Friday, June 28, 2013

Three Ideas on the NL and AL East

Some quick ideas on the NL East playoff race and a related idea.

First, the Nationals: they need all the help they can get catching up to the Braves right now, especially in the lineup. They currently have a team weighted runs created+ of 83, twenty-eighth in the league (and remember, it works like OPS+; 100 is league average). They need all their bats they can get. They should be getting their best hitter (Bryce Harper, 166 wRC+) back soon. Their next two best are Ryan Zimmerman (127 wRC+) and recent call-up Anthony Rendon (149), so those two need to stay in the lineup. However, they’re both third basemen.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Retired Numbers Series: Miami Marlins

The Marlins’ short history has been unlike any other team in baseball. In just over two decades, they have seen both higher highs (two World Series titles) and lower lows (their numerous fire sales) than most other teams. Those extremes have meant a large cast of players in their history, one that is both incredibly talented and very fleeting. But what does it mean for their retired numbers?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Trivia Time: Best Active Players Without a World Series

Some other sports are having championships right now, but they aren’t baseball, so I won’t talk about them. However, they did make me think of something the other day; baseball is pretty unique. When stars in the NBA or NHL or even NFL don’t win a championship, they get major blame. Championship rings are actual, honest-to-god currency in other sports.

Baseball though? Not nearly. Sure, sometimes people will try and break up championship rings in a “Who’s Better” debate, but then someone will bring up five-time champ Luis Sojo or any number of bench players from the 1950s Yankees* and the debate will quickly fizzle out.

*For example, I just discovered Bobby Brown, four-time World Series victor with six and a half Wins Above Replacement to his name over not-quite eight seasons. Or there’s future manager Ralph Houk, who played in 35 games for five different eventual World Series winners, with 0.1 WAR along the way.

Yep, when you can point out that greats like Ernie Banks or Ted Williams never won a title, you can see why the subject doesn’t come up as much. But the game’s parity has never been better, with nine different winners in the past twelve years and a large number in the running this year; on top of that, free agency lets players move about the league like never before. Are there any more greats in danger of joining that group?

Well, I now have a Sporcle answering that question-the best players by Baseball-Reference’s WAR without a World Series Title. Click here to try it. If you aren’t interested in a game, I’ll examine the results after the break.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The 2013 Franchise Player Draft

Now that I’m back from my short hiatus, I can start to catch up on the stories from the past few weeks. For example, the third annual ESPN Franchise Player Draft was held last week. There’s something about the concept of the Franchise Draft that I just find appealing. Maybe it’s appreciating all of the game’s young talent, maybe it’s because I like projecting the future. Either way, I want to look at it and offer my take.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, the Franchise Player Draft asks a simple question: you can draft any player to start a team with the guarantee you will get that player for the next ten years. Who do you take?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cape Cod League Update: The 2013 MLB Draft

As you may remember, a year ago, I was working in the Cape Cod League, attending games and covering the numbers and players. Well, with the arrival of this year’s draft, some of those players are now entering into major league systems. Going through the first twenty rounds (this should cover most of the the draftees, although if I missed any to that point, I apologize), here are the Cape League Class of 2012 alumni moving on to the pros:

Player: Colin Moran

Pick: Round 1, Pick 6

Position: 3B

Cape League Team: Bourne Braves

College: University of North Carolina

Major League Team: Miami Marlins

I didn’t see Bourne as much as some other teams, but I did do a write-up of Moran’s summer in my team review.

Player: Marco Gonzales

Pick: Round 1, Pick 19

Position: LHP

Cape League Team: Falmouth Commodores

College: Gonzaga

Major League Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Gonzales was only at the Cape for a few games, but he was solid while there (10 innings, 2.70 ERA, 0.900 WHIP, 13/0 K/BB ratio).

Player: Eric Jagielo

Pick: Round 1, Pick 26

Position: 3B

Cape League Team: Harwich Mariners

College: Notre Dame

Major League Team: New York Yankees

Jagielo was one of the members of the Harwich Mariners’ Murderers’ Row last season, ultimately finishing second in the league in home runs. I also wrote about him in the team wrap-up. As a side note, I tried to talk to him after a game to write a player profile, but I missed him while talking to someone else. This doesn’t really help now, but I want to bring it up either way.

Player: Phil Ervin

Pick: Round 1, Pick 27

Position: CF

Cape League Team: Harwich Mariners

College: Samford

Major League Team: Cincinnati Reds

Another Harwich Mariner, Ervin cooled off after his unbelievably hot start, but still had a good season overall. His write ups can be found with Jagielo’s

Player: Aaron Judge

Pick: Round 1, Pick 32

Position: CF

Cape League Team: Brewster Whitecaps

College: Fresno State

Major League Team: New York Yankees

I didn’t go to many Brewster games, but I saw Judge’s first game, which I mentioned in their team article. The man has serious power.

Player: Sean Manaea

Pick: Competitive Balance Round A, Pick 1 (34 overall)

Position: LHP

Cape League Team: Hyannis Harbor Hawks

College: Indiana State

Major League Team: Kansas City Royals

Manaea had the best summer of anyone in the league, winning both the top pitcher and top prospect awards. I covered him not only in my Hyannis review, but also in an entire profile.

Player: Aaron Blair

Pick: Competitive Balance Round A, Pick 3 (36 overall)

Position: RHP

Cape League Team: Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox

College: Marshall

Major League Team: Arizona Diamondbacks

Blair was the ace of the runner-up Red Sox, as well as the first player that I profiled.