Posts Tagged ‘Josh Hamilton’

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Mac’s MLB First Half Awards

July 10, 2012

MVP

AL – Mike Trout, Angels: Since his arrival in late April, Mike Trout has been one of the top two or three most productive players in baseball. More importantly, his impact on the Angels gives him the edge over Josh Hamilton for first half MVP. On April 27th, the Angels were scuffling to a 6-14 record and sitting in the AL West basement with super slugger Albert Pujols posting a monstrous 4 RBI so far. Enter Mike Trout. Since April 28th, Trout’s season debut, the Halos have posted a 42-24 record and have climbed into the American League Wild Card lead while Pujols has rediscovered his confidence, knocking in 47 runs since Trout arrived. Not only does Trout lead the American League with a .341 average and 26 steals, but he also sits a mere 6 runs scored behind MLB-leader Ian Kinsler despite spending almost all of April in AAA. But wait, there’s more! Trout isn’t just a speedy lead off guy… he’s also blasted 12 homers in 258 ABs, a pace that would give him 30 over a full season of 650 at bats. This dude is so sick that I can’t help but talk about him in Chuck Norris-like hyperbole: “I’m going to switch my entire wardrobe to nothing but Mike Trout jerseys.”

Honorable Mention: Josh Hamilton, Adam Jones, Miguel Cabrera

NL – Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: The only player in MLB that has rivaled Mike Trout since May 1st is the dreadlocked Pirates outfielder. After inking a multiyear deal with the Bucs prior to the season, McCutchen has rewarded the normally cheap franchise with outstanding production. McCutchen leads MLB with a .362 average, is stealing bases and hitting homers at nearly a 40/40 pace, and also ranks in the top 3 in the NL in both runs scored and RBI. After a modest April, this kid’s bat has been scorching hot, raising his average from .302 and hitting all 18 of his homers since May 1st. Thanks to McCutchen’s emergence fantasy baseball’s most valuable asset in the first half and an early MVP candidate, the Pirates are not only a surprise atop the NL Central standings, but actually look like legitimate players for a playoff berth.

Honorable Mention: David Wright, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Braun

Cy Young

AL – Jered Weaver, Angels: The Halos righty might not be as dominant as Justin Verlander (6.8 K/9 vs 8.7 K/9), but one would be remiss to suggest Weaver hasn’t been as effective. Weaver is the only starting pitcher with at least 90 innings pitched to post an ERA under 2.00 and also leads all starters with a 0.90 WHIP. Weaver has also posted a 10-1 record for a team that has climbed its way into playoff contention. Oh, and he threw a no hitter.

Honorable Mention: Justin Verlander, Chris Sale

NL – R.A. Dickey, Mets: Who is this guy? Where did he come from? At age 37, Dickey is having an unprecedented breakout season, taking a career 4.15 ERA and 1.34 WHIP and turning those numbers into 2.40 and 0.93, while posting a career high in wins (12)… in 17 first half starts. More improbably, Dickey and his ridiculous knuckleball are striking out batters at unfathomable rate, fanning more first half batters than notable strikeout artists Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Matt Cain.

Honorable Mention: Matt Cain, James McDonald, Stephen Strasburg

Rookie Of The Year

AL – Mike Trout, Angels: No explanation needed here.

Honorable Mention: Yu Darvish, Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Cook

NL – Bryce Harper, Nationals: The most highly touted prospect since Alex Rodriguez has been Mike Trout-lite for the NL East leading Nationals. Harper has burst into the nation’s capital by flashing all five tools and posting an .826 OPS at age 19. Harper could easily score 100 runs this season despite spending April in the minors and will probably post a 30/30 season as early as 2013 if his health holds up.

Honorable Mention: Norichika Aoki, Wade Miley

Comeback Player

AL – Adam Dunn, White Sox: It’s a close call between Dunn and teammate Jake Peavy and I’d say that Peavy’s resurrection has been more valuable to his team, but Dunn has come back from depths of suckdom that few sluggers have ever reached. In 2011, Dunn posted an inexcusable .159 average and 177 strikeouts in 415 ABs while hitting a career low 11 homers. While his inability to get base hits hasn’t improved much (.208 average) and he’s on pace to shatter the all-time strikeout record, he’s at least helping his team score runs in bunches and win games by smacking 25 homers in 84 games and getting on base at a .357 clip.

Honorable Mention: Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Joe Nathan

NL – David Wright, Mets: To put this comeback in perspective all you have to do is compare Wright’s first half numbers to his totals from all of 2011: he’s posted more hits and doubles and almost as many runs, homers, RBI, and steals in 87 less at bats. While Wright may never again approach 30/30 status like he did in 2007, it seems as if he’s become more selective at the plate, drastically increasing his average while bumping his walk rate to a career high and his strikeout rate to a career low.

Honorable Mention: Aaron Hill, Chris Capuano, Jason Heyward

Biggest Disappointment (Injured players ineligible)

AL – Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox: Expecting Gonzalez to hit .338 again is probably unfair and his current .283 average isn’t too far off his career number, but the complete lack of power is quite shocking, especially in a favorable park like Fenway. Gonzo is on pace for a career low in homers–by a long shot–and could post his lowest runs scored and RBI since his breakout season in 2006 despite holding down a premium spot in Boston’s potent line-up. Most alarmingly, Gonzalez has walked at least 74 times in each of the last four seasons, but has a mere 23 free passes through 86 games this year.

NL – Tim Lincecum, Giants: For whatever reason, The Freak has been tossing beach balls on the mound and opposing hitters have been teeing off on him. With a 3-10 record, 6.42 ERA, and 1.58 WHIP through 18 starts, it’s difficult to blame his results on bad luck. While Lincecum is still striking out his fair share of batters, he’s on pace to obliterate his career highs in both hits and walks allowed. With his funky delivery and so many teams doubting his sustainability before he started his professional career, there could be some reason to be concerned for his long term productivity.

Silver Sluggers

C – A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox (.285-16-49)
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies (.350-13-46)

1B – Paul Konerko, White Sox (.329-14-49)
Joey Votto, Red (.348-14-48-5)

2B – Robinson Cano, Yankees (.313-20-51)
Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks (.300-11-40-7)

3B – Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (.324-18-71)
David Wright, Mets (.351-11-59-9)

SS – Derek Jeter, Yankees (.308-7-25-7)
Ian Desmond, Nationals (.285-17-51-11)

LF – Mark Trumbo, Angels (.306-22-57)
Ryan Braun, Brewers (.306-24-61-15)

CF – Josh Hamilton, Rangers (.308-27-75-6)
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (.362-18-60-14)

RF – Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (.244-27-65)
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals (.296-20-65-8)

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2010 Baseball Awards

November 5, 2010

Congrats to the San Francisco Giants and their first title in over sixty years. They deserve it. Were they the best team in baseball this year? I don’t think so, but they were the hottest at the most important time and proved that they might have the deepest and most talented rotation in the game. With the World Series behind us, the 2010 MLB Award season is upon us. These aren’t exactly my predictions, just how I would vote myself:

American League MVP

1. Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers: .359-32-100, 95 runs, 8 SB, 1.044 OPS
2. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers: .328-38-126, 111 runs, 1.042 OPS
3. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays: .260-54-124, 109 runs, 9 SB, .995 OPS
4. Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox: .312-39-111, 89 runs, .977 OPS
5. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees: .319-29-109, 113 runs, .915 OPS

This is a really close race between the top three candidates, which could have been an easier call if Hamilton hadn’t gotten hurt down the stretch. With Hamilton nursing his injury and Cabrera losing steam in the final month, Bautista exploded in the second half and transformed from the most surprising outbreak of the year into a legitimate MVP candidate and possibly the most entertaining player in all of baseball over the last couple months. After all the dust settled, however, I still had a clear favorite. Hamilton put up ridiculous power numbers while leading the majors in batting average and OPS, plus he’s the only member of the top three to guide his team into the post season. In a race this close, those edges are enough to break a tie.

American League Cy Young

1. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners: 13-12, 2.27 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 232 Ks, 3.31 K to BB ratio
2. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels: 13-12, 3.01 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 233 Ks, 4.31 K:BB
3. C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees: 21-7, 3.18 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 197 Ks, 2.66 K:BB
4. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays: 19-6, 2.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 188 Ks, 2.38 K:BB
5. Cliff Lee, Texas Rangers: 12-9, 3.18 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 185 Ks, 10.28 K:BB

The only thing easy about putting together my AL Cy list was deciding who deserves to win it. As baseball has progressed and evolved minds have come to understand that wins and losses are some of the least important factors when considering how dominate a pitcher has been, Felix Hernandez clearly had the best season in the American League and anyone else winning the award would be highway robbery. Not only did Felix lead AL starters in ERA, he did it while pitching more innings than anyone else in the AL and came up two strikeouts short of the leading the league in that category too. As doubtful as I’ve been about Felix actually winning the award, I’m starting to think the voters will get it right because his season was so much better than the competition. I have Weaver ranked second for similar reasons, although I have a feeling he won’t be finishing second in the voting. Sabathia and Price had similar seasons, but I give the edge to C.C. because he’s such an anchor and workhorse for his team. Cliff Lee over Justin Verlander, Jon Lester, Trevor Cahill, and Clay Buccholz might seem outrageous, but his control this season was legendarily good and deserves some kudos. Lastly, I left closers off the list because this is a starters award, just like the MVP is a position player award.

American League Rookie Of The Year

1. Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers: 2.73 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 4 Wins, 40 Saves, 3.94 K:BB
2. Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers: .293-4-41, 103 runs, 27 SB, .745 OPS
3. Wade Davis, Tampa Bay Rays: 12-10, 4.07 ERA, 113 Ks, 1.35 WHIP, 1.82 K:BB

Pretty tough call between the top two guys, but I think Feliz had the more impressive season. While Jackson had a very solid (and somewhat unexpected) rookie year, Feliz was dominant in a high-pressure role as the closer for a contender. I’m sort of bias against closers, but you gotta respect the stat line. That WHIP is ridiculous and the rookie only blew three saves all season. Wade Davis gets my third place vote over Detroit’s Brennan Boesch, whose rookie season really boils down to two good months: .340-11-38 in May and June compared with a season line of .256-14-64.

National League MVP

1. Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies: .336-34-117, 111 runs, 26 SBs, .974 OPS
2. Joey Votto, Cincinatti Reds: .325-37-113, 106 runs, 16 SBs, 1.024 OPS
3. Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals: .312-42-118, 115 runs, 14 SBs, 1.010 OPS
4. Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals: .312-28-103, 95 runs, 9 SBs, .922 OPS
5. Troy Tulowitski, Colorado Rockies: .315-27-95, 89 runs, 11 SBs, .949 OPS

This has to be the most exciting MVP race of my lifetime. Going in to the last six weeks of the season, CarGo, Votto, and Pujols all had legitimate chances of winning the Triple Crown, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in over forty years. Unfortunately, CarGo took off in batting average while Pujols set the pace in power down the stretch and history wasn’t made. All three of those guys will probably get first place votes, but I’m giving the edge to Gonzalez because his line is the most impressive to me: leading the NL in batting, while posting crazy power numbers, and swiping 26 bases. Tulowitski gets my fifth place vote over some lines that are arguably better, but he also put up his numbers in about 100 less at bats than everyone else, plus that run in September was legendary.

National League Cy Young

1. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies: 21-10, 2.44 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 219 Ks, 7.30 K:BB
2. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals: 20-11, 2.42 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 213 Ks, 3.80 K:BB
3. Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins: 11-6, 2.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 186 Ks, 3.88 K:BB
4. Roy Oswalt, Philadelphia Phillies/Houston Astros: 13-13, 2.76 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 193 Ks, 3.51 K:BB
5. Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies: 19-8, 2.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 214 Ks, 2.33 K:BB

It’s really a coin flip between Halladay and Wainwright: those stat lines are borderline identical and one could make a solid argument for either pitcher. While wins aren’t a crucial stat to me, they can play the role of tiebreaker and Halladay lead the majors in the category. He also displayed far superior control; however, since both starters’ WHIPs are nearly identical that also means that Halladay was far more hittable. It’s a tough call… but toss in a perfect game and a no hitter in the playoffs (which shouldn’t count, but I can’t erase the memory) and Halladay is my guy. Josh Johnson could have really been in the mix if he had pitched more innings, but staying healthy is part of winning season awards. It’s almost baffling that Jimenez didn’t notch twenty wins after having 14 by the All-Star break, but his line survived September a lot better than San Diego’s Mat Latos, who was a legitimate Cy contender until the season’s final month. Oswalt kind of came out of nowhere and had a great season that I don’t think too many people noticed. He was ridiculous for Philly down the stretch going 7-1, with a 1.74 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 73 Ks in 12 starts.

National League Rookie Of The Year

1. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants: .305-18-67, 58 runs, .862 OPS
3. Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves: .277-18-71, 83 runs, 11 SBs, .849 OPS
2. Jamie Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals: 13-8, 2.70 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 132 Ks, 2.06 K:BB

Wow, what a group of rookies in the NL this year. I could probably list off at least ten NL rookies that had noteworthy seasons. I’m giving Posey top honors for several reasons though. First off, he outhit Heyward and basically matched the Braves rookie in homers and RBI despite having roughly 150 less plate appearances. While Heyward was a key part of the Braves’ run to the postseason, I’d argue that Posey carried his team. He was so crucial to the Giants’ success this year that I wouldn’t be surprised if he finished in the top 10 of the NL MVP voting… Heyward won’t. Cardinals fans would probably argue for Garcia, and while his season was impressive, the only stat that jumps out at you is his ERA. His line as a whole doesn’t really compare to what Posey did for the Giants or the numbers Heyward put up as a 20 year old. This list of notable NL rookie seasons is endless: Starlin Castro (.300, 31 2B, 10 SBs), Ike Davis (.261-19-71), Ian Desmond (.269-10-65, 17 SBs), Chris Johnson (.311-11-52), Pedro Alvarez (.256-16-64), Gaby Sanchez (.273-19-85), Mike Stanton (.259-22-59), Jose Tabata (.299, 19 SBs), Neil Walker (.296-12-66), John Axford (24 saves, 2.48 ERA, 8 wins), Madison Bumgarner (7-6, 3.00 ERA, 86 Ks, great postseason), Daniel Hudson (8-2, 2.45 ERA, 84 Ks), and, of course, The Chose One Stephen Strasburg (5-3, 2.91 ERA, 92:17 K:BB rate, and the most exciting rookie debut I can remember).