This week the big topics in MLB seems to be the KC Royals 8…
Or… how eight men out of the Kansas City Royals might be starters in this year’s All-Star game… and… the ultimate in sign stealing… a breach into the Houston Astros data base allegedly by a so-called paragon of baseball virtue when it comes to teams doing it the “right way”… the St. Louis Cardinals. So, the crew chips in with their thoughts…
Which is better… offensive slugfests or pitcher’s duel?
Who would you take as your starting five?
And, why are the Cubs turning it all around this year?
But… before we get into this weeks round table discussion…
There is a new addition to the crew… Dan. And, until I can ask my buddy Frank up in Maine to do the artwork… he’ll sort of be an anonymous identity for now. Bear with me and us. Unfortunately, we ain’t like some of the other big time peeps running sites with a whole shipload of cash like DraftKings, so, these things do take some time.
I’ll get it together and have it looking spiffy with Dan included… promise.
Now… the five most pressing baseball questions of the moment… and the guys who will answer them all…
1) As of Monday (6/15), the latest voting totals in the American League, released Monday, have eight players from the Kansas City Royals in line to start the July 14 All-Star game.
If, the voting stays this way and 8 KC players are voted as starters should MLB rethink the fan voting process part of who gets into the All-Star game? Or, is this just a case of what KC manager Ned Yost says: “There’s nothing wrong. Vote! The votes are the votes. If you don’t like it, go out there and vote. Our fans have gotten out and voted.”?
I agree with Yost, “If you don’t like it, then VOTE.” It’s just like any general election.
Dan: I don’t think there’s a problem with how the All-Star voting is done. Everybody has a fair chance to go vote. Teams should be encouraging their fans to go vote for their players. It’s up to the fans. so, simply, the fans need to go vote.
FYI…they just removed a bunch of ballots that were cast, I believe, in an effort to stop the All-Star game from being the Royals v NL
In reality, I believe they should do away with the All-Star game all-together.
I do think the process should be changed, however. But, it’s not because of all of the Royals players that could play in the Game. I, for one, think All-Star voting should be taken out of the fans hands. Fans make it a popularity contest. Often players who deserve the nod, miss out, and, that, to me, is unfair.
Let me illustrate… when I was a kid my favorite player was Bobby Richardson of the Yankees… yeah, I love Mickey but when my mom brought me my first baseball glove… it was a Richardson model, and, then the dude went off in the 1960 World Series and won MVP. In my mind, a star was forever born regardless that he was just an average hitter and there were better second baseman who should be on the All-Star team back in them days. Wouldn’t have mattered as a pre-teener enthralled with Bobby, I would have voted 35 times for him by today’s voting standards.
Either take voting out of the fan’s hands entirety or limit it to 1 vote per email from a specific internet address. That won’t eliminate ballot stuffing altogether but it would make it a more even playing field… and less likely that the KC Royal 8 would occur unless they a team really did have 8 players who were that damn god.
I love how the fans can vote on the last spot on the team for the NL and the AL, but that only gives fan 5 selections to choose from. So, I have no problem with that. The problem is, that the All Star game is basically a popularity contest, and, and as such in previous All Star voting you have seen in the starting lineup, a guy hitting .220. That should be addressed.
However, let’s put this question into perspective.
The Royals are a very good team, and, looking up and down their roster, it’s not a far stretch of theirs being the best lineup in baseball. And, while, I would be hard pressed to not put Pujols, or Teixiera in at as an All Star at First Base, KC players Cain, Hosmer, Perez, Gordon, Morales, and Escobar are having great seasons just to name a few. Throw in a couple of relievers, and starters, it is not that far from a stretch to see this happen. While I am against the fan vote in general, this could be right with the exception of Hosmer, who should make the team, just not as a starter.
2) As of Tuesday (6/17), “sign stealing” appears to have gone high tech and entered into an entirely new level. The New York times reported that the FBI and Justice Department are investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for hacking into the Houston Astros‘ proprietary database to steal player evaluation and statistical analysis information, among other things.
MLB obviously will wait until any fed investigation has concluded and see if any possible criminal charges get filed, but, in your opinion what can MLB do, or should they do, if the Cardinals have been found to have breached another team’s internal data base?
Archie: Obviously, this is more about the criminal aspect of the situation than what the Cardinals actually found out about players. For the most part anything to do with the actual status of a player, i.e. health, contract, etc. is disclosable information between teams that might be working up a deal. We all know most players have to do a drug test and physical prior to trades (most times) so, I don’t see where they could have gained anything really on the players themselves.
Now, if, they were trying to find an advantage by stealing inside business secrets on how to evaluate players better, how to negotiate contracts better, etc. then, I do see it as a MLB oversight issue. And, then, it comes down to waiting for the FBI investigation to complete (mainly so they do not interfere).
Dan: Honestly, they need to wait until the FBI concludes their investigation and decides on a matter. Then take it from there.
IMO, a large fine to the organization, loss of draft picks, remove those who hacked the Astros’ data base from MLB and ban them from ever working for a MLB team again.
That’s all you can do, I don’t know what else would work.
From what I understand, the hackers didn’t really access anything of true value. However, that is something for the FBI to determine. Until then, I don’t think Major League Baseball can make a proper ruling.
But, I guess… a big time fine and at least the banishment from ever again working in MLB for whoever is deemed responsible for the intrusion into the Astros’ systems.
No, but, from what I am hearing, they could be in a ton of trouble. And,not from MLB just taking away draft picks. I have heard things as being excluded to sign Free Agents. If, this proves to be true, the Cardinals, who have been a highly respectable organization in terms of fair play, and grooming their guys the right way, are going to face some scrutiny around baseball.
As for the punishment? A hefty fine, and a loss of draft picks is the only thing I see really happening here.
3) Time to play GM… money is no object… and as luck would have it, all pitchers have suddenly been declared to be available as free agents…
Which pitchers do you sign as your starting five? Reasons?
I follow him up with a solid lefty David Price. Price is still very effective and I need a solid veteran lefty as well to head up my stables.
I would then go with youth, someone that is good now but would only get better with mentorship from those two. My first choice there would be Shelby Miller. I did not know much about the man when he went to Atlanta but after a 1/3 of a season I see where his makeup is from pretty good stock. He has a huge upside for development and I predict he will be the pitcher that throws Atlanta’s first No Hitter in many moons.
I am then going to back that up with Clayton Kershaw. He is solid and always has been. When he is on there is no one as dominate on the mound. People think something is wrong with him this year because of the “lack” of dominance but his stats are still solid, just not among the top ten.
And, if, we are going with a 5 man rotation I would round out with another crafty Veteran in Zach Greinke. Zach is still dominate and just like Scherzer, he gets it done from the right side of the mound.
Dan: Felix Hernandez, because he’s a strikeout machine and just an unbelievable pitcher.
I need Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher in the league right now.
David Price, and a healthy Justin Verlander and I also need Adam Wainwright.
I feel like these are the best 5 pitchers in the league right now and when fully healthy they would be unstoppable.
The front four of my staff is proven and at times can be unhittable.
DeGrom could very well be just as good as those guys in another few seasons. He’s already proven himself to have ace like qualities despite a 7-5 record so far this season.
Joe: (1) Clayton Kershaw (L)… even though he’s having a down year for him he’s just one of the best. Last 4 years: 3 CY awards (1 second place) and an MVP… what else can be said? How about lifetime .660 W/L pct., 1.08 Whip and a 2.53 ERA?
(2) Felix Hernandez (R)… always seems to give 200 plus innings with 200 plus strikeouts, has a lifetime 1.16 Whip and an ERA of just over 3.00… which isn’t too shabby for pitching in the DH league. His record would be better if he played for a perennial winner instead of Seattle but still in this MLB era he’s a good bet to go deep into games and give your team a chance to win… 25 complete games with 11 shutouts lifetime.
(3) Chris Sale (L)… kind of has the same problem Felix has… his team isn’t always fighting for a playoff spot so his win totals sometimes suffer but… still has a lifetime W/L percentage over .600, with 1.02 Whip and a 2.76 ERA. And… he is only 26-years-old
(4) Gerritt Cole (R)… this is only his 3rd year in MLB and he has only started 55 games AND his record is a sterling 32-14 (.696 pct.) with a 1.15 Whip and an ERA of 3.01. Right now he is an early candidate for a CY award with a 11-3 record and a 1.78 ERA.
(5) Madison Bumgarner (L)… another guy gives you 200 plus innings a year and while he doesn’t always give you 200 strikeouts, he’s close as his average for the last four years, prior to 2015, is about 195. He has a lifetime 1.12 Whip, with a 3.06 ERA in this his 7th year in the Majors, yet, he is only 25-years-old.
So, I am going with the five best pitchers in baseball as far as I am concerned.
Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Max Scherzer, David Price, and Felix Hernandez. These guys will give you innings, to preserve your bullpen, and, they do not give up many runs. Scherzer may be the best pitcher in baseball right now with his recent outings.
With these five guys, how can you lose?
4) This revival by the Chicago Cubs… is it all because of President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer? Or, did the previous VP and GM (Jim Hendry), actually lay the ground work and Epstein and Hoyer are just now harvesting the fruits of his labors?
The new management began their overhaul when they faced sanctions/fines and tampering charges when they picked up Manager Joe Maddon while he was under extension talks still with Tampa Bay. Along with all their offseason moves and acquisitions that have actually “worked” they are on their way IMO to finally reaching the post season venue. IF, for some reason they do not complete that quest this year, I feel pretty sure the Cub faithful will not be long in waiting for the Cubs to be in the post season.
We might not see it coming now, but the whole Cardinals hacking incident could pay dividends to the Cubs down the road, IF, fines, loss of draft picks, etc. hit the Cardinals pretty hard.
Dan: I think it’s a part of both.
They have a new coach in Joe Maddon who knows how to work with the young talent that the old front office set in place. He has all that experience in Tampa Bay.
Then, I believe the current front office is doing a lot to step up to the plate to help them improve to the team that they have the talent for.
So, I think, it’s a piece of both the old and new front offices.
The Cubs under Epstein and Hoyer are building something that can really pan out over the next few seasons.
Joe: While, I think the previous front office for the Cubs still has some residual remnants of the players they picked through the draft, minor league development and free agency… it’s been about 5 years since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer (who, by the way, were a big part of the reason why the Red Sox beat the Bambino curse when they worked hand in hand as part of the Sox’ front office), so, whatever success the Cubs are now realizing is primarily because of the moves these two men have done.
Epstein and Hoyer can easily take all the credit for the Cubs revival. Hendry, had absolutely nothing to do with this. He was the one to sign players to high priced contracts in an attempt to win and it backfired.
Now, you have guys like Bryant, Russell, Arrietta, and Lester (All thanks to Epstein) to complement guys like Castro, and Rizzo. The Cubs, under Epstein, rebuilt this organization, and, that is why they are where they are today. They may not win a World Championship this year, but mark my words, it is coming Chicago.
5) The talk is always around that to capture the younger crowd MLB needs to up the offense. (Editor’s note: according to my old recollections, that argument has been around since the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and was one of the rationales for expansion.)
Be that as it may be… what grabs your baseball inner self… a well-pitched, fast paced game that has a low score or a slugfest decided by a walk-off hit?
Archie: Here is the real deal. As a TRUE fan of a specific team you want both. YOU ALWAYS are looking for your team’s pitching to dominate and shut down the other team; a no hitter every time out. And, you are always looking for your team’s offense to put up Xbox or Play Station type hitting stats.
IF, I have put together a great pitching staff I DON”T WANT rules changes that accommodate hitting and scoring. IF, I put together an offensive Juggernaut then I don’t want changes that afford pitchers a decided advantage. Ergo, leave SHIT alone. The game seems to evolve where for a time period the tide swings back and forth as to which is more dominate. This will remain the same IF people just leave the game alone.
Now, I understand how some might see where the younger generation needs to get more “excited” about baseball but the ONLY way that is going to happen is to get them out from in front of a screen and onto a playing field.
Dan: I would much rather have a well-pitched fast-paced game than a slugfest.
I’m a fan of the pitching duels. Probably, in part because I used to pitch while I played Little League and for a couple years in high school, but, those types of games are the most fun to me.
I don’t want to see a lot of runs. The game drags on and it’s not as fun to me. I love me a pitching duel with 10+ strikeouts on both sides.
Earl: I like baseball, but. I don’t really consider myself a fan of the game. I was a big fan of the game, but, I started losing interest in my late teens. Now that I am in my 30’s I’m primarily a fan of basketball, football, and soccer.
I might be the type of fan that the game could win back with some slugging, but, honestly. I’d leave the game alone. Those who love baseball will always stick with the sport.
When, it’s all said and done a finely pitched, low scoring game, a bunch of strikeouts, maybe backed with some fine defense, is what I think baseball is really all about… especially when two managers get locked into having make decisions about when to pinch-hit (using no DH here) for pitchers or a weak hitting position player or take out a slugger for extra defense to protect a lead.
Still… with Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer locked into a fine pitcher’s duel, it wouldn’t hurt if Bryce Harper hit a walk off to win it all.
I love watching a 1-0 game. I went to a Cardinals vs Brewers game up in Milwaukee a few years ago and saw a pitching matchup for the ages. Chris Carpenter vs Yovanni Gallardo. Both had no-hitters through the sixth inning, and, it ended up being a walk off hit by Bill Hall in the Bottom of the Tenth inning to win the game for the Brewers 1-0. This game had me on pins and needles, and, you could feel the excitement in the air.
I have also been to a game where The Astros and the Cubs played, and, it was a 14-9 slugfest.
So, here is my take. Watching on TV, I prefer to see a ton of offense, but, when I go to a game, I want to see a close game with a great pitching duel. They both have advantages.
May 1, 1920 — Brooklyn Robins at Boston Braves, 26 innings
The Robins (later called the Dodgers) and the Braves played to a 1-1 tie. Umpires called the game because of darkness.
Tiny URL for this post: