Posts Tagged ‘Miguel Cabrera’

by: Mauricio Rubio Jr.

email: mr@99sportsproblems.com
twitter: @MRubio52

“Remember where they were when Pujols had no homers for two months? The thing is they finish in the exact same spot with or without him (Trout) and there was a dominant player to take his team to the playoffs in Miggy.”

-The Internet

Let’s get this out-of-the-way, I don’t think Miguel Cabrera had a better year than Mike Trout did and I also think he was a fine choice for the MVP. This isn’t a case of Zolio Versalles winning the MVP award. It’s not a travesty, nobody was “robbed” of anything, it’s a choice that a group of older baseball writers made and it’s probably the last dying gasp of the dinosaurs that guard the game.

Essentially what the BBWAA told us is that Miggy carried his team to the playoffs while Trout put up empty selfish numbers that did not help his team as much as Miggy did. They are positing that it does not matter that Trout did what he did because the Angels would’ve been in the same place had he not existed at all in 2012.

This is ludicrous and ultimately where I take issue with the MVP vote.

Saying Miggy carried the Tigers to the playoffs assumes that Justin Verlander did not go 5-1 in Sept./Oct. (posting a 1.93 ERA with a 4-1 K/BB ratio), assumes that Prince Fielder didn’t OPS .978 over the same span, assumes that there was zero production from Austin Jackson and Max Scherzer and it also assumes that the White Sox did not collapse in the final stretch of the season.

The Angels actually outplayed the Tigers in a tougher division against tougher opposition, and Mike Trout did put up historic numbers as well. If we look at the whole set of statistics and how they helped their respective teams you have to say that Mike Trout contributed more en total on both offense and defense than Miggy did. This is a case that can be made without the “scary stat-head” creation, WAR. Mike Trout was 4 points of average behind Miguel Cabrera. If Trout gets 5 more hits over the course of a long season he is likely the MVP. Trout got on base at a better clip than Miggy did, Trout did more damage while on base via his ability to steal bases at a high percentage and his base running skills. Mike Trout plays a premium defensive position at an extremely high level, Miggy struggles at an easier defensive position.

The larger conclusion out of this is that the MVP voters do not value defense at all and only see this as a best hitter award which they still arguably got wrong.

Baseball is a game of individual match ups but it’s not basketball, an individual does not give a team +30 Wins. Giving Miggy the award isn’t a crime, but the made up reasons for giving him the award is sad.

Old man rant

I’ve seen a lot of stupid on the internet in recent days. Most of it stems from ESPN blowhards like Rob Parker who still insist that numbers are scary and the WAR guys are still crying in their chocolate milk.

This fucking guy

In the larger picture all the bullshit opinions you’ll read on Twitter usually stem from this “Embrace Debate” crap First Take is shoving down viewer’s throats. This has been extremely well documented elsewhere, ESPN has figured out that what gets people to watch is two guys yelling at each other on every single sports subject there is. This is ridiculous because it assumes that every sports topic has two equal views worth debating.

That line of thinking is false and insane.

You see, what happens when we all “Embrace Debate” on every single issue is that you end up with a lot of wrong, uninformed, stupid idiots on twitter making fun of guys who look at the sport they cover in an objective manner. This doesn’t accomplish anything and it only serves to clutter intellectual space in the collective sports consciousness.

To put it bluntly, it fills our heads with useless bullshit.

What it creates is an entire segment of the sports watching community that thinks they are right and only pursues the information that confirms what they think. Instead of objective analysis we get buzzwords and highlights. Instead of an open exchange of ideas we get people yelling at each other. Instead of people looking to advance the conversation we get a group of people who believe that their way is the right way and there is nothing that can possibly augment or enhance their way of thinking.

Terms like underrated, overrated, great, elite, awful, lose their meaning because they are so often used and misused. We are a sports viewing culture that cares only about the extremes and cares not for the subtlety of it all.

Look, I get that I’m going off on something that really doesn’t matter. It’s just sports. I do think that this is perhaps reflective of our overall line of thinking, however. It’s disheartening to see professionals deny a new idea merely because it flies in the face of what they believe to be an absolute truth.

It reflects poorly on the culture overall when the rejection of new ideas is encouraged.

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“Isn’t it strange? The same people who laugh at gypsy fortune tellers take economists seriously.”

I think it’s important for baseball fans on both sides of Chicago to understand that neither the Sox nor the Cubs will be seriously competing this year. The Sox have a better shot at catching lightning in a bottle this year if they get great years from their roster, but it’s a big if at this point and oddly enough it can all hinge on Jake Peavy’s health, which is a scary proposition. The Cubs have virtually no hope, the rosters of the teams in front of the Cubs are all better. The Reds, Brewers and Cardinals will fight for the Central lead leaving the Cubs in a slap fight with the Astros and the Pirates to avoid the cellar.

So a lot of people are going to tune out without properly understanding what you’re watching. For the Sox this is Kenny’s last stand. His acquisitions all have a strange propensity to blow up in his face. Manny Ramirez, Ken Griffey Jr., Jake Peavy, Alex Rios and Adam Dunn were all massive faceplants to this point. He let fan favorites Ozzie Guillen and Mark Buerhle take their talents to Miami. He hired a manager that no one knew was a serious candidate and took full control of this team moving forward. Any success the team enjoys will be his, but so will the failure. Not many GM’s get to fire 2 managers, so Kenny’s on the clock

Epstoyer is enjoying a honeymoon currently, but they’ll have to work efficiently to rebuild a decimated Cubs organization. The Cubs have almost no pitching help in the minors. There are a few Cub fans that will want the Cubs to win now . When Cubs start getting traded most of these will get restless and wonder what the aim of the organization is. There are even a few that believe Theo and company only won because they spent Yankee money. This is true to an extent, but the Red Sox also drafted wisely and had good talent come up from their farm system. The make over the Cubs are going to get will be impressive, but the clock will start once the Cubs trade a marquee name.

Which brings me to the purpose of these two pieces. AL/NL Central “Predictions.” I’m placing the teams in order of believed finish, but I’m not going to place a W-L value on it. We’ll start with the AL Central. NL Central will go live tomorrow.

1. Detroit Tigers – They are the favorite to win the division and they are a candidate tot make some noise in the playoffs. They added Prince to Miggy and have a potent offense. The lose of Victor Martinez will hurt as Ryan Raburn will get more burn in the lineup, but Prince more than makes up for that. We all know what Prince can do with the bat, ditto with Miggy. The real question is how awful that IF defense will be. Prince-Raburn-Peralta-Cabrera has a serious chance at being the worst IF defense of all time.

Especially considering that this dude played third 60 lbs ago.

It would be pretty astounding to see what Verlander would do with a good defense, but as it stands the defense shouldn’t affect him too much. He probably won’t be as great as his 2011 season, but he’ll still be a Cy Young candidate in 2012. The rotation guy that might suffer is Doug Fister. Verlander and Scherzer both strikeout batters at an above average clip, but Fister’s career SO/9 is 5.5. He upped it to 7.3 in 70 ip with the Tigers, but I would expect that rate to fall. The ‘pen is solid and a name to look for is Daniel Schlereth. If he can gain some semblance of control he can become a high leverage pitcher.

2. KC Royals – It’s hard to predict a 2nd place finish for a team that boasts Bruce Chen in it’s rotation, but here they are, on the back of what should be a rather impressive offense. The kids can play, Hosmer is legit and should emerge as KC’s best player overall this year. Alex Gordon is going to be a great leadoff hitter this year, and Moustakas should make some positive gains at the big league level this year. The question with this team is when will the pitching help get here? All of their starters are projected to be below average this year, the only pitcher that may be worth his salt will be Jonathan Sanchez. Daniel Duffy is a few years away and like I said, Bruce Chen is an important part of this rotation. A lot of what this team does moving forward will depend on what they can do to solidify the starters. The bullpen has some names to keep an eye on, but losing Joakim Soria hurts. I think the Royals take a major step forward but the rotation will hold them back from competing for a wild card spot.

3. Cleveland Indians – Carlos Santana is the damn truth. He will emerge as the best catcher in baseball this year. He’s great with the stick and he’s a good defender. The Indians should surprise people this year, but a bad offense will keep them from really making noise in the central. Shin-Soo Choo is key for the Tribe. If he can get back on his star track this year the Indians can scare the Tigers for a few months. If not, the Indians will be relegated to fending off the Sox and the Twins in third place. Ubaldo Jimenez won’t be competing for Cy Young’s anymore, but he is a solid top of the rotation pitcher. He should emerge as the ace over Justin Masterson this year. Josh Tomlin needs to increase his K rate to his minor league levels to have a breakout year, but he should still remain as a decent mid-rotation option. The Bullpen will keep this team from being a complete cellar dweller.

4. Chicago White Sox – It’s not an awful rotation. Danks should have a rebound year, Gavin is a candidate to have a great year, Chris Sale will make some noise in the rotation, but their success or failure all depends on the offense. Adam Dunn was historically bad and that saved Alex Rios from more criticism. Gordon Beckham lost his swing and will have a difficult time getting it back. AJ Pierzynski is hitting second in the lineup. Brent Morel will get significant playing time. It’s just a bad offense. Dunn should rebound somewhat, he’s currently crushing fastballs which is a good sign considering how slow his bat looked last year. Dayan Viciedo has light tower power but we have to wait and see how his game translates in the MLB. Rios is likely to hit 3rd for most of the season. The Sox have too many questions regarding the offense to be a serious contender, you have to hit HR’s in the Cell to compete, because everyone else will.

5. Minnesota Twins – This team is awful. Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham will carry the load on offense, and their pitching rotation will be flat out awful. Carl Pavano’s K-rate might dip below 4 this year. They have no frontline starter in their rotation. The bullpen will be using gasoline to put out the fires this year, there’s little help down on the farm, Justin Morneau is probably done playing baseball, they will be in the cellar this year. They have a long rebuild ahead of them and Gardy should probably get fired this year.