Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:55 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 10:06 am
By Matt Snyder
It's that time of the baseball season. You know, we're nearing September, so in addition to watching the pennant races, it's the time when people start to pretty heavily argue about the MVP of each league. In addition to arguing which players have the best numbers, two fundamental criteria spark discussion as well.
1. Are pitchers eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be (see Evan Brunell's post on this).
2. Are players on teams not in contention eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be.
On No. 2, enter Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.
He leads the majors in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He's walked 21 more times than he's struck out. He has a cannon in right field, but can also play third if his team needs it. He's so scary to opposing ballclubs that he leads the AL with 18 intentional walks. And if you like this sort of thing, Bautista is dominating WAR (wins above replacement player), WPA (win probability added) and all other advanced value stats.
Basically, he's the most valuable player in baseball unless you discount him based upon his team.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous believes it shouldn't even be close.
“On and off the field you can’t find anybody more complete than him,” Anthopolous said (Slam Sports). “His work ethic, community work, character in the clubhouse, helping out teammates, they’re all first-rate. And his performance on the field has been as good as it gets ... defensively, offensively, changing positions in the middle of the season. I mean, check off all the boxes.”
It's going to be interesting to see how the votes fall, assuming things remain similar through the next five weeks of play. One thing that always makes me cringe is when people say something like "he plays for a losing team" or "how valuable can he be? They could finish fourth without him."
Look at the standings. The Blue Jays are three games over .500 and simply stuck in the wrong division. They'd only be four games out in the AL Central -- actually closer, though, because the schedule in the AL Central is worlds easier than the AL East. The Jays are most certainly not a "losing team."
And if you took Bautista off the Jays, they'd be far worse. It would be a much bigger hit to the team than if, say, the Red Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury.
Hustle is bush league now? Evidently the Tigers were yelling at Rays' infielder Sean Rodriguez for ... hustling? Tuesday, Tigers starter -- and reportedly "possibly some others" -- took exception with Rodriguez for running hard on an infield pop out. Rays manager Joe Maddon took exception to that. "For anybody to bark at another player for … hustling is absolutely insane, ludicrous,'' Maddon said (TampaBay.com).
Canseco's life: I'd rather forget about Jose Canseco, but many aren't of that mindset -- witness his 400,000-plus Twitter followers. So if you want to read a lengthly feature on Canseco's "surreal" life, click on through to TheStar.com. It's well written and covers tons of material.
LoMo still in the dark: It was a bit odd when Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison was demoted to the minors a few weeks ago. His batting average is a bit low, but his OPS is above average (115 OPS-plus) and he has 18 home runs and 61 RBI. Many believed he was being punished for being such an outspoken person Twitter and in other circles, though it hasn't been explicitly said. But he's back now and not worried about why. "I haven't talked to anybody. I don't really care. I'm just looking to move forward," he said (Sun-Sentinel.com).
'Cry-babies:' The Mets don't win more games because they are "cry-babies," according to former big-leaguer and current Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. "Tell them Sarge said it - the Mets are crybabies," Matthews said (NYDailyNews.com). "That's why they lose."
Bell has more on mind than possible trades: Padres closer Heath Bell has heard his name in trade talk for quite a while now, but that's not the foremost thing on his mind. Specifically, his Dad has been battled cancer for a few years and just underwent open-heart surgery Wednesday. “It’s kinda helped me get through all the trade and waiver stuff,” said Bell (signonSanDiego.com). “Everybody’s talking about that and I’m thinking, “Man, I’m just glad my dad’s doing well.’ ”
No relief yet: White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy has been pretty good in short doses this season, but he doesn't believe that means he's in need of a switch to the bullpen, as he's still technically recovering from a rare surgical procedure. "I've had people tell me, 'Oh, you look good in short stints, Have you thought about going to the bullpen?'" Peavy said (ChicagoTribune.com). "To me, that's not a thought process of mind, simply because I haven't got to where the doctors told me you're as good as you're going to get. They told me from a year to 18 months, you are where you are."
It's opposite day: Did you ever think you'd hear a player talking about feeling less pressure playing for the Yankees than the A's? Yeah, me neither. But Eric Chavez has extenuating circumstances. He went from being one of the best third basemen in baseball to never being able to stay healthy on a consistent basis, thereby creating pressure for himself when he did get on the field. He was also being paid a pretty penny. Now, as a Yankee, he's feeling fine.
“All of that [pressure] is completely gone,” he said (NJ.com). “It was so refreshing going into spring training. I don’t want to say I had to change myself as a ballplayer, but I am, I’m different now. And I’m okay with that because I don’t have that big contract on my shoulders. There’s tons of hitters in here that will produce and you just have to be part of the team.”
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Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Athletics, Blue Jays, Brad Penny, Eric Chavez, Gary Matthews, Heath Bell, Jake Peavy, Joe Maddon, Jose Bautista, Jose Canseco, Logan Morrison, Marlins, Matt Snyder, Mets, MVP, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Padres, Pepper, Phillies, Rays, Sean Rodriguez, Tigers, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: June 16, 2011 11:24 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 4:55 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
In honor of Father's Day (make sure you have bought at least a card by now), earlier today Matt Snyder looked at 10 "disrespectful" sons of big leaguers, sons who had better careers than their fathers. Well, there are as many, or more, who couldn't quite live up to their fathers' legacy -- or "respecting" their father's legacy by refusing to overshadow dear ol' dad.
I've got to give it up to perhaps the greatest team ever, the Big Red Machine teams of the '70s, not only did the Reds dominate on the field, they produced several big leaguers -- and respectful ones at that. The other list had Ken Griffey Jr., but this list has four sons of Reds from the 1970s that were unable to make anyone forget about their more famous fathers.
Pete Rose Jr. Father: Pete. This one is pretty easy. "Charlie Hustle" had 4,254 more hits than his son. But you've got to give the younger Rose credit for not giving up, making his father proud. Little Pete battled in the minors for more than eight years before playing 11 games for the Reds in 1997. He played affiliated baseball until 2001 and independent baseball until 2009, hanging up his cleats at 39. He played in a total of 1,918 games below the big-league level, accumulating 1,877 hits.
Eduardo Perez. Father: Tony. Both now work for the Marlins, Tony in the front office and Eduardo as the team's hitting coach. But that's about the only similarity between the two careers. Tony Perez is in the Hall of Fame and made seven All-Star teams to go along with his two World Series titles. Eduardo Perez played in parts of 13 seasons with six teams, including his father's Reds. He finished with 445 hits -- just 2,287 fewer than his father.
Pedro Borbon Jr. Father: Pedro. Pedro Borbon was one of the unsung heroes of the Big Red Machine, appearing in 362 games from 1973-77, pitching 633 innings for Sparky Anderson in that period. He went 44-23 with a 2.99 ERA. He finished his career with 69 victories and 80 saves. His son has a World Series ring of his own, earning it in 1995 with the Braves. The younger Borbon was excellent in 1995 and 1996, putting together a 2.91 ERA in 84 games combined between those two seasons. He played in nine seasons, going 16-16 with a 4.68 ERA.
Brian McRae. Father: Hal. Before going to Kansas City to join another young team on the rise, Hal McRae started his career in Cincinnati as an outfielder. But he found fame in Kansas City where he was traded after the 1972 season. McRae was one of the best of the first generation of designated hitters, moving to the position full-time by 1976. A four-time All-Star, he finished fourth in MVP voting in both 1976 and 1982. In 1976 he led the American League in on-base percentage and OPS but lost the batting title on the last day of the season to teammate George Brett. Brian McRae also played with Brett. He had a nice career, accumulating 1,336 hits over parts of 10 seasons but was never the force his father was.
Dale Berra. Father: Yogi. Dale Berra played in an era where not much offense was expected of middle infielders, and he complied, putting up an OPS of .638 in parts of 11 seasons. He did finish with 49 home runs in his career; his father hit 309 more. The elder Berra was a three-time MVP and Hall of Famer.
Tony Gwynn Jr. Father: Tony. The younger Gwynn is just 28, but with 249 hits so far in his career, there's no way he's catching dad. Tony Gwynn had five 200-hit seasons and eight batting titles. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007.
Lance Niekro. Father: Joe. Lance Niekro was not only a respectful son, but he also honored his uncle, Hall-of-Famer Phil Niekro. Lance played in 195 games over four seasons, the bulk of them coming in 2005. Unlike his famous father and uncle, the younger Niekro was a position player, hitting 12 home runs in 2005 for the Giants. In 2009, Niekro tried a comeback as a knuckleballer, pitching one season in the minors before retiring. Joe Niekro was often overshadowed by his brother, but he was no slouch, either. In 1979, he was an All-Star and finished as the runner-up in Cy Young voting and sixth in MVP voting, going 21-11 with five shutouts. He was fourth in Cy Young voting in 1980 when he won 20 games.
Gary Matthews Jr. Father: Gary. The younger Matthews made a lot more money -- and I mean a lot -- but his dad was a better player. The elder Matthews, nicknamed "Sarge," won Rookie of the Year in 1973 with the Giants and finished fifth in MVP voting for the 1984 Cubs when he led the majors with a .410 on-base percentage. He finished with 2,011 hits and a .281/.364/.439 slash line to go along with 234 career homers. The younger Matthews made one of the game's best catches and turned his one All-Star season into a five-year, $50 million deal with the Angels that pays him $12.4 million this season, even though he's no longer playing. In parts of 12 seasons, the younger Matthews hit .257/.332/.405 with 1,056 hits and 108 home runs.
Brian Bannister. Father: Floyd. The younger Bannister announced that he'd no longer play baseball after leaving the Yomiuri Giants following the tsunami in Japan this March. Brian Bannister pitched in parts of five seasons with the Mets and Royals, making 114 starts, going 37-50 with a 5.08 ERA. He won 12 games in 2007 along with a 3.87 ERA, but it would prove to be his best season. His father pitched for six different teams across parts of 15 seasons, winning at least 12 games five times and finishing his career 134-143 with a 4.06 ERA. He also made the 1982 All-Star team.
Josh Barfield. Father: Jesse. Jesse Barfield was one of the great sluggers of the 1980s and owner of one of the best outfield arms in baseball history. He hit 40 home runs in 1986, also winning a Gold Glove that season. His son, Josh, hit 16 home runs over parts of four seasons, his last coming in 2009. He's currently playing for the Phillies' Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley, Pa.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Brian Bannister, Brian McRae, Dale Berra, Eduardo Perez, Floyd Bannister, Gary Matthews, Gary Matthews Jr., George Brett, Hal McRae, Jesse Barfield, Joe Niekro, Josh Barfield, Lance Niekro, Pedro Borbon, Pedro Borbon Jr., Pete Rose, Pete Rose Jr., Phil Niekro, Tony Gwynn, Tony Perez, Yogi Berra