Results tagged ‘ Dusty Baker ’
The Second Annual Baseball Haven “I’m Always Right Before the Media Figures It Out” Awards are officially ready, just one day after the season. These guys may not win the awards below, but they certainly SHOULD.
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
.330/.393/.606, 109 R, 40 2B, 44 HR, 139 RBI, 4 SB
Cabrera gets the award because he won the first Triple Crown in MLB since Carl Yastrzemski won it in 1967, AND because he carried the Tigers into the postseason in September and early October, blasting 11 home runs, driving in 30 runs and posting a 1.071 OPS in 31 games. He moved to a position, third base, to accommodate the acquisition of Prince Fielder. No one ever said that he would make a difference there defensively, but his .966 fielding percentage was still better than the league average for third baseman, .952. Sure, his WAR was lower than Mike Trout, but Mike Trout is at home and Cabrera proved his worth in 2012.
NL MVP: Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
.336/.408/.549, 78 R, 39 2B, 1 3B, 24 HR, 103 RBI, 1 SB
Posey led MLB in batting average and OPS+, handling catching duties and occasionally playing first base to give his reconfigured knee together after a devastating injury in 2011. Posey’s absence from the Giants 2011 season may have had a lot to do with their inability to make the playoffs after winning the 2010 World Series over the Texas Rangers. Posey’s transformation from a collegiate shortstop to a top-level offensive catcher has gone about as smoothly as anyone could have anticipated. Even while playing in an extreme pitcher’s park, AT&T Park, Posey is one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, RHP, Detroit Tigers
17-8, 2.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 238.1 IP, 239:60 K:BB
Verlander’s statistics in 2012 were not as impressive as his totals in 2011, but that doesn’t make him any less impressive. Verlander was the lone consistent starter for most of the 2012 season for the AL Central champion Tigers, and he scored a relationship with Kate Upton on top of that. The man is just a winner. The filth that he possesses rivals only Larry Flynt.
NL Cy Young: Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
19-9, 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 217 IP, 170:49 K:BB
He pitches in an awful park for pitchers, he is on one of the best teams in the National League, and he has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last two seasons, so Cueto deserves this award. While he doesn’t pitch in a major market and he did have a few stretches where he seemed to “lose it”, Cueto finally tossed over 200 innings, and, after suffering through a rough spot, he dominated late in the season. If you put the ballpark factor into play here, Cueto would garner many more votes. He should win, but it is unlikely thanks to the New York bias and the cool story that comes along with R.A. Dickey.
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics and Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles
Who says you can’t share an award? These two managers deserve some sort of plaque and a key from their respective city’s mayors for the work that they did this season. With the high spending Angels and Rangers out west for the A’s and the Red Sox and Yankees in the east with the O’s, the teams found creative ways to maintain a solid group of players on their rosters through trading and drafting well over the last several seasons. As both teams head into the ALDS, thanks to Friday’s victory over Texas for Baltimore, this could only be the beginning for one of these teams.
Honorable Mention:Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays; Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox;
NL Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants
With his All-Star outfielder banned 50-games for a positive drug test, his one-time ace, Tim Lincecum, posting a 5.18 ERA over 33 starts, and injuries to Pablo Sandoval throughout the season, Bochy managed to lead the Giants over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. While you can question him for his lack of faith in Brandon Belt during most of the season, he seemed to make the right decision more often than not with his club.
Honorable Mention:Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds; Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals; Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates; Davey Johnson, Washington Nationals;
AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
.326/.399/.564, 129 R, 27 2B, 8 3B, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB
A WAR of 10.7 in his rookie season, which led the league, shows just how special Trout is going to continue to be. Having just turned 21 years old in early August, the future is as bright as a supernova, as Trout’s power, speed, on-base skills, and fielding ability will continue to make him a perennial MVP candidate. You can certainly argue that he should win the award this season over Miguel Cabrera, but due to the Tigers landing in the playoffs and the first Triple Crown in 45 years, it has to go with the Tigers chubby third baseman.
NL Rookie of the Year: Todd Frazier, INF/OF, Cincinnati Reds
Frazier was a monster while the Cincinnati Reds went two months without their best player, Joey Votto. He finished the 2012 season with an .829 OPS was second to Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario amongst NL rookies…I see you thought I was going to say Bryce Harper there, but he posted an .817 OPS. While Harper energized his club upon his callup and had one of the best quotes of the year (“That’s a clown question, bro), it was Frazier’s bat and versatility that helped the Cincinnati Reds win the NL Central.
Comeback Player of the Year: Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres
2011: .289/.374/.399, 43 R, 28 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 44 RBI, 13 SB
2012: .286/.376/.498, 95 R, 31 2B, 2 3B, 31 HR, 115 RBI, 17 SB
Petco can put bats to sleep like the vets that work out of the back of actual Petco stores can do to your pet; however, Headley was one of the few bright spots for the rebuilding San Diego Padres, delivering MVP-like numbers for the Friars. At the age of 28 and with two years of arbitration eligibility, you have to wonder if the Padres are going to trade him this offseason for more prospects, especially after his surprising season and how often Headley’s name came up at the trade deadline.
Honorable Mention: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees;
Jeff Kent made a living hitting in front of Barry Bonds, averaging a .297/.368/.535, 29 HR, and 114 RBI line over six seasons. Joey Votto is having the same effect this season for Cincinnati, as the player hitting directly in front of him have gone .356/.406/.576 line, as teams continue to pitch around Votto, who is tied for the Major League lead in walks with 13.
Zack Cozart is now leading off for the Reds after raking .350/.409/.575 in 40 at bats in front of Votto. He isn’t doing well at leadoff yet, walking once but going hitless in his first 8 at bats. Drew Stubbs moved up in the order to 2nd when Dusty Baker moved Cozart to leadoff. He is only hitting .538/.571/.846, going 7 for his first 13 there.
Take a look at production by batting order for the Red thus far:
Obviously, having performed well since the recent moves, the lineup may stick for a while. If Brandon Phillips is hitting 4th between Votto and Jay Bruce, this lineup would remain one that fans can’t complain much about. However, if Baker continues putting Ryan Ludwick or Scott Rolen in the 4-spot, when they’ve gone a combined 4 for 42 with 1 RBI (.095), this doesn’t make sense. The Reds need Phillips healthy and he has been hampered by a hamstring injury most of the season. He has a .333/.333/.667 line in just 9 at bats at #4.
If Phillips isn’t playing and the Reds want production, they need to bat Votto in front of Jay Bruce at 3 and 4. Bruce has struggled to a .229/.250/.458 line in the 5-spot without protection behind him, striking out 13 times in 48 at bats. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were both left handed hitters and seemed to hit well batting back to back in the Yankees order in the late 1920′s. I wonder if Miller Huggins and his three championships and six pennants had a book on how to put lineups together like managers today?
The Cincinnati Reds have made big news for the last few months between their big trade for Mat Latos and the huge contracts to both Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. One thing they are not in the news for, to this point, is their incredible hitting. The Reds are currently 28th in the Majors in hitting, with a team average of .191 through 9 games. Take a look at their hit totals for the year:
10, 6, 8, 3, 4, 14, 5, 5, 2.
Keep in mind that the 14 hits they had against the Cardinals on Wednesday, they left 13 on base, and the 10 hits from Opening Day had 9 left on base. The Reds just aren’t scoring enough runs because they can’t get any hits. They haven’t had the easiest schedule in the world with the new-look Miami Marlins, the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, and the improving Washington Nationals, but a 3-6 record wasn’t what fans and ownership was looking for as the team heads into win now mode.
You can’t blame Zack Cozart (.313), Joey Votto (.290), or Brandon Phillips (just 16 at bats due to injury to hamstring, .250), but just about everyone else could be labeled an issue. Jay Bruce has 3 HR and 6 RBI with an .802 OPS, but he has 8 K’s in 34 at bats and a .235 average. Drew Stubbs is at .147 with 12 K’s in 34 at bats, certainly not improving on his atrocious contact rate that worried the club last year. Ryan Ludwick (.150), Ryan Hanigan (.118), and Scott Rolen (.111) round out the apparent regulars, while Devin Mesoraco (.167 in 12 at bats) and Chris Heisey (.188 in 16 at bats) continue to be youngsters losing out to the veteran loving, toothpick toting Dusty Baker.
Regardless of who is playing, it doesn’t seem to be working. As the Reds looked to capitalize on the departure of NL Central foes Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the long-term commitments and trades developed expectations that, to this point, they have fallen well short of. With such dynamic talent in Votto, Phillips, and Bruce, the lineup is capable of more. The issue could be Phillips’ absence, the fact that Dusty HAS TO split up Votto and Bruce (and has done so with Scott Rolen and Ryan Ludwick in the clean-up spot), or it could be a challenging schedule. Expectations are high and if they keep flopping like they are, fans aren’t going to show up in Cincinnati, and if fans don’t show up, they already need to start wondering about how they are going to be paying Phillips and Votto in the coming seasons.
Yonder Alonso started at 3B on Monday night against Philadelphia. He played all 9 innings…he didn’t have to field a ball. However, he did have to catch a ball thrown by Ryan Hanigan six times after strikeouts during the game. Shocking. I didn’t think he could play defense. But…Alonso did go 0 for 4, so he deserves a couple of days out of the starting lineup…though, he did get two plate appearances after coming in as a DEFENSIVE replacement in the 6th inning, taking the pitcher spot in the lineup as part of a double-switch. Tonight, though, he’s out of the lineup again. Why? Because Cliff Lee is on the mound.
Dusty goes by “the book,” you know, that old, out-of-date “how-to” guide. Basically, if you’ve ever seen a Dummies Guide To _______ at your local bookstore, this is how you manage baseball games. Yonder Alonso can’t hit Cliff Lee. Three-Quarters of Major League Baseball can’t hit Cliff Lee. Yonder Alonso CAN hit left-handed pitchers. He has a .313 average against them this season at Triple-A in 112 at bats, but he is just 1 for 6 in Cincinnati, which is the same sample size that doesn’t allow Alonso to play left field more frequently, having just six chances there, too.
I am just a lowly blogger but I still know something. Yonder Alonso is one of the best eight guys on the team. If you won’t play him in left, where Adam Dunn and Jonny Gomes have played miserably over the last decade, why would you put him at third, a position he hadn’t played since high school? It’s as if Baker and Walt Jocketty are doing everything they can to screw the guy up. They are doing one of two things: 1) Over-managing and over-thinking things by using “the book,” or 2) saving Alonso from reaching 150 at bats so that he can win Rookie of the Year in 2012. The Reds didn’t do this to Austin Kearns and Adam Dunn. If it is about switching positions, maybe Votto should go to left, Pete Rose played five different positions that he was an All-Star at. Votto isn’t moving though, because, as he says, Alonso hasn’t proven that he can hit Major League pitching…and Votto is a good first baseman. Didn’t Albert Pujols play third again this season for St. Louis? Isn’t Joe Mauer playing more games away from catcher?
It seems like the Reds have a lot of people who are more determined to do things “their-way” instead of what is good for the team and what the fans want. The fans want a reason to go to the park. A talented young player does that. Apparently, ownership doesn’t care about that either. That’s what has killed the Cincinnati Bengals. I guess that is just how Cincinnati is. As long as the bottom line isn’t in the red, it’s working. Forget about the fan. The choice of a few will continue to make the choice of the many, the fans suffer. Just like government. What a crock!
Another Reds rant because it is my blog…deal with it. I don’t really care for Dusty Baker, if you haven’t been reading or you don’t know me. I wasn’t a fan of his shenanigans in Chicago with the young pitching, I’m not a fan of his toothpick, and I am not a fan of his veteran loyalty. With that being said, he was the luckiest S.O.B. on the planet last season, when everything he did went right. It’s unfortunate because it gave hope to Reds fans. This season hasn’t gone his way, though. He forced the Reds to keep Ramon Hernandez at the trade deadline because he didn’t want Devin Mesoraco gaining experience in a playoff run…how has that worked out now that the Reds are 13 1/2 games out? But that isn’t it…Now, Baker has really crossed the line and become dumber than any manager that I have ever witnessed in Cincinnati, even the one who gambled on games didn’t do things this STUPID.
Yonder Alonso is 24-years-old. He is a first baseman long-term because he is not very fast, smooth, or any other desired adjective that goes along with an outfielder. However, there isn’t a DH in the National League and Joey Votto has earned the right to stay at first. Therefore, you HAVE to move Alonso. Left field is the easy choice, especially because you have Bruce in right and Stubbs in center, but even more so because you can afford to have him there. Baker can’t stand that Alonso has made some defensive mistakes in left. Alonso has played 29 innings in left – 6 chances, 5 putouts…1 error. How in the HELL are you going to judge the future of a player on 6 chances when you are nearly 14 games out on August 24th? Alonso didn’t start either game in a double header today, clarifying his doghouse reputation that he has earned by making ONE error in left field in 29 innings and SIX opportunities to get an out.
Alonso can afford to make a mistake here and there defensively when MIGUEL CAIRO is hitting fifth at any point in a season for your team. Alonso can’t afford to be on the bench when he is hitting .448/.529/.759 in 29 at bats. It’s a small sample size but you’re going to waste your time putting Fred Lewis and Dave Sappelt in the lineup instead? Sappelt is a decent 4th outfielder long-term, I don’t want to rip him apart, but Alonso is the real deal with the bat.
Look…if Boston could put Manny Ramirez in left field for 8 seasons with the Green Monster behind him, I think that Yonder Alonso can play left in Cincinnati. Want to know who else played an UGLY left field? Jonny Gomes. He started 253 games for the Reds in the outfield from 2009 until he was given to the Nationals in July. He played below league average defense there, posting 12 errors in those 253 games and a .985 fielding percentage. The future of Cincinnati Reds baseball depends on the bats of young players and the arms of young pitchers that are developed in the system. Walt Jocketty isn’t going to hand out a six-year, $120 million deal to anyone while the G.M. of a small market like Cincinnati. Dusty Baker isn’t going to be here in 2013, but guess who is…Yonder Alonso. Get his ass in the lineup, Baker – you and your career .985 fielding percentage aren’t one to judge someone else’s deficiencies in the outfield.