Tag:Prince Fielder
Posted on: July 5, 2011 8:19 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 9:00 pm

Picking a better Derby field

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Prince Fielder and David Ortiz have picked their teams for next week's Home Run Derby, and while all the picks are good, I'd pick a different squad.

If I were in Fielder's or Ortiz's shoes, here's who I'd pick:

National League
Wily Mo Pena, Diamondbacks: Five of Wily Mo's eight hits have reached the seats. He's struck out 17 times and hasn't walked, but that's real baseball. This is the Home Run Derby -- few can hit them as far as Pena -- especially when they're all straight and all in the strike zone. You know who agrees with me? The American League captain. Ortiz was asked about adding Pena and told WEEI.com, "That's not good. We would lose right away."

Check out this homer at Comerica Park -- which is hardly a bandbox.

Mike Stanton, Marlins: Like Pena, Stanton is a big, big man. Twelve of Stanton's 14 home runs have traveled more than 400 feet. I don't care if he's not seeing the ball clearly, this is a batting practice show and few can put on a show like Stanton.

Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: This is the one that Fielder and I agree on, and not just because Upton has the homefield advantage (which is a real advantage in this case). Upton has 13 home runs this season and according to HitTrackerOnline.com, only Fielder has hit a ball further than Upton's 478-foot bomb off of Chris Carpenter on April 12.

American League
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: The guy has 81 homers since 2010 began, you'd be a fool not to pick him. It's no surprise he was the first guy Ortiz called. He'd be my first call, too.

Josh Hamilton, Rangers: His 28-homer first-round performance at the 2008 Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium is probably the most memorable Derby of all time. Hamilton said would have listened had Ortiz called him. He'd be my second call after Bautista.

Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: And here's my wild card. Suzuki has just one homer this season and has averaged less than 10 a year in his career, but anyone who has watched Suzuki in batting practice knows in that setting he can put the ball into the seats at will. In the Derby, you not only want the big boppers, but also the guys who can put together a streak of homers. Suzuki can do just about anything he wants with a bat, plus it'd be fun to watch the tiny Suzuki with all the other hulking players I've picked.

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 5:50 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 12:09 pm

Fielder rounds out NL HR-Derby field

By Evan Brunell

FielderDavid Ortiz now knows what he's up against.

The AL Home-Run Derby captain has teammate Adrian Gonzalez, the Blue Jays's Jose Bautista and Robinson Cano from the Yankees on his team, and now NL captain Prince Fielder has selected his own squad.

Fielder will be joined by teammate Rickie Weeks, Matt Kemp from the Dodgers and the Cardinals' Matt Holliday as they attempt to take down the AL, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

Fielder has 21 bombs on the year, just one behind the co-leaders in Kemp and the Cardinals' Lance Berkman. That gives the NL a great shot at beating the AL, because only Bautista ranks in the top five for home run leaders in the AL with 27. Fielder and Kemp combined give the NL 43 from the top five lists. Rickie Weeks himself is no slouch, having banged 15 home runs. With 20 doubles too, plenty more could fly out now that he'll be swinging for the fences. Holliday is more known for his batting average, checking in at .316 with 10 home runs and 17 doubles?

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 5:41 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 7:04 pm

Home Run Derby field rounding out

By C. Trent Rosecrans

David OrtizDavid Ortiz has a posse.

In the new setup for the Home Run Derby, each team has a captain that picks his team for the competition. Sunday the American League captain said he'd started rounding up his crew.

Ortiz has already gotten commitments from teammate Adrian Gonzalez and the majors' leading home-run hitter, Jose Bautista. Ortiz told reporters he'd wanted the Yankees' Mark Teixeira, but Teixeira was left off the All-Star roster. Teixeira, though, told reporters after Sunday's game that he wasn't interested in participating in the Home Run Derby (MLB.com's Bryan Hoch on Twitter). Ortiz said he's still waiting to hear from Teixeira whether or not he'd still participate. The next two names on his list are the Yankees' Robinson Cano and the Rangers' Josh Hamilton.

"I've talked to Cano, and he told me he would do it," Ortiz told reporters, including Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. "I haven't talked to Hamilton. I haven't talked to him, but that guy got me tired hitting bombs [at Yankee Stadium in 2008], and if he wanted to do it, I might say, 'OK, hit for me.'"

Hamilton had previously said he doesn't want to participate in the derby, but on Sunday he told the Associated Press he'd consider it if Ortiz asked. 

Prince Fielder said he wants the Dodgers' Matt Kemp on his side. Fielder told MLB.com that he hadn't talked to Kemp, but has communicated with him through former Brewer and current Dodger outfielder Tony Gwynn.

Fielder's teammate, Ryan Braun, said he wouldn't participate, while Rickie Weeks is on Fielder's short list. Weeks said he hasn't been asked, but would participate if Fielder picks him.

Cardinals outfielders Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday expressed interest in participating, as well.

"It would be hard to turn down an invitation," Berkman told MLB.com. "That would be tough to say no."

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:11 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 12:45 pm

All-Star starters announced

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Here's your leading vote-getters at each All-Star position, with the Yankees and Brewers leading the way:

American League

DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox

C: Alex Avila, Tigers

1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees

SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees

3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays*

OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees

OF: Josh Hamilton, Rangers

National League

C: Brian McCann, Braves

1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers

2B: Rickie Weeks, Brewers

SS: Jose Reyes, Mets

3B: Placido Polanco, Phillies

OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers**

OF: Lance Berkman, Cardinals

OF: Matt Kemp, Dodgers

* Overall leading vote-getter

** National League leading vote-getter

 My initial thought is the fans got it pretty much right -- with, of course, the notable exception of Derek Jeter. He's the only one who has no business on the team, but 16 of 17 isn't too shabby.

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Posted on: July 1, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 1:23 pm

Players of the Month: Reyes edges Kemp, Lee rolls


By Evan Brunell

Baseball is at the halfway point in the season, and the man getting all the attention lately is Cliff Lee, the runaway pitcher of the month for June as voted by CBSSports.com experts. With a 5-1 advantage, Lee took home the honors after posting a sparkling 0.21 ERA (no, the period is not transposed) and running up a 5-0 record.

June's Best
Expert Batter Pitcher
Knobler Reyes Lee
Miller Reyes Lee
Brunell Kemp Lee
Rosecrans Fielder Lee
Snyder Kemp Lee
Fantasy Reyes Verlander

Lee didn't pitch the most innings in the month -- the prize goes to Justin Verlander there ... or even whiff the most (Zack Greinke); or walk the least batters (Josh Tomlin). But when you put the whole package together, it's hard to deny Lee's month as one for the ages, allowing just one earned run in the month and it's not as if he was pitching against the Mariners of the world. He shut down the Dodgers and Matt Kemp, who finished second in batter of the month balloting. He handcuffed the Cubs for eight innings and then kicked off his three-straight complete-game shutouts by stifling the skidding Marlins. There was nothing skidding about his next two opponents, though, as he baffled the Cardinals and baseball's best offense in the Red Sox.

Kemp, meanwhile, fell to Jose Reyes to be named batter of the month although Kemp was one of the best offensive hitters in the game during June along with Prince Fielder.

Why Reyes, then?

Because he's been a wrecking ball no matter what aspect of the game. Fielding? He ranks positive in that mark for the month, continuing a yearlong trend of reversing the perception he had slipped in the field. His .385/.425/.598 slash line proves that he can hit for average and power just fine and knows how to wait for his pitch, while his 11 stolen bases were second in baseball to Michael Bourn's blistering pace of 14. Fangraphs' new baserunning metric shows him excelling in that mark as well, his 0.8 mark tying for 16th in baseball.

Even Kemp's sublime .375/.472/.795 line with nine home runs, 23 RBI and 18 runs can't outstrip Reyes. Prince Fielder himself was no slouch, with a .337/.491/.747 line and 10 blasts, driving in 27 and scoring 19.

Past players of the month: April | May

Batter of the Month
Danny Knobler Scott Miller
Jose Reyes Jose Reyes
Three guys hit 10 home runs in June. But only one guy had seven triples, only one guy scored 29 runs, and only one guy made the Mets watchable, all by himself. That's enough to win my vote, and it should be enough to get Sandy Alderson's cell phone buzzing with trade offers.
Jose Reyes Jose Reyes
Nobody in the game is more exciting and fun to watch right now. Reyes scored 29 runs in the month of June, the most he's ever scored in one month and the second-most of any month in team history (Edgardo Alfonzo scored 31 in August 1999). He runs, he hits, he fields ... doubles, triples, steals ... take your pick. This is the Jose Reyes the Mets thought they could get if he could stay healthy. Sit back and enjoy.
Evan Brunell C. Trent Rosecrans
Matt Kemp Matt Kemp
Let's bust out some advanced metrics to try and figure out just how good Kemp was this month. wOBA is basically OPS, just jiggered a bit to correct flaws present in OPS and is scaled to OBP. Kemp's wOBA was a jaw-dropping .537, best among mortal men. (Jose Bautista, far from mortal, topped Kemp in April.) Put another way, Kemp created 151 percent more runs than the average player in June. Even below-average fielding can't obscure how damaging Kemp was at the plate.
Fielder Prince Fielder
It's not just that he hit 10 homers this month while batting .337/.491/.747, it's that he's done it when his team has needed him the most. In the thick of a pennant race, Fielder's delivering, with a 1.76 win probability added -- dwarfing every other player in baseball during the month. In a 10-game stretch earlier in the month that saw the Brewers go from 2 1/2 games back to first place in the NL Central, Fielder clubbed eight homers and had an OPS of 1.828.
Matt Snyder Fantasy -- Scott White
Matt KempMatt Kemp
Very similar numbers to Fielder, but Kemp gets the nod with a bit higher average (.375), slugging percentage (.795) and eight stolen bases. As everything else with the Dodgers seems to be falling apart around him -- both on and off the field -- Kemp has been a steady force.
Jose ReyesJose Reyes
In June, Reyes boosted his MVP candidacy by making the Mets actually look like a contender with a 16-11 record. He had an MLB-leading 45 hits, putting him on pace for 248 this season, and once again showed the value of healthy legs with 11 steals and an astounding seven triples. He led all hitters in fantasy points and did it at arguably the weakest position.
Pitcher of the Month
Knobler Miller
Cliff Lee Cliff Lee
I almost made Luis Montanez of the Cubs the player of the month, because of the 147 batters who came to the plate against Lee in June, he was the one -- the only one -- who drove in a run. Not that it mattered. Lee won that game, 7-1. And he followed that Montanez hit with 32 consecutive scoreless innings -- and counting.
Cliff LeeCliff Lee
As pitching has re-emerged over these past two seasons, Lee right now is changing our thinking from staying on no-hitter alert to hawking shutouts. Three in a row and counting, Lee has been untouchable. And he's showing why these Phillies are the best in the NL: With their rotation, it's like that old game of Whack-A-Mole. You knock one or two of their starters down, another ace pops up somewhere else. Good luck, opposing hitters.
Brunell Rosecrans
Cliff Lee Cliff Lee
Lee or Verlander? Verlander actually outpitched Lee in peripherals, besting Lee in strikeout and walk metrics, but the bottom line is that Lee allowed exactly one run to cross the plate, induced over half of his batted balls allowed as groundballs and looked like he was playing catch the whole time.
Cliff LeeCliff Lee
The only thing more ridiculous than Verlander seeing his June ERA rise after allowing just one run in seven innings in his sixth win of the month on Thursday is that Verlander with a 6-0 record and 0.88 ERA for the month wasn't the best pitcher in June. With all due respect to Verlander, it was Lee, who went 5-0 with an 0.21 ERA, allowing just one run in five starts and 42 innings this month. Unreal.
Snyder Fantasy -- Al Melchior
Cliff Lee Cliff Lee
It's a toss up between Lee and Verlander, but I'm going Lee due to going an entire month only allowing one run and having pitched in all but three possible innings (42 IP in five starts) when he took the hill. That's just absurd. Verlander's been the top pitcher for the entire season, but in looking only at June, Lee's month was slightly better for me.
Justin Verlander Justin Verlander
In the world of real baseball, Cliff Lee would be my choice for pitcher of the month. In Fantasy, though, strikeouts count, and Verlander delivered them in much greater quantities. Like Lee, Verlander limited his walks, and he also remained one of the best pitchers in the majors at getting batters to pop out.

Danny Knobler and Scott Miller are Senior MLB Writers; Evan Brunell, C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder are Eye on Baseball Bloggers; Al Melchior is a Fantasy Data Analyst; and Scott White is a Fantasy Writer.

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Posted on: June 30, 2011 6:17 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 12:31 am

Fielder, Ortiz named Home Run Derby captains

By Matt Snyder

Prince Fielder of the Brewers will be the NL captain in the Home Run Derby on All-Star Monday night while David Ortiz gets the call as the AL captain. Now, don't fret if you had no idea there was a such thing as captain of the Derby teams, because this is a new wrinkle for the 2011 Home Run Derby. And it's not just an honorary title, either, as Fielder and Ortiz will be personally extending invitations to other players from their respective league to join them in the Derby, filling out two teams of four. All major leaguers are eligible, not just players who are named to the All-Star team (MLB.com).

Fielder was the 2009 winner of the Home Run Derby while Ortiz was the 2010 winner. Fielder currently has 21 home runs, while Ortiz has 17.

Don't be surprised to see each add a teammate to the competition, even if they don't have the highest homer totals this season. Ryan Braun and Adrian Gonzalez both have 16 home runs, so it's possible we'll see two Brewers and two Red Sox, though not a given. Some other candidates for the American League will be: Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Paul Konerko, Nelson Cruz, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Quentin, Josh Hamilton and Adam Lind. On the NL side, here are a few candidates: Matt Kemp, Lance Berkman, Jay Bruce, Carlos Pena, Ryan Howard, Mike Stanton, Michael Morse, Troy Tulowitzki, Matt Holliday and Arizona's Justin Upton.

In addition to an individual championship, the two teams will be competing for hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity from both Major League Baseball and State Farm, the event's sponsor. The charity of the winning team's captain will receive $150,000, and $100,000 will be awarded to the Boys & Girls Club of America in the winning captain's name. The charity of the losing team's captain will get $25,000.

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Posted on: June 27, 2011 3:28 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 3:34 pm

Weeks takes over lead at 2B in All-Star voting

Rickie Weeks

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Brewers are closing strong, not only on the field but also in All-Star voting, as Rickie Weeks has taken over the lead from the Reds' Brandon Phillips at second base and Prince Fielder has overtaken Cincinnati's Joey Votto for second at first base, both behind the injured Albert Pujols.

Pujols is unlikely to be healthy for the July 12 game in Phoenix, so the starting nod will go to the second-place finisher. Fielder has 2,903,584 votes with Votto just behind at 2,832,857.

Voting is now online only and goes through Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Weeks leads Phillips by 78,397 votes.

The rest of the leaders remain unchanged -- Philadelphia's Placido Polanco at third base, Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop, Atlanta's Brian McCann at catcher and Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, as well as Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday of the Cardinals in the outfield.

Of those, the closest races are at shortstop and in the last outfield spot. The Mets' Jose Reyes is still 245,000 votes behind Tulowitzki and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp 192,038 behind Holliday.

The full teams will be announced Sunday.

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:55 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2011 12:17 am

Picking All-Stars on performance, not popularity

Adrian Gonzalez

By Evan Brunell

The final week of All-Star voting is around the corner, and it can only be done online. That's the perfect opportunity for me to unveil my own All-Star ballot, and I'll be part of a record.

Fans so far have cast 250 million votes (which is misleading because each e-mail address can vote up to a whopping 25 times), which broke the record from 2009, with 223.4 million votes, as MLB.com reports.

Rosters will be unveiled on Sunday, July 3, but until then there are still plenty of races to be decided. I'm not really a fan of voting when the chance to do so opens in late April, because... come on. That's why this will be my first ballot, so let's take a ride through who I select and why. To vote yourself, simply click here.

All statistics prior to Thursday's games.


C: Alex Avila, Tigers -- Russell Martin is surely a lucky dude as he gets to play in New York, hit .233/.342/.407 (with much of his value tied up in a scorching April) and yet Alex Avila quietly puts up a .300/.373/.532 line in Detroit -- outhitting every other catcher in the game. Well, that stops now. Simply put: Anyone who votes for Martin clearly doesn't get what the All-Star Game is about: putting the best players on the field, not the players who play in a big media market.

1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox -- Do you really need an explanation? OK, let's give it a go. Gonzalez's .359 batting average is 24 points better than Jose Reyes', whose .335 mark leads the senior circuit. Gonzo also leads baseball with 69 RBI, 109 hits and 25 doubles. Oh, and those 15 home runs aren't bad at all. Overall, that's a scintillating .359/.410/.609 mark. Dude loves being out of Petco.

2B: Howie Kendrick, Angels -- Quick, who is the best offensive second baseman in the league? If you said Robinson Cano, you're right -- but it's not by much. Cano is currently raking at a .299/.344/.520 mark, but Kendrick is right there with a .305/.362/.498, barely a step behind. Kendrick is also the better defender at second base and in my version of the All-Star Game, defense counts too.

SS: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians -- Apologies to Alexei Ramirez who actually grades out better once you factor in defense, but I can live with Cabrera's D (which isn't bad by any means) in order to get his bat in the lineup. The offensive difference is simply too great as Cabrera is delivering on the promise he showed in 2009 with a .298/.351/.498 mark with 12 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He actually has a similar offensive game to Jhonny Peralta, but the stolen bases were the clincher.

3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- Many have thought A-Rod's best days are behind him and while that's certainly true, he's still the best third baseman in the game, although that designation means a little less in what is a surprisingly weak class this year. All due respect to Rodriguez, who deserves the honor with 13 bombs and a .296/.375/.510 line. Kevin Youkilis actually appears to be the better hitter, but it's close and while I don't really trust Rodriguez's fielding metrics this year that show him as a top fielder, not many would argue he's worse than Youk in the field.

OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays -- .325/.470/.645. Next!

OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees -- Granderson is exploding into the 40-homer monster a few people (cough, me, cough) predicted after his trade to the Yankees. It took until his second season, but he's keeping pace with Bautista in the home run department, just two behind with 20. He's even hitting lefties this season, and once you add in his speed and fielding, it's all over.

OF: Alex Gordon, Royals -- There were several candidates for this position, most notably Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. Gordon gets the call here with a 288/.356/.483 line, better Gardner and just under Ellsbury. While Gordon is a left fielder and Ellsbury is plying his trade in center, Ellsbury has bad fielding instincts which his speed hides quite a bit. Gordon, meanwhile, is a sound fielder, all the more impressive given he came up and began his career as a third baseman. Plus, someone from Kansas City's got to make it.

DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox -- Big Papi is turning back the clock with his best batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage since 2007, the last year he was truly the Big Bad Papi. At .313/.391/.586 with 17 homers, he's enjoying quite the renaissance and has earned this nomination.


C: Brian McCann, Braves -- Alex Avila is outhitting every catcher in the game as mentioned above, but Brian McCann is trying his hardest to take away that distinction with a .305/.380/.523 line. McCann, who already has an All-Star MVP to his name by knocking a bases-clearing double in the 2010 Game to finally give the NL a victory, deserves the chance to start for the first time in what will be his sixth All-Star Game.

1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers -- The loss of Albert Pujols makes this an easier crop to sift through, and Fielder comes away with the prize. Really, it's between the Brewer and Joey Votto, with apologies to Gaby Sanchez. While Votto's the better fielder (pun unintended), Prince's 20 home runs are 11 more than Votto and he's miles ahead of the 2010 NL MVP in power production at this point.

2B: Rickie Weeks, Brewers -- Weeks joins Fielder in creating an all-Brewer right side of the infield, and he's deserving. Following up his breakout 2010 campaign, Weeks has gotten right back at it with a .287/.356/.498 line. He's also picking up his speed, already swiping seven bases after just 11 last season.

SS: Jose Reyes, Mets -- This one just isn't close at all; Reyes' 4.2 Wins Above Replacement (which combines offense, defense and baserunning) is miles ahead of the next best mark at the position, held by both Troy Tulowitzki and Alexei Ramirez. Reyes is simply doing it all in a season that could net him a $150 million contract in the offseason, and is just one of three shortstops with at least 20 stolen bases. Naturally, he leads all of them with 26.

3B: Chase Headley, Padres -- I didn't quite realize how unimpressive the third-base crop was in the NL, but none separate themselves from the pack. I suppose that's what happens when Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright and Pablo Sandoval all knock themselves out of the running due to being injured. Ryan Roberts has one of the best seasons of any NL third baseman that qualifies for the batting title, but his entire value with the bat is packed into April. So Headley it is, who is hitting .295/.389/.402, a pleasantly surprising number for the former left fielder who is enjoying his best season so far. 

OF:  Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- Kemp is already a member of the 20/20 club and has put to rest any ideas that he doesn't care enough with an impressive .328/.420/.620 line, with his slugging percentage leading all of the NL. He's added 20 home runs, 15 doubles and 58 RBI as a major, major reason the Dodgers can still kinda/sorta call themselves contenders after injuries have decimated their team.

OF: Matt Holliday, Cardinals -- I don't think Holliday misses Coors Field, do you? He definitely doesn't miss the Coliseum in Oakland or whatever the heck it's called these days. He's doing just fine in St. Louis with a .335/.439/.555 line. I have to admit, I didn't realize Holliday was hitting this well. Of all the big outfield boppers in the game, he flies under the radar the most.

OF: Shane Victorino, Phillies -- I feel as if no matter who I pick here, I'm leaving off quite a few deserving candidates. It's true -- where is Ryan Braun? Lance Berkman? Andrew McCutchen? Justin Upton? But I'm loving the year Victorino is having with a .296/.362/.511 line with 11 stolen bases in 58 games after missing time due to injury. (Kemp, for comparison, has played in 76 games.) Add in his excellent fielding and smart baserunning, and Victorino is bringing the whole package this year.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com