Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Best of the Best All-Around Players

A friend of mine asked me last night who I thought was the best overall player in Major League Baseball right now. I pondered the question for a bit and then revealed my choice. He tried to persuade me to another guy…but I asked him a few questions of my own to qualify his question.

1) Are you looking for somebody that hits for power?
2) Would that somebody hit for a high average also?
3) Is he clutch and drive in a bunch of runs?
4) Can he swipe bases and tally extra base hits often?
5) Is he considered a very good defensive player at his position?

He said YES to all five questions. At which point I gave him my top five guys…

#5 – Derrek Lee…This season he’d probably win most votes but I’m going to want to see him do it for several years. He stole 21 bases two years ago in Florida but has never driven in 100 runs or hit more than 32 HR’s in a season (last year). He’s a .275 career hitter who’s been incredible so far this season…we’ll see if he maintains that.

#4 – Miguel Tejada (who was his choice)…but I explained the Miggy is great at all of these, but his career high in stolen bases is just 11, has only four right now and only 57 steals for his career to date. If I wanted a guy up with the bases loaded and two outs it would be Tejada or Manny Ramirez…he’s great.

#3 – Bobby Abreu…Yes, I’ve always thought that Bobby Abreu was GREAT. I’ve been telling my Dad (a season ticket holder for the Phillies and die-hard fan) that the Phillies are stupid for A) not playing Abreu in CF and B) Promoting him as one of the top all-around players in the game. His average season consists of 25 HR (getting more and more as he gets older), 30 SB and a .305 career batting average. He also racks up extra base hits and is a very under appreciated defensive outfielder. He’s got 231 career stolen bases and is well on his way to his third 30-30 season. One other thing to note – Bobby’s On Base Percentage is always ridiculously good.

#2 - Alex Rodgriguez…A-Rod has 404 career HR already. He’s 29 years old. If Barry Bonds doesn’t break Hank Aaron’s record, it’s cool because A-Rod’s going to crush both of their marks. He’s a career .306 hitter who hit .358 in his first full season in the bigs. He’s been a 40-40 guy and has 214 steals for his career. The one thing that I think brings him to the #2 spot is his defense at third base. If he was still playing SS with the Gold Glove grace that he was he’d be my #1…but he’s not playing the ‘hot corner’ too good these days. This was a very close race between Alex and my #1, but I’m confident that I’ve made the right choice.


#1 – Vladimir Guerrero…An absolute BEAST. Hits for power, average, extra bases, drives in tons of runs, steals bases when he needs to and is a very good defensive outfielder with a cannon for a right arm. In six of his seven full seasons in the big leagues he’s driven in over 100 runs…in 2003 he was hurt and missed 50 games. HR totals since 1998…38, 42, 44, 34, 39, 25 (hurt), and 39 last season. Already has 16 this year with 51 RBI’s and a .335 batting average – while being on the DL for almost 20 days. He has stolen 144 bases in his young career and has a career .325 batting average. He’s the total package and is only getting bigger, stronger and better.

Close but no cigar…Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Beltran and Gary Sheffield.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

First Half Field Level Awards of Major League Baseball

You all know how much I think the All-Star Game stinks. Other than watching Bobby Abreu smash the lights out of Comerica Park in the Century 21 Home Run Derby last night it gives all baseball fans a great opportunity to reflect on the first 3 1/2 months of the season.
After much thought here are my own "Field Level" Awards for the First Half of the 2005 Major League Baseball season.

NL Stud Player: Derrek Lee, Chicago Cubs
runner up: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals

AL Stud Player: Miguel Tejada, Baltimore Orioles
runner up: Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

NL Dud Player: Kaz Matsui, New York Mets
runner up: Cristian Guzman, Washington Nationals

AL Dud Player: Tony Womack, New York Yankees
runner up: Sammy Sosa, Baltimore Orioles

NL Ace Starter: Dontrelle Willis, Florida Marlins
runner up: Pedro Martinez, New York Mets

AL Ace Starter: Mark Buerhle, Chicago White Sox
runner up: Jon Garhland, Chicago White Sox

NL Waste Starter: Eric Milton, Cincinnati Reds
runner up: Kaz Ishii, New York Mets

AL Waste Starter: Jaret Wright, New York Yankees
runner up: Sidney Ponson, Baltimore Orioles

NL Manager Supreme: Frank Robinson, Washington Nationals
runner up: Bobby Cox, Atlanta Braves

AL Manager Supreme: Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox
runner up: Buck Showalter, Texas Rangers

NL Out of his mind GOOD: Chad Cordero - Closer, Washington Nationals
runner up: Derrek Lee - 1B, Chicago Cubs
AL Out of his mind GOOD: Brian Roberts - 2B, Baltimore Orioles
runner up: Jeremy Bonderman - Pitcher, Detroit Tigers

NL Out of his mind BAD: Mike Lowell - 3B, Florida Marlins
runner up: Corey Patterson - CF, Chicago Cubs

AL Out of his mind BAD: Keith Foulke - Closer, Boston Red Sox
runner up: Steve Finley - CF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

NL Speedster: Jose Reyes, New York Mets
runner up: Rafael Furcal, Atlanta Braves

AL Speedster: Scott Podsednik, Chicago White Sox
runner up: Julio Lugo, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

There you have it...the 2005 Field Level First Half Awards

Monday, July 11, 2005

All-Star Game of Most Popular guys

Is anybody else sick of all of the Major League Baseball hoop-la about the All-Star Game? Honestly, they make such a big deal out of this one game that it really takes away from it. Sure, the Home Run Derby is cool to watch, but who cares who hits the most dingers tonight? David Ortiz or Mark Teixeira or Andruw Jones – should it matter to me? There are also several other things about this game that I don’t like anymore…

1) The winner gets home field advantage in the World Series. This is just flat out dumb. It’s one game against guys that are trying to have a little bit of fun mixed in with trying to impress. What happens if the Boston Red Sox win 87 games and the AL East (very possible) and then knock off two AL teams to make the World Series in a rematch against the St. Louis Cardinals? The Cardinals are well on their way to having another 105 win season like last year – but if the AL wins again they’ll lose out on home field to a team that might win 20 less games. Unfair. I understand you don’t want the problem that you ran into in 2002 when Joe Torre and Bob Brenly exposed to the world that they both are lucky to have managed great players. You want to make the game meaningful – then give the winning team $15,000 for each player from MLB. As rich as most of these guys are they’ll gladly take that check. A-Rod would probably donate it to some psychiatric hospital.

2) I’m so tired of seeing the managers of each team play all of the players on their teams. The aforementioned Torre used to get every guy on his Yankee roster that had a game winning hit or pitched a good game in the All-Star Game. Now we’ve got Tony LaRussa. Several of LaRussa’s Cardinal players got voted in as starters…and most of them deserved it (I said most – and that DOES NOT include David Eckstein) but he had the opportunity to start the best pitcher of the first half of the season and chose his own Chris Carpenter to start for the NL. Dontrelle Willis has been lights out great this season. Carpenter has done a great job, but I’d love to lecture Tony-boy about how stupid this is and looks.

CC: 18 3 3 13 4 2.51 1.07
DW: 18 5 4 13 4 2.39 1.13

All Tony needed to do was look at the stats and he could’ve figured this one out. Let’s not also forget that Carpenter pitches for one of the highest run scoring teams in league…I’m baffled. Willis got screwed plain and simple. I’m also having a hard time with Jim Edmonds in CF. Sorry to everybody out there that thinks he’s Mr. Defensive Superman – he’s not. He’s a very good defensive center fielder, but he’s not even in the Top Five in Major League Baseball.

#1 Andruw Jones - possibly the greatest defensives CF EVER
#2 Torii Hunter
– doesn’t have to dive as much as Edmonds because like Jones he’s already under the ball.
#3 Mike Cameron – And Mike plays RF now because the Mets have Carlos Beltran.
#4 Carlos Beltran – That’s right, the Mets have a guy playing RF that’s actually a little better defensively than Beltran…who’s great in CF though.
#5 Mark Kotsay – If you don’t believe me watch the Athletics play a few times this year…I’ll get you on the band wagon.

So why am I griping about this?…LaRussa shifted Beltran to LF and has his boy Edmonds in CF. Nope, should’ve been the other way around. The National League’s starting RF is Bobby Abreu and if the Phillies would ever smarten up and play him in CF he’d be better defensively than Edmonds too. Just because you dive the most doesn't mean you're the best defensively.

3) I also would argue that the fans shouldn't have the right to choose the starters either. If you want to continue with the fans voting guys into the game, that's one thing - but not starters. That right should be left up to the managers (except Tony LaRussa & Joe Torre). How can David Eckstein be the starting SS in the NL? How did Jason Giambi start at 1B last year for the AL? Tino Martinez almost beat out Teixeira in voting for AL 1B this year? Andruw Jones should be the starting CF and Carlos Beltran shouldn't be a starter...The fans vote with their teams and they vote TOO MUCH. If you want them to continue voting fine, but then let the managers vote on the starters.

The All-Star Game in the last ten years has become a chance for the two managers to play guys on their own teams and has become an almost ridiculous spectacle. Bud Selig should re-think his dopey idea and let the pennant winner with the best record in the World Series have home-field.