1. At this point in the season only Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig put up the kind of season that Miguel Cabrera is having; that is IF you exclude Bonds. So that last point brings up the question: Does Miggy get a “free pass” on the steroid issue?
ARCHIE: I hate to be so cynical but the past few years have left me no choice but to suspect ANY player having a Career or Super year. That being said, I pray Miguel NEVER comes onto anyone’s list of cheaters as some of the other players have done. There may be many that compare his rookie season weight to his current bulk but I think you can contribute that to his constant weight struggles. He seems destined to hit 300 pounds before his life is over.
STEPHAN: I don’t think you can give anyone a free pass on the steroid issue. I have no doubt that Cabrera is doing this the right way, but you just can never be too sure on a guy.
JOSEPH: Nope. No one does anymore, unfortunately. It is just a sign of the times, and, very unfortunate for those are clean. However, at the same time, and with fingers crossed, until something comes out that connects Cabrera with PEDs, or any other drug, I gotta believe he is clean. However, I once thought that about some other guys who eventually brought me to my “Say it ain’t so” moment. So, here’s hoping Miggy never disappoints me, lays off the booze a tad, and, keeps on hitting that baseball hard.
2. Has the “Best Closer in Baseball” crown been passed to Kimbrel?
ARCHIE: God please do NOT forsake or jinx Craig; but yes, I believe he is the BEST in MLB at this point in time. Best ever? No. Best in the last decade; not quite there. Best now; yes he is.
STEPHAN: I think it is too early to call Craig Kimbrel the best closer in baseball. He certainly is on pace to take that status, but he only has had two very solid seasons, and only has two full seasons in the league. He is well on his way, but even as a big fan of Craig Kimbrel, I cannot give him that title quite yet.
JOSEPH: I guess for the last there seasons anyway. However, three years does not a career make. Let’s see a bigger body work, at least another five years, before we go awarding any “best” titles around.
3. What two teams, one from each league, are the biggest disappointments this year?
ARCHIE: I will have to go with the Angels in the American League for the biggest underachievers of this season. After all their offseason moves and acquisitions, how is it possible they not only fail to contend for the west; they have the 3rd WORST record in the AL.
I will give the nod to the San Francisco Giants for being the biggest disappointment in the NL. They began with virtually the same core of players that won two of the last 3 World Series. I don’t think everyone became accustomed to them being the WS champs every year, but they were at the very least supposed to defend their crown. As it is now they will be lucky to NOT be the cellar dwellers in the West.
STEPHAN: In the AL, let’s start with the obvious choice..The Los Angeles Angels. The Angels had high expectations coming in to this season with the addition of Josh Hamilton. Lets face it, with a 3-4-5 of Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton, how could you not be the odds on favorite to win the American League. With Hamilton all but sucking it up, Pujols out, and Trout the only one that is having a good season, the Angels are destined to re-vamp after this season.
I don’t think there is really a clear cut team in the NL, but I do think that the Washington Nationals are underachieving from what they did one year ago. Many predicted them to win the NL East again this season and some even had them representing the National League in the World Series. Bryce Harper is having a good season, but the pitching staff has not performed up to expectations.
JOSEPH: (1) In the AL, I would have said the Blue Jays but I predicted they would tank from spring training on. (If I don’t toot my own horn no one else will!) Hmmm, I reckon I gotta go with the Los Angles Angels in the AL. Point blank: If you told me in April that they would be 16.5 games out of first on August 26, I would have said that “I a got a c-note that says you are wrong.”
(2) In the NL it has to be Washington. Point blank: What I said about LAA goes for the Nats, too. I just think they are a lot better team than a dead even .500 team that they are as of today.
4. What if any significance does Ichiro Suzuki’s 4000 total hits have on his HOF credentials?
ARCHIE: In a way I am tired of hearing about Ichiro’s 4K hits. Those hit in Japan do not have a damn thing to do with his accomplishments in MLB. While I do feel he will get into the HOF based on his accomplishments while playing here in the states; I feel those extra hits in Japan will not weigh one bit on those in the BBWAA that have a vote.
STEPHAN: If Pete Rose can’t get in with 4000 hits…okay I won’t go there. Honestly, I think that his achievements alone in MLB are enough to put him in the Hall of Fame. I don’t see Ichiro as a 4000 hit guy counting the hits he had in Japan, because it is a whole new style of baseball. That is like counting the hits that one would get in the Minor Leagues, or Fall Ball. Ichuro should be in the Hall of Fame based on his credentials in MLB, and his Japan numbers should have no bearing.
JOSEPH: None. Pete rose said it best: “Hey, if we’re counting professional hits, then add on my 427 career hits in the minors. I was a professional then, too. If you look at the records, Henry Aaron has 4,000 professional hits. So did Stan Musial.
Aaron had 4,095 professional hits – 3,771 in the major leagues and 371 in the minors. Musial had 4,001 professional hits – 3,630 hits in the majors and 371 in the minors.
Now will Ichiro make it into the HOF? Yes sir, buddy! Anyone who averages about 209 hits a year for his career and has a shot at 3000 in his career gets into the Hall if I got a vote.
ARCHIE: Call me a homer. Call me a wishful thinker. Call me whatever you wish, but IF the Braves finish with the best record in the NL; Freddie Freeman should be looked at very hard for the NL MVP vote. I realize there are categories that Goldschmidt, Votto and others have the edge on Freddie, especially at the same position, but you ask every pitcher or infielder on the Braves how many errors Freddie saves over the course of a week, month or season and to a man, they will tell you he is the best in MLB at receiving at first. And batting in the clutch, Freddie is batting a cool .448 with RISP.
STEPHAN: Once again there is no clear cut winner in the National League, much like last season. There are a handful of candidates like Yadier Molina, Clayton Kershaw, and Paul Goldschmidt. However, my vote goes to Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen. A-Mac has been on a terror as of late, and has put the Pirates in a position that they have not come close to since 1992, a playoff berth. He is batting well over .300, 17 HR, and 24 Stolen Bases, he has led the Pirates this season, and it is about time that some good things start happening again for the Pirates organization.
JOSEPH: In my opinion it is between Andrew McCutchen, and Paul Goldschmidt. And, because of McCutchen’s defense in center and that he is arguably leading the Pirates to a possible… hell; I’ll stick my neck out and say it: he is leading a Pirates team to the playoffs, so, he would win it over Goldschmidt on my ballot. But, if Arizona were to get into playoff contention then I would switch that vote to Goldschmidt who according to this morning’s baseballreference.com is in the top three of almost all the top offensive categories that are not speed categories such as SB. His defense at first is damn good and if it were just a numbers game then he should win the award with little in his way as I see the field.
In reality I think the award will actually be a race between McCutchen and Joey Votto with Yadier Molina a close third.
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