Last Year’s Records
Texas – 90-72
Oakland – 81-81
Los Angeles – 80-82
Seattle – 61-101
Last Year’s Records
Texas – 90-72
Oakland – 81-81
Los Angeles – 80-82
Seattle – 61-101
With Spring Training well under way and the first games starting very soon, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made.
Last Year’s Records
Tampa Bay – 96-66
New York – 95-67
Boston – 89-73
Toronto – 85-77
Baltimore – 66-96
You know, I keep planning on writing about the Hall of Fame case of Kevin Brown, and major stories in the game seem to keep coming up. When I went to bed last night, it appeared that the trade talks surrounding Adrian Gonzalez had been heating up, and that teams besides just the Red Sox were involved. When I woke up this morning, it appears that the other teams have fallen by the wayside, and that the Red Sox are very close to acquiring Gonzalez from the Padres.
According to MLBTR, the players involved have been confirmed, but the things holding up the trade remain a physical for Gonzalez and the contract extension discussions as well. The package of players seems to have reached a general consensus, if not complete confirmation for the public. Let’s take a look at how this trade looks:
Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my 3B rankings.
Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we have been voting on our award winners for the regular season. Previously I have announced my votes for the Connie Mack awards (Best Manager of the Year), the Willie Mays awards (Top Rookie), the Goose Gossage awards (Top Reliever), and the Walter Johnson awards (Top Pitcher). Only one set of awards left to give out, and it’s the big one: The Stan Musial award, given to each league’s most valuable player.
Every season there seems to be a real debate as to what should be considered for the league’s most valuable player. It’s become pretty clear that there is (or at least should be) a difference between who is the best player and who was the most valuable to his team this season. Well, here’s my criteria (at least how I see it anyway):
Value to their Team
It becomes extremely hard for me to argue that a player who has a great season on a team with a lot of great players is more valuable than a player who has a great season on a team that doesn’t have a lot of good players on it. When I look at it, I start looking at how the team would perform without the player. If the player I am looking at were to miss extended time, would their team be able to easily replace what he does, or would they struggle until he returned to form?
The Complete Player
It becomes extremely important in my opinion, that for a player to be the most valuable player, they have to provide at least some value on both sides of the game. Clearly, there is value to a player who plays excellent defense in addition to a player who hits extremely well. To me, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a player needs to steal a lot of bases and hit a lot of home runs on the offensive side, but they should clearly be pretty close to elite for what they do. And in terms of players who are primarily designated hitters, to me they have to be far and away the most obvious candidate for them to get a lot of votes. While it is a position in the game, I think that it is important to find a way to offset the value they are not providing in the field.
I tend to view pitchers the same way as designated hitters in terms of the most valuable player. They would need to be unbelievably dominant to move ahead of top level position players.
The Big Stats
At this point, it’s pretty much impossible to ignore what the statistics tell us overall. It becomes hard to argue that there isn’t a judgment to be made when looking at value with regard to home runs, stolen bases, runs scored, runs batted in, and batting average, among many others. That said, it is something I look at, but it doesn’t become a spot where I just make a judgment based entirely on the statistics.
With all that (phew!), here’s my top candidates for the AL Stan Musial award. Players are listed from east to west, and my vote will be at the bottom. For this award, it’s a 10 person ballot. Also, when you’re talking about the best of anything, it invariably ends up a bit nit-picky when it comes to differentiating candidates. Everyone on this list had a great season, and it just comes down to trying to determine small ways in which one was better than the rest. There’s not a whole lot to say about each player as a result, and so instead here are the statistics that I looked at for each player, and then I’ll go into my logic for my decision.
For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.
Team #8: Los Angeles Dodgers
General Managers(since 1994)
Fred Claire (1994-1998): 397-347
Kevin Malone (1999-2001): 249-237
Dan Evans (2002-2003): 177-147
Paul DePodesta (2004-2005): 164-160
Ned Coletti (2006-Current): 349-299
All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.
|Position||Name||Acquired||Years with Org.
||Stats with Organization
|C||Russell Martin||2002 – 17th Rd||8||2 All Star Appearances, 1 Gold Glove, 1 Silver Slugger
667 gm, .272/.365/.396, 54 HR, 300 RBI, 66 SB
|Currently with Org.|
|1B||Paul Konerko||1994 – 1st Rd (13)||4||55 gm, .212/.271/.298, 4 HR, 16 RBI||Traded to CIN – 7/4/98|
||2004 – 1st Rd (28)||6||230 gm, .262/.340/.379, 12 HR, 86 RBI, 5 SB||Traded to CHC – 7/31/10|
|3B||Adrian Beltre||Int’l FA – 1994||10||1 Silver Slugger
966 gm, .274/.332/.463, 147 HR, 510 RBI, 62 SB
|Left via Free Agency – 10/28/04|
|SS||Juan Castro||Int’l FA – 1991||8+1+1||270 gm, .205/.258/.271, 3 HR, 32 RBI, SB||Traded to CIN – 4/1/00|
|LF||Shane Victorino||1999 – 6th Rd||5||No Major League Appearances with Org.||Rule 5 Selection of PHI – 12/13/04|
|CF||Franklin Gutierrez||Int’l FA – 2000||4||No Major League Appearances with Org.||Traded to CLE – 4/3/04|
||2003 – 6th Rd||7||1 Gold Glove, 1 Silver Slugger
588 gm, .289/.338/.472, 81 HR, 310 RBI, 101 SB
|Currently with Org.|
|DH||James Loney||2002 – 1st Rd (19)||8||586 gm, .292/.350/.442, 53 HR, 337 RBI, 24 SB||Currently with Org.|
|SP||Ted Lilly||1996 – 23rd Rd||2+1||4-0, 1.29 ERA, 28 IP, 26 K, 4 BB||Traded to MON – 7/31/98|
||2001 – 6th Rd||4||6-4, 5.50 ERA, 75.1 IP, 48 K, 39 BB, 1.566 WHIP||Traded to TAM – 1/14/06|
|SP||Clayton Kershaw||2006 – 1st Rd (7)||4||24-20, 3.24 ERA, 436 IP, 448 K, 210 BB, 1.298 WHIP||Currently with Org.|
||Int’l FA – 2007||3||25-28, 3.66 ERA, 448 IP, 321 K, 104 BB, 1.203 WHIP||Currently with Org.|
|SP||Chad Billingsley||2003 – 1st Rd (24)||7||1 All Star Appearance
57-37, 3.58 ERA, 780 IP, 703 K, 338 BB, 1.365 WHIP
|Currently with Org,|
|RP||Hong-Chih Kuo||Int’l FA – 1999||11||1 All Star Appearance
12-15, 3.34 ERA, 5 SV, 250.1 IP, 290 K, 101 BB, 1.194 WHIP
|Currently with Org.|
|RP||Joel Hanrahan||2000 – 2nd Rd||6||No Major League Appearances with Org.||Left via Free Agency – 10/15/06|
|RP||Dennys Reyes||Int’l FA – 1993||5||2-7, 4.16 ERA, 75.2 IP, 69 K, 38 BB, 1.533 WHIP||Traded to CIN – 7/4/98|
|RP||Takashi Saito||Int’l FA – 2006||3||1 All Star Appearance
12-7, 1.95 ERA, 81 SV, 189.2 IP, 245 K, 52 BB, 0.912 WHIP
|Left via Free Agency – 12/12/08|
|RP||Jonathan Broxton||2002 – 2nd Rd||8||2 All Star Appearances
23-16, 2.96 ERA, 77 SV, 367.1 IP, 483 K, 144 BB, 1.171 WHIP
|Currently with Org.|
|CL||Joakim Soria||Int’l FA – 2001||3||No Major League Appearances with Org.||Released – 10/12/04|
||2003 – 39th Rd||5||62 gm, .217/.348/.316, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 2 SB||Traded to PIT – 7/31/08|
|BN||Delwyn Young||2002 – 4th Rd||6||110 gm, .267/.331/.394, 3 HR, 10 RBI, SB||Traded to PIT – 7/31/08|
|BN||Xavier Paul||2003 – 4th Rd||7||55 gm, .230/.281/.333, HR, 12 RBI, 3 SB||Currently with Org.|
|BN||Miguel Cairo||Int’l FA – 1990||5||No Major League Appearances with Org.||Traded to SEA – 11/29/95|
||2003 – 18th Rd||7||38 gm, .159/.213/.183, 10 RBI||Currently with Org.|
June Amateur Draft
The Dodgers have done really well of late, getting a lot of their first round picks to the Majors in short order. Their current pitching staff relies on both Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw, who were both first round picks in the past 8 seasons. Blake DeWitt, recently traded to reacquire Ted Lilly, was also a first round pick, but he has not been quite the performer they expected yet. James Loney was also a first round selection, and has become a solid Major League regular. The team has also done well with other rounds, getting All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton (2nd), Gold Glove outfielder Matt Kemp (6th), and Delwyn Young (4th), who was used to help acquire Manny Ramirez during the 2008 season. Even some of the later round picks have been productive, with catcher Russell Martin being the best of the later round picks. There even have been some excellent players who didn’t really play much with the team, with both Paul Konerko and Shane Victorino becoming All-Star caliber players with different organizations.
International Free Agency
The Dodgers have always been considered to be one of the leaders in looking for new talent markets, and international free agency has done well for them as well. While they have had more success with some of the professional free agents they have signed (Takashi Saito and Hiroki Kuroda), they have also seen some success with signing young players out of both the Latin American countries as well as the Asian markets. Adrian Beltre had probably the best single season of any of the IFAs, earning himself a huge free agent contract after a 48 homerun seasonin 2004. They have also had some players who kind of got away who have turned into solid Major Leaguers, with Franklin Gutierrez and Joakim Soria the highest profile ones.
A-. The Dodgers, who generally have a lot more money to play with than a lot of organizations, still do very well to build their team from the inside, and add pieces as needed. They have had their few players who were essentially given up on (Victorino, Soria), but they generally haven’t missed on too many of their high level prospects. The team has also had quite a few homegrown All-Stars, with Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Takashi Saito all representing the Dodger Blue. They also have a lot of high end prospects on their way in the minors, led by Dee Gordon, Chris Withrow, Ethan Martin and Jerry Sands, and should continue to be competitive in the NL West.
These were my predictions for the All-Star rosters that I posted back on Saturday, representing my final thoughts on who I thought would make the team. Looking at how my predictions went, I am actually reasonably pleased with how they turned out.
AL: Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Robinson Cano, Evan Longoria, Derek Jeter, Carl Crawford, Ichiro Suzuki, Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Cabrera, Ty Wigginton, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Vernon Wells, Cliff Lee, David Price, Jon Lester, Trevor Cahill, Clay Buchholz, Mariano Rivera, Jose Valverde, Neftali Feliz
NL: Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, Jason Heyward, Ryan Braun, Adrian Gonzalez, Martin Prado, David Wright, Scott Rolen, Jose Reyes, Corey Hart, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson, Adam Wainwright, Matt Capps, Brandon Phillips
AL Backup Catcher: I chose Mike Napoli as who I thought would be there, not really looking at Victor Martinez since he was injured at the time I made the pick. I’m not sold I agree with John Buck as the replacement for Martinez over Napoli, but it’s not a brutal choice. I think overall Napoli is going to have a better season, but they are pretty similar so far.
AL Backup Infielders: Paul Konerko and Kevin Youkilis are in the final vote, and in their place on the roster are Ian Kinsler (the replacement for Dustin Pedroia) and Alex Rodriguez. Part of the issue I had here was that I was not aware that the teams were required to take a utility player, which is where Wigginton fits on the roster. As a result, I didn’t take a 2B. I also didn’t include Pedroia because of his injury status, but he’s definitely deserving. A-Rod is also having a pretty good year, and I think this was my own personal bias. Knowing that the Yankees’ manager is managing the All-Star team, I probably should have seen that one.
AL Backup Outfielders: I think Choo would have made the team had he not gotten hurt just prior to the announcement, but when I made the selection it wasn’t for sure yet what his status was. Torii Hunter was selected as the only initial Angels’ player, and I think he’s definitely deserving as well. I do have a hard time looking at Jose Bautista on that roster with Alexis Rios who did not make the team, and is hitting better. The fact that the Blue Jays had Vernon Wells as well seems really odd to me. I don’t know how the player vote went (as he may have been a selection that was made by them), but it seems like a bit of an omission. Brett Gardner is having a great year, and he’s probably the player I would have left off in lieu of another infielder had I known I needed one.
AL Pitching Staff
NL Backup Catcher: They selected Brian McCann over Miguel Olivo, and I don’t think that was a bad choice. Olivo is having a very nice offensive season, but McCann is the catcher for an excellent pitching staff on the first place Braves. The Capitol Avenue Club had a great post last week about how many times McCann has been snubbed when he was having amazing offensive seasons, so it is good to see a little bit of balance here.
NL Backup Infielders:
NL Backup Outfielders:
This is where I differed most from the actual team, as I missed 5 of them. 3 of them were the lone representatives for their team, so there’s three matching incorrect pitchers as well.
NL Pitching Staff:
Overall, I got 43 out of 68 correct. It has been a really interesting experiment to see how close I can get to predicting the teams, and next season I think the thing to remember to look at will be who is managing the teams. Had I done that, I probably would have gotten another 3-4 players correct. I think next year’s goal will be to get over 80% of the roster correct, especially now that I know about the utility player rule as well.
In terms of the roster makeup itself, Joey Votto and Kevin Youkilis stand out to me as the players who are the most deserving to be on the team but are not on there as of yet. I will be shocked if Votto doesn’t get onto that roster somehow, and a bit disappointed too.
Happy 4th of July to everyone! With the voting and teams to be announced today, I wanted to update what I thought would happen with the Major League All-Star teams prior to that:
These teams were created with the same rules that the managers in the game are required, that being 34 man rosters with 21 position players and 13 pitchers. Each team must also have a representative. The starters are based on the last voting results that were publicized.
Italicized selections are on the disabled list currently, and have been replaced with another player on the roster.
C – Joe Mauer (MIN)
1B – Justin Morneau (MIN)
2B – Robinson Cano (NYY)
3B – Evan Longoria (TAM)
SS – Derek Jeter (NYY)
OF – Carl Crawford (TAM), Ichiro Suzuki (SEA), Josh Hamilton (TEX)
DH – Vladimir Guerrero (TEX)
C – Mike Napoli (LAA)
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET), Paul Konerko (CHW), Kevin Youkilis (BOS)
2B – Ty Wigginton (BAL)
3B – Adrian Beltre (BOS)
SS – Elvis Andrus (TEX)
OF – Alexis Rios (CHW), Vernon Wells (TOR), Shin-Soo Choo (CLE), Brett Gardner (NYY)
DH – Jose Guillen (KC)
Starters – Cliff Lee (SEA), David Price (TAM), Jered Weaver (LAA), Jon Lester (BOS), Colby Lewis (TEX), Andy Pettitte (NYY), Shaun Marcum (TOR), Trevor Cahill (OAK), Clay Buchholz (BOS)
Relievers – Mariano Rivera (NYY), Neftali Feliz (TEX), Rafael Soriano (TAM), Jose Valverde (DET), Andrew Bailey (OAK)
C – Yadier Molina (STL)
1B – Albert Pujols (STL)
2B – Chase Utley (PHI)
3B – Placido Polanco (PHI)
SS – Hanley Ramirez (FLA)
OF – Andre Ethier (LAD), Jason Heyward (ATL), Ryan Braun (MIL)
DH – Joey Votto (CIN)
C – Miguel Olivo (COL)
1B – Adrian Gonzalez (SD), Troy Glaus (ATL)
2B – Martin Prado (ATL), Brandon Phillips (CIN)
3B – David Wright (NYM), Scott Rolen (CIN), Ryan Zimmerman (WAS)
SS – Jose Reyes (NYM)
OF – Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Jayson Werth (PHI), Justin Upton (ARI), Corey Hart (MIL), Colby Rasmus (STL), Carlos Gonzalez (COL)
Starters – Roy Oswalt (HOU), Ubaldo Jimenez (COL), Roy Halladay (PHI), Josh Johnson (FLA), Tim Lincecum (SF), Tim Hudson (ATL), Adam Wainwright (STL), Mike Pelfrey (NYM)
Relievers – Luke Gregerson (SD), Heath Bell (SD), Matt Capps (WAS), Billy Wagner (ATL), Carlos Marmol (CHC)
Overall, I am actually a bit surprised just how difficult this process can be. There are a lot of players that are deserving of an All-Star appearance who are going to be crunched because of the requirement to have a representative from every team. If I were to guess, I would be surprised if I got more than 60% right. I will post my review of the All-Star rosters, along with how I did with this final prediction (and the others as well) on Thursday.
If the Playoffs Started Today
New York AL (16-8) (WC) vs. Minnesota (16-9) (C)
Texas (13-12) vs. Tampa Bay (18-7) (E)
San Francisco (16-10) (WC) vs. St. Louis (17-8) (C)
Philadelphia (14-10) (E) vs. San Diego (16-9)
This Week’s Top Performers
Albert Pujols (STL) – .571/.654/.857, HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, SB
Adrian Beltre (BOS) – .520/.556/.640. 3 RBI, 2 R
Austin Jackson (DET) – .483/.531/.655, HR, 2 RBI, 9 R, 2 SB
Kosuke Fukudome (CHC) – .476/.633/1.048, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R
David Freese (STL) – .440/.481/.760, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 3 R, SB
Alfonso Soriano (CHC) – .400/.500/1.100, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R
Robinson Cano (NYY) – .440/.481/1.000, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R
Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – .391/.444/783, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R, 3 SB
Zack Greinke (KC) – 15 IP, 0.60 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 11 K
Francisco Liriano (MIN) – 2 W, 15 IP, 1.80 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 19 K
Josh Johnson (FLA) – 2 W, 15 IP, 1.80 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 20 K
Justin Verlander (DET) – W, 14 IP, 0.64 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 14 K
Yovani Gallardo (MIL) – 2 W, 13 IP, 0.69 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 15 K
Clay Hensley (FLA) – 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.40 WHIP, 13 K
Roster Movement and Job Changes:
Promotions and Demotions:
Top Stories and Weekly Links
Tomorrow I will have a month-in-review post up for the recently completed April. It will also include my All-Star teams after one month.