1. It is time to pick your golden glove candidates for the year. Name the person that stands out in your mind, any team; any position, that deserves the GG award this year.
ARCHIE: Brave’s Shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Man has this guy played defense this year. He has been on several highlight reels and some of his plays left announcers with just one word: WOW!! Bench coach Carlos Tosca has been coaching at the Pro level since 1978 and he stated that Simmons is the BEST defensive player he has ever watched play the game.
STEPHAN: I would say it is hard to pick against Yadier Molina of the Cardinals. He is probably one of the best defensive catchers in the league right now, and is all but a lock for the gold glove at Catcher this season.
JOSEPH: Golden Gloves is so arbitrary and I am never sure how anyone determines who the best is defensively.
Having said that I submit that NL catcher may be a no brainer this year. I believe Yadier Molina will be and should be the gold glove winner for the NL at catcher. Type in his name on any search engine, and you will find phrases like “Molina is the QB of the Cardinals. He calls the game and directs the defense.”
Then sites such as Baseball Prospectus say there is probably no one better at framing pitches, and, in fact, has said that as of June 30 Molina already had 301 out-of-zone pitches called strikes. BP estimates he will save the Cards pitchers 35 runs against the team ERA.
He is one of the best at blocking balls in the dirt so his pitcher aren’t afraid to break off a nasty “Uncle Charlie” at any time, in any game.
Molina has only three passed balls this year along with being unable to stop 33 pitches from being called “wild”. His closest competition, Buster Posey, also has only three passed balls and has seen a slightly better 30 wild pitches but has “only” a 33% caught stealing rate compared to Molina’s 42%.
So based on this info I feel safe about picking Yadier Molina for NL GG catcher.
2. Thinking of end of year awards; who are your AL and NL candidates for the CY awards this year?
ARCHIE: In the AL I look for Matt Scherzer to walk away with the CY. Not just because of his wins; but also for his overall dominance this year. He has a WHIP of less than 1.00, a BA against less than .200 and he has over 200 K’s.
In the NL Clayton Kershaw fits the bill with almost identical stats as Scherzer. Had it not been for the offensive woes of the Dodgers, he would already have a 20 win season. He got beat 1-0 eight times this year. WOW!
STEPHAN: Max Scherzer in the American League has been the all around best pitcher, and has the record to show for it. I think he runs away with the American League CYA this year. In the National League Im going with Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers.
JOSEPH: In the AL I got Detroit’s Max Scherzer (19-2 with a 2.88 ERA and 209 Ks) running away with it followed by dark horse candidates Tampa’s Matt Moore and LAA’s C. J. Wilson.
In the NL I think its LAD’s starter Clayton Kershaw (14-8, 1.92 ERA, 208 Ks and 2 shut outs versus Atlanta’s reliever Craig Kimbrel (44 saves, and 6 (!) earned runs in 57 innings pitched for a 0.94 ERA.)
3. Keeping the theme in tact; who are your Silver Slugger awards this year at the Catcher Position in each league?
ARCHIE: I know many are thinking Matt Weiters of the Orioles should be getting this award this year but I have a hard time selecting someone batting in the .230’s. Joe Mauer should earn the title this year even though the Twinkies are not close to a playoff spot.
In the NL the race is tighter but the edge currently goes to Yadier Molina. Buster Posey is running a very close second but the overall average is a bit higher for Molina playing on a playoff bound team. When the votes are in I feel Molina will receive the award this year.
STEPHAN: In the American League I will take Matt Wieters of Baltimore, and in the National League Im taking Brian McCann of Atlanta.
JOSEPH: Answer: in the NL it is a tossup between San Fran’s Buster Posey and St Louis’ Yadier Molina and in the AL its between Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and Boston’s Mike Napoli.
My picks, if I had to make a choice right now, are Molina and Mauer.
4. The Texas Rangers seem to have a strangle hold on one of the WC spots or their Division title and Oakland with the WC. Cleveland, KC, Baltimore, Tampa Bay and the Yankees are all still bidding for that final playoff spot. Who is your winner?
ARCHIE: While the AL East beat up on each other you better keep your eye on the Indians. They have by far the weakest schedule left of any team in the AL bidding for the final WC spot. The only games left against a team over .500 are the 6 games they have with KC. (3 @home, 3 away). All of their other games are against the Astros, Twins and White Sox. I’m picking them for an upset entry into the post season.
STEPHAN: Well I think that whoever comes in second in the West (Oakland or Texas) will get one of the Wild Card spots. I think the Tampa Bay Rays hold on and will take the second wild card spot.
JOSEPH: I’m going with Tampa Bay as the other wild card. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.
5. Should MLB buy the Miami Marlins team from the current owners and relocate them like they did the Expos?
ARCHIE: Yes and then HELL YES! The owners of the Miami Marlins have done nothing but strip the club down to a couple of good players and hung their fans out to dry……….again! It is time for MLB to either buy them outright like they did with the Nationals team or force Loria to sell, like he did the Expos.
STEPHAN: I don’t think it is about money with the Marlins organization. I think they have money to spend, they are just going to be more cautious with their bad investments two years ago. The Expos were not drawing squat even with a winning organization. I think Miami can be a good baseball city but needs to be run properly. If MLB gets their hands on the Marlins, it will not end well for the city of Miami. So no, MLB should not buy the Marlins and relocate them. Keep in mind, this team has won two World Series titles since 1997, that is more than every team other than the Yankees (4), Red Sox and Cardinals (2).
JOSEPH: Problem is we have already been through that rodeo with the same owner*. Didn’t MLB learn anything from the first time with Jeff Loria? Reckon not, eh?
But, truthfully, I don’t know what Loria did that is so very wrong. He overpaid for a bushel of players and expected to contend for a ring and promptly failed to gain his quest. So instead of continue to try for a playoff berth with questionable talent (that should be the start of a firestorm of retorts) he decided to cut that suspect talent from his club and get whatever he could in return from some other fool … I mean MLB owner. He found the Jays and now let me ask this pertinent question: With the jettisoned players from the Marlins exactly what have the Jays done this year? Righttttt. Pitifiully poor.
So on what grounds should MLB try to extort the Miami team from Loria? Loria made a decent business decision; a A decision that angered a bunch of baseball fans but none the less a good baseball business decision.
HOWEVER… relocation is an entirely different issue and for whatever reason I am not convinced MLB will ever succeed in Florida. Whether they be in Miami or in Tampa. Tampa was competing for the top spot in their division earlier this year and can’t even come close to selling out the ball park on a regular basis. And Miami even when they had all those “great” players couldn’t sell out either. And this year they are second to last in home attendance with an average of 19,214 folks per game. Who is last? Tampa Bay with an average of 18,719 folks per game.
So, why does anyone think that will change any time in the near future? Both teams need to move. The problem is that as soon as MLB says either team can move the whole issue of MLB being exempt from antitrust laws will be reinvigorated.
And that, dear fans, is a totally different story for a different time.
*from Wikipedia: In 2002, as part of an orchestrated move with Bud Selig and then-Marlins owner John W. Henry, Loria sold the Expos to “Expos Baseball, LP,” a partnership of the other 29 major league clubs, for $120 million. In effect, the Expos were sold to the commissioner’s office. Henry then sold the Marlins to Loria for $158.5 million, including a $38.5 million no-interest loan from MLB. The deal was approved by the other owners before Loria and Henry even signed a contract, and paved the way for Henry to buy the Boston Red Sox. Loria moved the Expos’ entire front office staff, on-field staff, office equipment and computer equipment to Florida.
Tiny URL for this post: