Players… it’s all about the players @MLBRT 1/5

 

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Its called MLB and without MLB players there would be no MLB. This week we talk about some of the players who make the game of professional baseball reasons why we the fan want to watch the game… as well as for the Roundtable to have something to talk about. 

1) Bryce Harper won an MVP in 2015. He followed that with what most people would call a down season. Although, he still had the 2nd most HRs, RBIs and OBP for a season in his short 5-year career.

In 2017 can Harper come closer to replicating his 2015 season than his 2016? 

archie1-300x277Archie: Don’t know if he will ever replicate or best his ’15 season; I would bet a dime against a doughnut he will. He looks to cash in on his second year arbitration eligibility and to do that he had better best his ’16 season.

IMO he can. He has all the tools. I think the key is protection behind him in the lineup. Who will the Nationals place there?bryceharper

dan-3Dan: I think he can. Last year he was dealing with some injury concerns for a little part of the season and he still put up the second best numbers in his career.

I think he can come into 2017 looking good and putting up MVP-like numbers like in 2015. The Nats have a good team and are going to come into the season hungry to win a World Series after the Cubs won last year. They want to take over Chicago’s spot and it’s going to be driven heavily, on offense, by Bryce Harper.

e_j_-12-238x300Earl: Bryce Harper can absolutely replicate his 2015 season.

For one, it helps that Adam Eaton will be his teammate next season, as he will be a big bat that will protect Harper in the lineup. That will be big for him and the Nationals. Plus, as the question stated, he did not have a bad season by most players standards. It was just slightly off. He’ll absolutely bounce back and come back strong in ’17.

steve-01-288x300Steve: I stress the word “can.” Of course, he can have a season like 2015, he is a very talented baseball player, and, can be one of the greats in the current game. The real question is: Where is Bryce Harper’s confidence?

If, he can come out of the gate next season and start hitting like he is capable to, then, I think he can easily replicate what he did two years ago. However, if he continues to think about last season, then, I have a feeling this may be a long season for him.

2) Recently Curt Schilling said this: “(HOF voters are) not hiding the fact they stopped voting for me because of the things I’ve said on social media. That’s their prerogative as voters. They’re not gonna vote for me because of the character clause. There are some of the worst human beings I’ve ever known voting. There are scumbags.”

However, it is also a fact that right now his totals are trending up to slightly to slightly over 55% which would be his highest vote total since he became eligible for the Hall. 

Putting aside all the rhetoric and the possible discrimination by some voters… is Curt Schilling a Hall of Famer?

archie1-300x277Archie: Borderline. I am not sold on him being a true or legitimate HOF to begin with. After his “name calling” he probably will not see the Hall unless he buys a ticket. IMO I had rather see Roger Clemens go in first and THEN we can talk Schilling.

dan-3Dan: I think that he can get in, but it’ll be a couple years. And, I would vote for him. He had a Hall of Fame career, especially in the post-season. He was crazy good in the post-season, pitching with the bloody sock and all.curt-schilling

But, on the other note, writers have come out and said that they are not excluding Schilling due to his social media account antics or anything like that. They just feel like he’s not deserving this year over some other players. One thing that really doesn’t help anything is when he made his “joke” about lynching journalists. That kind of hits journalists hard as evidenced by a lot of their comments. Most didn’t take very kindly to his “joke.” It was the wrong thing by him to do. And, it’s scaring people off, a little bit as well, that he has a bunch of Nazi stuff.

Most writers won’t take political or ideology into consideration when voting, though, as evidenced by a lot of articles explaining why people voted for who they did and why they excluded who they did.

e_j_-12-238x300Earl: Statistically I would argue that he is, even though I think his 216 wins is a bit on the low-side to warrant induction. However, he has 3,000 strikeouts, a high strikeout to walk ratio, and he has a great postseason record to go along with two World Series titles. However, he’s an asshole so it won’t matter. He won’t get in and that’s a good thing.

steve-01-288x300Steve: I did a little research on Curt Schilling on baseball-reference.com. Looking at the numbers overall… 216 wins, 146 losses and a 3.46 ERA. Respectable, and a very good career.

He had three 20 win seasons, including a 23 win season in 2002. He is a 3-time World Series Champion, and a WS MVP. Three times he was runner up to the Cy Young Award, with a fourth top 5 finish.

His later career would certainly put him in the Hall of Fame conversation, but overall, I just don’t see it. I don’t care what he did or said on social media. It is all about what he did on the field. I think he is in the Hall of Very Good, but not the Hall of Fame.

3) Recently ESPN.com rated the ten best MLB pitchers. Clayton Kershaw was rated #1 and even though he was injured in 2016 he still put in some eye-opening numbers that didn’t detract from ESPN.com saying he is still the best in the game. 

Accepting Kershaw as the #1 pitcher, who then is the 2nd best pitcher in MLB and why? 

archie1-300x277Archie: I think after Kershaw it is highly debatable.

Hendricks
Hendricks

What are you looking for in a pitcher; a lot of innings, Ks, Wins or just simply the “quality start”? No one has stepped up and demanded the same respect year in and year out that Kershaw has over the past 5 or 6 years so it is really hard to say. 

IF, I had to choose someone to start a staff with other than Kershaw I guess I would choose Kyle Hendricks.

dan-3Dan: I think the second best pitcher in the MLB is Jake Arrieta. Yes, he’s young but in two back-to-back seasons, he has put up crazy good numbers and he helped lead the push at the top of the rotation for the Cubs to win the World Series.

Arrieta
Arrieta

In 2015, he had an insane year and arguably the best second half ever pitched. In 2016, he started off the same, came back to Earth a couple times during the first half and finished strong in the second half and had a solid overall season. He’s crazy good and some have said that he’s the closest to Kershaw talent wise that we’ll see for a while.

Another candidate I’d have is Stephen Strasburg, when healthy, and Chris Sale. I think Arrieta is better than both those pitchers, though.

Scherzer
Scherzer

e_j_-12-238x300Earl: Personally I’m a fan of Felix Hernandez but I’ll go with Jake Arrieta as the second best pitcher in the game. The last two seasons he has been statistically consistent and either near or at the top in the major statistical categories. I have to give it to him for that.

steve-01-288x300Steve: I would say that Max

is the “second” best pitcher in the game right now. He had a dominating season last year, with a 20 strike out game. He is one of just a hand full of players to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues. Jake Arrieta may be a close third right now, but, I think, the top two pitchers in the game at this point are Kershaw and Scherzer.

4) The frenzy of the Chicago Cubs finally winning a World Series has died down a tad so now is a good time to reflect on their World Series victory? 

In your memory, and trying to put aside the emotional context of their going so long without a World series title, where would you rate the 2016 season World Series?  

archie1-300x277Archie: Each WS has its own unique story line that makes it either memorable or just another series. It is those individual facets that aide in “rating” each series. I cannot honestly rate this series without those coming into play. However, it was one of the best I have ever watched considering all. Seventh game, down 3-1 in the series, extra innings, Chapman spent and ineffective to close out, old man David Ross hits dingier,

C’mon are you kidding me? This series had all a fan could want.

dan-3Dan: I think the 2016 World Series is a top-3 World Series of all-time.cubs

I don’t really know too much about the old time World Series besides who won and who played in them. But, this was the best World Series I’ve ever seen. From Game 1, the World Series was magical. It was entertaining and kept everyone glued to their TVs. Cleveland jumped up to a 3-1 lead and let it slip. Game 7 was the greatest Game 7 I’ve ever seen. Game goes back and forth late in innings. Tie game and they’re going to extras. But, wait, rain delay. It let magic happen and it was a complete magical way the Chicago Cubs took home the World Series title. It has to go down as the top 3 World Series of all-time, and me, personally, would put it number one.

e_j_-12-238x300Earl: It was a great World Series. It went 7 games and the Cubs had to come back from being 3-1 to do so. Game 7 in itself had a dramatic ending with Fowler’s big hit.

If, I had to rank it from 1-5, the Series deserved 5.

steve-01-288x300Steve: The series alone was incredible, and, then cap it off with one of the greatest Game 7’s ever played.

Two teams who have not won a World Series title in many fans lifetimes. The storyline was perfect.

The Cubs having a 6-3 lead late in the game, the Indians come all the way back to tie it and take it to extra innings. Then the rain comes and suspends play. You couldn’t write it any better. Cubs score twice in the 10th, the Indians still don’t quit and score once in the tenth and with a runner on. Bryant to Rizzo for the World Series title for the Cubs.

5) Mike Trout is very arguably the best position player in MLB today. In your opinion which position player (non-pitcher) would be the 2nd best?

Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera

 archie1-300x277Archie: Hard for me to NOT choose the old man. Miggy has been tops for a long time now and is still one of the best offensively in the game. I can’t give him props for the field but at the dish, he is my second choice.

dan-3Dan: I think Bryce Harper is the second best position player in all of baseball. He has insane hitting ability, almost to the point of Trout’s. Added to his hitting, Bryce can field and run the bases exceptionally well. Bryce Harper is, also, one of the only guys who can compare with Mike Trout. I really don’t even have an argument for anybody else, I think Harper and Trout have taken off from the rest of the field. Only two players who come close, off the top of my head, would be Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Cabrera. But I don’t think either are on Harper or Trout’s level.

e_j_-12-238x300Earl: The aforementioned Bryce Harper. Harper and Trout will be the best two players in the League for years to come.

They have the star power. But, besides that, they are just all around great players. 

Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant

steve-01-288x300Steve: I would argue that Trout is NOT the best player in baseball right now. So, I guess by default I will go with my number 1 player right now, and, that is Kris Bryant.

This kid can hit, run, and play virtually any position on the field except pitcher and catcher. Trout is awesome, no doubt about it, but he is one dimensional in the field (but an amazing one dimensional). Managers and teams can use Bryant in any role that they need him to fill.

Extra Innings…

On January 5th, 2010… Randy Jonson announces his retirement from MLB. randy-johnson-astros

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After 22 big league seasons, playing for the Expos (3-4), Mariners (130-74), Astros (10-1), Diamondbacks (118-62), Yankees (34-19), and the Giants (8-6), five-time Cy Young Award winner Johnson says his career in MLB is over.

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The “Big Unit”… all 6-foot-10 inches of him… finishes his can’t miss Hall of Fame career with a World Series Most Valuable Player award, a perfect game and two no-hitters.

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He compiled a record of 303-166 and he left the game as the all-time left-handed strikeout leader at 4,875.

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Johnson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. He received 534 of a possible 549 votes, or 97.3 percent, easily clearing the required 75 percent threshold needed for election. It was the eighth-highest percentage in history.

 

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