Tagged: MVP

Don’t Ya Know?

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Who would have thought that at any point in the 2010 season, Robinson Cano would have as many home runs as Ryan Howard and Matt Holliday combined, as many steals as Hanley Ramirez, a higher on base percentage than Joe Mauer, a higher slugging percentage than Albert Pujols and the best batting average in the majors?

I mean, I thought he’d be pretty good this year, but this is ridiculous.

The sweet swinging second baseman has always been known for having outstanding potential but never quite reaching it. While the production from Cano has been solid throughout his major league career, he’s always found himself considered less valuable at second base than popular players like Chase Utley, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, or even Aaron Hill last season. Cano was always a good hitter and fielder who was just not quite good enough to be considered top tier.

Now, Robby Cano is 27, often considered the prime age for a major league baseball player, and the numbers only back up that well-known theory. Robinson Cano is leading the league in average and OPS+, while putting up other notable numbers like 34 hits, 8 HR and an OPS over 1.000. To add to that, Cano’s been stellar with the glove, committing only one error and showing great range and a great arm to go with that efficiency.

Robby has suddenly entered contention for the MVP award early on, as well as being the favorite to start at 2nd in the 2010 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, California. While it may be a bit early to make statements like that, it would most definitely not be a stretch to think Cano could at least stay very productive for the remainder of the year. Cano typically does not hit very well in April, but he tore it up this month. May has been the most difficult month in Cano’s 5-year major league career, as Cano only hits .269 in the second month of the baseball season with a .296 OBP along with that. Look to see if Cano will hit well this second month; if he cools off significantly, do not be too worried as Cano hits well over .300 in June, July, August and September. If he stays relatively productive, this could be Cano’s year. If he stays as hot as he did in April, Cano is almost certainly the favorite to win AL MVP.

Here are some notable performances that Cano has had in 2010, in order of earliest to latest.

  • April 6, Yankees at Red Sox – Cano goes 2 for 3 with a home run, 2 RBI and a walk, helping the Yankees to their first win of the year against arch-rival Boston.
  • April 10, Yankees at Rays – In a 10-0 rout of Tampa Bay, Cano collects 2 hits in 5 at bats with a home run and 3 runs driven in.
  • April 15, Angels at Yankees – Yankees win a 3-game series against Anaheim as Cano hits 2 home runs in 4 at bats and drives in 3.
  • April 24, Yankees at Angels – Yanks win 7-1 as Robinson Cano goes 4-for-5, scores 3 runs and drives one man in.
  • April 29, Yankees at Orioles – Cano leads the Yankees to a 4-0 victory with a 3-for-4, 2 home run performance as well as a very nice back-hand, off balance throw up the middle defensive play.

Cano, to go with these strong performances, has been consistent in almost every game. With offense like this coming at a premium position like 2nd base, Robby Cano has definitely been highly valuable to the Yankees.

Stay positive, Yankee fans.

-EJ the Kid

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EJ’s Award Predictions

For the three awards…

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Now, allow me to explain, because I’ve made some interesting choices here.

AL MVP – Alex Rodriguez – A-Rod is baaaaack… after recovering from an injury, answering most criticisms from New York fans with a stellar postseason, winning a World Series and having another 30 home run/100 RBI season in ’09, all signs lead to Alex Rodriguez coming back and hammering the baseball, perhaps not as well as he did in ’07, but certainly quite close.

NL MVP – Albert Pujols – I really don’t need to explain this choice. Last year, I picked David Wright of the Mets to win the NL MVP, and was promptly slapped in the face by Albert Pujols. He’s had back-to-back MVP’s and I don’t think there’s heavy enough competition to stop him from another one. I don’t know why I’d ever doubt the man. He’s from Santo Domingo.

AL Cy Young – Jake Peavy – Now here’s gonna be my bold prediction. Jake Peavy has a much better lineup than he had in San Diego here with the ChiSox, he’s coming back from injuries, and he’s facing a league that pretty much hasn’t seen him very often. There won’t be many things expected of the former NL Cy Young winner, and I’d expect him to be eager to thrust himself back on the scene as an ace pitcher. Peavy is still 28 years old, in the prime of his career, with sharp stuff. And by the way, if you’re doubting Jake Peavy can hurl the ball as well in the American League in a hitter’s park in U.S. Cellular, consider the 3-0 record, 1.35 ERA(344 ERA+) and .850 WHIP that Peavster had towards the end of ’09 in his brief return with the White Sox. Now consider that he’s pitching in the American League Central, facing such devastatingly tough lineups like the Minnesota Twins’ and Kansas City Royals’ and GOLLY GEE WILLIKERS them Indians are tough, huh? No, not really. He’s back, folks.

NL Cy Young – Roy Halladay – Doc, Doc. Easily one of the best pitchers in the game, quite arguably the best due to his consistency, stuff, mentality and command. This guy is a beast, and he’s going to have a beastly year in a league that really hasn’t seen too much of him. This was a very tough decision for me, because Tim Lincecum’s won the past two National League Cy Young awards, but it’s just so hard for me to speak of a threepeat for anyone but Pujols. I think Halladay is going to dominate, rack up 20 wins, and that’ll be just too much for any voter to deny. Maybe Lincecum will be deserving, but I think Halladay comes away with it.

AL Rookie of the Year – Neftali Feliz – Feliz will make the Rangers very, very Feliz.

I’m sorry, I had to.

But honestly, how can you deny a guy like Feliz who came up to Texas and promptly struck out batter after batter with high octane stuff? He’s a rookie this year with some seasoning from last year and is going to give American League batters more fits and nightmares than any Final Destination movie could.

NL Rookie of the Year – Madison Bumgarner – San Fran’s number 5 rotation spot is his to lose, literally, and with stuff, command and poise like his he’ll easily be able to do well against weak NL West lineups. Bumgarner is a solid pitcher, and while he’s not going to instantly make the impact he’s capable of in my opinion, he’ll certainly be sharp in his rookie campaign and come away with the big trophy.

I just can’t wait to be wrong.

Stay positive, Yankee fans.

-EJ the Kid from New York

Mariano Gets 500: Yanks Get Sweep

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What a great win, huh? After the first inning, it looked like we were never going to score again, as Livan Hernandez was, for some reason, shutting us down. But Chien-Ming Wang turned in a decent outing and the bullpen was lights out from there. It’s nice when you can take your starter out in the 6th inning and still have 5 relievers(Coke, Hughes, Bruney, Aceves and Robertson are all very fine relief pitchers) whom you can use to set up Mariano Rivera. I’m sure Girardi feels very comfortable with his bullpen right now.

However, we could use a complete game soon, because you don’t want to use your bullpen everyday. Those guys have really earned a rest out there in the ‘pen. Now, Joba Chamberlain is starting next game against the Mariners, so it’s quite unlikely that he’s going to pitch a complete game. And hey, since we have an off day today, that should be enough for the ‘pen for now. But I don’t like that we use them every day. I’d like to see Joba pitch a complete game, obviously, since he is capable of doing so. Let’s face it, though, the only way Chamberlain’s going to pitch a full game is if it’s a no hitter. And even then, there are doubts.

Mariano got the 500th save of his career in the most extraordinary way: with his first career RBI. I mean, if Mo was going to drive in a run, you would think it’d be of the home run or double variety. That dude can swing it! But, Francisco Rodriguez, clearly screwed up by Rivera fouling a ball off, attempted to blow a fastball by Mo, and missed with two balls to walk him. That’s just pure embarrassment, right there.

So now it’s time to have a little off topic fun: before this season, in the month of February, I gave predictions on the awards and league leaders of the American and National Leagues. Today, with a day off, I’m going to look back at those predictions and, with the information that we have thus far as we head towards the All Star break, realize how dumb and wrong I am.

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Okay.

So…

Cy Youngs: Oswalt and Halladay

I wanted to get funky with the Roy and Roy thing, and I’ll tell you what, one of those predictions was pretty good. Who’d have thought Zack Greinke would be as dominant as he is this year? Oswalt, on the other hand… quite past his prime, definitely, but again, who could’ve seen Matt Cain be this dominant? Dan Haren, arguably, is better this season, and you could’ve seen Haren coming, but even with that, Oswalt was a dumb prediction.

MVPs: Miguel Cabrera and David Wright

Miguel Cabrera was a strong prediction, you have to admit, but Joe Mauer has been out of his mind since he made his season debut in May. He’s just been off the charts. Now, Miguel Cabrera’s had a very good season, too, and he does have a shot at making me right if he continues his Miggy Cabrera season and Mauer cools off, but the Wright prediction was not all too sound. Sure, Wright is leading the NL in hitting, but how could I have possibly picked someone other than Pujols?

You guys look at the rest and tell me how good my predictions were.

Thanks to Vanessa for hosting the game last night, it was real fun.

Stay positive, Yankee fans…

-EJ the Kid From New York

Early Season Awards Part 1

We’ve played a somewhat significant amount of time already this year. We haven’t seen too many games where we can make a sound and un-risky judgment on how the season will end, but we’ve seen enough games where we can take a look at all the happenings of the season, and say “This has been so thus far, and this has not been so.”

And let’s face it. Us baseball fans love giving people awards, especially giving people who are underrated awards. So let’s do so right now, here are the early season awards for teams and players as of May 16, 2009.

First are the Most Valuable Players.

May 16, 2009 NL MVP

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It’s really hard to argue with Hanley Ramirez to win MVP in the National League here so far. A 166 OPS+ at shortstop is extraordinary and quite rare, and of course you can’t doubt the obvious power speed combination that Ramirez has. 6 homers and 6 steals. Han-Ram seems to have flown under the radar thus far in the year, but he has truly produced for the Fish.

Now if only they could win games.

Runners Up:

Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia Phillies: The veteran outfielder has consistently crushed balls in for the Phillies this year, as he’s really been a great pickup, with a 173 OPS+.

Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals: Check out how well represented the NL East is! The young third baseman for the struggling Nats notably picked up a 30 game hitting streak this year. Zimmerman not only has produced offensively, with a 159 OPS+ and leading the league with 54 base hits and 21 extra base hits, he also has played stellar defense, as his range is well above league averages.

Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals: Do I really even have to say anything? He’s done really well defensively, with a range factor per 9 innings of 10, but he’s also been Albert Pujols offensively, leading the league in slugging percentage and putting up an OPS+ of 182.

Adam Dunn, Washington Nationals: The slugging outfielder known for his tape-measure big flies has put up a 172 OPS+, is 6th in the league in runs created and, strangely enough, has only whiffed 34 times. Nice job, big guy!

Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies: Hawpe’s production has really seemed to fly under the radar out there in Denver, but this guy’s got a 173 OPS+ and his .363 batting average is good for fourth in the National League.

May 16, 2009 AL MVP

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I mean, this seems fairly obvious to me, I don’t know if it really was so easy for you, but it was definitely not challenging for me to get this one. Victor Martinez is a catcher– and he’s hitting .400. I mean, think about that for a second. How many people hit .400? How many of them are catchers? Look, he’s probably not going to do it all season, it’s not like I’m saying that, but these are the May 16th awards, not the end of year awards, and when you lead both leagues in hitting, put up an OPS+ of 186, lead both leagues in hits, times on base, runs created, 4th in the league in slugging percentage, 2nd in the league in on base percentage, and you’re a catcher? No, it’s too easy for me.

Runners Up:

Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox: Youk’s the only guy who I can accept voting as AL MVP over Martinez. I mean, this guy has been ridiculous even though he’s on the disabled list now. He’s been on base literally over half of the time(leading both leagues in OBP with a .505 clip), he’s leading the majors in slugging and thus, OPS, he’s leading both leagues in OPS with 206. Even though he’s been sub-par defensively at first base this year(check the statistics, Julia, you can not tell me otherwise), he’s also played third base a fair amount, which is ridiculous. How many guys who are hitting like he is will be willing to play third base as often and, as a matter of fact, as well as he does? …although Albert Pujols did play 2nd base once last year…

Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers: 8 steals, 11 homers, a 156 OPS+ and a .318 average to go along with solid defense at a premium position in second base? I’ll take it.

Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays: Aaron Hill has dominated offensively, with a 146 OPS+ and above average defense at second base. He’s also tied with Victor Martinez for the most hits in both leagues and his .347 batting average is good for 7th in the league.

Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays: The young third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays has played great defense, and he also kinda sorta has a 175 OPS+.

Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles: This guy has really stood out for me. Power? He’s got a .669 slugging percentage and has hit 8 jimmy jacks this season. Speed? He’s got 3 stolen bases and has 13 extra base hits, which also partially has to do with speed. Average? .370 good enough for ya? Defense? This guy’s range factor is well above league average, and he’s got 3 assists to go with it.

Now for the Cy Youngs. This should be really easy.

May 16th 2009 AL Cy Young

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Not even a question at all, really. His ERA+ this year is 773. 773. No, this is way too obvious that it’s almost silly.

Runners Up

Edwin Jackson, Detroit Tigers: Did you know that Edwin Jackson’s ERA this year is 2.42? Did you know that he has a WHIP of 1.038? Neither did I.

Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays: Halladay has been classic Halladay this year, really. He’s got the most innings pitched in the majors with 61, he has a very nice ERA+ of 157, he’s been a workhorse, he’s been efficient, he’s only walked 7 hitters and is leading the majors in most strikeouts per walk with 7, he’s really just doing his thing for those surprising Blue Jays.

Kevin Millwood, Texas Rangers: Milly’s really performed astoundingly, as he’s got an ERA+ of 163 in 58.2 innings, good for 3rd in the league. This is for a Texas Rangers ballclub known for it’s bad pitching, in part due to the park they play in in Arlington which puts Millwood in a large disadvantage because it’s so favored to hitters.

May 16, 2009 NL Cy Young

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Again, not really much difficulty making this decision. 11.7 strikeouts per 9 innings, 566 ERA+… this guy’s pitched like the ace that he is for the first place Metsies so far.

Runners Up

Johnny Cueto, Cincinnatti Reds: The Dominican righty with a great heater and a stellar changeup has been living up to his promise, putting up a 241 ERA+ in 46.2 innings.

Wandy Rodriguez, Houston Astros: Wandy has undoubtably gone under the radar, as he’s put up a 231 ERA+, good for 3rd in the NL. In 52 innings, the southpaw hasn’t allowed a homer yet, and he’s put up a great WHIP of 1.000.

Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks: The hard throwing right hander has really dominated the teams that have faced him so far this year in his second season in Arizona, as he’s put up a 227 ERA+, and his 0.857 WHIP is good for tops in the NL.

Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta Braves: Jurrjens has really been surprising, as the young righty from Curacao has racked up a solid 213 ERA+ in 48 innings pitched.

Now for the rookies of the yearrrr!

May 16, 2009 AL Rookie of the Year

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This decision was difficult to make, not because there have been so many good rookies in the AL; rather, it’s because they’ve all been sub par. Uehara has been decent this year, as the righty from Osaka Prefecture who pitched in the Nippon Professional League before coming to the MLB this year at 34 years of age has put up a 123 ERA+ and a 1.125 WHIP in 42.2 innings.

Runners Up:

Scott Richmond, Toronto Blue Jays: The 29-year old Canadian has a 108 ERA+ in 40 innings.

Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers: The main, big prospect acquired by Texas in the Mark Teixeira trade, Andrus has hit 3 triples, 2 homers, has stolen 6 bases, and he’s provided terrific range at the shortstop position for Texas.

Trevor Cahill, Oakland Athletics: Cahill performed stellarly in the minors last season, well enough to make it to the big leagues this year as a 21-year old. While he’s shown mediocre command to say the least, his 3.69 ERA is still the best for an AL rookie this year, and that’s gotta be something.

May 16, 2009 NL Rookies of the Year

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Dexter Fowler has been decent this year, so he shares the ROTY award with Shairon Martis, mainly because he’s stolen 10 bases including I believe 5 in one game, a rookie record. Not only that, he’s also had very good range in center field, and he’s beginning to develop some major league pop in his bat. As for Martis, well, he’s yet to lose a start for the Washington Nationals, and his ERA+ of 110 is pretty decent.

Stay tuned for part two, where I will give the second string of awards; Comeback Players of the Year, Managers of the Year, and my own personal award, Underrated Players of the Year. That is, as of May 17th, when the blog will be out.

Stay positive, Yankee fans! Back to back walkoffs!

-EJ the Kid From New York

Welcome Back Alex!

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Who didn’t see this coming? Honestly?

I mean, as soon as I found out A-Rod would come back on Friday, I literally thought to myself, “Watch him hit a home run in his first at bat.”

Welp, it turns out it wasn’t just his first at bat, it was his first pitch back from the disabled list that traveled into the left field stands for a 3-run jimmy jack. How fitting!

I didn’t get to watch this game and this at bat because I was at a dance as I stated in my blog yesterday, and I’m upset over that obviously. But it was a great game, I’m glad that that happened rather than another Yankee loss. Also, CC Sabathia, how about that? Complete game shutout for the big man, his second complete game of the year, he threw one on the road against the Tigers and lost, so this was his first real complete game. 4 hits, 8 strikeouts, 1 walk. The southpaw was on, and hopefully we can get some of that from our other starting pitchers.

And again, I have to turn it over to a comment I got from Julia on my last blog arguing over Dustin Pedroia and his MVP status. Let’s find out what she had to say as I proved her wrong on Pedroia being chosen as Most Valuable Player of the American League over Joe Mauer.

“EJ – the baseball powers to be have spoken. And a second baseman who can stop the ball from going into the outfield, take away hits, turn doubles into singles – I’ll take it. Those actions that can’t have a number assigned to them also matter when looking at a person who is an overall MVP. And face it – we Boston fans have a place in our hearts for the “little guy” – just look at Dom DiMaggio. It’s a new year – and anything can happen!”

Julia, Julia…

Look, I get that turning doubles into singles and taking away hits(even though he didn’t really take away that many hits, his range was average), stopping balls from going into the outfield(again, average range) is valuable. I get the value of those intangibles, it’s not like I’m trying to shut down the little things.

But honestly, do you think if Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia switched places, and Pedroia was on the Rangers and Kinsler was on the Red Sox, that Pedroia would still have won MVP? Do you think that just having Dustin Pedroia would make a difference than having Ian Kinsler would give the Rangers more success, and that the Red Sox would have had less success all of a sudden? Of course not. You guys had a terrific team last year and it wasn’t Dustin Pedroia who was the main cog.

The fact of the matter is that you guys put too much value over things that, yes, are valuable, but definitely not quite as valuable as you think. Last year, I think a lot of people would have rather had Joe Mauer on their team over Dustin Pedroia, and that’s what value is. Value is not who did more underrated things(and don’t tell me what Dustin Pedroia did last year was underrated). It is about who is more valuable. And the person who you would rather have is more valuable. That’s just all there is to it in my opinion.

So, Julia, you take Dustin Pedroia who does whatever intangibles you think he does and hits pretty well, and I will take Ian Kinsler or Joe Mauer, who I can prove is better and more valuable, and we’ll see what happens.

Also, on a funny note, if Ian Kinsler was on the Red Sox and Pedroia was on the Rangers last year, Ian Kinsler probably would’ve been in the top 5 voting for MVP because he was a Red Sox and he had all these intangibles and he’s so underrated. Ai ai ai.

Stay positive, Yankee fans.

-EJ the Kid From New York