Klawchat, where the levels of data are numerous and deep, as Murray might say.
Hey KLaw,What are your thoughts on Clayton Kershaw getting the CY Young?
I don't think he or Gio would be a bad choice, but if I had that ballot, I'd vote for Dickey.
How about this bold move....use Lincecum as a closer in the playoffs, allowing him to completely air it out and basically go FB/Splitter exclusively while only seeing hitters once an outing.
I don't even think it's that bold - I think it makes more sense to use him in relief than pretend he didn't just have a consistently awful year. The only concern I'd have is that they never tried him in relief even in the final week of the regular season, so they don't know if his stuff will play up (as we expect) or how he'll feel the next day.
When someone says an MVP needs to be from a team in the playoffs, aren't they really just saying they want to award the MVP to a player they like with no rational reason? Because the rule is selectively applied--Rick Porcello was roughly a 3 win pitcher this year according to Fangraphs, and the Tigers margin of victory was 3 games. But you don't see anyone advocating for Porcello because he was the difference in the division.
It's even more irrational than that - the Angels won more games than Detroit in a much tougher division, so giving any Tiger the MVP award on the basis of their playoff status is rewarding them for where they play more than for what they did.
Is Adam Eaton an average regular or a 4th OF/defensive replacement?
Average regular or better. I'm leaning towards better.
Is Brandon Moss the new Jose Bautista?
No. I think Reddick sustains his success and Moss doesn't.
Would Trout winning the MVP over Miggy be a bigger sign of advanced stats going main stream than when King Felix won the Cy Young going 13-12?
Yes, I think it would. I'm not optimistic though.
What think you, Klaw, of the announced move of Billy Hamiltion to CF? And am I wrong for thinking that he might still have some Dee Gordon "sure he's fast, but MLB pitchers will just knock the bat out of his hands" to him? Even a little bit?
Makes sense to me - had a hard time seeing him stay at SS. I don't think your fear is totally unfounded, but he is stronger than Gordon is.
Why does conventional baseball wisdom assume a rare occurrence is a particularly good occurrence? The triple crown is rare because it requires a bunch of randomness to go your way, not because it takes a truly special year for it to happen. It's kind of like hitting for the cycle...a player who hits for the cycle is going to get all the attention on Sportscenter, even if his teammate has a more productive 4-4 night with 2 doubles, a triple, and a homer.
This was the point of my "perfect game" tweet a few weeks ago, which a lot of people misinterpreted because they felt I was comparing a single game achievement to a full season achievement. I didn't intend to do that - I was merely pointing out that neither event tells us anything about a player's overall value, even though they're rare.
Would you be surprised if the Detroit writers who vote for MVP put Trout lower than second on their ballot to help Cabrera? I guess the same thing could apply to Anaheim voters.
I wouldn't be surprised. We've seen a lot of homer voting from Detroit over the years - Magglio over A-Rod in 2007, Valverde getting a second place vote last year, etc.
I wouldn't say it's advanced stats going mainstream as much as mainstream stats receding. As Joe Posnanski said, you don't need advanced stats to tell you Mike Trout had a better overall year - it's reflected in his OBP, his slugging percentage, his steals, and his position and defense.
I've argued that too, but Cabrera supporters seem to have settled on "WAR is stupid" as their rallying cry and don't want to hear why you don't need WAR to see how much better Trout was.
Darren Ruf... Are you impressed by his success at the major league level albeit sss.
All SSS. Doesn't change my opinion.
I'll guess third overall. I think he'll be downgraded by enough voters to eliminate his chances of winning the award. I'd have Posey first.
For all the Cabrera supporters who want to count things like team success and play down the stretch: what about Cano for AL MVP? The Yankees were the best team in the AL, and Cano was great in September.
Doesn't fit the narrative.
Is you NL RoY ballot in yet?
Yes. It was due today but I filed earlier this week in large part because I was nervous that I'd forget. Nothing happened after that to change my ballot.
You've made it pretty clear over the course of the season that you don't think much of the Orioles. I am guessing you're going to be picking Texas over them. The one wild card is it is Darvish's first playoff experience in the MLB. Anything can happen on one day. Thoughts?
I agree that anything can happen in one game, and that's just as true in the NL. I'm picking Texas and Atlanta, but as I said on the podcast today, I'm really saying I think those teams are maybe 55-60% likely to win.
what are your thoughts on Bobby V's firing?
I was shocked, shocked to find that out.
Care to explain why the majority of players and former players believe Cabrera is MVP, yet the nerds...errr....stat guys have Trout?
I would guess that's largely a function of being reared in a game and industry that reveres the Triple Crown and particularly RBIs. Players who have taken the time to familiarize themselves with more modern thinking on performance are more likely to say Trout.
Players aren't analysts or scouts. You wouldn't ask me to hit a curveball (or a BP fastball, if you're smart), and you wouldn't ask me to change the oil in your car. I do ask players their opinions on other players sometimes, but also bear in mind that I'm asking someone whose job is to perform but not necessarily to evaluate or project.
Congrats to Mike in Detroit! You win the ad hominem award of the day! Go back to your cave.
Honestly, you can call me a nerd all day long. I'm a little bit of a nerd and I'm proud of it.
would you start steve johnson or joe saunders tomorrow night?
Saunders seems like a pretty poor matchup for Texas. I'd probably start Johnson with the entire bullpen on high alert.
Have you ever seen a more splintered group of candidates for a top award than this year's NL Cy Young? Six pitchers are likely to get at least one vote. Is that the most ever?
NL MVP seems that way too - Braun, Posey, Molina, McCutchen, Headley, at the very least. I don't know what the record is for most pitchers getting at least one first-place CYA vote.
Since it appears the Cubs are going to build thru the draft, does it make sense to draft a player that wants overslot money like Appeal? Especially since it looks like Theo has lowered the bar on the 2013 season where the Cubs could be drafting in the top 3 again in 2014.
Appel would be a great pick for the Cubs. There are three potential #2 starters in the draft for next year, at least on the college side, and any of those would be good picks for Chicago.
Anderson, Parker, and Milone are shoo-ins for the A's rotation. Who do you give Game 4 to? Griffin, Straily, or Blackley?
Straily. I don't think Griffin is 100%.
When does your awards column post?
They've asked me to do it in November this year instead of the usual end-of-season post.
From the list of "way to soon to tell" questions: Can the Twins get a good player at 4? Any indication of how many top players are in this year's draft? Thanks!
Same answer as for the Cubs with a touch more risk. They'll need one more player to emerge to make it a lock that they'll get a top-tier player at 4. I've already said I think Austin Wilson will be that guy, which could push one of the three college arms to the Twins.
Baseball fever here in Israel. I would like to know your thoughts on a team like Tampa trading its studs who are in their prime (ie David Price)- is it 'wrong'? and will/does it happen often?
Rare, but can happen. Oakland traded Gio and Cahill last offseason, for one example. I think Tampa is more likely to trade Shields or even Hellickson.
If you total up team WAR on Fangraphs, the Orioles project as roughly a 75 win team. Granted, that's not the final word on a team's true talent but it does give an indication of the impact that an incredible record in one-run games will have.
That's been a large part of my skepticism on that club, combined with my own traditional evaluations of those players. The name I keep coming back to is Chris Tillman - his turnaround this year looks and feels very sustainable to me.
Klaw - You'd agree that Cabrera is a top 3 hitter in the majors though, right? Based solely on what he does at the plate? Just behind Votto, right?
I'd go Votto 1, Cabrera 2 if we're talking just offense.
Without divulging your NL ROY pick, on a scale from 1 to 10, how easy was the choice for you?
Maybe 2. Was still wavering into the final week of the season.
Klaw, so what you're saying is that all the other metrics you and the Bill James disciples push on baseball fans are more relevant than an accomplishment that we haven't seen in 45 years? It's people like you who take the fun out of the game.
If I've taken the fun out of the game for you, you probably have to seriously reassess my role in your life.
Just curious, and a follow up to your ranking, based solely on offense, where is Trout? I think there's a misconception that Cabrera is light years a better hitter then Trout
Trout actually had a higher OPS+ than Cabrera. Trout led Cabrera by .006 in OBP; Cabrera led by .042 in SLG. Cabrera played in a better hitter's park, and had an easier slate of competition, including a ton of at bats against the two worst pitching staffs (by ERA). They're much closer than you'd think from the OMG TR1PLE CROWN!!!?!>!! comments.
When do you start work on your top 100 prospect list? Or do you already have a working draft?
After I finish watching Fall League games and post the free agent rankings.
It is obviously not happening but, when your other options are Joe Saunders and Steve Johnson, what would you say if Buck started Bundy tomorrow night? (I know it is stupid/crazy/illogical but so has this entire O's season.)
I'd applaud that.
Referring to "three potential #2 starters in the draft for next year" - are those Appel, Manaea, and Stanek? Much thanks!
Exactly. Probably in that order, although I might flip the last two.
I feel the Tillman start last night was wasted. I would have rather have saved him for the WC game, since there was no way NY was going to lose to the Boston Triple A team.
Certainly looks that way today. I can't criticize the O's too much for playing to win that game, though.
Do you think the A's should try to turn Sean Doolittle into a starter? It's improbable, but then, the whole Sean Doolittle story is improbable.
I don't think so.
Following a Triple Crown pursuit is only fun if the guy wins MVP? That doesn't make any sense.
I don't know what's sadder - that our sports award debates have come to resemble politics, or that our political campaigns have come to resemble sports.
Giants or Reds, who are you taking and why?
Giants. Primarily on run prevention grounds.
Does Delino Deshields see the majors next year?
I don't expect that.
Please tell homer Bob that Mike Trout was the first person ever to hit 30 HR steal 45 bases and score 125 runs. Don't need Bill James for that (if we insist on using rare, traditional statistical trifectas).
Trout's season was historically rare in a number of ways, but if I start arguing based on his runs scored, I'm invalidating my arguments against RBI.
Could you explain the awards voting rules? In the past couple of years, you've steadfastly refused to discuss any players for the award you have a vote for. However, this week, Verducci listed his ballots for every single award but didn't say which he had a vote for, and Stark named all his awards but didn't post a full ballot for his particular vote. Which is it?
The BBWAA asks us not to reveal our ballots before the actual award is announced in November. I suppose I could decline to reveal which ballot I had and then give you all six of my hypothetical ballots. I prefer to be open about which one I have, and adhere strictly to their request not to reveal who's on my ballot (or even who's just off it).
I undersand that RBIs are not a useful tool to show how producive a person was, but I do not agree with you when you say that they are worthless. Couldn't one assume that a person with 125 rbi's had a more productive season of helping to create runs for his team than another player with 75 rbis?
You could assume that but you would have a high likelihood of being wrong, high enough that the assumption is, to my mind, worthless.
Trout might have saved xx more runs than Cabrera. Might have. Cabrera did win the Tripe Crown. Big difference.
Big difference indeed. Saving runs is worth a lot more than an arbitrarily chosen set of three statistics, two of which are highly correlated, all of which taken together ignore an enormous amount of important information.
Theo already stated Jackson will be in AAA to start 2013..what's the eta for Mr. Soler
Klaw, if you're such an expert on player evaluations why don't you work in the majors anymore? Why hasn't your statistical breakthroughs earned you a gig better than blogging with other stat geeks?
By choice. Nice ad hominems, though.
Does the fences beng moved at Safeco increase Zuninos power output potential and what about Monetero's? Heck how bout everybody?
Did you see any of Miller's start against the Reds last night?
I did not - I apologize, as I'm getting a lot of questions about it.
Given your strong (and accurate) position that Trout should be MVP over Miggy and your policy to not discuss an award for which you are voting, would you rather have an AL MVP ballot so you can vote for Trout or not have the ballot so that you can continue to discuss/argue/snarkify it prior to the announcement?
I don't have a particular interest in influencing the results. It's fun to write and talk about these issues, although I admit it's getting old and it's time to turn the page and talk playoffs.
Is Ruf the next Bryan Lahair?
So someone in the comments selection below found that the highest # of pitchers who got a first place vote for Cy Young was 7 in 1970. Could we get there in the NL? I would guess that Dickey, Cueto, Kershaw, Gio, Kimbrel, and Chapman could all get one. Can you think of anyone else?
Cain? Lohse? Could happen.
Hi! What are your thoughts on a reliever (Kimbrel or Chapman) getting the Cy Young? At least one of your colleagues (Jayson Stark) is advocating Kimbrel, but 60 or so innings hardly seems as valuable as what the top starters contribute, and it seems to me that saves are right up there with RBIs in the useless stat department.
I agree with you. No way I'd put a 60-70 inning reliever in my top five. They cannot produce as much value as a top-five 200-inning starter.
Does having more then 1/6th of his starts against the Miami Marlins weaken Dickey's claim to the NL CY Young? While I'm not a big fan of the ERA stat, I believe his is 3+ discounting those starts.
Kershaw got to face a lot of the Padres too. I don't think caliber of competition is a deciding factor in that race.
Kershaw's a great choice, by the way, easily justified by the facts. Just not mine, as Dickey has an equally solid case.
How is Comerica Park a more hitter friendly stadium than Angels stadium? Most folks refer to Comerica as "pitcher friendly."
The data disagree. It's played roughly neutral for a few years now.
I just want to note that for some of us fans, the fact that awards talk dominate baseball discussion when there are so many other interesting things going on is annoying and disappointing. Other fans bring it up frequently, but it is also partly media-driven as the writers have power and prestige to gain by framing their awards as such a meaningful topic.
I agree to some extent. The counter is that there is some segment of the fan base that wants this ongoing debate.
Don't you use caliber of competition against Miggy though? Or is that merely to illustrate your point of the angels had more wins?
I was saying that in the NL CYA debate, neither of those two candidates has a real advantage in the caliber of competition category.
Does the fences being brought in at Safeco change the prospective numbers of the slew of youngsters on the club. Can it make Smoak (since the park was messing with him since he is a mental midget) a .230 hitter with 30 bombs consistently? How bout others like Montero and Zunino?
I wouldn't be surprised to see one or two of those hitters take a big step forward because driving the ball out to left suddenly has a higher ROI.
How often are you referred to as "insufferable?"
Any time I point out that someone is making a subjective or nonsensical argument.
It's probably old hat at this point, but are ever genuinely surprised by some of the reactions you get from people over your analysis of players, stats, etc.?
Surprised, no. My expectations for humanity are pretty low at this point. For example, Todd Akin surprised me not because of his views - I knew people that stupid existed - but that someone running for office would actually say that stuff out loud.
How do you think teams approach the wilidcard games this year? Everyone available, ala Game 7? Seems like the fact that a win gets you two home playoff games puts a lot of pressure on the managers...
That's how I'd approach it.
How is the Cuban kid looking so far for the Dodgers?And is it too early to give a comparison to?
Has definite power. Strong kid, in good shape, runs hard but not a plus runner. Looking forward to seeing him more in the AFL.
Hi, Keith. New Insider subscriber here, primarily to get access to your content. Great work. Have we seen enough out of Luis Heredia to know if he still has that "ace potential?" The Pirates seem to be treating him so gingerly that it's hard to get a handle on just how good he is.
Has the potential but has a very wide range of results. He has been handled very conservatively.
Did the Angels keep Trout off the roster coming out of spring training because they had a backlog of outfielders or hoping to save an arbitration year? With them barely missing they playoffs, do you think this changes how other teams promote prospects in the future?
I think it was the backlog issue more than anything else, and Trout missing a little of spring training with an illness. I do think it's a cautionary tale for teams going forward.
Isn't Dusty making a pretty big mistake going with arroyo over Latos for a possible two starts?
I think so.
Given all the praise for Breaking Bad (post season 1) given in your Dish review of Homeland, do you plan on giving that series another try?
Maybe. I'm currently giving Arrested Development a third try, this time from the beginning, and am enjoying it a lot more than I did when I watched a couple of episodes out of sequence. It definitely builds on itself in a way I didn't appreciate - and I think my sense of humor has become dryer over the years too.
Should the Cubs sign Josh Hamilton? If the A's can make the playoffs by adding Cespedes .. .
I don't think Hamilton, even if healthy, would be enough to put the Cubs in the playoffs next year.
Plus he's fairly high-risk.
Bigger lineup construction mistake: Waiting a month to promote Trout or giving Michael Young 650 PA again? You could argue that if neither happened, the A's might be in 3rd.
Young, because the mistake seemed to repeat every ... single ... day.
Thoughts on the Presidential Debate last night?
I didn't watch it (and couldn't comment if I had). I already know who I'm voting for, and even if I didn't, I would never let those silly dog and pony shows sway my opinion.
Keith this is an easy forum for you. You cherry pick the questions that you can easily know down. You never have to face a real cross examination for your views. Like most data analyst you completely ignore the human factor in your equations. It is why you invalidate Aug/Sep stats as more weighted. One paper sure they are equal to April/May but in reality once pressure, physical, and Mental fatique set in they are not.
I enjoy this criticism because you don't see the questions I ignore - you simply assume that there's some incredibly insightful question or comment that I'm choosing not to answer, even though you don't offer that insightful question yourself. I go watch games all the time. I do see the human factor - where it seems to matter. The whole "games matter more late in the season where it helps my candidate's case" argument holds no weight for me. Games matter all season. Players aren't slacking in mid-May.
We all remember Miguel Cabrera spewing the a??Do you know who I am?!a?ý to the cop when pulled over in 2011. Do you think the cop would now know who he is since he won the TRIPLE CROWN?
I don't think it's fair to use Cabrera's DUI against him at all in the MVP voting. That said, it's odd that he's now a good makeup guy for moving to a position he'd previously played.
Did Cespedes exceed your expectations for this season?
Very much so, yes. Every non-a's person I talked to before the season (since I did not see Cespedes in person) thought he'd struggle badly against offspeed stuff.
I don't hear you talk about breakfast foods much. What's a typical breakfast in the KLaw household?
During the week it's pretty modest - whole grain cereal, usually. We have a tight routine to get my daughter off to school. Weekends I'll usually take one morning to make something special, like waffles or pancakes (cooked in a little bacon fat, of course).
Just to play devil's advocate, have you ever considered that your heavy focus on analytics, large sample sizes, and dismissal of things like RBIs and Wins gives people the (obviously incorrect) impression that on some level you are not interested in individual games? I mean, the World Series does not really tell us who the best team in baseball is, right? So why be interested if it does not tell us something? Isn't the micro/narrative interesting even if not predictive or statistically valid? I know those stories are told elsewhere...
Possibly - I do talk about individual games or even plays a lot on Twitter or on the podcast. My main responsibility is player evaluation, though, so that's my focus in my writing, even though I watch playoff games as avidly as all of you do.
Was Brandon Crawford as bad offensively as you thought he'd be?
I expected terrible, and he was pretty terrible. Maybe he was less terrible than I expected?
On Cabrera, I think there's a distinction betwen good makeup in a sports team context and "he's a good person". Think Ray Lewis, Mark Messier, Michael Jordan - pro sports has a lot of great make-up, warrior type leaders who I wouldn't want anywhere near my children.
What is your go to rum?
Usually Appleton Reserve. I also like Ron Atlantico and Gosling's (for Dark and Stormy's). Cruzan is acceptable. I don't drink straight liquor, though, so I don't go for the highest-quality rums, which are wasted when mixed.
Crawford terrible?? Seriously? As a Giant fan who watched most games the guy far exceeded expectations and showed major improvement from last season. I am not sure how hitting 250 is terrible. Sure no power but he is in there for defense which is far superior to most SS.
Sub-.300 OBP if you ditch the intentional walks - and he had a few unintentional intentionals too. Defense is immaterial to a question about his bat.
Is Machado the Orioles starting 3B next season?
Sounds like it. I think he'll be very good, but I also think he can play SS long term, and a full season at 3b might make that less likely.
I wonder, when you can speak about it, if age factored into your NL Rookie of the Year vote. You are a big proponent of age-based competition in evaluating minor league talent, and it would make sense that some of that reasoning made it into your official vote. . . and yes, I know that there was an argument about just such a thing when Ichiro came into the league.
I think it's reasonable to use it as a secondary criterion, and I have checked with the BBWAA to make sure it would be acceptable to consider it as well. (If they said no, I would not consider it, period.)
Was Hechavarria as terrible with the bat as you were expecting?
All those Vegas guys who posted inflated numbers there fell flat in Toronto. It's a warning to Mets fans - don't get too excited about players who rake in Vegas next year.
jeff from sf is a troll, right?
Maybe. Lot of bridges there.
Isn't OBP a bit of a mirage for the #8 hitter? At times I have heard that they are told to swing at whatever they can make contact with when there are runners on base. Gotta get the runners in before the pitcher comes up.
They also draw a lot of IBB and unintentional intentionals. It's absolutely an issue for evaluating their performance.
On a scale of 1-10, trading Ike Davis to make room for Lucas Duda is how dumb? 14?
Preferred method of cooking bacon ?
Small amounts - Ruhlman's method, cover with water, boil (covered pot), reduce heat to brown. Larger quantities - in the oven on a rack in a sheet pan. Either way, make sure you save all that rendered fat.
Klaw have you ever tried one of those crazy "bacon milkshake" or other bacon-related concoctions that chain restaurants sell?
I almost never eat at chain restaurants at all. I don't like bacon in desserts, though.
A's or Tigers, who do you have and why?
Tigers, on pitching.
What kind of numbers could Chris Parmelee put up in a full season? He seems to be a different player over the last year and a half. Make sense to trade Morneau and give him a shot?
I am not a big believer in Parmelee or Plouffe, sorry. I don't think either guy is an average everyday player.
So, who's winning it all?
My preseason pick was Texas, and I still think that's the most complete team in the playoffs. But by Saturday morning they could be gone.
Do you think we saw Pedro Alveraz's peak this year? Is he a 30 HR guy or do you think he can bump the power up a bit?
I think this is roughly his peak.
It's obviously early in the process, but the Astros have done an amazing job beginning their rebuild, haven't they? Farm system went from #30 to maybe Top 10 in one season. Is there a lesson there for other orgs - respectability can get in the way of a rebuild??
Luhnow had an unusual degree of flexibility from ownership in blowing things up there. There was an acceptance that the team would likely be a 110-loss club in year one and maybe year two. That's not to diminish what they've done, but it wouldn'e be easy to replicate.
Are you sure it isn't comments like these that cause people to call you insufferable?"I almost never eat at chain restaurants at all."
If so, then good, I'm proud to be insufferable. Most national restaurant chains are scars on our food system. They contribute to factory farming and to overuse of antibiotics and pesticides, and peddle bland, lower-quality products that skew consumers' tastes with overuse of salt, sugar, and butter. I choose to spend my money elsewhere.
Can the Orioles repeat this year's success next year?
Unless they make significant changes to the roster, no, I don't think so.
What impact do you feel coaches make at the major league level? The Angels fire Mickey Hatcher and put runs on the board the rest of the year, while Fernando Rodney goes to Tampa and becomes an ace reliever, improved peripherals and all. There has to be some guidance there that was missing before, no?
Yes. Hard to quantify, but yes, coaches can matter. I think Kevin Seitzer's failure to correct Eric Hosmer's mechanics (hands way too high) is a legitimate reason for KC to look for a replacement.
I've saved a space especially for you on the Kozma bandwagon! You in?
What was your favourite part about being an assistant to Riccardi? Getting him coffee or making photocopies?
He's a tea drinker.
I feel like if people live in major cities and can't find good local restaurants, they aren't looking hard enough.
Totally agree. Even in mid-sized cities there's often a local scene. Someone asked earlier about Lexington, Kentucky - there's a thriving local scene there. I'm hoping to get to scout someone there soon so I can try Table 310. It just takes a little research.
StL or Atl in WC game?
Which means we'll have to suffer the racist Tomahawk Chop for two more games after that, at least.
How were you able to satisfy that refined palate of yours when you were poor and in school (assuming you don't come from a wealthy family)? BTW, I dig the conscious consumerism.
I don't come from a wealthy family, but I was also not a very sophisticated eater at that age.
Speaking of chains, last month I was in Vegas and happily convinced my friends to go to the new Culinary Dropout at the Hard Rock. Naturally, when we got there, they overrode it and went to Pink Taco. I like PT, but I've been there a dozen times, and this was a new, Klaw approved place to try. My question is, do I need new friends?
Yes, you do. One of my closest friends became that way in part because we share a love of trying new restaurants.
As someone who works for one of those national chains (and is also a huge foodie), there is something to be said for bland uniformity. Just because you and I might enjoy variety, innovation, and quality and are willing to pay for it, some people just want a relatively inexpensive place where they dont have to cook.
Last comment on this topic - I know here and in the Boston suburbs there are plenty of local places priced competitively or even slightly below the national chains where you can get a much higher-quality meal and keep your money local. I'd send anyone here in the East Valley to Hillside Spot or Liberty Market if they wanted what you describe.
If your Cleveland's GM, what is your first order of business to re-shape that club?
You're not going to be competitive with the pitching in the system - never mind contending, just competitive. I'd look at dealing Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera as potential rebuilding moves.
How hilarious would a Ruf/Howard platoon at 1B next season?
I'd love that. The preeminent slugger in baseball ... reduced to part-time status.
Going to a new BBQ place for lunch. Do I get the meat sampler or the more meat sampler?
The meat tornado.
The Jays' big three arms in Lansing (Sanchez, Syndergaard, Nicolino) and other top pitching prospects are at least a couple of years away, while the major-league rotation is thin. Should AA aggressively add pitching through free agency or trades (knowing that the price will be steep), or bide his time and build more gradually from within?
Adding one pitcher would make sense, but adding a slew with several guys coming back from injury would not.
Regarding the Cy Young award, is the criteria the best pitcher or the most valuable one? If it's "best", wouldn't there be an argument that a great reliever pitched best in the innings he was asked to pitch? He had the higher quality innings, and how many of them he was asked to pitch was out of his hands.
Why is there a difference between best and most valuable? The player doesn't control the context. You perform better, you deliver more value.
I'm assuming you are on board with the Kansas City Star's stance on omitting Washington DC's football team's nickname, right?
Yes. You'll notice I avoid references to the team nicknames for Cleveland and Atlanta, too.
Can you recommend a nice place to try in Atlanta?
I haven't been to the Spence or Empire State South but would love to try both.
How does the timing of certain events play into the awards? If I told you McCutcheons stats at the start of the season, and said that the Pirates would just miss being over 500, would he be a better candidate for MVP? Or does the steep drop in his production over the last month ruin (lessen) his chances?
I think the steep fall in the Pirates' record hurts his chances more. McCutchen fell off the radar almost entirely.
OK, time to wrap this up for a radio hit in Pittsburgh. I might not chat next week due to AFL scouting - I'll let everyone know via Twitter and my Facebook page. Thanks for all the questions!