Today I’ll hit on a couple of options for the AL Rookie of the Year, discuss a pitcher who is slowly fading, and then discuss which of two top-flight options I would choose to hold on to for the 2010 season.
Elvis Andrus has had a wonderful season for the Rangers, but please, stop the Rookie of the Year talk. Andrus is hitting .267 with a .325 OBP, and both those numbers are below average for an AL player. Plus, he has no pop at the dish with six homer and 34 RBI, and though he plays a tough position (shortstop), his 22 errors are tied with Orlando Cabrera’s total for the worst mark in the American League. If I’m making the call, and face it they would never let me because I would actually make a rationally, cogent argument based on a foundation of data and not merely some asinine arbitrary argument that others will use, the answer is Andrew Bailey of the A’s. When Joey Devine went down with elbow surgery, and Brad Ziegler struggled, Bailey was thrust into the closers role in Oakland, and he has performed spectacularly: 6-3, 1.93 ERA, 0.91 WHIP with a 9.87 K/9 mark and 25 saves. In addition, he has blown only four chances this season, and he has been as good in the second half (1.95 ERA, 0.80 WHIP) as the first half (1.92 ERA, 0.97 WHIP). That’s good stuff my friends.
Scott Feldman gave up seven runs while recording just 10 outs against the A’s on Thursday to drop to 17-6 while seeing his ERA increase to 3.90. This is the second time in three outings that he has allowed at least six earned runs in an outing, and the second time in those three starts that he was saddled with a loss, this after seven straight victories. I’m amazed he has hung on this long. He has no strikeout potential, he pitches for the Rangers, and he owned a 4.97 ERA and 1.48 ERA in 241 innings coming into the year.
I write a piece every week entitled Taking Sides, and there was one battle I didn’t get to there that I thought I would touch on here (the basic idea is to choose which player would I prefer to have on my squad in 2010).
Matt Holliday: .312-24-104-91-14 in 554 ABs
Ryan Braun: .315-29-103-105-16 in 588 ABs
Matt Holliday was hitting .286 with 11 homers and 54 RBI in 93 games with the A’s this season, and the only thing he was doing at previous levels was stealing bases (he had 12). Flash forward a couple of months, and lo and behold Holliday is back to being a stud. In just 55 games with the Cards Holliday has 13 homer and 50 RBI basically matching his A’s totals in 38 fewer games. He has also hit a blistering .356 in the NL. Seems like St. Louis suits him. All told, He is just nine runs from his fourth straight 100 effort, and he has now gone over 100 RBI in three of four years while his .312 batting average is just six points below his career mark.
Braun is a stud in his own right. In just three seasons Braun has hit at least .285 with at least 29 homers, 97 RBI, 91 runs and 14 steals in every season. This year he has walked a career-high 56 times leading to a .384 OBP, a career best, which has helped to offset his three year low of .541 in the SLG department (still a strong mark). Oh, and don’t even think about pitching to him if you are left-handed, he simply demolishes those guys: .414/.496/.766 in 111 at-bats. That’s ripping it up. What makes him an intriguing play is the fact that he has swiped at least 14 bags in each of his three big league seasons (his rookie season was just 118 games by the way).
Whose Side?: If Holliday stays in St. Louis, he is a free agent, I would be greatly intrigued at the potential of holding on to Holliday. However, until the time that he is locked up by the Redbirds, the choice here has to be Braun who has been about as consistent as any player in baseball in his first three seasons in the show (my apologies to Albert Pujols).
By Ray Flowers