Welcome to the MLB Roundtable, sorry we missed last week, but the crew is back to wrap up the season, breakout the Gold Glove awards, debate Kershaw and what pitching staff you would want between the AL and the NL.
1. Another season is in its twilight. Many fans have again been disappointed by failure while others rejoice as their team gears up for the post-season. What is your biggest take away, favorite news highlight or even worst moment/memory from this year’s regular season?
ARCHIE: My worst memory of the season began before the regular season even got started. When the Braves let Tim Hudson and Eric O’Flaherty walk away and brought in , oh what’s his name, having brain fart, must not be a very memorable player, oh yeah, Gavin Floyd I was thinking they lost their mind. Then when Medlen and Beachy both went down AND they received news that Venters would NOT return this year I was like, “oh shit!”
As for the best memory this year, I would have to say the classy way that Jeter, like Chipper, made his retirement announcement early, and then went on to have his hoo-rah his own way. He has been the epitome of what a team Captain should look like on a MLB team. And to do that his entire career for one of the most storied franchises speaks volumes.
JOE: My worst memory? Everyone is gonna say to me “poor baby” considering my team’s past record of success… but watching the Yankees for me has probably been as painful as watching the Braves has been for Archie. Their inability to score with runners in scoring position has been simply brutal to watch. Hell, their inability to just do the fundamentals.. like running the bases… is inexcusable. The team really is just not that good. And for the first time, I am thinking it may be time for Brain Cashman to go.
Biggest best memory? I actually have two… Watching Clayton Kershaw is the first one… watching this guy put up his Koufax like numbers is just amazing. The guy is really that damn good.
And, as bittersweet as it is, I gotta admit I am gonna miss Derek Jeter. He had class and knew how to play the game. Talking about fundamentals… he understood how every little thing could mean the difference between being a champ or an also ran. I will miss him.
STEPHAN: two things stick out in my mind. First, the collapse of many top tier teams. The A’s and Tigers who were solid favorites to win the division and compete for the World Series, now find themselves fighting just to stay in the playoff hunt. The second is the resurgence of the Chicago Cubs. The fans have something to cheer for and really should be excited for the upcoming season.
SANDY: Well my team should get in the play-offs, but my favorite highlight is watching Kershaw’s no hitter, which should have been a perfect games, except for error prone Ramirez. It was late in the game and perhaps they should have replaced him, but water under the bridge.
2. Is Kershaw the best the best pitcher from the last two decades? Where do you rank him in the top 100 all time?
ARCHIE: His numbers are comparable if not better than any of the other pitchers for the past 20 years. I automatically go back and compare to Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux. Baseballreference.com list Walter Johnson as the #1 pitcher of all time. He had a lifetime ERA+ 147 and not once did he average over 7.6 strikeouts per game. Kershaw currently averages 9.4 K’s per nine…………..for his career.
JOE: See my previous answer… simply, yes. I don’t think it is too presumptuous to say top twenty right now. And, barring injury, I think he can be in the top five conversations by the time his career winds down. As far as the s0-called modern era I think he will be mentioned along with some of the all time greats such as Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver and Pedro Martinez…
STEPHAN: I tossed this one around for a bit, and am going with my rather large gut here and say No. It’s very close between Kershaw, Greg Maddux, and Randy Johnson. Maddux gets my vote, albeit this is a pure homer pick. Ask me again in three years and I may change my mind.
SANDY: I don’t think you can compare current pitchers to those that have retired in the last 20 years. The stats for the retired players would be based on more games. Currently I think Kershaw is the best pitcher in MLB. If he plays at the same level for the next 10 years I would put him in the top 15 and perhaps higher if he players to a higher lever then he currently is, if that’s possible.
ARCHIE: If you accept the old adage that it is harder to pitch in the AL due to the DH then what some of the pitchers over there are doing would make one think to choose the AL guys to build a rotation around. HOWEVER, when you get to start off with Kershaw and Cueto from the NL, that trumps the old adage crap.
JOE: I’m an American League guy… always have been. If the Yanks ain’t in the World Series then I root for whatever AL team is… unless it’s the Red Sox. However, when it comes to 5 man rotations, I think I gotta go National League… (All stats are as of 9/10 per CBS.com)
Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)… 18-3, 210 strikeouts, 1.65 ERA, 0.1817 WHIP
Johnny Cueto (Reds)… 17-8, 213 strikeouts, 2.29 ERA, 0.976 WHIP
Madison Bumgarner (Giants)… 17-9, 199 strikeouts, 3.01 ERA, 1.105 WHIP
Adam Wainwright (Cardinals)… 17-9, 156 strikeouts, 2.61 ERA, 1.059 WHIP
Zack Grienke (Dodgers)… 14-8, 186 strikeouts, 2.72 ERA, 1.164 WHIP
Just for ha-ha’s… the AL… no stats, just names… Max Scherzer (Tigers); Felix Hernandez (Mariners); David Price (Tigers); Chris Sale (White Sox) and James Shields (Royals).
STEPHAN: The American League. Felix, David Price, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, and Jon Lester
SANDY: I’ll go with the NL C. Kershaw, (LAD) A. Wainwright, (STL) J Cueto, (CIN) C. Hamels (PHIL) and T. Ross (SD).
4. Last year Chris Davis led all of MLB with 53 homeruns. This season with only 20 games left, Cruz, Stanton, or Carter will have to hit one homerun every two games to even have a chance at 50. In fact over the last decade the 50 mark has only been breached 7 times. The previous decade saw that mark reached 18 times. Have we seen the last of steroids and the long ball?
ARCHIE: I do believe as long as a player can make it through the minors OR come from a foreign country without the minor league stance to sign big contracts to play in the bigs; then every advantage available will continue to be used. Having said that; I think seasons like ’98 and ’01 are over. I do feel that players know they are more scrutinized and maybe they control the amount or times the juice is used.
JOE: Last of steroids? I doubt it. Maybe it isn’t being used to the degree it was once used but there are still players juicing. I would bet on it.
Having said that… the long ball will reappear sooner or later because these things are cyclical. The only difference will be that instead of 4 or 5 players slamming 50 or HRs, it will be one guy every now and then. I think 4o, which used to be the old norm, is now, once again, the new norm, with 50 or more being indicative of a player having a very great season… at least as far as the long ball goes.
STEPHAN: I’m going no on this and I’ll tell you why. Eventually people, owners, executives, are going to get relaxed on the steroid issue. Maybe not in the next five years, but it’s gonna happen. When it does, you will see this whole thing play out once again. Sorry, call me a skeptic.
SANDY: I hope we have seen the last of steroids in MLB, but I don’t think its completely eradicated yet. When players start hitting that many HR’s I tend to start wondering about PEDs again. Not many player left that could hit 50 HR’s a year, so hopefully that era will be coming to a close.
ARCHIE: A player can have 15 errors in a season and when compared to a peer may look worse if the second guy only has 7 errors. Fielding percentage can give a false sense of effort and worth as well. However, when you look at number of chances, range factor and all the other stats it gets convoluted at best.
But, when you listen to players, Managers and Radio Analyst it makes it easier to commit to a decision.
Ergo, NL Andrelton Simmons and AL Alexei Ramirez for the GGs. For the SS in that position, I will nominate Alexei Ramirez for the SS as well in the AL and Hanley Ramirez in the NL.
JOE: I’m terrible at this Gold Glove stuff… so I am gonna make it short, sweet and simple… (all of the following stats are as of 9/10 per Baseball-Reference.com)
In the AL… Alexei Ramirez: 11 errors in 627 chances for a .982 fielding percentage.
In the NL… Andrelton Simmons: 13 errors in 574 chances for a .981 fielding percentage.
STEPHAN: JJ Hardy for Silver Slugger, Jose Reyes for Gold Glove. For the National League, I like Ian Desmond for both.
SANDY: Silver Slugger: Starlin Castro (CHC), Jose Reyes (TOR)
Gold Glove: Jimmy Rollins (PHIL), Alexei Ramirez (CHW)
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