Saturday, July 5, 2014

My AL All-Star Ballot

1B - Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

The White Sox Jose Abreu and the A’s Brandon Moss are both deserving, but my vote went to Cabrera, who is leads all AL first basemen in fWAR (3.3). I suspect that Abreu will be named as a reserve, while Moss may be squeezed out due to roster space.

2B - Brian Dozier, Twins

Ian Kinsler and Jose Altuve have higher posted a higher fWAR (3.7 and 3.1, respectively), but I went with Dozier’s balanced blend of power (15 HR), speed (15 SB, 4CS) and defense. Altuve should represent the Astros as a reserve. Kinsler could get snubbed due to roster space.

SS - Derek Jeter, Yankees

No, Jeter is not having an All-Star caliber season. His fWAR of 0.5 currently ranks 11th of 12 qualifying AL shortstops. His batting average (.268) and on-base percentage (.321) both rank fifth, while his slugging percentage is dead last. This is the All Star Game though, and I don’t want to watch Erick Aybar play short. I want Derek Jeter.

3B - Josh Donaldson, Athletics

Donaldson has been in an awful slump of late. Despite that he still leads all qualifying AL third sackers in HR (18), RBI (61) and UZR (12.5). The Mariners Kyle Seager is a close second place and should be named as a reserve.

C - Salvador Perez, Royals

This vote came down to Perez, Yan Gomes (Indians) and Derek Norris (Athletics) for me. Norris is mashing at the plate, posting a .309/.408/.509 slash line with 8 homers and 35 RBI. Ultimately I went with Perez, but all three could make the squad.

DH - Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

Victor Martinez, Nelson Cruz and David Ortiz all get hosed here as Edwin Encarnacion should have been on the ballot as a first baseman. He has started just sixteen games as the Blue Jays DH. He gets my vote though with his 26 bombs, 69 RBI, 194 total bases and .967 OPS.

OF - Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
OF - Michael Brantley, Indians
OF - Mike Trout, Angels

Trout, Bautista and Brantley were easy choices for me as they lead all AL outfielders in oWAR in that order. I might have selected Cruz here instead of Brantley if he were properly placed on that ballot as an outfielder. He has played 46 games in the outfield versus 39 as a DH. The list of those meriting consideration as reserves includes Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays), Yoenis Cespedes (Athletics), Coco Crisp (Athletics), Dexter Fowler (Astros), Brett Gardner (Yankees), Alex Gordon (Royals), Adam Jones (Orioles) and Brandon Moss (Athletics). Some of this list will find themselves on the final player ballot. Most will ultimately be snubbed due to roster space.

Photo Credits:
Top Left: Miguel Cabrera, by Jason Miller/Getty
Top Middle: Brian Dozier, by David Banks/Getty
Top Right: Derek Jeter, by Elsa/Getty
Middle Left: Josh Donaldson, by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty
Middle: Salvador Perez, by Jamie Squire/Getty
Middle Right: Edwin Encarnacion, by Jamie Sabau/Getty
Bottom Left: Jose Bautista, by Jim McIsaac/Getty
Bottom Middle: Michael Brantley, by David Maxwell/Getty
Bottom Right: Mike Trout, by Bob Levey/Getty

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My 2013 AL All-Star Ballot

C - Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
1B - Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
2B - Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
SS - Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers
3B - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
OF - Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
OF - Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox
OF - Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
DH - David Ortiz

The toughest choice was Dustin Pedroia over Jason Kipnis and Robinson Cano at second base. All should make the American League roster, but I went with Pedroia’s all-around game (he leads all qualifying AL second basemen in hits, runs, OBP and fWAR) over the power of Kipnis and Cano. 

I would have selected the Orioles JJ Hardy, who leads qualifying AL shortstops in HR and RBI while providing above average defense, but I couldn’t get past his  0.297 OBP. Instead, I’m left with the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta, who leads qualifying AL shortstops in AVG, OPS and fWAR while playing acceptable defense. It’s a weak crop of shortstop in the American League this season. That may change next year if the Orioles trade Hardy and move Manny Machado over from third to his natural short. Machado’s ability to play a superb shortstop should earn him a spot on the American League All-Star roster this year as a reserve along with Evan Longoria, who is also enjoying a superb season for the Rays.

In the outfield, Trout was an easy choice. However, I could easily have substituted any combination of Nelson Cruz, Brett Gardner, Alex Gordon, Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo for Ellsbury and Bautista. I would be surprised if all are not eventually added to the American League roster.

Photo Credits:
Top Left: Joe Mauer, photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Top Middle: Chris Davis, photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
Top Right: Dustin Pedroia, photo by Hannah Fosslien/Getty Images
Middle Left: Jhonny Peralta, photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images
Middle Middle: Miguel Cabrera, photo by Duane Burleson
/Getty Images
Middle Right: David Ortiz, photo by Jim Rogash
/Getty Images
Bottom Left: Mike Trout, photo by Bob Levey
/Getty Images
Bottom Middle: Jacoby Ellsbury, photo by Jim Rogash
/Getty Images
Bottom Right: Jose Bautista, photo by Jamie Squire
/Getty Images

Monday, November 12, 2012

If I Had a Vote (Part One)

The Baseball Writers Association of America announces its annual awards winners this week, starting the the Rookie of the Year awards. If I was a card carrying member of the BBWAA, this would be my ballot.

AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout (Angels)

This is the easiest call to make. The 21-year old Trout had one of the greatest offensive season in the history of the game, easily overshadowing the other finalists - Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish. The only question is whether or not Trout also wins the AL MVP award.

NL Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper (Nationals)

This is a close race. Neither Frazier nor Miley were touted very much coming into this season. Frazier only came up to the Reds from AAA (where he wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire with a pedestrian .231/.268/.359 slash line with one home run and eleven strikeouts in 10 games with Louisville) after an injury to Scott Rolen. Miley was the 13th ranked prospect according to MinorLeagueBall.com in the Diamondbacks system. Other pitchers (Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Archie Bradley and Patrick Corbin, to name a few) were the top jewels. Though his role increased after injuries to Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy, Miley was holding down the fifth spot in the rotation out of Spring Training. To their credit, both Frazier and Miley capitalized on their opportunities. But when you come in to the league as hyped as Harper was, with the expectations that were piled upon him, and then you live up to that hype and those expectations, that becomes the difference maker.

Photo Credits:
Mike Trout, by Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Bryce Harper, by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Friday, April 27, 2012
No Pressure, Kid
Earlier today the Washington Nationals called up their 19-year old phenom Bryce Harper after placing third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day Disabled List. This evening, after dropping their fifth game in a row, the Los Angeles Angels called up outfielder Mike Trout, who was ranked as the third top prospect in the minors entering this season by MLB.com, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.
Harper and Trout are coming up into completely different situations though. Harper’s Nationals lead the NL East and are tied with the Dodgers for the best record in the National League. The Angels on the other hand sit at the bottom of the AL West with a record of 6-14, already nine games behind the division leading Texas Rangers. The Angels, who also released former All-Star Bobby Abreu to make room for Trout, need Trout to help jump start an anemic offense that is ranked next-to-last in the American League in runs, slugging percentage, OPS and RBI, and last in home runs.
Trout is thought to have the makeup to handle the expectations, and he has 40 games in the majors already under his belt. He was also off to a hot start in 20 games at AAA Salt Lake (.403/.467./623). The Angels are dropping a lot of pressure on a 20-year old kid though.

No Pressure, Kid

Earlier today the Washington Nationals called up their 19-year old phenom Bryce Harper after placing third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day Disabled List. This evening, after dropping their fifth game in a row, the Los Angeles Angels called up outfielder Mike Trout, who was ranked as the third top prospect in the minors entering this season by MLB.com, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.

Harper and Trout are coming up into completely different situations though. Harper’s Nationals lead the NL East and are tied with the Dodgers for the best record in the National League. The Angels on the other hand sit at the bottom of the AL West with a record of 6-14, already nine games behind the division leading Texas Rangers. The Angels, who also released former All-Star Bobby Abreu to make room for Trout, need Trout to help jump start an anemic offense that is ranked next-to-last in the American League in runs, slugging percentage, OPS and RBI, and last in home runs.

Trout is thought to have the makeup to handle the expectations, and he has 40 games in the majors already under his belt. He was also off to a hot start in 20 games at AAA Salt Lake (.403/.467./623). The Angels are dropping a lot of pressure on a 20-year old kid though.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Funny. Not Funny.

Rookie phenom had his real cell phone number posted on the scoreboard during a recent Angels exhibition game. Rookies always endure friendly hazing from teammates during spring training (wearing Hello Kitty backpacks, carrying the veteran’s gear, getting stuck with a dinner tab, etc.). It’s actually a sign that the kid has arrived in the Show. Funny.

Meanwhile, CJ Wilson tweeted the real phone number of former teammate Mike Napoli to his more than 116,000 followers, apparently in retaliation for Napoli’s comment that he was looking forward to hitting home runs off Wilson after he learned that Wilson had signed with the Angels, which is incidentally Napoli’s former team. Not funny.

Wilson deleted the tweet and offered a half-hearted explanation, but it still doesn’t sit well with Napoli, who said to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram,

I don’t even know why he did it. You don’t do that. I am not taking it as a prank. You know, I haven’t even talked to him since the end of last season. We don’t have that type of relationship.

And then added,

I don’t even remember saying I want to take him deep. But as every power hitter, you’re always trying to take pitchers deep. So I’ll say it now, I’m going to try and take him deep.

The Angels and Rangers renew acquaintances May 11 in Arlington.