejo and Ed Lucas to minor league deals.
Giants: Signed Javier Herrera to a minor league deal.
Twins: Signed Mike Pelfrey to a one-year deal.


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.


Braun didn’t win the Hank Aaron Award

October 28, 2012

> Notice how I didn’t title this article, “Buster Posey wins the Hank Aaron Award.”

The Hank Aaron Award is defined as “the most outstanding offensive performer in each league.” In the American League, the award went to Miguel Cabrera, and rightfully so. In the National League, it should have definitely gone to Ryan Braun, right?

Nope. As he probably will with the NL MVP, Posey somehow won this award. But it’s a different case for this award than the MVP.

If Posey wins the MVP award, I won’t be as mad because Posey’s Giants contended all year (and won the NL West), while Braun’s Brewers could only muster up a hot streak during the final weeks of the season, and only came as close to the playoffs as two games behind the second Wild Card spot. That’s just the way the MVP voting works, and we’ve all become used to it.

But the Hank Aaron Award should be- and, as shown by the winners in recent years, is- different than the MVP award. It doesn’t matter whether or not the winner’s team contended- after all, Matt Kemp won it last year.

Overall, Posey definitely did not have a better offensive year than Braun, and there really isn’t a legitimate argument for it. The only major offensive category that Posey had Braun beaten in was batting average- Posey won the batting title (.336) and Braun came in third in the race (.319). Other than that, though, Braun had him beat by plenty in many other stats. Braun had nearly 20 more home runs than Posey (41 to 24), had more RBIs (112 to 103), more hits (191 to 178), and a higher slugging percentage (.595 to .549).

I don’t know about you, but looking at those stats, there’s a clear-cut winner of this award- and it isn’t Posey.

Perhaps it’s the “roid factor,” something we may have to live with for the rest of Braun’s career. I didn’t think it would come into play for an award like this, but I suppose it’s going to affect Braun’s chances at every award for as long as he plays.

POSTSEASON COVERAGE

> The Giants now have a stranglehold over the Tigers in the World Series, taking a 3-0 lead with their 2-0 win tonight. Ryan Vogelsong continued his postseason dominance with 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, and the only two runs he needed were on RBI hits from Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford in the second inning.

That two-run second inning was the only flaw in a stellar outing from Anibal Sanchez, who went seven innings while striking out eight.

THE NEWS

> Following the play in which Doug Fister got hit in the side of the head with a line drive the other night, MLB is now seriously considering a helmet-type guard for pitchers. This was probably already being talked about after the Brandon McCarthy scare in September, but this fiasco likely accelerated the talks.

Anyway, the helmets wouldn’t reach the big leagues right away. If they do come into play, they would first be tested in the minors.

> Minor moves:

Blue Jays: Outrighted Tyson Brummett to Triple-A.

THE EXTRAS

> Oh, FOX…

> Cabrera was literally given a crown for winning the first Triple Crown since 1967.


Yo does the job again

August 29, 2012

POSTGAME

> The Brewers once again handled the Cubs with ease tonight, winning 4-1. Yovani Gallardo had another stellar start, going seven innings while giving up a run on three hits. He walked three and struck out nine.

The Brewers jumped on Travis Wood early, as Jeff Bianchi hit his first career home run- a three-run blast- in the second inning. The only Cubs run came on a home run from Wood, the pitcher. Other than that, the Cubs’ offense was rather lifeless.

The 2011 bullpen was successfully revisited tonight, as Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford got the hold and save, respectively. If only we could have had that a few months ago.

LOOKING INTO THE NL MVP RACE

> Recently I’ve been mulling over who I think should win the major baseball awards come the end of the season, and I’ve found there are a lot of interesting award races around the game. One I’m having a particularly tough time with is the National League MVP race.

Our own Ryan Braun took it home last year after posting a career high in batting average and leading the Brewers to the playoffs. But, while Braun is nearly duplicating the numbers he put up last year- and on pace for a career high in home runs- I can’t see him taking it home this year. The Brewers aren’t remotely close to contention, which we all know always affects the MVP race. And his eventful offseason is certain to take more than a few votes away.

Other than Braun, I see three candidates for the MVP (all on contending teams): Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, and Matt Holliday. Obviously there are other sleeper guys around the league, such as Adam LaRoche, Freddie Freeman, Carlos Beltran, and so on, but the three I listed prior seem to be the choices whom all the buzz is surrounding.

Everyone was pretty much handing McCutchen the award in July, which is clearly too early. He was hitting around .370 at the time, but has fallen into the .340’s. That still isn’t bad, but, as McCutchen has fallen, so have the Pirates. If that continues, my vote would not go to Cutch.

Posey and Holliday are my top two right now; both are valuable assets to their contending teams. Assuming the Giants and Cardinals stay where they are in the standings into the playoffs, my vote would go to Posey. The Giants have an otherwise weak offense without him, while the Cardinals still have a lineup of perennial All-Stars without Holliday.

That’s my opinion on the race right now. I would be thrilled if Braun somehow came out with the award again, but I have a feeling one of the guys I listed will to do Braun what Braun did to Matt Kemp last year.

MY TAKE

> Bianchi must have been listening when I called him Brooks Conrad 2.0 the other night, because he’s gone on a tear since I criticized him in Pittsburgh. After starting his career with an 0-for, Bianchi had five consecutive hits, ending with his first career homer in the second inning.

Needless to say I’m liking the Jean Segura-Bianchi shortstop tandem than I did the Cody Ransom-Cesar Izturis tandem.

THE NEWS

> Shaun Marcum was placed on waivers today. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him get nabbed by a contender.

> Randy Wolf didn’t go unemployed for very long, as it was reported that the Orioles signed him earlier today. They’ll likely use him as a relief since they’re primary lefty out of the ‘pen, Troy Patton, is taking a long time to recover from an injury. But Buck Showalter didn’t rule out using him as a spot starter in the ever-changing O’s rotation.

UPDATE: The Athletics also had “serious interest” in Wolf before he signed with the Orioles.

> Pitching coach Rick Kranitz said he doesn’t want Brewers pitchers trying too hard to get strikeouts in what could be a record-breaking season.

“I don’t want to see guys try to get strikeouts. They are a product of strike one and strike two. But when the situation dictates it, we’ve got guys who know how to strike guys out.”

“I’m just as happy with a shutout with no strikeouts and no walks. I don’t want to get caught up in all that [strikeout talk]. That’s why you have a defense out there.”

The Brewers are on pace to break the team strikeout record set by the 2003 Cubs, who featured elite arms such as Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.

> The Pirates released Erik Bedard. His final start with them was a loss at the hands of the Brewers just a few days ago, when he gave up seven earnies in 4 2/3 innings.

THE NUMBERS

> Gallardo made strides in quite a few stats tonight. He reached 14 wins for the third consecutive year. He won his sixth consecutive decision. He struck out nine for the third consecutive start. He threw his Major League-leading 22nd quality start. Yep, he’s the ace of the staff right now.

> Brewers pitchers struck out 10 for the eighth straight game.

> Holy crap, Justin Verlander gave up eight earned runs today.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Mike Fiers (7-6, 2.98 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzija (8-11, 4.09 ERA)


Five-tool catchers- do they actually exist?

November 25, 2011

> Earlier today, I was reading an article on MLB Trade Rumors. It talked about what general managers look for in drafts, such as five-tool players, front-of-the-line ace pitchers, and so on. But, there was one specific type of player in that article that caught my eye- a type of player I didn’t even know existed, and it may very well not even exist.

A five-tool catcher. The baseball terms “five-tool” and “catcher” typically contradict each other, hence the reason a five-tool catcher is so rare and unheard of. If you don’t already know, the five tools in baseball are hitting for average, hitting for power, speed, a good arm, and good defense. The most common type of player to wield the five tools is an outfielder. And, not coincidentally, the two top finishers for the NL MVP were outfielders- Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp- and you could make the argument that both are five-tool players, despite their young ages.

The best that catchers can usually be are four-tool players, as the top catchers in baseball are typically good hitters and good defenders (blocking pitches and throwing out runners). But, that one tool they almost always lack is speed. That’s kind of a given, though, considering they have to sit crouched in one position behind the plate for over 1,000 innings per year.

There are plenty of good catchers out there. Brian McCann (Braves) has made the All-Star Team every year since 2006, and has also hit 20 or more home runs every since as well (except 2007). But, his defense is below average for a catcher, and then there’s the speed as well. Yadier Molina (Cardinals) has always been arguably the best defensive catcher in baseball, throwing out nearly 50% of runners that have tried stealing against him in his career. Molina also broke out at the plate this year, hitting .293. But, he’s painfully slow, even for a catcher. Buster Posey (Giants), after winning the 2010 Rookie of the Year Award in the NL, promptly got injured in 2011, so we have yet to see what he’s truly capable of. Anyway, there’s more catchers to list, but I’m not going to rattle on forever about every catcher in the Majors.

While all of the guys I just listed are good, All-Star caliber catchers, they can’t be considered true five-tool players, simply because of that lack of speed. Hence, I don’t think a five-tool catcher can exist.

> When that topic on MLBTR caught my eye, I also started thinking about the Brewers’ young catcher, Jonathan Lucroy. He certainly isn’t a five-tool catcher either, because, like all catchers, he doesn’t have speed. And his offense could use a little work.

But, offensively, I think he’s headed in the right direction. After coming up from Double-A in May of 2010 to replace the injured Gregg Zaun, Lucroy was immediately thrown into the fire of being a starting catcher at the Major League level. He finished 2010 hitting .253 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. Then, in 2011, his first full season in the Majors (although he missed a few weeks in April with a broken finger), he hit .265 with 12 homers and 59 RBIs, and demonstrated some power. This makes me think that, in time, Lucroy can be a power threat. I also think he’ll be able to be a near-.300 hitter at some point, but he needs to become less streaky. But doesn’t the entire Brewers’ offense need to become less streaky (save Braun)?

Lucroy also finally developed into a great defensive catcher in the second half of 2011. He still has his occasional embarrassing moment where he doesn’t know where the ball bounced, but he’s become accustomed to blocking balls in the dirt, probably thanks to Zack Greinke‘s slider. And it felt like Lucroy was throwing out more runners than ever in the second half as well.

Anyway, my point here is that I hope the Brewers hang onto Lucroy for awhile. He isn’t arbitration-eligible for the first time until 2014, and not a free agent until 2017, so I guess they’ll kind of be forced to, but hopefully the keep him beyond that. And, I’d like to see Martin Maldonado get a chance next year as a backup catcher. George Kottaras doesn’t even appear to be a catcher, he’s so bad defensively…

> And that’s all I’ve got for now. I might post Hot Stove news later. That is, if anything happens… Anyhow, thanks for reading.


Recap of all major awards

November 23, 2011

> Yesterday, the NL MVP was handed out. This marked the last major award of the offseason. And I’m proud to say that, for the first time ever, I got all of my predictions right. Not that I agreed with all of them, but they were probably the most logical choice fore each award.

> Anyway, here are the top finishers for each award (courtesy of Baseball Reference):

AL MVP

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox

3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

4. Curtis Granderson, Yankees

5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

6. Robinson Cano, Yankees

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

8. Michael Young, Rangers

9. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

10. Evan Longoria, Rays
NL MVP

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers

2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers

3. Prince Fielder, Brewers

4. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks

5. Albert Pujols, Cardinals

6. Joey Votto, Reds

7. Lance Berkman, Cardinals

8. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

9. Roy Halladay, Phillies

10. Ryan Howard Phillies

AL Cy Young Award

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jered Weaver, Angels

3. James Shields, Rays

4. CC Sabathia, Yankees

5. Jose Valverde, Tigers

6. C.J. Wilson, Rangers

7. Dan Haren, Angels

8. Mariano Rivera, Yankees

9. Josh Beckett, Red Sox

10. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays

NL Cy Young Award

1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

2. Roy Halladay, Phillies

3. Cliff Lee, Phillies

4. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks

5. Cole Hamels, Phillies

6. Tim Lincecum, Giants

7. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers

8. Matt Cain, Giants

9. John Axford, Brewers

9. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

AL Rookie of the Year

1. Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

2. Mark Trumbo, Angels

3. Eric Hosmer, Royals

4. Ivan Nova, Yankees

5. Michael Pineda, Mariners

6. Dustin Ackley, Mariners

7. Desmond Jennings, Rays

7. Jordan Walden, Angels

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

2. Freddie Freeman, Braves

3. Vance Worley, Phillies

4. Wilson Ramos, Nationals

5. Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks

6. Danny Espinosa, Nationals

7. Darwin Barney, Cubs

7. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers

AL Manager of the Year

1. Joe Maddon, Rays

2. Jim Leyland, Tigers

3. Ron Washington, Rangers

4. Manny Acta, Indians

5. Joe Girardi, Yankees

6. Mike Scioscia, Angels

NL Manager of the Year

1. Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

2. Ron Roenicke, Brewers

3. Tony La Russa, Cardinals

4. Charlie Manuel, Phillies

5. Fredi Gonzalez, Braves

6. Bruce Bochy, Giants

6. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

8. Terry Collins, Mets

8. Don Mattingly, Dodgers

> Most of them seemed deserving enough. Although I was surprised to see Longoria even on the AL MVP ballot.

> Anyway, onto some Brewers news. They’ve offered arbitration to free agents Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez. Assuming both decline it (which they probably both will), the Brewers will get four premium picks in next year’s First-Year Player Draft.

> Which brings me to my next point. I didn’t pay much attention to the small print of the labor agreement reached between MLB and the players’ union because I was celebrating Braun’s MVP award, but apparently this new agreement is creating a salary cap on how much teams can pay players to sign with them after being drafted. This will probably effect how some teams draft for the next five years, especially teams that rely on the draft in order to contend, such as the Rays.

But hey, it’s what we’ve grown to expect from Bud Selig.

> The biggest news of today was the Indians bringing back the injury-prone Grady Sizemore on a one-year deal worth around $5 million. I guess they aren’t giving up on the center fielder yet, despite the fact he’s had five different surgeries over the past three years, and has averaged below 100 games played per season during that span.

> Bruce Chen has decided to go back to the Royals for the third straight year, but this time signed a two-year deal. Chen really came out of nowhere as a solid pitcher for the Royals in 2010, and had an even better 2011. But I’m surprised Chen’s “chencision” was to return to the Royals instead of play for a contending team. (In case you haven’t noticed, I occasionally use @TrippingOlney jokes on here.)

> Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts. I’ll update again if any other big news comes out tonight.


Braun beats out Kemp for NL MVP

November 23, 2011

> And Ryan Braun wins the NL MVP. Let the debating begin.

> Braun beat the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp for the award, which has already caused a lot of debate. Most of it is that people think the only reason Braun won is because he played for a contending team. Which was part of it, and I’m not saying I disagree with it, as I said in my post last night. “Best player” and “most valuable player” don’t always mean the same thing.

> Anyway, I’m not going to talk much about the whole debate thing right now, but more about Braun’s numbers and why he was so deserving of this award.

> Braun is the first Brewer to win the MVP since Robin Yount won it in 1989. Yount is arguably the greatest player in Brewers history, so Braun has come along away and is joining some elite company.

Braun received 20 of 32 first-place votes, which totals 388 points. Kemp came in second with 10 first-place votes (332), Prince Fielder in third with one first-place vote (229) and Justin Upton in fourth also with one first-place vote (214). Albert Pujols came in fifth with 166 points, but the highest vote he received was one third-place vote.

In 2011, Braun hit .332 with 33 home runs and 111 RBIs- definitely a MVP-caliber season. Kemp hit .324 with 39 homers and 126 RBIs. By looking at those numbers, you’d probably wonder why Kemp didn’t win instead.

But what I think separated Braun from Kemp was simply how often Braun came through in the clutch- yes, this is something that effects the voting. Braun coming through in the clutch is what drove the Brewers to the postseason. Kemp didn’t exactly come through in the clutch very often (but he played for the Dodgers, which explains why).

But what I’m saying is that the voting goes beyond the numbers.

> MLB and the players’ union came to an agreement on a five-year labor deal (imagine how jealous the NBA must be right now). Of course, this garnered about as much buzz- if not more- as Braun winning the MVP.

Anyway, it’s good to know that we won’t be seeing another baseball strike anytime soon.

> Jim Crane and his group officially took over the Astros today. They’ve agreed to move the Astros to the AL as early as 2013, as we heard a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Drayton McLane wonders how he sold the worst team in the MLB for $610 million.

> Anyway, I’m kind of short on time right now, so that’s all I’ve got. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts, if you have any.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.