Sunday, November 28, 2010

Free Agent Special: Pitchers

This week I will give my predictions on where the top free agent pitchers will end up.

Starting Pitchers:

Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18 ERA, 185 K)
Prediction: Texas Rangers – The Rangers need Cliff, as their rotation looks great with him, but mediocre without him. Cliff helped carry the Rangers to the World Series last year, and Texas is a much better destination as far as family goes compared to New York. If that factors into his decision, I think he will stay with the Rangers.

Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.75 ERA, 117 K)
Prediction: Minnesota Twins – Carl was a huge part of their team last year, and they are interested in re-signing him. And even more important, they’re not located in New York and they aren’t called the Yankees.

Erik Bedard (DNP)
Prediction: Houston Astros – The Astros’ owner is looking to find players to sign so that he can sell his team for the $800 million that he’s asking for. He’s reportedly trying to sign Pavano, De La Rosa, and others of that talent level, but I see him settling for a guy like Bedard.

Jorge De La Rosa (8-7, 4.22 ERA, 113 K)
Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers are supposedly very interested in De La Rosa, and it would make sense, since Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, and Doug Davis are all free agents, and were all on the Brewers last year.

Justin Duchscherer (2-1, 2.89 ERA, 18 K)
Prediction: Oakland Athletics – Justin is extremely injury-prone, as he has only pitched in 28 innings in the past two years, but when he does pitch, he is effective, and I don’t see the A’s letting him go.

Brandon Webb (DNP)
Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals – The Cards need pitching, and they need it bad. To this point, they have almost exactly the same team that didn’t get it done for them last year, so even with the re-signing of Jake Westbrook, they are definitely interested in Webb.

Relief Pitchers:

Grant Balfour (2.28 ERA, 56 K)
Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays – With the Rays probably losing Rafael Soriano, and having already lost Joaquin Benoit, they have to keep somebody.

Jesse Crain (3.04 ERA, 62 K)
Prediction: Minnesota Twins – It looks as if Matt Guerrier won’t stay with the Twins, which will make them need Crain even more than before.

Frank Francisco (3.76 ERA, 60 K)
Prediction: Texas Rangers – The Rangers seem to want him back, and I don’t think that Frankie will get a better offer anywhere else.

Matt Guerrier (3.17 ERA, 42 K)
Prediction: Boston Red Sox – Boston has shown some serious interest in Guerrier, and they could really use him, so they’ll probably give him some good money.

Arthur Rhodes (2.29 ERA, 50 K)
Prediction: Cincinnati Reds – Rhodes was such a big part of the Reds playoff run last year, I can’t see them letting him go to another team.

Rafael Soriano (45 SV, 1.73 ERA, 57 K)
Prediction: Anaheim Angels – Soriano was, in my opinion, the best closer in all of baseball last season, and the Angels need a closer. Not to mention that they are willing to spend a little bit of money.

Come back next week for my free agent special on infielders.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Season Predictions vs. Results

This week I will compare my predictions from before the season started (from my March 13th post) to the actual results of the season, which was fun for me to do, especially since I got so many right.

AL East:

1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox (Wild Card)
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays

1. Tampa Bay Rays
2. New York Yankees (Wild Card)
3. Boston Red Sox
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles

Percentage Correct:
0/5, 0%

There’s no way that I could’ve predicted all the injuries that the Red Sox had, so that prediction wasn’t too bad, but I don’t know what I was thinking putting the Orioles ahead of the Blue Jays.

AL Central:

1. Minnesota Twins
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Detroit Tigers
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Cleveland Indians

1. Minnesota Twins
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Detroit Tigers
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Kansas City Royals

Percentage Correct:
3/5, 60%, correctly picked 1st through 3rd place

The Indians were only 2 games better than the Royals, and, really, they’re both so bad that it really doesn’t matter.

AL West:

1. Texas Rangers
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Anaheim Angels
4. Oakland Athletics

1. Texas Rangers
2. Oakland Athletics
3. Anaheim Angels
4. Seattle Mariners

Percentage Correct:
2/4, 50%, correctly predicted Texas to win the division

The Mariners were a hot pick at the beginning of the season, with the offseason additions of Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, and Chone Figgins, and I bought into it. I guess I forgot that you need to score at least a run a game to be able to win.

NL East:

1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Atlanta Braves
3. Florida Marlins
4. New York Mets
5. Washington Nationals

1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Atlanta Braves (Wild Card)
3. Florida Marlins
4. New York Mets
5. Washington Nationals

Percentage Correct:
5/5, 100%

Nailed it. If only I had picked the Braves to win the wild card, it would’ve been perfect.

NL Central:

1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. Chicago Cubs
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Houston Astros

1. Cincinnati Reds
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Houston Astros
5. Chicago Cubs
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

Percentage Correct:
0/6, 0%

Wow. I just got 100% correct in the East, and now I follow it up with this. Ouch. I figured that with the Cardinals rotation, they would win the division, and that of course the Cubs wouldn’t be that bad, right? Well, obviously they were that bad. But the real question here is: Why didn’t I put the Pirates in last place? Note to self: Don’t predict the Pirates to finish out of last place until after they actually do.

NL East:

1. San Francisco Giants
2. Colorado Rockies (Wild Card)
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. San Diego Padres

1. San Francisco Giants
2. San Diego Padres
3. Colorado Rockies
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
5. Arizona Diamondbacks

Percentage Correct:
1/5, 20%, correctly predicted the Giants to win the division

I don’t blame myself too much for this one, because the Padres were supposed to be the worst team in baseball, so I wasn’t the only one predicting them in last place. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but how should I have known a team with so little talent would do so well? They’re like the opposite of the Cowboys.

Winner: Joe Mauer, MIN
Runner-up: Evan Longoria, TB
Winner: Josh Hamilton, TEX
Runner-up: Miguel Cabrera, DET
Percentage Correct:
0/2, 0%
Josh hit .268 and only played in 89 games last year. Normally, that doesn’t turn into an MVP the next year, but I’m glad it did. I just didn’t predict it.

Al Cy Young:
Winner: Cliff Lee, SEA
Runner-up: Zack Grienke, KC
Winner: Felix Hernandez, SEA
Runner-up: David Price, TB
Percentage Correct:
0/2, 0%
Right team, wrong player. I picked Cliff Lee of Seattle to win the award, but it ended up being Felix Hernandez who won the award. But then my runner-up, now that was bad. Grienke had an ERA over 4.00 this year, and I predicted him to be the runner-up in the Cy Young voting. Not even close.

AL Rookie of the Year:
Winner: Austin Jackson, DET
Runner-up: Carlos Santana, CLE
Winner: Neftali Feliz, TEX
Runner-up: Austin Jackson, DET
Percentage Correct:
1/2, 50%
Austin Jackson was a good choice, as I predicted him to finish first, and he ended up finishing second, and then after him, my runner-up was Carlos Santana. If he hadn’t gotten hurt, who knows where he’d have finished, because he was playing well when he went down. Then, also, when I made my predictions, Neftali Feliz was not the Rangers’ closer, so I didn’t expect him to break the rookie saves record, or get anywhere near it.

AL Manager of the Year:
Winner: Ron Washington, TEX
Runner-up: Ron Gardenheire, MIN
Winner: Ron Gardenheire, MIN
Runner-up: Ron Washington, TEX
Percentage Correct:
2/2, 100%
Wow, that’s pretty good. I got both of the names right, just in the wrong order, and, personally, I think that Ron should’ve won, and that my preseason prediction should have been exactly right on this one.

Winner: Albert Pujols, STL
Runner-up: Joey Votto, CIN
Winner: Joey Votto, CIN
Runner-up: Albert Pujols, STL
Percentage Correct:
2/2, 100%
I was very close on this one, too. I went out on a limb and chose Joey Votto as my runner-up, and I was wrong, but not in the way I would’ve thought, as he will most likely actually win the award. The only thing I missed on this one was the order, as Votto was first and Pujols was second.

NL Cy Young:
Winner: Adam Wainwright, STL
Runner-up: Tommy Hanson, ATL
Winner: Roy Halladay, PHI
Runner-up: Adam Wainwright, STL
Percentage Correct:
1/2, 50%
I was very close on Wainwright here, but I very much whiffed on Halladay, and I completely underrated him, although Tommy Hanson did have a solid year.

NL Rookie of the Year:
Winner: Jason Heyward, ATL
Runner-up: Madison Bumgarner, SF
Winner: Buster Posey, SF
Runner-up: Jason Heyward, ATL
Percentage Correct:
1/2, 50%
Once, again, I was one off on a prediction. I predicted Heyward to win, and he finished in second, but still, that’s pretty good.

NL Manager of the Year:
Winner: Jim Tracy, COL
Runner-up: Bruce Bochy, SF
Winner: Bud Black, SD
Runner-up: Dusty Baker, CIN
Percentage Correct:
0/2, 0%
Come on, I predicted the Padres to finish in last place, so there’s no way I would’ve predicted their manager to win manager of the year.

ALDS Prediction:
Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox: Rangers in 5
New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins: Yankees in 4

ALDS Result:
Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Rangers in 5
New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins: Yankees in 3

Percentage Correct:
Teams: 3/4, 75%
Series Results: 2/2, 100%

That might be the closest prediction to being right out of anyone. That’s pretty good.

NLDS Prediction:
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Colorado Rockies: Cardinals in 4
San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Giants in 5

NLDS Result:
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds: Phillies in 3
San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves: Giants in 4

Percentage Correct:
Teams: 2/4, 50%
Series Results: 1/2, 50%

The one series that I missed on was a series in which I had two teams that didn’t even make the playoffs facing each other. It’s hard to get that one right when that happens.

ALCS Prediction:
New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers: Yankees in 7

ALCS Result:
New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers: Rangers in 6

Percentage Correct:
Teams: 2/2, 100%
Series Result: 0/1, 0%

Wow, I can’t believe that I got both of these teams right. Not bad.

NLCS Prediction:
St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants: Giants in 5

NLCS Result:
Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Francisco Giants: Giants in 6

Percentage Correct:
Teams: 1/2, 50%
Series Result: 1/1, 100%

I did pretty good here, too.

World Series Prediction:
New York Yankees vs. San Francisco Giants: Giants in 6

World Series Result:
Texas Rangers vs. San Francisco Giants: Giants in 5

Percentage Correct:
Teams: 1/2, 50%
Series Result: 1/1, 100%

Wow. I picked the eventual champion back in March. My preseason predictions were a success, if I do say so myself.

Come back next week for a free agent special.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Season Awards

This week I will give my awards for the 2010 season.

Rangers Awards:

MVP: Josh Hamilton, TEX (.359 AVG, 32 HR, 100 RBI) – Come on, he’s the AL MVP, so he has to be the Rangers MVP.
Runner-up: Vladimir Guerrero (.300 AVG, 29 HR, 115 RBI)

Cy Young: CJ Wilson, TEX (15-8, 3.35 ERA, 170 K) – CJ had the most wins on the team, the lowest ERA out of players on the team for the entire season, and the most innings pitched out of pitchers on the team the whole season.
Runner-up: Colby Lewis, TEX (12-13, 3.72 ERA, 196 K)

Rookie of the Year: Neftali Feliz, TEX (40 SV, 2.73 ERA, 71 K) – Once again, I have him winning the ROY, so he has to win it for his own team.
Runner-up: Mitch Moreland, TEX (.255 AVG, 9 HR, 25 RBI)

AL Awards:

MVP: Josh Hamilton, TEX (.359 AVG, 32 HR, 100 RBI) – He led the majors in batting average by 23 points, had 30+ home runs, has 100+ RBIs, and led his team to the playoffs. That has all the makings of an MVP.
Runner-up: Miguel Cabrera, DET (.328 AVG, 38 HR, 126 RBI)

Cy Young: Clay Buchholz, BOS (17-7, 2.33 ERA, 120 K) – I know he won’t win the award since he doesn’t have many innings, but I think he should. He is second in the AL in ERA, leads the #3 guy in that category by a lot, and has 4 more wins than the #1 guy in that category. I think that he’s being way overlooked here.
Runner-up: Felix Hernandez, SEA (13-12, 2.27 ERA, 232 K)

Rookie of the Year: Neftali Feliz, TEX (40 SV, 2.73 ERA, 71 K) – He was third in the AL in saves this year, so the fact that he is not only one of the top rookies, but one of the top closers in baseball makes this choice pretty obvious for me.
Runner-up: Austin Jackson, DET (.293 AVG, 4 HR, 43 RBI)

Manager of the Year: Ron Washington, TEX (90-72, 1st place) – Although I might not agree with some of his in-game decisions, he did a good job taking this team to the playoffs, and deserves this award.
Runner-up: Ron Gardenheire, MIN (94-68, 1st place)

NL Awards:

MVP: Joey Votto, CIN (.324 AVG, 37 HR, 113 RBI) – He’s in the top three in each of the three major categories, and his team made it to the playoffs. It’s hard to go against him.
Runner-up: Carlos Gonzalez, COL (.336 AVG, 34 HR, 117 RBI)

Cy Young: Roy Halladay, PHI (21-10, 2.44 ERA, 219 K) – Here’s a Cy Young checklist:
20+ wins – 21 check
3.00- ERA – 2.44 check
200+ IP – 250.2 check
200+ K – 219 check
I think that those numbers are Cy Young worthy.
Runner-up: Adam Wainwright, STL (20-11, 2.42 ERA, 213 K)

Rookie of the Year: Neil Walker, PIT (.296 AVG, 12 HR, 66 RBI) – Everybody is saying that it should be Jason Heyward, but, no, I don’t think it should. Walker has a much better average, and only 6 less homers and 6 less RBIs, so I think that he should get the award, even though I know that he won’t.
Runner-up: Jaime Garcia, STL (13-8, 2.70 ERA, 132 K)

Manager of the Year: Bud Black, SD (90-72, 2nd place) – The Padres are not a very talented team, and yet they were one win away from the playoffs. I give the credit for that to the manager.
Runner-up: Dusty Baker, CIN (91-71, 1st place)

Come back next week for my season’s predictions compared to this season’s results.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

World Series Wrap-up and Off-season Checklist

This week I will give a small recap on the World Series and then a trip report on the Aggie victory over OU this week. I will also give my checklist for the Rangers this offseason.

World Series Recap:

The World Series was disappointing to lose, but the season was so great it doesn’t feel as bad as I thought it would. The Rangers just got flat-out outplayed. The Giants pitched better, hit better, and fielded better than the Rangers, and, really, it’s almost impossible to win a World Series when you score 1 run or less in three games. The starting pitching for the Rangers was okay, obviously Cliff Lee got lit up in Game 1 and Tommy Hunter struggled in Game 4, but in the other three games it was great, so that was one good area. It was a great year, and I really enjoyed it, and am looking forward to three more playoff wins on top of this year’s number next year.

Rangers Offseason Checklist:

Below are the players that I would most like to have, in order, at our positions of need for this offseason, along with their 2010 season stats.

1. Cliff Lee – 12-9, 3.18 ERA, 185 K
2. Zach Grienke (in trade) - 10-14, 4.17 ERA, 181 K
3. Rich Harden – just kidding

#4 Starter (might not sign someone here, but it would be nice):
1. Jon Garland – 14-12, 3.47 ERA, 136 K
2. Hiroki Kuroda – 11-13, 3.39 ERA, 159 K
3. Erik Bedard – DNP (injury)
4. Justin Duchscherer – 2-1, 2.89 ERA, 18 K
5. Jorge De La Rosa – 8-7, 4.22 ERA, 113 K
6. Brandon Webb – DNP (injury)
7. Jake Westbrook – 10-11, 4.22 ERA, 128 K

1. Joaquin Benoit – 1.34 ERA, 1 SV
2. Scott Downs – 2.64 ERA, 0 SV
3. Grant Balfour – 2.28 ERA, 0 SV
4. Matt Guerrier – 3.17 ERA, 1 SV
5. JJ Putz – 2.83 ERA, 3 SV
6. Arthur Rhodes – 2.29 ERA, 0 SV
7. Frank Francisco – 3.76 ERA, 2 SV
8. Jason Frasor – 3.68 ERA, 4 SV
9. Jesse Crain – 3.04 ERA, 1 SV
10. JC Romero – 3.68 ERA, 3 SV
11. Ron Mahay – 3.44 ERA, 0 SV
12. Kyle Farnsworth – 3.34 ERA, 0 SV

Catcher (as if Bengie retires):
1. John Buck - .281 AVG, 20 HR, 66 RBI
2. Miguel Olivo - .269 AVG, 14 HR, 58 RBI
3. Yorvit Torrealba - .271 AVG, 7 HR, 37 RBI
4. Ramon Hernandez - .297 AVG, 7 HR, 48 RBI
5. Rod Barajas - .240 AVG, 17 HR, 47 RBI

1. Adam LaRoche - .261 AVG, 25 HR, 100 RBI
2. Aubrey Huff - .290 AVG, 26 HR, 86 RBI
3. Vladimir Guerrero - .300 AVG, 29 HR, 115 RBI
4. Jim Thome - .283 AVG, 25 HR, 59 RBI
5. Ty Wigginton - .248 AVG, 22 HR, 76 RBI
6. Russell Branyan - .237 AVG, 25 HR, 57 RBI
7. Carlos Pena - .196 AVG, 28 HR, 84 RBI
8. Lyle Overbay - .243 AVG, 20 HR, 67 RBI

Trip Report:

WHOOP! This weekend my dad, my uncle, and I drove down to College Station to see the Aggies play the Sooners at Kyle Field. It was a blast. We got there late Friday night and checked in to our hotel, a Hampton Inn, and almost immediately went to sleep. On Saturday morning, we got up and hung around the hotel for a while, watching Louisville, my second team, beat Syracuse 28-20. Fear the Bird. We then went to eat lunch at Double Dave’s Pizzaworks, which was great. They used to have some locations in Dallas, but they all closed down, making visiting one a treat. They have very good pizza, but their pepperoni rolls are the highlight, and are the best ones I’ve ever had. We then drove over to the movie theatre and saw Mega Mind, which was good. After that, it was time to walk over to the game.

The game started off great, with a bad snap going over the Oklahoma QB’s head for a safety on the very first play of the game. Then, on the Aggies’ drive following the kickoff, they marched down the field and scored a touchdown to go up 9-0. After a late first half field goal, and a kickoff return for a touchdown to start off the second half to give the Aggies a 19-0 lead, the Sooners scored 17 unanswered points and cut the lead to 19-17. But in the 4th quarter, the Aggies once again dominated. They had a great drive that ended with an incredible Cyrus Gray 23 yard TD run, with about 4 broken tackles in the play. At this point the Aggies were up 26-17, but then on A&M’s next possession, they scored another touchdown on a 64-yard TD pass to Ryan Swope, and that finished the deal, as Texas A&M crushed the #8 ranked Oklahoma Sooners by a final score of 33-19. That was a very, very fun game, and it was my first Aggies football game ever. I think I picked a good game to go to.

Come back next week for my 2010 Season Awards.