I am a sports and music fanatic from Farmington, CT, currently attending Saint Joseph's University in Connecticut. I am mainly interested in College Basketball, CIAC High School Basketball, and Major League Baseball, though I follow just about all sports closely.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Top Five AL Cy Young Candidates

I'm back, and still previewing the awards candidates for this year's MLB Season. The next two I will be doing are the Cy Young Awards, which are awarded to the best pitcher in each league. This year has been so dominated by good pitching that this award is even more coveted than usual. Last year Zack Grienke of the Royals won the award, but he has no chance this year as he sports a losing record with a relatively high ERA. Here are the candidates.

#5 Trevor Cahill SP Oakland Athletics
When anybody think of the best young pitcher in baseball right now, the name Stephen Strasburg pops into just about everyone's head. But 22 year old Trevor Cahill, who is just two months older than Strasburg, may be the most underrated young star in the game. Cahill had a solid first half, earning his first career all-star bid, and has been absolutely dominant since then. He currently comes in at 12-4 with a 2.56 ERA and an incredible WHIP of .98, which is 2nd in the AL. One of Oakland GM Billy Beane's few early draft picks straight out of high school, Cahill will have many opportunities throughout his career to pick up a Cy Young Award, even if it doesn't quite happen this year.

#4 David Price SP Tampa Bay Rays
Keeping up with the youngster theme on the list, 24 year old David Price has emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball this year. Most people expected him to be a front-end starter at some point when he was drafted #1 overall in 2007 out of Vanderbilt, but little expected it to come this quick. Price showed his dominance in the 2008 ALCS vs. the Red Sox as a rookie, but struggled to stay consistent as a rookie last year. This year, he was the starter in the All-Star game for the AL, and currently sports a league leading 15 wins, just 5 losses and a low 2.84 ERA.

#3 Cliff Lee SP Texas Rangers/Seattle Mariners
Typically when someone spends the first few weeks of the season on the DL, and then changes teams in early July they are not up for postseason awards consideration, but then again most people are not as dominant as Cliff Lee. Lee started the season with Seattle, but after starting the year injured and the team starting extremely slow, he was dealt to Texas for their playoff run. Lee at the moment leads the league in ERA (2.44), WHIP (.916) and Complete Games (7), while showing a 10-5 record between the two clubs. The 2008 AL Cy Young winner should be right back in contention again this year.

#2 C.C. Sabathia SP New York Yankees
When you think about the ultimate workhorse for a rotation, C.C. Sabathia's name always come to mind. The consistency and endurance that Sabathia has shown throughout his career, as well as his excellent arsenal of pitches and his command, have been what have made him among the greats in the league. This year, the 2007 Cy Young Award winner has just been rolling along to a 14-5 season with a 3.14 ERA. He is also the rotation ace for the best team in baseball. Sabathia's best part of the season is ahead of him, which makes him a prime candidate to pick up his 2nd award.

#1 Clay Buchholz SP Boston Red Sox
I think we all knew Buchholz had this type of season in him after he threw a no-hitter in his 2nd career start in 2007, but many Sox fans (myself included) did begin to worry when he was absolutely horrid in 2008. Now, I can only imagine where the Sox would be if 2008 Buchholz was still in uniform. For a guy who was fighting for a rotation spot in spring training, Clay has emerged as arguably the ace on one of the strongest and most experienced pitching staffs in baseball. Clay currently stands at 13-5 (should be 14-5...damn Papelbon), with a sub 2.5 ERA. He has matured as a pitcher more than anyone could ever imagine and his confidence is now through the roof. If Buchholz can lead the beaten up Red Sox into the playoffs, he could very well add a Cy-Young award to his cabinet.

Honorable Mention
Jered Weaver, LAA
Carl Pavano, MIN
Jon Lester, BOS
C.J. Wilson, TEX
John Danks, CHW
Mariano Rivera, NYY
Andy Pettitte, NYY (injury)
Jeff Niemann, TBR (injury)
Rafael Soriano, TBR
Daniel Bard, BOS

EDIT: I took Buchholz's start tonight into consideration, but not Lee's. Buchholz is now the AL leader in ERA, while Lee struggled a bit, and his dropped.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Top Five NL MVP Candidates

Here we go with the NL MVP Candidates as Robinson Cano's recent struggles have opened up the AL MVP race. Albert Pujols won the award last year, and the most dominant player in baseball has a very strong chance to repeat this year.

#5 Albert Pujols 1B St. Louis Cardinals        
Albert may very well be the Most Valuable Player in the National League once again this season, but I'll give some other guys a chance for now, especially since Pujols hasn't been quite as good as last year. The average is down from .327 to .302, while he isn't even a lock to hit 40 HR's this year, as compared to his 47 HR year last year. That being said, he is tied for 2nd in the NL in Home Runs, and is still probably the most feared hitter in the league. Also, he is a Gold Glove caliber fielder at First Base. Albert has to be in consideration to three-peat in this prestigious award.

#4 Aubrey Huff 1B San Francisco Giants
Possibly the most surprising contender for this award is Aubrey Huff, who is quite possibly the best bargain free agent signing in baseball, just making three million dollars this year. With Pablo Sandoval suffering a bit of a sophomore slump, Aubrey has been a major force on a playoff contending team. Right now he is hitting .310/.399/.551 with 20 HRs and the ability to play multiple positions for his team. It's a longshot, but if Huff keeps up this incredible production and leads his team to the playoffs, he could be a serious contender for the honor despite not even making the all-star game.

#3 David Wright 3B New York Mets
The resurrection of David Wright should have been enough to propel the Mets into play-off contention, but the fact that they just can't make that leap may hurt Wright's chances at this award. Wright is hitting at .299/.372/.509, with 17 HRs and 77 RBIs in a tough hitters ballpark. He is the franchise player for this Mets franchise, and has been since he came up in 2005 as a 22 year old rookie. David, along with Evan Longoria, is the face of the third base position in the MLB, where he also plays superb defense. It'll be tough for him to get much serious consideration unless the Mets make a late run, but you never know

#2 Adrian Gonzalez 1B San Diego Padres
 It truly has been a Cinderella season for Jed Hoyer's San Diego Padres (see back in April when they started the season #30 in my power rankings), and I truly don't believe they would have close to enough offense to contend if it weren't for Gonzalez. Adrian is hitting in at .292/.388/.509 in a very tough hitters ballpark, and has anchored an offense that has surprised people and done just enough to support their brilliant pitching staff. Gonzalez has hit 21 HRs in a true pitchers park, and without him the Padres lineup would really struggle.

#1 Joey Votto 1B Cincinnati Reds
 Aside from the Padres, the other surprise team in the National League has been without a doubt the Cincinnati Reds, who have been neck-and-neck all year with St. Louis in the NL Central. The main reason for this has been famous all-star snub Joey Votto, who is making a case for the National League Triple Crown. Votto is hitting .322/.421/.600, leading the NL in all categories, while also leading the league with 26 HRs, If the Reds can find a way to squeak into the playoffs, Votto is a shoe-in for the award, but even if they don't Votto's numbers don't lie.

Honorable Mention
Josh Johnson SP Florida Marlins
Ubaldo Jimenez SP Colorado Rockies
Jayson Werth OF Philadelphia Phillies
Carlos Gonzalez OF Colorado Rockies
Matt Holliday OF St. Louis Cardinals
Ryan Zimmerman 3B Washington Nationals
Adam Dunn 1B Washington Nationals
Brian McCann C Atlanta Braves
Scott Rolen 3B Cincinnati Reds
Martin Prado 2B Atlanta Braves                                                                                             

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Red Sox Ranking

I was sitting in bed one night and wondered...what would it look like if every player who had played for the Red Sox this year was ranked in one list on how well they've performed. So I got my computer out and made a list using baseball-reference.com as a guide. All 45 players who have played in a game (Alan Embree doesn't count) get on the list, which is now constantly being updated. Here it is.

45. Boof Bonser (what an honor, the worst Red Sox player of the year. That's what 4 ER in 2 IP will get you.)
44. Fernando Cabrera
43. Gustavo Molina (definately not a real Molina)
42. Ryan Shealy
41. Niuman Romero (look it up, he did play for them this year)
40. Angel Sanchez (now starts for the Houston Astros)
39. Joe Nelson
38. Josh Reddick
37. Dusty Brown
36. Scott Schoeneweis (remember him???)
35. Jonathan Van Every (or him????)
34. Jeremy Hermida
33. Kevin Cash
32. Robert Manuel
31. Hideki Okajima
30. Michael Bowden (anticipating a steep increase for him come September)
29. Ramon Ramirez (now a San Francisco Giant...thank god)
28. Jacoby Ellsbury (anticipating a steep increase from him too. he'll be back tomorrow)
27. Felix Doubront
26. Eric Patterson
25. Manny Delcarmen
24. Mike Cameron
23. Mike Lowell (jumped about 6 spots after tonight)
22. Dustin Richardson
21. Jason Varitek
20. John Lackey
19. Daisuke Matsuzaka (the two underachieving pitchers get to go back-to-back)
18. Jed Lowrie (seems like a different player so far this year)
17. Josh Beckett (moved up a bunch tonight)
16. Scott Atchison (unheralded hero of the 2010 bullpen)
15. Daniel Nava
14. Darnell McDonald
13. Jonathan Papelbon
12. Ryan Kalish (maybe a bit high...but the kid's a stud and should help us down the stretch)
11. JD Drew
10. Bill Hall (he's been so valuable this year...really, no joke. Best offseason acquisition if it weren't for Beltre or maybe Scutaro)
9. David Ortiz
8. Marco Scutaro (most solid shortstop since Nomah)
7. Victor Martinez (most damaging of all the injuries)
6. Dustin Pedroia (if it weren't for Hall and Lowrie, would have been right there with Victor)
5. Daniel Bard (plain filthy)
4. Kevin Youkilis
3. Adrian Beltre (don't touch his head, Mr. Martinez)
2. Jon Lester
1. Clay Buchholz

Yes, the two rocks of the rotation come in at #1 and #2. We built this team around the rotation and they are the two who have consistently delivered. They should be back and forth the whole rest of the year, hopefully ending in a Cy Young Award for one.

Top Five AL MVP Candidates

I will be starting a series on the top five candidates of each of the major awards in baseball.  

First will be the American League MVP Award, which was won by Joe Mauer last year. Mauer is in contention again this year, but will need to get real hot, and hope his team makes the playoffs, in order to attempt a repeat. Here we go:

#5 Josh Hamilton OF Texas Rangers
After his magical 2008 season with Texas, which included his unbelievable performance in that year's Home Run Derby, I sensed a possible drop-off in Hamilton's performance throughout the rest of his career, as it seemed like pitchers were starting to figure him out by the end of 2008. After an injury ridden 2009 made my prediction seem like a good one, Josh is back as one of the most scary hitters in the Major Leagues. He leads all of major league baseball with a .362 average, and has contributed 23 HR's as well. Josh's contribution has largely helped his team be one of the best in the AL this year.

#4 Adrian Beltre 3B Boston Red Sox
It's obvious Adrian couldn't stand hitting in Seattle, because everybody who knew baseball knew he was a better hitter than he showed in his tenure here. As a Sox fan, I was expecting Beltre to be a major contributor, but I don't think anyone could have predicted this. Adrian is hitting .336 with 19 HRs, and has been the steady piece for a Boston offense that has been injured all year. Also, the guy, despite his relatively high error numbers, is no less than a magician at third base, where he displays an incredible amount of range.

#3 Evan Longoria 3B Tampa Bay Rays
While Evan's numbers may not necessarily stack up with the other member's of this list, his value for his team is right with the best of them.  Longoria is only hitting .292 with just 15 HRs, but he is the best position player on the best team in the American League. He is a strong candidate for the Gold Glove at third base, while he also strikes fear in every American League pitcher, and is a leader in the clubhouse. Longoria has pretty much been the one player who turned around this franchise, and he deserves to be honored for that. Oh yeah, and Longoria only made 950,000 dollars this year.

#2 Miguel Cabrera 1B Detroit Tigers
Miguel Cabrera battled back from alcoholism to become pretty much undoubtedly the most dominating hitter in the American League this season. He is 2nd in baseball with a .351 average, and is also in the top two in the league in both the other triple crown categories. The only things holding Miguel back from his first of possibly many MVP awards is his average defense, and average team. If he can lead the Tigers into the playoffs somehow then the award is definitely his, but for now it will go to...

#1 Robinson Cano 2B New York Yankees
 In a year in which the overpayed, aging veterans that were supposed to be on this list have struggled (Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixiera), their young Dominican second baseman has been the one to lead them back to another fantastic season. Cano has supplied all five tools from the second base position, one that only recently has seen five-tool players with power play there, and has consistently been a force in the Yankees line-up. Robinson's youthful energy was a big part of the changing of personality in the Yankee clubhouse, and a reason why they have a good chance of repeating in 2010.

Honorable Mention: 
Justin Morneau 1B Minnesota Twins (injury)
Kevin Youkilis 1B Boston Red Sox (injury)
Dustin Pedroia 2B Boston Red Sox (injury)
Nick Swisher OF New York Yankees
Carl Crawford OF Tampa Bay Rays
Joe Mauer C Minnesota Twins
Jose Bautista 3B Toronto Blue Jays
Paul Konerko 1B Chicago White Sox
Michael Young 3B Texas Rangers
Alexei Ramirez SS Chicago White Sox