Thurman Munson died too early. On August 1st, 1979 Munson was killed while flying his own private plane. He was 32. However, at the time of his death, Munson was considered one of the best catchers in the game. How did his stock drop so much that he is barely mentioned at HOF voting time? (more…)
It’s unclear why the baseball offseason is referred to in such a way. It seems that just as much goes on when games aren’t being played, and often times to greater excitement. This past week saw some a lot of action that stirred the passions of fans across the continent.
*** Miguel Cabrera topped Mike Trout for the 2012 AL MVP in one of the most hotly debated races in recent memory. Proponents of Sabermetrics, including myself, confidently believed that Trout provided substantially more value than Cabrera because of his superior defense and base-running skills. In the end, Cabrera’s old school Triple Crown helped him to a shockingly easy landslide win. (more…)
WAR, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing; at least within the confines of this article. While they aren’t the end-all, be-all, I am a major proponent of advanced baseball stats because I believe they greatly enhance the understanding of many components of the game. Not everyone agrees, and traditionalists prefer more time-honored metrics like batting average, home runs, and RBIs in lieu of WAR, UZR, and other acronymic gauges. The 2012 American League MVP, which has already become the most hotly debated baseball topic in recent memory, is hurtling the two sides of the baseball stat spectrum to their Antietam and promises to last well after the final vote is announced tomorrow. (more…)
With the focus in baseball being on the fantastic matchups being waged in the playoffs, the intense debate about the end-of-season awards has been tempered for the time being. It’s a temporary lull that will heat up again once the announcement of the award winners near, as many will try to get in their opinions in the form of parting shots, in the attempt to support the various candidates. There have been some truly incredible performances this season, and there are literally no categories without multiple candidates having legitimate chances to have their name drawn from the proverbial envelope. That being said, here are my picks for the 2012 baseball awards. (more…)
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Arizona Diamondbacks, Bob Melvin, Buster Posey, Cincinnati Reds, Cy Young Award, Detroit Tigers, Dusty Baker, Justin Verlander, Los Angeles Angels, Manager of the Year, Mike Trout, MVP, New York Mets, Oakland A's, Oakland Athletics, R.A. Dickey, Rookie of the Year, San Francisco Giants, Wade Miley | 6 Comments »
Recently a groundswell of support has pushed Buster Posey to the forefront of the 2012 National League MVP race. After all, he is putting up great numbers in a San Francisco Giants lineup that lacks pop and lost outfielder Melky Cabrera to a 50 game suspension. There is no arguing that Posey is having a fine season and is deserving of the many platitudes he has and will continue to receive, but looking into the matter further, a case can be made that he is not even having the best year by a catcher in the National League.
The player standing between Posey having a stranglehold on the title of best catcher in the NL and perhaps the MVP is Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals. Always a defensive whiz, Molina has continued to improve as a hitter throughout his career, to the point where he has become an impact player at the plate. A closer examination of some statistics exploring and contrasting the two catchers helps illuminate who is actually having the better season. (more…)
Opening day is quickly approaching and the next thing we know, the 2012 season will be underway. MLB Dirt has put together our 2012 predictions for the upcoming season. Jonathan, Andrew, William, Charlie, and I have made our predictions in a variety of categories. We present to you our predictions for each division, playoff predictions, and awards for each league. Enjoy and let us know what you think.
When the Hall of Fame ballots come out I love to look at the names that are included for the first time. To simply be named on the Hall of Fame ballot is an honor even if you know that player will not get a single vote.
As I started looking at the first-time names on this year’s ballot there really weren’t any that stuck out to me and made me think they would be missed if they fell off the ballot after one year. Javy Lopez may have been the closest name to do that since he did have a fantastic offensive career as a catcher but after taking a long look at him I don’t think I will ever wonder if it was sad that his name came and went in one year. Bernie Williams was another name but I actually think he will have a small support group that will keep him on the ballot for at least another year.
Last year’s ballot had two names that, like Lou Whitaker, came and went in one year and left me wondering if they maybe should have hung on a little bit longer. One was Kevin Brown and the other was John Olerud.
Olerud always intrigued me. From the helmet he wore both on the field and at the plate to the fact he did not play in his first minor league game until he was 36 years old. Olerud had a sweet swing, smooth glove, and knack for getting on base. In fact, there are only 17 retired players in history that have reached base more than Olerud’s 3602 times and are not in the HOF. Here they are (in order of times on base):
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, Hall of Fame | Tagged: Barry Bonds, Bill Dahlen, Boston Red Sox, Craig Biggio, Darrell Evans, Dwight Evans, Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield, Gold Glove Award, Hall of Fame, Harold Baines, Javy Lopez, Jeff Bagwell, Jim Rice, John Olerud, Ken Griffey Jr., Kevin Brown, Lou Whitaker, Luis Gonzalez, MVP, Pete Rose, Rafael Palmeiro, Rusty Staub, Tim Raines, Toronto Blue Jays, World Series | 12 Comments »
Jose Bautista came out of nowhere in 2010 and put up huge numbers that no body saw coming. The big question following that 2010 season was whether or not he could do it again.
Well Mr. Bautista put up MVP-esque numbers and he finished third in the MVP voting in 2011. Bautista’s 6 major league seasons prior to 2010 and 2011 were nothing special what so ever. He sat around 0 WAR and even had a few negative WAR seasons. I though it would be interesting to see what percentage of Bautista’s career stats have come in the 2010 and 2011 season and possibly how his career stats such as AVG, OBP, SLG, and more have increased. I used the fun tools at Baseball Reference and came up with the following numbers:
I became a huge Jeff Bagwell fan as a kid in the summer on 1993 when on May 27th Bagwell finished the day hitting .391 on the season. I honestly knew little about him before his early march on towards .400. He would go 3 for his next 39, dropping his average to .333 on June 8th. Though, his chance at .400 was long forgotten, the impact he left on me as a fan was just starting.
In 1994, the year that cut deep into the heart of most people’s baseball soul, Bagwell hit an amazing .368/.451/.75 with an OPS+ of 213 and wOBA of .491 in 110 games. As most of us remember, that was the year cut short by the strike. Bagwell had 39 homeruns at that point in the season, giving him a shot at Roger Maris‘ then record of 61 homeruns in a season. We never got the chance to see if he could reach it. The season ended and Bagwell took home the MVP, Silver Slugger Award, Gold Glove Award, and a spot on the All-Star team.
Bagwell’s career exceeds Hall-of-Fame standards. Take a look at his numbers:
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, Hall of Fame | Tagged: 2012 Hall of Fame Ballot, Bernie Williams, Gold Glove Award, Hall of Fame, Houston Astros, Javy Lopez, Jeff Bagwell, MVP, Silver Slugger Award | 7 Comments »
There are “no-brainer” Hall-of-Famers (Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays) and then there “head-scratching” Hall-of-Famers (Jim Rice, Phil Rizzuto, Rabbit Maranville, Bill Mazeroski, Kirby Puckett). There is also the category of “I didn’t realize how good they actually were” Hall-of-Famers (Charlie Gehringer, Bill Dahlen, Dan Brouthers). Larry Walker has the chance to one day fit into the latter group.
At first glance, Walker does not look like a Hall-of-Famer. He had fewer than 7000 at-bats, just over 8000 plate appearances, and less than 2200 hits. But what he did in those plate appearances and with those hits is another story. Take a look at his numbers and overall career ranks:
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis, Hall of Fame | Tagged: 2012 Hall of Fame Ballot, Andre Dawson, Babe Ruth, Bill Dahlen, Bill Mazeroski, Charlie Gehringer, Colorado Rockies, Dan Brouthers, Gold Glove Award, Hall of Fame, Jim Rice, Kirby Puckett, Larry Walker, Mickey Mantle, Montreal Expos, MVP, Phil Rizzuto, Rabbit Maranville, St. Louis Cardinals, Willie Mays | 10 Comments »