29 June, 2008

RDB's MLB Rankings: 23 June - 29 June

Interleague play is over and it is time for teams to deal with teams from their own leagues, and more specifically their own divisions. The next month will bring separation to many of the divisions, and will tell us who is will be buyers and who will be sellers in the trade market.

1. Chicago Cubs W-L:49-32 ExpW-L:50-31
So far ahead of the rest of the NL it seems unfair.

2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim W-L:49-33 ExpW-L:42-40
John Lackey is pitching like a Cy young winner...will missing the first part of the season cost him the award?

3. Chicago White Sox W-L:45-35 ExpW-L:48-32
The South side team has been nearly unbeatable at home too.

4. Tampa Bay Rays W-L:49-32 ExpW-L:46-35
Only the A's have had a better all-around staff in the AL.

5. Boston Red Sox W-L:50-34 ExpW-L:49-35
If Daisuke can return to where he was at the beginning of the season the Red Sox will be in great shape.

6. Minnesota Twins W-L:45-37 ExpW-L:42-40
They are getting production from a multitude of sources.

7. St. Louis Cardinals W-L:47-36 ExpW-L:44-39
Everyone thought they had no pitching, but they rank sixth in the league in ERA. With Pujols on offense this team can keep it together.

8. Detroit Tigers W-L:41-40 ExpW-L:41-40
No one is too surprised they are playing like this, we're just surprised it took so long.

9. New York Yankees W-L:44-38 ExpW-L:43-39
Andy Pettite and Mike Mussina have a tremendous weight on their shoulders for the next month+.

10. Milwaukee Brewers W-L:44-37 ExpW-L:40-41
Ryan Braun is not being recognized properly by the All-Star voting fans.

11. Oakland Athletics W-L:44-37 ExpW-L:47-34
Duchsherer has an astounding 1.91 ERA.

12. Texas Rangers W-L:41-41 ExpW-L:40-42
Is anyone paying attention to Vicente Padilla's ten wins?

13. New York Mets W-L:40-41 ExpW-L:40-41
Carlos Delgado still has it, just not often enough.

14. Philadelphia Phillies W-L:44-38 ExpW-L:48-34
When do you say that a player has too many strikeouts? When their OBP is .310. At least Adam Dunn draws a ton of walks.

15. Arizona Diamondbacks W-L:41-41 ExpW-L:42-40
Even with the huge lead they developed they can't continue to play like this and expect to lead the division.

16. Florida Marlins W-L:42-39 ExpW-L:39-42
They refuse to die, and even though the talent is young, it's deep.

17. Baltimore Orioles W-L:41-39 ExpW-L:40-40
If Sherrill can continue to show the resiliency he has thus far the O's could maintain a .500 record.

18. Los Angeles Dodgers W-L:38-43 ExpW-L:41-40
If they could win all their games without a hit they'd be perched atop the division.

19. Atlanta Braves W-L:40-43 ExpW-L:46-37
The Braves continue to struggle through injuries and stars coming down to earth.

20. Kansas City Royals W-L:37-45 ExpW-L:36-46
DeJesus and Greinke and quietly having all-star campaigns.

21. Toronto Blue Jays W-L:40-43 ExpW-L:45-38
A.J. Burnett is absolutely on fire. The Jays could move him and start to prepare for the future with an injection of youth.

22. Houston Astros W-L:39-43 ExpW-L:38-44
Outside of Berkman, this team is really depressing. Even Roy Oswalt has a rather mediocre 4.77 ERA.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates W-L:38-43 ExpW-L:36-45
Nady and Bay could be good pieces in trades.

24. Cincinnati Reds W-L:38-45 ExpW-L:36-47
Griffey is a sure fire hall of famer, but his time is behind him and he's starting to pull down his team.

25. Cleveland Indians W-L:37-45 ExpW-L:42-40
Peralta is putting up impressive power numbers.

26. Washington Nationals W-L:33-50 ExpW-L:30-53
Belliard breaks out of a slump with a monster hit.

27. San Francisco Giants W-L:36-46 ExpW-L:37-45
Tim Lincecum continues to impress.

28. Seattle Mariners W-L:31-50 ExpW-L:34-47
Showed they could dominate the pathetic Padres

29. Colorado Rockies W-L:32-50 ExpW-L:34-48
Continue to struggle even with Tulowitzki playing solidly.

30. San Diego Padres W-L:32-51 ExpW-L:32-51
How bad is this team? Couldn't even compete with the Mariners.

Hall of Fame Debate: Curt Schilling

Since Curt Schilling's career is nearing an end, it has become popular to debate whether his career is hall worthy. Here are his career numbers:

GS---- W---- L----- W%---- CG--- IP---- K----- ERA--- ERA+---- WHIP
436--- 216--- 146--- .597----- 83--- 3261-- 3116--- 3.46--- 127------- 1.137

In addition, Schilling ranks second all-time in K/BB ratio (Tommy Bond), with a very impressive 4.38 ratio. The most supportive career statistic for Schilling's Hall status is 3,116 career strikeouts, but it is obvious that this alone is not enough, since Burt Blyleven's 3701 career strikeouts have not been enough to put him over the top. The rest of the numbers, while good, are far from enough to make a strong case that Schilling belongs in the Hall.
Of course, with Schilling, career regular season numbers are only part of the story. But can a bloody sock and the reverse of a curse put Schilling in the Hall?
Here's a look at his career post-season numbers:

GS--- W---- L---- W%---- CG---- IP---- K---- ERA
19---- 11---- 2---- .846----- 4 ---- 133.1 -- 120-- 2.23

While these numbers are very impressive, and they include a 1993 NLCS MVP award as well as a 2001 WS MVP award, let's compare them to Jack Morris' career postseason stats:

GS --- W---- L ----W%---- CG---- IP---- K---- ERA
13----- 7----- 4 ----.636----- 5----- 92.1--- 64---- 3.80

Which comes accompanied with a 1991 WS MVP award and perhaps the greatest world series pitching performance in history, a ten inning shutout in Game 7 of this world series.
Morris also posted 254 regular season victories, far above the career total of Schilling. It is very clear that Jack Morris falls short of the requirements for Hall status. Schilling and Morris both make cases for the Hall based upon solid regular season numbers and mythical post season performances, but it is obvious that neither is Hall worthy.
Curt Schilling has had a great career, one worthy of continual reflection and even mythical acclaim; but it is not enough to enter the hallowed walls of Cooperstown.

23 June, 2008

2008 CWS: Battle of the Bulldogs

It is only fitting in a year that had so many ups and downs for the top teams in Division I that we would have the giant underdog Fresno St. taking on the red hot Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia relies heavily on premiere shortstop Gordon Beckham while the Bulldogs of Fresno State has leaned on ace pitcher Tanner Scheppers and first baseman Alan Ahmady.

22 June, 2008

RDB's MLB Rankings: 16 June - 22 June

As we head toward the all-star break injuries set in for many teams, hot starts level out, and the real teams are separated from the pretenders.

1. Chicago Cubs W-L: 47-28 ExpW-L: 47-28
Even with injuries setting in, the Cubs still continue to produce.

2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim W-L: 46-30 ExpW-L: 39-37
The Angels rebounded nicely from a tough series loss at home to the Mets with a sweep of the Phillies.

3. Boston Red Sox W-L: 47-31 ExpW-L: 45-33
The injuries haven't slowed the team with the most all-around talent in the majors.

4. Tampa Bay Rays W-L: 44-31 ExpW-L: 41-34
By pounding the Cubs the Rays made more believers.

5. New York Yankees W-L: 41-35 ExpW-L: 40-36
The lineup is scary for the opponents, unfortunately the rotation is scary to the fans.

6. Chicago White Sox W-L: 41-33 ExpW-L: 45-29
Not the best team in their town, but if they can battle through the injuries they'll be able to go deep.

7. St. Louis Cardinals W-L: 44-33 ExpW-L: 41-36
They've proven they'll have some say in the NL playoff picture.

8. Oakland Athletics W-L: 41-34 ExpW-L: 44-31
Young talent is hanging on so far, can it do so in the dog days?

9. Milwaukee Brewers W-L: 41-34 ExpW-L: 37-38
Fielder is becoming a superstar, not because of his power, but because of his hustle.

10. Minnesota Twins W-L: 40-36 ExpW-L: 38-38
Are the rest of the major league teams watching how the A's and Twins do it?

11. Philadelphia Phillies W-L: 42-35 ExpW-L: 46-31
With a chance to put their foot on the throat of the Mets, the Mets win 2 of 3 at the Angels and the Phils get swept at home by the same.

12. New York Mets W-L: 37-37 ExpW-L: 38-36
Jose Reyes is emerging not only as an MVP candidate, but a leader of the team.

13. Detroit Tigers W-L: 36-39 ExpW-L: 37-38
The rest of the league has taken notice.

14. Arizona Diamondbacks W-L: 39-37 ExpW-L: 39-37
With Brandon Webb coming down to earth the D'Backs look very vulnerable.

15. Texas Rangers W-L: 39-38 ExpW-L: 38-39
Solid road play keeps them hovering around five hundred.

16. Florida Marlins W-L: 40-35 ExpW-L: 38-37
How long after the all-star break will these youngsters be able to keep it up?

17. Baltimore Orioles W-L: 38-36 ExpW-L: 36-38
It's not just smoke and mirrors, this could be the foundation of a solid contender in a few years.

18. Atlanta Braves W-L: 38-39 ExpW-L: 43-34
Dangerously close to fading into insignificance.

19. Cleveland Indians W-L: 35-41 ExpW-L: 40-36
It's time to start shopping Sabathia.

20. Los Angeles Dodgers W-L: 35-40 ExpW-L: 37-38
Joe Torre needs veteran talent to go along with the core group of developing players.

21. Toronto Blue Jays W-L: 36-41 ExpW-L: 40-37
The wheels just fell off.

22. Houston Astros W-L: 35-41 ExpW-L: 34-42
You couldn't expect much, but when they started off nicely you didn't anticipate this disaster.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates W-L: 36-40 ExpW-L: 34-42
Take heart Buc fans there are signs that the future could be brighter (finally).

24. Kansas City Royals W-L: 33-43 ExpW-L: 32-44
Finally getting something out of the money they spent this winter.

25. Cincinnati Reds W-L: 35-42 ExpW-L: 34-43
Volquez is the real deal; if the rest of the young talent follows suit this team will be scary.

26. Colorado Rockies W-L: 32-44 ExpW-L: 32-44
Still fun to watch. Tulowitzki brought some life back to the club.

27. Washington Nationals W-L: 30-47 ExpW-L: 28-49
If Elijah Dukes could get his attitude in order he could become a superstar.

28. San Francisco Giants W-L: 32-44 ExpW-L: 33-43
How long will the signing of Barry Zito haunt this team?

29. San Diego Padres W-L: 32-45 ExpW-L: 31-46
They started to look like they could put something together...the good news: they'll stay in it, because the division is playing awful.

30. Seattle Mariners W-L: 26-49 ExpW-L: 30-45
The entire organization is in disarray.

10 June, 2008

2008 College World Series

Well, it's finally here. The College World Series is set to take off now and here are the participants:

North Carolina
Florida State
Fresno State

Welcome to Omaha!

09 June, 2008

Last of a Different Breed

Six hundred. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Babe Ruth. Willie Mays. Hank Aaron. Barry Bonds. Sammy Sosa. Ken Griffey Jr. There was a time that we thought he'd reach this plateau at a much younger age, but it doesn't lessen its value any. Ken Griffey Jr. has reached hallowed ground today. Ruth, Mays, and Aaron. That was the list for so very long. Now three more have reached that grand summit, but only one of those stands free of controversy and suspicion. Ken Griffey Jr.

His numbers are absolutely staggering, especially when considering the toll injuries have had upon him over the past 7+ seasons. Even missing such significant time Griffey has managed to climb to number 6 on the all-time list and will almost certainly climb to number 5 by season's end. He ranks nineteenth all-time in RBI, forty-sixth in runs scored, eighteenth in total bases, and twenty-first in runs created.
He won the AL MVP award in 1997, he's a10 time gold glove winner (all consecutive), a 13 time all-star, holds a .289 career batting average and ranks 78th all-time in adjusted OPS+. He was the premiere star of his generation, before injuries cut him short. He led his league in home runs 4 times, and was considered the best all around player in the game during his peak years; this at a time when Barry Bonds was playing.
There can be little doubt that Ken Griffey Jr. is a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. His unique brand of enthusiasm and graceful elegance renew memories of a treasured past; while controversies swirl and spoil many great achievements in the sport.
Six hundred. It may be a while before we see it again, and even longer before we feel this good about it.

08 June, 2008

RDB's MLB Rankings: 8 June - 14 June

We're heading into the heart of the summer with legitimate contenders starting to remind the up-and-comers that there is a lot more ball to be played. Many of the contenders aren't entirely healthy, but their reserves are picking up the slack admirably.

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim W-L: 39-24 ExpW-L: 33-30
It's hitting on all cylinders right now.

2. Chicago Cubs W-L: 39-24 ExpW-L: 40-23
A .500 week slows down the NL's best, but just a bit.

3. Boston Red Sox W-L: 40-26 ExpW-L: 38-28
Is there any doubt who the most feared club in baseball is?

4. Philadelphia Phillies W-L: 39-26 ExpW-L: 40-25
Starting to pull away from in an unexpectedly weak NL East.

5. Chicago White Sox W-L: 36-26 ExpW-L: 38-24
When will this team start getting the national press it has earned.

6. Tampa Bay Rays W-L: 37-25 ExpW-L: 34-28
The Red Sox showed they were still the team to beat in the AL East, but the Rays are showing they are still a force to be reckoned with.

7. St. Louis Cardinals W-L: 38-27 ExpW-L: 35-30
We still expect the bubble to burst, but maybe not that badly.

8. Arizona Diamondbacks W-L: 34-29 ExpW-L: 35-28
What once looked like their division now looks like it will be a tight race.

9. Oakland Athletics W-L: 33-29 ExpW-L: 36-26
This team needs a more loyal fan base.

10. Toronto Blue Jays W-L: 33-32 ExpW-L: 35-30
Ricciardi's bold moves finally starting to pay off.

11. New York Yankees W-L: 32-31 ExpW-L: 31-32
Some of the sleeping giants have awaken, when these bats get going no one can stop them.

12. Milwaukee Brewers W-L: 33-30 ExpW-L: 31-32
Talent rich and the chemistry is there; can they compete in such a deep division?

13. Minnesota Twins W-L: 31-32 ExpW-L: 29-34
This team will probably slow down at some point, but who would have thought they'd be up on the Indians and Tigers at this point?

14. Los Angeles Dodgers W-L: 30-32 ExpW-L: 33-29
Finally starting to show some life, against the Cubs no less.

15. Florida Marlins W-L: 34-28 ExpW-L: 31-31
Who thought this would be the only team staying within range of the Phillies?

16. Texas Rangers W-L: 31-33 ExpW-L: 30-34
All-Stars continue to emerge from Arlington, but banners do not.

17. San Diego Padres W-L: 28-37 ExpW-L: 26-39
Starting to roll early enough to make a difference.

18. Atlanta Braves W-L: 32-32 ExpW-L: 37-27
Absolutely abysmal on the road (7-21) and their next ten are away from home.

19. Houston Astros W-L: 32-32 ExpW-L: 31-33
If they're still a second half team, they are positioned well.

20. Pittsburgh Pirates W-L: 30-33 ExpW-L: 29-34
Drafting without respect to big number rumors shows that ownership is ready to make necessary changes.

21. Detroit Tigers W-L: 26-36 ExpW-L: 29-33
The Indians seemed to bring some good out of this team.

22. Cleveland Indians W-L: 28-35 ExpW-L: 32-31
Injuries may derail this season for good.

23. Cincinnati Reds W-L: 30-34 ExpW-L: 30-34
All the big name prospects are there now and without pressure since Griffey's getting all of the attention; perfect timing for development.

24. Baltimore Orioles W-L: 31-31 ExpW-L: 30-32
Daniel Cabrera could be the most talented out-of-control pitcher in the majors (well along with Oliver Perez).

25. New York Mets W-L: 30-32 ExpW-L: 31-31
Did Omar Minaya and Mets' ownership think that everything magically got better after a meeting with Willie Randolph?

26. San Francisco Giants W-L: 28-35 ExpW-L: 28-35
Zito now has 2 wins on the season.

27. Colorado Rockies W-L: 24-39 ExpW-L: 25-38
Played extremely well against a hot Brewers team.

28. Washington Nationals W-L: 25-39 ExpW-L: 24-40
It's one step forward, two steps back for this perennial loser.

29. Kansas City Royals W-L: 24-39 ExpW-L: 24-39
See above.

30. Seattle Mariners W-L: 22-41 ExpW-L: 25-38
Who could've guessed this team would be so awful?

07 June, 2008

Great Baseball Names

One of the great baseball names of a player currently in the game is pitcher Grant Balfour of the Tampa Bay Rays. This ranks right up there with B-R's post for two pitchers:
Lincoln Holdzkom and Joshua Outman
In the comments other great names are pointed out:

Scott Pitcher
Jake Thrower
Bob Walk
Bruce Hitt
Vic Power

Great Baseball Names

06 June, 2008

Hall of Fame Debate: Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones is enjoying an incredible start to the 2008 regular season. Not only is Jones leading the majors with an astounding .423 average, but his 1.176 OPS is second only to Berkman in the majors; he is first in OBP at .502, second in SLG (Berkman) at .671, and second in RC (Berkman) at 64.2.
In addition to all of this, Chipper hit his 400th career home run yesterday. He currently ranks 43rd all-time in home runs, 79th in RBI (1338), 45th in OBP (.406), 27th in slugging (.550), and 22nd in OPS (.956). He was awarded the 1999 NL MVP award, has received 2 silver slugger awards and is a 5 time all-star.
He has met the standards of many to enter the Hall of Fame, but there are still some naysayers who argue that Jones has been too much of an injury risk during his career, particularly over the past several years. Also, Jones has never been considered a premiere defender; he has played at a time when many would argue that he was not the best third baseman in the game. Names like Rolen, Rodriguez and Wright surface as contemporaries or partial contemporaries whose achievements may ultimately dwarf Jones'.

Chipper has also had the unfortunate timing to have played in baseball's steroids era. While we note that Jones has never been under any kind of scrutiny regarding performance enhancing drugs, and has in fact been quite outspoken against PEDs, the era in general suffers from its perception. But even adjusting for era and ballparks Jones' OPS ranks 49th all-time. Only 8 hall-eligible players rank ahead of Jones in OPS+ while not making into the Hall of Fame.
Among players who played more games at 3rd than any other position, Jones ranks second only to Mike Schmidt in OPS+. Among all players who played significant time at third he is 5th, behind Dick Allen, Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez and Schmidt. Jones is also third all-time in OPS+ among switch hitters (Mickey Mantle, Lance Berkman).
While the climb may be uphill for Jones to get into the Hall, because so many writers associate the Braves with pitching, it is clear that Jones has earned the right to enter into that hallowed shrine.

01 June, 2008

RDB's MLB Rankings: 1 June - 7 June

Are we getting closer to figuring out the Jekyll and Hyde teams? So many teams loaded with talent continue to struggle, and many others continue to surprise with what seems to be limited talent. While some divisions are beginning to look more "normal," others still keep us shaking our heads.

1. Chicago Cubs W-L: 36-21 ExpW-L: 37-20
As a reminder to the rest of baseball that they're for real, they knock off 7 in a row.

2. Tampa Bay Rays W-L: 35-22 ExpW-L: 32-25
They may slow down, but if you're waiting for them to crash forget about it.

3. Boston Red Sox W-L: 35-24 ExpW-L: 34-25
This team has become what the Yankees were 10 years ago (in a good way).

4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim W-L: 34-24 ExpW-L: 30-28
This team was an early preseason favorite for a multitude of reasons.

5. Philadelphia Phillies W-L: 33-25 ExpW-L: 35-23
Starting to look like clear favorites in the division.

6. Arizona Diamondback W-L: 32-25 ExpW-L: 34-23
Slowing down slightly, but far from stopping.

7. St. Louis Cardinals W-L: 34-24 ExpW-L: 31-27
We're still not believers, but pairing the way Ludwick has been playing with Pujols is a dangerous combination.

8. Toronto Blue Jays W-L: 31-28 ExpW-L: 33-26
Incredible pitching can take a team very deep into a season.

9. Oakland Athletics W-L: 30-27 ExpW-L: 32-25
How good will this team be in two years?

10. Chicago White Sox W-L: 30-26 ExpW-L: 32-24
Good chemistry with a manager who makes timely decisions is a great mixture.

11. Atlanta Braves W-L: 29-28 ExpW-L: 34-23
Bad luck usually levels out by the end of the season.

12. New York Yankees W-L: 28-28 ExpW-L: 27-29
A-Rod and company will do their part, but will Joba and company?

13. Minnesota Twins W-L: 29-27 ExpW-L: 27-29
Good fortune that they are playing so well the year before they finally get their new park.

14. Texas Rangers W-L: 29-29 ExpW-L: 28-30
Not only is Josh Hamilton playing amazingly but so is Milton Bradley.

15. Florida Marlins W-L: 31-24 ExpW-L: 28-27
Good fortune looks like it may be ending soon for this team.

16. Milwaukee Brewers W-L: 29-28 ExpW-L: 27-30
Starting to get a little momentum, can they turn it into something?

17. Los Angeles Dodgers W-L: 27-28 ExpW-L: 29-26
Enough talent that they should be destroying lifeless teams like the Mets.

18. Cincinnati Reds W-L: 28-29 ExpW-L: 27-30
Talent keeps flowing in from the minors, but they finally reached the best of it with Bruce.

19. New York Mets W-L: 27-27 ExpW-L: 27-27
Reyes is starting to play like an MVP again, but that's not enough (Can Pedro make a difference?)

20. Detroit Tigers W-L: 24-32 ExpW-L: 27-29
This team will go on a run at some point, but will it be a long enough run to make up for all of this?

21. Houston Astros W-L: 30-28 ExpW-L: 28-30
This was an absolutely horrendous week.

22. Pittsburgh Pirates W-L: 26-30 ExpW-L: 26-30
The devoted fan base needs more help from ownership.

23. Cleveland Indians W-L: 25-31 ExpW-L: 29-27
This team can't get hitting and pitching going at the same time.

24. Washington Nationals W-L: 24-34 ExpW-L: 23-35
Moving on top in the battle of the beltway.

25. Baltimore Orioles W-L: 26-29 ExpW-L: 25-30
Yep, these are the O's we've come to expect.

26. Kansas City Royals W-L: 23-34 ExpW-L: 23-34
Will they be able to keep some of the talent they are developing now; and get out of this cycle?

27. San Francisco Giants W-L: 24-33 ExpW-L: 23-34
It could be worse - they could be this bad and still have the negative PR of Bonds following them.

28. Seattle Mariners W-L: 21-35 ExpW-L: 23-33
The good news is, they've played better than their record; bad news: even at that rate they're still bad.

29. San Diego Padres W-L: 23-35 ExpW-L: 22-36
Actually showed some life this week.

30. Colorado Rockies W-L: 20-37 ExpW-L: 22-35
Too bad the fans couldn't get some kind of encore.

25 May - 31 May Rankings