Results tagged ‘ Albert Pujols ’
Joey Votto is one of the top players in all of baseball. The 2010 NL MVP was rewarded for his skills last spring when the Reds gave him a 10-year, $225 million extension, which could keep the Canadian-born first baseman in the Queen City through the 2024 season.
Since the start of the 2008 season, his first as a regular, Votto has posted a 27.7 WAR, 6th in MLB (Albert Pujols, Evan Longoria, Chase Utley, Miguel Cabrera, and Ryan Braun rank higher), and a .419 on-base percentage, 1st in MLB. He has been very productive, driving in 444 runs, but when you consider how often Votto is on base and his WAR value, you would think that he would produce more runs, as those 444 RBI rank 23rd since the start of the 2008 season.
Certainly part of the reason why Votto ranks lower in RBI is due to his extended absences, as he has missed 106 team games since the 2008 season due to general illnesses, depression, and surgery on his left knee, which cost him 51 games in 2012; however, what if he swung more?
So far in the 2013 season, Votto has a .500 OBP, inflated by his 30 percent walk rate, and his .264 batting average seems likely to rebound due to his .351 BABIP, which is in line with his career .359 BABIP. His hitting ability was outlined in a recent ESPN the Magazine feature, when Votto said:
I’ve stopped caring about runs and RBIs. I care more about how high a percentage of productive at-bats I can have, how consistently tough and competitive I can be for the opposing pitcher. That’s my goal every single time I go up there. If I drive in 90 runs, I don’t care. I know a lot of old-school people wouldn’t believe I’d say something like that.
The apparent way to be more productive is to not swing. Votto currently has a 32.1 percent swing rate (career 44.9 percent), while posting a 14.4 percent swing rate on pitches outside of the strike-zone (career 25.2 percent), and a 57.9 percent swing rate on pitches inside of the strike-zone (career 70.2 percent). Only Lucas Duda has a lower swing rate in 2013, at 29.9 percent, but Duda’s career swing rate has always been low, as he sports a career 40.9 percent swing rate.
How can you produce if you don’t swing the bat? Sure, Votto is getting on base, but he has scored just 11 runs in his 40 appearances on the base paths (14 hits, 24 walks, 2 hit-by-pitch), largely due to the ineffectiveness of Jay Bruce (who has struck out 10 times in 31 at-bats with runners on base this season), while driving in FOUR runs in 80 plate appearances. Luckily, Brandon Phillips, who took over the cleanup spot after Ryan Ludwick‘s shoulder injury, has done a fantastic job, posting a .405/.452/.649 line with 17 RBI in 37 at-bats with runners on base. With Shin-Soo Choo and Votto in front of him, it is likely that Phillips will continue to produce some impressive counting statistics in 2013, but why shouldn’t Votto?
A productive at-bat is when a ball is put in play and moves other runners. Sure, you’re Little League coach and Moneyball says that a walk is as good as a hit, but what if Phillips falters in the No.4 spot? What if Jay Bruce continues to strikeout with runners on? What if Todd Frazier, who is currently the 4th most valuable position player in baseball (based on WAR) goes through a drought?
The Cincinnati Reds need Joey Votto to swing the bat because he is such a special player. Getting on base has value, but when you are as capable with the bat as Votto is, there is more value in the contact that he does, or can, produce. After all, Votto has struck out 16 times, tied for 8th most in MLB, while he is waiting for his pitch.
Is Joey Votto the best pure hitter in baseball right now? Possibly, but striking out in 20 percent of your at-bats doesn’t seem like a reasonable statistic for a hitter, possibly a slugger. It is time for Votto to become a slugger again not only for fantasy baseball players, but because the Reds would be much more impressive and capable of winning more often if he was the 37-home-run-of- 2010-version of Votto than the one-home-run-in-80-plate-appearances-2013-version of Votto.
- Joey Votto is not struggling (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Joey Votto appears as cartoon (wcpo.com)
- Reds’ Joey Votto named ‘Face of MLB’ (wcpo.com)
- Votto is still productive despite slow start (mlb.mlb.com)
While I’ve already posted a top 10 fantasy baseball player at each position piece, I figured with drafts getting underway, that a more thorough ranking would be valuable. Here are the top 250 players in fantasy baseball for the 2013 season. (5X5 leagues, All MLB)
- Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
- Mike Trout, OF, Angels
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Tigers,
- Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers
- Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
- Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees
- Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies
- Prince Fielder, 1B, Tigers
- Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
- Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
- Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
- Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers
- Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
- Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins
- Josh Hamilton, OF, Angels
- Justin Upton, OF, Braves
- Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers
- David Price, SP, Rays
- Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals
- Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
- Buster Posey, C, Giants
- David Wright, 3B, Mets
- Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners
- Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays
- Hanley Ramirez, 3B/SS, Dodgers
- Jason Heyward, OF, Braves
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox
- Jay Bruce, OF, Reds
- Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers
- Cliff Lee, SP, Phillies
- Matt Cain, SP, Giants
- Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays
- Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies
- Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs
- Adam Jones, OF, Orioles
- Jered Weaver, SP, Angels
- Billy Butler, 1B, Royals
- Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
- Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Blue Jays
- Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
- Gio Gonzalez, SP, Nationals
- Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Athletics
- B.J. Upton, OF, Braves
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers
- Ben Zobrist, 2B/SS/OF, Rays
- Craig Kimbrel, RP, Braves
- Matt Holliday, OF, Cardinals
- Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals
- Chase Headley, 3B, Padres
- Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals
- Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox
- Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
- Adam Wainwright, SP, Cardinals
- Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants
- Zack Greinke, SP, Dodgers
- Matt Wieters, C, Orioles
- Michael Bourn, OF, Indians
- R.A. Dickey, SP, Blue Jays
- Allen Craig, 1B/OF, Cardinals
- Joe Mauer, C, Twins
- Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays
- CC Sabathia, SP, Yankees
- Johnny Cueto, SP, Reds
- Mat Latos, SP, Reds
- Chris Sale, SP, White Sox
- Austin Jackson, OF, Tigers
- Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians
- Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks
- Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
- Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays
- Jordan Zimmerman, SP, Nationals
- Carlos Santana, C, Indians
- Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies
- Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Brewers
- Alex Rios, OF, White Sox
- Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants
- Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies
- Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Reds
- Aroldis Chapman, SP/RP, Reds
- Mark Teixiera, 1B, Yankees
- Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Phillies
- Jason Motte, RP, Cardinals
- Alex Gordon, OF, Royals
- Kris Medlen, SP/RP, Braves
- Matt Moore, SP, Rays
- James Shields, SP, Royals
- Yovani Gallardo, SP, Brewers
- Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
- Curtis Granderson, OF, Yankees (mid-May return leaves some value)
- Max Scherzer, SP, Tigers
- Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
- Victor Martinez, C, Tigers
- Martin Prado, 3B/OF, Diamondbacks
- Ike Davis, 1B, Mets
- Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals
- Rafael Soriano, RP, Nationals
- Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
- Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays
- Brandon Morrow, SP, Blue Jays
- Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians
- Melky Cabrera, OF, Blue Jays
- Mariano Rivera, RP, Yankees
- J.J. Putz, RP, Diamondbacks
- Doug Fister, SP, Tigers
- David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox
- Ian Kennedy, SP, Diamondbacks
- Jake Peavy, SP, White Sox
- Hunter Pence, OF, Giants
- Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers
- Josh Willingham, OF, Twins
- Joe Nathan, RP, Rangers
- Joel Hanrahan, RP, Red Sox
- Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Angels
- Josh Johnson, SP, Blue Jays
- Hiroki Kuroda, SP, Yankees
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
- Angel Pagan, OF, Giants
- Tim Lincecum, SP, Giants
- Anibal Sanchez, SP, Tigers
- Dan Haren, SP, Nationals
- Jonathan Niese, SP, Mets
- Shane Victorino, OF, Red Sox
- Torii Hunter, OF, Tigers
- Erick Aybar, SS, Angels
- Neil Walker, 2B, Pirates
- John Axford, RP, Brewers
- Carl Crawford, OF, Dodgers
- Alejandro De Aza, OF, White Sox
- Carlos Beltran, OF, Cardinals
- David Freese, 3B, Cardinals
- Brett Anderson, SP, Athletics
- Jim Johnson, RP, Orioles
- Danny Espinosa, 2B/SS, Nationals
- Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees
- Lance Lynn, SP, Cardinals
- Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers
- Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox
- Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels
- Ben Revere, OF, Phillies
- Denard Span, OF, Nationals
- Jon Lester, SP, Red Sox
- Addison Reed, RP, White Sox
- Huston Street, RP, Padres
- Alcides Escobar, SS, Royals
- Sergio Romo, RP, Giants
- Jeff Samardzija, SP, Cubs
- Ryan Dempster, SP, Red Sox
- C.J. Wilson, SP, Angels
- Greg Holland, RP, Royals
- Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies
- Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals
- Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals
- Jason Kubel, OF, Diamondbacks
- Rickie Weeks, 2B, Brewers
- Wade Miley, SP, Diamondbacks
- Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers
- Mike Napoli, C/1B, Red Sox
- Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies
- Michael Morse, OF, Mariners
- Jarrod Parker, SP, Athletics
- Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates
- J.J. Hardy, SS, Orioles
- Homer Bailey, SP, Reds
- Matt Harvey, SP, Mets
- Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Rays
- Manny Machado, 3B, Orioles
- Kyle Seager, 3B, Mariners
- Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies
- Rafael Betancourt, RP, Rockies
- Tim Hudson, SP, Braves
- Dan Uggla, 2B, Braves
- Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks
- Josh Reddick, OF, Athletics
- Todd Frazier, 1B/3B, Reds
- Matt Harrison, SP, Rangers
- Jonathan Broxton, RP, Reds
- Chris Perez, RP, Indians
- Derek Holland, SP, Rangers
- Marco Scutaro, 2B/SS, Giants
- Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies
- Salvador Perez, C, Royals
- Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
- Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants
- Chris Davis, 1B/OF, Orioles
- Grant Balfour, RP, Athletics
- Mike Minor, SP, Braves
- Alexei Ramirez, SS, White Sox
- Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Yankees
- Alexi Ogando, SP/RP, Rangers
- Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, Indians
- Tommy Milone, SP, Athletics
- Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH, Mariners
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox
- Colby Rasmus, OF, Blue Jays
- Adam Dunn, 1B/DH, White Sox
- Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs
- Phil Hughes, SP, Yankees
- Jaime Garcia, SP, Cardinals
- Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves
- Jesus Montero, C, Mariners
- Jason Grilli, RP, Pirates
- Cameron Maybin, OF, Padres
- Corey Hart, 1B, Brewers
- Norichika Aoki, OF, Brewers
- Lance Berkman, 1B/DH, Rangers
- Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B, Yankees
- Dayan Viciedo, OF, White Sox
- Brandon McCarthy, SP, Diamondbacks
- Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers
- Brandon League, RP, Dodgers
- Bobby Parnell, RP, Mets
- Michael Cuddyer, 1B/OF, Rockies
- Michael Young, 1B/3B, Phillies
- A.J. Burnett, SP, Pirates
- Jurickson Profar, 2B, Rangers (he should get enough time to have value)
- Jayson Werth, OF, Nationals
- Trevor Cahill, SP, Diamondbacks
- Justin Masterson, SP, Indians
- Glen Perkins, RP, Twins
- Casey Janssen, RP, Blue Jays
- Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, Mariners
- Everth Cabrera, SS, Padres
- Trevor Plouffe, 3B, Twins
- Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins
- Tommy Hanson, SP, Angels
- James McDonald, SP, Pirates
- Josh Beckett, SP, Dodgers
- Marco Estrada, SP, Brewers
- Jason Vargas, SP, Angels
- Zack Cozart, SS, Reds
- Mark Reynolds, 1B, Indians
- Steve Cishek, RP, Marlins
- Daniel Murphy, 2B, Mets
- A.J. Pierzynski, C, Rangers
- Nick Markakis, OF, Orioles
- Garrett Jones, 1B/OF, Pirates
- Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, Dodgers
- Wei-Yin Chen, SP, Orioles
- Omar Infante, 2B, Tigers
- David Murphy, OF, Rangers
- Kelly Johnson, 2B, Rays
- Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners
- Lorenzo Cain, OF, Royals
- Carlos Marmol, RP, Cubs
- Kyuji Fujikawa, RP, Cubs
- Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals
- Brian McCann, C, Braves
- Wil Myers, OF, Rays
- Jean Segura, SS, Brewers
Major League Baseball has lost one of its true legends in Stan Musial, a Hall of Famer in every senese and a man who led a great American life. He was the heart and soul of the historic St. Louis Cardinals franchise for generations, and he served his country during World War II. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, Stan’s life embodies baseball’s unparalleled history and why this game is the national pastime.
As remarkable as ‘Stan the Man’ was on the field, he was a true gentleman in life. All of Major League Baseball mourns his passing, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, admirers and all the fans of the Cardinals.
It is amazing, in the age of recognizing immediate achievement over the long-term success of players, how quickly people turn away their focus from Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Albert Pujols, and David Ortiz for the next big thing. How quick were some voters to write-off Miguel Cabrera‘s performance in 2012, a Triple Crown season, because of the tremendous first season that Mike Trout produced.
Greatness in consistency is overlooked so often in baseball. Certainly, while Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa were off belting numerous home runs in the late 1990′s and early 2000′s, the names of Jeff Bagwell, Fred McGriff, and other non-juiced power-hitters (show me something that shows that they were), seemed to be forgotten, even in Hall of Fame voting today.
Stan Musial was consistently great, posting a career slash of .331/.417/.559, a career OPS of .976.
Did you think what Mike Trout did in 2012 was special? His .963 OPS was still lower than Musial’s CAREER OPS, which he put together over 22 seasons.
His 162-game average would leave him with 39 doubles, 25 home runs, 104 RBI, and 328 total bases. Using a WAR calculator, Musial’s average season was worth a 6.0 WAR and he would be worth $26.9 million in salary. Musial’s typical season was between All-Star and MVP level, which makes sense, as he appeared in 20 All-Star games and won three NL MVP awards.
Using WAR as a measuring tool for the value of a player may be relatively new, but it helps to put things into perspective over the long-haul. Taking a look at Musial’s career over the history of the game, WAR places “The Man” as the 12th best player of all-time. Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Barry Bonds, Walter Johnson, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Roger Clemens, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, and Rogers Hornsby rank ahead of Musial, with Ted Williams sliding in right behind him. Taking away the two Steroid Era players would put Musial as the 10th best player of all-time.
Musial has 6.96 MVP shares, second only to Bonds and his 9.30. Musial had 6,134 career total bases, second only to Aaron and his 6,856. Looking at most statistics, Musial isn’t first in anything, but he is right there near the top:
- 7 NL Batting Titles
- .331 career batting average, 30th all-time
- .417 on-base percentage, 22nd all-time
- .559 slugging percentage, 19th all-time
- .976 OPS, 13th all-time
- 3,026 games played, 6th all-time
- 1,949 runs scored, 9th all-time
- 3,630 hits, 4th all-time
- 725 doubles, 2nd all-time
- 177 triples, 19th all-time
- 475 home runs, 28th all-time
- 1,951 RBI, 6th all-time
- 2,253 singles, 18th all-time
- 1,599 walks, 13th all-time
- 1,377 extra-base hits, 3rd all-time
Musial wasn’t the career leader in home runs, he doesn’t have the most MVP awards, and he isn’t recognized in the same breath as Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams as the greatest hitters of all-time, at least not by many. In fact, my wife, who has become quite the baseball aficionado since succumbing to my strange fanaticism and obsession, didn’t know who Musial was, even after watching Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary.
Stan “The Man” Musial was one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. He served our country, missing the 1945 season (his age-24 season) while serving in the military, returning in 1946 to hit .365 while winning his 2nd MVP award. His career is an example of an elite talent, containing 22 years of tremendous success, with numbers that show remarkable skill with longevity.
Musial was a legend. A treasure to the game of baseball. An example of courage and determination. With his passing, it is necessary for those who didn’t know how special he was to take a second and put it all together.
It is time for baseball fans to take a glimpse out onto the field in the 2013 season and look at those aging players like Jeter, Ortiz, and Rivera, and know just how special they were during their great careers. While it is enticing to get caught up in the hype of the young talent in MLB, these players are gone so soon. Greatness on the diamond creates stories that can be passed down from generation to generation, allowing for all people to recognize the impact that a single player has on the game.
With Musial’s passing, fans need to commemorate the achievements of the legends that are immortalized in Cooperstown, focusing not on comparing Bryce Harper to Stan Musial, but just on how special Musial was.
Mike Trout had, possibly, the greatest season that any rookie could have ever had in 2012. Taking into consideration that Trout didn’t play in his first game with the Los Angeles Angels until April 28 and he only played in 139 games while compiling:
- 129 Runs (1st in MLB)
- 49 Stolen Bases (1st in MLB)
- 10.7 WAR (1st in MLB)
- .326 Batting Average (2nd in the AL)
- .564 Slugging Percentage (3rd in the AL)
- .399 On-Base Percentage (3rd in the AL)
- .963 OPS (2nd in the AL)
- 171 OPS+ (1st in the AL)
- 315 Total Bases (6th in the AL)
One All-Star Game, One Silver Slugger, One Rookie of the Year, and finishing 2nd in the AL MVP voting, if only because Miguel Cabrera won the first Triple Crown in 45 years, were just icing on the cake for Trout.
When you look at player ratings all over the internet, whether it’s ESPN, CBS Sports, or Sports Illustrated, Mike Trout is right at the top. Is he really a top five player in fantasy baseball? In “real” baseball?
Clearly, it was hard to see many flaws in the 2012 season that Trout completed, but consider this:
- Trout’s BABIP was .383. Considering that the “normal” BABIP is .300, this figure is highly inflated.
- Trout’s strikeout rate was 21.8 percent. When you look at Albert Pujols and his career 9.6 percent career rate, Ryan Braun and his 17.9 percent career rate, Miguel Cabrera and his 17.1 percent career rate, or Josh Hamilton and his 19.7 percent career rate, and you have to wonder if Trout can maintain success if he isn’t getting lucky with where the ball lands (see his inflated BABIP) and he isn’t making contact.
- Can his speed last a full season and can he stay healthy in a full season, based on how everyone has seen him play? Trout managed 22 infield hits in 2012. If you take those away, due to a leg or foot injury, Trout would have hit .286.
It seems very unrealistic to expect that Trout will only improve on his numbers from 2012 going forward. The last Rookie of the Year to win the MVP, Fred Lynn, had some struggles in his career. Take a look at his first three seasons:
Lynn was a tremendous talent, returning to glory in 1979, when he posted a .333/.423/.637 line, with 42 doubles, 39 home runs, and 122 RBI for Boston, but prior to that, he regressed significantly from his rookie year production.
Fred Lynn never lived up to the hype that he created in his dynamic rookie season, despite being a very productive player, being eliminated from the Hall of Fame ballot after his second year of eligibility, after receiving just 4.7 percent of the vote in 1997.
Calling Mike Trout the next Fred Lynn is not an insult, as anyone who plays 17 seasons and is a part of nine All-Star games is a fantastic player. The issue is that Mike Trout has unrealistic expectations being placed on him going into the 2013 season. Bill James has Trout going:
.325/.402/.564 with 122 runs, 30 home runs, 87 RBI, and 53 stolen bases, while maintaining an inflated .379 BABIP.
Ryan Braun, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Hamilton, Derek Jeter, and Robinson Cano should be expected to maintain their career norms, but fantasy baseball players could be making a huge mistake by taking Trout 1st overall in 2013. While the skills and tools are there for the 21-year-old to continue thriving and become a future Hall of Famer, he will need to repeat his 2012 numbers for several seasons before being labeled the top player in baseball.
Is he the most exciting player in baseball…absolutely. Should everyone subscribe to MLB.TV to have an opportunity to tune in a few times per season…definitely. Are we asking too much for a 21-year-old to become the face of an entire league…without question.
According to ESPN Dallas, free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton signed a five-year, $125 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels was apparently upset that he wasn’t able to match the offer, but the team could have been more aggressive, rather than waiting to see the maximum contract another team was willing to pay the five-time All-Star, rather than regretting now.
After yet another offseason with a huge, offensive acquisition, this following the Albert Pujols signing last year, the Angels have reloaded for the 2013 season. After losing starting pitcher Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Angels are now able to keep some attention on their roster, as the Dodgers continue to spend big bucks.
Hamilton brings a tremendous amount of ability with him, and while it is easy for some to question the length and commitment due to his prior drug use, the fact remains that some team was going to pay him $25 million per year, so why not the Angels? They were able to explain paying Pujols $30 million in the final year of his contract (age 41), so they should be able to do the same thing here, discussing marketing and TV contracts and all of the forms of revenue streams that Hamilton will increase.
So, what do the Angels do next? Hamilton and Pujols are just as scary as the 3-4 punch that Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder provide in Detroit, but the Angels have something more to offer. Mike Trout. And, you can’t forget that the team still has solid production coming from DH Kendrys Morales, outfielder Mark Trumbo, and occasional outbursts from lesser hitters like second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar.
Alberto Callaspo is currently their third baseman. Trumbo has played third base for 63 innings, making four errors and posting a .714 fielding percentage. The upgrade will not involve a switch of positions for the slugger. Could the team ultimately look to deal Trumbo in a package to San Diego for Chase Headley? Headley would be a huge upgrade and another dynamic addition to the lineup.
If not a third baseman, should the Angels upgrade their starting rotation? They have added Tommy Hanson in a deal with Atlanta, while signing Joe Blanton via free agency. With Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson at the top of the rotation, could the Halos look to upgrade from Brad Mills in the fifth spot of the rotation? Maybe a deal with Cleveland for Justin Masterson or Ubaldo Jimenez makes some sense, or the team could take on someone more established by signing Kyle Lohse, Jair Jurrjens, Shaun Marcum, or Anibal Sanchez, since they apparently have the money.
Regardless, Josh Hamilton provides a star quality that is worthy of Los Angeles. While the Rangers pondered Greinke, a Los Angeles team jumped in. While the Rangers pondered on Hamilton, a Los Angeles team jumped in. The Rangers will need to jump at a deal for Justin Upton at this point, and they’ll probably have to cave in and deal Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar to make it happen. Otherwise, the team will be left with giving loads of cash to Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, or Michael Bourn to be able to compete with the Angels going forward.
Where are all of the east coast bias whiners now? The gold rush is once again going on out west, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels are making free agency in baseball a two coast battle, and a battle that they appear willing to spend billions to win.
Mike Trout just turned 21 years old on August 7. He has given baseball fans plenty of gifts this season with an incredible rookie season, which has led to some speculation that he could win the American League MVP, along with the Rookie of the Year award. His season still has some time to play out, but his .345/.409/.597 line with 21 doubles, five triples, 21 home runs, 60 RBI, and a league leading 36 steals has already left the youngster with a 7.0 WAR. He already ranks among the greatest rookies ever and he could be on his way to becoming the best player in baseball very soon, if he isn’t already.
Looking at his incredible season led me to wonder who had the best rookie year ever. Here are my top ten rookie seasons since the Rookie of the Year was established in 1947:
1) Jackie Robinson, 1947, 5th in MVP Voting
.297/.383/.427, 151 G, 175 H, 31 2B, 5 3B, 12 HR, 48 RBI, 29 SB, 3.0 WAR
Jackie Robinson gets the No.1 spot for more than just his results. Not only did he break the color barrier in MLB, but he posted these numbers with teammates that wouldn’t speak to him and opposing players and fans who slandered him on and off of the field.
2) Fred Lynn, 1975, AL MVP
.331/.401/.566, 145 G, 175 H, 47 2B, 7 3B, 21 HR, 105 RBI, 10 SB, 7.1 WAR
Lynn led the Red Sox to the World Series in his rookie year and was the first rookie to win an MVP, as well. Lynn’s rookie season would have to rate as his second best season in his career, though he never won another MVP while making nine All-Star teams.
3) Ichiro Suzuki, 2001, AL MVP
.350/.381/.457, 157 G, 242 H, 34 2B, 8 3B, 8 HR, 69 RBI, 56 SB, 7.5 WAR
Ichiro was not your typical, young rookie, having arrived in the United States at the age of 27 from Japan. His speed and powerful arm in right field changed the Mariners for years. He would easily have 3,000 hits and would be closing in or beyond 4,000 hits for his career if he had played his whole career in the States, but 2,548 isn’t bad for now! The second Rookie of the Year to win the MVP, Ichiro led the Mariners to 116 wins in 2001 before they lost to the New York Yankees in the ALCS.
4) Frank Robinson, 1956, 7th in MVP Voting
.290/.379/.558, 152 G, 166 H, 27 2B, 6 3B, 38 HR, 83 RBI, 8 SB, 6.2 WAR
The future Hall of Famer came into the league with a bang. He immediately became a force to be wreckoned with in Cincinnati.
5) Albert Pujols, 2001, 4th in MVP Voting
.329/.403/.610, 161 G, 194 H, 47 2B, 4 3B, 37 HR, 130 RBI, 1 SB, 6.3 WAR
Pujols jumped from Low-A Peoria in 2000 to the majors in 2001. He hasn’t had to look back. Pujols has established himself as one of the greatest sluggers in the history of baseball. He struggled at the start of the 2012 season for his new club, the Los Angeles Angels, but he has his stats back to their typically mind-blowing status. He is a three-time MVP, and I may be selling his first season short at No.5.
6) Ryan Braun, 2007, 24th in MVP Voting
.324/.370/.634, 113 G, 146 H, 26 2B, 6 3B, 34 HR, 97 RBI, 15 SB, 1.8 WAR
If Braun wasn’t such an attrocious fielder in his rookie year, his WAR would have been much higher. He had an .895 fielding percentage at third base, which was just a touch lower than the league average of .954. Braun, juicing or not, has established himself as a superstar, and he will be in Milwaukee longer than the Miller Brewing Company with his current contract.
7) Nomar Garciaparra, 1997, 8th in MVP Voting
.306/.342/.534, 153 G, 209 H, 44 2B, 11 3B, 30 HR, 98 RBI, 22 SB, 6.5 WAR
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOMAH!!! The man could fill up a box score in his rookie year, and he was a beloved figure in Boston due to his name being awesome to say with a Boston accent, and his ability. He came into the league around the same time as Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Miguel Tejada, and Barry Larkin’s 1995 MVP season made the shortstop position a sexy offensive position. Together with Cal Ripken and the others, Nomar helped change the shortstop position, and his rookie year was statistically magical.
8) Mike Piazza, 1993, 9th in MVP Voting
.318/.370/.561, 149 G, 174 H, 24 2B, 2 3B, 35 HR, 112 RBI, 3 SB, 6.8 WAR
Piazza was selected by the Dodgers as a favor to Tommy LaSorda, his godfather. Sometimes, lightening strikes. Piazza was one of the greatest hitting catchers of all time. His rookie season was outstanding and the 62nd round pick only made 11 All-Star games. Nice find. Great season.
9) Mark McGwire, 1987, 6th in MVP Voting
.289/.370/.618, 151 G, 161 H, 28 2B, 4 3B, 49 HR, 118 RBI, 1 SB, 4.8 WAR
Before the reporters snooped into his locker and before McGwire and Sammy Sosa made baseball cool again after the 1994 player’s strike, “Big Mac” was a skinny, 23-year-old who hit 49 bombs in his rookie year. It is scary to think of the numbers he would have finished with if he wasn’t hurt so often during his career, playing in 1874 games over 16 years (117 games played per year).
10) Fernando Valenzuela, 1981, 5th in MVP Voting and NL Cy Young Winner
13-7, 2.48 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 11 CG, 8 SHO, 192.1 IP, 180:61 K:BB, 4.6 WAR
Fernando-mania! The hefty-lefty took the baseball world by storm in 1981, winning the NL Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young. Eight SHUTOUT! 11 COMPLETE GAMES! Was Dusty Baker the manager of the Dodgers then!? The good ol’ days, where innings and pitch counts were just as overlooked as amphetamene use. Good stuff.
Dustin Pedroia, 2007; Jason Bay, 2004; Scott Rolen, 1997; Derek Jeter, 1996; Raul Mondesi, 1994; Jeff Bagwell, 1991; David Justice, 1990; Vince Coleman, 1985; Dwight Gooden, 1984; Mark Fidrych, 1976; Carlton Fisk, 1972; Johnny Bench, 1968; Tony Oliva, 1964; Willie McCovey, 1959; Orlando Cepeda, 1958; Willie Mays, 1951;
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
.344/.448/.586, 48 2B, 30 HR, 105 RBI, 2 SB in 572 AB
.327/.431/.596, 49 2B, 37 HR, 121 RBI, 1 SB in 579 AB
How can one of the best hitters in baseball get even better? Adding Prince Fielder to the lineup. The Tigers are going to need run production with Cabrera playing some 3B, as their defense may become as ugly as the Patriots secondary.
2. Albert Pujols, Angels
.299/.366/.541, 29 2B, 37 HR, 99 RBI, 9 SB in 579 AB
.313/.389/.563, 36 2B, 34 HR, 112 RBI, 5 SB in 599 AB
Pujols had a “down” year in 2011. If only everyone could look so good when they’re so “bad.” He’ll rebound with health, and he’ll maintain that health with the ability to DH on occasion. His lineup is filled with vets, but it shouldn’t hold him back THIS YEAR. I still don’t think he’s going to be worth the contract by 2015 or 2016…ARod style.
3. Prince Fielder, Tigers
.299/.415/.566, 36 2B, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 1 SB in 569 AB
.315/.426/.588, 43 2B, 35 HR, 119 RBI, 1 SB in 559 AB
Prince isn’t losing anything by moving away from Ryan Braun’s protection with Miguel Cabrera filling that role nicely. He immediately makes Detroit a contender with his arrival, especially since they were already there before he got there. Scary good with the Comerica Park gaps.
4. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
.338/.410/.548, 45 2B, 27 HR, 117 RBI, 1 SB in 630 AB
.327/.422/.553, 39 2B, 33 HR, 124 RBI, 1 SB in 614 AB
Gonzalez will have a full season of a not-God-awful Carl Crawford to drive in, and he’ll be comfortable in Fenway to start the year, so he won’t lose a month of power like he did at the start of 2011.
5. Joey Votto, Reds
.309/.416/.531, 40 2B, 29 HR, 103 RBI, 8 SB in 599 AB
.329/.426/.569, 36 2B, 38 HR, 106 RBI, 6 SB in 587 AB
Votto is a very patient hitter in a lineup that lacks patience. He’ll take pitches and lose RBI’s due to guys not getting on around him, and walking about the same number of times that he strikes out. He’s going to step up his production as he heads towards Free Agency after 2013, developing a market for himself early. He’s in a great ballpark, Great American to be exact, to make it happen.
6. Eric Hosmer, Royals
.293/.334/.465, 27 2B, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 11 SB in 523 AB
.287/.362/.501, 31 2B, 26 HR, 89 RBI, 14 SB in 598 AB
Hosmer had a strong rookie season and is only going to get better. 2012 will be the first signs of what he is capable of, but his numbers will continue to climb from here. He has power and is athletic enough to continue stealing bases. He could eventually become a Ryan Braun clone at 1B, with fewer stolen bases. I have him high on the list because he showed what he is capable of in the 2nd half of 2011.
7. Mark Teixeira, Yankees
.248/.341/.494, 26 2B, 39 HR, 111 RBI, 4 SB in 589 AB
.253/.339/.513, 28 SB, 35 HR, 103 RBI, 2 SB in 594 AB
Teixeira’s AVG and SLG have fallen significantly in the last several seasons, and his high strikeout rate suddenly screams that he is on the decline, as he can’t keep up with fastballs like he used to. With that being said, he is still mashing. I have a slight bounceback coming, but he isn’t capable of the high averages and power like he used to be.
8. Michael Young, Rangers
.338/.380/.474, 41 2B, 6 3B, 11 HR, 106 RBI, 6 SB in 631 AB
.318/.372/.468, 37 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR, 97 RBI, 5 SB in 639 AB
Young just keeps hitting. He led the league in hits last year and continues showing the ability to be versatile, which has a lot of value in various fantasy formats. Look for more of the same with a solid lineup around him, even as he continues aging. He showed no signs of breaking down last year.
9. Freddie Freeman, Braves
.282/.346/.448, 32 2B, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 4 SB in 571 AB
.294/.357/.467, 34 2B, 25 HR, 82 RBI, 3 SB in 584 AB
With a name this bad, you’d think there was no way that he would be a successful baseball player. Maybe a plumber or sales guy…however, Freeman is very young and is a polished hitter. He’s hitting better than previous super-prospect Jason Heyward has to this point, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he continues to do so in coming years. He may never hit 30-35 homers per season, but he will do more than enough to be an asset in fantasy and for the Braves.
10. Michael Morse, Nationals
.303/.360/.550, 36 2B, 31 HR, 95 RBI, 2 SB in 522 AB
.286/.342/.549, 34 2B, 33 HR, 107 RBI, 1 SB in 571 AB
Morse came out of nowhere, kind of, to post very valuable fantasy numbers in 2011. He has tremendous power and a long swing, which still will make his susceptible to slumps and strikeouts. The Nationals are improving around him, though, so he should continue to build value. He will ultimately be a first baseman, but he will patrol left field to open the season. He could move to first if or when Adam LaRoche’s next injury strikes, but he’ll certainly be there by 2013 for good.
11. Billy Butler, Royals
.291/.361/.461, 44 2B, 19 HR, 95 RBI, 2 SB in 597 AB
.314/.379/.501, 41 2B, 26 HR, 101 RBI, 1 SB in 599 AB
12. Ike Davis, Mets
.302/.383/.543, 8 2B, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 0 SB in 129 AB
.291/.372/.538, 32 2B, 28 HR, 93 RBI, 1 SB in 586 AB
Davis was headed towards a breakout prior to the ankle injury that he suffered in 2011. Imagine the capabilities in an offense that is relying heavily on him, especially after the fences were moved in. This is the year.
13. Lance Berkman, Cardinals
.301/.412/.547, 23 2B, 31 HR, 94 RBI, 2 SB in 488 AB
.283/.394/.527, 21 2B, 33 HR, 111 RBI, 1 SB in 506 AB
He won’t hit as well with added pressure to perform, but he should maintain health by moving to first. He’s aging, even if he posted a solid season for what seems like the first time in years in 2011, so don’t think he is going to get a whole lot better than last year.
14. Ryan Howard, Phillies
.253/.346/.488, 30 2B, 33 HR, 116 RBI, 1 SB in 557 AB
.247/.339/.479, 23 2B, 26 HR, 82 RBI, 0 SB in 486 AB
Decline City. Major injury + drops in OPS over the last few years = the NL version of Teixeira with a whole lot less to offer. Howard will miss the first month, but he’ll still post solid power numbers. He isn’t a top of the line bat anymore, and he and his teammates are aging quicker than Benjamin Button, only the opposite way.
15. Paul Konerko, White Sox
.300/.388/.517, 25 2B, 31 HR, 105 RBI, 1 SB in 543 AB
.309/.392/.524, 28 2B, 33 HR, 110 RBI, 1 SB in 564 AB
There’s no way that Konerko can’t be better in 2011 because Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, and Gordon Beckham will be better around him. He’ll drive in more runs and see more pitches.
16. Mark Reynolds, Orioles
.221/.323/.483, 27 2B, 37 HR, 86 RBI, 6 SB in 534 AB
.232/.331/.489, 26 2B, 39 HR, 91 RBI, 4 SB in 541 AB
17. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
.250/.333/.474, 9 2B, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 4 SB in 156 AB
.259/.341/.510, 28 2B, 25 HR, 84 RBI, 7 SB in 533 AB
18. Yonder Alonso, Padres
.330/.398/.545, 4 2B, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 0 SB in 88 AB
.309/.389/.508, 36 2B, 17 HR, 84 RBI, 1 SB in 531 AB
19. Gaby Sanchez, Marlins
.266/.352/.427, 35 2B, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 3 SB in 572 AB
.271/.354/.449, 37 2B, 18 HR, 83 RBI, 2 SB in 576 AB
20. Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
.284/.346/.459, 29 2B, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 11 SB in 529 AB
.279/.339/.453, 31 2B, 17 HR, 76 RBI, 8 SB in 559 AB
21. Carlos Lee, Astros
.275/.342/.446, 38 2B, 18 HR, 94 RBI, 4 SB in 585 AB
.271/.341/.439, 36 2B, 21 HR, 89 RBI, 2 SB in 591 AB
22. Justin Morneau, Twins
.227/.285/.333, 16 2B, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 0 SB in 264 AB
.264/.326/.411, 21 2B, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 0 SB in 403 AB
If he stays on the field, he’s still going to have to adjust and be consistent. Chris Parmelee may be the best Twins first baseman to own going forward.
23. Justin Smoak, Mariners
.234/.323/.396, 24 2B, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 0 SB in 427 AB
.271/.359/.489, 31 2B, 22 HR, 83 RBI, 1 SB in 568 AB
This is the year, guys! Smoak stays healthy, has help with Montero coming over, and he develops. He’s still just 25!
24. Aubrey Huff, Giants
.246/.306/.370, 27 2B, 12 HR, 59 RBI, 5 SB in 521 AB
.261/.326/.409, 31 2B, 17 HR, 63 RBI, 4 SB in 535 AB
25. Carlos Pena, Rays
.225/.357/.462, 27 2B, 28 HR, 80 RBI, 2 SB in 493 AB
.231/.379/.491, 26 2B, 29 HR, 84 RBI, 2 SB in 519 AB
26. James Loney, Dodgers
.288/.339/.416, 30 2B, 12 HR, 65 RBI, 4 SB in 531 AB
.281/.341/.421, 34 2B, 14 HR, 70 RBI, 3 SB 546 AB
27. Casey Kotchman, Indians
.306/.378/.422, 24 2B, 10 HR, 48 RBI, 2 SB in 500 AB
.311/.386/.441, 31 2B, 13 HR, 63 RBI, 1 SB in 562 AB
28. Adam Lind, Blue Jays
.251/.295/.439, 16 2B, 26 HR, 87 RBI, 1 SB in 499 AB
.255/.310/.441, 18 2B, 29 HR, 84 RBI, 1 SB in 512 AB
29. Mitch Moreland, Rangers
.259/.320/.414, 22 2B, 16 HR, 51 RBI, 2 SB in 464 AB
.265/.329/426, 29 2B, 19 HR, 62 RBI, 3 SB in 520 AB
30. Todd Helton, Rockies
.302/.385/.466, 27 2B, 14 HR, 69 RBI, 0 SB in 421 AB
.294/.376/.459, 24 2B, 13 HR, 67 RBI, 0 SB in 432 AB
As a Cincinnati native and a sometimes homer for the Reds, I can’t say that I was disappointed by the fact that the Cardinals lost out on Albert Pujols when he signed his massive 10-year, $254 million deal officially on Saturday. You can’t always keep everyone that you like on your team, and the Reds and their fans will have to come to grips with that when Brandon Phillips, who hasn’t been able to reach an extension beyond the 2012 season, and Joey Votto, who will be a Free Agent after the 2013 season, leave for greener (literally, $$$$) pastures.
Pujols was a part of the St. Louis community, working with charities and even opening a restaurant. What Cardinal fans, who will blame Pujols for his “greed” in this contract, need to understand is that the Cardinals made this decision. They aren’t a New York, Boston or Los Angeles team, so when they signed Matt Holliday to his seven-year, $120 million deal in January of 2010, they knew then that they were changing the face of the franchise. However unfair his departure to Los Angeles feels to fans, you have ownership and management to blame.
The Cardinals couldn’t have fielded a team if they were to give both Holliday and Pujols massive contracts. Even having over 3 million fans and winning a World Series won’t get the revenue to St. Louis to survive those contracts. They took their chances on hoping for a “hometown discount” with one of the greatest players in baseball history and they failed.
I bet my life that Pujols, even if he ages poorly, will outperform Matt Holliday over the next several seasons. Holliday, whose best season came in 2007, hasn’t come close to his inflated Coor’s Field numbers since leaving Denver. In 345 games (a little over two seasons) as a Cardinal, he has a nice .314/.394/.543 slash, with 97 2B, 3 3B, 63 HR and 233 RBI. He also had the luxury of hitting around the most feared hitter in baseball.
If Pujols, in his worst season goes .299/.366/.541 with 29 2B, 37 HR and 99 RBI in 147 games and Holliday was worth $17 million a year to the Cardinals, shouldn’t the Cardinals have offered Pujols a 10-year, $300 million deal in January of 2010 and continued building around him with pieces? It’s not every day that you can sign a lesser player to a better contract than someone who could have been the greatest player in franchise history in the end, and that’s saying a lot with Stan “The Man” around. The Cardinals really screwed up a couple of years ago and the NL Central is now wide open due to their gaffe. When a player has a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 88.7 over 11 seasons (8.06 is his average and 8 is MVP quality), you know you’re going to have some issues actually replacing him. I’ll go out on a limb and say that the Cardinals never will.
If you assume that Alex Rodriguez will break Barry Bonds’ homerun record, which he has until 2017 to do with his most recent contract, A-Rod will need to hit just 133 homeruns over the next six seasons. JUST 133 homers is a big deal when you think about a 36-year-old who has had hip injuries and some steroid “issues” that have come about. Is he the greatest hitter of this generation? What is it that makes a player great? Production? Below are the greatest players of the current generation (have played in the last five seasons), showing their overall and average yearly production (162-games) and similar players that are members of Cooperstown.
1,291 R, 2,073 H, 455 2B, 15 3B, 445 HR, 1,329 RBI, 84 SB, 704/975 K/BB, .328/.420/.617
123 R, 197 H, 43 2B, 1 3B, 42 HR, 126 RBI, 8 SB, 67/93 K/BB
Hall Comparisons: Johnny Mize, Joe DiMaggio, and Duke Snider;
1,824 R, 2,775 H, 495 2B, 29 3B, 629 HR, 1,893 RBI, 305 SB, 1,911/1,166 K/BB, .302/.386/.567
123 R, 187 H, 33 2B, 2 3B, 42 HR, 128 RBI, 21 SB, 129/79 K/BB
Hall Comparisons: Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays, and Jimmie Foxx;
1,544 R, 2,574 H, 547 2B, 20 3B, 555 HR, 1,831 RBI, 38 SB, 1,813/1,329 K/BB, .312/.411/.585
109 R, 181 H, 38 2B, 1 3B, 39 HR, 129 RBI, 3 SB, 128/94 K/BB
Hall Comparisons: Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson;
852 R, 1,597 H, 346 2B, 13 3B, 277 HR, 984 RBI, 29 SB, 1,009/643 K/BB, .317/.395/.555
102 R, 191 H, 41 2B, 2 3B, 33 HR, 118 RBI, 3 SB, 121/77 K/BB
Hall Comparisons: Hack Wilson
The best right handed hitter of this generation lies within the above four players. While legacies of Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez have been tainted due to their involvement in steroids, baseball remains a game of statistics and theirs are better than others. Rodriguez’s numbers have also been tainted by injuries, as he has played in an average of just 124 games since the 2008 season. Pujols (31) and Cabrera (28) have plenty of time remaining to continue adding to their careers, but they also could fall short due to injury or personal issues (Cabrera’s previous battles with alcoholism are well documented). Regardless, put who you think the best hitter of this generation is in a comment. I’d love to see who others feel rank at #1. I would go with Pujols based on the longevity of his production without any negative character flaws (besides playing for the Cardinals, but he didn’t have a choice in that). Beyond that, all four of these guys would be a fine choice. Let me know if I left someone out, as well!