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Tag:Buster Posey
Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Five players to improve, five to decline for 2011

By Matt Snyder

Well, it's almost opening day, which means it's time for all us writers to put ourselves out there and make some predictions. In the end, every season is unpredictable and we're bound to be wrong on several of these. That doesn't make it any less fun. It's supposed to be fun, remember?

In this entry, we'll take a look at five players sure to improve upon what we saw in 2011 and five that are going to regress.

Five players who will improve upon 2010

A.J. Burnett, Yankees. He was pretty brutal last season, but it's a new one. Opening day is time for rebirth and we have to turn the page. His xFIP and strand rates from last season both show us he wasn't nearly as bad as his 5.26 ERA showed. His stuff wasn't sharp at all, either, as his lowest K-rate since 2001 illustrates. There are many instances where spring stats don't mean anything (like CC Sabathia, to name a different Yankees hurler), but for someone needing to turn the page like Burnett, it's important to throw well. He did this spring, putting together a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings. More importantly he struck out 11 and walked zero.

Derek Holland, Rangers. The youngster hasn't fared well in the majors thus far, but he's still only 24. He has lock-down dominated the minor leagues since being drafted in 2006. Last season in Triple-A he was 6-2 with a 1.87 ERA. He's 23-9 with a 2.47 ERA in his minor-league career with an outstanding 3.68 strikeouts for every walk. It's time to start showing this potential at the MLB level, and I believe 2011 will be the first step toward doing so.

Matt Kemp, Dodgers. He's refocused after a step backward in 2010. Which is weird to say, considering he had a 107 OPS+ and 28 bombs as a 25 year old -- but it really was a step back from his 2009 season, in which he won both a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove. He's having a solid spring and seems to be happier under Don Mattingly. Expect to see improvements in nearly every category -- except games played, since he appeared in all 162 last year.

James Shields, Rays. The traditional stat categories looked awful for Shields in 2010 -- 13-15, 5.18 -- but he really wasn't that bad. His strikeout rate was the highest of his career, balls in play were hits far too often (.341, as compared to a .308 career mark) and his xFIP was 3.72. If you don't like all the sabermetrics stuff, that's OK, but all of it says he's going to have a huge regression to the mean this year. In layman's terms, expect more 2008 (14-8, 3.56) than 2010.

Justin Upton, Diamondbacks. He appeared headed for superstardom in 2009, but took a step back in 2010. Still, like Kemp, he's awfully young (23) and his OPS+ was still good (111). This season, expect Upton's walk rate to continue to rise, as such he'll run more. Also, his power took a significant dip last season and he wasn't fully healthy. He is now, so look for a big step forward in '11.

Five players who will decline from 2010

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays. I once worked with a guy who liked to say, "just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's not true." Just to clear the air, I don't think Bautista cheated nor do I think last season was anything other than a continuation of his last month in 2009, which resulted from a new swing. I do not, however, think he's ever going to hit more than 40 homers in a season again. He hit 54 last year. Even if he comes through with another big season, he's going to see a huge regression. Think about it, if he hits 35 bombs, that's a whopping 35 percent less than last year.

Mat Latos, Padres. His shoulder issue right now is concerning, as are the giant leaps in workload the past two seasons. Plus, he began to falter down the stretch last year anyway -- going 0-5 with a 8.18 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in his last five starts. And his team is now worse. Basically, I hope you let someone else draft him in Fantasy.

Josh Hamilton, Rangers. Led the majors in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. Won the MVP. Are those things going to happen again? Technically speaking, it's pretty easy to say he's going to regress even if he has a solid season. If you wanna dig deeper, OK, his BABIP was a stupid .390, his isolated power flew off the charts and his ability to stay on the field must be questioned -- he couldn't even do that last season.

Buster Posey, Giants. His numbers were pretty insane last year in a short time. He struck out at a much lower rate than he ever did in the minors and didn't lose any of his power. There's a reason the "sophomore slump" term has hung around for a while, and it's not because guys automatically just play worse in their second year. It's because advance scouts, pitchers and pitching coaches have a large sample of at-bats to study and can start to find small holes in a swing. Some guys are immune. If Posey is, I'll be wrong in this pick -- and I'm fine with that. He's a very likeable guy.

Jayson Werth, Nationals. I do like that Ryan Zimmerman is his protection, but he's still going to a worse team in a worse lineup in a less homer-friendly ballpark. And now instead of playing behind Halladay/Lee/Oswalt/Hamels/Blanton he has to face them. Then, instead of facing the Nationals' pitching staff 19 times a season he's playing behind them. And he just got a huge, almost inexplicable, contract. It's hard to see him getting better.

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


Posted on: January 18, 2011 5:22 pm
 

Is the Super Two good for baseball?

PoseyWith arbitration figures being exchanged this week, many players not yet under contract for 2011 but still tied to a team will finally learn how much cash is coming their way.

Chief among those are names such as Brad Ziegler, Jay Bruce, Armando Galarraga and Chase Headley. They are four of 20 who qualify as Super Twos, otherwise known as players who qualify for arbitration even without the requisite three years of service time. Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, players within the top 17 percent of service time under three years qualify for an extra year of arbitration. This opens the door for more players to receive money, which is never a bad thing especially when dealing with those who are under team control and could see arbitration as the most money they'd ever make playing the game.

But is Super Two good for the game? 

There are detriments to the Super Two system, however. It is capable of being gamed, and more and more teams are trying to find a way around the Super Two by holding top prospects down on the farm that may otherwise be ready for the majors. Take Rookie of the Year victor Buster Posey (pictured). Posey had nothing left to prove in the minors, but Brian Sabean gamely tried to convince everyone he needed more seasoning. As a result, Posey stayed down until May 29 before being recalled. (There was thought to be a similar gaming of the system for Stephen Strasburg.)

Had the Giants not been trying to avoid Posey receiving Super Two status -- spiking his salary a year ahead of schedule and likely putting his earnings among the elite in the year prior to free agency -- it's possible Posey could have opened the season at catcher. Then perhaps the Giants wouldn't have needed the last day to squeak in the playoffs with Posey's bat bolstering what was already anemic with him in the lineup. Being promoted earlier would have also been good for baseball, who could have marketed Posey earlier and built a brand around him.

Look at the Padres, who paid out $2.325 million to Chase Headley, who qualified for Super Two by a day. Instead of getting another year of $450,000 out of Headley, San Diego now sees his price spike, and that will have ramifications over the rest of his arbitration eligibility. On a team where every penny means a lot, it can't thrill GM Jed Hoyer to throw that kind of cash at Headley.

The Headley example is exactly why teams attempt to game the system -- and no, the Braves shouldn't be patted on the back for doing exactly what they should have done by breaking camp with Jason Heyward. As long as Super Two exists, top prospects will be held back to keep their price tag down.

What would change if the Super Two were abolished?

Those thinking the system would no longer be gamed are sadly mistaken. Gaming the system would continue, except this time it would be the three-year cutoff that would be gamed. However, that cutoff is far easier to game and could be done by simply leaving players off the active roster for a matter of weeks, not months. Players need 172 days of service time to qualify as a full season and there are 182 days to be had. That's exactly 11 days, or just under two weeks. Buster Posey could have been playing in San Francisco by mid-April instead of the end of May. That's the type of gaming the system I think a lot of people and teams could live with.

Ah, but the flip side: the player is now tied to the team an extra year at a minimum salary. This would raise free-agent ages as well as give teams more opportunities to cut ties with players without a bump in salary that instantly pays off all these years of hard work and dedication.

It's a tradeoff, and fans all too often fall on the side of the team without realizing that this rule change would give owners more money to pocket. These billionaires already have more money than they know what to do with -- an extra $2 million going toward paying off taxes can be far better utilized to set up a player for life and give his children college educations.

Those that qualify for Super Twos tend to be the "middling" types -- the middle reliever, the average offensive contributor. Sure, there are exceptions such as Jay Bruce, but he's the exception. Those that are held back to avoid Super Two status tend to be those drafted high, with ample signing bonuses that are already miles ahead of the average baseball player in trying to make ends meet.

The Super Two designation is going to be a part of the next round of CBA bargaining. You can bet GMs will push for the abolition as it will allow them an extra year of minimum-salary control for a prospect along with giving the team a shot in the arm by being able to promote top prospects a year earlier.

The Players Association, on the other hand, won't be interested in changing things. The aim of the union is to make its constituents money, and the Super Two does accomplish that despite its failings.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Category: MLB
Posted on: December 16, 2010 2:19 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 3:49 pm
 

Top 10 baseball storylines from 2010

Honorable Mention CBSSports.com will be revealing its Top 10 Stories of the 2010 season next week, but here at MLB Facts and Rumors we're going to reveal our own Top 10 list, sans the storylines that will be appearing on the overall list.

Here's the top storylines from the 2010 season that didn't make the cut:

  10. Felix Hernandez wins AL Cy Young
The Mariners ace ran away with the Cy Young Award after posting a 2.27 ERA (3.26 xFIP), whiffing 232 in 249 2/3 innings and walking just 70 batters and posting a 13-12 record.

Wait, what?

Yup -- a starting pitcher won the Cy Young with a 13-12 record. Now, there have been past winners who had shoddy records, but in light of Zack Greinke's victory in 2009 with "just" a 16-8 record, it's clear that wins are being marginalized -- and that's a good thing.

Hernandez The majority of GMs and front-office executives understand the fallacy of judging a pitcher's performance on wins. After all, for a pitcher to get a win, the offense and defense play important parts -- and one could argue the offense plays a more important role. Hernandez was clearly the best pitcher in the league (although CC Sabathia did get short shrift) and deserves the award, but could you have seen this coming just five years ago?

Nope. We're in the middle of a seismic shift where advanced statistics are starting to take hold in mainstream media -- for the better. While the statistics used in the sabermetric community (such as xFIP, which is quoted often in this blog) will always be ahead of mainstream media, the mere fact one can find national writers quoting ERA+ is a positive.

  9. End of an era for legendary managers
Four managers with impressive pedigrees saw their managerial careers come to an end (well -- for now).

In Toronto, Cito Gaston ended his return to the managerial ranks by guiding the team to a 85-77 record. Of course, Gaston will be remembered more for his original stint as a Blue Jay where he won back-to-back World Series titles.

Cox Lou Piniella was another to exit stage left, stepping down near the end of yet another disappointing season as Cubs skipper. Piniella takes with him a 116-win season (2001 Mariners) and World Series ring (1990 Reds) along with 1,835 victories.

Joe Torre joins Piniella as another ex-Yankees manager who retired. After Torre bounced around from the Mets to Braves to Cardinals, he landed with the Yankees with almost 15 years experience and then turned into a star. He won four titles in five seasons and remained in New York for 12 years. He just finished up a three-year stint with the Dodgers that saw him win an additional two division titles and retire with 2,326 victories.

Last, but definitely not least, is Bobby Cox (pictured). Cox managed the Braves for 25 years from 1978-81 and then again from 1990-2010. In between, he managed the Blue Jays and served as Atlanta's general manager. Cox had just three losing seasons as Braves manager, going 40-57 in 1990, 79-83 in 2006 and 72-90 in 2008. He oversaw the vaunted trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz and won 100-plus games five times, capturing his World Series ring in 1995. All told, he won 2,504 games and lost 2,001.

  8. Chase for Triple Crown
At one point during the season, a Triple Crown was a distinct possibility in both the AL and NL. Josh Hamilton and Miguel Cabrera had a showdown in the AL, but Hamilton's missing most of September cut short any possibility of winning the Triple Crown. Hamilton beat Cabrera in batting average, .359 to .328, but Miggy bested Hamilton with 38 homers to the Ranger's 32. (Jose Bautista pulled away from the field with 54 home runs, but this was a lot closer in July and August than it ended up being.) Cabrera overcame Bautista to win the RBI title with 126 ribbies, and Hamilton was 12th with 100 RBI on the nose.

Pujols The NL was a lot more closer with the combatants as Joey Votto and Albert Pujols (pictured). Pujols ended up with 118 RBI, Votto 113 -- but the reigning NL MVP beat Pujols in batting average with a .324 mark as compared to Phat Albert's .312. (Carlos Gonzalez won the title with a .336 mark.) Ah, but Pujols walked away the home-run king with 42 bombs, Votto cranking 37.

  7. Rookies of the Year
In the AL, two rookies grabbed everyone's attention with center fielder Austin Jackson flourishing in Detroit and Neftali Feliz notching 40 saves. A slow start derailed Brian Matusz's hype in Baltimore, but by the end of the year it was looking like he could be the ace many had predicted him to be.

The real story was in the NL, where there was a plethora of candidates in Buster Posey, Ike Davis, Mike Leake, Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, Madison Bumgarner, Ian Desmond, David Freese, Mike Stanton, Travis Wood, Pedro Alvarez, Aroldis Chapman, Starlin Castro, Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez, Jose Tabata, Jon Niese...

Yep, there was a bona fide youth movement in the NL this year, and it should be one fun league to watch over the next few seasons. In any other given year, at least five, if not more, could have won Rookie of the Year awards. But they didn't.

Posey So, who actually got the Rookie of the Year Awards?

The AL honor went to Feliz for his 40 saves in 69 1/3 innings, punching out 71 and walking 18. He has the potential to be a stud closer for years... or could be moved back to the rotation. Your move, Texas.

In the NL, Buster Posey (pictured) whisked the award away from Jason Heyward with a .305/.357/.505 line in 443 plate appearances, bashing 18 home runs and leading the Giants to the World Series. Nah, he didn't set any expectations for himself.

  6. Dodger Divorce
This storyline isn't quite over, but 2010 saw the sordid trial and subsequent decision by the judge that both Frank and Jamie McCourt own the Dodgers. Whether or not this pushes the team to sell isn't known yet, but this was a divorce that captured the hearts of tabloids and overshadowed the constant Hollywood marital troubles that plague movie celebrities.

At the crux of the issue were two separate agreements that detailed either Frank (pictured below left) possessing sole ownership of the club, or both. Frank's lawyer admitted he made changed to the marital agreement without notifying Jamie or her representatives that gave Frank sole ownership.

With the agreement nullified, Frank is pursuing other avenues to be declared the sole owner while Jamie and representatives say that the Dodgers must be treated like community property. While there's still more battles to be had, the war is over: both McCourts own the team and it's difficult to fathom both co-existing, which will lead to the team's sale.

 
McCourt 5. Year of the Pitcher
Six no-hitters were thrown in 2010, a remarkable achievement. Only two other times were six no-hitters thrown, and that's not including the Perfect Game That Wasn't in Armando Galarraga's perfecto.

Ubaldo Jimenez tossed the first no-hitter in Rockies franchise history against the Braves on April 17 to get the no-nos started. Matt Garza also tossed a franchise-first no-hitter, doing so for the Rays vs. the Tigers on July 26, the final no-hitter of the regular season.

Dallas Braden then followed that up with a perfect game against the Rays on May 9th, adding a nice little wrinkle to the earlier flap with Alex Rodriguez, when he yelled at the third baseman to "get off my mound." Rodriguez responded in Pedro Martinez form , asking just who the heck Braden was. Cue perfect game. Now people know who Braden is.

New Phillie Roy Halladay (pictured) followed in Braden's footsteps 20 days later, pitching perfect against the Marlins May 29.

Edwin Jackson joined in on the fun June 25th, throwing an incredible 149 pitches to notch a no-no for the Diamondbacks.

Lastly, Halladay did perhaps the most impressive feat of all, blanking the Reds in Game 1 of the NL Division Series on October 6. It's the second no-hitter to be thrown in the postseason, behind Don Larsen's perfecto in 1956. He was one walk in the 5th away from a second perfect game.

Halladay That wasn't all that made the year all about pitchers, however. Fifteen hurlers tied the all-time record for most pitchers with at least 200 strikeouts, paced by Jered Weaver's 233 whiffs.

  4. George Steinbrenner passes
Steinbrenner was someone who loomed over baseball from Day One upon his acquisition of the Yankees in 1973. Brash and loud, Steinbrenner wouldn't accept any form of losing and while New York won two World Series in 1976-77 and appeared in two others in 1976 and 1981, New York quickly fell into obscurity as Steinbrenner's demands weren't the way a club should be run.

His overturn of management personnel was rough as well, as 20 managers served under his watch over his first 23 seasons, Billy Martin the poster boy for this overturn. Steinbrenner was also suspended for 15 months after the 1974 season for illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon. It wouldn't be his last suspension.

Despite this, however, the Yankees reinvigorated a brand that had been dormant for a decade. Then, the best thing that could have happened to New York did with King George's second suspension, handed out for paying a gambler for trying to dig up information on star Dave Winfield, whom Steinbrenner had made the highest-paid player in baseball history at the time before clashing with the Hall of Famer.

This allowed Gene Michael, the GM, to take over day-to-day Yankees business and upon Steinbrenner's reinstatement in 1993, he was more willing to be hands off -- as hands off as he could be, anyways.

This shift led the Yankees to their glory years behind Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, and so on. The Yankees captured four World Series in a five-year span, three straight from 1998-2000. They would continue to be the face of baseball throughout the beginning of the 21st century and captured another World Series in 2009, the last postseason Steinbrenner would see.

Steinbrenner The Boss passed on the morning of the 2010 All-Star Game, July 13. With that, the Yankees lost perhaps their most influential and important owner in franchise history (although one could make a case for Jacob Ruppert ).

  3. Cliff Lee Watch
On MLB Facts and Rumors, Cliff Lee has been written more than any other player -- and team. The Cliff Lee tag beats out the Diamondbacks, Pirates, Orioles, Rockies, Padres, Blue Jays, Tigers, Brewers, Royals, Angels, Athletics, Astros and Indians. That's a lot.

That's not all, however. There's also a Cliff Lee Watch tag, detailing his adventures through trades and free agency. What does that top? Well, Derek Jeter for one. Only Adam Dunn, Stephen Strasburg and Lee himself are the only players that top that tag. Yep, that means Derek Jeter, Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton... they've all been written about less than Lee's nomadic career.

Wow.

Lee is truly a journalist's dream, with the specter of free agency and constant trades keeping Lee at the forefront of the news. First Lee was dealt to the Phillies, and their push to the World Series provided plenty of fodder. Then you had Lee being traded to the Mariners and the head-scratching element of Philly turning around and acquiring Roy Halladay.

Lee Then the Mariners flailed, and Lee was in a tug of war between the Rangers and Yankees. With Texas, he advanced to the World Series yet again, but hit free agency and we all know how that turned out.

Lee has been a big part of baseball coverage the last two years, and especially this year as he went from the Phillies to Mariners to Rangers and back to Philadelphia. I've never quite seen a player sustain coverage this long in so many different ways.

  2. Strasmas
Cliff Lee may have dominated the off-the-field storylines, but Stephen Strasburg was a phenom on the field. He rocketed through the minors, with each of his farm starts must-see status.

Then: his debut.

Seven innings, two earned runs, no walks, 14 strikeouts -- and a whole lot of Nationals fans grinning ear to ear. He reached 100 mph on two pitches, and 34 of 94 pitches broke the 98-mph barrier.

It didn't stop there, as Strasmas blew through city after city, leaving shell-shocked players in its wake as Strasburg racked up 92 strikeouts in 68 innings over 12 starts. He posted a 2.91 ERA while walking just 17 and was an instant ace. Even a disabled-list stint in July for shoulder inflammation wasn't enough to curb the hype.

Until August 21.

Strasburg Then, Tommy John surgery showed up in Strasburg's stocking as a big lump of coal.

Strasburg was one of the most hyped pitchers of all time (David Clyde 's got nothing on this guy) and delivered with TJ surgery providing the rock bottom. And all the while, tons of ink was devoted to Strasburg. In fact, Strasburg was the most-written about player on MLB Facts and Rumors until Lee got sent to Texas.

  1. Jim Joyce blows Armando Galarraga's perfect game
What more can one say about this?

It was a brutal reminder to all that baseball simply needs instant replay. In this day and age, an "aw shucks, I messed up" isn't enough. Fans want to know that what they see on the field is legitimate. How many times do you hear about the 1985 World Series-winning Royals without the name Jorge Orta added?

How about the 1996 Yankees, who have to tote around Jeffrey Maier as part of its legacy?
Galarraga and Joyce
Imagine what would have happened in the 2004 ALCS had the original call of Mark Bellhorn's double had been upheld, as well as Alex Rodriguez's purse-slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove?

Give Joyce credit for owning up to blowing the call and being genuinely bothered by the fact Armando Galarraga lost his shot at history on a blown call.

Give credit too, for Galarraga and the Tigers for being incredibly gracious. The actions of the two involved defused what could have been a powder-keg situation. (Just look at the picture -- talk about reconciliation.)

That doesn't change what happened, though. And what happened was this: Armando Galarraga lost a perfecto on the final out of the game in which there is irrefutable proof that the batter was out.

In the Year of the Pitcher with Lee and Strasburg as the most-talked about players and amidst the slow advent (and inevitable arrival) of expanded instant replay, it's perhaps fitting that this storyline heads the list of top storylines of the baseball season that did not make the all-inclusive Top 10 sports list, due to run on CBSSports.com next week.

-- Evan Brunell

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


Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:50 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 4:09 pm
 

Rookie all-stars announced


Topps announced its annual rookie all-star team Monday, and it's a pretty nice-looking lineup. It was a good year for rookies.

1B: Gaby Sanchez, Marlins
2B: Neil Walker, Pirates
3B: Danny Valencia, Twins
SS: Starlin Castro, Cubs
OF: Austin Jackson, Tigers
OF: Michael Stanton, Marlins
OF: Jason Heyward, Braves
C: Buster Posey, Giants
RHP: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
LHP: Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
RP: Neftali Feliz, Rangers

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 16, 2010 1:13 pm
 

Not much chance D-Backs move Upton

Justin Upton
Baseball circles have been buzzing about the apparent sudden availability of Diamondbacks outfielder Juston Upton on the trade market, and it's a good case study in how non-stories become something they're not in the modern age.

It started with a USA Today GM meetings setup story in which Bob Nightengale talked with Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers about the outlook for the meetings. Towers said this:

"I'm open to listening on anybody. We got more hits on Upton and [Stephen] Drew. They're difficult to move, but sometimes to make your club better, you have to move good players. You never know when a deal might present itself.''

Somehow, this turned into "OMG! The D-Backs are trying to trade Upton!" Well, no they're not. That was Towers saying, "Look, this team stinks, and I'm not going to shut any doors as I'm trying to make it better." That's the position of any decent GM of a last-place team.

Is Upton available? Yeah, in the same way that everyone is theoretically "available." If the Rangers offer to send the Giants Josh Hamilton, Neftali Feliz, their top five prospects and enough cash to cover all of their contracts, sure, Buster Posey is "available."

Upton is one of the best young players in baseball, and is dirt cheap. He's a franchise cornerstone for the Diamondbacks to build on. They're not shopping him, but Towers is saying he's open to being blown away. Asked by Jon Heyman of SI.com what it would take to pry Upton from Arizona, one Diamondbacks official said "everything."

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 15, 2010 3:04 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:26 am
 

Two voters left Posey or Heyward off ballots

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter ) has gotten the breakdown of the BBWAA voting for Rookie of the Year and the four voters that broke with the consensus of Buster Posey and Jason Heyward as the National League's top rookies.

Dejan Kovacevic, the Pirates beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , didn't vote for Heyward. He voted Posey first and then a pair of Pirates, Neil Walker and Jose Tabata.

Yasuhi Kikuchi of Kyodo News voted Florida's Gaby Sanchez first, followed by Heyward and St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia.

Sanchez's other first-place vote came from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald.

Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News gave Garcia his first-place vote.

UPDATE: Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chroicle has spoken to Kikuchi about his vote. Kikuchi said he didn't vote for Posey because of his May 29 call-up.

"Obviously it was a tough decision," Kikuchi said (via Schulman's Twitter ). "To me, Rookie of the Year is the best rookie player throughout the whole season."

UPDATE: Kovacevic checks in on Twitter with his reasoning:

"Felt very firmly about Posey, thus chose him 1st. Felt Walker/Tabata had strong years, comparable to rest of class. ... Neither Walker nor Tabata is off-the-board choice, as seen from list of NL rookies with 400 PA, ranked by OPS. ... Obviously saw way more of Walker/Tabata than others, but that also gave perspective on them performing at high level in poor lineup/setting."

The one problem with that is that Heyward was second in OPS among NL rookies with 400 plate appearances or more, ahead of Walker.

He is right that Walker isn't off the board. Tabata had a .746 OPS, more than 100 points lower than Heyward. It appears Kovacevic gave the local kids some recognition with his second- and third-place votes, but wanted to make sure his idea of the "right" player won.

"
Feeling always has been with voting that broadest variety of perspectives bring best results. Few can argue final overall tally, I'd think."

I don't agree, but see where Kovacevic is coming from. As an aside, having read Kovacevic for years, he's far from a homer, although he's already been accused of being one. I don't agree with his vote or even his reasoning, but isn't that why you have a vote instead of just a decision? In the end, the trophy is going to Posey and Heyward is second.


-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 15, 2010 2:22 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:36 am
 

Feliz, Posey win Rookie honors

Buster Posey Rangers closer Neftali Feliz and Giants catcher Buster Posey are your Rookies of the Year. No surprise, really.

The only question about today's results was which deserving National League rookie would win. Buster Posey ended up winning, taking the award over Atlanta's Jason Heyward.

While I would have voted for Heyward, I have zero problem with Posey winning. Both were incredible. What strikes me as interesting is the voting results, as Posey won comfortably, getting 20 of the 32 first-place votes and finishing with a total of 129 points. Heyward got nine first-place votes and 107 total points. I honestly thought it would be closer.

Three voters didn't vote for either, one voter went with Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia, while two voted for Gaby Sanchez.

The American League spread was about the same, as the National League. Feliz received 20 first-place votes and finished with 122 points. Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson finished second, with eight first-place votes and 98 total points. Twins third baseman Danny Valencia was third.

Pedro Feliz The difference, as discussed last week, was the caliber of candidates in both leagues. Feliz had a good year, but he's a closer, and that's a different role. Just for the record, let's look at the stats from the American League Rookie of the Year:

69 1/3 IP, 43 H, 21 R, 21 ER, 18 BB, 71 K, 2.73 ERA, .880 WHIP

Not bad numbers. Now let's look at a rookie in the National League who didn't garner a single vote.

68 IP, 56 H, 25 R, 22 ER, 17 BB, 92 K, 2.91 ERA, 1.074 WHIP

How about that? How did that guy not even get considered for the National League Rookie of the Year?

That's because he got hurt -- and he was a starter.

Stephen Strasburg made just 12 starts, but still pitched nearly as many innings as Feliz, who was the Rangers' closer. He didn't have 40 saves.

That said, Feliz definitely deserved the award.

The voting:
National League (points)
Buster Posey 129
Jason Heyward 107
Jaime Garcia 24
Gaby Sanchez 18
Neil Walker 3
Starlin Castro 3
Ike Davis 2
Jose Tabata 1
Jonny Venters 1

American League
Neftali Feliz 122
Austin Jackson 98
Danny Valencia 12
Wade Davis 11
John Jaso 3
Brandon Boesch 3
Brian Matusz 3

The National League Cy Young Award will be announced tomorrow.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 8, 2010 2:56 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 5:22 pm
 

MLB Facts and Rumors votes on Rookie of the Year

Feliz With the major baseball awards being announced next week, MLB Facts and Rumors will reveal their choices this week for the awards. Today, Evan, David and Trent name their Rookie of the Year selections. At the end of the article, the overall MLB Facts and Rumors winner will be announced using a points system, with the No. 1 selection receiving three points, down to No. 3 receiving 1.

Both the AL and NL rookie of the year race is generally down to two favorites. The AL has Neftali Feliz, the Rangers' closer doing battle against center fielder Austin Jackson of the Tigers. In the National League, it was a banner year for rookies but the two top candidates are catcher Buster Posey of the World Champion Giants and right fielder Jason Heyward of the Braves.

AMERICAN LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

David Andriesen

1. CL Neftali Feliz, TEX
2. CF Austin Jackson, DET
3. SP Brian Matusz, BAL

Feliz saved 40 games, more than any rookie in history. Of course, rookie closers aren’t exactly commonplace, but that’s impressive. Jackson tailed off a bit late in the season but definitely stands above the other position players.

Evan Brunell
1. CF Austin Jackson, DET
2. CL Neftali Feliz, TEX
3. SP Brian Matusz, BAL

A 22-year-old saving 40 games for a division winner is no small feat. However, as impressive as his season was, I can't give his 269 total batters faced the nod over Jackson's 675 plate appearances of a .745 OPS and top-notch defense.

C. Trent Rosecrans
1. RP Neftali Feliz, TEX
2. SP Brian Matusz, BAL
3. OF Austin Jackson, DET

I wouldn't go far to say "obvious." I think Feliz has the most "obvious" talent, but the save stat -- especially in today's game -- is so overrated I hate for it to be a deciding factor. In fact, I think it's not so much "obviously" Feliz, as Feliz by default. Listen, I'll take Feliz long-term over any of the other AL rookies, but I'm not sure he was as dominant all season as we remember throughout the postseason. That said, I'm still going for Feliz, but by a nose over Matusz, who made 32 starts for the Orioles.

Heyward NATIONAL LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

David Andriesen
1. C Buster Posey, SFG
2. RF Jason Heyward, ATL
3. SP Jaime Garcia, STL

What an amazing field of candidates here – half a dozen guys have ROY numbers in a normal year. Posey and Heyward are 1 and 1A for me; I
know I’m not supposed to count postseason, but maybe it tainted my choice. Apologies to Gaby Sanchez, Tyler Colvin and Jonny Venters.

Evan Brunell
1. RF Jason Heyward, ATL
2. C Buster Posey, SF
3. SP Jamie Garcia, STL

If award voting didn't occur until after the postseason, Josh Beckett would have won the 2007 Cy Young Award over CC Sabathia. A similar situation arises today as Buster Posey is certainly the best rookie, postseason included. But the voting is for regular season only, so Jason Heyward rightfully takes the title. To me, the additional time played at a high level is too hard to ignore. Trent nails the Heyward-Posey debate below.

C. Trent Rosecrans
1. RF Jason Heyward, ATL
2. C Buster Posey, SF
3. SP Jaime Garcia, STL

As difficult as it was picking an AL Rookie of the Year, it's even more difficult to pick the National League's winner -- but for the complete opposite reason. This may be remembered as one of the greatest years for rookies in one league in a long, long time. I can't even imagine making the case for which player I would take long-term, Posey or Heyward. Hell, I'll take the second pick and be happy. But the deciding factor for me is something that was out of Posey's hands -- Heyward played 142 games as a rookie and went through the ups and downs. The book was out on him early, and he still played well. Posey finished with as many homers, but Heyward still had a better OPS+, which is impressive considering the number of at-bats. Now, if postseason stats were included, I may change my story, but they're not. Crazy that in the AL, or most other years, Garcia could be considered a shoo-in, but now he's an also-ran.

MLB Facts and Rumors AL Rookie of the Year
Neftali Feliz gets the nod with 8 points to Jackson's 5. Matusz finishes with 4.

MLB Facts and Rumors NL Rookie of the Year
Jason Heyward fends off Posey with 8 points to Posey's seven. Garcia finishes way behind with three.

-- Evan Brunell

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