Tag:Alex Rodriguez
Posted on: July 11, 2011 12:35 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Killer lineup paces AL East All-Stars

Bautista
By Evan Brunell

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central | NL West

This just in: The talent assembled in the AL East is really, really good.

Just take a gander at the lineup for the AL East All-Stars on your lower right. Where exactly is there a hole? It's so deep that Curtis Granderson leads off despite boasting the second-most homers in all of baseball, tied with teammate Mark Teixeira with 25 apiece behind only Jose Bautista. It's so deep that Yunel Escobar, who leads off for the Blue Jays, is slapped into the nine spot as a second leadoff man. No matter how good any of the other division all-stars are -- the NL East, NL Central and NL West, along with the AL counterparts in the Central and West -- there simply is no stopping the offensive barrage this lineup has.

Let's take a look at who makes up the lineup, plus whose strolling to the mound and getting a win virtually any time this team plays.

WietersC Matt Wieters, Orioles: Russell Martin got off to a strong start, but tailed off. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek have recovered from a lousy April, but April counts, plus the two split playing time. J.P. Arencibia is hitting .216/.280/.424. The Rays catchers... who are they, again? That leaves Wieters, who is hitting .267/.323/.410. Not great, but miles better than the average catcher is producing (.236/.305/.378 in the AL). He also receives strong marks for fielding and has caught 24 of a potential 54 would-be basestealers, a percentage that no other catcher is close to duplicating.

Gonzalez1B Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox
: Freed from Petco Park, Gonzalez is annihilating pitchers in his first season with the Red Sox, rapping out a .352/.412/.589 line, slamming 17 home runs and contributing in virtually every facet of the game except stealing bases. And that's not necessary at all for Gonzalez to be one of the best players in the league.

Pedroia2B Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: Entering play Sunday, Pedroia and Cano were virtually the same hitter on offense, with a .373 mark in wOBA, essentially a better version of OPS, scaled to OBP. So why did Pedey get the nod? Because hitting's not the only part of the game -- fielding is. And there, Pedroia is flashing leather that could win the Gold Glove while Cano has slipped to being below average after showing progress in recent years.

ineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Curtis Granderson NYY CF
2 Dustin Pedroia BOS 2B
3 Jose Bautista TOR RF
4 Adrian Gonzalez BOS 1B
5 Alex Rodriguez NYY 3B
6 David Ortiz BOS DH
7 Ben Zobrist TB LF
8 Matt Wieters BAL C
9 Yunel Escobar TOR SS
Rodriguez3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: A-Rod may be 35 -- 36 later this month -- but that doesn't matter when throwing up a .295/.366/.485 mark in 344 plate appearances, showing that the possible eventual home-run king has plenty left in the tank. While Rodriguez just underwent the knife for knee surgery and will miss the next 4-6 weeks, he's still outproduced every third baseman in the division, which is no small feat with Kevin Youkilis in Boston and Evan Longoria down in Tampa. For those counting, A-Rod's 13 home runs bring him to a career 626.

EscobarSS Yunel Escobar, Blue Jays
:
In the midst of what can only be characterized nicely as a bad year in 2010, Escobar was traded to the Blue Jays among questions about his maturity and commitment to the game. I think Toronto's happy with his commitment, as the Cuban has a cool .292/.368/.441 line. Yes, the AL East is rather thin on productive shortstops (sorry, Derek Jeter), but Escobar would deserve this spot in almost any other division.

ZobristLF Ben Zobrist, Rays
:
One could argue that Zobrist has been the most valuable Ray this year. While he's been primarily playing second base, he's also been one of the best hitters with a .272/.359/.480 line, stealing 10 bases and being a fantastic fielder. Zobrist has moved around the diamond so much, playing every position over his career other than catcher. He only played one game in left last year of a career 24, but you make the All-Star team not just on hitting, not just on fielding, not just on stealing, but how valuable you are. And the ability for Zobrist to move around the diamond and play any position is ginormous.

GrandersonCF Curtis Granderson, Yankees
:
As mentioned above, Granderson trails only Jose Bautista in home runs, having knocked 25. He's leading off because... well, just look at that lineup. But it also helps that he's corrected his struggles against left-handers, boasts a .362 OBP and has swiped 15 bags on the year. When New York first acquired Granderson prior to the 2009 season, many felt he had at least one 40-homer season in store thanks to the short right-field porch in (new) Yankee Stadium. That didn't happen last year, but barring injury or a major dropoff, Granderson will reach that mark this season for the first time in his career.

BautistaRF Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
(pictured): File under "Duh." Joey Bats has been the best player in baseball by far this year. That's what happens when you have an unconscionable (in the post-steroids era, that is) 31 home runs by the All-Star break with a sterling .468 OBP. If his .702 slugging percentage holds up, he will be the first player to crack that mark since Barry Bonds with .812 in 2004. And if you don't count Bonds because of his "alleged" steroids use -- nor Sammy Sosa, the last person is Larry Walker way back in 1999 with a .710 mark. But the dude had Coors Field helping him. So let's move on and bypass Mark McGwire too. You land on Jeff Bagwell's .720 way back in 1994. That's nearly two decades ago. Two other players also broke the .700 mark in '94 -- Frank Thomas with .720 and Albert Belle with .714. Before that, you have to trot all the way back to 1957 and Ted Williams' .731 mark. And that's why he bats third in this lineup.

OrtizDH David Ortiz, Red Sox
:
Surprisingly -- at least, surprisingly to those who jumped in a time machine from any time prior to this April -- this was an easy choice. Big Papi has raked all year and will represent the AL in the All-Star Game on Tuesday as the starting DH. Showing power not seen since 2007, the lefty has blasted 19 home runs in 343 plate appearances and has trimmed his strikeout rate to 13.4 percent. That's a career low for Ortiz, who is hitting .304/.391/.579 overall.

ShieldsSP James Shields, Rays
: Let's take a look at where James Shields ranks among all pitchers entering play Sunday. Seventh in innings pitched with 134. Ninth in ERA with a 2.47 mark and sixth in xFIP (ERA minus all the things pitchers aren't entirely responsible for, such as qualify of the defense behind him) with a 2.87 line. Ninth in K/BB ratio with a even 4.00 mark on the strength of 132 strikeouts against just 34 walks (one intentional). He's also tied with Roy Halladay in complete games with six. But we've got to put that in past tense, as Shields registered yet another complete game on Sunday, allowing just one unearned run to drop his ERA to 2.33. There's no question he belongs here.

RobertsonRP David Robertson, Yankees
:
Roberson has really come on this year and brings the heat with an average fastball velocity of 93 mph, pairing it with a curveball that befuddles batters. All that's handed him 56 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. We'll forgive his 23 walks given he's causing batters to windmill enough to power all of New York City, if not the state. Potentially Mariano Rivera's successor down the line, he has a 1.27 ERA on the year, with a more sane -- but still excellent -- 2.57 xFIP.

RiveraCL Mariano Rivera, Yankees
:
If this feature had been running since Rivera first became closer way back in 1997, he's probably working on a 15-year streak. Oh well, he'll settle for being the inaugural AL East closer. Rivera has had some triceps issues lately, but that hasn't prevented him from being his usual automatic self, racking up 22 saves with a 1.85 ERA -- his fourth straight season with an ERA under 2.00 and eighth of nine seasons.

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 6:10 am
 

A-Rod elects to have surgery, out 4-6 weeks

By Matt Snyder

We found out Saturday that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez might have to undergo surgery to repair a slight tear in the meniscus of his right knee. Sunday, it's become a reality. Rodriguez will have the surgery and will miss the next four to six weeks (Star-Ledger via Twitter).

A-Rod has been hitting well from a certain point of view recently, but his knee issue has caused a career-long power drought. This is actually the perfect time to have the procedure done in-season, as the All-Star break means a half-week without games. So it's possible he only misses three and a half weeks of game action and is then fully recovered down the stretch.

Rodriguez, 35, is hitting .295 with 13 homers and 52 RBI. He was elected to his 14th All-Star Game this season, but obviously had to back out due to the injury.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 9, 2011 3:51 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2011 4:09 pm
 

Will A-Rod be the next to 3,000?

Alex RodriguezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Derek Jeter was the first player to record his 3,000th hit in a Yankee uniform, but he may have company soon.

Of the active players close to 3,000, his teammate Alex Rodriguez may be the next to reach the mark. Rodriguez has 2,762 career hits, trailing only Jeter (3,002), Ivan Rodriguez (2,842) of the Nationals and Omar Vizquel (2,831) of the White Sox among active players on the all-time hit list.

After Alex Rodriguez, former Yankee and current Ray Johnny Damon (2,663), the Braves' Chipper Jones (2,565) and the Orioles' Vladimir Guerrero (2,513) are the closest to 3,000.

Alex Rodriguez seems to be the best bet to get to 3,000 first, even though he's currently injured. The other two players are older (A-Rod is 35, while Ivan Rodriguez is 39 and Vizquel is 44) and no longer every day players.

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Posted on: July 8, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Jeter, A-Rod to skip All-Star Game

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Derek Jeter will not play in next week's All-Star Game in Phoenix, he told reporters, including CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler, before Friday's game with the Rays.

Jeter's teammate and fellow starter for the AL squad, Alex Rodriguez, will also skip the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Friday on his balky knee. Rodriguez is not in the Yankees' lineup for Friday's game against the Rays.

"He's not moving well," Girardi said of A-Rod. "His leg has been a little sore ... would the rest help him? Probably."

Rodriguez hasn't homered in his last 85 at-bats, the longest such stretch of his career -- which is likely related to the injury.

"I have no pop," he said recently.

As for Friday's game, it has been postponed due to severe thunderstorms.

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 12:51 pm
 

Knee could knock A-Rod out of All-Star Game

By Evan Brunell

RodriguezAlex Rodriguez may have to pass on playing in the All-Star Game, in which he was elected to start, as the New York Post reports.

"It's getting better," said Rodriguez of his right knee, which has been a problem since June 19 when he twisted the knee running back to third base. He hasn't run well since, although as of late he's shown improved mobility.

If Rodriguez does remove himself from the game, he still plans to attend. In that case, Adrian Beltre would likely take over as the starter, with an extra infielder being added to the team.

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 6:26 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 6:37 pm
 

Picking the game's best defensive players

Alcides Escobar

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The All-Star Game is supposed to showcase the game's best players, but when it comes to position players, we all know offense trumps all. The players with the best offensive numbers are headed to Phoenix next week.

Defense gets its due after the season with the Gold Gloves, but too often those are rooted in offensive numbers, as well. So, while everyone is focused on batting average, home run totals and OPS, I prefer to look at the guys getting it done on D.

Of course, one of the reasons we focus on offense is it's just easier to look at and interpret those numbers. The quantification of baseball defense is still one of the great last frontiers of statistical analysis -- there are attempts at advanced numbers measuring defense and even some very good, useful ones. But even with UZR/150, plus/minus, runs saved and range factor, it's tough to fully appreciate defense without watching a player day-in and day-out.

Even the best metrics can't tell the whole story, but they do have a start. One of the best stats for defense, UZR -- or Ultimate Zone Rating -- doesn't exactly tell  the whole story even after an entire season's worth of data. At this point, UZR gives just a snapshot. That's why I'll use UZR/150 -- UZR rate per 150 games. I also looked at John Dewan's plus/minus system and runs saved stats.

We here at Eye On Baseball watch a lot of baseball, but it's still tough to get a real good handle on all the defensive players in baseball, so I'll use my observations plus statistics, both advanced and traditional in picking the game's best fielders.

Matt WietersC: Catcher is one of the toughest positions to judge -- or at least quantify -- because it's so much different than all the other positions on the field. Catcher is easily the most demanding defensive position on the field. The likes of Yadier Molina and Carlos Ruiz are known as the gold standard for catcher's defense, but I'm going with a young player who has showed incredible improvement and proven to be one of the best in the game, and that's Baltimore's Matt Wieters.

Check out this play from April, it's one that's stuck with me all year, as Wieters blocks the plate from Derek Jeter.

Adrian Gonzalez1B: Defense is often taken for granted at first base because it's assumed it's not an important position and just a place to stick a slugger. Well, Boston's Adrian Gonzalez is a slugger, but he's also one of the game's best all-around players. A good first baseman -- and Gonzalez is certainly that -- makes the entire defense better. He leads the way in UZR/150 at 11.6 and has just two errors this season. 

Brandon Phillips2B: This one is tough for me, because I believe in the numbers, but I also believe in my eyes. Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist is beloved by the advanced metrics, logging a 20.4 UZR/150 and a +11 plus/minus, easily the best at second base in both categories. However, it's tough to go against the Reds' Brandon Phillips, who I've seen most days for the last four years. Phillips not only makes the spectacular plays, but he also makes the routine ones. The two-time Gold Glove winner has just two errors to Zobrist's five. Dustin Pedroia is also in the conversation, with a +4 plus/minus and an 18.5 UZR/150, but my eyes tell me it's tough to play much better at second base than Phillips. In this one, I'm going with my gut (it's bigger than my brain anyway) and picking Phillips.

Alcides EscobarSS: It's tough to imagine the difference the Royals see in defense at shortstop this season, going from one of the game's worst defenders in Yuniesky Betancourt to Alcides Escobar, who has been exceptional at short (the opposite could be said about the Brewers). Escobar has seven errors -- just two fewer than Betancourt, but his range is outstanding. He leads all shortstop with 285 assists and second with 58 double plays. As for the advanced metrics, he and Troy Tulowitzki both grade out with a 14.2 UZR/150 and Escobar edges the Rockies' shortstop in Dewan's plus/minus, +17 to +13. Tulowitzki is by far a better all-around player, but Escobar gets the nod here by the slightest of margins.

Alex Rodriguez3B: Alex Rodriguez may be the most scrutinized player of all time, so it's easy to forget just how great of a player he's been throughout his career. Unlike many, his offensive numbers seem to overshadow his defensive prowess. It seems like this season he's been completely healthy for the first time in years and it's showing up in his play at third base. Rodriguez's 21.2 UZR/150 is the best in the game at third base and he has seven fewer errors than the next guy on the list, Adrian Beltre of the Rangers.

Brett GardnerLF: This may be the easiest of all the positional picks, as Brett Gardner has played a nearly flawless left field for the Yankees this season. Gardner combines great speed with good fundamentals to become one of the best defensive players in the game. Gardner dominated the advanced stats, scoring +19 in the Dewan plus/minus system and has a 38.1 UZR/150. He has one error and four assists, as his reputation keeps runners close. Sam Fuld may make more highlights, but Gardner makes more plays.

Shane VictorinoCF: Shane Victorino has played a flawless center field this season, at least according to the official scorers around baseball. Victorino doesn't have an error this season and also has the best UZR/150 of any center fielder in the game at 24.3. Dewan's plus/minus prefers Minnesota's Denard Span, but I'm sticking with the Flying Hawaiian.

Torii HunterRF: Torii Hunter is one of the game's all-time best defensive players, but moved to a new position last season with the emergence of Peter Bourjos in center field. Hunter's gone from one of the game's great defensive center fielders to maybe its best right fielder. Hunter has a +16 in Dewan's plus/minus, while UZR/150 likes him less than Shin-Soo Choo or J.D. Drew. Add in the error-less performance this season, gets the nod. We've seen so many of his great catchers over the years, but he's been able to show off his arm in right this season, picking up eight assists so far this season.

Mark BuehrleP: White Sox starter Mark Buehrle has won the last two American League Gold Gloves as a pitcher and certainly deserves those honors. His 6-foot-2, 230-pound frame belies a very good athlete, who covers a lot of ground in front of his mound. The left-hander then makes strong, accurate throws, just as you'd expect from a pitcher.



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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 2, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2011 3:24 pm
 

A-Rod caught in illegal high-stakes poker ring

Rodriguez

By Evan Brunell


Despite being warned to stay away from illegal high-stakes poker games by baseball, Alex Rodriguez has found himself exposed in a poker ring that also ensnared Hollywood A-list celebrities in Ben Affleck, Leo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Tobey Maguire and other stars, Star Magazine reported via RadarOnline.com.

This revelation has drawn the attention of baseball, with senior vice president of public relations Patrick Courtney telling RadarOnline.com, "This is the first we have heard about this and we will look into it."

Maguire is currently being sued by Brad Ruderman, a hedge fund trustee who is currently in jail for running a Ponzi scheme and using the hedge fund's money to pay gambling debts. Ruderman ran the games along with Molly Bloom and lost around $300,000 to Maguire in the poker games before an FBI investigation busted the ring open in 2009. Maguire admitted to playing, but denied any wrongdoing, both in how he earned his money and that the games were illegal and not run by Bloom, who testified otherwise in an affidavit.

Rodriguez refused to comment on the story, according to ESPN New York.

"I'm not really going to get into any of that right now. We're going to focus on good little baseball here against a great team. ... Any basketball questions? Any boxing questions?"

Rodriguez played in one such poker game as recently as two months ago, which had a buy-in of $40,000. That sounds like a lot, but it's a drop in the bucket for A-Rod who will make over $438 million, plus a possible $30 million in bonuses for reaching 763 career home runs, in his career, which does not includes sponsorship income.

"Initially, A-Rod came to the game and simply watched,” a source told Star. “But once he knew what it was all about, he bought into the game. He played two or three times, I would estimate."

"I was surprised to see just how good a poker player Alex is," poker player Adam Bilzerian, who has played with A-Rod, told Star.

"I remember I was sitting at a table a few years ago at the Bellagio in Vegas and in comes Alex and the dude sat at the same table that I'm playing at,” he said. “The average buy-in was about $5,000 but you could buy in for $100,000 if you wanted to. There were about seven other players at the table. Alex busted everyone except me. I was like 'Whoa, this guy can play.' He had an amazing run. He won about $20,000 and left with everyone's money."

Seems like Rodriguez's poker face after slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove in the 2004 ALCS came with plenty of practice.

A-Rod was warned in 2005 by baseball that his involvement in illegal poker games in New York was dangerous and could affect his image. Rodriguez had attended games with professional player and friend Phil Hellmuth, a former World Series of Poker champion. Rodriguez was not punished or told to stay out of the clubs, but commissioner Bud Selig was reportedly very unhappy and was "keeping an eye" on Rodriguez and would get involved "if necessary."

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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