Category: Angels

cool early-season baseball thoughts

18% of the season has elapsed, so a quick look around the league from YKI:
*Bryce. Now that master strategist Joe Maddon implemented baseball’s version of Hack-a-Shaq (10 walks, 1 HBP in last 12 plate appearances) – and it worked! four game sweep for the Cubs – does this legitimize Harper as the game’s scariest threat since Mr. Bonds?
*Bryce, at one point this weekend, went 37 consecutive pitches without swinging the bat, per Mike Ferrin on MLB XM this morning.
*the Cubs are 24-6?!?!?! WOW. And Heyward (.212), Soler (.181) and Russell (.242) still aren’t hitting.
*That wacky, wacky NL West. We’re seriously looking at an 85-game winner taking the division. Every time I think the Dodgers fritter away any momentum, the remaining teams in the division lose right along with them.
*White Sox, 22-10. Big surprise to everybody that underestimated the Frazier acquisition, or didn’t realize that Quintana – well, that creep can roll. And Sale is the AL Kershaw.
*The Yankees are a really tough story this year. Basically, the deal that they made the playoffs last year was a bad thing. Everybody thought they’d breakdown in ’15, forcing them to make wholesale changes and give their kids the shot to see if they’d be Bombers (Judge, Refsnyder, at the time Bird). But the seniors played & played well and they trotted out the same bunch for the ’16 season. Now they’re seeing the ramifications and it is a really bad – and old – team that we’re watching out there.
*Houston, 12-20, is going to be fine. They have too much talent and Jose Altuve is a winner.
*Kind of unbelievable how awesome David Ortiz really is, even at the tail end of his career. I’m pretty sure it’s not unfair to consider him a Reggie Jackson-type of character, historically.
*Everybody knew the Braves would be lousy (7-23), but the Twins were last year’s wunderteam and they’re only 1/2 game ahead (8-23). What gives there?
*The Angels are garbage. Dull pitching and two watchable players (Trout, Calhoun). I hope they don’t waste Trout’s career, because it definitely looks like that’s the direction they’re headed.
*Some wanksters on this ERA list, but we’re in a pitching-forward era. Latos, Colon, Tyler Chatwood, Tanner Roark all under 3.00 kinda funny to see, though.
1  Zimmermann, J DET 5 1 1.10 6 6 0 0 41.0 35 7 5 2 8 25 .224 1.05
2  Arrieta, J CHC 6 0 1.13 7 7 0 0 48.0 26 7 6 2 16 44 .159 0.88
3  Quintana, J CWS 5 1 1.38 7 7 0 0 45.2 36 8 7 1 9 42 .217 0.99
4  Wright, S BOS 3 3 1.52 6 6 0 0 41.1 25 10 7 2 16 38 .172 0.99
5  Lester, J CHC 3 1 1.58 6 6 0 0 40.0 33 7 7 4 9 38 .228 1.05
6  Maeda, K LAD 3 1 1.66 6 6 0 0 38.0 26 7 7 3 10 35 .191 0.95
7  Sale, C CWS 7 0 1.79 7 7 0 0 50.1 29 11 10 3 10 47 .165 0.77
8  Hammel, J CHC 4 0 1.85 6 6 0 0 34.0 25 7 7 1 14 28 .212 1.15
9  Salazar, D CLE 3 2 1.91 6 6 0 0 37.2 18 8 8 1 16 43 .142 0.90
10  Walker, T SEA 2 2 1.97 6 6 0 0 32.0 30 11 7 3 3 29 .242 1.03
11  Roark, T WSH 2 2 2.03 7 7 0 0 44.1 34 14 10 1 17 41 .210 1.15
12  Kershaw, C LAD 4 1 2.04 7 7 0 0 53.0 38 13 12 3 3 64 .199 0.77
13  Pomeranz, D SD 3 3 2.12 6 6 0 0 34.0 21 10 8 2 16 41 .176 1.09
14  Kennedy, I KC 4 2 2.13 6 6 0 0 38.0 28 9 9 3 13 35 .209 1.08
15  Chatwood, T COL 4 2 2.15 6 6 0 0 37.2 34 10 9 3 8 27 .239 1.12
16  Velasquez, V PHI 4 1 2.17 6 6 0 0 37.1 25 12 9 3 11 44 .188 0.96
17  Gonzalez, G WSH 2 1 2.19 6 6 0 0 37.0 29 11 9 2 10 28 .216 1.05
18  Hernandez, F SEA 2 2 2.21 6 6 0 0 36.2 28 15 9 3 18 29 .204 1.25
19  Tanaka, M NYY 1 0 2.29 6 6 0 0 39.1 29 11 10 2 7 35 .200 0.92
20  Richards, G LAA 1 3 2.34 6 6 0 0 34.2 31 16 9 2 15 34 .238 1.33
21  Strasburg, S WSH 5 0 2.36 6 6 0 0 42.0 33 11 11 1 9 47 .220 1.00
22  Estrada, M TOR 1 2 2.39 6 6 0 0 37.2 27 10 10 3 14 36 .196 1.09
22  Hill, R OAK 4 3 2.39 7 7 0 0 37.2 28 13 10 2 16 46 .206 1.17
24  Happ, J TOR 4 0 2.50 6 6 0 0 39.2 37 11 11 4 10 25 .253 1.18
25  Syndergaard, N NYM 2 2 2.58 6 6 0 0 38.1 33 11 11 1 8 49 .234 1.07
26  Martinez, C STL 4 2 2.61 6 6 0 0 38.0 26 11 11 4 11 30 .190 0.97
27  Latos, M CWS 5 0 2.62 6 6 0 0 34.1 31 10 10 4 10 19 .238 1.19
28  Hamels, C TEX 4 0 2.68 6 6 0 0 37.0 28 11 11 4 17 36 .217 1.22
29  Smyly, D TB 1 3 2.72 6 6 0 0 39.2 23 13 12 5 8 47 .167 0.78
30  Colon, B NYM 3 1 2.82 7 6 0 0 38.1 39 12 12 4 4 33 .271 1.12
30  Sanchez, A TOR 2 1 2.82 6 6 0 0 38.1 33 13 12 3 12 34 .228 1.17
32  Griffin, A TEX 3 0 2.94 6 6 0 0 33.2 24 12 11 2 14 28 .195 1.13
33  Porcello, R BOS 5 1 2.95 6 6 0 0 39.2 30 13 13 6 8 41 .207 0.96
*Baseball’s back. Glad to see this particular HR leader list. 90% legit guys, and some great names. When the stars are strong, the game is strong.
1  Arenado, N COL 3B 31 121 27 39 6 1 12 29 14 14 0 1 .322 .397 .686 1.083
1  Cano, R SEA 2B 31 128 20 39 6 0 12 33 9 17 0 0 .305 .355 .633 .988
3  Cespedes, Y NYM LF 26 97 19 29 4 1 11 30 11 24 0 0 .299 .376 .701 1.077
3  Story, T COL SS 30 125 23 34 5 3 11 24 13 46 2 2 .272 .338 .624 .962
5  Carter, C MIL 1B 30 107 20 30 10 0 10 22 12 33 0 0 .280 .344 .654 .998
5  Harper, B WSH RF 31 98 21 26 6 0 10 27 30 25 5 2 .265 .432 .633 1.064
5  Rizzo, A CHC 1B 30 111 26 30 8 1 10 28 22 18 2 1 .270 .413 .631 1.044
5  Stanton, G MIA RF 28 100 17 26 4 0 10 24 18 34 0 0 .260 .375 .600 .975
9  Altuve, J HOU 2B 32 123 30 40 14 0 9 19 16 16 13 1 .325 .415 .659 1.074
9  Donaldson, J TOR 3B 33 123 30 33 8 1 9 21 20 33 2 0 .268 .379 .569 .948
9  Machado, M BAL 3B 30 123 24 43 15 0 9 22 10 20 0 2 .350 .403 .691 1.094
9  Ortiz, D BOS DH 29 107 17 33 12 0 9 27 15 21 1 0 .308 .393 .673 1.066
9  Trumbo, M BAL RF 30 117 16 38 3 1 9 24 8 34 1 0 .325 .378 .598 .976
9  Walker, N NYM 2B 30 112 14 29 1 0 9 19 6 24 1 0 .259 .297 .509 .806
15  Davis, C BAL 1B 30 110 22 22 2 0 8 19 18 40 0 0 .200 .323 .436 .759
15  Frazier, T CWS 3B 32 124 17 24 4 0 8 21 13 26 2 1 .194 .273 .419 .693
15  Kemp, M SD RF 31 122 15 34 8 0 8 23 3 24 0 0 .279 .291 .541 .832
15  Semien, M OAK SS 32 100 13 21 1 0 8 15 13 27 1 0 .210 .298 .460 .758
19  Braun, R MIL LF 29 109 19 40 6 0 7 24 12 17 2 1 .367 .430 .615 1.044

Decidedly non-SABRmetric MLB Observations

The 90-game mark is usually where I feel contented enough to start making assessments of the MLB season. The true halfway point (81 games) is a tad bit premature (and it’s pre-All Star Game, symbolically), so I tack on another week and assess. Without further adieu, here’s a relative stream-of-consciousness view at the non-SABR leaderboard (thank you,
National League
Top half of batting average leaders look normal, then
Yunel Escobar .337?!??
Nori Aoki
Joe Panik
DJ LeMahieu
Gerardo Parra
Matt Duffy (!!!)
Jhonny Peralta (!!!!!!!!)
AJ Pollock
also: only 12 guys over .300. That’s nuts.
Interesting to note the BOTTOM six hitters in the league, in reverse order (qualifiers):
Ian Desmond
Jimmy Rollins
Billy Hamilton
Ryan Howard
Joc Pedersen
Pedro Alvarez
This group would form a good fantasy team core pre-season.
I mean, I should have admitted this previously but I guess Todd Frazier’s power is legit? Has 26 doubles to go with those 25 bombs.
Nolan Arenado is a literal superstar in the making, if he’s not already.
Said it before will say it again – Paul Goldschmidt is one of the best players in the game. We know about the Triple Crown chase but 16 steals. . .wow!
Anthony Rizzo just chugging along again, while still really good ballplayer at only 25 and the veteran of that squad – .294 with 16 bombs.
Glad to see Ryan Braun’s power is still somewhat real – 16 dingers.
Has to be said: Bryce Harper is putting up a really nice year. Realllly nice.
Joey Votto ‘quietly’ putting up a votto year .289 16 dingers
Andrew Mccutchen is going to end up with Mccutchen numbers despite his ‘slow’ start.
Ready for a shock? 6/7/8 in OBP (and also in your batting order jk): Posey Aoko Panik.
Kris Bryant, good work kid.
Oh, I guess the Stanton beaning didn’t affect him much.
Freddie Freeman’s numbers may be ‘off’ by his standards, but 10th in the league in OPS in that lineup is a testament to his hitting ability.
Also gotta love posey 31 k’s only! 311 abs, 85 games. Again, Aoki and Panik clocking in top 5 in ‘least k’s’ of all qualified players.
 Nick Markakis .289 avg, .726 ops. not bad. ZERO dingers. z-e-r-o. wow
Billy Hamilton 45 steals is one thing – 6 CS is very impressive. By comparison – noted thief Dee Gordon has 33 swipes and 12 cs.
Charlie Blackmon is third – 24 bags!!!
Even with the swirling trade talk, Justin Upton might drop a 30-30 on you this year – 15/17 right now
American League
JD Martinez – man that guy is just donging his way through baseball now =,
Oldies Albert Pujols & Mark Teixeira 26 and 23 wow.
Legit boppers over in this league, though:
Mike Trout
Josh Donaldson
Nelson Cruz
My man Brian Dozier just going all Jeff Kent on people
Manny Machado
Jose Bautista
Chris Davis
Hanley Ramirez
Edwin Encarnacion
and of course Luis Valbuena, funny guy, mocking the non-SABR people (sure he’s only hitting .207 but look at his OPS!)
Is Miguel Cabrera a nut or what, .350 again you kidding me? in this era?
Jason Kipnis man that guy is legitimately good I guess?
I did NOT think Lorenzo Cain could match last year but he’s surpassed it .321 18 steals 3 cs
I kept hearing Julio Iglesias Iglesias Iglesias, mostly because Jim Bowden LOVES him but kid is solid – .321 , huh?
Billy Burns always shocks me, mostly because his game and name sound black but he’s white – but I guess he’s good too, huh? .304 and a handful of walk-offs (incidentally, did you know Dennis Eckersley coined the phrase, walk-off?)
Xander Bogaerts finally matching expectations with .309 and 44 RBI.
Brett Gardner surprising non-yankee fans everywhere – in my mind is a super dark dark dark horse for mvp.
AL only 11 batters over .300!
Mr. Dustin Pedroia again just playing baseball and being solid.
Mike Moustakas at .301!!! For sure ‘most improved’ which of course baseball doesn’t have.
Alcides Escobar at .296, which makes this escobar season with all the escobar success stories
Jose Altuve has 26 bags – but no triples.
And speaking of triples, Kevin Kiermaier has 9, which proves my theory that triples, you need some speed but more heart & hustle.
Chris Carter with a paltry 115 k’s, joining a list of FIVE hitters over 100 through 90 games in the AL only. (I neglected to mention the NL ‘only’ has three – led by Joc Pedersen’s gleaming 112.)
A-rod 9th in ops, that’s awesome
Pujols 38 k’s in 332 abs that’s pretty nice – whats crazy is only 29 bases on balls.
Ian Desmond, specifically, has a .248 obp. Just worsting Rollins .262
Mike Zunino, however, has them both “beat” with a .219. In 260 ABs he sports a .158 batting average. & 104 k’s. How are you still in the bigs, kid?
National League
Gerrit Cole is having just an outstanding season, wow. 13 wins 2.30 ERA.
SEVEN pitchers have a sub-1.00 whip: Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke, Jacob DeGrom, Jason Hammel, Johny Cueto, Mr. Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta
I mean, Greinke’s numbers aren’t even real, right? 1.30 era? Max Scherzer’s whip is lower, but along with a certain ‘other’ Dodger, this may be reminiscent of the Maddux/Pedro/Randy era? Maybe?
I’d like to point out the other Dodger,  Clayton Kershaw, has 174 k’s. In 131 innings.
Fransisco Liriano is flying under the radar with his 1.03 whip and .192 batting average against.
Padres pitching is deceptively woeful: Ian Kennedy and James sShields have given up the 4th and 5th highest amount of bombs in the league, and Andrew Cashner has a 4.10 era. Meanwhile, “Iron Mike” Tyson Ross is ‘leading the league’ with 57 bases on balls in 117 innings. here’s that entire season that greg maddux walked 20.
Matt Garza’s done, right? 1.55 whip, 5.55 era?
The Cardinals are wowing everybody with their record, but are they doing it at the expense of their bullpen? three of the top four in appearances are cardinals, and rosenthal has already appeared in 42 as well.
American League
I still can’t believe Dallas Keuchel. He doesnt seem special to me, but his numbers say otherwise.
Sonny Gray – Ace.
Chris Sale – Ace. How does anybody hit this guy?
Chris Archer – very close, but not quite.
King Felix – of course.
Wei-Yin Chen is EIGHTH in the league in whip (1.09), directly ahead of Corey Kluber and David Price.
Sale, incidentally – 163 k’s in 125 innings
Archer 153 in 128. Maybe that ‘not quite’ should be amended?
Nate Eovaldi? probably not in this conversation. The league is hitting .308 (!!!) against him; that’s Mike Piazza’s career batting average.
I mean I guess I must mention Chris Young, .202 baa and 1.04 whip.
Phil Hughes is back. yeah that one. 23 dingers allowed in 19 starts.
Also, there’s one ‘perfect’ closer this year (minimum 20 opps). Can you guess who? Yep, K-Rod. 21 of 21.

2015 MLB Predictions

Let me start by saying I don’t think any team wins 95 games in all of MLB. Very competitive and not so much parity as a lack of dominance. The game doesn’t lend itself to one team – or a handful of teams – asserting themselves, so you’re going to have the upper tier, and everybody else is going to battle. A good brand of baseball, if you will.

AL East – good or bad, and this year trends more to the latter, this is a fun/competitive division. I am loathe to pick the Orioles because, cmon, but they might STILL be the best team here despite losing Markakis and Cruz. Sheesh. I love the Yankees but there are sooooooo many question marks. The Red Sox pitching is underwhelming though their offense is thunderous. The Blue Jays probably have the best team, the loss of Stroman hurts, but they’re incapable of playing any extended periods of good ball under Anthopolous (sp). 87 winsOrioles (uuggghh).
AL Central – Tigers are the easy pick, but probably wrong with both Sanchez and Verlander iffy. Also later Max. The Indians are all chic and fun and honestly a good team and I like Francona a ton, but no. The Twins are going to be the team next year, but not yet. The Royals, maligned as they are, are my pick – and I think they win it going away. 91 wins. I think that top to bottom, it’s a team. Kind of reminds me of the 80’s Dodgers. People thought Lasorda was a dunski but a helluva players’ manager and ended up being HoF. That’s Yost?
AL West – going to be some fun baseball played in this time zone, so post-Felix bedtime I may have to binge. The Astros and Rangers are out of the conversation, the A’s should be but they’re still the A’s so I’ll give them a soft letdown by saying ‘not this time,’ thus leaving the Angels (sigh) and the Mariners (yay but no). I love the M’s, they just feel too bandwagoned too soon. I’d be happy to be wrong on that one, but for now Angels win the division with an AL best 94 wins.
WC – Indians, Mariners. I don’t love the White Sox. I love Sale, Quintana is a creep that can roll, and Abreu is the real deal. They’ll be in the mix, but fall just short.
NL East – It’s so hard to not pick the Nationals here. So I won’t. They will win this division with an MLB-leading 95 wins, and somehow feel like a slight disappointment despite Bryce Harper’s 37 homeruns. The Mets would be a fun pick, the Marlins will be competitive, but the Braves and Phillies are the worst two teams in baseball.
NL Central – I’ve always hated the style of baseball that comes out of this division, and that means especially the Cardinals. And the Reds. And the Pirates. But seriously, emphatically, the Cardinals. And those jerks are going to win the division again with a tooth-and-nail 89 wins, as the Pirates and upstart Brewers combine to form a .500 ball trio in games played against each other. Some would say it’s a intra-division bloodbath, but most of those people won’t live in Chicago because the improved Cubs will win 81 games, but never really be a serious division contender.
NL West – Does this Kimbrel trade put the Padres over the top? I’m not as high on the Dodgers as I ‘should’ be, but that lineup is stout. We know the Dbacks and Rockies are out of it, but 1-8, the Dodgers have the best bats in the West. But what about the Padres pitching? Ross, Cashner, Kennedy, Shields, Despaigne, wowzers. Good stuff. But still, the Dodgers win it with a robust92 win season. Also, the Giants have a nice staff, will make an annoying run, will win 88 games, and steal the last WC slot.
WC – PadresGiants. I just don’t like the Pirates rotation, I don’t think the Brewers have quite enough, and the Marlins are a win and a Jose Fernandez full season away.
Indians win Wild Card, face the Angels.
Angels vs Indians – Angels
Royals vs. Orioles – Royals
Angels over Royals
Giants win the Wild Card, face the Nats.
Nats vs. Giants – Nationals
Dodgers vs, sigh, Cardinals – Dodgers
Winner of this series likely wins the WS. VERY difficult decision, personally and objectively. Had to sleep on this one. Finally, I was thinking about this during my morning “commute” to Sherman Oaks:. How can you beat the Nationals? Fister is the number four Gonzalez is their number five? My man Bryce who I’ve been hyping shamelessly this entire off-season? I really don’t see how a team beats them, unfortunately. Luckily baseball comes down to magic, mojo, and moments of greatness. You can’t rely on these things, but they occur. Keeping in mind I do not love this Dodgers team – I think this is more a reflection of the league itself, not in subpar fashion but the lack of a dominant team. The Rizzo Curse is real, and as much as I don’t want to be a Homer, Simpson, I have to pick the Dodgers.

2014 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot Straw Poll

Below you will find the link to the2014 Hall of Fame ballot names from, along with a full range of statistical measures for all players on the ballot. ‘Years on Ballot,’ % of Ballots named in 2013, Bill James Hall of Fame Monitor (HOFm – the system is flawed, 100 is ‘likely’ in this metric) and Bill James Hall of Fame Standard (HOFs, in which 50 is the ‘average’ Hall of Famer, a score that exceeds that is considered superior than Hall of Fame average). This is definitely one of the more ‘crowded’ ballots I can remember, so I’ll make my piece snappy.

My opinions have not changed dramatically from last year’s lackluster HoF class. This new crop is pretty incredible, though. Here’s my “ballot” for 2014:
with apologies to Jack Morris on his final attempt, the crop of:
Greg Maddux

Frank Thomas

Tom Glavine
are first year shoo-ins for me. I’m sure Glavine will have the most pushback, but 300+ wins and reinventing himself as a late-career pitcher help greatly.

My next wave of entrants are holdovers that were slighted for one reason or another:
Craig Biggio
Mike Piazza
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Tim Raines
Raines has been a lightning rod for a few years and I imagine he won’t get in for a while. That said, he’s one of the prototype leadoff hitters in the modern era and was completely overlooked in Montreal. The 80’s were a tough era for elites, and his measurables stack up well.

I think Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina eventually get in, but not this year. People hate Kent, but his numbers are top five ever as a second baseman. He’s in. Mussina is frustrating because he was never an Ace or even a Cy pitcher, but he racked up wins and had longevity in an era defined by arm injuries.

Curt Schilling is a total cusp guy for me, probably more than most, because of his postseason success as well as the few big years. I ultimately vote ‘no’ – because he’s an asshole? – because the stats just aren’t quite Hall-worthy.

Hideo Nomo will probably be enshrined eventually as a special contributor type, as he really ushered in the era of Asian crossover.

This crop deserves it’s own mention, because NONE of them receive my ‘vote’ in 2014 and they were all really good first basemen:
Jeff Bagwell
Don Mattingly
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire

I could see myself likely ‘vote’ for McGwire in the future, but Bagwell – despite his similarities to the Big Hurt – just doesn’t have that brand recognition that I’d like. I’m probably shorting him and reserve my right to ‘vote’ him in down the road, but not now. My guess is he DOES ride with the first wave and get in this year, however. Mattingly somehow gets in on the Veterans Committee one day. His reputation as ‘everybody’s favorite player’ is just too strong, and when history shines back on him with the moustache in the pinstripes, he’ll be enshrined.

I refuse to listen to cases for:
Lee Smith

Alan Trammell
Edgar Martinez
because none of them were ever the best player at their position, much less Hall-worthy.

Regardless, good ballot and i’d love to hear your opinions.

Baseball Nerdfriends: advise (modern day HoF)

So my pops and I attended the Dodger game tonight, and in the course of conversation, the Hall of Fame arose. . .we thought about which modern-day (post-roid) ballplayers are locks for the Hall. This Excludes young dynamos such as Kemp, Cain, Trout (!), etc, that are sub-30 years old. . .accordingly, we came up with a grand total of. . .


four of whom play for the Yankees:
Mo Rivera

the non-Yankees include:

Notable ‘perhaps soon’ names included:
Miggy Cabrera

But that’s IT. Two points here: 1) any omissions? 2) this list is conspicuously light on players that started their career between ’95-’04, eg Roid Era players. I mean has there been a ten year span with only SEVEN players that started their careers entering the Hall? Hmmm . . .

Thoughts? Omissions?

Ted Williams was Mexican, and other tales from Cooperstown

I tried not to include the corny or cliche, but this IS baseball so it is inherent. That said, here’s a quick ‘guided’ tour to our pictures from our visit to Cooperstown, NY, Baseball Hall of Fame, November 4 – 5, 2010:
Yes this really is a “VILLAGE” – population 2,032
1950 or 2010?

Our wonderful domicile, the Tunnicliff Inn– Established 1802. Seriously
The Hall.

We walk in – first exhibit, “House of David” a band of roving Jewish ballplayers. Sweet.
The Hall suggests you begin the visit with a trip to the Grandstand Theater.
The original rules of the game, as established in 1845 by the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club.
Yes, they played versions of baseball in medieval Spain.

Come see the Babe in Fresno, CA (1934)

. . .or just check out Babe Ruth‘s actual Yankee locker.
I was underwhelmed by the Negro Leagues exhibit, but we asked one of the museum docents why there wasn’t much in the way of memorabilia – “the players were underpaid and oftentimes sold equipment, jerseys. . .the demand is extremely high because there really aren’t too many artifacts remaining.”

Did NOT realize that the Yankees were one of the last teams to integrate. . .

Brooklyn Dodgers, baby! Note the sad clown icon. I had a pennant handed down to me as a child from my Dad’s brother that featured that ‘logo.’

Stan the (literal) MAN’s locker. Check out his numbers – easily one of the top five players ever and seriously underrated nonetheless.

Uniforms from the women’s game. . .

A copy of the New York Times from when lefty female Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe & Lou at Yankee Stadium.

This was sweet – Ted WIlliams hitting zone based on his timeless The Science of Hittting.
Willie Mays.
Mickey Mantle.
Really unexpected, deserved and spectacular – Viva Baseball, celebrating baseball in Latin America throughout the history of the game. Really nice exhibits on Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, etc. Also, did you know Ted Williams was Mexican?
This was the one controversial exhibit in my eyes; baseball lore says that Fidel Castro had a tryout with the Pirates sometime around 1947, yet the placard at the HoF states that “research now confirms that he was never a pro prospect.” Interesting. . .except reading the bilingual Spanish translation, the placard says “Las investigaciones confirman ahora que Castro nunca fue un asipirante a profesional.” Translation: “The investigations confirm that Castro never aspired to be a professional.” Semantic, yes – but a HUGE differentiation. Which is it, Hall of Fame?!?!? We want answers!!!
Viva al beisbol de Mexico!
Yes, that is an Anaheim Angels (California Angels?) sombrero. Think it’d look mighty nice on Mike Scioscia. . .
Jamie Jarrin gives both the Spanish and English ‘tour’ at the Hall.
You remember Fernandomania, right? Did you remember that there were hit records dedicated to the hearthrob?!?!
Stuff like this is what gives me chills. The original scouting card for Roberto Clemente. Filled out by Al Campanis, nonetheless – “a real good looking prospect!”
The Count in front of the Dodgers display.
Yes that IS Sandy Koufax‘s glove and jersey.
I believe Pete Rose was the only player – ironically – that had two jerseys represented in the Hall.
Rickey Henderson‘s cleats.
Yep, rocking the Puckett shirt in the Hall.
Baseball cards. . .wow, wow, wow. The Hall has quite a collection, as you can imagine. Enough so that I was inspired enough to pick up Mint Condition by Dave Jamieson – check it out if you like cards, baseball, nostalgia or all of the above. ps – if you’re not a card nerd, you might want to scroll a bit – this is where I get nuts-o about the game. Baseball cards really sucked me in during the 1980’s.

This sign was noted in at least three places in the Hall. Very interesting and well-intentioned approach to the PED controversy.

This is the closest you’re going to get to seeing The Count worshipping.
The Mariners locker featured Ichiro, who’s going to be in here personally in about 12 years. . .
The Aaron Boone bat.
The base from Armando Galarraga‘s not-so-perfect game.
The bat/guitar & lyrics from John Fogerty‘s Centerfield.
The Mangus and designstILes gave a great effort, but after a couple hours, they had to head back to the Village.
A really great wing of the Hall was dedicated to Henry “Hank” Aaron. Some really good detail from his childhood and early struggles in the Negro Leagues, on through the racial attacks he experienced while chasing down the Babe. Class act, and truly deserving of his own Ruthian section.
Honestly, did you know Jamie Moyer is the active leader in strikeouts?!?!?
The hats from each of Nolan Ryan‘s seven no-hitters.
Again, I’m a sucker for these things – a scouting report on Nolan from High School. Wow.
The Dodgers 1988 World Series Ring, along with the Pennant Pendants.
Orel Hershiser‘s World Series clinching jersey.
The hilarious and classic Abbott & Costello routine is on constant rotation in the HoF.
The members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. . .

. . .and those that served their country.

And now a look at a few of the Plaques:
(above: Hank Greenberg, Ted Williams, Josh Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Tommy Lasorda, Kirby Puckett)
“The First Class” in the Hall.
The announcer/writer’s wing was a bit smallish for my taste, but certainly represented the legends well, as Vin Scully was part of the six-announcer rotation of all-time greats.
Best. Movie. Ever.

And a trip to Cooperstown could not be complete without a visit to Doubleday Field, the first ‘official’ ballfield of the Game of Baseball. Talk about evoking the ghosts. . .
That’s baseball.

Just Vlad.

Forget Elvis Andruss spark, forget Cliff Lee and his mastery, forget Josh Hamilton and his MVP pursuit, forget Ian Kinsler’s cockiness, Michael Young’s sticktuitiveness, Ron Washington’s redemption, C.J. Wilson’s return, Neftali Feliz’s dominance. . .even (for now), forget Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels and the amazing resurrection of this band of Castaways posing as dominant, exciting MLB franchise. Even try to forget this organizational breakthrough that had football-sick Dallas even forgetting about the Cowboys and their slow start. . .

The Rangers absolutely exciting win last night was best exhibited by the legendary, ageless Vladimir Guerrero – his mad dash home from second base on the would-be double play, coupled with his gazelle-like yet gawky slide into home, just barely beating the tag was something to behold. . something that baseball fans nation/worldwide should remember as an indelible image not just for the team, the city and the man – but the Sport in general.

What a thing of beauty – check it out in frame-by-frame from the moment he slides in to home through the dramatic safe call by umpire Jeff Kellogg.
That is baseball, folks.  And that, in a nutshell, is the man they call Vlad.

Bytheway, Angels fans – how do you feel about that decision last year to let the man leave?

Haren, Lee & The AL West in August

As predicted by YKI in March, the AL West and NL West continue to have the most intriguing division races in baseball.

The focus this past week has been on the AL West, as two of the three contenders acquired Ace-caliber pitchers; the Texas Rangers giving up uberprospect Justin Smoak to acquire Cliff Lee, and the Angels abandoning Joe Saunders and prospects in favor of Dan Haren.

Both acquisitions provide front-end stability, consistency and legitimacy. Though Lee, the former Cy Young award winner, is the superior pitcher of the duo, Haren has pitched successfully in the AL West (A’s, 2005 – 2007) and will help offset the Angels’ recent offensive issues. . .in this new era, pitching & defense win ballgames – so additional pitching, specifically ace Ace, will help during the proverbial dog days of summer. . .which brings me to the upstart Rangers.
Though most experts thought the Angels would run away with the division,a few saw the glimmer of breakthrough potential with the addition of Vladimir Guerrero and the maturation of Neftali Feliz, Tommy Hunter & Elvis Andrus. The question was the pitching, however, and with Scott Feldman, CJ Wilson & Colby Lewis (as well as Hunter) anchoring the staff. . .there were indeed many questions. Lewis just returned from Japan, Feldman and Wilson had bounced between the bigs & the minors throughout their careers, and Hunter is a rookie.

At this point, the Rangers have the third best ERA in the American League, and the addition of Lee only bolsters that staff. But a larger, and deeper question arises – the climate. Texas Rangers pitchers have a history of wilting in the subtropical humidity and litany of 100+ degree days in August. Experienced pitchers are conditioned to conserve, pitch to contact and withstand the atrocious conditions, but can these youngsters keep up the solid performances? Or will they melt down quicker than the sweat glands on Vicente Padilla, former Texas Ranger ace, who was known to sweat through “three or four” jerseys per game on days he’d pitch.
Time will tell – and so will Haren & Lee. Should be a great – and scorching – summer out West.

2010 American League West Outlook Angels: Arte Moreno is the best owner in baseball. Ever since he came into town and lowered beer prices, he’s stolen the a major piece heart of a city away from a fiercely loyal Dodger fan base. He stole the Los Angeles city name, he infiltrated traditional media as far North as The Valley and as far East as Rancho Cucamonga with diabolic red Angels billboards and bus stop posters. . .and he kept winning. He built a west-coast empire out of pretentious, vapid Suburbopolis. They’ve won five of the last division titles with nary an iota of nostalgia – John Lackey, Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus? Gone. Adam Kennedy, Vlad Guererro, Darrin Erstad? See ya. Jarrod Washburn? Troy Percival? Buh-bye.

Guess what, though? They keep right on winning. That’s what they do, and that’s Mike Scioscia. Mike Napoli behind the plate, Brandon Wood at 3B, Erick Aybar at SS? That’s fine with Mike, we’ll just keep steamrollering teams, thank you very much. Howie Kendrick and Kendry Morales are both All-Stars, and Torii Hunter & Bobby Abreu provide the same cachet in the outfield. With a full season, Juan Rivera will hit 30 bombs and the fans in Orange County can continue going home happy with just another Halo Victory. The dynamite rotation begins with Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders, and goes through Scott Kazmir and Joel Pineiro, both of whom appear poised for improved years under the tutelage of underrated pitching coach Mike Butcher. Brian Fuentes is a huge question mark in the bullpen, but Scot Shields, Kevin Jepsen, Rafael Rodriguez and power arm Fransisco Rodney can hold that down for Manager Mike, at least until playoffs. . .
Prediction: 96 wins, 66 losses. Mariners: The Mariners intrigued me in the offseason with a litany of shrewd acquisitions. This, in turn, led to many media outlets predicting big things for the team from the Northwest. While I do agree that Cliff Lee (assuming he gets healthy, and soon), Chone Figgins (a bit overrated but still a fun, scrappy player that helps the club win) and Milton Bradley (can he ever go a season just playing ball? He’s so dang talented, and his heart is in the right place) were deft pickups, the Mariners have the unfortunate role of being in the same division as a MIke Scioscia-led ballclub. As much as Don Wakamatsu was a good choice as manager for the M’s, the rotation after Lee and King Felix Hernandez is a bit short, and Jack Wilson and Javy Lopez scare nobody on the left side of the infield. Uberballplayer Ichiro is back in right, yet with declining speed numbers, essentially rendering him a faster Tony Gwynn (though still the most exciting and unique player in the game). David Aardsma starts the season as flocser, which means they don’t have a closer, and in the American League that spells doom. I do love the fact that Griffey is back and in fact with Griffey, Ichiro and King Felix they might have the three most recognizable names in the sport. Too bad that’s not enough for a division title.
Prediction: 88 wins, 74 losses. Rangers: Not buying the rotation. The hot Arlington summers are going to be hell on these fellas come August. Galloway & Company are going to be chicken frying these guys giving up gopher ball after gopher ball, making Vicente Padilla look dry in comparison. Scott Feldman can pitch, so can Rich Harden. . .and aww,, hell – so can Colby Lewis and CJ Wilson. But alas, there’s only so much workload Neftali Perez, Darren Oliver and finally Frank Francisco can handle, and they’ll be wilting out there at that beautiful Ballpark as well. Offensively, some people are expecting big things, but as much as I love Nolan Ryan – and I do love me some Nolan – the offense just isn’t enough to bail out that pitching, no matter how many pitches they throw (and believe me, I love limitless pitch counts – the oxymoronic belief that somehow ‘protecting’ the investment of a young fireballer that’s thrown countless innings and pitches from little league through high school through American Legion and cutting his workload down to the 60-80 pitch range is beneficial is amazing to me. Think about it – you don’t workout with less weight to get stronger – cmon). As I was saying, Ian Kinsler & Michael Young are outstanding bats, Elvis Andrus is a bit overrated, Vlad Guererro is a nice pickup but old (keep swingin’ Vladi – you still can’t walk off the island), Jared Saltalamacchia’s swing is longer than his name, and Josh Hamilton must be the most fragile conqueror I’ve ever seen. Nelson Cruz is good and Chris Davis may break out, but this team is destined to mire through the sweltering heat.
Prediction: 81 wins, 81 losses A’s: To be Lew Wolff, on the precipice of bringing a forlorn franchise back to respectability, yet so far from acceptable on the field. Actually, though Moneyball’s charm has worn off long ago, the A’s remain a franchise in a ‘small market’ that still competes and puts a good product on the field. Becoming maestro’s of scrapping, KEvin Kouzmanoff, Kurt Suzuki, Jack Cust, Mark Ellis, Coco Crisp and Ben Sheets are all byproducts of somebody’s waste. Accordingly and defying other, more resource-laden franchises, the A’s consistently find these guys while they can still play. Point is, the A’s are going to turn some heads. Rajai Davis isn’t an All-Star, but he complements Coco Crisp and the young, talented Ryan Sweeney in a solid outfield. Andrew Bailey, the smartest man in baseball Craig Breslow and freewheeling Brad Ziegler join the castaways to form a reliable bullpen. That said, there just really isn’t enough op here to support the pitching. They’ll be respectable, but in a competitive division they will be the odd team out.
Prediction: 76 wins, 86 losses

Choe Fantasy Baseball 2010

In what is now the 14th year of Lovett/Saario/Russo/Mitchell/Choe Fantasy Baseball, the tradition continues with unbiased, objective analysis from YKI. A great draft and a hearty thank you to Juan for providing a perfect environment for a treacherous six-hour draft. All Rosters Appear HERE.

Keep in mind that Choe Fantasy Baseball (as it is formally referred to for 2010) has a very unique – and in my opinion, more accurate – scoring system than most rotisserie leagues; you start a real ‘lineup,’ meaning eight position players and one DH, as well as four starting pitchers and one closer. The points system is ‘aggregate’ and is awarded on a straight-forward basis (one point for a hit, one for a walk, four for a homerun, etc) and allows for some pretty high scores on a weekly basis. Though the numbers can get unwieldy, I’ve always felt that fantasy league should reflect aggregate greatness rather than category consistency, as there’s no way you can convince me that stolen bases is as valuable as homeruns – and thusly, we simply ignore that system and utilize this, more accurate method.

Without further adieu, the Predictions/Analysis.
*for these purposes, all “Keepers” will be treated as draftees and written about accordingly* The lineup is solid and the rotation is deep. . .so why isn’t YKI excited about “El-Boogie‘s” chances? The middle infield, while large in cachet & name brand appeal, were largely expensive and both players (Ian Kinsler, Jimmy Rollins) are struggling with average, and hitting in general – at least for those prices. Mark Reynolds & Aramis Ramirez form a dynamite duo at 3B, while Grady Sizemore and Carlos Lee anchor the outfield. Weiters is destined for greatness, but is it too soon to anoint him as your go-to Fantasy catcher? We’ll find out. The rotation, with Brad Penny, Aaron Harang and Derek Lowe at the bottom, definitely has depth, but Tim Lincecum is the only true Ace of the staff.

Overpaid pickups: Ian Kinsler, $44; Jimmy Rollins, $50
Best pickups: Michael Cuddyer, $1; Juan Rivera, $1; Mark Reynolds, $2
Predicted Finish: 6thPlace The Bookcontinued right on rolling, as some highly advised pickups were consulted & confirmed. Zack Greinke, Yovanni Gallardo, Roy Halladay and AJ Burnett form a very stout rotation, while A-Rod carries the offense. Aside from that, though, are question marks – YKI is not a firm believer in Matt Kemp and his “promise/upside” of 40/40 seasons; Jayson Werth had a career year while Carlos Beltran is questionable; that said, Alfonso Soriano & Vernon Wells are two good – if not guaranteed – backups.
Overpaid pickups: Matt Kemp, $39; Alfonso Soriano, $15
Best pickups: Kendry Morales, $2; Yovanni Gallardo, $8
Predicted Finish: 8thPlace YKI’s doppleganger scored nicely with a few bargain pickups in the late rounds after surviving an early scare with lack of cap space. The rotation is full of question marks – with upside – as Chris Carpenter and Cole Hamels will look to continue/rebound despite histories of injury/detachment. The offense is tremendous, however, with Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez & Ryan Braun in the middle of the order, and an underrated Michael Young and soon-to-be-great Rickie Weeks filling the middle. Catcher is an issue with Mike Napoli and Yadier Molina sharing duty.

Overpaid pickups: Nick Markakis, $24; Matt Garza, $17
Best pickups: Mariano Rivera, $1; Brad Hawpe, $1, Billy Butler, $7

Predicted Finish: 4thPlace It took him a while to fill out a roster, and “Peezaleo” ended up with a resoundingly mediocre squad. Nothing bad, nothing good – just a middle of the pack feel. Josh Johnson, Dan Haren, Max Scherzer are high-upside pitchers, but can anybody step up right now and be the Ace? Mark Teixiera & Brandon Phillips are a phenomenal right side infield couplet, but Rafael Furcal & Adrian Beltre need to revert back to ‘early career with Dodgers’ days in order to keep Paul’s offense rolling; the outfield of Matt Holliday, Hunter Pence & Alex Rios doesn’t provide much of a threat either. The ‘backup’ first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, will do damage. As with most clubs, catcher is an issue here as well.

Overpaid pickups: Dan Haren, $48;
Best pickups: Chris Young (Dbacks), $1; Adrian Gonzalez, $36
Predicted Finish: 10thPlace More than anything else, “MitchDiggy” provided what every draft needs – a resident drunkard. The alcohol didn’t seem to affect his drafting as mitch came out of the evening with a very potent club; Justin Verlander and Matt Cain form an excellent 1-2 punch, and Brett Anderson and James Shields are reliable filling out the rotation. Though lacking depth in the infield, Ryan Howard, Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria & Brian McCann form one of the best-hitting cores in the league. The outfield is solid if not spectacular – JD Drew, Carlos Quentin & Andre Ethier may not have the superstar recognition, but are consistent fantasy ballplayers.

Overpaid pickups: Ben Zobrist, $24; Carlos Quentin, $26, Josh Hamilton, $15
Best pickups: Nolan Reimold, $5; Brett Anderson, $8, Evan Longoria, $8

Predicted Finish: 3rdPlace Ahh. . .the Wonderful World of “BDogthaHog” – hone up on the talent, get some popcorn, sit back and horde caps until everybody is out of money, then rip guys off the deck at pennies on the dollar. . .but alas, folks, just like Moneyball was exploited, so was the patented BDog Strategy. Overpaying for a couple of pitchers – Javier Vazquez, Chad Billingsley – put him in the hole early, leaving him with only four outfielders, and not a spectacular bunch at that. In all fairness, though, the trio of Jason Bay, Curtis Granderson & Carl Crawford is definitely solid. Between Adam Dunn, Derrek Lee & Chris Davis, he’ll have no issues at 1B, and he showed his skill for grabbing talent with some youth & depth at the other infield slots (Gordon Beckham, Pablo Sandoval, Elvis Andrus, Andrew McCutchen). Will this draft be strong enough for BDog to put ‘er on auto pilot and let it play out, or will he actually have to GM this year? YKI thinks the latter. . .

Overpaid pickups: Javier Vazquez, $26; Chad Billingsley, $25; Derek Jeter, $16, Dan Uggla, $12
Best pickups: Clayton Kershaw, $9; Jorge de la Rosa, $7; Chris Davis, $2
Predicted Finish: 9thPlace An outstanding squad. “Jig” had perhaps the best draft of the night (home-field advantage?), spending big early in the right spots and holding on to pick up bargains in middle and late rounds. Johan Santana, Scott Kazmir, Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson, JA Happ & Edwin Jackson combine with Stephen Strasburg to form the best rotation in the league. Prince Fielder, Robinson Cano, Troy Tulowitzki, Joe Mauer, Adam Jones, Torii Hunter. . .you get the point – the offense is studly as well. Great draft.

Overpaid pickups: Johan Santana, $49; Jake Peavy, $30 (injury risks)
Best pickups: Edwin Jackson, $8; Tim Hudson, $8; Buster Posey, $1; Torii Hunter, $8; Adam Jones, $15; Magglio Ordonez, $5; Joe Mauer, $17; Vlad Guerrero, $1, Tommy Hanson, $5

Predicted Finish: 1st Place “Big Ne” is always difficult to peg just because he views talent much differently than YKI. His squads never look good on paper on draft day but always fair well; this year should be no different. Solid, solid team with Chase Utley, Victor Martinez, Jay Bruce, Justin Upton, Manny Ramirez, Joey Votto and Stephen Drew leading the offense, and Jon Lester, Carlos Zambrano, John Lackey, Jair Jurrjens & Gavin Floyd anchoring the rotation. Will be interesting to see how he fares, but the team looks good and should finish in the money.

Overpaid pickups: Victor Martinez, $43; Jon Lester, $46; Manny Ramirez, $27
Best pickups: Brandon Wood, $1; John Lackey, $18; Carlos Zambrano, $14; Gavin Floyd, $5; Anibal Sanchez, $1, Rick Porcello, $1
Predicted Finish: 2ndPlace One of my absolute favorite GMs year-to-year, as “TMex” always has a game plan, and executes. He paid big bucks for a few studs, but in this scoring system that’s how we get ‘er done. Aces galore on the pitching staff – Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, even former aces Roy Oswalt, Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf, Mark Buerhle & Brandon Webb can contribute. Adam Lind is solid at bat, and a great complement to Albert Pujols, Dustin Pedroia & Jose Reyes. My major concerns are in the outfield, where Jacoby Ellsbury, Nate McClouth, Johnny Damon & Michael Bourn are the only options in a scoring system that heavily favors power.

Overpaid pickups: Jose Reyes, $35
Best pickups: Madison Bumgarner, $1; Mat Gamel, $1; Johnny Damon, $1; Howie Kendrick, $2; Kurt Suzuki, $4; Randy Wolf, $1
Predicted Finish: 5thPlace The master of patience, diligence and a strong work ethic throughout the season, “Leezy Mo Bee” tends to overhaul his roster little-by-little as the season progresses, and actually GMming his way into the money. He recognizes talent but doesn’t really like to spend, and accordingly his draft day rosters tend to be merely ‘good.’ This year he continued the philosophy- at least for Draft Day – as the staff of Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Beckett & Wandy Rodriguez provides him a plethora of Aces. The outfield is a bit weak with Nelson Cruz, Shin Soo Choo, Jason Heyward & Carlos Gonzalez; though each player has the potential to be a mega-star. The rest of the offense is good – Kevin Youkilis, Carlos Pena, Aaron Hill, Alexei Ramirez, David Wright, Geovanny Soto – but really lacks a definitive power punch at its core.

Overpaid pickups: Josh Beckett, $45; David Wright, $41
Best pickups: Ubaldo Jimenez, $2; Geovanny Soto, $20; Carlos Gonzalez, $7; Wandy Rodriguez, $16; Jason Kubel, $3

Predicted Finish: 7thPlace