Sunday, May 22, 2011

May All-Stars

This week I will give my AL and NL All-Star teams. These are as if the All-Star game was today, and who I think it should be (which is completely hypothetical, since with the fan vote there will be about 8 Yankees starting, and possibly one player from a team outside the Bronx).

American League:


Catcher: Alex Avila, DET (.290 AVG, 6 HR, 24 RBI) – Alex leads all American League catchers on the ballot in batting average, and has very solid power numbers to go along with that.

First Base: Adrian Gonzalez, BOS (.328 AVG, 9 HR, 41 RBI) – Adrian leads all of baseball with 41 RBIs, has a very respectable 9 home runs to go along with that, and has a batting average over .300.

Second Base: Howie Kendrick, LAA (.322 AVG, 7 HR, 18 RBI) – Howie is having a fantastic season. He is one of the leaders among AL second basemen in average, homers, and RBIs.

Third Base: Kevin Youkilis, BOS (.280 AVG, 8 HR, 30 RBI) – Most years, Kevin’s numbers would not be starting caliber, but this year, they are, as AL third basemen are doing horrible.

Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta, DET (.289 AVG, 6 HR, 23 RBI) – Jhonny is having a great year, and has a batting average near .300 and very solid power numbers.

Outfield: Jose Bautista, TOR (.364 AVG, 18 HR, 31 RBI) – Jose leads all of baseball with a .364 batting average and 18 home runs, and also has 31 RBIs, which is very good.

Outfield: Matt Joyce, TB (.358 AVG, 7 HR, 23 RBI) – Matt is second in baseball with a .358 batting average, and his power numbers are pretty good.

Outfield: Curtis Granderson, NYY (.263 AVG, 15 HR, 33 RBI) – While Curtis’ batting average isn’t to the level of Jose Bautista or Matt Joyce, his power numbers definitely are worthy of starting.

Designated Hitter: Michael Young, TEX (.341 AVG, 2 HR, 31 RBI) – Michael has a fantastic batting average at .341, and while he only has two home runs, his RBI numbers are still very high.

Starting Pitcher: Trevor Cahill, OAK (6-1, 1.79 ERA, 52 K) – Trevor is tied for the American League lead with 6 wins, and is second in the AL in ERA, behind Josh Beckett.

C: Russell Martin, NYY (.271 AVG, 8 HR, 24 RBI)
1B: Adam Lind, TOR (.313 AVG, 7 HR, 27 RBI)
Paul Konerko, CWS (.306 AVG, 10 HR, 35 RBI)
Miguel Cabrera, DET (.314 AVG, 8 HR, 30 RBI)
2B: Robinson Cano, NYY (.275 AVG, 9 HR, 27 RBI)
Ben Zobrist, TB (.260 AVG, 8 HR, 28 RBI)
3B: Adrian Beltre, TEX (.254 AVG, 10 HR, 37 RBI)
Alex Rodriguez, NYY (.267 AVG, 9 HR, 25 RBI)
SS: Erick Aybar, LAA (.314 AVG, 2 HR, 14 RBI)
Asdrubel Cabrera, CLE (.282 AVG, 7 HR, 27 RBI)
OF: Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS (.296 AVG, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 15 SB)
Adam Jones, BAL (.296 AVG, 5 HR, 24 RBI)
Jeff Francoeur, KC (.282 AVG, 8 HR, 27 RBI)
DH: Travis Hafner, CLE (.345 AVG, 5 HR, 22 RBI)
Jason Kubel, MIN (.319 AVG, 5 HR, 24 RBI)
SP: Josh Beckett, BOS (3-1, 1.73 ERA, 52 K)
Dan Haren, LAA (4-2, 1.84 ERA, 66 K)
Alexi Ogando, TEX (4-0, 2.13 ERA, 37 K)
Zach Britton, BAL (5-2, 2.14 ERA, 33 K)
Michael Pineda, SEA (6-2, 2.16 ERA, 61 K)
James Shields, TB (4-2, 2.26 ERA, 60 K)
Josh Tomlin, CLE (6-1, 2.41 ERA, 30 K)
RP: Mariano Rivera, NYY (13 SV, 1.80 ERA, 16 K)
Chris Perez, CLE (12 SV, 2.84 ERA, 12 K)
Jose Valverde, DET (10 SV, 2.84 ERA, 20 K)
Kyle Farnsworth, TB (9 SV, 1.76 ERA, 9 K)
Neftali Feliz, TEX (8 SV, 1.26 ERA, 8 K)

Players per Team (starters in parentheses):
Tampa Bay Rays – 4 (1)
New York Yankees – 5 (1)
Boston Red Sox – 4 (2)
Toronto Blue Jays – 2 (1)
Baltimore Orioles – 2
Cleveland Indians – 4
Detroit Tigers – 4 (2)
Kansas City Royals – 1
Chicago White Sox – 1
Minnesota Twins – 1
Texas Rangers – 4 (1)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 3 (1)
Oakland Athletics – 1 (1)
Seattle Mariners – 1

National League:


Catcher: Ramon Hernandez, CIN (.337 AVG, 6 HR, 15 RBI) – Ramon leads all National League catchers in both batting average and home runs. That is definitely worthy of being a starter.

First Base: Joey Votto, CIN (.331 AVG, 5 HR, 26 RBI) – Joey Votto has the best all-around numbers of all NL first basemen, even though Prince Fielder has better power numbers.

Second Base: Brandon Phillips, CIN (.323 AVG, 5 HR, 26 RBI) – Brandon is the third Red to be a starter here, and is well deserving, with good power numbers and a .323 batting average.

Third Base: Placido Polanco, PHI (.337 AVG, 2 HR, 25 RBI) – Placido has a terrific batting average, and while he doesn’t hit many homers, he still has plenty of RBIs.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes, NYM (.318 AVG, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 17 SB) – Jose has stayed healthy. That is a miracle. On top of that, he is hitting .318 and has 17 stolen bases.

Outfield: Matt Kemp, LAD (.324 AVG, 10 HR, 32 RBI, 12 SB) – Matt Kemp also has a lot of stolen bases, although not as many as Reyes, but Kemp does have better hitting numbers.

Outfield: Ryan Braun, MIL (.301 AVG, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 10 SB) – Once again, Ryan Braun is having an amazing year. This guy is too good.

Outfield: Matt Holliday, STL (.356 AVG, 6 HR, 30 RBI) – It looks like Matt might do something that I never thought would happen. He may very well be the only Cardinals’ 3 or 4 hitter (he hits 4, Pujols hits 3) to make the All-Star team, as he is on mine.

Designated Hitter: Lance Berkman, STL (.349 AVG, 11 HR, 35 RBI) – Lance is having a terrific start to the season. I still don’t think he will be able to keep it up, though.

Starting Pitcher: Jaime Garcia, STL (5-0, 1.64 ERA, 53 K) – Jaime is tied for the lead in baseball with a 1.64 ERA, has a good amount of strikeouts, and is tied for 5th in the NL in wins. That is a good year.

C: Jonathon Lucroy, MIL (.320 AVG, 4 HR, 18 RBI)
1B: Ike Davis, NYM (.302 AVG, 7 HR, 25 RBI)
Prince Fielder, MIL (.287 AVG, 10 HR, 36 RBI)
Gaby Sanchez, FLA (.311 AVG, 7 HR, 27 RBI)
Todd Helton, COL (.323 AVG, 6 HR, 20 RBI)
2B: Neil Walker, PIT (.283 AVG, 6 HR, 30 RBI)
Rickie Weeks, MIL (.292 AVG, 7 HR, 14 RBI)
3B: Pablo Sandoval, SF (.313 AVG, 5 HR, 14 RBI)
Chipper Jones, ATL (.262 AVG, 4 HR, 27 RBI)
SS: Stephen Drew, ARI (.271 AVG, 3 HR, 27 RBI)
Starlin Castro, CHC (.324 AVG, 1 HR, 21 RBI)
OF: Carlos Beltran, NYM (.281 AVG, 8 HR, 25 RBI)
Andre Ethier, LAD (.311 AVG, 4 HR, 21 RBI)
Hunter Pence, HOU (.293 AVG, 5 HR, 33 RBI)
Jay Bruce, CIN (.265 AVG, 10 HR, 26 RBI)
SP: Josh Johnson, FLA (3-1, 1.64 ERA, 56 K)
Jair Jurrjens, ATL (5-1, 1.80 ERA, 29 K)
Tim Lincecum, SF (4-4, 2.06 ERA, 75 K)
Kyle Lohse, STL (5-2, 2.17 ERA, 36 K)
Roy Halladay, PHI (6-3, 2.21 ERA, 80 K)
Shaun Marcum, MIL (6-1, 2.37 ERA, 62 K)
Charlie Morton, PIT (5-1, 2.62 ERA, 29 K)
RP: Leo Nunez, FLA (17 SV, 2.66 ERA, 24 K)
Francisco Rodriguez, NYM (15 SV, 0.76 ERA, 25 K)
Joel Hanrahan, PIT (13 SV, 1.66 ERA, 16 K)
Heath Bell, SD (9 SV, 1.13 ERA, 12 K)
Drew Storen, WAS (9 SV, 0.38 ERA, 19 K)

Players per Team:
Philadelphia Phillies – 2 (1)
Atlanta Braves – 2
Florida Marlins – 2
New York Mets – 4 (1)
Washington Nationals – 1
St. Louis Cardinals – 4 (3)
Cincinnati Reds – 4 (3)
Chicago Cubs – 1
Milwaukee Brewers – 5 (1)
Pittsburgh Pirates – 3
Houston Astros – 1
Colorado Rockies – 1
Los Angeles Dodgers – 2 (1)
San Francisco Giants – 2
San Diego Padres – 0
Arizona Diamondbacks – 1

Come back next week for my May Awards.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ballpark Rankings Part 2

This week I will post the second entry of my ballpark rankings. Last week I rated the ballparks of the Red Sox, Reds, Orioles, Indians, and Braves. This week I have the Cubs, White Sox, Rockies, Tigers, and Astros. The ballparks will be ranked with a point system with three categories: personality, which is basically a ballpark’s signature features, history, and game experience. Each category will be rated from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.

Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field)

Personality: 10, Wrigley obviously has lots of personality, from its ivy walls to the big red board outside the ballpark. Wrigley also has a great old-fashioned scoreboard in center field. It was built in 1914 and this also adds personality to the park. The neighborhood feel of the whole Wrigleyville are adds to the personality as well.

History: 6, while the stadium is history itself, the Cubs haven’t put a whole lot of history into it. They have statues of Harry Caray and Ernie Banks outside the stadium. They also have pennants and retired numbers.

Game Experience: 10, it feels like you are watching the game a long time ago, as there is an old-time feel. They have a celebrity lead the singing of Take Me Out to the Ballgame each game, which is a nice touch. But basically this park gets a 10 because you’re in an authentic old-time baseball setting. There’s no match for the feel of a game at Wrigley or Fenway.

Total: 26

Chicago White Sox (US Cellular Field)

Personality: 2, the personality at US Cellular Field stinks. They basically don’t have a personality. This stadium is a real yawner. The only thing that the White Sox have are big pinwheels on top of the scoreboard. Although they’ve made some attempts to improve it over the last ten years, it’s still just a big dull and sterile stadium. They built this park just before Camden Yards started the trend of building new old-timey classic ballparks with lots of character. So the White Sox are stuck with a stadium that looks like it was built during the cookie-cutter era of ballparks.

History: 8, the White Sox have at least done a solid job on history, most of which has been added over the last few years. They have a home plate marker for old Comiskey Park in the parking lot, and they have a gift shop that also contains a mini-White Sox museum. But the best things they have are all of their statues in the outfield concourse. They have Charles Comiskey, Minnie Minoso, Carlton Fisk, Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Billy Pierce, Harold Baines, and will have Frank Thomas on July 31st of this year. These are all recent additions. And like most teams, you can see their pennants and retired numbers.

Game Experience: 1, not only is the ballpark lousy, but if you have seats to the middle or upper decks, you aren’t even allowed to walk around the lower level concourses. That is a stupid rule, especially since the stadium stinks, anyways.

Total: 11

Colorado Rockies (Coors Field)

Personality: 8, Coors Field is a very nice stadium. They have a nice entrance at home plate and you can also see the Rocky Mountains from inside the ballpark.

History: 3, the Rockies really don’t have much history at all in their stadium, and that is probably because they haven’t been around very long. They do have a statue of Branch Rickey outside the ballpark, but I don’t know why, as he has nothing to do with the Rockies.

Game Experience: 7, Coors Field does not have a big scoreboard, and that really detracts, but other than that, I have no problems with it.

Total: 18

Detroit Tigers (Comerica Park)

Personality: 7, the Tigers ballpark is certainly not the best, but it does have a solid personality with Tigers on top of the scoreboard, a carousel, and a ferris wheel.

History: 9, Comerica Park has plenty of history, with statues in center field representing the players whose numbers have been retired, including Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Willie Horton, Al Kaline, and Hal Newhouser. They also have Tigers history all along the lower concourse.

Game Experience: 4, Comerica Park doesn’t have a good feel to it. There’s not any particular beef that I have with it, aside from their terrible scoreboard, but I just don’t like it.

Total: 20

Houston Astros (Minute Maid Park)

Personality: 9, Minute Maid Park has plenty of personality. The coolest thing there is the train above the left field seats that goes across the track whenever the Astros hit a home run. They also have a good kids play area, and a neat area on the field in center field where they have Crosley Field’s incline and a flag pole like Forbes Field on the field of play.

History: 8, while the Astros don’t have a museum, they still found ways to incorporate history. Outside of the ballpark, the Astros have a mini-field with statues of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, plaques from every playoff appearance, and other parts of Astros history. On the inside, they also have banners along a concourse with all of the Astros home run leaders. Also, the team’s pennants and retired numbers are displayed where they can be easily seen and read from just about anywhere in the stadium.

Game Experience: 9, the Astros park has a good feel to it. It is always in good weather, as they have a retractable roof (why don’t the Rangers have one?). The Astros’ park includes a fantastic club level, too. The open concourses on the lower level are great and allow you to see the game as you walk around. Also, just this year they added a very large scoreboard in center field called El Grande.

Total: 26

Rankings so Far:
1. Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) – 29
2. Camden Yards at Oriole Park (Baltimore Orioles) – 27
3. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs) – 26
3. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros) – 26
5. Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds) – 25
6. Turner Field (Atlanta Braves) – 24
7. Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians) – 21
8. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers) – 20
9. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies) – 18
10. US Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox) – 11

Come back next week for my May All-Stars.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Ballpark Rankings Part 1

This week I will start my ballpark rankings. I will only rank the ballparks I have been, too (which is 25 of the 30 current ballparks), and the ballparks will be ranked by a point system. There will be three categories: personality, which is basically a ballpark’s signature features, history, and game experience. Each category will be rated from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.

Atlanta Braves (Turner Field)

Personality: 6, the Braves did a pretty good job as far as giving their stadium some personality. The open concourses that they have always help the personality, and the Coca-Cola Sky Field is cool. You can also see downtown Atlanta from a lot of the seats. However, they don’t have any signature features that are special just to their park.

History: 10, the Braves have their history all over the place. They have a Braves museum inside the stadium, they have a plaza outside the stadium with statues and retired numbers, and they did a good job of displaying their banners for when they won the division, NL, or World Series, as the banners are legible.

Game Experience: 8, Turner Field is a great place to see a game. As far as I could tell, there is not a bad seat in the house and the atmosphere is good. I also like the tomahawk chop, as that is a purely Braves thing. The Braves also have a nice, big scoreboard and a really good sound system.

Overall Score: 24

Baltimore Orioles (Oriole Park at Camden Yards)

Personality: 10, the Orioles could not have done much better with the personality at their ballpark. The warehouse is great for the personality and the whole look and feel of the ballpark is fantastic. You can also see downtown Baltimore from inside the stadium.

History: 10, the Orioles did a very good job displaying history. One of my favorites is the fact that they have placed plaques on the ground marking every home run ball that has ever landed on Eutaw Street out in right field. There are probably about 100 of them out there, and it is very neat. Eutaw Street also has a Orioles Hall of Fame wall, with plaques for each member. They also have statues of the Orioles’ retired numbers just outside the ballpark, along with a statue of Babe Ruth (who was born in Baltimore). To top it off, there is the Sports Legends Museum just outside the ballpark, which contains the official Orioles Hall of Fame along with other Oriole exhibits. And a short distance from there is the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, which you can find by following 60 baseballs that are set into the sidewalks.

Game Experience: 7, the Orioles stadium is a nice place to see a game, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the best, either. Baltimore has a small scoreboard and if you sit at the bottom of the upper deck, you can hardly see because of all the bars in your way. Also, they do not have open concourses and that always hurts, because you can’t see the game as you walk around the concourse.

Overall Score: 27

Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park)

Personality: 10, Fenway is full of personality. They have the Green Monster, Pesky Pole, a very good all-around green color scheme which includes the advertisements, and, on top of that, it was built in 1912.

History: 9, the Red Sox did a good job of displaying their franchise’s history. They have statues outside the ballpark of Ted Williams (twice), Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio. Also, they have a Hall of Fame with plaques of former Red Sox greats and do a great job of displaying all of their pennants, championships, etc.

Game Experience: 10, Fenway is a fantastic place to see a game. It doesn’t have many seats, so that makes it feel more intimate, and the fans and atmosphere are just great. They also have a nice new big scoreboard this year, and that helps, too.

Overall Score: 29

Cincinnati Reds (Great American Ballpark)

Personality: 8, the Reds really did a good job of giving their ballpark some personality. First off, they have it located right by the Ohio River. Unfortunately, they built it where you can only see the river from a very small number of seats. Also they have a boat out in center field, with smokestacks out in right-center. The smokestacks shoot fireworks when a Reds player hits a home run.

History: 10, the Reds have what is probably the best museum of any team right outside of their ballpark. It is very, very large, and is all about the Reds, including their official Hall of Fame. The Reds did a fantastic job with this, and are deserving of a 10 out of 10 with that museum. On top of that, the Reds have statues of Joe Nuxhall, Ernie Lombardi, Ted Kluszewski, and Frank Robinson outside the ballpark and have also put some of their history all along the concourses.

Game Experience: 7, the Reds have a nice big scoreboard and that is always a good thing for the game experience. They also have a very, very nice club level, which is air conditioned and is much nicer than the Rangers’.

Overall Score: 25

Cleveland Indians (Progressive Field)

Personality: 5, the Indians don’t necessarily have a bunch of signature features. They have a big wall out in left field, and you can see downtown from many of the seats.

History: 9, the Indians recently added a great new feature to their ballpark. They added Heritage Park in 2007, which is located out in center field and has plaques of all the former Cleveland greats and other bits of Cleveland baseball history. There’s also a statue of Bob Feller outside the gates and the Indians do a nice job of displaying their pennants.

Game Experience: 7, there is nothing wrong with the game experience at an Indians game, but there’s nothing special, either. The Indians also have a nice, big, new scoreboard in left field, and there are open concourses, which always help the experience as you don’t have to miss any of the game while ordering food.

Overall Score: 21

Rankings so Far:
1. Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) – 29
2. Camden Yards at Oriole Park (Baltimore Orioles) – 27
3. Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds) – 25
4. Turner Field (Atlanta Braves) – 24
5. Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians) – 21

Come back next week for my second edition of my ballpark rankings.