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A Baseball Blog - Scientific and Speculative Thoughts from Third Base

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Awards: First Four Ballots

So, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance requires that I submit my award ballots soon. However, I was planning on explaining my ballots after the season. So, I will slowly be putting up my choices for the awards over the next week or so without explanations. After the season (i.e; when the awards are actually being announced), I'll write the justifications for my picks.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Should Justin Verlander Win the AL MVP?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the MVP vote as of late, particularly in the AL. And that’s good; there are a ton of worthy candidates. Jacoby Ellsbury is having a breakout year; Jose Bautista is continuing his breakout success from last year; Curtis Granderson has been leading a Yankees team that has the best record in the league; Adrian Gonzalez and Miguel Cabrera have been raking at first base; there are at least four playoff contenders with second basemen in the discussion (Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano, and Ben Zobrist all stand out); and so on.

One candidate has really seen his case pick up steam, though: Tiger’s ace Justin Verlander. Should he be the league’s Most Valuable Player, though?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cardinals Bring Back Berkman, But Is It a Good Move?

The Cardinals announced today that they will be bringing back right fielder Lance Berkman for the 2012 season. Let’s leave aside any speculation on what this means about Albert Pujols for now-is this a good move?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, AL and NL West Pitchers

The pitchers of the AL and NL West may not be the best to use as a finale in my Future Hall of Fame series. Unlike all of the groups I’ve done, there have been no sure-fire candidates, like a Chipper Jones or a Mariano Rivera. This is largely due to the youth of the group in question. I struggled to find any pitchers in their 30s who had any sort of a chance at all (the last cut resulting in the loss of Barry Zito-yes, I really was that desperate for players). But then, maybe it’s fitting that I finish with the youngest, most potential filled group. 

And, because I know you’re all dying to know, the only chance Barry Zito has of coming close to the Hall is if he becomes Jamie Moyer, Mark II: the soft-throwing lefty with good command and movement who somehow hangs around racking up wins into his mid-40s.

And so, onto the real analysis.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pitchers, the MVP, and the Hank Aaron Award

Some people, as of late, have been offering their two cents on the Most Valuable Player race. With basically a dozen games to go in the regular season, I figure now is as good a time as any to get involved in the discussion.

And my picks for the MVPs are...


Monday, September 12, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, AL and NL Central Pitchers

It’s been awhile since the last article in this series. I’ve been busy lately, but I’m dead set on finishing it up, and I only have this and one more to go.

One thing that seemed to spark some confusion was the subject of the last article. I had a few people asking why I didn’t include certain players. Well, throughout each of my articles, I’ve been trying to cover any player who might have a chance at the Hall of Fame by position; with pitchers, though, there were too many to compress into one article. I needed to split it up, and, when I divided it into three articles, based on division, it worked out fairly well. The first article was comprised of pitchers in the AL and NL East; this one is the AL and NL Central; the last will be the AL and NL West.

And so, the Hall candidates from the Central Divisions.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is Ian Kennedy the Diamondbacks' Ace of the Future?

With Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy leading the National League in wins, there’s been talk of him winning the NL Cy Young. Most of it is as a dark horse candidate, as Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, and Cliff Lee (among others) have been better this year. However, it’s fairly clear that Kennedy has established himself as one of the NL’s better pitchers. Is he an ace going forward?

I would actually say not, but it doesn’t matter. The Diamondbacks have a much better potential ace going forward in Dan Hudson.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, AL and NL East Pitchers

Let me just preface this by saying that pitchers, as a whole, are much more difficult to predict than hitters, at least as far as the rest of their career goes. Pitchers are much more susceptible to random, career altering injuries, discovering new pitches, and other unusual events; therefore is a much greater element of randomness. Also, the Hall of Fame seems much more unclear on what constitutes a Hall of Fame pitcher, outside of 300 wins. The last starter elected by the Baseball Writers Association (essentially, what you think of when you think of the election process) was Nolan Ryan, back in 1999. Before him, the last choices were Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Steve Carlton, and Tom Seaver. You may notice two things about that group. First, every one of them has 300 wins. In fact, the Baseball Writers haven’t elected a non-300 game winner since Ferguson Jenkins (only 284 wins) back in 1991; whether this says something about the Hall’s electors or the quality of pitching in that time, I can’t say. Second, every one of the aforementioned pitchers started their career in the 1960s. Yes, apparently, it has been over four decades since any Hall of Fame starter began his career.

This doesn’t even account for the erratic process they use to elect relievers; there is no obvious milestone, or, really, any sort of standard (if you’re looking for a good example of such oddities, look up one of Joe Posnanski’s articles comparing Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter and Dan Quisenberry).

Nevertheless, I want to cover every position for the the future of the Hall of Fame; and so, I begin with my first round of pitchers.

(Note: I used Baseball-Reference for WAR throughout the article. Fangraphs calculates pitching WAR a different way, and uses a more standard scale, but they only have numbers from 1980 on. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested, though.)

(Another note: There are a lot of pitchers. Surprising, I know. So, I broke them up by division; this article will be on the AL and NL East pitchers, with ones for the Central and West to follow.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Re-Run: Future Hall of Fame, Corner Outfielders

The corner outfield has traditionally been filled with stars. In addition, the baseball writers seem to have a fascination with the positions. More Hall of Famers have come from these two positions than any other offensive (as in, non-pitcher) position. Wikipedia lists eleven left fielders and twelve right fielders that have been elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association (the normal method of making the Hall of Fame), and that’s not even counting Andre Dawson, who’s listed merely as “outfield”. So, with that kind of history, plenty of corner outfielders playing today should have a good shot, right?

Well, not really. This group of players may be the weakest one I’ve covered. Sure, there are some locks, and some intriguing young players, but, if I were to list some current corner outfielders, you would generally be underwhelmed. But, then that’s partly why I’m doing this; to uncover the unexpected Hall candidates. So, let’s jump right in with some strong choices for future Hall of Famers.