Archive for December 2009

Top 100 players of all-time: 40-31

December 31, 2009

40. Hank Greenberg

.412/.605/.453/56.9

Greenberg was a power hitter who led the American League in home runs three times and had a total of 331 homers. Greenberg won the MVP twice and made the All-Star game five times.

39. Jackie Robinson

.409/.474/.412/63.0
Robinson is one of the most well known players of all-time. He broke the color barrier in Major League baseball in 1947 while on the Brooklyn Dodgers.He was constantly taunted and threatened on and off the field due to his race. He won the Rookie of the Year in 1947 and the MVP award in 1949. He made six All-Star games.

38. Johnny Bench

.342/.476/.361/71.2

On my list Bench is the second best catcher of all-time. He was known for his defense, power, and clutch ability in the playoffs. Bench was apart of those great 1970 Reds teams. He won the Rookie of the year and two MVP awards. He was a ten time Gold Glove winner and made the All-Star game fourteen times.

37. Yogi Berra

.348/.482/.370/61.6

Berra is my number one catcher. He won three MVP awards and won ten World Series titles with the Yankees. No other player won that many in Major League Baseball history. He was one of the earlier power hitting catchers. He had 358 home runs. Berra made fifteen All-Star games. Also who doesn’t love a good Yogi-ism?

36. Gaylord Perry

1.18/73.3 %/3.06/96.3

Perry was known for his sinking fastball. He was also caught greasing the ball once in his twenty-two seasons, but said he did it his entire career. Perry was the first to win the Cy Young in both leagues. Perry was a five time All-Star.

35. Cy Young

1.13/64.1 %/2.82/146.0

Cy Young seemed to never have a sore arm. He pitched over 800 games and 7000 innings during a twenty three year career. He finished with more wins, innings pitched, games started, and complete games than any other pitcher. He will probably hold all those records to the end of time because the way pitchers are handled nowadays. In 1901 he won the Triple Crown.

34. Nap Lajoie

.380/.467/.399/104.2

Nap Lajoie was possibly the best player in MLB before the coming of Ty Cobb. He is one of the best hitters in history with over 3,200 hits. He won the 1901 Triple Crown for hitters.

33. Cap Anson

.393/.445/.389/99.2

For the early era Anson was a power hitter. Though he had only hit ninety seven total home runs. He led his league in RBI’s eight times and won two batting titles. Anson had 3418 hits in his twenty seven years as a player.

32. Sandy Koufax

1.11/77.4 %/2.69/54.5

From 1962-1966 he won 111 games and led the league in ERA- it was under 2.00 runs per game. He also led the NL in strikeouts, shutouts, and pitched four no-hitters. Along with a perfect game in 1965 he won three Cy Young’s, three Triple Crowns, and one MVP. Koufax made six All-Star games.

31. Bob Gibson

1.19/75.7 %/2.89/85.6

Some say he is the best big-game pitcher of all-time. Gibson almost won two World Series for the Cardinals by himself. In 1968, he enjoyed one of the most dominating seasons in baseball history, posting a 1.12 ERA and winning twenty-two games. He won nine Gold Gloves, two Cy Youngs, and one MVP. Gibson was an eight time All-Star.

MLBN’s Franchises of the Decade

December 30, 2009

9. Arizona Diamondbacks- 805 wins, -171 run differential, 3 playoff appearances, 3 division titles, 1 WS
8. Chicago White Sox- 857 wins, +408 run differential, 3 playoff appearances, 3 division titles, 1 WS
7 Minnesota Twins- 863 wins, +310 run differential, 5 playoff appearances, 5 division titles, 0 WS
6. Atlanta Braves- 892 wins, +912 run differential, 6 playoff appearances, 6 division titles, 0 WS
5. Philadelphia Phillies- 850 wins, +479 run differential, 3 playoff appearances, 3 division titles, 1 WS
4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- 900 wins, +691 run differential, 6 playoff appearances, 5 division titles, 1 WS
3. St. Louis Cardinals- 913 wins, +891 run differential, 7 playoff appearances, 6 division titles, 1 WS
2. Boston Red Sox- 920 wins, +1198 run differential, 6 playoff appearances, 1 division title, 2 WS
1. New York Yankees- 965 wins, +1273 run differential, 9 playoff appearances, 8 division titles, 2 WS

Honorable Mentions- Oakland Athletics, Florida Marlins

I think they got the top four right. I don’t see how an argument can be made against the top four in the order they were listed. The bottom 5 are where it gets tough. Three of the teams won a World Series and the other two did not.

Even though the Oakland Athletics did not win a World Series I would put them on this list instead of the Diamondbacks. The A’s were consistently very good in the first seven years of the decade. The Diamondbacks were up and down throughout the decade in a weak division so despite their WS title they get bumped off this list.

I would also switch the White Sox and the Twins. They both performed similarly during the decade, but the White Sox won a championship.

I would also switch the Braves and Phillies. The Braves won 42 more games, had a much better run differential, and won twice as many division titles. Basically, the Braves were better for longer at the beginning of the decade than the Phillies were at the end of the decade. The WS title the Phillies won makes them interchangeable, though.

Yanks Strike Gold… Again

December 23, 2009

Money can make people do crazy things, and that saying held true as Atlanta dealt a legitimate ace, Javier Vazquez, for organizational depth and a teenager yesterday.  Vazquez, owed $11.5 million this coming season, was traded along with Boone Logan to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino.

It’s never a good thing when the most recognizable name you receive is Melky Cabrera.  The Melk-man, best used as a fourth outfielder, will likely be forced into the starting lineup for the lightweight Braves who have been looking for hitting help all off-season.  Cabrera is known for his 10/10-power/speed combination along with a solid average, but his career high in OPS is .752 in his four years as a starting outfielder.  Possibly the most telling thing about this acquisition is where Atlanta stands with their current outfield.  The Braves boast arguably the best hitting prospect in baseball, Jason Heyward, and also have Jordan Schafer, a youngster who earned a ton of hype heading into opening day last year.  The fact that Atlanta added Melky and retained Matt Diaz could mean that Heyward, who is still very inexperienced, and Schafer, who is returning from wrist surgery, are not all that close to being ready to crack Atlanta’s big league roster.  Melky is under club control for the next three years, but I have a tough time seeing him fitting into future plans with the two I mentioned on the way and Nate McLouth already there.

The Braves also pulled in a couple noteworthy pitchers in this deal.  The Yankees drafted Michael Dunn, a hard-throwing lefty, as a starting pitcher.  After struggling in A+ ball, he was relegated to the bullpen where he seemed to find his calling, posting a 3.71 ERA in AA and 2.25 ERA in AAA before getting the call to the majors last year.  Going on 25 years old, it’s hard to imagine him having much potential, but his low-mid 90 MPH heat should make him a solid lefty-specialist, at the least.  Boone Logan, who Atlanta gave up, is comparable to Dunn, however.  Similar age, stuff and success make this swap basically a wash.

But the most intriguing member of this deal is the (alleged) 19-year old starting pitcher from the Dominicans, Arodys Vizcaino.  Vizcaino is one of the rare Yankees prospects who have not received much notoriety, but he proved to be worthy of it by dominating in A-ball last year.  Sporting a fastball in the mid-90s and off speed pitches that are reportedly well ahead of his age, Vizcaino has the promise of a top-end MLB starter.  In 10 starts, he provided a 2.13 ERA and a very impressive 11.06 K/9 while also limiting his walks moderately well, especially for someone his age with his stuff (3.19 BB/9.)

There is little question about what the Yankees are receiving.  Javier Vazquez was a Cy Young contender last year, posting a 2.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and his typical 8+ K/9 (9.77 last year.)  One of the most beneficial things for the Yankees will be his ability to eat innings.  Vazquez has never thrown less than 150 innings in his 12-year career, including 198 or more in each of his past 10 seasons.  While his first stint in New York was widely regarded as a disaster, he did manage to go 14-10 despite his 4.91 ERA largely because he was still able to troll deep into ball games, giving the Yankees 6+ innings on most occasions.  With Joba Chamberlain still susceptible to very short outings, Vazquez will go a long ways towards keeping the bullpen fresh throughout the entire season.

Vazquez should do more than just eat innings, however.  He is as talented as they come with the tremendous ability to miss bats and keep runners off base.  He has an arsenal of quality pitches and developed a much better slider since the last time you saw him in New York.  Yet, the big problem he had in New York still remains today, and that is his inability to limit the long ball.  Despite lowering his fly ball percentage to a respectable 35% last year (it’s usually up over 40%), he still gave up 20 bombs while pitching half of his games in the roomy Turner Field.  As was much discussed last year, no stadium in baseball conceded more home runs than the new Yankee Stadium, and this will likely provide some disastrous starts for Vazquez.

There is no doubt that the Yankees once again improved their team.  Vazquez completely solidifies a rotation that was already 80% there.  While it’s highly unlikely he repeats last year’s success, he should give the Yankees a quality start on most occasions and end up with an ERA in the mid-high 3s, which will translate into a lot of wins for the Bronx Bombers.  Atlanta is essentially dependent on the talented Vizcaino to save face in this deal.  While they gain nearly $10 million of cap space this year, that is a number Melky Cabrera will likely come close to erasing if they do in fact keep him the next two.  If Vizcaino can come close to his potential and the Braves wisely invest their newfound salary space, they could maintain their playoff contention this year while also improving their future.  If not, this will go down as yet another embarrassing deal that the Yankees took advantage of.

Top 100 players of all-time: 50-41

December 22, 2009

50. Ernie Banks

.330/.500/.358/64.3

Mr. Cub was an MVP in 1958 and 1959. He switched his position to first base half way through his career. He owns almost all Cubs slugging record and had 512 total home runs. Banks was a one time Gold Glove winner and an eleven time All-Star.

49. Dan Brouthers

.423/.519/.432/83.7

In his era Brouthers was a premiere power hitter. He led his league six times in batting, seven times in slugging average, four times in total bases, three times in doubles, twice in homers, and once in triples.

48. Charlie Gehringer

.404/.480/.404/80.9

The best second baseman in baseball during the 1930s, Charlie Gehringer led his league in assists seven times, and nine times in fielding average. At the plate he topped .300 thirteen times and won the 1937 Most Valuable Player Award when he paced the American League with a .371 average. He also was a six time All-Star.

47. Jeff Bagwell

.408/.540/.406/79.9

He was one of the games most consistent sluggers. He helped the Stros’ win four division titles. Bagwell hit at least thirty homers and drove in at least 100 runs in six consecutive seasons from 1996-2001, and eight times overall. Bagwell won the 1994 MVP and that season he had a .750 SLG. He was a one time Gold Glove winner and went to four All-Star games.

46. Carl Yastrzemski

.379/.462/.374/88.5

It must have been hard trying to replace Ted Williams, but he did a pretty good job in doing so. Yaz won three batting titles and seven Gold Gloves in front of the Green Monster. He is apart of the 3,000 hits club and 400 home run club. He won 1967 AL MVP and the 1969 Triple Crown. Yaz was an eighteen time All-Star.

45. Roberto Clemente

.359/.475/.366/83.6

Clemente is one of the games most famous players. To the point where people want his number retired. He was a member of the 3,000 hit club and won four batting championships. He was a member of two World Series Pirate teams. Clemente died delivering supplies to victims of the Nicaraguan earthquake in 1972.

44. Wade Boggs

.415/.443/.380/89.0

Boggs was a great hitter. He had 200 hits in seven straight seasons and accumulated over 3,000. He won five batting titles and won a World Series with the Yankees in 1996. Boggs made twelve All-Star games and won two Gold Gloves.

43. Eddie Mathews

.376/.509/.390/98.2

A feared slugger in his time, Mathews hit a total of 512 home runs. He was the only Brave to be apart of Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. He was apart of the 1957,1958, and 1968 World Series. Mathews was a nine time All-Star

42. George Brett

.369/.487/.374/84.9

Brett was one of my favorite past time players, even though he was a Yankee killer. He basically is the Kansas City Royals. Brett had over 3,100 hits and 317 home runs. He was one of the best post-season performers. He won the 1980 MVP and a Gold Glove. He made twelve All-Star games.

41. Frank Robinson

.389/.537/.406/107.

He won the triple crown and the MVP in both leagues and finished top ten in MVP voting ten times. He became the first black man to manage a team. He also hit 586 home runs. He was a Rookie Of the Year winner and a Gold Glove winner. Robinson also went to twelve All-Star games.

FYI

December 19, 2009

Recently, you have been reading some posts titled “Clearing the Bases”. This is a series we are doing throughout the rest of winter. We will be doing a post on all thirty teams and the topic can be anything- past, present, or future- thus the title.

Also, we have added some fantastic writers. We added someone who goes by the handle “wisf” and you can read his work here. That post has actually been our biggest read in the blog’s history. So yeah, he is pretty good. Someone else we added, “10th batter”, has been helping with our thirty team post series and YC will continue his top 100 players of all-time list.

Continue to read and enjoy.

Clearing the Bases: Washington Nationals

December 19, 2009

Within the next couple of years the Nationals have the potential to be a scary team. Last season the team has a few bright spots. Everyone knows that Ryan Zimmerman is a stud at third base. During the season they traded for Nyjer Morgan. This was Nyjer’s first full season in the majors and he performed well at the plate for a CF and he put up some ridiculous numbers defensively. Elijah Dukes had a great 2008, but fell off a cliff in 2009. Hopefully he can rebound. Josh Willingham has quietly put together some very nice seasons. In 2009 he had a .373 wOBA, 129 wRC+, and a 2.3 WAR. Jesus Flores put together a great season in limited time, but that is probably due to his .381 BABIP.

They also have some nice pitching. Jordan Zimmermann’s ERA is deceiving. He posted a 4.63 ERA, but his peripherals were great. He had 9.07 K/9, 2.86 BB/9, 3.17 K/BB, and a 3.59 FIP. It is too bad he will miss 2010 due to injury. In the 2009 Baseball America Prospect Handbook they said “[h]e profiles as a frontline starter – probably a solid No. 2 on a first-division club”. His FIP and K/BB from last season suggest that he is well on his way.

While Zimmermann is a righty with a high ceiling, the Nats also have a lefty with a higher ceiling. According to the 2009 Handbook he “has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the system”. That was before they drafted and signed Stephen Strasburg. Earlier this week Baseball Prospectus came out with their top 20 players for the next decade. They ranked him 8th and had to say this about him, “Sure he’s never pitched an inning in the majors, but if you were setting odds, who would be your pitcher most likely to win three Cy Young awards in the upcoming decade? If Strasburg isn’t among your top three, you are only deluding yourself. On a scouting level, this guy is Tim Lincecum with half a foot more height, a better changeup, and a command that’s a full two grades higher than the Giants’ star.” That is saying A LOT when comparing a guy that has not pitched in A ball to a two-time Cy Young Award winner.

The Nats also have a promising young SS in Ian Desmond. Before the season Baseball America had two SS prospects ranked ahead of him, but after hitting .306/.372/.494/.396 in AA and .354/.428/.461 at AAA he leaped over the competition and earned a September call-up. He should be the starting SS on opening day. The other position players, Christian Guzman and Adam Dunn, are in the last year of their contract and will most likely be used as trade bait before the season is over.

The most intriguing thing about the Washington Nationals is that a year after drafting Stephen Strasburg with the #1 overall pick in the amateur draft they have the #1 pick again and have the opportunity to draft 17-year old Bryce Harper. Bryce is a catcher from Las Vegas who hit a 570-foot HR at the Area Code Games last year and a 502-foot HR at the International Power Showcase at Tropicana Field. He made history when he decided to get his GED after his Sophomore year and attend Southern Nevada Community College. Last season he hit .626/.723/1.339 with 22 2B, 9 3B, 14 HR, 76 R, 55 RBI, 5 SO, and 39 BB in 115 at-bats. If the Nats decide to draft him, and they would be crazy not to, they could be well on their way to winning a World Series in a few years.

Johnson set to Return to the Bronx

December 18, 2009
The 2010 version of the New York Yankees is starting to finalize itself after the reports that Nick Johnson has agreed to sign a 1 year 5.5 million dollar deal with the club. Johnson a 1B by trade will not be filling that role on the Yankees, but rather will be inserted into the DH role formally filled by new LAA Angel Hideki Matsui. Many Yankee fans will look at this move on the surface as a downgrade, but a simple check of the numbers will show that Johnson may simply fit the lineup better.
Matsui (2009) – .271/.367/.509/131+
Johnson (2009) – .291/.426/.405/122+

Two things are clear, Johnson is far better at getting on base and Matsui hit for considerably more power. Both players are injury risks, but the 36 year old Matsui who needed his knees drained on multiple occasions was looked at as nothing more then a DH to the Yankees, at least with Johnson the Yankees have the flexibility of using him at 1B and at fives years younger the risk seems much smaller with Johnson.
Since November 4th when the Yankees brought home the World Series title, they have lost Hideki Matsui and according to reports today, it looks as if Johnny Damon will be considering a new home as well. Those losses open up two roles on the 2010 Yankee roster. First the DH spot as mentioned, and the need for someone to bat 2nd in front of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. With those two powerful run producers in the middle of the lineup, Johnson is the perfect fit. Sporting a career line of .273/.402/.473, Johnson has seen his power dip in recent years all the way down to eight home-runs and a .405 SLG% in 2009.
With Johnson is the fold the 2010 Yankee lineup projects as:
1.Derek Jeter – SS   .388/.444/.366
2.Nick Johnson – DH .414/.434/.375
3.Mark Teixeira – 1B   .395/.559/.406
4.Alex Rodriguez 3B .400/.550/.406
5.Jorge Posada C .372/.467/.365
6.Robinson Cano 2B .347/.489/.359
7.Nick Swisher RF .365/.467/.362
8.Curtis Granderson CF .353/.491/.366
9.Brett Grader LF .368/.375/.347
Melky Cabrera .341/.406/.330
Listed projections are OBP/SLG/wOBA found here. Gardner and Cabrera could platoon in LF or Gardner could slide into CF for defense while Granderson plays LF. In any case the lineup projects to have not a single regular with a wOBA below .330. The Yankees may not have been able to spend $450 million dollars this off season but they did accomplish the goals of getting cheaper and younger set out by Brian Cashman. By replacing Damon with Granderson and Matsui with Johnson, the 2010 Yankees are a combined $15 million dollars cheaper in those positions.
The Yankees may not have been able to spend $450 million dollars this off season but they did accomplish the goals of getting cheaper and younger set out by Brian Cashman. By replacing Damon with Granderson and Matsui with Johnson, the 2010 Yankees are a combined $15 million dollars cheaper in those positions, with players who are younger and at a minimum the equals of their predecessors.