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Monday

21

July 2014

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COMMENTS

American League Gets Home Field, Home Run Derby Flops & More!

Written by , Posted in General

With the MLB All-Star game taking place this week, there was a bit of a shortage of baseball news. Fortunately for us, there was more than enough storylines to hold us over until real games started back up.

AL Trumps NL Again

The American League continued their recent dominance over the National League in this year’s All-Star game, as they picked up their seventh win in the last ten contests with a 5-3 win.

The NL was done in by a pair of St. Louis Cardinals pitchers, with Adam Wainwright and Pat Neshek combined to allow all 5 runs. It was Wainwright who started the game and he got in trouble quickly. He allowed a leadoff double to Derek Jeter, followed by a triple by Mike Trout and then two batters later, a home run to Miguel Cabrera.

On the other side, the pitching for the AL was stellar (aside from John Lester’s bumpy two-run second inning). Reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer picked up the win, while Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins had a 1-2-3 ninth inning to pick up the save.

After losing 3 games in a row to the NL during the past decade, the American League now has it’s second straight win. Based on this year’s roster and every team’s prospects, however, I doubt that the games will continue to swing towards the American League so consistently. Overall, what were your thoughts on this year’s All-Star game?

Home Run Derby Flops

It used to be one of the most exciting events in sports, but the Home Run Derby has really died down in recent years. This year was no different, and the rain delay to kick things off really did nothing to help the cause.

Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes took home the trophy for the second year in a row, defeating Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier 9-1 in the final round. To get to the finals, he had to run through his American League teammates in the new bracket-style format.

Unfortunately, even this new format didn’t help the Derby from dragging on, much like it has in recent years. The TV ratings seem to support that, as they were there lowest since at least 1997 (ratings aren’t available prior to that) and down 17% from just last year.

It isn’t that baseball is getting less popular (ratings are actually up a decent amount), it’s just that the Home Run Derby lasts too long and really just doesn’t have the excitement that it once did. While I wouldn’t say that the MLB should get rid of the event, something needs to be done to liven things up a bit. Did you enjoy this year’s Home Run Derby? What improvements would you make to it?

Halos Bolster Bullpen

Currently sitting atop the American League Wildcard standings and a game and a half back of the Oakland Athletics in the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels made a move to improve one of their most glaring weaknesses.

The team picked up reliever Huston Street from the San Diego Padres, who will replace Joe Smith at the back end of the team’s bullpen. While Smith has certainly been impressive this year, the addition of Street should add even more consistency at the end of games for a team that needed it.

In exchange for Street, the Padres picked up a top 100 prospect in Taylor Lindsey, a flame-throwing reliever in RJ Alvarez, a high-upside shortstop in Jose Rondon and the Angles fourth round pick from last year, Elliot Morris.

Even with the addition of Street, it’s tough to argue that the Angels got the better end of this deal. Prospects often don’t turn out as expected, but the team just sent four solid one’s over and their depleted farm system is now essentially empty. Street will help them in the short-term, and this deal might have even been a necessary evil just considering the make-up of their roster, but the Padres definitely get the W in this one. Do you think the Angels over-payed for Street?

This Week’s MVP: Chris Johnson (.500/.533/.786, 2 HR, 6 RBI)

This Week’s Cy Young: David Price (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 14 K) 

 

  • PLCB3

    Whatever broadcaster said during the ASG that our trade of Harden for Donaldson was a failed one is an idiot. It was a success. The Harden trade was a win now trade and he pitched good for us in 2008. It’s easy to say with hindsight that it was a bad trade but in 2008, Aramis was entrenched at 3B, and Vitters was the top prospect.

    • Dork

      I don’t remember Donaldson, but since it was 5 years before he was heard of, it probably says more about the A’s ability to develope players than anything. If the cubs kept him he probably would have turned into Vitters.

      • PLCB3

        Exactly how I feel. IIRC, Sean Gallagher and Matt Murton were the headliners of that deal. At one point, I was like Adam Dunn is the only player Murton is tradable for. If only we had signed him instead of Hasbro in 2009. We might have won. We were leading the division in August that year.

      • Noah_I

        Yeah, Gallagher was the big headliner of that deal, with Murton being the second biggest piece and considered fairly close in value to Gallagher, although Donaldson was a legit prospect, but one that was far away from the Majors and struggling in the Midwest League.

        I still think people overrate what Dunn would have done for the 2009 Cubs because he would have had to play RF and his defense would have been historically terrible. FanGraphs has Dunn and Bradley at near identical value for 2009 (0.9 WAR for Dunn, 0.8 WAR for Bradley), while Baseball-Reference actually had Bradley as the MORE valuable player (0.3 WAR for Bradley, -0.4 WAR for Dunn). Dunn provided a lot more value offensively than Bradley under either analysis, but his defense was so bad that it all but erased (and under B-R’s value more than erased) any offensive value he provided.

      • PLCB3

        You move Soriano back to 2B so Dunn can play LF.

      • Noah_I

        That would have been just as bad of a defense as putting Dunn in left field, though, and I’d argue a worse one, and team, overall. Dunn’s essentially replacement level year was in left field in Washington because he was so bad defensively there. Then you take Soriano, who was terrible defensively at 2B the last time he played the position and hadn’t played that position for 3 years by that point? Soriano would have had a WAR at something like -2 that year.

        Picking up Bradley that season was not the right move. Picking up Dunn probably wouldn’t have solved anything, and might have made matters worse. The guy the Cubs should have gone after that season was Bobby Abreu, who the Angels got for just $5 million over 1 year in 2009. Abreu was bad defensively in RF that season for the Angels, but you could at least survive with him at that position.

      • PLCB3

        You’re forgetting that you’re putting Dunn in between Lee and Ramirez, to form a lethal 3-4-5.

      • Buddy

        Trying very hard to forget 2009. Koyie Hill and Micah Hoffpauir got almost 500 at bats combined that year. Bobby Scales, Andres Blanco and Aaron Miles racked up another 400 combined. Awful.

      • PLCB3

        DeRosa should never have been traded away.

      • Aaron Miles! How could I have forgotten! At least we had some fun around here with that!

      • Buddy

        Trying very hard to forget 2009. Koyie Hill and Micah Hoffpauir got almost 500 at bats combined that year. Bobby Scales, Andres Blanco and Aaron Miles racked up another 400 combined. Awful.

      • PLCB3

        I would have been fine with either Dunn or Abreu. Stupid Hasbro.

      • “People” don’t overrate what Dunn would have done. One person overrates it. For the past six years no matter that logic dictates otherwise.

      • Joe saw Murton naked, and we don’t talk about that nearly enough.

      • Heartily agree.

      • Heartily agree.

      • PLCB3

        How did Joe see him naked?

      • Joe Aiello

        The same way you see anyone naked. I simply walked up to him and asked him to remove his clothes. Isn’t that how you guys do it?

      • Smooth!

      • Very professional. Most of us would have gone with the curtains/drapes bit, I’d expect.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        And you did not turn to stone, a pillar of salt or have a samurai cut off your head? amazing!

      • Joe Aiello

        The same way you see anyone naked. I simply walked up to him and asked him to remove his clothes. Isn’t that how you guys do it?

      • Smooth!

      • Very professional. Most of us would have gone with the curtains/drapes bit, I’d expect.

      • PLCB3

        And do you think if Vitters was part of the trade he would have become what Donaldson is now for Oakland?

      • Noah_I

        Probably not. The Cubs have been working to try to get Vitters to be more patient for years. He just has bad pitch recognition, leading to a poor plate approach. Unlike Donaldson, Vitters’ swing is so good that he was able to get away with his ability to make contact on pitches out of the zone early in his career, but as Vitters’ went on that contact got weaker and weaker, and Vitters couldn’t make the adjustments. Donaldson had to adjust early, and successfully did so.

        The one thing that could have made the difference is that the A’s probably wouldn’t have promoted Vitters as aggressively as the Cubs did. They would have been a lot more likely to say in 2009, when Vitters had his first full season, that he wasn’t moving up a level until he walked in 10% of his PAs.

    • SouthKakalakiCubsFan

      I heard that during the broadcast as well, but I also thought they stated that when he was with us, we had him at catcher. The A’s switched him to 3B after we traded him. So perhaps he never reaches the bigs if he stays a catcher?

  • AC0000000

    Whatever broadcaster said during the ASG that our trade of Harden for Donaldson was a failed one is an idiot. It was a success. The Harden trade was a win now trade and he pitched good for us in 2008. It’s easy to say with hindsight that it was a bad trade but in 2008, Aramis was entrenched at 3B, and Vitters was the top prospect.

    • Dork

      I don’t remember Donaldson, but since it was 5 years before he was heard of, it probably says more about the A’s ability to develope players than anything. If the cubs kept him he probably would have turned into Vitters.

      • AC0000000

        Exactly how I feel. IIRC, Sean Gallagher and Matt Murton were the headliners of that deal. At one point, I was like Adam Dunn is the only player Murton is tradable for. If only we had signed him instead of Hasbro in 2009. We might have won. We were leading the division in August that year.

      • Noah_I

        Yeah, Gallagher was the big headliner of that deal, with Murton being the second biggest piece and considered fairly close in value to Gallagher, although Donaldson was a legit prospect, but one that was far away from the Majors and struggling in the Midwest League.

        I still think people overrate what Dunn would have done for the 2009 Cubs because he would have had to play RF and his defense would have been historically terrible. FanGraphs has Dunn and Bradley at near identical value for 2009 (0.9 WAR for Dunn, 0.8 WAR for Bradley), while Baseball-Reference actually had Bradley as the MORE valuable player (0.3 WAR for Bradley, -0.4 WAR for Dunn). Dunn provided a lot more value offensively than Bradley under either analysis, but his defense was so bad that it all but erased (and under B-R’s value more than erased) any offensive value he provided.

      • AC0000000

        You move Soriano back to 2B so Dunn can play LF.

      • Noah_I

        That would have been just as bad of a defense as putting Dunn in left field, though, and I’d argue a worse one, and team, overall. Dunn’s essentially replacement level year was in left field in Washington because he was so bad defensively there. Then you take Soriano, who was terrible defensively at 2B the last time he played the position and hadn’t played that position for 3 years by that point? Soriano would have had a WAR at something like -2 that year.

        Picking up Bradley that season was not the right move. Picking up Dunn probably wouldn’t have solved anything, and might have made matters worse. The guy the Cubs should have gone after that season was Bobby Abreu, who the Angels got for just $5 million over 1 year in 2009. Abreu was bad defensively in RF that season for the Angels, but you could at least survive with him at that position.

      • “People” don’t overrate what Dunn would have done. One person overrates it. For the past six years no matter that logic dictates otherwise.

      • AC0000000

        And do you think if Vitters was part of the trade he would have become what Donaldson is now for Oakland?

      • Noah_I

        Probably not. The Cubs have been working to try to get Vitters to be more patient for years. He just has bad pitch recognition, leading to a poor plate approach. Unlike Donaldson, Vitters’ swing is so good that he was able to get away with his ability to make contact on pitches out of the zone early in his career, but as Vitters’ went on that contact got weaker and weaker, and Vitters couldn’t make the adjustments. Donaldson had to adjust early, and successfully did so.

        The one thing that could have made the difference is that the A’s probably wouldn’t have promoted Vitters as aggressively as the Cubs did. They would have been a lot more likely to say in 2009, when Vitters had his first full season, that he wasn’t moving up a level until he walked in 10% of his PAs.

    • SouthKakalakiCubsFan

      I heard that during the broadcast as well, but I also thought they stated that when he was with us, we had him at catcher. The A’s switched him to 3B after we traded him. So perhaps he never reaches the bigs if he stays a catcher?

  • A tenth of a percent chances to win it all and cheap prom dresses. You win some, you lose some.

    • Dork

      So your saying there is a chance. If you can not tell …I love this line

    • PLCB3

      Better than the odds ESPN gives us. Or at least Doug Glanville. He just said we have zero percent chance and was like the Cubs have already admitted their focus is on 2017, 2018, whatever. Implying the rebuild is never ending.

      • Noah_I

        I think people saying the focus is on 2017 or 2018 are overstating the length of the rebuild. A lot of people in the media tend to do this, and tend to overestimate both the amount of time it takes a rebuilding team to get competitive, and the length of time a team of contending veterans will stay good. For example, both the Rays and Nationals joined the ranks of the competitive at least one year before they were expected to, and the Phillies fell apart 1-2 years before they were expected to.

        I think next year the Cubs aim to be fringe competitive (in other words, competitive if the prospects come up and perform, and not building a roster looking to sell pieces in July), and fully opening the window in 2016.

      • Dork

        I might be dissapointed, but is hard not to think that 2015 will not be exciting.

      • Noah_I

        Yeah, it’s hard to imagine that 2015 won’t at least be exciting. Baez and Bryant should be joining Alcantara in Chicago early in the year, Soler could be up mid-season. Even if they’re not good, it should at least be more fun.

      • PLCB3

        What’s the point of not unloading players who won’t be part of the future if the 2015 team won’t be in playoff contention? You’re either competitive or you’re not. There is no middle. All you can ask for in baseball is to be in playoff contention because once the playoffs start, anyone who is in can win. Because everything about the game of baseball is situational, in a short series anything can happen.

        Numbers play out over 162 games, but over 3-7 games, your ace gets lit up or your best hitter goes 1-20, that could be all that you need to lose. Your #4 guy delivers a 2-hit masterpiece or your #8 hitter hits .400, that could be all that you need to win.

  • A tenth of a percent chances to win it all and cheap prom dresses. You win some, you lose some.

    • Dork

      So your saying there is a chance. If you can not tell …I love this line

    • AC0000000

      Better than the odds ESPN gives us. Or at least Doug Glanville. He just said we have zero percent chance and was like the Cubs have already admitted their focus is on 2017, 2018, whatever. Implying the rebuild is never ending.

      • Noah_I

        I think people saying the focus is on 2017 or 2018 are overstating the length of the rebuild. A lot of people in the media tend to do this, and tend to overestimate both the amount of time it takes a rebuilding team to get competitive, and the length of time a team of contending veterans will stay good. For example, both the Rays and Nationals joined the ranks of the competitive at least one year before they were expected to, and the Phillies fell apart 1-2 years before they were expected to.

        I think next year the Cubs aim to be fringe competitive (in other words, competitive if the prospects come up and perform, and not building a roster looking to sell pieces in July), and fully opening the window in 2016.

      • Dork

        I might be dissapointed, but is hard not to think that 2015 will not be exciting.

      • Noah_I

        Yeah, it’s hard to imagine that 2015 won’t at least be exciting. Baez and Bryant should be joining Alcantara in Chicago early in the year, Soler could be up mid-season. Even if they’re not good, it should at least be more fun.

      • AC0000000

        What’s the point of not unloading players who won’t be part of the future if the 2015 team won’t be in playoff contention? You’re either competitive or you’re not. There is no middle. All you can ask for in baseball is to be in playoff contention because once the playoffs start, anyone who is in can win. Because everything about the game of baseball is situational, in a short series anything can happen.

        Numbers play out over 162 games, but over 3-7 games, your ace gets lit up or your best hitter goes 1-20, that could be all that you need to lose. Your #4 guy delivers a 2-hit masterpiece or your #8 hitter hits .400, that could be all that you need to win.

  • Dork

    I have to think that the Astros would have been better off signing Aiken (at the 6.5 mil) and Nix and having 2 chances at one of them being a MLB pitcher than getting one draft pick back. I think the cubs new mode of just drafting quantity and seeing what works is probably best when it comes to pitching.

    • Noah_I

      I think one of the big things is that the Cubs draft a quantity of high ceiling/low floor arms, so it’s not just quantity of guys who, if everything turns out great, are back end of the rotation starters. The majority of the high ceiling pitchers Theo and Jed drafted won’t get above Double A, but if one or two of them become TOR pitchers, and some of the draftees are capable of that, that’s a huge win.

      • Dork

        I did not mean to understate the cubs are not drafting quality. It just seems like 2 chances are better than 1. By all accounts both Aiken and Nix had a pretty high ceiling. It just seems like Pitching is such a crapshoot.

      • Noah_I

        Agreed entirely. I also generally like the Cubs draft tactic in a year where there isn’t a guy who is clearly superior to the field when they’re drafting: draft an underslot guy who fits your offensive philosophy (good approach and power), then use the rest of the money to get a solid quantity of high ceiling pitching.

      • Noah_I

        Agreed entirely. I also generally like the Cubs draft tactic in a year where there isn’t a guy who is clearly superior to the field when they’re drafting: draft an underslot guy who fits your offensive philosophy (good approach and power), then use the rest of the money to get a solid quantity of high ceiling pitching.

  • Dork

    I have to think that the Astros would have been better off signing Aiken (at the 6.5 mil) and Nix and having 2 chances at one of them being a MLB pitcher than getting one draft pick back. I think the cubs new mode of just drafting quantity and seeing what works is probably best when it comes to pitching.

    • Noah_I

      I think one of the big things is that the Cubs draft a quantity of high ceiling/low floor arms, so it’s not just quantity of guys who, if everything turns out great, are back end of the rotation starters. The majority of the high ceiling pitchers Theo and Jed drafted won’t get above Double A, but if one or two of them become TOR pitchers, and some of the draftees are capable of that, that’s a huge win.

  • Noah_I

    Agree, I think the Angels overpaid, but they’re in something of a nightmare scenario over the longer term with Pujols’ and Hamilton’s contracts (especially the Pujols deal). With an opportunity to go for it now, they are kind of forced to go all in, and their bullpen has been a problem.

  • Noah_I

    Agree, I think the Angels overpaid, but they’re in something of a nightmare scenario over the longer term with Pujols’ and Hamilton’s contracts (especially the Pujols deal). With an opportunity to go for it now, they are kind of forced to go all in, and their bullpen has been a problem.

  • Doug S.

    Nate “I knew it was going to come around” Scheirholtz was a study in despair yesterday as he slid below .200 BA.

    • Dork

      I really find this baffeling, He is a carreer 725 ops guy. Someone needs to tell him.

    • Noah_I

      At this point, I’m guessing Schierholtz was just a guy who was talented enough to look like a good left handed part of a platoon for a couple of years in his prime, and he had a very short prime.

      • Dork

        I admit it – I was fooled.

    • Noah_I

      At this point, I’m guessing Schierholtz was just a guy who was talented enough to look like a good left handed part of a platoon for a couple of years in his prime, and he had a very short prime.

      • Dork

        I admit it – I was fooled.

    • Hilarious Doug!

    • Hilarious Doug!

    • cap’n Obvious

      what’s his BABIP? He’s probably just really unlucky.

    • Eddie Von White

      I think Nate is Ian incognito.