Raul Ibanez, J.D. Martinez, Bryan LaHair, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Rickey Romero, Edwin Encarnacion, Chase Headley, A.J. Pierzynski, R.A. Dickey, Chris Sale, Kris Medlen.
Raul Ibanez, J.D. Martinez, Bryan LaHair, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Rickey Romero, Edwin Encarnacion, Chase Headley, A.J. Pierzynski, R.A. Dickey, Chris Sale, Kris Medlen.
The Dodgers gave Andre Ethier a 5-year, $85 million deal signaling that he is one of the building blocks of their offense. Then we get this. Manager Don Mattingly said the following about Ethier’s inability to hit left-handed pitching. “I can say all day long that I think he’s capable of hitting against lefties, but if the numbers keep telling us that maybe he can’t, then we have to go a different route,” he said. I’m not going to disagree with Mattingly because he’s right. Ethier is hitting .214/.269/.319 against lefties this year, a terrible batting line. For his career, the numbers are only slightly better at .236/.295/.350. The truth is the Dodgers gave a platoon player an $85 million contract. Has a contract ever looked worse before it actually took effect?
Dexter Fowler may or may not start again this season even though x-rays of his left wrist came back negative. He played some defense Thursday, so he just might still get some work at the dish, but it’s no lock. It’s been an uneven ride for Fowler this year but it’s hard to complain when he’s hit .300 with 13 homers, 12 steals and 72 runs scored. Fowler has also gotten on base at an impressive .389 clip, and that .474 SLG ain’t too shabby either. He’s hit .315 against the lefties and .293 against the righties showing an ability to handle both thanks to his switch hitting, but his work away from Coors is still an issue. Dexter has hit .332 with a .984 OPS in home games but just .262 with a .720 OPS on the road, so that continues to be an issue to think about when setting your lineups next year.
Gio Gonzalez won his major league leading 21st game Thursday night. While that is a career best mark and highly impressive in it’s own right, there is this. If he doesn’t start again (he shouldn’t), he will end the year with 21 victories and 199.1 innings pitched. That is significant because it will make him the first hurler in big league to record 21 victories while throwing less than 200 innings. The first.
The best pitcher in baseball is Craig Kimbrel. Thanks to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution for pointing the following out: over his last 49 appearances Kimbrel has a 0.55 ERA, which is amazing. He’s posted a 0.46 WHIP which is stupendous. He struck out 92 batters leading to a 16.78 K/9 while walking just six batter leading to a 15.33 K/BB ratio. Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Dan Uggla has had the worst season of his impressive career. After 6-straight years of 27 homers, 82 RBIs and 84 runs scored, the longest streak in baseball history for a second sacker, he’s going to fall off the pace this season. Still, 19 homers, 77 RBIs and 85 runs scored are all solid marks. However, that .217 batting average is terrible, even for a fella who has hit .253 for his career. I can’t blame the Braves for being a bit weary but it should be noted that, in addition to the solid counting number production, that Uggla also has a .343 OBP which is an exact match for his career mark even with that career-low batting average thanks to a career best walk rate.
STRONG FINISHING KICK
(The Past Two Weeks)
.591 – The BABIP of Brandon Moss over his last 44 plate appearances. Chris Nelson is just behind at .550 followed by Joey Votto at .500.
.439 – The batting average of Justin Smoak who has also gone deep five times. He needs one homer for 20 homers for the season. Over at Fleaflicker it’s clear that no one is buying his hot couple of weeks.
.438 – Marco Scutaro’s batting average over his last 12 games during which time he’s also scored 12 runs while knocking in 11.
.417 – Ichiro Suzuki is finally hitting. Not just that, he’s running like it was the old days. He’s stolen seven bases the past two weeks, the same total as Everth Cabrera, the most in baseball.
6 – The league leading homer total of Miguel Cabrera who also leads the majors with 16 runs scored and 15 RBIs. The RBI total has also been matched by the Phillies’ Ryan Howard though he’s saddled his teams with a mere .188 batting average.
By Ray Flowers
Miguel Cabrera is hitting .333 with 41 homers and 130 RBIs. He leads the AL in batting average and RBIs, and is one homer behind Josh Hamilton for the AL HR lead. That’s right folks, he is on the cusp of the Triple Crown. Will he win the award over everyone’s darling, Mike Trout? If late season performance sways voters than he surely will. Since the start of August, here are each man’s numbers.
Cabrera: .360-16-45-35 with a 1.145 OPS
Trout: .274-9-22-38 with a .811 OPS (Trout does have 15 SBs)
Thanks to Elias for this one. Chris Carpenter will be the first pitcher in the history of baseball to make his season debut after his teams 150th game played when that pitcher made 30 or more starts in the previous season. For more on Carpenter see my September 20th Mailbag piece.
Yu Darvish has had an up and down season, but he also has 214 Ks which are the 9th most for any rookie hurler since 1893. Of course he’s not really a rookie since he pitched for five seasons is Japan. Only once in those five seasons did he fail to record 200 Ks (he had 167 in 182 innings in 2009). He had 276 Ks in 232 innings last year for the Nippon Ham Fighters (I’m not making that name up).
I mentioned this at the BaseballGuys Twitter account last night, but for those of you that missed it – Eric Hosmer is on the cusp of something pretty impressive given just how dreadful his overall production has been. Yes he’s hitting .240 with 59 RBIs an a .686 OPS, but did you realize that he is just one homer from a 15/15 season? Those numbers stand out as there have been only 10 seasons of 15/15 by a first baseman in the 21st century with only three first sackers pulling off the trick more than once (Derrek Lee three times, Albert Pujols and Ryan Klesko two times).
I don’t normally look forward to Friday’s like most people do. Why? Because sports never stop. Think of it. When you are heading out to your in-laws for the holiday celebration in the car with the two kids in the backseat yelling, what are you doing? You’re listening to the radio (hence I work all the holidays for Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio). Also, what do you do on the weekends? You watch sports. Therefore, it’s pretty obvious what I’m doing on the weekend – I’m working, hard at this point covering the NFL (my Sunday’s start at 7 AM PST when I tweet start/sit for @SiriusXMFantasy on Twitter. The Tweeting ends at 10 A PST, I then watch the games all day, and then do the radio thing at 7-10 PM PST which means my Sunday’s are 15 hours of work. Of course there are worst things to be doing than watching football, trust me I get that, but it’s still a long day). So what I’m basically trying to say is that I do appreciate Friday’s now. Given that I’m in all day Sunday, starting before the sun comes, I had better enjoy my Friday nights cause it’s pretty tough to be focused at 7 AM Sunday if I’m all about getting bombed on Saturday night until 4 AM.
Oh Carlos Quentin, you are killing me in my NL-only league. I know you are always hurt, I knew that when I drafted you, but this is pretty awful my friend. In each of the past three seasons you have hit at least 21 homers while appearing in 130, 99, 131 and 118 games. So I was thinking, on the safe side, 120 games worth of action. With less than two weeks left in the regular season Quentin has hit 16 homers in just 81 games played. Ugh. Too bad too as he’s averaging a homer every 17.6 at-bats after posting a 2009-11 mark of 17.25.
Chris Young is another player killing me in my NL-only league. Young is doing his normal torpedo job in the batting average category with a .227 mark (career .239) and his OPS is .740 (career .755) as expected. However, it’s the counting categories that have been the disappointment. After appearing in at least 134 games each of the previous five seasons, and four times he’s hit at least 148 games played, he’s appeared in all of 96 games this season. After hitting 47 homers the past two years he has 14 this season. After stealing 50 bags the past two years he has eight thefts this year. Let me state it another way. The past two years Young has averaged 24 homers and 25 steals, yeah that’s damn good. This year he has 14 homers and eight steals. That’s awful. He’s also scored 36 runs after posting at least 85 runs in four of the previous five seasons. Unmitigated disaster meet Chris Young.
By Ray Flowers
Today I’ll not only do my normal Friday thing, giving you some advice on guys I’d be starting Friday and Saturday, but I’m also going to point you to a game in which you can turn $10 into $5000. How does that sound?
CONTEST – KING FOR A DAY; Win $12,000
Here’s the deal. Every Friday starting today, through September 7th, 12 qualifiers will be given a shot to win $12,000 in the final contest on September 14th. Here’s how it works from the official webpage of the tournament.
Each weekly qualifier is a $10 entry multiple-entry tournament with the winner earning a seat in the Sept 14th $12,000 King’s Crown tournament. In the event of a tie for first place, normal Daily Joust tie-breaker rules apply. If a tie still persists, a playoff will occur to determine the winner.
That’s right. Be a weekly winner and you’ll get your shot to view for the $12,000 in prizes ($5,000 to the winner)… for the cost of $10.
Sound like a game you’d like to try your hand at? Wish I could qualify…
HITTERS – FRIDAY
Robinson Cano vs. Josh Beckett: Cano hits everyone, and Beckett is no different as Cano has hit .324 with three homers and 13 RBI over 71 at-bats.
Matt Holliday vs. Ricky Nolasco: This matchup is golden for Holliday who is hitting .476 with two homers and six RBIs in 21 at-bats. Carlos Beltran also kills it with 13 hits in 38 at-bats (.342 average) against Nolasco.
Carlos Lee vs. Jake Westbrook: A new team for energy, and a great matchup for production. Lee is hitting .450 in 40 at-bats against the righty from STL.
Luke Scott vs. Justin Masterson: In a horrific slump that has him hitting .194 on the year, Scott is 7-for-16 (.438) with five RBIs off Masterson. Will this be the tonic he needs to turn things around?
PITCHERS – FRIDAY
Hiroki Kuroda vs. Red Sox: In his lone outing against the Sox he allowed two runs in seven innings while racking up nine Ks. Over his last eight starts this season he’s dropped his ERA from 4.50 to 3.17, and over his last 34 innings he has an impressive 39 Ks. He’s rolling.
Justin Masterson vs. Rays: So Scott hits him, but no one has really hit Masterson of late. Over his last six starts he’s struck out 36 while walking nine leading to a 1.93 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Maybe he turns around those awful career numbers vs. the Rays (6.80 ERA, 1.74 WHIP in 43.2 IP).
Travis Wood vs. Mets: In his lone start against the Mets back on June 25th Wood hurled seven shutout innings. Moreover, he’s won his last three starts while allowing a total of one earned run. Put that together and you have a nice streaming option.
HITTERS – SATURDAY
Ryan Braun vs. Wandy Rodriguez: Maybe Wandy hopes he will get dealt to the Brew Crew so he won’t have to keep facing Braun. In 34 career at-bats Braun has hit .412 with four homers and seven RBIs. Rickie Weeks (.353), Aramis Ramirez (.349) and Corey Hart (.386) also kill Wandy.
Miguel Cabrera vs. Bruce Chen: Ten hits in 21 at-bats (.476) and three homers and seven RBIs say to start Cabrera in all leagues. Not like you wouldn’t anyway.
Kevin Youkilis vs. Ricky Romero: The Blue Jays’ lefty has been awful of late whereas Youkilis is finally starting to hit. In 23 career matchups Youkilis is hitting .348 with three bombs leading to a 1.336 OPS.
PITCHERS – SATURDAY
Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Rays: In one game against Tampa he tossed 6.2 innings of one run ball. However, it’s his work of late that is so exciting. In his last six starts he has 36 Ks in 40 innings leading to a 2.93 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. It’s pretty much been vintage Ubaldo.
Kyle Lohse vs. Marlins: The last time he took on the Marlins it was 7.1 innings of two run ball. The last three times he has taken the hill against anyone, including that game against the Marlins, it’s been at least seven innings with two or fewer earned runs allowed. Since the start of June, Lohse is 3-2 with a 1.91 ERA and 0.97 WHIP (over at Fleaflicker people have started to notice his rise).
Jarrod Parker vs. Mariners: In his last start against the club from Seattle it was seven innings of one run ball. In his last four starts overall he has allowed three earned runs. Face it, it may not always be pretty, but the rookie is flat out getting it done every time he takes the hill.
By Ray Flowers
On this week’s edition of “The Fantasy Beat”, Justin and Trevor talk about 1st Basemen around the majors who have surprisingly started the 2012 season off well. They also talk about the slumping players at 1st.
Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Eric Hosmer, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Dunn, Prince Fielder
The Tigers added Prince Fielder this offseason to team with Miguel Cabrera as the most dynamic lefty-righty duo in baseball. With those two aces in the third and fourth holes in the lineup, whomever hits at the top of the order should not only see a major increase in their runs scored total, they should also see plenty of pitches to hit given that pitchers will not want to face Cabrera or Fielder with the bases full of runners. The leadoff man figures to be Austin Jackson, who I profiled in Fowler vs. Jackson, while the #2 man in the order very well could be Brennan Boesch who is the subject of today’s piece.
Boesch hit .256 with 14 homers and 67 RBI as a rookie, and in year two the third round draft choice followed up those numbers with a .286 average, 16 homers and 54 RBI in 26 fewer at-bats. Clearly those aren’t numbers anyone is going to get too excited about (that may be part of the reason that over at Fleaflicker Boesch really hasn’t been added in that many leagues). Still, his spot in the batting order, if he does indeed hold on to the two hole, has some folks pretty darn excited about Boesch. Is that excitement warranted? Let’s take a look.
The most obvious issue with Boesch through two seasons is the Houdini act he’s pulled off in the second half of both seasons. I’m not talking about him pulling a rabbit out of his hat either. I’m talking about making himself vanish into thin air. Check out his two year pre/post All-Star break totals. It’s enough to make even someone with a strong constitution vomit.
2010 1st half: .342/.397/.593 with 12 homers and 49 RBI
2010 2nd half: .163/.237/.222 with two homers and 18 RBI
2011 1st half: .306/.360/.490 with 12 homers and 44 RBI
2011 2nd half: .219/.288/.368 with four homers and 10 RBI
Maybe we’ll look back on those numbers 10 years from now and get a good laugh, but for now those numbers scare the bejezus out of me. Here are the combined numbers.
1st half: .321-24-93-91-56 with a .911 OPS
2ns half: .182-6-28-33-6 with a .526 OPS
In the first half he’s Matt Holliday but in the second half he is Ramon Santiago. You have to be concerned with those two sets of numbers, at least until he goes out and does something in the second half of the season. Again, it might be a sample size issue – he could hit .300 with 15 homers in the second half this season – but for now the numbers are scarier than a Wes Craven flick.
Boesch is a player that struggles against right-handed pitching. Oh he’s not awful with a .254/.315/.425 slash line, but oddly, he is stronger against left-handed pitching (since he’s a left-handed batter) with a .319/.380/.471 slash line. Think of it like this. Versus righties he is Johnny Damon while he’s Dustin Pedroia versus lefties. Given that most hurlers are obviously right-handed, that’s another level of concern.
Some other facts.
Boesch doesn’t strike out very often, but since he also doesn’t walk a lot his career 0.41 BB/K ratio is just a teenie bit below the league average. Moreover, his OBP of .330 in his two seasons is only four points better than the league average during that time. It should also be noted that though he is looked at as a potential power bat in some circles that his .436 slugging percentage is only .010 points better than the league average for outfielders. In addition, Boesch doesn’t hit too many balls in the air, his GB/FB ratio of 1.12 is smack dab on the league average, while his 10.7 percent HR/F rate is only about a percentage point high. Boesch also has shown little stolen base speed with 12 steals in two seasons, an if he does indeed hit second in the Tigers’ order you can’t think he is going to be getting the green light very often with the two thumpers coming up. As for his ability to help in the batting average category he did show a .027 point improvement in year two, but through 892 at-bats he has hit just .269. Moreover, his .306 BABIP mark is just about league average, and so far he hasn’t been anywhere near the league average in the line drive category with a career mark of just 16.6 percent (the league average is 19-20 percent).
To summarize, Boesch has roughly league average ability in his BB/K rate, GB/FB ratio and HR/F ratio. He’s also produced, roughly, a league average batting mark, OBP and SLG. He also doesn’t steal many bases or hit that many line drives. In short, through two seasons, Boesch hasn’t shown himself to be anything other than a guy that’s going to need 550 at-bats to be a mixed league option because nothing he does stands out. If he can spend the entire year hitting second in the Tigers order that could all change. It could also change if he doesn’t turn into an absolute weakling in the second half of the season. However, pay close attention to the fact that, up until now, Boesch hasn’t shown himself to possesses on outstanding skill. Be careful of expecting too much from the third year player.
By Ray Flowers
For the last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to participate an experts league with the crew from KFFL.com. The league, called K-BAD (KFFL’s Baseball Analysis Draft), pits 12 experts against one another in a 12 team mixed league draft with 28 man rosters. The participants for this years event are as follows:
Doug Anderson, RotoExperts
Howard Bender, Fangraphs
Mark Chamberlain, Baseball Sharks
Steve Gardner, USA Today
Joe Hamrahi, Baseball Prospectus
Tim Heaney, KFFL
Bill Macey, Baseball HQ
Nicholas Minnix, KFFL
Jeff Paur, RTSports
Josh Shepardson, The Hardball Times
Pasko Varnica, Mastersball
*For full bios on all 12 of the participants click on this link to K-BAD Bios.
One of the unique aspects of this draft is that the participants are asked to record their thoughts as they work through the slow draft (it’s done over days while all of us pound out our daily work). As a result, KFFL presents a unique look into the mind of an expert to expose “experts” thoughts and decision making process at the time each of the selections are made. For the full 28 round analysis of the draft, from all the experts, simply click on the link to K-Bad Round Analysis.
Since I’m sure you’re all riveted as to how my team came together, I thought I would reproduce the results of my squad in a couple of articles here at BaseballGuys. So without further ado, here is how the draft played out for me.
Round 1: Miguel Cabrera
Albert Pujols was a strong consideration, as was Troy Tulowitzki, but ultimately I decided on Cabrera for three reasons: the addition of Prince Fielder, the fact that Cabrera can hit .340, and the soon to be third base eligibility he will pick up.
Round 2: Matt Holliday
Overlooked this year by some, I have little doubt he’ll return to something like a .300-25-100 line in St. Louis even with Albert Pujols out of the mix. Was really hoping that Andrew McCutchen would fall to me at this spot, but missed out on him by a few picks.
Round 3: Kevin Youkilis
Really didn’t love this pick. Was tempted to go with another outfielder, but settled for the stability that Youkilis should bring. Plus, everyone is likely to go heavy on third base, so the next time I pick I’ll be hard pressed to find a comparable talent to Youkilis.
Round 4: B.J. Upton
I was hoping that Ben Zobrist would make it back to me. Obviously he didn’t. I considered Michael Bourn but went with the better all-around performer in Upton. With Cabrera/Youkilis/Holliday I should be able to handle Upton’s poor average.
Round 5: Felix Hernandez
I don’t usually go for pitching early, but I’d bet the 5th and 6th rounds are going to be filled with starters being grabbed. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a guy like Hernandez that should give me 200 Ks and 220-innings of elite work as my staff anchor. Also considered Zack Greinke.
Round 6: Howie Kendrick
A perennial option to hit .300, he’s also likely to go 10/10, possibly even 15/15. I was tempted to take Weeks, but look at Week’s games played mark – an average of just 107 games a season the past five years. Give me Kendrick who also has OF eligibility.
Round 7: Shane Victorino
Solid, consistent, across the board producer. That’s Shane Victorino. I was tempted by Shin-Soo Choo here, but I’m worried about Choo returning to .300, and I don’t know if he’s going to swipe 20 bases anymore either. Shane might be slightly boring to some, but he’s a fantastic 3rd outfielder.
Round 8: Mark Reynolds
People might laugh at this selection, but we all know that third base starts to thin out pretty quickly, and Reynolds covers me at first base as well. His average is woeful, but he is one of only five men to have 30 homers, 85 RBI and 75 runs scored each of the past three years.
Round 9: Derek Jeter
Boring? Yes. Old? Yes. Declining skill set? Yes. So why take him? After the selection of Reynolds with my last pick, I need the .290 average that Jeter should bring. There are more exciting options left at shortstop, but I’m looking for some average stability.
Round 10: Ricky Romero
It’s the time in the draft to start building my pitching staff. Romero may not be elite, but he’ll fit in nicely behind King Felix as I have two power sinking fastball types. Considered going closer, but I’ll wait there.
Round 11: Josh Beckett
I considered Matt Garza and Brandon Morrow here. Garza is as consistent as they come, and Morrow has massive upside, but I split the difference and grabbed Beckett.
Round 12: Brandon Morrow
There might be safer pitchers left on the board, but there are none with 250 K potential. If he keeps the walks down again he could shave a run off his ERA.
Round 13: Dustin Ackley
I was tempted to go with a fourth outfielder here and if I didn’t already have three third base eligible guys (Reynolds, Youkilis and Cabrera) I’d have taken Martin Prado.
Round 14: Sergio Santos
The run on closers commenced, and I jumped in the mix. Was tempted to an address my catcher’s spot which is open, but I went with that huge arm of Santos.
In PART II I’ll continue my look at the selections I made before giving an overall wrap up.
By Ray Flowers
“Any list of the biggest failures in 2011 has to start with Adam Dunn (.159-11-42 in 496 at-bats. I still can’t believe he was that atrocious). However, a teammate of Dunn’s also has to be in the top-10 [Alex Rios]…” That was my opening to my Alex Rios Player Profile from back in November of 2011. Today I’ll complete that thought by discussing the most pathetic performer of 2011 – Mr. Adam Dunn.
From 2004-2010 Dunn hit at least 38 homers each year. Only one man in history has a run of more than 7-straight years of hitting 38 or more homers each season. It’s not Babe Ruth who tied with Dunn at seven (1926-32), or Barry Bonds who never did it more than five years in a row (2000-04). The answer to this riddle is actually Rafael Palmeiro (1995-2003).
From 2004-10 Dunn had at least 92 RBI each year. That’s well short of the record of 13-straight such seasons held by Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Alex Rodriguez. Still, only five men were able to hit that total each year from 2004-10: Albert Pujols, Arod, Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera and Dunn.
From 2004-10 Dunn scored at least 79 runs each season. Only six others joined Dunn in that group: Bobby Abreu, Teixeira, Pujols, Cabrera, Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon.
All told, how many big leaguer posted a line of 38 homers, 92 RBI and 79 runs scored each year from 2004-10? The answer is one – Adam Dunn.
So what the hell happened in 2011 to the then 32 year old slugger? Some thoughts.
Maybe he wasn’t totally comfortable in his new home in Chicago?
Maybe the pressure of a big money deal got to him (4-years, $56 million)?
Maybe he lost confidence when he struggled?
Maybe health woes, like his appendicitis, ruined his timing?
Maybe he didn’t like being the DH? He hit mere .176 with a. 621 OPS in 81 such games (to be honest though, those numbers were better than his overall totals of .159 and .569).
Let’s get past the maybe’s and look at the raw data.
As I’ve laid out, there wasn’t a more consistent power hitter in the game than Dunn. At 32 years of age, in a ballpark that benefits hitters, there was zero reason to expect a collapse in 2011. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to roll the calendar back 12 months and find anyone who had a bad thing to say about Dunn as most expected the move to Chicago to lead to at least, at the very worst, a replication, of his 2010 effort (.260-38-103-85). What happened then?
Did he walk less than normal? Nope. His 15.1 percent walk rate was pretty much a match for his 16.2 percent career rate.
Did he strike out more than normal? Heck yes he did. A career 27.6 K rate is terrible, but last season that number grew to epic proportions as it ended up at 35.7 percent. That was only the second time in his career that the mark was over 29 percent.
Did his hit type change? Not if you judge him by his GB/FB rate which was 0.68, a near identical match to his career rate of 0.71 percent. As for his line drive rate it was 20.0 percent. Not only was that mark his third best since 2003, it was also above his 19.6 career rate. So he hit as many grounders, liners and fly balls as normal. Wait, what? I know, it makes no sense does it? Dunn was pretty much the same hitter as always in terms of these three categories. The real issue though was two-fold. (1) His BABIP shrunk to a career worst .240 (career .292). 2011 was only the second time since 2004 that his BABIP mark was under .276. Given a career norm in the line drive category, that dip in BABIP really isn’t explainable, at least not simply (a loss of bat speed, bad luck, etc.). (2) For each season from 2003-10, Dunn had produced a HR/F ratio of 20.8 percent. In 2011 that number dropped to 9.6 percent. To state is another way, Dunn went from being elite to league average overnight. That just doesn’t happen.
Given the totality of his career, his age, and his home ballpark, I find it nearly impossible to predict another outage in 2012. The question is, how much will Dunn bounce back? Admittedly I’m a big fan of the Big Donkey, but I think the data leads to that point of view. If I had to put a floor on his production I’d think 2002 (.249-26-71-84). However, I’m not ruling out a return to 35-90-90 levels because I really cannot explain what the hell went wrong in 2011. Maybe he ticked off a practitioner of the dark arts who put a whammy on him. I’m not going to draft Dunn as my starter at first base, but if falls out of the top-20 at first base, like he’s currently ranked at Fleaflicker, then sign up Mr. Dunn for my squad.
By Ray Flowers
I know that no one reads anymore. In fact, I’m positive about that fact. I cannot tell you how many times a day the following occurs at the Baseball Guys’ Twitter Page.
I post a tweet. Example. “Albert Pujols is being paid $250 million over the next three years. Is he worth it? www. Pujols-Making…” So my sentence describes what I’m talking about, and then the link takes readers to the full story. Should be pretty simple, right? Someone then replies to me ‘will Pujols’ new home in California hurt his homer output?’ Why is that question a problem?
Because it clearly points out that the person didn’t bother to click on the link which, for three paragraphs, describes the impact that the Angels park could have on Pujols’ power. You think this is me just being me and bitching about something that rarely occurs? Not at all. This happens to me at least 3-5 times every single day. At least. People just don’t read anymore.
So why do I bring that up the fact that people hate to read? Because I’m going to trust that if you’ve gotten this far that you are one of those rare people that actually understands the value of reading something and not just scanning over it for 10 seconds (plus I just had to vent, sorry about that). I wrote about Wins Shares last year in Win Shares: 2010 Leaders, I’m merely going to quote myself in what follows for the description of what Wins Shares is (I know that’s lazy, but I did such a spectacular job last year, why mess with perfection?). Do I need a citation for my own words? Jeez, it’s been a while since college.
WHAT ARE WIN SHARES?
Win Shares attempts to measure how many wins a hitter or pitcher has personally notched for his team in the standings. Win Shares puts all players on one continuum meaning hitters and pitchers are all lumped together.
Win Shares are handed out based on a players impact at helping his team win games. Unlike other new-school stats, Win Shares look quite explicitly at the standings. The team’s number of Win Shares is equal to its win total times three. Eighty team wins gives 240 win shares to be spread amongst people on that team. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if a player is on a team that wins 95 or 75 games – they should still be rewarded in an equitable manner.
Win Shares is complicated to figure out, and has negatives. Bill James, the creator, realized some limitations in Win Shares and later invented “Loss Shares” because Wins Shares are only positive. Win Shares has also been replaced in most people’s minds by a measure like WAR (Wins Above Replacement level), but Win Shares was the first systematic attempt to put all aspects of baseball performance into one number that really caught on (James wrote about it in Win Shares, a massive 728 page book that was published in 2002).
To put the numbers you are about to review in context, here is a brief key for seasonal performance.
All-Star: 20+ Win Shares
MVP Level: 30+
Historic level: 40+
With that brief lead in, here are the 2011 leaders according to Win Shares.
2011 LEADERS – HITTERS
38 – Miguel Cabrera
37 – Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp
36 – Jose Bautista
34 – Jacoby Ellsbury
33- Prince Fielder, Joey Votto,
30 – Lance Berkman, Robinson Cano
29 – Miguel Montero
28 – Ben Zobrist and Andrew McCutchen
2011 LEADERS – PITCHERS
27 – Justin Verlander
24 – Jered Weaver
23 – Clayton Kershaw
22 – Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee
20 – James Shields, Ricky Romero, C.J. Wilson, Ian Kennedy
19 – CC Sabathia
18 – Dan Haren, Doug Fister
17 – Craig Kimbrel, Cole Hamels
By Ray Flowers
You remember back to March when I gave away all my position player rankings for free, right? For those of you who want to revisit my greatest hits, here’s where you would go to get all my rankings for hitters – 2011: BBGuys Hitter Capsules.
I’m nothing if not accountable, so I’ll review my top-10 predictions at each position as well as point out my biggest “hit” outside of the top-10 and my biggest “bust.” This should be fun.
2011 FIRST BASE Top-10
1 Albert Pujols
2 Joey Votto
3 Mark Teixeira
4 Miguel Cabrera
5 Prince Fielder
6 Adrian Gonzalez
7 Kevin Youkilis
8 Adam Dunn
9 Ryan Howard
10 Paul Konerko
Pujols‘ run at history, which I wrote about in On the Cusp, fell just short as he ended the year with a .299 batting average, 37 homers, 99 RBI and 105 runs scored. An impressive season for a mortal, but a disappointing effort for Pujols.
Votto wasn’t as good as he was during his MVP effort but it was pretty damn close. He posted a .324-37-113-106-16 line in 2010 and followed it up with .309-29-103-101-8 this season.
Teixeira blasted 39 homers and drove in 111 runs for the Yankees giving them the power they expected. Unfortunately he scored “only” 90 runs, and for the second straight season he hit under .260 as he limped home to a career worst .248 mark.
Cabrera was as he always is, fantastic. I admit it, my concerns over his drinking issues were apparently unfounded. I touched on that in Braun: Best of the Bunch.
Fielder was second in the NL in homers (38), RBI (120) and OBP (.415) while he was third in OPS (.994). Someone is going to get awfully rich this offseason.
Gonzalez proved me half right, and half wrong. You can learn more by reading Player Profiles: 2011 Review.
Youkilis was limited all year by injury and his final line looks pretty bad (.258-17-80-68-3). Still, he was on pace to hit more than 20 homers with 100 RBI while his OBP was .373, not bad for a down season. He should be at full health next season.
Dunn fell off more than virtually any player in recent memory (Andruw Jones was close a few years back). Dunn was unquestionably the biggest failure in the game in 2011 as he hit .159 with 11 homers over 415 at-bats. I literally felt a sickness in my stomach well up writing that sentence.
Howard hit his 33 homers and had 116 RBI, but he also hit a mere .253 and scored just 81 runs. He could easily miss the start of the 2012 season as well since he ruptured his Achilles tendon on the final play of the season for the Phillies.
Konerko was strong yet again hitting .300 with 31 homers and 105 RBI. He has no speed, it’s almost surprising that he stole a base, and despite playing 149 games with a .388 OBP he scored only 69 runs for the White Sox.
Hit: Freddie Freeman #25
Freeman took a while to get going, if we remove his .225 April he hit .293 the rest of the way, an in the end he batted .282 with 21 homers and 76 RBI for the Braves. Hey, it’s first base where everyone can hit. It was hard to find a guy who really stood out past the top-15.
By Ray Flowers