Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A New Ultimate Number Player: Michael Young

You may remember this post, where I selected Ron Santo as the Ultimate #10. Not many players have been able to wear #10 with every stint with every team they played for, so Santo's two teams make him the guy, since pictures of Lefty Grove with a visible #10 are rare.

However, this is no longer the case. With the retirement of Michael Young last year, we have a player who played with three different franchises in his career, and wore #10 with each of them! And considering how bad he was his last two seasons, it's a fairly safe bet that he's not coming back. It was time for the guy to go.

Ron Santo, as a Cub fan I love ya, but your title belongs to someone else now. Please welcome the new Ultimate #10: Michael Young!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Predictions For 2014

Since Opening Day is nearly upon us, I thought I would put down my preseason predictions, and at the end of the season, we'll see how horribly wrong (or horribly right, as the case may be) they were.

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giants
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres

NL Central

1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Chicago Cubs (WC)
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Milwaukee Brewers

NL East

1. Washington Nationals
2. Atlanta Braves (WC)
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. New York Mets
5. Miami Marlins

AL West

1. Texas Rangers
2. Oakland Athletics
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
4. Seattle Mariners
5. Houston Astros

AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers
2. Kansas City Royals (WC)
3. Cleveland Indians
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Minnesota Twins

AL East

1. New York Yankees
2. Tampa Bay Rays (WC)
3. Boston Red Sox
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays

Playoffs:

NL Wild Card: Atlanta over Chicago
AL Wild Card: Kansas City over Tampa Bay

NLDS 1: Los Angeles over Atlanta
NLDS 2: St. Louis over Washington
ALDS 1: New York over Kansas City
ALDS 2: Texas over Detroit

NLCS: St. Louis over Los Angeles
ALCS: New York over Texas

World Series: New York Yankees over St. Louis Cardinals


I don't think any of my picks are too "out there," except my pick of the Cubs to win a Wild Card spot. Why am I picking them to win it, when the universal consensus is that the Cubs are at least a year away from contending? That's a secret. Even so, I have them losing the useless play-in game, so it won't much matter anyway.

Though baseball hates me, and I'm expecting another rotten ending to the season, maybe the regular season will have some memorable moments. I'm expecting the Royals to be this year's Pirates, so that'll be this year's fun ride. Let's do this.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

World Series Losers: The Plus Years


You should know how this works by now, as there have been three previous posts with this theme. Let's just jump right in. Who are the Plus Year leaders among the teams that lost the World Series?


Plus-1

Median: 22
Top Teams: 1991 ATL (32), 2007 COL (31), 1955 NYY (30), 2009 DET (29)
Bottom Teams: 1905 PHA (15), 1921 NYY (15), 1942 NYY (15), 2003 NYY (15), 1906 CHC (16), 1908 DET (16), 1922 NYY (16), 1943 STL (16)

After that magical 1991 season, the Braves wanted to bring back as much of the old gang as possible. Of course, many of those players were traded or released during the 1992 season, so it all evens out. It's not surprising that so many of the bottom teams played in an era of smaller rosters, but that 2003 Yankees team stands out. After losing to the Marlins, George Steinbrenner wanted him an overhaul.


Plus-2

Median: 16
Top Teams: 1965 MIN (22), 1969 BAL (22), 1979 BAL (22), 1991 ATL (21)
Bottom Teams: 1919 CHW (7), 1903 PIT (9), 1921 NYY (10), 1946 BOS (10)

The Orioles and Braves were definitely built around strong cores, but the 1965 Twins are something of a surprise. That was one of the more underrated cores in baseball history. As for the bottom teams, we can see that the Black Sox Scandal hit Comiskey's boys hard.


Plus-3

Median: 12
Top Teams: 1979 BAL (18), 1947 BRO (17), 1978 LAD (17), 1909 DET (16), 1934 DET (16), 1955 NYY (16), 1962 SFG (16), 1969 BAL (16), 1988 OAK (16)
Bottom Teams: 1998 SDP (5), 1914 PHA (6), 1919 CHW (6), 1940 DET (6), 2005 HOU (6), 1924 NYG (7), 1931 PHA (7), 1941 BRO (7), 2001 NYY (7), 2003 NYY (7)

The most impressive team in the top group is the 1909 Tigers. Even in the smaller-roster era, they had 16 of those players three years later. The bottom teams are more interesting. We see teams that had fire sales, the infamous Black Sox again, some teams just before World War II, and teams that were full of veterans at the end of the line. So close, and yet, so far.


Plus-4

Median: 9
Top Teams: 1952 BRO (16), 1955 NYY (16), 1947 BRO (15), 1979 BAL (15), 1942 NYY (14), 1956 BRO (13), 1969 BAL (13), 1974 LAD (13), 1988 OAK (13), 1992 ATL (13)
Bottom Teams: 1914 PHA (2), 1998 SDP (2), 1938 CHC (3), 1910 CHC (4), 1924 NYG (4), 1944 SLB (4), 1945 CHC (4), 1987 STL (4), 2002 SFG (4)

Imagine going to the World Series, and then having only two of those players still on the team four years later. Before I compiled this information, I didn't realize the Padres had done that just recently.


Plus-5

Median: 7
Top Teams: 1979 BAL (14), 1949 BRO (12), 1974 LAD (12), 1941 BRO (11), 1950 PHI (11), 1955 NYY (11), 1980 KCR (11)
Bottom Teams: 1931 PHA (1), 1944 SLB (1), 1998 SDP (1), 2000 NYM (1), 1914 PHA (2), 1945 CHC (2)

Two forgotten cores, the 1950's Phillies and the 1980's Royals, pop up in the top group.


Plus-6

Median: 5
Top Teams: 1940 DET (11), 1966 LAD (10), 1979 BAL (10), 1943 STL (9), 1949 BRO (9), 1950 PHI (9), 1955 NYY (9), 1974 LAD (9)
Bottom Teams: 1944 SLB (0), 2000 NYM (0), 1914 PHA (1), 1915 PHI (1), 1931 PHA (1), 1954 CLE (1), 1985 STL (1), 1993 PHI (1)

Now we see some teams who had no one left six years later. The 1944 Browns I can understand, as that was mostly a collection of WWII fill-ins playing for a financially-strapped franchise, but the 2000 Mets? Yes, that 2006 team that came within one game of the World Series actually had no players in common with the pennant-winner of six years before. The top team here is the 1940 Tigers, who saw a lot of their guys come back after the war to reclaim their old spots.


Plus-7

Median: 4
Top Teams: 1949 BRO (9), 1955 NYY (9), 1988 OAK (9), 1943 STL (8), 1950 PHI (8), 1962 SFG (8)
Bottom Teams: 1914 PHA (0), 1920 BRO (0), 1944 SLB (0), 1954 CLE (0), 2000 NYM (0)

The teams with none are piling up.


Plus-8

Median: 3
Top Teams: 1943 STL (7), 1949 BRO (7), 1950 PHI (7), 1955 NYY (6), 1962 SFG (6)
Bottom Teams: 1910 CHC (0), 1914 PHA (0), 1915 PHI (0), 1920 BRO (0), 1954 CLE (0), 1997 CLE (0), 2000 NYM (0), 2002 SFG (0), 2005 HOU (0)

That Whiz Kids core is still hanging around the top group. Two of these franchises in the bottom group won pennants in their Plus-8 seasons, the 1910 Cubs and the 2002 Giants. Apparently they needed to cleanse their rosters of all the guys from their last pennant-winner before they could win another.


Plus-9

Median: 2
Top Teams: 1909 DET (6), 1947 BRO (6), 1949 BRO (6), 1950 PHI (5), 1955 NYY (5), 2001 NYY (5)
Bottom Teams: 1910 CHC (0), 1914 PHA (0), 1918 CHC (0), 1920 BRO (0), 1933 WSH (0), 1960 NYY (0), 1963 NYY (0), 1990 OAK (0), 2000 NYM (0), 2002 SFG (0)

The 1918 Tigers saw several old faces come back, namely Bill Donovan and Davy Jones, plus an in-game appearance from manager Hughie Jennings, explaining their sudden appearance tied for the top spot.


Plus-10

Median: 2
Top Teams: 1955 NYY (5)
Bottom Teams: 18 teams

1955 was truly the beginning of a new era for the Yankees, as the core that carried them for the next ten years started to emerge. As you can also see, we're at the point where it's not uncommon to have no one left either.


Plus-11

Median: 1
Top Teams: 1907 DET (4), 1940 DET (4), 1947 BRO (4), 1955 NYY (4), 1992 ATL (4)
Bottom Teams: 27 teams

The good cores representin'!


Plus-12

Median: 1
Top Teams: 1935 CHC (4), 1940 DET (4), 2001 NYY (4), 1947 BRO (3), 1955 NYY (3), 1969 BAL (3), 1972 CIN (3), 1976 NYY (3), 1991 ATL (3), 1996 ATL (3)
Bottom Teams: 35 teams

Alfonso Soriano's return to the Bronx last season allowed the 2001 Yankees to join the top group. The 1935 Cubs are the real surprise, but the late-career returns of Billy Jurges and Bill Lee put them here.


Plus-13

Median: 1
Top Teams: 1925 WSH (4), 1932 CHC (3), 1940 DET (3), 1943 STL (3), 1947 BRO (3), 1972 CIN (3)

The 1925 Senators? Really? Believe it. The returns of Goose Goslin and Harry Kelley make it possible.


Plus-14

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1925 WSH (3), 1943 STL (3), 1970 CIN (3), 1972 CIN (3), 1911 NYG (2), 1912 NYG (2), 1914 PHA (2), 1932 CHC (2), 1947 BRO (2), 1975 BOS (2)


Plus-15

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1970 CIN (3), 1932 CHC (2)

The 1932 Cubs are the only team with as many as two...except the 1970 Reds, who win with three.


Plus-16

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1970 CIN (3), 1909 DET (2), 1914 PHA (2), 1992 ATL (2)

The Philadelphia A's brought back Eddie Collins and Wally Schang at the end of their careers, making them one of the top teams in the Plus-16 year despite being one of the bottom teams in the Plus-3 year.


Plus-17

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1991 ATL (2)

The Glavine-Smoltz duo was something truly special, and don't you ever forget it.


Plus-18

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1907 DET, 1908 DET, 1927 PIT, 1935 CHC, 1943 STL, 1951 NYG, 1962 SFG, 1970 CIN

Most players who put their teams here are Hall of Famers, but two (Phil Cavarretta and Dave Concepcion) are not, and another (Lloyd Waner) probably shouldn't be.


Plus-19

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1907 DET, 1943 STL, 1951 NYG

Cobb, Musial, Mays...


Plus-20

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1943 STL, 1951 NYG

Musial, Mays...


Plus-21

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1951 NYG

Mays...


Plus-22

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1966 LAD

...and then Don Sutton returned to the Dodgers for one last season, where they won the World Series two months after he was released.


So that does it for the World Series editions of these lists. I might have more along these lines in the future though, since I'm trying to compile this info for every team, not just the ones that made it to the World Series. We'll see if anything comes of that.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

World Series Losers: The Minus Years

Almost exactly a year ago, I did a two-part series that looked at all the World Series Champions and the differing player acquisition and attrition levels from those teams. I've spent the last year compiling the same information on every World Series losing team, and finally the results are in! If you need a refresher on how this works, I'd recommend reading the first post in the series, where I explain it all.

Anyway, how 'bout them runners-up?


Minus-24

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1933 WSH

Senators coach Nick Altrock and his late-season pinch-hitting appearance are the only thing to make a blip here. When Altrock's career as a regular player ended with the Senators in 1909, it began a long association with the franchise as a coach and baseball clown, who frequently made odd appearances in games for amusement's sake.


Minus-23

None


Minus-22

None


Minus-21

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1933 WSH

Altrock again, this time linked to a pitching appearance he'd made in 1912. Amazing that we have a publicity stunt connected to a publicity stunt here.


Minus-20

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1933 WSH

Guess who?


Minus-19

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1933 WSH

Yep, that's right!


Minus-18

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1933 WSH (2), 1925 WSH, 1954 CLE, 1989 SFG, 2011 TEX

The '33 Senators have two now, Altrock and Hall of Famer Sam Rice. Several other teams join the list, by virtue of great players like Walter Johnson! Bob Feller! Chris...Speier! Darren...Oliver? Well, they were players good enough to stick around, at least.


Minus-17

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1925 WSH, 1933 WSH, 1945 CHC, 1954 CLE, 1963 NYY, 1989 SFG, 2005 HOU, 2010 TEX, 2011 TEX

Much the same group, this time joined by the Yankees of Yogi Berra, the Astros of Craig Biggio and the Cubs of Johnny Moore.


Minus-16

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1925 WSH, 1933 WSH, 1938 CHC, 1940 DET, 1945 CHC, 1954 CLE, 1956 BRO, 1958 MLN, 1963 NYY, 1971 BAL, 1981 NYY, 1989 SFG, 1998 SDP, 2005 HOU, 2010 TEX, 2011 TEX

So many teams, but none has more than one player to represent it!


Minus-15

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1933 WSH (2), 1925 WSH, 1938 CHC, 1940 DET, 1945 CHC, 1954 CLE, 1956 BRO, 1963 NYY, 1968 STL, 1971 BAL, 1981 NYY, 1989 SFG, 1990 OAK, 1998 SDP, 2005 HOU, 2010 TEX, 2011 TEX

Nick Altrock appeared again in 1918 to put the '33 Senators back in the lead.


Minus-14

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1933 WSH (2), 1945 CHC (2), 1979 BAL (2), 2005 HOU (2)

Several teams are into the twos now. I'll bet most people couldn't name either of the two for the 1945 Cubs.


Minus-13

Median: 0
Top Teams: 1945 CHC (3), 1954 CLE (3), 1914 PHA (2), 1924 NYG (2), 1936 NYG (2), 1963 NYY (2), 1966 LAD (2), 1979 BAL (2), 1989 SFG (2), 2005 HOU (2)


Minus-12

Median: 1
Top Teams: 1942 NYY (3), 1914 PHA (2), 1924 NYG (2), 1933 WSH (2), 1936 NYG (2), 1938 CHC (2), 1945 CHC (2), 1954 CLE (2), 1963 NYY (2), 1966 LAD (2), 1975 BOS (2), 1979 BAL (2), 1986 BOS (2), 1989 SFG (2), 2005 HOU (2)


Minus-11

Median: 1
Top Teams: 1942 NYY (4), 1914 PHA (3), 1933 WSH (3), 1936 NYG (3), 1945 CHC (3), 1966 LAD (3), 1983 PHI (3)

The Yankees and their deep pockets are in the top spot all alone.


Minus-10

Median: 1
Top Teams: 1942 NYY (5), 1983 PHI (5), 1936 NYG (4), 1979 BAL (4)
Bottom Teams: 31 teams

The Paul Owens Phillies kept their players together better than a lot of people probably remember.


Minus-9

Median: 2
Top Teams: 1956 BRO (6), 1983 PHI (6), 1964 NYY (5), 1966 LAD (5), 1971 BAL (5)
Bottom Teams: 17 teams

1947 began the Jackie Robinson era in Brooklyn, as well as the beginning of one of the most successful player cores ever.


Minus-8

Median: 2
Top Teams: 1956 BRO (8), 1942 NYY (7), 2003 NYY (7), 1914 PHA (6), 1963 NYY (6), 1966 LAD (6), 1978 LAD (6), 1983 PHI (6)
Bottom Teams: 12 teams

That Brooklyn core gets more impressive with the 1948 debuts of Roy Campanella and Carl Erskine. It's not surprising that each of these teams at the top here was becoming somewhat dynastic.


Minus-7

Median: 3
Top Teams: 1956 BRO (9), 1966 LAD (8), 2003 NYY (8), 1942 NYY (7), 1955 NYY (7), 1957 NYY (7), 1978 LAD (7), 1999 ATL (7)
Bottom Teams: 1903 PIT (0), 1918 CHC (0), 1943 STL (0), 1951 NYG (0), 1967 BOS (0), 1984 SDP (0), 1992 ATL (0)

Then, in 1949, Don Newcombe joined the Brooklyn crew. We can also finally can see who the teams at the bottom were, and they were all teams near the beginning of an emergence. Not surprising.


Minus-6

Median: 4
Top Teams: 1978 LAD (12), 1956 BRO (11), 1914 PHA (10), 2001 NYY (10)
Bottom Teams: 1903 PIT (0), 1918 CHC (0), 1984 SDP (0), 1992 ATL (0)

Who knew that 1972 would be such a year of beginnings for the Los Angeles Dodgers? The 2001 Yankees also come out of nowhere to score high on this list thanks to the returns that year of '95-ers Randy Velarde and Sterling Hitchcock.


Minus-5

Median: 5
Top Teams: 1958 MLN (13), 1913 NYG (12), 1914 PHA (12), 1946 BOS (12), 1953 BRO (12), 1956 BRO (12), 1977 LAD (12), 1978 LAD (12)
Bottom Teams: 1903 PIT (1), 1918 CHC (1), 1991 ATL (1), 1907 DET (2), 1923 NYG (2), 1941 BRO (2), 1984 SDP (2), 2006 DET (2)

Every World Series loser had at least one player on their roster five seasons earlier, just as it was with the World Series Champions. We can see that the Braves' first year in Milwaukee was truly the beginning of an era as far as player personnel was concerned too.


Minus-4

Median: 8
Top Teams: 1913 NYG (16), 1955 NYY (16), 1956 BRO (16), 1958 MLN (14), 1971 BAL (14)
Bottom Teams: 1918 CHC (1), 1903 PIT (2), 1907 DET (3), 1984 SDP (3), 1988 OAK (3)

The teams at the top clearly knew the value of keeping a good thing together. The teams at the bottom knew how to rebuild quickly.


Minus-3

Median: 11
Top Teams: 1912 NYG (17), 1919 CHW (16), 1942 NYY (16), 1953 BRO (16), 1955 NYY (16), 1958 MLN (16), 1964 NYY (16), 1971 BAL (16), 1996 ATL (16)
Bottom Teams: 1918 CHC (3), 1948 BSN (4), 2008 TBR (4), 1988 OAK (6), 1903 PIT (7), 1940 DET (7), 1944 SLB (7), 1967 BOS (7), 1970 CIN (7)


Minus-2

Median: 15
Top Teams: 1966 LAD (22), 1971 BAL (22), 1945 CHC (21), 1964 NYY (20), 1978 LAD (20), 1990 OAK (20)
Bottom Teams: 1940 DET (8), 1922 NYY (9), 1903 PIT (10), 1906 CHC (10), 1918 CHC (10), 1921 NYY (10), 1934 DET (10), 1944 SLB (10), 1946 BOS (10)

It's curious that the 1945 Cubs keep popping up among the top teams. It seems that the Minus-2 year is where a pennant winner tends to begin to take shape.


Minus-1

Median: 21
Top Teams: 1992 ATL (32), 2013 STL (28), 1958 MLN (27), 1959 CHW (27), 1989 SFG (27), 2011 TEX (27), 2012 DET (27)
Bottom Teams: 1906 CHC (11), 1946 BOS (11), 1903 PIT (13), 1921 NYY (13), 1905 PHI (14), 1915 PHI (14), 1922 NYY (15), 1933 WSH (15), 1935 CHC (15)

The 1992 Braves brought back a whopping 32 players. I guess after that Cinderella season in 1991 they didn't have the heart to get rid of anyone (although they did get rid of some of them during the 1992 season). The teams at the bottom, unsurprisingly, come from an era of smaller rosters.


So there's your interesting trivia for the day. Next time we'll look at the plus years from the World Series losers!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Top Position Player Sleepers for Fantasy Baseball in 2014 (Sponsored Post)



Between now and the end of Spring Training, there will be a lot of fantasy baseball chatter about possible sleepers heading into the 2014 MLB regular season. For those who draft early, here’s an early list of sleepers to keep an eye on at each position.

Catcher – Dioner Navarro

The catcher position is not necessarily deep in fantasy baseball, but Navarro will be given a nice opportunity in 2014. As a backup in Chicago last season, he hit .300 while also showing some nice slugging numbers. Toronto should have a potent lineup, and Navarro will get more opportunities at the plate. He'll make a great stack player in FanDuel lineups all year long

1st Base – Chris Davis

This might sound a bit weird to list a MVP candidate as a sleeper, but the fact of the matter is a lot of fantasy baseball owners are completely overlooking him. The consensus is he had a bit of luck in 2013, and that will dry up this season. He might not hit 53 home runs, but he will still be a top five option.

2nd Base – Jurickson Profar

The hype has settled a bit on the young 2nd baseman for the Texas Rangers, but this might actually turn out to be his true rookie season. He was a hot prospect in 2013, but a lack of consistent playing time at the same position hurt him. Ian Kinsler is gone, and that means Profar can settle in as an everyday 2nd baseman for one of the best offenses in the game.

3rd Base – Will Middlebrooks

The defending World Series champions appear to be ready to give Xander Bogaerts the starting shortstop job, which means that Middlebrooks should be ready for a bounce back 2014 campaign. He hit .288 in 2012 with plenty of power, but he struggled with a .227 average in 2013. A full-time return to 3rd base could cure his woes.

Shortstop – Asdrubal Cabrera

Even though he has been fairly consistent in Cleveland, Cabrera tends to get overlooked. His .242 batting average was rough in 2013, but he did hit 14 home runs and remained a stolen base threat. If he can get back to his career average in the .270 to .280 range, he should provide plenty of value.

Outfield – JB Shuck, George Springer, Corey Dickerson

Baseball has become a more athletic game in recent years, and this outfield trio clearly illustrates that. All three should be poised for double-digit stolen bases in 2014, with the chance to contribute in several other categories as well.

Springer and Dickerson have power to go with their speed, while Shuck is more of an on-base percentage guy. All three are still relatively young, so they should have a few more years to really evolve as fantasy baseball standouts. They also will all get their chance to be full-time players for the first time in 2014. Springer has the most potential, while Dickerson appears to be the closest to a sure thing with his starting job in Colorado.