Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Ryan Zimmerman
Posted on: April 10, 2011 11:59 am
 

Pepper: The appendectomy brothers



By Matt Snyder


Sluggers Matt Holliday and Adam Dunn have both undergone appendectomies thus far in the new baseball season. We know this. We also know that the usual length of missed time following such a procedure is around four weeks, and that Andres Torres missing just under two weeks last season was a pretty fast return.

Apparently that's not good enough for Holliday and Dunn.

Holliday is set to return to the lineup Sunday, which would mean he'd only have missed seven games. (MLB.com ) Dunn seems ready to scoff at such a figure, as he is shooting for five days (his procedure was Wednesday). He took some cuts Sunday morning and reportedly felt "OK." (Chicago Sun Times )

This is a testament to the toughest of the players and modern medicine. Major props are due to everyone involved.

ZIMMERMAN HURT?
Ryan Zimmerman appeared to injure his hand Saturday night and is out of the lineup Sunday. More details are sure to follow. (Washington Post )

DEMOTION COMING: Chris Snyder is going to be joining the Pirates soon, which will force Jason Jaramillo back to Triple-A, as the team has no plans to carry three catchers or move Ryan Doumit out from behind the plate. (Bucco Blog )

HELTON'S ACHY BREAKY BACK: Todd Helton missed Saturday's game with back pain. We've seen this before, so hopefully it gets cleared up soon. Helton did note his back locked up similarly to something that happened in spring training and it only lasted a "couple of days" then. (Denver Post )

THE MENTOR: Ivan Rodriguez is helping Nationals reliever Drew Storen learn the mental side of pitching

“Last year, I was amazed,” Storen said. “When I would go out and pitch, I would just let him call it. The way my mind works was so amateur compared to him. He just calls such a polished game. It’s just like, ‘Wow.’ So now I’m starting to get it. Now I’m starting to think on the same lines as him, which shows you how I’ve learned from him. I pretty much feel like I’m a passenger when he’s out there. I don’t have to think. He knows what I’m comfortable with, and he knows what the best approach is.” (Washington Post )

That's saying a lot coming from Storen. He's one of the more cerebral players in the league and graduated from Stanford. Then again, he was only four years old when Rodriguez entered the league. It's nice to see a youngster knowing what he doesn't know and striving to learn.

MANNYLESS TROP: The Rays have cancelled all merchandise sales and giveaways relating to Manny Ramirez, for obvious reasons. This includes wigs of his dreads and a bobblehead giveaway. Nooooooo! (Tampabay.com )

AWFUL NEWS: A Pirates usher was found dead early Saturday morning lying face down in the street and bleeding from an apparent head injury. His car is missing, too, so there appears to be foul play involved. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review )

GOOD NEWS: Luis Salazar is ready to return to his job as manager of the Braves' Class A affiliate (Lynchburg) this coming Friday. He has been sidelined for over a month after taking a line drive to the face and subsequently losing his eye. Of course, his life was in danger for a bit, so returning to the dugout is huge. Good for him. (AJC.com )

NO HARD FEELINGS: Chris Archer was dealt by the Cubs to the Rays in the Matt Garza trade, but he's not angry with the Cubs for doing so.

"When you get traded it's always a little bittersweet, but a team wants you," Archer said. "One team is willing to get rid of you for a big-name player and then one team wants you. Either way you look at it, I wasn't mad. I was wanted and it was for a big-name player, a No. 1 or No. 2 starter in the big leagues. Why would I be mad? If that's what the package is worth for a No. 1 or No. 2 starter in the big leagues, I'm happy with that." (Chicago Tribune )

It doesn't seem like a big deal, but I've seen far too many players act like there's some huge disrespect factor tied to getting traded. Good thing Archer isn't one of those.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: March 27, 2011 11:43 am
 

Pepper: Silva released, Cubs blunder ... or not

By Matt Snyder

The Cubs just issued a press release that Carlos Silva has been, uh, released. Good riddance. Now, about how it all went down ...

I like Big League Stew and David Brown, so I hope we don't get into a whole thing here, but I have to say I don't understand this column . Brown uses a lot of words to call out the Cubs for having a pitching coach notify Carlos Silva he wouldn't make the team instead of general manager Jim Hendry doing so. I would generally agree with that sentiment, but then I see this quote from the Chicago Tribune :

"I told Carlos Silva there was not a spot for him unless there's an injury between now and Opening Day," general manager Jim Hendry said. "We will explore trade opportunities with other clubs."

A little farther down in the same article, Silva mentions that the new pitching coach, Mark Riggins, was trying to talk him up and said, "Man, you've been throwing the ball good, you can pitch, all of that, blah, blah, blah. If you go out there to Triple-A and throw some games to continue building, to continue getting better ... "

If that looks like a weird quote, it's because it was Carlos Silva discussing the situation. It's an emotional Silva, too, who already isn't going to be mistaken for Derek Jeter in terms of eloquence, professionalism or, really, anything. From that, we're to gather that was how he found out he wasn't making the team. Sorry, I'm not ready to make that leap. And if I did believe every word Silva said -- I'm trying not to laugh -- the mistake would appear to be Riggins' for letting it slip. That above quote doesn't sound like Hendry sent Riggins in to break the news.

I don't want to come off like a Hendry apologist, because he's proven himself not a very good GM. When the Ricketts family pays Kosuke Fukudome eight figures this year or Alfonso Soriano $19 million in 2014 they might agree. I'm just saying this particular call-out was a big reach. Even if Silva was telling the truth, it was a minor slip-up -- in which a rookie coach accidentally let the cat out of the bag. It's much less a big deal than giving Milton Bradley a three-year contract -- which is the whole reason Silva's with the club anyway. In fact, the funny part of this whole thing is that Silva represents an actual good move by Hendry. He saved money in trading Bradley for Silva. Granted, it was his fault he had to deal Bradley, but he patched it up as best he could. That's about all you can ask from a middling-at-best GM.

MESSIN' WITH TEXAS: The Rangers are expected to make a decision on the fifth starter Sunday. Remember, they already did, but Tommy Hunter injured himself the day the announcement was made. What about Alexi Ogando? ESPN Dallas makes a case.

FIVE GUYS: MLB.com looks at five players who need to "get it together" this season. I actually think all five will.

DEBUT ... D'OH: Chris Dickerson was making a good impression on his new team Saturday. He joined the Yankees after a trade and promptely went 3-3 with a double. His encore was leaving the game with cramps. (MLB.com )

SMACKDOWN:
Earlier this week, crotchety curmudgeon Murray Chass wrote one of the more ridiculous things anyone has ever written. He used a second-hand story of a third-hand account of an event taken out of context to say Stan Musial was racist. The hilarious part is Chass likes to talk about how he's a respectable journalist and refuses to acknowledge that he's a blogger. Anyway, I'm not going to get into bashing him any further, because the great Joe Posnanski took him down better than I could ever hope to do. And you won't find a link to Chass' blog (yep, I said it, Murray) here or there. I refuse to give hits to that clown.

PATTERSON OK: Corey Patterson took a high-90s fastball to the head Friday. Fortunately it hit his helmet, but that's still an awfully big impact. The good news is that he appears to be just fine. "I seem to be doing OK," Patterson said. "I got checked out at the hospital last night and the doctor said everything looked fine. There weren't any concussion symptoms, but it doesn't mean that it can't evolve into that. Just have to keep an eye on it and make sure I'm in regular contact with our trainers." (MLB.com )

SILENT NIGHT: The A's may not have a radio broadcast on their flagship station this season. (Mercury News )

HOME SWEET HOME: Ryan Zimmerman wants to be with the Washington Nationals for a long time. It's just a matter of whether or not the Nats will pony up the kind of dough he'd command on the open market. (Washington Post ) The smart money is on them doing so. He's the centerpiece of the team and at 26, he's hardly too old to stay for a while. Plus, unless you've been listening to me scream about it for the past few weeks, you might not realize the Nationals have plenty of money.

Pirates LINEUP SET:
Andrew McCutchen has hit leadoff for 190 games in his early career. He's batted second 17 games and third 53. This season, he's going to man the three-hole for the Pirates, following Jose Tabata and Neil Walker. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette )

THE GRITTY GRINDERS! A clash between sabermatricians and old-school baseball writers has long been the contention that players like David Eckstein are either a) severely underrated because they do things you can't measure with stats; or b) severely overrated because the numbers show they don't help a team much. Well, the New York Times tries to bridge that gap by figuring team records with and without certain players. According to the metric, Ruben Tejada was the Mets' most valuable player while Alex Rodriguez is largely irrelevant to the Yankees ("they seemed to get along just fine without [him]"). There are several other oddities, such as six Reds having better winning percentages than league MVP Joey Votto. I'd be much more inclined to jump aboard here if baseball wasn't a team sport with so many factors to take into account in each and every game. For example, if a pitcher coughs up 10 runs with Votto at first base and then someone else throws a shutout on his scheduled off-day, how in God's name does that mean the team is better off without him? There are seemingly infinite examples at hand like this.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 5:17 pm
 

Zimmerman scratched with groin injury

By Matt Snyder

After missing three spring training games last week, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been scratched from the lineup again Tuesday afternoon.

The injury last week was an abdominal one, but this one is a groin injury, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter ). In fact, Heyman reports Zimmerman is likely to be shut down by the team -- for up to five days.

It's still too early to worry, and the injury is pretty minor according to several outlets. A minor groin injury just needs rest, but further activity on it means a player risks further injury. So everything should be OK, but a setback could be a problem. After all, we're creeping up on two weeks to the regular season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 

More MLB coverage
Category: MLB
Posted on: March 13, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:35 am
 

Pepper: Gordon's last shot?

Alex Gordon
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Remember when Alex Gordon was the next George Brett? Royals fans sure do.

Now, though, the former second-overall pick in the draft, is an afterthought in the deep, talented Royals system.

Taken ahead of the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki, Gordon has a career line of .244/.315/.355 in 1,641 plate appearances in the big leagues and has since been moved from third base to the outfield.

While no longer one of the core building-blocks of the Royals rebuilding job, Gordon still has some talent (and a little trade value). He's also starting to get hot in the Cactus League, going 8 for 12 in his last five games. He's also shown good plate discipline, drawing 11 walks.

"The timing was off. I was seeing the pitches good, I was just late and not making solid contact," Gordon told MLB.com. "Lately, I've been getting easy earlier and seeing pitches better and making good contact, and that's what it's all about. So definitely a big change in the last week."

Gordon, 27, spent his offseason working with Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, someone who knows a little bit about living in the shadow of the Royals' lone Hall of Fame player. Seitzer's emergence at third base moved Brett from third base to first in 1987 and even made the All-Star team as a rookie. Seitzer has been the team's hitting coach since 2009.

"I think I've pulled my hands back so I'm loaded instead of trying to find the load during the swing. I'm ready to go right off the bat," Gordon said. "I think that's helped, and I'm not late on pitches anymore, and I'm being aggressive."

With the Royals throwing out a placeholder roster for 2011 before the prospects begin to trickle in later this summer, Gordon may be getting his last chance to prove he's more than a Four-A player. Soon, that Royals influx of talent could make him the next Clint Hurdle in Royals history.

SILVA ON THE BLOCK: Three Nationals scouts, among others, watched the Cubs' Carlos Silva in his latest spring training start, ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine writes.

According to Levine, the Nationals and Yankees have had scouts at each of Silva's outings. Both teams are looking to fill their rotation and could afford Silva's $12 million salary.

Chicago has had good spring showings from Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner, making Silva expendable.

Dave MartinezHAIR CLUB FOR MEN: With Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez now Rays, manager Joe Maddon wants his team to follow the example of his newest stars.

"I encourage the growth of follicles," Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "I want them all to go nuts with their hair this year."

Although Ramirez is known for his long dreadlocks and Damon is now sporting a fauxhawk, the inspiration for his goal of being "the hirsute club" was bench coach Dave Martinez's bushy beard (pictured).

"Sometimes I just go with my instincts, and I just think it could turn into a lot of fun for the group," Maddon said, noting he'll let his hair grow out as much as possible. "So whatever keeps you focused on the field and having fun off it, I'm all for it."

FORMER CUBS OK: The Chicago Tribune caught up with former Cub Micah Hoffpauir, who is now playing in Japan.

"My first earthquake," Hoffpauir told the Trib. "And good Lord willing, it will be my last."

Hoffpauir, now a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters, was in his room on the 26th floor of his hotel in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, approximately 250 miles to the north.

"It felt like someone started shaking the whole country of Japan," Hoffpauir said. "At one point I thought, this building is going to fall down. But I was assured later that [swaying] is what the building was supposed to do."

He said he was evacuated from his hotel and was able to contact his wife in Texas to let her know he was OK. He said he has also been in touch with former Cub teammate Matt Murton, who was training further south in Osaka, and he was OK.

GARFOOSE FUNDRAISER: Author and Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst will call you up and thank you personally if you donate $50 or more to Mercy Corp Fundraising for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (DirkHayhurst.com)

HIDDEN TREASURE: Investigators found a jackpot of 1986 Mets memorabilia in a  Port St. Lucie storage facility following their case of former Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels.

Samuels is accused of theft and illegal gambling.

Among the treasure found in the storage facility was signed uniforms from the 1986 Mets team that defeated the Red Sox in the World Series. The collection is reportedly worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars." (New York Daily News)

SIZEMORE GETTING CLOSER: Indians manager Manny Acta said he thinks center fielder Grady Sizemore is scheduled to start running bases today and could be cleared to play in games sometime in the last 10 days of spring training. (MLB.com)

D-TRAIN OFF THE RAILS: Dontrelle Willis left Saturday's game with a sprained ankle, tripping on a bat after backing up the plate on Bobby Scales' two-run single. Willis had a rough outing, allowing two hits and two walks while recording just a single out. (MLB.com)

THANK YOU, COME AGAIN: Commissioner Bud Selig said Saturday that the stake in the Diamondbacks once owned by Padres chief executive Jeff Moorad has been sold. Current Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick absorbed the eight percent of the Diamondbacks  for $21 million. Moorad's group owns 49 percent of the Padres. (MLB.com)

HARDEN OUT OF ROTATION MIX: Rich Harden is officially out of the race for the Athletics' fifth-starter sport. Harden could still find a spot in the bullpen, but it's getting crowded too. Brandon McCarthy, Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer are still competing for the fifth starter spot, with the losers then looking to make the bullpen. (San Francisco Chronicle)

STATS FOR DUMMIES: The great Joe Posnanski gives you a primer on advanced offensive statistics. (JoePosnanski.com)

LINEUP CONSTRUCTION: Little has more breath and keystrokes wasted on it more than lineup construction. It's a fan's favorite nitpick to show why their manager is an idiot, yet it doesn't really matter that much in the long term. (Although, it makes the most sense to get your better hitters at the the top of the order, because they get the most at-bats). But anyway, Astros manager Brad Mills discusses his philosophy for filling out his lineup card. (Houston Chronicle)

RAYS RESURRECTION: Former top pick Matt Bush is making a comeback in Tampa's training camp. (Tampa Tribune)

BASEBALL PROJECT: If you missed our Ear on Baseball podcast with the Baseball Project, what's wrong with you? Seriously?

Anyway, you can catch up with Scott McCaughey, who says despite touring the world with various rock bands, he's always kept up with baseball because it's a "a sort of zen thing for me" and reading boxscores is "like meditation" -- I think we can all understand that. (Athens Music Junkie)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

More MLB coverage
Posted on: March 2, 2011 9:39 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 9:46 pm
 

Getting to know the Nationals

By Evan Brunell

MVP

WerthJayson Werth may not be the typical MVP you would associate with a team trying to rise. After all, it's more important to the team's future to see significant development in players like Ian Desmond. But the Nationals really need Werth to do something they wouldn't be pleased with on Desmond: maintain. They'll take anything over, but they need Werth to at least match the production from his Philadelphia days. Any slow start that gets the Nationals on pace to lose 90-plus games will cause much unwanted attention and people gloating over being right on Werth's contract. Washington is trying hard to turn the page and can't start off the blank one with a setback.

PLAYER ORACLE : (As the Nationals' team history is the Montreal Expos, we turn our eyes to 1969...) Rusty Staub to Ryan Zimmerman

A pretty short and interesting player string...

  • Rusty Staub played with Calvin Schiraldi for the 1985 New York Mets
  • Calvin Schiraldi played with Ivan Rodriguez for the 1991 Texas Rangers
  • Ivan Rodriguez played with Ryan Zimmerman for the 2010 Washington Nationals

POP CULTURE

It's way too soon to have Nationals pop culture references, so how about this: The only time a Montreal Expo was ever be mentioned on The Simpsons came March 16, 2003 ("C.E. Doh!"). While in a baseball game, Bart Simpson yells "Look at me! I'm Tomokazu Ohka of the Montreal Expos!" Milhouse replies, "Well I'm Esteban Yan of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays!"

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:13 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 10:44 pm
 

Finding a match for Greinke difficult

Ian Desmond The Nationals want to deal for a pitcher and are "aggressively pursuing" a trade for Matt Garza or Zack Greinke, a major-league source tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post .

The Nationals like both pitchers, but have the problem that they don't exactly have the pieces either the Royals or Rays are looking for in return, especially since the team isn't ready to get rid of shortstop Ian Desmond (pictured) or starter Jordan Zimmermann.

"[Desmond] is a guy they think is going to be their shortstop for the next 10 years. That's a really tough guy for them [to trade]. It almost negates getting that pitcher," a source told Kilgore. "Everyone else [aside from Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth] is fair game. They're not going to move Desmond. They'd move [Danny] Espinosa in a  heartbeat."

The Nats could get rid of Josh Willingham, but he's arbitration-eligible, Roger Bernadina and even relievers Drew Storen or Sean Burnett. The team could also move catcher Wilson Ramos.

"I don't see Washington having enough to do a deal with Kansas City," the source said. "I don't see that they have enough to offer unless they were willing to discuss a Desmond or a Jordan Zimmermann, and I don't see that happening. I can't see anyone else for Kansas City that gets them excited enough to do it."

The best fit for a Greinke deal, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick writes , could be Toronto, which has expressed interest in the right-hander. The Blue Jays have catching prospects Travis D'Arnaud, J.P. Arencibia and Carlos Perez, plus outfielders Anthony Gose and Travis Snider. The Jays have balked at giving the Royals Snider and Kyle Drabek, the pitcher they got for Roy Halladay.

Crasnick writes the Yankees and Rangers probably aren't a match for a Greinke trade.

The Brewers have also inquired, and the Reds were reportedly interested in Cliff Lee at the trade deadline last season. Cincinnati has the prospects, but not the payroll flexibility to be able to afford the $27 million left on Greinke's contract.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.




Posted on: December 2, 2010 6:27 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2010 8:46 pm
 

Zimmerman disappointed Dunn's gone

Ryan Zimmerman Adam Dunn is headed to Chicago, and Ryan Zimmerman isn't too happy about it.

For now, Zimmerman is the Nationals' best player and the face of their franchise. He was vocal in wanted Dunn to return to Washington, and now that the slugger is going elsewhere, Zimmerman certainly has an opinion on the matter.

"From the last time we talked about baseball, the last day of the season, he said he would love to come back here," Zimmerman told the Washington Post 's Adam Kilgore . "If they would have given him a fair deal, he even would have probably gone a little bit cheaper to come with us."

The Nationals had offered a three-year deal, and said repeatedly during the season he wanted to stay with the Nationals, but was looking for a long-term deal.

Still Zimmerman said he wants to remain a National the rest of his career, but is still frustrated.

"I hope that this plan they have intact -- I guess this one of the years we were supposed to take that next step and become one of the teams that gets those free agent guys," Zimmerman said. "They've told us and the fans to be patient. Hopefully this is one of the years we start acquiring impact guys and taking the team to that next level."

However, Dunn is still the only impact free agent to have ever signed with the Nationals, and now he's gone.

"Knowing that we had one of the three top free agents on our team and we didn't want to resign him, it's frustrating for us as players," Zimmerman told MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling .

UPDATE: Apparently it hasn't bothered Zimmerman that much -- he tells Kilgore that a long-term deal like Troy Tulowitzki's "absolutely appeals to me." Of course, who wouldn't mind that kind of security, no matter where it came from?

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: November 22, 2010 2:06 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 2:15 pm
 

One MVP vote, deconstructed


Joey Votto It seems we have better ways of measuring value than we have of defining it when it comes to baseball nowadays.

There are, of course, WAR (wins above replacement) and RAR (runs above replacement) and WPA (win probability added) and a ton of others that are out there or even in development now. Of course, even if you pick one you like, such as WAR, there are different formulas; the two great statistical websites of the day, FanGraphs.com and Baseball-Reference.com, differ on how they calculate WAR.

And in the end, what does it mean? What defines value? Does a player have to not only help his team win, but do you put more emphasis on those players whose teams ultimately win more? And how much of that is due to that player or his teammates?

Is the MVP vote for the best player or the most outstanding or the most valuable?

I'd always wondered these things, and now I actually had to come up with an answers, as I voted for the MVP for the first time this year. I'd voted previously for the Cy Young, but not the MVP.

The actual ballot -- which was e-mailed to me -- has these rules, the same that were written on the first ballot in 1931:

1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
2. Number of games played.
3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
4. Former winners are eligible.
5. Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.

That doesn't help all that much, it leaves it open to interpretation and debate, which makes it quite fun.

It's also noted on my ballot that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters. Voting for the National League, I don't have to worry about the DH, but not that offense and defense are noted on the ballot rules.

The only statistic mentioned on the MVP ballot is games played, and that hurts a starting pitcher.  

There are those who see the Cy Young as a pitcher's award and the MVP as a position player's award. I'm not one of those. But I do find it difficult to put a starter in the same category. As you'll see in my ballot, I do have two starting pitchers in my Top 10. Both had outstanding seasons and were among the most valuable players in the league, though I'm not sure they had the same value as an everyday player.

In the end, I'm not sure there's a right answer. That's why 31 other people vote and we try to come up with a consensus, not just on an MVP but also on what the MVP means.

Albert Pujols In researching my vote, I made a spreadsheet with more than 30 players, and categories including WAR (both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference), OPS, OPS+, HR, UZR, games played, ERA, WHIP, xFIP and others. There were more I could use and in the end, I'm not sure any of these made the difference, I just liked seeing them all in front of me. I also did further research on a final list of 20, before whittling it down to about 12 and ranking them. I also talked to players, managers, coaches, scouts and other writers.

You might not agree with my ballot, but I hope you do realize I take this very seriously and put a lot of thought and work into it. With that said, here are the 10 players I turned into the BBWAA on my ballot and a little reasoning.  

1. Joey Votto, Cincinnati -- Votto had an outstanding season offensively and has continued to improve defensively. He also helped lead his team to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, no small feat.

2. Albert Pujols, St. Louis -- Consistently the best player in the game. It says something that in what is somewhat of an "off" season for him, Pujols is still as good as anyone and a worthy candidate for winning the MVP. Votto edged Pujols in just about every stat besides home runs and RBI.

3. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego -- Another first baseman with a great season. Gonzalez had much less around him than either Votto or Pujols, yet still put up great numbers and nearly led his team to the playoffs.

4. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado -- Tulowitzki gets dinged a bit for games played, but when he did play, he was incredible. He's a great defensive player, and maybe one of the best all-around in the game.

5. Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado -- Gonzalez pushed at the triple crown, but his home/road splits were drastic -- just like his team, which was 52-29 at home and 31-50 on the road.

6. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia -- the unanimous selection for the Cy Young Award speaks for itself.

7. Matt Holliday, St. Louis -- Cardinals fans seemed to have something against the guy (well, maybe his huge contract), but he ended up with a spectacular season.

8. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis -- had a lower ERA than Halladay and his WHIP was just a tick higher.

9. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington -- like Tulowitzki, one of the best all-around players in the game. His defense gives him a boost in WAR, because he's that good.

10. Aubrey Huff, San Francisco -- Huff had a quiet great season -- until the playoffs. Remember, these votes were due before the playoffs, but he was very good even before the postseason began.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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