Posted tagged ‘Evan Longoria’

AL Gold Glove winners announced

November 9, 2010

And the players/managers did better than normal.

The obvious complaint is Derek Jeter. We all know that. There cannot be one person who seriously thinks he is better than Alexei Ramirez or Cliff Pennington or Elvis Andrus.

But at least Franklin Guitierrez got some recognition and Tori Hunter was finally dropped. I think F-Guit was recognized more for past years performances and Hunter was only dropped because he moved to right field, a clue to the voters he isn’t that great, but it’s a moot point.

Evan Longoria beating out Adrian Beltre at third is another vote to take note of.

I would have had Brett Gardner in the outfield, but you can’t complain with who was chosen and it makes up for the Yankees having Jeter selected, undeservedly, again.

And my boy Robbie Cano finally wins a Gold Glove. Maybe undeserved, but he was solid defensively and it’s a choice you can’t complain about, like you can with Jeter.

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MLB award winners

November 7, 2010

Sorry for the delayed post on this topic, but without further ado here are my picks for the 2010 MLB awards.

AL MVP- Josh Hamilton (.359/.411/.633/.447/182, 571 PA, 7.0 aWAR)

Hamilton was just too dominant. I concentrated on WAR to figure out my MVP, along with several other factors. Since there are two versions of WAR, I got the average of rWAR and fWAR, which is what Tom Tango recommends. On here I pretty much use only fWAR, but for better analysis, I found the average of two versions this time around. While Hamilton didn’t look at hot with rWAR as he did with fWAR, his average was still the best and I put more stock in fWAR. Granted he missed a month, a month in which he could have slumped. But it also could have been his best month. He put up an insane .447 wOBA with positive defensive value playing center field. That’s an MVP to me.

Runner-ups: 2) Evan Longoria 3)Adrian Beltre 4) Robinson Cano 5) Miguel Cabrera

NL MVP- Joey Votto (.324/.424/.600/.439/177, 648 PA, 6.8 aWAR)

Offensively, Votto was nearly the Josh Hamilton of the NL. He absolutely killed the ball en route to leading the Reds to the NL Central division. Now, while his fWAR bested Albert Pujols, his rWAR was a full win behind Pujols, giving Pujols a better aWAR. However, the difference was due to difference in defensive metrics. According to fWAR, Votto was a slightly better hitter and they were equal defenders. According to rWAR,they were equal offensively, but Pujols was much better defensively.With SSS issues of defensive metrics and the difference in defensive metrics used in each version of WAR, I feel more comfortable saying Votto had the better year.

Runner-ups: 2) Albert Pujols 3) Ryan Zimmerman 4) Matt Holliday 5) Troy Tulowitzki

AL Cy Young- Felix Hernandez (249 IP, 3.04 FIP, 3.26 xFIP, 6.1 aWAR)

For most of the season I had Francisco Liriano as my Cy Young winner. But he got kind of ill in September and faltered a little bit while Felix picked up steam. I feel bad knocking Liriano for that, but he made the starts and wasn’t his usual self. So be it. Hernandez was a boss, leading the league in innings and excelling in all the things a pitcher can control- K, BB, HR allowed.

Runner Ups- 2) Cliff Lee 3) Francisco Liriano 4) Jered Weaver 5) Jon Lester

NL Cy Young- Roy Halladay (250 IP, 3.01 FIP, 2.92 xFIP, 6.9 aWAR)

This one is not even a contest. Halladay arguably had his best season as a professional, leading the league in innings and WAR. Looking at all his full seasons, he posted the best K/9 of his career and tied his best BB/9 at 1.08 walks per nine. He absolutely destroyed the National League.

Runner-ups- 2) Josh Johnson 3) Ubaldo Jiminez 4) Adam Wainwright 5) Roy Oswalt

AL Rookie of the Year- Austin Jackson (.293/.345/.400/.333/108, 675 PA, 3.1 aWAR)

While some people  might pick Neftali Feliz, I think Austin Jackson is a no-brainer. He played a more valuable position, was an above-average hitter and played superb defense. Putting up a 3.7 fWAR as a rookie is impressive. Jackson will be a solid player for Detroit for a long time. Also, if he didn’t get hurt, Caros Santana probably would have won the award. But he was called up late, and then missed a lot of time because of his injury. I put him at #5 anyway just to recognize him.

Runner-ups- 2) Brian Matusz 3) Neftali Feliz 4) John Jaso 5) Carlos Santana

NL Rookie of the Year- Jason Heyward (.277/.393/.456/.376/138, 623 PA, 4.7 aWAR)

Jason. Heyward. Is. A. Beast. I mean for real. He was twenty years and almost put up a .400 OBP in a full season. He had 91 BB despite spending some time on the DL. The dood can hit- and field. It was tempting to pick Posey, especially after watching his postseason, but Heyward had nearly 200 more PA in the regular season and was amazing in his own right. The NL rookie class had to have been one of the best ever.

Runner-ups- 2) Buster Posey 3) Jaime Garcia 4) Mike Stanton 5) Stephen Strasburg

AL Comeback Player of the Year- Colby Lewis (201 IP, 3.55 FIP, 3.93 xFIP, 4.0 aWAR)

In a tightly contested race, Lewis just edges Francisco Liriano. Yes, Liriano had a better season. BUT I find Lewis’ comeback more amazing- and he still had a fantastic season. Sure Liriano hasn’t been relevant since 2006, but Lewis pitched in JAPAN for the past two seasons. At least Liriano was hurt and fiddling around in America.

Runner-ups- 2) Francisco Liriano 3) Vernon Wells 4) Paul Konerko 5) Alex Rios

NL Comeback Player of the Year- Aubrey Huff (.290/.385/.506/.388/145, 668 PA, 5.8 aWAR)

Call this the Year of the Comeback. Much like the AL, there was an abundance of comeback players to choose from. Of all  my picks, this one was one of the toughest. But Huff had the best years of the players I narrowed it down to, and he had the worst performance of anyway in 2009. So he slides in perfectly as the winner.

Runner-ups- 2) Brett Myers 3) Anibal Sanchez 4) Kelly Johnson 5) Rickie Weeks

AL Most Improved/Breakout Player of the Year- Jose Bautista (.260/.378/.617/.422/169, 683 PA, 6.3 aWAR)

I think this one is a no-doubter. Jose Bautista went from a utility-role player to mashing 54 home runs. His WAR reached MVP level. Using fWAR, he bested his previous WAR high of 1.9 by five wins. Wowzers.

Runner-ups- 2) Daric Barton 3) Brett Gardner 4) CJ Wilson 5) David Price

NL Most Improved/Breakout Player of the Year- Andres Torres (.268/.343/.479/.363/128, 570 PA, 5.3 aWAR)

There were a ton of breakout players, but Andres Torres had the biggest breakout. He debuted in 2002 from 2002 through 2005 he never posted a fWAR above 0. Then he went to the minors from 2006 through 2008. He posted a 2.0 WAR last year in 75 games, but really broke out this season with a 6.0 fWAR. He hit well and was a monster of a fielder. Three players I want to mention for improving, but who didn’t even make my top five are Chris Young, Martin Prado, and Omar Infante.

Runner-ups- 2) Jay Bruce 3) Angel Pagan 4) Stephen Drew 5) Chase Headley

AL Relief Pitcher of the Year- Joakim Soria (65 IP, 2.53 FIP, 2.99 xFIP, 2.1 WAR, 2.18 pLI)

Joakim Soria did his best Mariano Rivera performance this season. Not only was he among the leaders in FIP, xFIP, and WAR, but he had the highest leverage index of the players I narrowed my search down to, meaning he performed like a beast in tougher situations than the other candidates for the award. He simply was the best reliever in the AL.

Runner-ups- 2) Matt Thornton 3) Mariano Rivera 4) Neftali Feliz 5) Rafael Soriano

NL Relief Pitcher of the Year- Carlos Marmol (77 IP, 2.01 FIP, 2.95 xFIP, 3.1 WAR, 2.04 pLI)

There were a ton of great relievers in the NL this season. Brian Wilson, Heath Bell, Matt Belisle, etc. But Marmol was the most dominant. His K/9 was 15.99. You read that right. 15.99. Sure, he walked more than five batters per nine, but chances are he would strike out the side before he would walk in a run. His K-BB was a +86. Brian Wilson had 93 STRIKEOUTS. And Marmol’s K-BB was 86. Simply amazing. Plus, he was among the leaders in pLI.

Runner-ups- 2) Brian Wilson 3) Heath Bell 4) John Axford 5) Matt Belisle

AL Silver Slugger Awards-

C- Joe Mauer (.327/.402/.469/.373/136)

1B- Miguel Cabrera (.328/.420/.622/.429/172)

2B- Robinson Cano (.319/.381/.534/.389/145)

3B- Adrian Beltre (.321/.365/.553/.390/143)

SS- Alexei Ramirez (.282/.313/.431/.322/97)

OF- Josh Hamilton (.359/.411/.633/.447/183)*

OF- Jose Bautista (.260/.378/.617/.422/169)

OF- Shin-soo Choo (.300/.401/.384/.388/147)

DH- Luke Scott (.284/.368/.535/.387/143)

* AL Offensive Player of the Year

NL Silver Slugger Awards-

C- Brian McCann (.269/.375/.453/.361/128)

1B- Joey Votto (.324/.424/.600/.439/177)*

2B- Dan Uggla (.287/.369/.508/.381/140)

3B- Ryan Zimmerman (.307/.388/.510/.389/146)

SS- Troy Tulowitzki (.315./.381/.568/.408/150)

OF- Carlos Gonzalez (.336/.376/.598/.416/155)

OF- Jayson Werth (.296/.388/.532/.397/150)

OF- Matt Holliday (.312/.390/.532/.396/153)

P- Yovanni Gallardo (.254/.329/.508/.363/130)

* NL Offensive Player of the Year

AL Gold Glove Awards-

C- Matt Weiters (1060 innings/5 DRS/13 FSR)

1B- Daric Barton (1331 innings/20 DRS/5 FSR/12.1 UZR)

2B- Robinson Cano (1393 innings/7 DRS/10 FSR/-0.6 UZR)

3B- Evan Longoria (1330 innings/15 DRS/20 FSR/11.1 UZR)

SS- Alexei Ramirez (1376 innings/16 DRS/12 FSR/10.8 UZR)

OF- Brett Gardner (1211 innings/16 DRS/12 FSR/21.9 UZR)

OF- Carl Crawford (1260 innings/14 DRS/15 FSR/18.5 UZR)

OF- Ichiro Suzuki (1411 innings/12 DRS/15 FSR/14.8 UZR)

P- Mark Buehrle

NL Gold Glove Awards-

C- Yadier Molina (1138 innings/6 DRS/19 FSR)

1B- Ike Davis (1263 innings/13 DRS/3 FSR/10.1 UZR)

2B- Brandon Phillips (1311 innings/0 DRS/18 FSR/9.7 UZR)

3B- Ryan Zimmerman (1189 innings/20 DRS/16 FSR/13.9 UZR)

SS- Brendan Ryan (1127 innings/27 DSR/11 FSR/11.5 UZR)

OF- Andres Torres (1120 innings/12 DRS/10 FSR/21.2 UZR)

OF- Jay Bruce (1199 innings/17 DRS/9 FSR/20.2 UZR)

OF- Michael Bourn (1189 innings/16 DRS/8 FSR/17.6 UZR)

P- Tim Hudson

Click here to see how we did on our pre-season award predictions!



Buster Olney breaks down the awards races

August 21, 2010

In a recent ESPN article, Buster Olney handicapped the AL/NL MVP and Cy Young races. The piece was interesting enough to draw my attention. I will go through each piece of the article to share my thoughts.

There are six weeks of baseball remaining, a quarter of a season, in which a lot can change. In 2004, Vladimir Guerrero mashed his way to the American League MVP Award by hitting .363 in September and hoisting the Angels onto his back: He generated 11 homers and 25 RBIs in that late push.

There is a lot more baseball to play in 2010. But as of today, here’s how we’d handicap the races for the two major awards in each league.


AL MVP

Cabrera
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. He leads the majors in OPS and RBIs and is tied for second in the AL in homers, all the while playing half his games in a pitchers’ park.

So far I have no complaints. While I believe Josh Hamilton is the MVP, I wouldn’t complain if Miguel Cabrera won the award. I know and you know OPS and RBI are junk stats, but in this case Olney is still picking a solid candidate to win the award.

2. Josh Hamilton, Rangers. He’s hitting .375 since the All-Star break, and .396 overall in home games.

No problems here. Although, saying he has hit .396 at home hurts his argument that Hamilton has been really good. Considering his BA is in the .350 range, it shows his home park has inflated his BA. Considering Olney takes a players home park into consideration- he did so with Cabrera- then Olney did not make a convincing case for Hamilton. My argument wouldn’t hinge on a stat like BA at all.

3. Robinson Cano, Yankees. The most important player in this lineup in 2010, and he has been excellent defensively.

That’s fine.

Others in the conversation: Delmon Young, Twins; Adrian Beltre, Boston; Evan Longoria, Rays; Paul Konerko, White Sox. But to be clear, there is an enormous gap between the top two candidates and the rest of the field.

Really Olney? Really? Delmon Young is in the conversation? What conversation? Young has finally put together a solid year offensively , but his defense continues to suck. His 2.0 WAR is average. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Orlando Hudson, Jim Thome, and Denard Span are all Twins players with a better WAR. That’s 5/9 of the Twins starting lineup alone. Young is not in the MVP conversation.

Paul Konerko is not in the conversation either. He has been good, not great. The worst part is that while Konerko is mentioned, a player on a better team who has had a much better season is not mentioned at all- Carl Crawford. That is a poor oversight by Olney.

NL MVP

Votto
1. Joey Votto, Reds. His numbers are basically running neck-and-neck with those of Albert Pujols — and Votto’s team is in first place, which will count for something in the voting.

Agreed.

2. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres. Numbers do not fully reflect what he means to San Diego’s success, between his defense and what teammates perceive to be an extraordinarily unselfish approach

Stoopid, just stoopid. Olney thinks he is the second most valuable player in the league, when is “only” the fourth most valuable player- at all first base alone! He’s having a fine season, but it doesn’t compare to Albert Pujols or Votto. The entire pitching staff, defense, and lady luck are the MVP’s of San Diego because they are winning due to those three things. Even with A-Gonz, the Padres offense is anemic.

3. Pujols, Cardinals. He’s having another great season.

Good analysis!

Others in the conversation: Aubrey Huff, Giants; Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies; and the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman, who will get a lot of top 10 votes. Again, there is a major gap between the top tier of candidates — Votto, Gonzalez and Pujols — and the rest of the field.

I will give kudos to Olney. He mentioned Zimmerman, a top three MVP candidate, which I was not expecting since he is on a last place team and gets a lot of value from defense. So I will excuse him for saying there is a gap between Zimmerman and Votto or Pujols, when Zimmerman might have the best case of the three.

AL Cy Young Award

Lee
1. Cliff Lee, Mariners/Rangers. His WHIP is a major league best 0.95.

Here’s one barometer of just how good Lee has been, from Daniel Braunstein of ESPN Stats & Information:

The lowest percentage of pitches thrown on 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1 counts:

Pct. K/BB
Cliff Lee 3.53 14.50
Roy Halladay 4.21 7.20
Ricky Nolasco 4.72 4.90
Scott Baker 4.92 3.90
Kevin Slowey 4.99 3.92
Phil Hughes 5.00 3.05
Carl Pavano 5.14 3.45
Josh Johnson 5.14 4.26
Roy Oswalt 5.20 3.36
Dan Haren 5.25 4.94
For the sake of comparison, the highest percentage of pitches thrown on 2-0, 3-0 or 3-1:

Pct. K/BB
Gio Gonzalez 9.93 1.81
Tim Lincecum 9.38 2.73
Wade LeBlanc 9.15 2.11
Derek Lowe 9.07 1.87
C.J. Wilson 8.81 1.80
Joe Saunders 8.66 1.62
Jaime Garcia 8.50 1.94
Brandon Morrow 8.44 2.55
Trevor Cahill 8.43 .95
CC Sabathia 8.37 2.34

Well, Olney took a weird route to his final answer, but at least he picked this one correctly. Lee is having his best season and arguably the best season since Pedro in 2000 (or Zack Greinke in 2009).

2. Felix Hernandez, Mariners. He’s been absolutely dominant in the second half, with a 1.93 ERA.

Felix has had a great second half, but he should not be second in this race. Francisco Liriano has been filthy this season, but Carl Pavano is getting all the attention in Minny. Who does Liriano need to jerk off to get some respect?

3. David Price, Rays. Fifth in ERA and tied for second in wins with 15

We know better than to use ERA and wins, but Olney doesn’t. So it’s hard to criticize him for this pick. But what about other great lefties instead of Price? Like, lets say, Jon Lester?

3a. Trevor Cahill, Athletics

No, just no. King Luck should not be considered. I like Cahill and he does a nice job garnering ground balls. But he relies on BABIP too much. He doesn’t strike many people out. So balls are put in play a ton against him. By getting ground balls he does a good job to help himself from giving up too many base runners via hits, but a .213 BABIP is absurd. That is not his talent level at all, which is why he should not be in the Cy Young running.

Others in the conversation: CC Sabathia, Yankees; Clay Buchholz, Red Sox; Jered Weaver, Angels.

JON FUCKING LESTAH!

NL Cy Young Award

Wainwright
1. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals. He has gotten better and better and better as the season has progressed.

No qualms here, although it should be Doc Halladay or Josh Johnson.

2. Tim Hudson, Braves. Having an incredible bounce-back season.

No. See Cahill, Trevor.

3. Roy Halladay, Phillies. He has a shot at 20 wins in his first season with the Phillies.

Open your eyes and look at the numbers, Buster. Halladay, a future HOF’er at this point in time, is having his best season. He should be 1 or 2 (if you like J-Johnson). Not three. Poor effort here.

Again, who does J-Johnson need to jerk off? 5.6 WAR, 2.27 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 3.16 xFIP. Yeah, nbd I guess.

A look at the Royals inability to find and produce talent

May 26, 2010

The Royals have been so bad for so long, but why is this so? They have not made the playoffs since the mid-80’s when they won the 1985 World Series. Since then, they have had 17 losing seasons and have had 100+ losses in four of those seasons. The Tampa Bay Rays were in a similar struggle after finishing in the AL East cellar in every year except for one leading up to the 2008 season where they made a World Series appearance seemingly out of nowhere. So how can a franchise like Tampa Bay do a complete 180 while the Royals continue to fail? Well, it all starts on draft day. When you are a small market team and your franchise is struggling the only answer is to produce and find great talent through the draft.

Lets look at who the Royals and Rays picked in the first round in each draft from 2000-2008. We won’t use the 2009 draft because many have not reached the majors yet.

2000 Draft:
Royals picked #4 and selected Mike Stodolka, P, HS
Rays picked #6 and selected Rocco Baldelli, OF, HS

Notable players selected after #4: Adam Wainwright, Chase Utley, and Sean Burnett who is a lefty specialist currently in the Nationals pen.

2001 Draft:
Royals picked #9 and selected Colt Griffin, P, HS
Rays picked #3 and selected Dewon Brazelton, P, Middle Tennessee State

Notable players selected after #3: Mark Teixiera, Gavin Floyd, Jeremy Bonderman, Casey Kotchman, and Mike Fontenot, and Aaron Heilman.

2002 Draft:
Royals picked #6 and selected Zach Grienke, P, HS
Rays picked #2 and selected B.J. Upton, OF, HS

Notable players selected after #2: Prince Fielder, Jeff Francis, Denard Span, James Loney, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels, Scott Kazmir, Joe Saunders, Jeff Francouer, Matt Cain, and Joe Blanton.

2003 Draft:
Royals picked #5 and selected Christopher Lubanski, OF, HS
Rays picked #1 and selected Delmon Young, OF, HS

Notable players selected after #1: Rickie Weeks, Nick Markakis, John Danks, Ian Stewart, Chad Cordero, Carlos Quentin, Aaron Hill, Connor Jackson, Chad Billingsley and Paul Maholm.

2004 Draft:
Royals picked #14 and #29 and selected Billy Butler, 1B, HS and Matthew Campbell, P, HS
Rays picked #4 and selected Jeff Niemann, P, Rice

Notable players selected after #4: Jered Weaver, Stephen Drew and Phil Hughes.

2005 Draft:
Royals picked #2 and selected Alex Gordon, 3B, Nebraska
Rays picked #8 and selected Wade Townsend, P, Dripping

Notable players selected after #2: Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Pelfrey, Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Colby Rasmus.

2006 Draft:
Royals picked #1 and selected Luke Hochevar, P, Tennessee
Rays picked #3 and selected Evan Longoria, 3B, Long Beach State

Notable players selected after #1: Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Max Scherzer, Travis Snider, Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek, and Ian Kennedy.

2007 Draft:
Royals picked #2 and selected Mike Moustakas, 3B, HS
Rays picked #1 and selected David Price, P, Vanderbilt

Notable players selected after #1: Matt Wieters, Madison Bumgarner, Jason Heyward, and Rick Porcello.

2008 Draft:
Royals picked #3 and selected Eric Hosmer, 1B, HS
Rays picked #1 and selected Tim Beckham, SS, HS

Notable players selected after #1: Brian Matusz, Buster Posey, Pedro Alvarez, Gordon Beckham, Ike Davis, and Justin Smoak.

The 2000 draft was a larger swing and miss for the Royals than it was for the Rays. Mike Stodolka is still in the minors and is almost 30 years old. He is not doing poorly there as he has a triple slash line of .287/.394/.444, but he is playing against competition that is much younger and less experienced than he is. The Rays selected Rocco Baldelli who was at least able to give his team some major league service time. The 2000 draft was a fairly shallow one. In 2001, both teams failed but the Royals could have had Gavin Floyd instead of Colt Griffin who is a mediocre player in the minor leagues. The 2002 draft would have been an embarrassing one to miss a nice piece of talent on since this draft was so deep. Both teams were able to get nice talent here. The 2003 draft had some very nice players but no superstar came out of this first round class. Christopher Lubanski is yet another Royals draft pick to not make the major leagues and he is currently playing in AAA Las Vegas in the Blue Jays organization. Meanwhile, the Rays at least got some service time out of Delmon Young. The 2004 class was another shallow one and both teams got good pieces. Billy Butler is probably one of the Royals best hitter and Jeff Niemann has been solid for the Rays this year. I consider the 2005 draft a fail for both teams because Alex Gordon has been one of the biggest busts in this draft but at least he was able to make the majors. Alex Gordon is an example of someone who absolutely dominated the minor leagues but could not put a solid season together in the major leagues. He has struggled with numerous injuries as well. Also, Wade Townsend= complete fail so don’t feel too bad Royals fans, the Rays failed too. However it is a shame because this draft class was almost as deep as the 2002 class and the Royals and Rays were two of the few teams who missed some nice talent here. However, the Rays would make up for it in the 2006-2008 drafts by selecting the best 3B in the game in Evan Longoria, David Price, and Tim Beckham while the Royals selected Luke Hochevar, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer. The Luke Hochevar selection in 2006 leaves you scratching your head and wondering what Royals scouts saw in him when Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Tim Lincecum were left on the board. David Price is dealing at the major league level while Moustakas is struggling in AA. The Rays made outstanding picks in these three drafts and coincidentally, this is when the Rays got a lot better as a team.

So is there a correlation here? Probably.

I also want you to note where the Royals draft picks were drafted from. Eight out of ten Royals prospects were drafted out of High School. Only four Rays prospects were drafted out of high school. Maybe these players were very misleading because they were playing against competition that was extremely inferior to the major leagues or even the minor leagues. Ironically though, the two Royals picks that did go to college probably turned out the best for the Royals. Even though Hochevar and Gordon haven’t produced much, at least they made it out of the minor leagues. It looks like the Rays suddenly learned how to draft after that horrible Wade Townsend pick.

So maybe the Royals organization should take a lesson from the Rays organization. Try drafting players coming out of college unless the said player is an absolute stud and has extremely high upside from the majority of scouts in high school like Jason Heyward or Justin Upton. Otherwise, don’t take the chance. Until the Royals learn how to draft, they will continue to suck.

The best player in Florida is…

May 22, 2010

… “Evan Longoria”

“Nah, man, it’s GOTTA be Hanley Ramirez”

“You’re crazy”

“Nah, you’re crazy”

Does the above diaglouge sound like a debate you and your buddy have had? No? Okay, well it a debate some writers and I recently had. So let’s take a deep look at the two and see who is the best baseball player in the Sunshine state.

Now, considering the two play different positions and play in different leagues, it makes a straight up comparison tough. But hopefully we can find an answer in the numbers, so lets see.

Hanley Ramirez: 660 G, 2934 PA, .315/.386/.527/.395wOBA/144wRC+ with 167 SB (77%)

Evan Longoria: 321 G, 1363 PA, .283/.360/.536/.382wOBA/137wRC+ with 23 SB (92%)

Offensively, Hanley has the edge. From 2007-2009 he posted three consecutive seasons of 150+ wRC+. That is insane- especially once you remember he is a shortstop. At this rate, he could go down as the best offensive shortstop in the history of the game.  Longoria is no slouch either though and is having a better 2010 in a harder division and league. In the end,  Hanley tops him in BA, OBP, wOBA, and wRC+. He also poses a threat on the bases. While a SB% of 77% isn’t anything to write home about, Hanley is capable of swiping 30+ bags in a season.

Offensive Edge: Hanley Ramirez

The next facet of the game is defense. Obviously shortstop is a harder position to play, but Hanley is simply average while Longoria is a monster. Going back to 2008, which spans close to 3000 innings, Hanley has had a UZR/150 right around 0. His +/- has been in the same range as well. Meanwhile, Longoria has arguably been the best defensive third baseman in baseball, and has a 16.4 UZR/150 dating back to 2008. Sure shortstop is harder, but Longoria gives you so much more value with his golden leather.

Defensive Edge: Evan Longoria

Now lets put it all together. One way to do this is with WAR. Using fangraphs, Hanley has already compiled 25.6 WAR in his career (164 batting runs, -30.8 defensive runs). His WAR/700 is 6.1. Evan Longoria has a career WAR of 14.5 (62.7 batting runs, 32.3 defensive runs) with a WAR/700 of 7.5.

Longo comes out on top because of his superior defense. But lets look deeper using Rally’s WAR which can be used to see how good a player is at everything.

Hanley Ramirez: 135 Bat Runs, 18 Bsr, 6 GIDP, 5 ROE, -13 TZ, 1 ifDP, 28 Pos Adj, 251 RAR, 25.5 WAR, 6.5 WAR/700

Evan Longoria: 33 Bat Runs, 5 Bsr, -5 GIDP, 2 ROE, 25 TZ, 2 ifDP, 3 Pos Adj, 104 RAR, 10.4 WAR, 6.3 WAR/700

Here Hanley edges Longoria. Offensively, we see his dominance. He is a straight up better hitter who can avoid DP, force errors, and is a better baserunner. But again, we see that Longoria is SOOOOOOOO much better defensively.

Verdict: Evan Longoria

This battle royale was extremely, extremely, extrememly close. Hanley is a better hitter. And is a better hitter at a tougher position. But Longoria is a fantastic hitter as well. What separates them is the glovework. Although Hanley is a decent fielder compared to his first couple seasons, Longoria is the definition of a Gold Glover. Using fangraphs WAR, Longo’s WAR/700 was over a run better than Hanley. When using Rally’s WAR, Han-Ram came out on top, but by the slimment margins. Give me Longoria.

This could go either way, depending on how much weight you put in the fact Hanley is a shortstop. But I’ll take Longoria- especially if outside factors were taken into consideration such as age and salary.

Misuse of Baseball’s Unwritten Rules

May 15, 2010

Baseball’s unwritten rules have been a hot topic ever since Dallas Braden vocally criticized Alex Rodriguez for running across “his” mound.  Braden proceded to throw a perfect game a short couple weeks later on mother’s day, of all days, and one would think that the unwritten rules would be left behind.  Alas, that is not the case.  A day after the perfect game took place, http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Braden-s-perfecto-could-ve-ended-on-an-unwritten?urn=mlb,239740, was on the front page of Yahoo.

In short, the article brought attention to Evan Longoria’s bunt attempt to lead off the 5th inning against Braden.  One of baseball’s debateable unwritten rules is that a hitter shouldn’t attempt to break up a no-hitter or perfect game with a bunt.  Regardless of how you feel about the unwritten rule, it’s obviously not meant to be used in the fifth inning of a ballgame.  Dallas Braden was 12 outs into the game.  That’s not even 45% of the way to the perfect game.  Anyone that was thinking about a perfect game at that point is insane.  Do you realize how often that happens?  I don’t count, but I’d imagine a pitcher goes 4 innings without yielding a hit on more nights than not.  That’s barely getting through the order once.

Yet this is what lingers in the wake of a perfect game.  Not just a perfect game, but a perfect game on mother’s day.  Not just a perfect game, but a perfect game on mother’s day by a young pitcher who lost his mother, and was raised by his grandmother who happened to be in the park that day.  This was the story of the year, and the story itself quickly became overshadowed by something that isn’t a story at all.

Baseball’s unwritten rules are unwritten for a reason.  They aren’t cemented, they aren’t absolute.  They’re about intent and playing the game the “right” way.  Longoria’s intent in the fifth inning is not to break up a perfect game, it’s to get something going.  You can argue the same thing in the eighth inning, which is why that’s a questionable unwritten rule to begin with.  However, the game was not defined by a possible perfect game in the fifth, no game is at that point.  A perfect game was not in Braden’s grasp, he wasn’t even half way there.  What Longoria did does not violate any rule, period.

Top 10 players you would build a franchise with

May 9, 2010

Its based on position, age, and salary. These things are huge when wanting to build a franchise around one player. So here we go:

10. Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves

Position : Pitcher
Age : 23
2010 Salary : 435k

Hanson is a great young talented pitcher. The Braves will have one of the better rotations in the future because of Hanson and Jair. He had a great rookie year posting a 2.89 ERA and a 3.50 FIP. He was a bit lucky. He even had a 80.3 LOB%. Hanson had a 1.18 WHIP. In 127 innings pitched he has a 2.6 WAR. Hes the real deal people.

9. Matt Wieters – Baltimore Orioles

Position : Catcher
Age : 23
2010 Salary : 400k

Before taking a major league at bat Wieters was described as Joe Mauer with power. I could see him making some noise in the next few years. The Orioles filled a vital position with him and he should be signed to a new deal this off-season. Wieters first season in the show would be a success in my eyes. He had a .340 OBP, .404 SLG, and a .324 wOBA. Not bad for a rookie. He also had a 1.3 WAR in 96 games. A young power hitter like Wieters will strikeout a lot, but he is the catcher of the future. Mauer and Wieters can possibly be battling for the best catcher title in the future.

8. Zack Greinke – Kansas City Royals
Position : Pitcher
Age : 26
2010 Salary : 7.5 million

Greinke came out of no where in 2009 to win the AL Cy Young award. KC has him for two more years after 2010. His 9.4 WAR led pitchers. You have to be simply amazing to win 16 games with the Royals run support. He wasn’t great until 2009, but many people expect big things from him. Including myself. In 09′ he had a 2.16 ERA and a 2.33 FIP. His LOB% was 79.3%. That is just crazy good. To have anything near 80% is great. His WHIP was 1.07. Greinke also ate innings up. Almost 230 total innings pitched in those he had 242 strikeouts. He could be a key piece to a contender in a two years.

7. Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers

Position : CF
Age : 25
2010 Salary : 4 million

The future of the Dodgers is Matthew Kemp. Like Lincecum, Kemp avoided arbitration by signing a two-year deal. Not too bad for the Dodgers either 2010 4 million and 2011 6.95 million. Kemp is known for his hitting, but I hope he will become a better fielder. In 2009 he had a 2.9 UZR, but in 2010 he already has a -11.3. I’m positive its just him taking terrible routes to the ball. For Kemp’s sake he hopes he can change that so hes not the next Ryan Braun.

.347/.485/.360

Plus his 5.0 WAR last year don’t look too shabby either.

6. Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies

Position : SS
Age : 25
2010 Salary : 3.5 million

Another young star locked up for a long time with a solid deal for the organization. Hes with the Rockies until 2014. Tulo’s contract don’t hit over 5.5 million until 2012. Colorado has a gem here in Tulowitzki. He plays shortstop good, and hits like a mad man. I’d consider him the second or third best shortstop in the league behind Hanley. A career .355/.471/.354 OBP/SLG/wOBA. He got to learn to not strikeout so much, but as one of those rare power hitting shortstops I guess the 19.7 K% comes with it. Tulo’s career UZR is 10.4. His value is high with a 5.5 WAR a season ago. Tulo is a favorite of mine and wouldn’t mind having a great hitter and good fielder in return for this amount of dough.

5. Tim Lincecum – Francisco Giants
Position : Pitcher
Age : 25
2010 Salary : 8 million

Lincecum is on pace to become one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever seen barring injury. He already has two Cy Young awards under his belt in four seasons as a starter. The Freak avoided arbitration by signing a two year deal for 8 million in 2010 and 13 million in 2011. Thats a ton of weed! Joking a side his stats are unbelievable. His ERA is 2.82 and his FIP is 2.71. Meaning his ERA is right around where he is supposed to be. His 75.5 LOB% is slightly above average. Lincecum also knows how to eat innings and strike people out. In 641 innings over four seasons he struck out 732 batters. Here are some other stats to check out.

WHIP – 1.13
tERA – 2.06
WAR – 20.8

His WAR last season was 8.2 tied for the second most among pitchers. I’d love to have this guy in my staff for years to come.

4. Justin Upton – Arizona Diamondbacks

Position : RF
Age : 22
2010 Salary : 500k

The Diamondbacks are getting a real steal here. They aren’t paying him a whole lot until I’d say 2013 where hes getting 9.75 million. He is locked in from 2010-2015. I see a great career ahead of Upton. His stat line goes…

.348/.478/.355

And you can only see this 22 year old right fielder can only get better. His WAR last season was 4. Upton is also a great defense. His UZR was 8.5 and his UZR/150 was 9.0. He figured something out last year because there was a dramatic increase in his defensive numbers from 08-09. In a small sample size this year it seems he will be even better this year. A good young all-round player, and cheap too!

3. Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins

Position : Catcher
Age : 27
2010 Salary : 12.5 million

Mauer is pretty expensive and after this season he’ll be getting 23 million annually until 2018. But Mauer will be much worth it. He is the best catcher in the game. Probably the second most valuable position in the MLB. His hitting numbers are crazy. Mauer’s career numbers look like this.

.408/.484/.384

These are crazy numbers since his rookie season in 2004. His career WAR is 28.7 but I believe we haven’t even seen Mauer’s peak. His MVP season is just the beginning of great seasons to come. If you were starting a franchise I couldn’t say you were wrong spending a ton of money on this guy. He had 8 WAR season just by hitting because catchers do not have a defensive metric. Indicating it would be even higher. Mauer also does not strike out a lot by seeing his 11.4 K%. Get ready to pay some incentives because this guy will be winning a few MVP’s in the next 10 years.

2. Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins

Position : SS
Age : 26
2010 Salary : 7 million

Hanley is pretty costly, but is an amazing talent at one of the more valuable positions in the MLB. I’d say shortstop is the #1 most valuable position in baseball. He is going to be a Marlin until 2014 unless trade. Ramirez finished 7th in WAR last season with a 7.1 WAR. Hanley can straight up rake though. In his 5 years in the majors he posted a .387/.530/.397 (OBP/SLG/wOBA) Like Longoria, Ramirez strikes out a bit, but not as much. He has a career 18.2 K%. So far through this season (small sample size) he has a 12.6%. So it might seem he will strike out less this year. His career BB% is 9.6. It should get higher, but he hits so well his OBP could be .400+ again this year. Hanley isn’t the greatest field either. He only had 1 season (not including his two games in 2005) where he had a positive UZR. Ramirez is such a great hitter though he don’t need his glove too produce.
1. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays

Position : 3B
Age : 24
2010 Salary : 950k

Longoria is the best option when it comes down to age, position and salary. He is only 24 years old and is the second best third basemen in the major leagues. Could be argued as the first best. The Rays are getting a really great deal with Longoria. He isn’t reaching the million dollar mark until next season, and is in his 2nd season of his 6 year deal. He was also had a top 10 WAR for batters last year with a 7.2 WAR. Longo is a very productive player here is his OBP/SLG/wOBA in his very short career. .359/.536/.381. It shows he gets on base. His BB% is 10%. Like other young power hitters his K% is in the mid 20’s. According to UZR (18.1) and UZR/150 (18.5) he is the best fielding third basemen in the MLB. In conclusion Evan can do it all. I expect his K% to go down as he becomes more experienced.