Tag:Elvis Andrus
Posted on: June 4, 2011 1:08 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Garcia dazzles Cubs

Garcia

By Evan Brunell


Jamie Garcia, Cardinals -- Jaime Garcia was once a solid prospect turned afterthought after Tommy John surgery in 2009. But he impressed greatly as a rookie season, posting a 2.70 ERA in 28 starts. No one was quite sure he was for real, but he most certainly is, following up his worst start of the year with an eight-inning gem against the Cubs, allowing four hits and just one run and posting eight strikeouts with a walk. A dominating performance that lowered his ERA to 3.05, it's clear Garcia is a legitimate ace.

Carlos Quentin, White Sox -- Q had a big day as DH, walking three times and blasting a 3-run home run to pace Chicago to victory 6-4 over the Tigers. That ended a nine-game losing streak against Detroit. Quentin's blast was his 14th of the year, pacing him for 38 bombs on the season. He may not hit for average (.260) but he can sure bring the power.

Elvis Andrus, Rangers -- The Rangers had a lot of star performers, with Josh Hamilton and Alexi Ogando worthy of this list. Andrus was just as impressive with a 4-for-5 performance out of the two-hole with two runs and three RBI, with a double attached. Andrus came up through the minors more known for his defense, but is his stick isn't all that bad. It's never going to be his forte, but he's at .277/.318/.350 after the performance. He's not as patient last season, but now has a higher average and a touch more power to speak for being less patient, which actually makes him less valuable.



Carlos Santana, Indians -- Santana has been disappointing so far this season, as the catcher was supposed to be a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat, especially after slashing .260/.401/.467 in 192 at-bats before his 2010 season ended when Ryan Kalish ran into him at home plate. (Where was all this outrage about running into catchers then?) Anyhoo, Santana was eventually dropped from cleanup to lower in the order after his struggles got too out of hand. He had seven hits in 17 at-bats with three doubles, prompting his move back to cleanup against the Rangers. He promptly went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts to drag his overall line down to .228/.367/.386. Think they drop him down again Saturday?

Zach Britton, Orioles
-- Britton tosses his second straight poor outing, spiking his ERA to a still-impressive 3.33 by allowing five earned runs to the Blue Jays, with an additional two earned. He made it through five innings with 81 pitches and gave up a J.P. Arencibia grand slam in the fifth to cap his night. It's possible htiters are starting to get a book on Britton and it's working, but it's only two starts. He'l draw the Athletics on Wednesday against the below pitcher.

Josh Outman, Athletics -- Outman and Clay Buchholz both tried to beat each other for worst outings, and the lefty gets the nod for a 2 2/3 inning effort, giving up four earned runs plus one unearned in his third 2011 start. Outman had zero control even though that's not evidenced by his one walk -- he tossed 67 pitches with only 36 crossing the plate. Outman has also struggled in Triple-A as well, but is in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery that knocked him out for 1 1/2 seasons. He doesn't have the stuff for the majors right now, but the A's are desperate for arms.

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Posted on: May 29, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2011 10:05 pm
 

Royals Pena says fear didn't back him up

Brayan Pena

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Royals catcher Brayan Pena said he made a mistake at the end of Sunday's loss to the Rangers, but it had nothing to do with fear or Buster Posey or anything like that, it was a simple mistake of not knowing exactly where he was.

"I know you have to ask that question, but no," Pena told reporters, including the Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton, when asked if he had tried to avoid contact on the play. "That's part of my job -- to go out there and get hit. I just really thought I had home plate blocked. But I guess not."

After Nelson Cruz led off the ninth inning with a homer to tie the game, Napoli singled. And with two outs and Napoli still on first, Elvis Andrus singled to right and Rangers third base coach Dave Anderson waved him home.

First baseman Eric Hosmer's relay throw was in plenty of time to get Napoli, who was barreling in on Pena, who then took a step back off the plate, appearing to brace for impact. Napoli slid and Pena tagged him on the chest after his foot touched the plate -- and give a ton of credit to home plate umpire Mike Eastbrook, who made a difficult call correctly at the plate.

Pena slammed the ball down after the call and argued he made the tag -- and it was obvious he thought he did at the time. But then, after the game, he saw the video. See the video here.

"I could tell he was safe," Pena said. "Everything was perfect, too. The guys did a great relay. Hosmer threw a perfect strike. It was on me."

The question, even with hindsight, was there a decision on a subconscious level to take a step back, to brace himself for contact or to try to avoid being injured like Posey? If so, it's natural, but still one that's sure to be frowned up by teammates and fans alike.

As for the Rangers side of the story, remember Anderson was criticized for his decision to send Josh Hamilton home on a pop up last month, which resulted not only in an out, but in an injury to the reigning American League MVP.

"Sometimes you have to be aggressive out there and take chances," Anderson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "How the game was going on, something crazy was going to happen to have this game over with. With two outs, you take a chance."

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Posted on: March 19, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: March 19, 2011 11:49 am
 

Pepper: Live from my mother's basement!

By Matt Snyder

It just won't go away, this petty little feud.

I speak, of course, of the "old school" baseball people who hate blogging -- yet blog themselves, which is weird -- and despise anyone who dares to disagree with their beliefs, especially when it comes to "newer" statistics (though OBP is hardly new). Check out this really awesome paragraph from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle :
It won't be long before we get the first wave of nonsense from stat-crazed dunces claiming there's nothing to be learned from a batting average, won-loss record or RBI total. Listen, just go back to bed, OK? Strip down to those fourth-day undies, head downstairs (to "your mother's basement and your mother's computer," as Chipper Jones so aptly describes it) and churn out some more crap. For more than a century, .220 meant something. So did .278, .301, .350, an 18-4 record, or 118 RBIs. Now it all means nothing because a bunch of nonathletes are trying to reinvent the game?
Now, I'm not gonna go nuts. Several people already have across the 'net, though the great Joe Posnanski already took care of the heavy lifting in the most rational post possible -- and came back for a little more .

I'll just add that my personal feeling is that it's always dangerous to side with someone who attacks people for simply disagreeing. I prefer on-base percentage over batting average because not making outs is a much better measure of a good baseball player than disregarding walks and hit-by-pitches and figuring a hit percentage. In fact, I don't understand how it's not obvious -- seriously, a walk doesn't even count in batting average! -- but I'm not about to attack the character of someone who disagrees. If you feel compelled to freak out and use a decade-old joke that makes no sense, maybe you are the one with the problem? Just a thought.

As for the "non-athlete" thing, I have a short anecdote to illustrate my point. I realized I hated batting average as compared to OBP one time when I went 0-1 with three walks and three runs scored -- noticing it was a .000 batting average for the day, yet a pretty damn good day of helping my team win.

And the game wasn't even in my mother's basement. Seriously!

Honestly, though, don't you think guys in a similar situation in the bigs would feel the same way? What about a pitcher who throws a complete game and only allows one unearned run, yet loses 1-0. And he goes home and sees on MLB Network that a pitcher for the Yankees allowed seven earned runs in five innings and got the win because the Bombers' offense went nuts. Judging pitchers on wins and losses would have us believe the latter performed better. Really?

Again, I don't understand how it's not obvious these stats aren't the best ones. If this was elementary school you'd get an F for disagreeing. Maybe I should start making lame jokes in return instead of having an actual, meaningful conversation. Apparently that's the best way to plead your case when it comes to the old school.

MORNEAU AT NIGHT: Justin Morneau played his first night game in a long, long time Friday night, and things went well. "It's just different. For the most part, the stuff has come on later in the day. So I wanted to see, because we usually play night games during the season, I wanted to see where I was at, and I felt pretty good." That "stuff" to which he is referring, in case you've been asleep since last July, would be lingering symptoms from his concussion. (MLB.com )

STOREN STRUGGLES: Second-year pitcher Drew Storen was supposed to be the Nationals' closer this season. He still very well may be eventually, as he has the highest upside of any of the candidates. But he's had a pretty disastrous spring and might be in jeopardy of being optioned to the minors. It's not likely, but possible. (Washington Post )

DON'T DOUBT DAVIS: Doug Davis has worked out for four teams in Arizona and is looking to catch on somewhere (MLB Trade Rumors ). It's uncertain that he'll definitely be able to grab a job in a rotation at some point this year, but I don't plan on wagering against the veteran. He's already kicked cancer's butt.

UBALDO GETS NOD: We've been posting the announcements of opening day starters as stand-alone pieces, but Ubaldo Jimenez as the Rockies' opening day starter is far too obvious. It would have been shocking if he wasn't handed that responsibility. Just a heads-up, don't expect posts on CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay or Felix Hernandez on this subject either. (MLB.com )

ELVIS MUSCLES UP:
Elvis Andrus hit a home run Friday. He hasn't done so in a regular-season game since September 2 ... of 2009. (ESPN Dallas )

FANS HAVE CLOUT?
You always wonder if teams take these sort of things under consideration, but it's incredibly rare -- if not unprecedented -- for a team to admit fan venom played into a move. But the Mets did so with Luis Castillo (ESPN New York ). Manager Terry Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson both admitted that the Mets' fans' collective hatred of Castillo played a role in the team cutting him.

WESTY'S ROAD BACK: Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland has stared death in the eyes and survived. Now he's on the comeback trail. I won't even attempt to do this lengthy feature justice, instead I'll just say please go read it. It's great stuff. (Boston.com )

RETURN TO DODGERTOWN? The Dodgers' spring training games are not drawing well. In fact, attedance is down 42.3 percent from last season in Camelback Ranch. The average draw per game is barely over half the capacity. (Los Angeles Times )

A QUESTION OF DURABILITY:
Scott Rolen hasn't played more than 140 games since 2006 and not more than 150 since 2003. He's 36. He faltered in a big way in the second half last season. But he's saying all the right things and preaching accountability. (MLB.com )

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Posted on: March 17, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 5:53 pm
 

Beltre contemplated killing teammate (sorta)

Adrian BeltreBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Imagine you had one pet peeve -- say, I don't know, the use of the word "dude" -- and your coworkers thought it was so funny, they never called you anything but "dude." 

And there is one guy who not only took great pride in calling you "dude" but also made sure everyone else knew to call you "dude." Then, even though you got a new job in another part of the country, people on TV talked so much about how you hated to be called "dude" that everyone else in the country not only knew about it, but found it funny.

Welcome to Adrian Beltre's life (well, minus $80 million).

Beltre's well-known aversion to people touching his head has been picked up by his new Ranger teammates.

"He better get used to it," shortstop Elvis Andrus told MLB.com. "He might kick my tail, but I'm going to do it."

Beltre's tick was well-chronicled last season in Boston, with Victor Martinez being the lead instigator.

"Sometimes I thought about killing him," Beltre said. "But I thought about it. … I have family, so I didn't."

That's a lot of head rubbing. Is he serious? Well, in some of these cases, he looks like he could snap (see for yourself here). He's likely just joking, but on the right day...

Beltre said Martinez was the worst offender, but not the originator. The head rubbing began in Seattle, he said.

"It was my fault," Beltre said. "I don't remember, but somebody did it and I told them I didn't like it. That's like telling them to do it again. You know they're going to do it because you don't like it. So they started doing it over and over again.

"It's all in fun. It's not like I enjoy it, but I know guys try to have fun. Some guys overdo it, but it's no big deal."

Until, of course, you get to the point where you contemplate killing your teammate.

Let's just hope Martinez doesn't find Miguel Cabrera's button.

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 12:45 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 5:10 pm
 

Yankees' Gardner working on bunting

Brett Gardner

By C. Trent Rosecrans

In today's Pepper, we talked about Brett Gardner maybe getting a shot at supplanting Derek Jeter as the Yankees leadoff man. It makes perfect sense, Gardner is crazy fast and gets on base at a good clip.

The one thing he may have to improve upon is bunting. In 995 plate appearances in the big leagues, he has just 10 bunt hits. You'd think with his speed, which is truly elite, he'd try to lay down more bunts. 

"The last few years, I just kinda got away from it, it's something I didn't really try to do, I guess it's something I didn't use as much as I should have," Gardner told CBSNewYork.com. "It's not something I've completely lost, it's something I'm going to continue to work at, something that will make more of a complete player and give me another weapon to use to get on base, get guys over and put the ball in the defense's hands and make them make mistakes."

Gardner had 18 bunt hits in 251 plate appearances at Double-A Trenton in 2009 in 2006, so it's not like he can't do it.

I'm not normally a big fan of the bunt as an offensive weapon, but for someone with superior speed such as Gardner, it can be a game-changer. At the very least, just the danger of him laying down a bunt could benefit the Yankees.

Gardner said he's been good at sacrifice bunts, but needs to work on bunting for hits.

"The thing for me is, I could sit out here all day and practice and do it right and do it right and do it right, but in game situation, your adrenaline is pumping and I'm always try to put the ball on the ground and run," Gardner said. "So it's a matter of staying in there a split-second longer and making sure I get the bunt down and a good bunt and then run as opposed to running out of the box and losing my angle and letting the bat head drop and fouling the ball off, which is a bad habit I've gotten in the last couple of years. I'm much better on a  regular sacrifice bunt because I take my time and I don't rush and I make sure I put the ball on the ground where I want to and for the most part I've been able to do that when I slow things down."

Gardner had seven bunt hits last season, so he is working on it. Still, he was successful on just 36.8 percent of his attempts for a base bunt hit, it's something with work he could improve upon.

The Angels' Erick Aybar and Julio Borbon of the Rangers led the big leagues last season with 18 bunt hits, while only seven more players had as many as 10 bunt hits. Texas' Elvis Andrus had 13, while Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco, Juan Pierre and Nyjer Morgan each had 12 bunts hits and Michael Bourn had 10. In that group, Blanco had the best percentage at 57.1 percent, while Pierre was the lowest at 21.8 percent.


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Posted on: March 4, 2011 7:21 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 9:00 pm
 

3 up, 3 down: Jon Daniels' best, worst moves

DanielsBy Evan Brunell

The Rangers have handed GM Jon Daniels a four-year extension, rewarding the 33-year-old for steering the club to its first-ever AL pennant in 2010. For all of Daniels' talents, however, he's made quite a few missteps along the way. Here's a look back at Daniels' three best and worst moves as Rangers GM...

3 UP

1. The Teix Heist

The reason the Rangers made the World Series is thanks to the trade that sent Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves. Consummated at the trade deadline of 2007, this deal represented the first time Daniels was trading away a major piece of a team and he needed to hit a home run.

He did. By dealing Teix and left-handed reliever Ron Mahay, Daniels hauled in catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus, pitchers Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Beau Jones. The fact Salty stalled in Texas is concerning, but many viewed the backstop at the time as one of the elite young catchers in the game. Andrus would go on to blossom as Texas' starting shortstop while Feliz won the AL Rookie of the Year Award with 40 saves last season and is currently shifting to the rotation. Harrison is a young lefty who is battling for a rotation spot himself, while Jones is the one non-entity.

This deal will continue to pay dividends over time, as Andrus and Feliz will be in town for years to come while Harrison is valuable depth. Saltalamacchia's career is not yet over as he is slated to start in Boston, and the jury is out on Daniels' return for Salty in three minor leaguers.

2. Game Over

Daniels made another significant trade the day of the 2007 trade deadline when he dealt "Game Over" Eric Gagne and cash to the Red Sox for Kason Gabbard, David Murphy and Engel Beltre.

Gagne was impressive in his first season as an ex-Dodger and after missing the bulk of the 2006 season. He wasn't the lockdown closer of old, but looked as if he could be a quality part of the bullpen. Except as Red Sox fans know, he completely imploded and while he walked away with a World Series trade, he will forever be known as Gag-me in Boston. (For some reason, there are over 11,000 views of a video I took recording Gagne's Red Sox debut.) His saving grace in Boston was as a Type-B free agent, and the Red Sox would later trade the player they drafted with the compensatory pick to Cleveland as part of the Victor Martinez deal.

Meanwhile, David Murphy is one of the more valuable fourth outfielders in the game and would be a starter for many other teams. Beltre has his makeup questions but is developing nicely as Texas' center fielder of the future. Gabbard flamed out, but at the time was a possible back-of-the-rotation starter.

3. Draft Bonanza

A major reason why Daniels has stayed viable as GM of the Rangers is his drafting history. Of course, major credit goes to the people working under him that are in charge of the draft, but Daniels deserves credit for putting these people in those roles as well as having a hand in the drafting and development of these players.

His first draft pick, Kasey Kiker, has yet to develop significantly but is just 22 and does hold some promise. However, his following two have had major league time already: power-hitting Chris Davis who has unfortunately failed time and time again to lock down a starting spot in Texas and Danny Herrera, who is a member of the Reds bullpen currently and was used to get Josh Hamilton. Michael Main was used to get Bengie Molina, while Blake Beavan and Justin Smoak were packaged for Cliff Lee

Tommy Hunter was a viable member of the rotation last season and could have a nice career as a back-of-the-rotation pitcher, while Julio Borbon is prepared to start in center field. Tanner Scheppers ranked No. 77 on CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects and  may have ranked higher if he was clearly going to be a starter. The club also came away with an impressive haul in the 2010 draft.

Honorable Mention: One would expect the deal bringing in Josh Hamilton to be one of Daniels' better deals, but it's hard to justify that as one of his best deals simply by virtue of giving up Edinson Volquez. There's no denying Hamilton's talent -- after all, he won the AL MVP award -- but Volquez has turned out pretty well for himself. There's a similar case to be made for the trade that imported Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz from Milwaukee in exchange for Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Francisco Cordero and Juan Cordero, so the honorable mention goes to signing Colby Lewis to a two-year deal prior to the 2010 season. Lewis was an utter failure stateside before heading to Japan and discovering his talent. Daniels didn't hesitate to bring in Lewis, and all he did was become the Rangers' best right-handed starter in the team's run to the AL pennant.

3 DOWN

1. The Young and Heartless

In March of 2007, Daniels signed shortstop Michael Young to a five-year, $80 million extension, a contract that was strange at the time and now has snowballed. Two seasons later, Daniels bumped Young to third base in a contentious move to free up short for Elvis Andrus. Young's bat has continued to be solid, but he remained a defensive liability at third and in a much-publicized spat, is now headed to DH and first base after demanding a trade. However, thanks to Young's contract, it will be difficult to move him.

Daniels certainly shouldn't have signed Young to this deal, but that's not why this ranks as one of his three worst moves as GM. While there's a lot of "he-said, he-said" going on by both sides, the fact remains that Young is not very keen on speaking to Daniels and feels "misled." Whether or not you believe Daniels or Young (or think the true answer is somewhere in-between), Daniels should have done a far better job managing the crisis as this has become a nightmare, both in terms of Young's trade value and in public relations. Heck, it even made a three-year-old kid very upset.

2. A-Gone

It's hard to fault Jon Daniels for trading away Adrian Gonzalez as he needed pitching and had Mark Teixeira at first. But goodness, couldn't he have done better? In his second significant trade of his GM career -- the first was also pretty bad -- Daniels shipped away someone who would become one of the best first-basemen in the game in short order in Gonzalez to the Padres along with Chris Young, who fashioned a nice run for himself in the rotation for San Diego. Terrmel Sledge was a throw-in to get Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka and Billy Killian in return.

Eaton was a disaster, making just 13 starts and moving onto the Phillies where he was even worse, while Otsuka became the Rangers' closer but fell to injury in 2007 at age 35 and has not returned to the majors since. Killian is now in independent baseball.

Hey, every GM has trades they regret. It's part of life. But this is one regrettable trade that makes one really cringe looking back on it.

3. A-Rod to Soriano to Nothing

OK, so Daniels wasn't responsible for the initial trade of Alex Rodriguez, but he certainly was responsible for turning Rodriguez's return in Alfonso Soriano into something. Unfortunately, his first major trade was a flop when he shipped Soriano to the Washington Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Armando Galarraga and Terrmel Sledge. Sledge would be shipped in another terrible deal a month later in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, while Wilkerson couldn't arrest the decline he began in his final season for the Nats in '06. He did not top 350 at-bats in the two seasons he was a Ranger.

While Galarraga was and still is nothing to write home about, he chewed up almost 500 innings for the Tigers after the Rangers essentially gave him away, predominantly as a starter the last three seasons -- and of course, as the architect of the 28-out perfect game. He is now a Diamondback and expected to serve in the back of the rotation. These types of pitchers are far from sexy and you can't blame Daniels for tossing Galarraga in the deal, but it only serves to make this deal look even worse given he got absolutely nothing of value for Soriano, which in turn meant the team got nothing for A-Rod.

In Daniels' defense, he was handicapped by Soriano entering the final year of his deal, but Daniels should have looked for prospects in any deal, not an outfielder on the decline, a pitcher he would give away a couple years later and a bit piece that would go on to become part of Daniels' worst trade to date.

Dishonorable Mention: Not to pile on Daniels, who has turned into a very fine GM, but just like he has plenty of candidates for honorable mention, he has candidates for this category as well. Signing Kevin Millwood to a five-year, $60 million deal was head-scratching at the time and he stumbled badly on December 23, 2006 when he dealt away John Danks, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner to the White Sox for Brandon McCarthy and David Paisano. Danks and McCarthy were two highly-regarded prospects at the time, but Danks is the one that blossomed, while Masset would go on to bust out himself as an important part of the Reds bullpen.

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Posted on: February 27, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2011 12:13 pm
 

Pepper: Werth hates the Phillies

Werth
By Evan Brunell

HATE IS A STRONG WORD: How quickly Jayson Werth forgets.

"I hate the Phillies too," Werth said in response to GM Mike Rizzo's complaining about how Philadelphia has thrown purpose pitches and executed dirty plays against the Nationals in recent years.

Werth, in his new role with the Nationals as a $126-million man will be to bring an edge to the club, something club officials felt was lacking. In fact, prior to Werth's arrival, Ian Desmond was considered as the closest to a vocal leader as the team had. Oh, and Desmond was a rookie. But now, Werth will be looked at to assume the mantle and give the Nats a harder edge as they march toward respectability.

No mention of Werth would be complete without acknowledging the stupidity of the outrageous contract handed Werth. But while that contract will come back to burn the Nats one day, at least for the next three to four years, Washington will love his middle-of-the-order bat along with his leadership. (Washington Post)

STICK A NEEDLE IN ME: Jason Hammel has turned to alternative medicine to manage his high cholesterol. A hereditary condition, high cholesterol was responsible for his father's death via heart attack at age 47, and the Rockies pitcher has no interest in following in his father's footsteps in regards to a demise. However, Hammel's treatment via Chestor caused side effects of soreness, which Hammel believes was responsible for his poor finish to the season. Now, he's turned to acupuncture and herbal treatments. (MLB.com)

LEARNING EXPERIENCE: Don Mattingly enters his first season as a major league manager, but has already learned some important lessons. Namely, walking off the mound after a coaching visit and then turning around to answer a question counts as two trips to the mound. That gaffe, put on display last season, is not one Mattingly plans to make again. (San Jose Mercury News)

NEW-LOOK Rangers: It's early yet, but manager Ron Washington has already settled on his lineup. Ian Kinsler will lead off, followed by Elvis Andrus. It's a rather curious move, as Kinsler is more power-oriented while Andrus gets on at a good clip and steals bases. Michael Young will bat sixth to try to increase his RBI opportunities. That leads one to wonder: a baseball move, or an appease-Young move? (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

KROONING FOR 200: Marc Kroon is back stateside. The former longtime minor league reliever found success in Japan and nailed down 177 saves in a six-year span. However, Kroon found offers lacking this past season and thus has returned stateside, joining San Francisco in an attempt to make the bullpen. Some believe Kroon is being blackballed by Japan so he will not receive 200 saves, an important landmark in Japanese baseball. Given the league's treatment of foreigners when chasing Japanese baseball records, that comes as no surprise. Kroon still harbors hope he can go back. (San Francisco Chronicle)

ONE STEP AT A TIME: Matt Bush was out of baseball from 2008-09 and was a former failed first-round pick of the Padres with behavioral issues. Now, the ex-shortstop has turned heads since becoming a pitcher and has rocketed up the Rays' depth chart. Bush is still a ways away, but this is one potential feel-good story worth monitoring. (Tampa Tribune)

BOSTON'S WHERE THE STATS ARE AT: The statistical revolution isn't just flooding baseball, it's flooding sports in general. And Boston is where it's all happening, as many consider it the "Silicon Valley of sports analytics." A sports analytics conference is taking place in Boston this upcoming weekend, and the Boston Globe takes a look at how analytics have influenced sports growing out of Boston. (Boston Globe)

IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT BASEBALL: Rays skipper Joe Maddon has a lot on his plate this spring, trying to assemble a new-look Rays team to compete in the AL East. At the same time, he's attempting to make Hispanics welcomed in his hometown of Hazleton, Pa. Residents are resisting the Hispanic influx, which Maddon fears could be the demise of a city with residents long in the tooth. (St. Petersburg Times)

ON SECOND THOUGHT, IT'S JUST BASEBALL: A nice interview with Bill James, who helped usher in the statistical revolution in baseball. There's likely no sports analytics conference in Boston without this talent, but while baseball may constantly be on James' mind, he likes other stuff too. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm
 

Jeter wins another Gold Glove

Oh, as we complain again and again about the Baseball Writers Association of America and their votes for MVP and Cy Young, the coaches and managers once again show they're not a better committee to choose the biggest awards in the game.

Exhibit A: Derek Jeter, Gold Glover.

Derek Jeter Yep, Jeter won the Gold Glove again on Tuesday in a vote from American League coaches and managers. Derek Jeter with a -5.4 UZR/150, -13 runs saved and -17 plus/minus, was determined by the coaches and managers to be the best defensive shortstop in the American League. Among qualified players, only Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett (-13.8) and Kansas City's Yuniesky Betancourt (-9.2) had a worse UZR/150.

Sure, Jeter had just six errors, but the idea that errors tell you much about a player's defense is preposterous. It tells you who is able to make the routine plays best. That's well and good, but it has little to do with the best all-around defensive player. Jeter has the range of, well, a mediocre 36-year old defensive player. (You know how many times you see Jeter go into the hole and doing that leaping throw, but doesn't quite get the runner? Oh, what a gutty play, he doesn't get an E. Thing is, most other shortstops don't have to make that jump and get the runner.)

Who would be a better choice? Well, who wouldn't?

The Fielding Bible Awards had Chicago's Alexei Ramirez as its third-place finisher, and best among AL players. Ramirez's UZR/150 was 10.1, he had 16 runs saved and a 20 plus/minus.

In UZR/150, Ramirez was trailed by Oakland's Cliff Pennington (8.8), Baltimore's Cesar Izturis (5.8) and Texas' Elvis Andrus (0.3), among qualified players.

The Gold Gloves have been one of those openly mocked selections since a designated hitter won one in 1999 (Rafael Palmeiro). Defense, even in this day and age of advanced statistics, is still highly subjective, with reputation playing more of a role than production. That's what the Gold Glove tells us every year. It also tells us the coaches and managers have as much of a Yankee bias as the media is accused of having.

Alex Rodriguez was the only Yankee infielder not to be awarded, even though the advanced statistics liked Oakland's infield much more.

Mark Teixeira won at first base, even though Oakland's Daric Barton was likely the best choice. Mark Ellis had the top UZR/150 among second basemen (12.7), but the winner was Robinson Cano (-0.9).  Also deserving at second would be Minnesota's Orlando Hudson (12.0 UZR/150). Hudson was the top AL vote-getter in the Fielding Bible Awards, while Ellis was behind him.

As for the outfield, that's probably where a Yankee was actually left off. Left fielder Brett Gardner had the best UZR/150 of any qualified outfielders with a 27.9. He also won the Fielding Bible Award in left field.

American League Gold Glove winners
P Mark Buehrle, White Sox
C Joe Mauer, Twins
1B Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2B Robinson Cano, Yankees
3B Evan Longoria, Rays
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF Carl Crawford, Rays
OF Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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