Tag Archives: Ike Davis

The NL Willie Mays Award


Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we will be voting over the coming weeks on our award winners for the regular season. Last week I posted my votes for the AL and NL Connie Mack awards, given to our managers of the year, and I wrote yesterday about my choice for the AL award.  I’ll be continuing on today with my choice for the National League’s top rookie, the Willie Mays award recipient.

I wrote about the overall rookie of the class over the weekend, and it is simply amazing just how good the National League’s rookie class is this season . These are in order from east to west (approximately), and I will have my final vote at the bottom.

Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

Strasburg was easily the most hyped prospect to come up all season, and probably would have won this award had he not gotten injured during the season. He finished the season with a 5-3 record with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched. Unfortunately, he missed the last 6 weeks of the season due to an elbow injury, and ended up having Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2011 season.

Jason Heyward (ATL)

Jason Heyward was widely viewed as the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award at the beginning of the season, and was indeed who I had selected during the preseason. All he did was perform to the level that was anticipated out of him and more, posting a .277/.393/.456 line with 18 home runs, 72 runs batted in, 83 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases. He was even voted in as an All-Star starter, but didn’t play due to injury.

Mike Stanton (FLA)

Mike Stanton was a surprise call up in June, and although he had never played above AA, still provided solid production in the 3 months he was up. He hit .259/.326/.507 with 22 home runs, 59 runs batted in, and 5 stolen bases.

Mike Leake (CIN)

Leake was a real surprise candidate, not just to be in this race but also to be on the roster since he had not actually pitched in the minor leagues. Leake started the season well, but ended up the season with an 8-4 record and a 4.23 ERA in 22 starts.

John Axford (MIL)

Axford established himself as the closer for the Brewers after Trevor Hoffman struggled mightily at the beginning of the season, and never really gave the job back. He finished the year with 24 saves and an 8-2 record to go with 76 strikeouts in just 58 innings pitched.

Starlin Castro (CHC)

Castro was another surprise call up, jumping from AA to the Majors in early May to help give the Cubs’ lineup a boost. He provided a .300 batting average with 10 stolen bases despite being just 20 years old. His fielding will need to improve, but that will definitely come with time.

Jaime Garcia (STL)

Garcia was a bit of an afterthought in the Cardinals’ rotation, and evolved into their 3rd most consistent starter behind aces Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter. Garcia went 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA in his 28 starts this season.

Buster Posey (SF)

Posey was most definitely the firestarter for the Giants upon his call to the Show in May. All he did from there was hit .305/.357/.505 with 18 home runs and 67 runs batted in. He is now the cleanup hitter for a team that was in desperate need of a big bat throughout the season.

My Vote

  1. Buster Posey (SF)
  2. Jason Heyward (ATL)
  3. Jaime Garcia (STL)

It’s actually pretty scary to me just how many rookies should have been up for consideration that were left off of this list. Players like Neil Walker and Jose Tabata of the Pirates, Travis Wood of the Reds and Madison Bumgarner of the Giants all had significant rookie seasons, and would probably have won the award in many other seasons. But this class is definitely something special, and Buster Posey to me is the clear cut winner of this award. Despite playing in 50+ games less than Heyward, he put up comparable or better numbers in nearly every offensive category, and did so at a premium defensive position. There’s no doubt in my mind that the best rookie in the National League this season was Buster Posey.

Advertisements

The Season’s Top Stories: The Rookie Class of 2010


Throughout the month of October, I’ll be reviewing some of the top stories that were in the newly completed regular season. One of the biggest stories of the 2010 regular season has to be the rookie class that emerged throughout the season. This group of rookies could very well be a once in a generation group of players.

Starting Pitchers

The most hyped player to come into the Majors in a long time clearly was Stephen Strasburg, the top pick from the 2009 draft. The hype continued to build as the season progressed and it became clear that he would make his debut during the season. June 8th was the night, against the Pirates: 14 strikeouts, 0 earned runs. Strasburg nearly lived up to the hype, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in just 68 innings pitched. Unfortunately, his season ended prematurely due to an elbow injury, and ended up needing Tommy John surgery. Strasburg will miss the 2011 season as well.

Other Top Performers:

  • Jaime Garcia will most likely finish near the top of the Rookie of the Year voting after posting a 13-8 record with a 2.70 ERA in 28 starts for the Cardinals.
  • Mike Leake of the Reds came up and made an instant impact despite never pitching in the minor leagues. He started off hot, but trailed off a bit at the end and finished with an 8-4 record with a 4.23 ERA in 24 appearances (22 starts).
  • His teammate Travis Wood came up on July 1st, and pitched well down the stretch for the Reds. He finished with a 5-4 record with a 3.51 ERA in just over 100 innings on the season.
  • Madison Bumgarner was called upon about halfway through the season to take the #5 spot in the Giants’ rotation, and ran with it from there. He went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 starts for the NL West champs.
  • Wade Davis of the Rays threw 168 innings of effective ball, posting a 12-10 record with a 4.07 ERA and 113 strikeouts.
  • Brian Matusz of the Orioles had been my preseason choice for the AL Rookie of the Year award, but unfortunately didn’t really pitch well enough to earn that award. Part of that was his team, as he went 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 175 plus innings. His numbers should improve next season as the team matures under its new manager.

Relief Pitchers

Neftali Feliz didn’t make the starting rotation out of spring training for the Rangers, and it really looks like that could have been the best thing for both him and the team. Feliz was given the closer’s job on April 12th after Frank Francisco struggled in the first week, and never gave the job back. He finished the season with a 2.73 ERA and 40 saves along with a strikeout per inning of work.

Other Top Performers:

  • Jonny Venters helped to bring some stability to the back end of the Braves’ bullpen, appearing in 79 games and striking out 93 in just 83 innings. He looks like he could be a future closer in waiting for the Braves.
  • John Axford was called upon to fill in for a struggling future Hall of Famer in Trevor Hoffman, and never really gave the job back. He went 8-2 with 24 saves and a 2.48 ERA and 76 strikeouts in just 58 innings pitched for the Brewers.

Catchers

There was concern whether or not it might cost the Giants a chance at the playoffs by their decision to not call up Buster Posey until late May.  The top prospect played well enough to really make that decision look questionable, hitting .305/.357/.505 with 18 homeruns and 67 runs batted in. The team made the playoffs, and even traded their Opening Day catcher to make sure he played every day.

Other Top Performers:

  • Carlos Santana came up on June 11th, and proceeded to show why he was considered a top prospect overall. In just 46 games this season, he hit .260/.401/.467 with 6 homeruns and 22 runs batted in. His season ended on August 2nd when he broke his leg blocking the plate, but should return next season and become one of the top catchers in the league.
  • John Jaso remains one of the more unusual catchers in the league, as the Rays consistently hit him leadoff. His .372 OBP probably helped that a lot, and he split time with Kelly Shoppach during the season.

Corner Infielders

It was originally thought at the beginning of the season that 1B Justin Smoak of the Rangers would establish himself as the next great hitter to start in Arlington. He struggled mightily during the season, earning himself a demotion back to AAA and eventually his inclusion in the trade to the Mariners for Cliff Lee. Smoak ended up finishing the season with just a .218 batting average but 13 home runs. He should do better next season as well, and will likely be the given the starting 1B job by the Mariners.

Other Top Performers:

  • Ike Davis was surprisingly called up in mid April, and continued to hold the 1B job throughout the season for the Mets. He finished the year with a .264/.351/.440 line with 19 homeruns and 71 runs batted in.
  • Chris Johnson of the Astros was given the starting 3B job after Pedro Feliz struggled, and finished the year with a .308 batting average and 11 homeruns. He should go into 2011 as the prohibitive starter at the position.
  • Danny Valencia was called up at the start of June to play 3B, and never gave the job back. He hit .311 with 7 homeruns, and has provided solid defense for the Twins as well.
  • Pedro Alvarez was called up in mid June to replace the struggling Andy LaRoche, and gave glimpses into what his future holds. He hit .256, but did hit 16 home runs and drove in 64 in just 95 games.

Middle Infielders

Starlin Castro may well have been one of the biggest surprises of the season. He started the season with the Cubs’ AA affiliate, hitting very well and was called up by the Major League team on May 7th to try and inject some more energy and offense into the lineup. Despite being just 20 years old, he hit .300 with 10 stolen bases on the season, and should continue to improve next season.

Other Top Performers:

  • Neil Walker was widely viewed as a bit of a lost prospect, stuck behind current starter Andy LaRoche and future starter Pedro Alvarez at 3B. The team instead asked him to try playing 2B, and his bat took off. He hit .296/.349/.462 with 12 homeruns and 66 runs batted in for the Pirates in just 110 games.
  • Ian Desmond was given the starting shortstop job for the Nationals out of Spring Training, and while he had his struggles with the glove (34 errors), his bat was solid with a .269 batting average, 10 homeruns, and 17 stolen bases.

Outfielders

The top prospect in the game coming into the season was widely viewed as Braves’ OF Jason Heyward, and he did not disappoint. He made the team out of Spring Training, which was unexpected, and proceeded to hit well across the season. He finished the year with a .277/.393/.456 line with 18 home runs, 72 runs batted in, and 11 stolen bases. The Braves are going to be extremely happy with Heyward’s production for years to come.

Other Top Performers:

  • Austin Jackson is likely going to win the AL Rookie of the Year award after hitting .293 with 27 stolen bases and playing good defense in centerfield for the Tigers all season long. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next year, as his full season numbers were propped up a bit by a huge start of the season this year.
  • Jose Tabata was a prospect that the Pirates received as a part of the Xavier Nady trade, and showed why he was so highly thought of. He played in 102 games, hitting .299 with 19 stolen bases and 61 runs scored.

In many seasons, nearly all of these rookies would have been Rookie of the Year awards recipients, but with so many top players this year some may not even get votes in the awards proceedings. I’ll be posting my votes for the AL and NL Willie Mays awards (Rookie’s of the Year) in the next few days as well.

Midseason Review


We are halfway through the season and as happens every year, it doesn’t quite go exactly as we all thought it would.

Right before the season started, I wrote up my preseason predictions of how I thought the playoffs and awards would go:

American League

Correct so far: New York Yankees
Incorrect so far: Boston Red Sox (Tampa Bay Rays), Minnesota Twins (Chicago White Sox), Seattle Mariners (Texas Rangers)

National League

Correct so far: None
Incorrect so far: Philadelphia Phillies (Atlanta Braves), Chicago Cubs (Cincinnati Reds), Los Angeles Dodgers (San Diego Padres), St. Louis Cardinals (Colorado Rockies)

League Leaders at the Half

Batting Average: Miguel Cabrera (DET) and Josh Hamilton (TEX) – .346
Runs: Carl Crawford (TAM) – 70
Hits: Martin Prado (ATL) – 121
Home Runs: Jose Bautista (TOR) – 24
Runs Batted In: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 77
Stolen Bases: Juan Pierre (CHW) – 32

Wins: Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 15
ERA: Josh Johnson (FLA) – 1.70
Strikeouts: Jered Weaver (LAA) – 137
Saves: Joakim Soria (KC) – 25

The Top Stories

The Year of the Pitcher Again?

The pitchers look like they may have gained back some of the advantage again versus the hitters, as we’re seeing a lot of amazing performances out of both elite and non-elite pitchers.

Starting Pitchers with an ERA under 3.00: 17
Starting Pitchers with 10+ wins: 12
Starting Pitchers with a FIP under 3.00: 6
Starting Pitchers with a WHIP under 1.10: 14

And of course, there’s the no-hitters:

Let’s not forget Armando Galarraga either, and his near-perfecto on June 2nd.

Ken Griffey Jr Abruptly Retires

Almost randomly,  Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement on June 2nd. I wrote up my thoughts on his career shortly after the announcement, but the long and short of it remains that Griffey always seemed to be having more fun than anyone else on the field, and was really a joy to watch play, no matter what he was doing.  I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going into the Hall of Fame at first opportunity.

Sadly, the story was lost among the Armando Galarraga near perfect game, as it happened about an hour after the announcement. Hopefully the Mariners will have him back at some point before the end of the season to really give him a great sendoff.

The Cliff Lee Sweepstakes

The Mariners were widely predicted to win the AL West on the strength of the arms of Felix Hernandez and offseason acquisition Cliff Lee. Unfortunately, the team has floundered quite a bit, to the point where it became only a matter of time for the Mariners to start selling off the pieces, including their newly acquired ace Lee. The trade discussions centered around the unlikely competitors of the Reds, Twins, and Rangers, along with the usual suspects (Yankees, Red Sox, Rays). Nearly every top prospect in their systems was mentioned as the potential trade pieces in return. It was even stranger when the Mariners had come to a deal with the Yankees, only to have that one fall apart and be replaced by a trade with the Rangers. I wrote up what I thought of the trade, and really liked it for both teams involved.

Break Up the Reds and the Padres!

Completely unexpectedly, the Reds and the Padres are both leading their divisions as we approach the All-Star break. The Padres are doing it with the best pitching in the Majors, led by young phenom Mat Latos (10-4, 2.45) and top power hitter Adrian Gonzalez (.301, 18 HR, 56 RBI). The Reds are being led by MVP candidate Joey Votto (.315, 22 HR, 60 RBI, 1.014 OPS), and a resurgent Scott Rolen (.292, 17 HR, 57 RBI). I honestly think that barring some unexpected injuries or other unusual circumstances, both teams have the talent available to hold on to their leads throughout the rest of the season.

3 Teams, A Maxiumum of 2 Spots

The AL East continues to improve every single year, as the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees have been trading 1st through 3rd in the division back and forth all season. Through Friday’s games, all 3 teams have the 3 top records in the American League. Clearly, this presents a problem, as only 2 of them can make the playoffs. Someone is going to have to separate themselves at some point, but I’m not sure when that is going to happen. The Rays got off to a hot start, but have struggled of late. The Yankees got off to a slow start but have come on strong and now lead the division. Even the Red Sox are only 5 games back despite having suffered an unusually high amount of injuries. Someone is going to be sitting at home unhappy despite potentially winning 90+ games in that division.

Managers Available for Hire

We could be looking at potentially having nearly half the teams in the Majors change managers by the start of the 2011 season. 4 teams have already gotten the ball started, with Fredi Gonzalez (Marlins), Trey Hillman (Royals), Dave Trembley (Orioles) and A.J. Hinch of the Diamondbacks. In addition, major skippers like Joe Torre of the Dodgers and Lou Piniella of the Cubs are both in the final year of their contracts, and it appears that more and more that neither man is likely to return. And of course, there is the expected retirement of the Braves’ Bobby Cox and Blue Jays’ Cito Gaston after this season as well. Invariably, there will be some other managers that could lose their jobs before the start of next year, and my own speculation leads me to think that potentially teams like the Brewers, Pirates, Athletics and even the Mariners could all potentially see new managers as well.

The Rookie Class of 2010

It seems like this year’s rookie class is by far one of the best in many years. The season started out with Atlanta Braves’ OF Jason Heyward making the team out of Spring Training, and has not let up ever since. 13 of Baseball America’s Top 20 prospects have already made their debuts, and many of them are seeing a lot of success.

  • Carlos Santana of the Indians is hitting .284 with 5 HR and 16 RBI since being called up on June 11th.
  • Buster Posey of the Giants is hitting .333 with 6 HR and 20 RBI while playing both catcher and first base.
  • Tyler Colvin of the Cubs has hit 12 homeruns in part time playing time so far this season.
  • Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch of the Tigers have been going back and forth for the AL Rookie of the Year award. Jackson got off to a hot start, but Boesch has passed him at this point. Boesch is leading all rookies with 12 homeruns and 48 runs batted in, and also is hitting .345.
  • Gaby Sanchez of the Marlins is quietly hitting .299 with 9 homeruns and 38 runs batted in.
  • Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals has exceeded all expectations, posting an 8-4 record with a 2.17 ERA and 80 strikeouts so far.
  • Mike Leake of the Reds surprised everyone by coming up without playing a single game in the minors and has a 6-1 record with a 3.53 ERA.
  • Neftali Feliz of the Rangers has stabilized the back end of their bullpen, recording 23 saves and earning himself an All-Star appearance.

Other top prospects that have come up as well: Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates, Mike Stanton of the Marlins, Alcides Escobar of the Brewers, Ike Davis of the Mets, and Justin Smoak of the Rangers… er Mariners.

Clearly though, the most anticipated debut didn’t come until June 8th…

Strasburg

June 8th was the Major League debut of the phenom, Nationals’ top prospect Stephen Strasburg. His starts in the minors were selling out every time through. He was sent down to the Minors after Spring Training to work on his performance with runners on base. As if he was actually allowing any of those down there. His minor league numbers (AA and AAA): 11 starts, 7-2, 1.30 ERA, 65 strikeouts to 13 walks in 55 1/3 innings pitched. At times, his stuff looked absolutely dominant, but the concern remained: Could he repeat this performance at the Major League level?

For the most part, the answer to that question is a resounding Yes. His debut against the lowly Pirates: 14 strikeouts, 0 walks, and a victory in 7 innings. So far, he has a 3-2 record with a 2.32 ERA and 61 strikeouts in just 42 2/3 innings pitched. He has had some games where his control has been less than stellar, including the 5 walk performance against the Indians. I have to admit, I thought that he would have some struggles when he got up to the Majors, but I didn’t anticipate the excellent performance overall that he has given to this point. The longer that Jason Heyward stays on the disabled list, the more likely it becomes that Strasburg will win the Rookie of the Year award for the National League. He simply looks dominant out there in nearly every start, and the stuff he throws is simply amazing. I hope he can stay healthy long term, as he is really going to be something special if he can.

Overall Reactions

After so many games being played, it has been a really good season to this point. As it seems to happen every season, there are some things that don’t go the way everyone expects, but it definitely makes it more interesting when there are new stories that emerge over the span of the season. It looks like it’s going to be a good race in many of the divisions, and could go down to the wire.

No post on Tuesday this week, and I’ll be back with a new post on Wednesday.

Original Draft Series: #26 – New York Mets


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #26: New York Mets

General Managers(since 1994)

Joe McIlvaine (1994-1997): 283-298
Steve Phillips (1998-2003): 502-469
Jim Duquette (2004): 71-91
Omar Minaya (2005-Current): 427-383

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 1 3 1 6 4 3 2

The Mets have actually had some pretty solid years over the past 16 seasons. With a trip to the World Series in 2000,  and 3 playoff appearances overall, the Mets have done well with what they’ve had. The key being that as time has progressed since 1994, they have continued to spend money in addition to developing players, sometimes one to the detriment of the other. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Josh Thole 2005 – 13th Rd 5 17 gm, .321/.356/.396, 9 RBI, SB, 2 R Currently with Org.
1B Ike Davis 2008 – 1st Rd (18) 2 51 gm, .258/.346/.451, 8 HR, 22 RBI, SB, 31 R Currently with Org.
2B Ty Wigginton 1998 – 17th Rd 6 288 gm, .270/.327/.440, 29 HR, 131 RBI, 20 SB, 137 R Traded to PIT – 7/30/04
3B David Wright 2001 – 1st Rd (38) 9 4 All Star Appearances, 2 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers
910 gm, .308/.388/.519, 152 HR, 611 RBI, 130 SB, 585 R
Currently with Org.
SS Jose Reyes Int’l FA – 1999 11 2 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
851 gm, .284/.336/.430, 66 HR, 348 RBI, 318 SB, 587 R
Currently with Org.
LF Angel Pagan 1999 – 4th Rd 7+2 181 gm, .293/.345/.446, 10 HR, 71 RBI, 31 SB, 102 R Purchased by CHC – 1/25/06
CF Carlos Gomez Int’l FA – 2002 5 58 gm, .232/.288/.304, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 12 SB, 29 R Traded to MIN – 2/2/08
RF Nelson Cruz Intl FA – 1998 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to OAK – 8/30/00
SP Scott Kazmir 2002 – 1st Rd (15) 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to TAM – 7/30/04
SP A.J. Burnett 1995 – 8th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 2/6/98
SP Mike Pelfrey 2005 – 1st Rd (9) 5 37-33, 4.25 ERA, 334 K, 212 BB, 565.2 IP, 1.448 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Brian Bannister 2003 – 7th Rd 3 2-1, 4.26 ERA, 19 K, 22 BB, 38 IP, 1.474 WHIP Traded to KC – 12/6/06
SP Jonathon Niese 2005 – 7th Rd 5 5-4, 4.27 ERA, 74 K, 36 BB, 97 IP, 1.505 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Hisanori Takahashi Int’l FA – 2010 1 5-2, 3.48 ERA, 52 K, 20 BB, 54.1 IP, 1.325 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jenrry Mejia Int’l FA – 2007 3 0-2, 3.04 ERA, 16 K, 13 BB, 26.2 IP, 1.575 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Octavio Dotel Int’l FA – 1993 6 8-3, 5.38 ERA, 85 K, 49 BB, 85.1 IP, 1.383 WHIP Traded to HOU – 12/23/99
RP Aaron Heilman 2001 – 1st Rd (18) 7 22-33, 4.24 ERA, 395 K, 185 BB, 450.1 IP, 1.328 WHIP Traded to SEA – 12/11/08
RP Matt Lindstrom 2002 – 10th Rd 8 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 11/20/06
CL Heath Bell Amateur FA – 1998 8 1-5, 4.92 ERA, 105 K, 30 BB, 108 IP, 1.472 WHIP Traded to SD – 11/15/06
BN Kaz Matsui (2B) Int’l FA – 2003 3 239 gm, .256/.308/.363, 11 HR, 75 RBI, 22 SB, 106 R Traded to COL – 6/9/06
BN Daniel Murphy (1B) 2006 – 13th Rd 4 204 gm, .275/.331/.437, 14 HR, 80 RBI, 4 SB, 84 R Currently with Org.
BN Lastings Milledge (OF) 2003 – 1st Rd (12) 4 115 gm, .257/.326/.414, 11 HR, 51 RBI, 4 SB, 41 R Traded to WAS – 11/30/07
BN Jesus Flores (C) Int’l FA – 2002 4 No Major League Appearances with Organization Rule 5 Draftee – WAS – 12/7/06
BN Guillermo Mota (RP) Int’l FA – 1990 6 + 2 5-2, 4.66 ERA, 66 K, 23 BB, 77.1 IP, 1.241 WHIP Rule 5 Draftee – MON – 12/9/06
BN Ryota Igarashi (RP) Int’l FA – 2009 1 0-1, 10.03 ERA, 4 K, 9 BB, 11.2 IP, 1.971 WHIP Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

Looking at their drafting results, they have had only 20 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). With success comes a lack of top-10 picks, as they have had only 4 picks in those drafts. They have actually done reasonably well in the 1st round, 14 of the 20 making it for at least 1 game to the Majors. Clearly, the biggest success to this point has been 3B David Wright, who has posted a 27.2 career WAR already, despite being only 27 years old. Unfortunately, they haven’t always known what to do with their first rounders, as the player with the second highest Career WAR to this point is the notorious Scott Kazmir, traded away in 2004 for the player equivalent of 5 baseballs and some pine tar.

International Free Agency

The Mets have been extremely active in the International markets, with both professional free agents (Matsui, Takahashi) and amateur free agents (Reyes, Dotel) having success. There have been a few however, who are either too new still (Igarashi, Mejia), or never really did much for the team itself (Flores, Cruz). Overall, there is definitely an effort being made organization wide to try to ensure that they are tapping every talent pool possible.

Overall Grade

I am leaning towards C- here. While there have been some stunning success stories (Wright, Reyes), there have also been players who essentially brought nothing to the table for the Mets (Kazmir, Flores, Cruz). And while at least a few of these players who did not play for the team brought back useful players (Burnett was used to acquire Al Leiter), the fact that so many of these players were not in a Mets uniform when they had success leads me to rank them down this low. As you will probably see in the next few teams, these teams are all kind of bunched together, and if you had one ahead of another, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree.

The 2010 Rookie Class


Every year we see some solid rookie players come to the Majors and have a major impact, and this year is no exception. Already we’ve seen at least half a dozen players who could legitimately win their Rookie of the Year award, along with a lot of impact players as well. Each of these players is still eligible to win the Rookie of the Year award, according to ESPN.com’s stats page. All these stats are through Sunday’s games, and the players are in order of what I believe their likelihood to win their respective Rookie of the Year awards.

American League

1. Austin Jackson (DET) – .328/.379/.444, 33 runs, 1 home run, 13 runs batted in, 7 stolen bases

Jackson was the centerpiece of the Curtis Granderson trade for the Tigers, and he’s been pretty much everything it was hoped he would, and more. I wrote in December that I thought the Tigers would end up winning this trade, and Jackson is going to be the lynchpin to whether or not that happens. The batting average has been extremely lucky to this point, as he is currently sporting a .458 BABIP. That said, he still should hit around .270-.280 and could end up scoring around 90 runs for the Tigers.

2. Neftali Feliz (TEX) – 1-1, 13 saves, 2 holds, 2.96 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 25 strikeouts, 5 walks, 24 1/3 IP

Since being installed as the closer for the Rangers, Feliz has pitched very well overall. His stuff really suits the closer’s role, as his fastball is dominant at right around 100 mph on a consistent basis. I think that Feliz could end up winning the Rookie of the Year if Jackson falls off precipitously or if the Rangers end up making the playoffs and Feliz stays as the closer all season long. Long term, it will be interesting to see if they ever convert him back to a starting pitcher, as his value is probably better there.

3. Mitch Talbot (CLE) – 6-4, 3.78 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 27 strikeouts, 24 walks, 66 2/3 IP

Talbot has been a very nice surprise for the Indians, as he was acquired in the Kelly Shoppach trade this past offseason. Plugged into the starting rotation, Talbot is finally getting a chance to show how good of a pitcher he can be. He may see some regression, as his FIP is over 5 and his BABIP is only at .251. Either way, the Indians did well here, and he could conceivably win 12-15 games in spite of how bad the Indians’ offense is. The walks are definitely a major concern though, as they are barely less than his strikeouts.

4. Wade Davis (TAM) – 5-4, 4.04 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 36 strikeouts, 29 walks, 55 2/3 IP

Another vaunted rookie from the Rays’ farm system, Davis has come in and pitched effectively in a tough AL East division. However, his secondary numbers (FIP of 5+, 82% strand rate) indicate that he’s likely to see a fairly stiff regression in the coming months. I think he’s going to finish the season as an effective, if not amazing pitcher. But he definitely appears to have a very bright future ahead of him, and I think that for this year he could end up winning 15 games on the strength of the Rays’ lineup.

5. Brennan Boesch (DET) – .330/.357/.585, 9 runs, 4 homeruns, 22 runs batted in, 1 stolen base

At the beginning of the season, it was thought that there would be a rookie from the Tigers in this race. Brennan Boesch was not the one everyone thought though. Boesch has come up and just hit and hit and hit as the replacement for the oft-injured Carlos Guillen. He’s hit so well to this point that Guillen, who recently returned from the disabled list, is being moved to 2B (where they had hoped rookie Scott Sizemore would play well) to allow Boesch to stay in the lineup everyday. His BABIP is high (.373), so there could be some regression, but he looks like he’s going to be a solid everyday player with the potential for double-digit power.

Other AL Candidates: Brian Matusz (BAL), Carlos Santana (CLE), John Jaso (TAM), Justin Smoak (TEX), Scott Sizemore (DET)

Each of these candidates, to me, has some warts that will keep them from winning this award unless something drastically changes. For Sizemore and Santana, the fact that they are still in AAA leads me to believe that they would have to ridiculously outperform the others to catch up for lost time. Smoak and Matusz, at least for the moment, are simply not performing up to the standard of the other candidates, and are unlikely at this point to catch them.

National League

1. Jason Heyward (ATL) – .292/.410/.578, 29 runs, 10 home runs, 38 runs batted in, 3 stolen bases

What else is there to be said about Heyward that hasn’t been said? I wrote about him as a prospect back in January, and predicted that he would hit .280/.370/.470 with 6 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 80 games. Even doubling that prediction to get him to around 160 games, that’s 12 homeruns and 20 stolen bases. While he’s not running as much as I thought, the power appears to be legitimate and the Braves are going to be extremely happy with him for a very long time. I don’t really see too much out there that would cause him to not win this award.

2. Jaime Garcia (STL) – 4-2, 1.39 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 48 strikeouts, 26 walks, 58 1/3 IP

Garcia made the rotation out of spring training, and has never looked back. Clearly the ERA is going to go up at some point during the season, but the rest of the numbers really look legitimate to me. He’s pitching in St. Louis, and I’ve learned to never bet against the coaching staff there either.

3. Stephen Strasburg (WAS) – Will make ML debut June 8th.

The hype is real. Strasburg will not make his debut until June 8th, giving the rest of the rookies in this class a full two months of time to get ahead. That said, and even with the 100 inning limit that he is likely to be on, he could very well come up and post a sub-3 ERA and a strikeout per inning he pitches. He has looked that good.

4. David Freese (STL) -.314/.383/.453, 21 runs, 4 home runs, 31 runs batted in, 1 stolen base

It’s hard to put another position player this far down the list, but realistically all 5 of the top rookies in the NL would probably win the award in the American League this season. Freese won the 3B job out of spring training, but it really appeared that no one was particularly confident that he would be able to make it stick. But he’s been a very bright spot in the Cardinals lineup, and has played at least reasonable defense to this point.

5. Mike Leake (CIN) – 4-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 45 strikeouts, 25 walks, 66 IP

I was extremely surprised when Leake made the rotation out of spring training, but it really looks like the Reds knew what they were doing here (shocking, I know). Leake isn’t necessarily going to be a fantasy darling, as he probably isn’t going to strike out enough hitters to make him very valuable for that. But he has shown to this point that he is definitely a good Major League pitcher.

Other NL Candidates: Starlin Castro (CHC), Buster Posey (SF), Ian Desmond (WAS), Ike Davis (NYM), Gaby Sanchez (FLA), Jhoulys Chacin (COL)

Only Desmond and Sanchez made their respective teams out of Spring Training, and while they are both having good rookie seasons, their seasons do not compare to the 5 players discussed previously. Castro, Posey, and Davis have all added much needed energy to their teams, in addition to some offense, but unfortunately they will run into the same problem as Desmond and Sanchez, in that it is a very good rookie class this year.

The Week in Review – April 19 to April 25


If the Playoffs Started Today

New York AL (WC) vs. Minnesota (C)
Oakland (W) vs. Tampa Bay (E)

San Francisco (WC) vs. Philadelphia (E)
San Diego (W) vs. St. Louis (C)

Last Week’s Top Performers

Kendry Morales (LAA) – .542/.593/.917, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R
Marlon Byrd (CHC) – .500/.517/.615, 5 RBI, 6 R
Justin Morneau (MIN) – .576/.607/.952, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R
Ryan Theriot (CHC) – .500/.548/.643, 6 RBI, SB, 5 R
Paul Konerko (CHW) – .450/.542/1.150, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R
Kurt Suzuki (OAK) – .429/.500/1.071, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R
Mark Reynolds (ARI) – .421/.500/1.000, 3 HR, 11 RBI, SB, 5 R
Michael Bourn (HOU) – .316/.519/.368, 7 R, RBI, 7 SB
Chase Headley (SD) – .364/.417/455, 5 R, 5 RBI, 5 SB

John Danks (CHW) – 2 W, 16 IP, 1.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 14 K
David Price (TAM) – W, 14 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 12 K
Brad Penny (STL) – 2 W, 14 2/3 IP, 1.23 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7 K
Brandon Morrow (TOR) – W, 13 IP, 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 16 K
Kevin Slowey (MIN) – W, 13 1/3 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11 K
Matt Lindstrom (HOU) – 4 SV, 2.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 2 K
Francisco Rodriguez (NYM) – 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 7 K

Roster Movement and Job Changes

Disabled List:

  • Returning This Week: Aaron Hill, Brian Fuentes, Ted Lilly, Lance Berkman
  • Going On the DL: Vicente Padilla, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Mathis, Carlos Guillen, J.A. Happ, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron

Promotions and Demotions:

  • Promoted: Justin Smoak, Ike Davis
  • Demoted: Mike Jacobs, Chris Davis

Top Stories and This Week’s Links

  • On Monday, the Mets finally ended their experiment with Mike Jacobs, sending him to the minors and calling up top prospect Ike Davis. Davis wasted no time, going 2-4 in his first game.
  • Bleacher Report writes about their plan for ML realignment. An interesting read, but not really a whole lot more workable than any other plan that has been announced to this point.
  • Around mid-day on Tuesday, Twitter started lighting up that a Major League player was going to be receiving a 50-game suspension for violating the drug policy. As the day progressed, we were finally informed it was SP Edinson Volquez of the Reds. A little bit of an oddity, Volquez can serve the suspension while on the disabled list. Since he is recuperating from Tommy John surgery and is unlikely to return prior to August, it hurts him more in the pocketbook than anything.
  • Also on Tuesday, the Rangers went nuts on the basepaths, stealing 9 bases in the first 5 innings of their game against the Red Sox. Sadly, even though they were stealing on C Victor Martinez and SP Tim Wakefield all over the place, they ended up losing that game.
  • On Wednesday, manager Lou Piniella announced that when SP Ted Lilly returned on Saturday from the disabled list, SP Carlos Zambrano (of the $18+ M annual contract) would be going to the bullpen. Needless to say, it was a bit of a shock to the baseball world. Big Z made his first relief appearance on Saturday, getting a hold in 1 1/3 IP.
  • Thursday marked another demotion for Rangers’ 1B Chris Davis. Struggling again, the Rangers decided to bring up top prospect Justin Smoak, who had been hitting extremely well at AAA.
  • Also on Thursday, the Pirates should have stayed home. Since they lost 20-0, it probably would have been a little less painful than being there.
  • Saturday had a bit of a scary moment, as Pirates’ starter Chris Jakubaskas was hit in the head with a line drive. He was placed on the disabled list on Sunday, and I have not heard anything about him other than that.