Is there a best pitching or fielding seasons series in the works?
I'll probably do a pitching one sometime this summer. Hadn't thought about fielding ... but why not? Would be fun to see the guy who could pop up. In fact, I think Baseball-Reference rates an Adam Everett season as the best ever, +40 runs.
What do you make of Pineda's velo being down in his first outing? I remember a year ago, per Yankee sources, Phil Hughes was "fine"...it was just early.
No need to panic just yet. A lot of pitchers throw 80-85 percent their first time or two out. If it's still an issue by March 20, then it's time to worry.
David, is it possible that Peter Bourjos becomes the next Jacoby Ellsbury? Meaning a guy that is knows for speed and defense, who actually develops power in the majors? I will be really disappointed if Scoscia doesn't put him in the leadoff spot, he absolutely has the talent to excel at the top of the lineup.
As you may know, I'm a huge Bourjos fan. He surprised many with the bat last year. The big difference between the two, of course, is K rate. Bourjos will need to cut down the strikeouts and draw more walks. But I'd like to see Scioscia give him the chance to lead off considering the Angels' lack of other obvious options (not including Mike Trout).
The Nationals win one of the two wild card spots: True or False?
I have them down for 87 wins ... which falls two wins short, at least based on 2011 standings.
I need a LH starting pitcher other than Aroldis Chapman, who starts out 2012 at AAA. Should I trade a CF-OF like Chris Heisey to Wash. for John Lannan????
Makes sense for both teams actually. Maybe Reds throw in a Grade B- prospect. Not sure Reds want/are willing to take on Lannan's $5 million. Which would be a shame.
Are you really going to answer if Joe Morgan's season in 1975 was the best ever, or was that a ploy to get us to come to the chat?
I don't believe that I came out and said that definitively. I suggested there is an argument to be made! I think the better argument is that Joe Morgan 1972-1976 has a case for the best peak value of any player. My theory would be that it was EASIER for Babe Ruth to surpass his peers, thus for Morgan to be so much better is arguably the more impressive accomplishment.
Is Duane Below really going to be the #5 guy in Detroit? It almost seems like a joke considering how many big name guys they have in that organization.
I hope not. But I don't really believe it's that big of an issue. Tigers *should* win the division pretty easily so the No. 5 guy isn't that important. If they need somebody during the season, or Turner or Smyly aren't ready, then they can make a deal.
With Pujols and Prince both out of the NL, I see Votto as the clear favorite to be the NL starter for the all-star game, but who would you see as possible candidates to occupy the backup roster spots? Any chance of Gooooooldschmidt or still to young?
You know ... you're right, there isn't even a clear No. 2 guy. Berkman, I guess. Freddie Freeman? Maybe Carlos Lee is the Astros' token representative.
dave cameron writes on fangraphs that pineda made a conscious decision late last year not to throw at max velocity early in games
Yes, he was very good at holding his velocity late in games, often throwing harder in the 6th-7th innings than the 1st. Good point.
Is Josh Collmenter pushed to the bullpen by Trevor Bauer by mid-season?
How about Opening Day? Based on Keith Law's report the other day, there is no reason Bauer shouldn't be in the rotation to start the season.
Just read that Yadier Molina and his agents were preparing to ask for 7 years 140 million in free agency, that's so funny no one will ever pay that much for a catcher.
Agreed, he wouldn't have come close to that. Mauer, if he'd hit free agency, would have, however.
On your predictions podcast why wasn't the Braves mentioned at all for the NL East? The Braves overall are much better than the Nationals and Marlins and right behind the Phillies only cause of there big 3...
Braves are getting a lack of respect. But there are legit concerns about the health of Hanson, Jurrjens, Hudson. I may pick them first ... may pick them third. Not sure yet.
Very nice post on Carl Yastremski. But I have aways wondered why he is awarded the triple crown for 1967 when he tied with Harmon killebrew for home runs?
Good question. I guess because he didn't NOT lead the league in home runs either ...
Better extension: Maybin or McCutchen?
Glad to see both players locked up. McCutchen's deal seems like it could end up extremely pro-Pirates if he reaches his potential. I like Maybin, but I think McCutchen has a little more depth to his all-around game.
Seemingly lost in the new wild card spot is that division winners will have to open with two on the road - I know that's followed by three at home but it still seems to dilute the home field advantage (assuming you go home down 2-0, winning three in a row is hard, even at home). Am I the only one who thinks this is an issue?
Wow ... I have to admit I totally missed this if true. Cutting down on the travel is nice, but there's a reason they went away from this back in the '90s. Teams felt it was a disadvantage to start on the road. Lose two and winning three straight -- even at home -- is difficult.
How will Brett Myers do as Houston's closer???
He should do fine, like all starters-turned-relievers. But I still don't understand the move, unless there's something we don't know (medical reports, etc.).
Did you hear that Pineda is so fat that when he sits around the house, he literally sits around the house?
How long does Figgins need to stink it up before the Mariners take away the every day job they just handed him? 1 Month? 2? Please no more than that.
I prefer one week.
Paul - I think its a travesty for the higher seeded teams. Playing at home can be a huge advantage for some teams like Boston/New York. I think the team that wins the wild card will be in a better spot than a division winner with this year's scheduling.
If whole point was to make winning the division more important, that edge seems to be defeated a bit with this schedule. 2-2-1 was a pain for travel, but is clearly the most fair schedule.
After steady improvement each year he's been in the majors, I think Ricky Romero is a darkhorse candidate for AL CY this year. Thoughts?
Tough park to win a Cy Young in. I like Romero, definitely underrated, but I'd say he needs to improve his control just a bit to get mentioned with the other Cy Young candidates. That's not a knock; he's very good.
Most important question on earth right now, who do you have in Grantland Wire Smacketology?
What are we voting on? Best character? I go Stringer Bell.
Besides Romero, who steps up in the Jays starting rotation in 2012? Morrow? Alvarez?
Morrow ... has the K rate. Can he pitch better with runners on base? Can he be more than a 6-inning guy. Alvarez has a chance as well. Like him a lot and he doesn't seem to be getting much attention as a breakout candidate.
Everyone is talking about the Reds as a contender, but no one talks about the fact that they have rookies at 2 VERY important positions in SS & C. Do you think both Cozart
One of these days I'll find the time to look at this question. Have teams won with rookie catchers and shortstops before?
hard to believe a guy like Lannan could end up out of a starting job 2 yrs after starting opening day. says a lot about how bad nats pitching was just two years ago
Which is the real Greinke?
Is there a fake Greinke?
Y'all messing with the king, you realize?
If the Reds would be willing to pay Lannan 5 million and give up Heisey - who in a rational world should not be losing at bats to Ryan Ludwick - why not just sign Roy Oswalt for 8?
I have no response for that.
Did you ever consider Brett Myers wanted to be a closer? He wanted to in Philly. For him, he's more likely to be traded to a better team as a RP down the stretch than as a #3 rotation guy.
Right, that's what I said about not having all the information. Although I don't necessarily agree that he'd be easier to trade as a reliever than a starter. What's easier to replace? Your closer or setup guy or your No. 3 starter? Obviously, it's easier (and cheaper) to replace the reliever. Myers had more value to the Astros as a starter.
In 3 years, which AL Central team has the best 3/4 hitters, Detroit or KC ? I'm going with Hosmer & Mous.
Will Moustakas learn to hit lefties by then?
The 2 away, 3 home division series are only for this year due to established schedules. It'll revert to old ways next season.
OK, thanks, Brandon. That makes sense since I believe the World Series start date is already locked in. So they had to condense the calendar to fit in the extra wild-card game.
It's also difficult to win 2 in a row at home against a (probably) superior team, with your top starter unavailable.
Why not just do a 3-2 scenario for the LDS, with the home team getting the first three games?
No playoff team wants to go home without at least one home game and that extra revenue.
As a Tigers fan, it drives me crazy to see Jackson leadoff. Granderson struggles as their leadoff, then once he dropped to the 6th spot to hit for power, he did better. When will Leyland learn?
I think Miggy hit .400 with runners in scoring position last year .. and still barely reached 100 RBIs.
Should Jack Z be getting more grief for giving away Mike Morse for Ryan Langerhans?
Probably, but I will say (as a Mariners fan): There was no indication Morse had this in him. Always hurt, struck out a lot, didn't have a position. Sometimes this happens. Can't blame Z too much for that one.
Do you feel like the sport of Baseball is riding a tide wave of momentum not seen for several years? Coming off a supreme 2011 post-season, free-agency, level of young stars in the game ect?
Definitely. I think the game is more exciting than it has been in years. The level of parity is terrific. Young stars everywhere. Very good times for the sport. Don't listen to those who love to criticize the sport or harp on the World Series TV ratings. Baseball is doing very well and has an outstanding product.
you can's sign oswalt for 8 if he wouldn't even sign with his preferred teams for 7...anywho, how strong do you think the cardinals bullpen will be now that Motte has been branded closer by matheny?
St. Louis pen should be terrific. Lots of depth there. And don't forget Eduardo Sanchez, who was nearly untouchable early last season before he got hurt.
Greinke this year closer to 2009 or 2010?
Not 2009 level (2.16), but I think he'll post a better ERA than 2011 (3.83).
6/51.5 is a steal for pittsburgh isn't it?
Basically, yes. McCutchen was a great player last year, even hitting .259.
I doubt Mous will be in the 4 hole in 3 years, don't forget about Wil Myers.
Chance Hultzen makes rotation out of spring?
After reading Keith Law's report on his performance yesterday, I think it's starting to improve. He's one of the five best pitchers. Only question is if service time is an issue. But they didn't hold back Pineda last year.
The new 1 game playoff between wild cards is a joke... A team who could be 5+ games better than the other could lose 1 game and be out...Imagine if the Phillies were a wild card team and Lee and Hamels had no impact on if the Phillies were to move on or not. Thats a joke.
Here's my problem: Say Yanks and Rays are battling for the division and use all their best starters -- CC, Price, Shields, etc. So the loser has to play a one-game playoff with their No. 3, 4 or 5 starter and maybe you face Jon Lester or Jered Weaver. Or you face the Tigers in the first round. Say you win 98 and Detroit wins 90. But Verlander is rested while your ace isn't. Ugh.
I love Hank Aaron as much as anyone, but there's really no way his 1957 was better than Yount's 1982, right? I suspect if you left off the names and just presented the facts the vote would have been reversed.
I love Yount's 1982 season. Remarkable season, arguably the best every by a shortstop. I admit: That was a disappointing result, no offense to Hank Aaron. I think general ESPN readers (who voted in the poll) still have a bit to learn about positional value and even adjusting for different eras.
If the reds decide to move chapman back into the bullpen again this year should they just consider it a done deal and leave him there and try to transition him to becoming a closer rather than jerking him back and forth each off season between rotation an bullpen?
I don't have a strong opinion on this. What if he goes to the pen and dominates for two years? Should they NOT consider trying him as a starter? Tough call. That's why I admire the Rangers for having the guts to move Feliz to the rotation. Most teams are reluctant to take a chance like that.
Ryan Braun defended his integrity and then implied a lack of integrity of the "collector" by implying he did something wrong: "We learned a lot about the process, the collector"...etc. So what did he learn? Is the collector a child abuser? Did he tamper with the sample? This was very unfair .
I'll just say ... Braun delivered a very polished speech that won over most fans to his side.
Similar to Ryan from Dayton's question, should the Yanks just put Hughes in rotation and stop the bullpen back and forth? Why waste Hughes in favor of Freddy Garcia?
This one I agree with. Relievers are EASY to find. Good starters -- even third/fourth/fifth starters -- are not. You have to see what Hughes can do.
Not so long ago there were no ads on MLB fields. Now they splatter the walls like corporate monkey waste. While obviously a lot of revenue has been generated by this concession, the aesthetics of the game have been undoubtedly compromised. Every time I see a cheap plastic Dairy Queen ad, I can't help but picture Bud Selig rolling around on a bed of Benjamins. Your thoughts on this matter would be appreciated.
At least we don't have ads on uniforms yet! Of course -- baseball has a long history of ads on outfield wells (just check old pictures of Fenway, Ebbets Field, etc.) At some point, owners change their views on this and agreed with your perspective. It doesn't bother me, at least not until we see a huge Dairy Queen plastered across the center field grass, but I understand your point.
Ventura sees nothing wrong with Adam Dunn's swing. Do you?
I have my doubts that Adam Dunn will bounce back to the old Adam Dunn.
I view Josh Beckett as a REALLY competetive guy. How likely is it that he comes out and has a career year? He can be absolutely unhittable at times, and I wonder if he comes out with a fire that no one has seen before. Do you think it's possible that Josh Beckett wins the AL Cy Young this year?
A diehard Red Sox fan/friend of mine tried to make this point to me this morning. It's certainly possible, but competitive fire alone isn't enough. If he's REALLY competitive, why hasn't he had a career year before? It doesn't really add up, fried chicken or not. He's a good pitcher, but he's also pitched 200 innings just once in four seasons. I don't see a Cy Young trophy this year.
Although I'm against the one game playoff - the teams DID sign off on it. so they can only blame themselves. Furthermore, one can also argue, don't put yourself in position to play that one game. win your division and you can set your rotation the way you want. Although I know home/road issue will never be solved this year, future years will be like any other year if you win division.
I don't understand Selig's insistence on coinflip circumstances for manufactured excitement. You're not going to win people back to the sport with this BS.
Any idea why steroids in baseball has been a bigger story for the last 10 years than all the health related issues with football? (concussion's, retired players dying in their 50's)
I have to be careful on how I word this, but ... the NFL media just hasn't been as hard-hitting about its sport. Nearly all the concussion coverage you've seen in recent years has come from investigative reporters like Alan Schwarz (NY Times) or Peter Keating (ESPN Magazine), not NFL writers or columnists.
Why doesn't ESPN do a pros v. Joes fantasy league with the writers and the readers?
Good question. I'll ask our fantasy department. They *may* have such a league; I'm not sure.
Why bother to do a pitcher's most dominant season? Pedro easy...
Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, Steve Carlton, Greg Maddux and others would disagree ...
Will Hellickson go back to being the K per inning guy he was in the minors?
That's a big leap to make in one year, but he should improve upon 5.8/9 rate of last year, thus cutting into some of the expected regression.
I have to be careful on how I word this, but ... the NFL media just hasn't been as hard-hitting about its sport. Nearly all the concussion coverage you've seen in recent years has come from investigative reporters like Alan Schwarz (NY Times) or Peter Keating (ESPN Magazine), not NFL writers or columnists.thank you for having courage to say it. i think you're right on here.
David - disagree on the the reporter issue. Baseball writers have decided that they are the moral police, and they arbitrarily determine what is acceptable and not as KLAW routinely points out ie. DUI is better then using steroids.
Well, there is truth here as well. As we obviously have seen with Hall of Fame. I don't like the moral police judgment that goes on either. As I've written, the players who used steroids were a product of their era. No testing, no enforcement. It was accepted. So I see no reason to hold it against them.
WHY OH WHY hasn't Bud Selig changed the rule that the league that wins the all star game gets home field. It literally makes NO sense whatsoever that one game, played by players who are basically on vacation, determines who gets home field. NO SENSE.
Probably the most ridiculous rule in sports. Oh .. and it hasn't helped the TV ratings either.
Hey David, love the chats. Wanted to get your personal opinion on the job Sabaen has done with the Giants. I'm not impressed and think he's made a lot of bad moves. Also, true or false, Huff has 2 months to prove himself or it's time to whip out the BELT?!? Thanks.
Thanks, Brody. I should do a post sometime on Sabean -- no GM who has won as much as he has has received anywhere near the amount of criticism. Yes, he had Bonds and now he has the pitching. But it's not quite that easy. I don't believe he's a complete buffoon. That said ... I don't get the Belt/Huff thing. Play Belt. Somewhere. End of story. Worry about where Aubrey Huff fills in later. But that could be Bruce Bochy's decision, not Sabean's.
Brian...football players don't have to have concussions in order to compete for jobs with other players who've had concussions. They don't have to die in their 50's, either. And no high school player has ever intentionally had a concussion in order to get scholarship offersw over players who haven't.
Will Dee Gordon get on base enough to use his tremendous speed?
I think he can be a middle-of-the pack leadoff hitter. .340-.350 OBP or so.
Am i going to make the rotation? I've got to do something until Social Security kicks in
I think the Rockies give him at least 4-5 starts unless he's completely awful in spring training.
Doesn't the value of the second wild card largely depend on how we define what exactly it is trying to do? Is the goal to have a better postseason (and chase thereof) or is it to get more fanbases invested in the postseason? As with everything your view largely depends on your viewing angle.
Absolutely. I'm just not sure a one-game playoff is going to bring in huge TV ratings or make a better postseason. Is it exciting? Sure. For one day. But I don't see how that translates to more viewers for the next round or the World Series.
Who ends up with more stolen bases this year? Ben Revere, Desmond Jennings, or Dee Gordon?
I'll go with Revere
Agreed on the AS Game being a silly way to determine home field advantage. What should it be though? Interleague record?
I say just go by best overall record. Why should, say, an NL team be punished because you have the Astros and Pirates and Mets in your league?
Speaking of ...
There's a lot of crazy stuff going on in baseball. Take the Mets. No, seriously, take them away from Fred, Jeff and Saul. We need somebody new to own the team!
Why not make the All-star game punks vs. geezers? Anyone on their rookie contract (i.e. 6 years of service time or less) on the punks. Everyone else on the geezers. I would actually watch that. Punks can have 2 minor league players. Geezers can select 2 retired players (Bonds!)
I like it!
PLease spank Huff with the Belt right out of spring training. Can't take Huff any longer.
I really don't think anyone says that DUI is better than doing steroids. And the fact is that steroids arguably affect on-field performance, and are being taken to gain an edge you are not supposed to have (ie cheating, so it goes to the game itself). Even if that edge is not really there, that is the intent behind taking steroids/hgh/pep. DUI is strictly a moral issue.
Should I draft Johan Santana in the later rounds of my fantasy draft? Do you think he can ever regain his previous ace status?
No idea. Makes his spring debut today.
The major reason why the steroid issue is such a big factor in baseball relative to other sports is the importance of statistics. The single season and career home run records are easily the most identifiable and cherished numbers in all of sports.
I also think there is a tendency among the NFL media (and fans) to shout down anyone who voices concern over the level of violence or other issues that tough upon health (like steroids) as "not being manly" enough.
If you really wanted to be penalize the wild card team, you make them only have 1 home game. Make it 2-1-2
There hasn't been a "fair" playoff system in fifty years, so why nit-picking now? The season is a marathon, not a sprint, so let's put some extra pressure on mediocre teams while giving more of them a shot.
Will Charlie Furbush and Casper Wells wash away the pain of losing Doug Fister?
Wells is a solid fourth outfielder. And don't forget Chance Ruffin -- could be a future closer. But the key to that deal was third-base prospect Francisco Martinez.
In your personal opinion, will we ever see the Kendrys Morales that had a 30/100 season again? He was really good in 2009, and got off to a great start in 2010 before the injury. I really hope this guy gets back to being the great player he was in 2009.
I hope so well. He's not that young -- he'll turn 29 this June -- so it's not like he was necessarily getting better. He was already at his peak level of abilities.
Most HR in 2012 - would you take Jose Bautista or the field?
Good question. I'll take the field. But I'll do a post on this today and see what the readers think.
I don't like the "moral police" either, but the alternative was an NBA/NFL/WWE-style freak show. The laissez-faire attitude of the analyst community was not a viable approach, and the owners didn't care either.
We could give more mediocre teams a shot by flipping coins for the world series trophy. We're supposed to be crowning the best team.
If the all-star game is used to determine home field advantage, can the commissioner urge coaches to actually try to win the game? Its ridiculous that all the best players have been removed from the game by 5th inning. I understand in a blowout they should try to get all the players involved, but in a close game I'd much rather see Pujols at the plate than Ryan Howard.
I don't think it's about people being critical of football "not being manly enough," it's that these guys are getting paid millions of dollars to play in an inherently violent game. It's an assumption of risk argument.
Santana threw 2 scoreless innings but gave up a hit and a walk. No strikeouts.
The NFL safety issue is a bigger concern than PEDs because it is now being dealt with at the family level. Parents are actively steering their kids from football because of the safety concerns. I don't know any parents steering their kids from baseball because of PEDs. If the NFL doesn't address the issue (or appear to address it) it will erode their base from the bottom.
This is the part of the issue that doesn't get a lot of attention yet. But as football concussion stories start popping up on the morning talk shows or CNN or whatever -- ie, shows that mothers watch -- they will steer their kids away from football and into baseball, basketball, lacrosse, swimming and so on. This seems inevitable to me.
Who do you see being the odd man out of the Rays rotation? I think Niemann and Wade Davis could both be very good Major League starters if they ever left the AL East
I think Davis starts in the bullpen
I believe the point in the wild card playoff is to emphasize winning your division, and not to just cruise in as a wild card
Mike Stanton will lead the NL in homeruns.
I'm still amazed we haven't seen fans of a team in one league put together a meaningful attempt to sabotage the vote for the other league's All-Star team. Can't Yankees and Red Sox fans just team up for once and try to ruin the NL?
You mean like vote for all Astros? That's just cruel.
Gio Gonzalez will lead the NL in strikeouts....and walks.
The new set-up (in theory) increases the quality of the average world series opponents.
Really? Is there a study on this?
What's the over/under on Trevor Cahill's ceiling with the D-Backs?
Solid No. 3 starter in my book.
NFL injuries also bring more lawsuits against the league than PEDs for baseball. As the coverage continues to grow this may prove to be big problem as well.
Yes, we're starting to see those already (see: Dave Duerson).
Let's say the Wilpon's are forced to sell the Mets for the best interests of MLB. Then what happens? Do they expect an owner to come in and lose $50MM/year to turn the team around? When it comes down to it, a team's payroll can't exceed its revenues over the long haul, and their revenue just sucks these days.
Lower ERA in 2012: Strasburg or Josh Johnson?
I'll go ... Strasburg. Who pitches more innings?
PEDs are illegal. Concussions are not.
There are many performance-enhancing drugs athletes take that are legal when prescribed by doctors.
Intentionally afflicted concussions are not legal.
Matt in SF: being on the ground here in QUeens, I can tell you that every fan I talk to wants to go out and spend their money on baseball, but the deficit of trust is so deep that we can't give our money to the Wilpon regime. Revenues would not be so low if a new owner came in. In fact, there would be a rather generous honeymoon period.
How concerned would you be about Teheran's and Delgado's spring debuts?
Does David Wright get back near his 30-30 days since they move the fences in at Citi Field?
The home runs, but not the steal. (And he hit 29 two years ago, so he should hit 30 in the revamped Citi.)
After Austin Jackson's apparent fluke of a season in 2010 aided by a very high BABIP, he was encouraged by the coaches to keep his big leg lift to keep his power, even though it would mean more strikeouts. Now that he came back to earth in 2011, they are finally changing his approach. How long does it take a young player who changes his approach to see consistently improved results?
Good question. My take is that coaches like to see fairly immediate results (month or two max), especially on the big league level. Not a lot of time to show patience.
If you had to wager would you guess that the new park in Florida plays large or small?
I read a study on this awhile ago ... and of course, I forgot the results. Sorry! It's out there somewhere.
Speaking of moving the fences in at Citi Field, I am not a Mets fan, but liked when their games were on tv because the dimensions of the park were unique. Why give in to the whiny hitters and ignore the pitchers? If your team stinks, they stink, no matter where the fences are. I have a feeling R.A. Dickey could be in for a long year.
The Mets will claim that their studies shows their hitters were adversely affected compared to their opponents. Seems like a load of you know what to me.
In response to Jim C from Houston, it's ridiculous to think that football players haven't completely abused steroids either. And if he is listing what players haven't done, no baseball player was shot himself in the chest to preserve his brain for scientists to study.
Matt in SF...I don't think MLB would have any trouble finding a line of buyers for the Mets. Owning a sports team is like owning a goose that lays golden eggs.
Who are two sleeper closers you like in the AL this year?
Sergio Santos and ... not even sure he's a sleeper. Brandon League is a bit underrated.
I agree with Stephen, unique park dimensions are one of the great features that set baseball apart from all other sports.
Marlins management has stated it will be a pitchers park. We'll see how accurate their management's opinions are this season.
Braves extend Bourn for Over/Under 5 years 55 million.
I don't know of any studies, but it's designed to make the winning wild-card team weaker by reducing the strength of its pitching staff and thus less likely to defeat a real division winner.
Ah, right ... that makes sense. For example, they use their ace in the wild-card game, so he can probably only go once in the LDS.
OK, another great chat today. Love all the comments and interaction between chatters. Time to run. I'll be back next week.