Monday, December 29, 2014

Bovada World Series Odds For the Potential Gambling Addict in You

Getting bored waiting for the baseball season to arrive? Sitting on a pile of one dollar bills after you cleaned house on Christmas morning? Then maybe it is time to alleviate that boredom (at least for a little while) by doing dropping some of that dough on who you think will win the 2015 World Series. Too soon, you say? It is never too soon to be frivolous with money, says I.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Corey Kluber: BBA Walter Johnson Award Winner

Some decisions in life are easy, some are not. Brushing your teeth in the morning is an easy decision because rotted teeth are gross, and nobody likes rotted teeth. Therefore, you get up, every morning, squeeze some Crest onto a toothbrush and scrub scrub scrub. Showering is an easy decision. Nobody wants to smell you, not even you. See, easy decisions. There were a lot of decisions like this that we at Off Base Percentage encountered while filling out the ballots for the BBA Awards. There were also some not as easy decisions in our way. One of them being the Walter Johnson Award for the American League. This was not a get up and brush your teeth decision. This was a "Do I want steak or chicken tonight?" decision.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Joe Maddon Ops out of Contract

Oh boy, here we go.

With the news last week of the Dodgers stealing Andrew Friedman, Joe Maddon has also decided to jump the Tampa Bay Rays ship and opt out of his current contract that ran through 2015. Which, according to Jon Heyman, was his right. Yes, I did just link a tweet by Jon Heyman. That's how serious this is.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Off Base Percentage World Series Predictions

Sup? Sup. /head nod Suuuuuuup.

Here we are. It's the middle of October, and baseball has now finally widdled itself down to its final two teams. As all the experts predicted, the Royals and the Giants will square off on Tuesday to kick off the 111th World Series. What? No one predicted this World Series matchup? OK, maybe they didn't. But, now that we are here, who is really upset about this matchup? That's right. Nobody.

In advance of the Fall Classic, the Czar of Off Base Percentage, MJ Lloyd, and myself are going to kick around the old question ball and see if we can come to a consensus on who will be standing victorious at the end of the World Series. We put on pants for this shindig, so you would know that we mean business. Well, MJ is wearing pants. I'm wearing Spongebob Squarepants pajama pants. But for this exercise, they count as pants.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BBA AL Stan Musial 2014

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season with different names because they get litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. Now up, the AL Stan Musial or how Mike Trout learned to stop running and love hitting bombs.

And here we are again. I've been a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance since 2010. Back then I used to have to telefax blog posts from the computer lab at the university. I had to walk eight miles, uphill, in the snow to get there. They were simpler times. The BBA has come a long way since it was founded in 2009. It has over 200 blogs voting on these regular season awards. And I feel confident that for the third consecutive year, the BBA will do what the BBWAA has not been able to do just yet. And that's give Mike Trout another first place finish for being the most valuable baseball player on the planet.

1. Mike Trout
This comes as no surprise. When given the option of voting for Trout, much like being offered Carvel ice cream cake, a reasonable person always jumps at the opportunity. Trout led all of baseball again in Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement. But unlike previous seasons, I can't yammer on about Trout putting up the greatest season ever for his particular age, in this case his 22-year-old baseball year.

His 7.8 fWAR was the worst of his three year career and the first time he dipped below the 10 WAR mark. He made some interesting adjustments in his third full season. Adjustments that hurt him in advanced metrics but will help him win his first BBWAA AL MVP. He struck out a ton. After hanging around a 19-22% strikeout rate, he jumped to 26.1% and finished Sept/Oct with a 32% rate. That said, if you tried to pitch Mike down, like most pitchers are want to do, he destroyed baseballs. Trout set a career high with 36 homers and 111 RBI. And maybe more importantly, the Angels had the best record in baseball making Trout an almost slam dunk for AL MVP.

He did stop running. Only 16 stolen bases compared to 33 last year and 49 in 2012. His AVG fell to .287 after .323 in 2013 and .326 in 2012. The .377 OBP was a career low too after hanging around .400 the previous years. And some of that can be explained by a 27 point drop in BABIP. Also, we're just picking nits here. Nobody is really questioning that Trout is the best in baseball. But now there's a legit scouting report on him and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts next year.

The question about Trout's MVP candidacy will mainly be whether or not he's unanimous. He won't be in the BBWAA because regional writers were dying to make a case for anybody else so Josh Donaldson and Victor Martinez are bound to steal a few votes. I feel slightly more confident in my BBA brethren.

2. Michael Brantley
Brantley has been a solid Major Leaguer for the Indians since 2011. And then in his 26-year-old season, everything came together. Twenty home runs, 23 stolen bases, a .327/.385/.506 line. He was Mike Trout lite in 2014. That's certainly good enough for second. Everybody raise your hand if you had Corey Kluber and Michael Brantley finishing in the top two for AL Cy and MVP. Everybody with their hand up is a dirty, dirty liar.

3. Jose Bautista
Joey Bats continues to be super productive and flies under the radar. Is it because he doesn't hit for a high average? Is it because he's Canadian? I assume players have to convert if they play for Toronto. Maybe we'll never know but Bautista is a beast.

4. Victor Martinez
This begins the portion of the ballot where offense gets the nod over defense. My apologies to Alex Gordon and Josh Donaldson. Four players had a wRC+ (adjusted Weighted Runs Created) over 160 this season. Andrew McCutchen 168, Trout 167, Martinez 166 and Jose Abreu 165. Now, Martinez and Abreu contributed little to negative a lot on the defensive side of the game but you do have to score to win. Martinez hit .335/.409/.565 and I have a weakness for players that reach base over 40% of the time.

5. Jose Abreu
.317/.383/.581 with 36 home runs and can fake first base. I have fantasies about the Cuban defector only signing a one-year deal with the white Sox and being a free agent this winter. What would the bidding look like? I imagine it would be enough to put a nice bid on Cuba when it eventually forecloses.

6. Alex Gordon
What can I say? Elite outfield defense and a .266/.351/.432 line. He might not be the superstar prospect the Royals thought they had but this ain't bad either.

7. Corey Kluber
He was the best pitcher in the AL. By a super thin margin.

8. Felix Hernandez
He was debatably the best pitcher in the AL.

9. Adrian Beltre
Is everybody on board yet? Honestly, do you realize that Beltre is going to the Hall of Fame? He's at 70.8 fWAR. He's the most dependable superstar that few realize is a superstar. I plan on him inviting me to his induction ceremony since I've been on this bandwagon for quite some time.

10. Miguel Cabrera
Or Kyle Seager. But Seager called tails.

LVP. Matt Dominguez
The former Marlins prospect was supposed to have the glove for third base but the bat was questionable. Unfortunately, the glove didn't live up to its billing and the .215/.256.330 line more than lived up to the questionable bat part of the equation. His -1.7 fWAR tied NL LVP Dominic Brown's mark for "ugh."

BBA Awards: Stan Musial 2014

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season, just with different names because they litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. Next up, the 2014 Stan Musial Award for the best player in the National League, or, as I have come to call it: the damnit, pitchers, stop making these decisions difficult award. 

MTD and I have been going back and forth with these awards posts, and so far, I have been given really easy assignments as far as listing who I believe deserves whatever award it is I am writing about. Well, you know what they say: at some point, all good things must end. Or easy things. You know what I mean.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

BBA AL Walter Johnson 2014

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season with different names because they get litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. Now up, the AL Walter Johnson or how I learned to stop wondering what team Corey Kluber plays for and love strikeout percentages.

Unlike the full sprint runaway Clayton Kershaw is going to enjoy for National League pitcher of the year, the American League has a coin flip for the top spot and a rock-paper-scissors for three through five. How will I decide? A coin flip and a round of rock-paper-scissors. Are you already not paying attention?

1. Corey Kluber
This was a razor thin decision and conventional wisdom says Felix Hernandez will end up with the award. But Kluber just about matched or bested King Felix in all categories. Kluber had a better K/9 than Hernandez (10.27 to 9.46) with only a slight edge going to the Mariners ace in K/BB (5.39-5.27). Hernandez had the better ERA (2.14 to 2.44) and ERA- (58 to 66). Kluber had the better FIP (2.35 to 2.56) and FIP- (64 to 70). But all this tells us is that both were excellent and not as good as Kershaw. Kluber threw 235.2 innings. Hernandez threw 236 innings. Kluber did lead all pitchers with a 7.2 fWAR with Kershaw's 7.2 fWAR and Hernandez's 6.2 fWAR as runners-up.

I'm taking the slight edge in K/9 and FIP. Also, Kluber plays for Cleveland. Who knew?

2. Felix Hernandez
I've already laid out the argument for Hernandez above. He's most likely going to win the award. He has a Cy Young in his pocket and probably deserved at least another one. But I think the main argument for Felix here is, oh my god, the garlic fries at SafeCo. That's just pure science.

3. Chris Sale
Sale only managed to log 174 innings. And that's the only reason I didn't flip a three sided coin for first place. Some might argue that it's because three sided coins don't exist but let me assure you, it was just the innings. Sale had a 10.76 K/9, second to Kershaw. Sale had a 2.17 ERA, third to Kershaw and Hernandez. Sale had a 2.57 FIP, fourth to Kershaw, Kluber and Hernandez. His 66 FIP- was the only other FIP- under 70 after Kershaw and Kluber.

Sale threw rock for third place and as we know, nothing beats rock.

4. David Price
Price had his best season in several interesting categories. His 6.1 fWAR bested 2012's 4.8 fWAR quite handily. The 2.78 FIP edged last season's 3.03 career high. And his 9.82 K/9 was, surprising to me, a professional best by over one strikeout per nine innings.

Scissors are tough. They cut through things, they're dishwasher safe, you shouldn't run with them but they don't beat rock.

5. Max Scherzer
What did Scherzer do so differently from last season to merit dropping from first to fifth?
Almost nothing. His BABIP went from .259 to .315 which would explain the increase in ERA. Otherwise, pretty much the same guy.

Paper might be the lamest of the trilogy but Scherzer is going to sign a piece this winter that will allow him to buy all the rocks and scissors his heart desires.

LVP: Chris Young

Thank goodness for SafeCo, huh?

Ernesto Frieri could have been the runaway winner here if Angels GM Jerry Dipoto didn't have to trade him to the National League to keep Mike Scioscia using Frieri to pitch batting practice to the American League.

Monday, October 13, 2014

BBA Awards: NL Walter Johnson

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season, just with different names because they litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. Next up, the Walter Johnson Award or, as I like to call it, the Clayton Kershaw is better than you, so everyone line up for second place award.

There really isn't any need for a buildup here. You know who is taking the top spot in this category, so we'll just dive right in to it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

BBA NL Goose Gossage 2014

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season with different names because they get litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. Now up, the NL Goose Gossage or how I learned to stop rooting for blown saves and love relievers striking out the side.

Like my fellow Off Base writer, Mike "I dare you to pronounce my last name" Hllwya, I like voting for a nice inning eating, dominant non-closer for reliever of the year. But the National League didn't have a Dellin Betances or Wade Davis this year. Pat Neshak or Tyler Clippard, maybe. The top closers in the NL were simply strikeout machines and deserve to be rewarded for the dominant force they displayed across baseball.

1. Aroldis Chapman
Chapman only brought the heat for 54 innings (compared to 90 for Betances) but nobody brings the heat like him. The 2.00 ERA and 0.89 FIP are nice and all but that's not why I have to wear a bib to his Fangraphs page. The 17.67 K/9 doesn't even do him justice. Chapman faced 202 batters in 2014 and 106 of them walked backed to the dugout trying to figure out what happened. I didn't do the research but I'm pretty sure only Henry Rowengartner had more success than that.

2. Craig Kimbrel
Kimbrel recorded 47 saves, struck out 13.86 per 9 with a 1.61 ERA and 1.83 FIP. He's the reliever version of Mike Trout. It's become boring how good he is.

3. Kenley Jansen
Similar to Kimbrel, Jansen has basically been the same reliever for the past three seasons. Which is very good and dependable and not that interesting. Um, he didn't hit a batter this season. First time he didn't do that in his Major League career.

LVR: Rex Brothers
Brothers didn't have the worst fWAR for NL relievers but a 5.59 ERA and 4.98 FIP didn't help his case either. Come to Colorado, you say? The air is thin, you say? Well, that might be true and Brothers was worse at home with a 6.67 ERA but the 4.50 road ERA wasn't a bucket of peaches either. With his 6.23 BB/9, I have an idea for a business venture. Rex Brothers Towing: We'll move your car and walk you home.

BBA Awards: AL Goose Gossage 2014

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season, just with different names because they litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. Next, up the Goose Gossage Award for this year's top reliever or, as I like to call it, the finding a reason to not give the best reliever of the year award to a closer award.

A few years ago, we had the year of the pitcher. Then we had another year of the pitcher, then another, and now another. I believe it is safe to assume that we are securely in the middle of the decade of the pitcher. Or at least the decade of the pitcher relative to the type of offense being displayed in this day in age compared to decades of the pitchers when offense was hard to come by and weak hitters like Maury Wills were championed as being offensive superstars. It doesn't make the position any less volatile due to injury (especially in the case of relievers), but with exceptional performances year-in and year-out from mound-dwelling sphere-hurlers, we should no longer be surprised by some of the gaudy numbers we see on a yearly basis from pitchers. Appreciative? Absolutely. Surprised? No.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

BBA AL Willie Mays 2014

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season with different names because they get litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. Now up, the Willie Mays or how I learned to stop comparing rookies to Mike Trout and love them bombing.

In this case, the bombing I'm referring to involves baseballs destroyed by Jose Abreu. The AL rookie class was so deep after Abreu this season, I tried to vote for George Springer as a National Leaguer.

1. Jose Abreu
So, Abreu is a 27-year-old Cuban defector and probably shouldn't be eligible for this award but thems the rules. And his six year, $68 million deal with the White Sox has, let's say, 23 other teams kicking themselves for not being more active in the bidding. Abreu crushed Major League pitching to the tune of 36 homers and a .317/.383/.581 line. His 5.3 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) tied him with Robinson Cano for 20th among position players just a tenth behind Miguel Cabrera. Make it nerdier, you say? His 165 wRC+ put him fourth behind Andrew McCutchen, Trout and Victor Martinez. His .411 wOBA was tied with Martinez for second behind the .412 wOBA that Cutch slugged. He should win Rookie of the Year unanimously and get some top five MVP votes.

2. Masahiro Tanaka
This is where it gets interesting. I'll stand by Tanaka as he lived up to Brian Cashman's billing as a "number three starter" and then some. The arm injury sidelined him and will be a dark cloud for the next year or so since that smell in the air is a looming Tommy John surgery. That smell in the air could also just be New York or fumes from that maple syrup factory we call Vermont.

3. Danny Santana
I can make a case for six more players here. Collin McHough had 154.2 innings of 2.73 ERA and 3.11 FIP ball. Dellin Betances had some pretty insane numbers that we'll get to during the reliever of the year portion of these awards. George Springer left the season early with an injury and Mookie Betts arrived with a late promotion but both are future stars. Matt Shoemaker won 16 games for the Angels and almost threw a no hitter. His wife called Will Middlebrooks a butthole on Twitter for breaking it up. That would be good enough for second most years.

But Santana finished second to Abreu in wRC+ by 32 points. That's how good Abreu was. Santana hit seven homers and stole 20 bases while hitting .319/.353/.472 in 430 plate appearances. He was really good. So good, that that's probably his best.

LVR. Jackie Bradley Jr.
JBJR ain't so good with the bat. The glove plays in center just fine or he never would have made it off of the PawSox team bus. But moving the aforementioned Betts from second to center and signing Cuban Rusney Castillo to a big deal, does not bode well for Bradley's future as a starter in Boston. His .198/.265/.266 slash in 423 plate appearances backs that up. Jon Singleton's 37K% could not be happier for Jackie.

BBA Awards: NL Willie Mays

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season, just with different names because they litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. Next, up the Willie Mays Award for this year's top rookie. Or, as I like to call it, the future faces of baseball who will never get injured or have bad seasons award. 

It was quite the year for rookie ballplayers in Major League Baseball. At least, in the AL it was. In the NL...not so much. There were fast starts that led to complete faceplants, and there were late starts that led to strong finishes. But MTD (who will be supplying the AL ballot) has a much harder decision that yours truly.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

BBA AL Connie Mack 2014

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season with different names because they get litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. First up, the Connie Mack or how I learned to stop worrying about former players managing and love them bombing.

It appears there are two key ways to win the Connie Mack (cough*manageroftheyear*cough). You can manage a team that is expected to be terrible and then accidentally win 92 games and make the playoffs. Or you can manage a team that does well despite key losses and also make the playoffs. It's a good year to be Buck Showalter if you want a trophy.

1. Buck Showalter
Few had the Orioles flat out winning the AL East, let alone running away with it. The O's lost debatably talented Matt Weiters at catcher, stud youngster Manny Machado at third to injuries and Chris Davis to a suspension even though he had regressed all the way back to his Arlington days. Showalter led the team to a 96-66 record, good for second in the American League, and tied for second in baseball. I feel like it was done with a lot of smoke and mirrors as the Orioles starting staff had the 28th best FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) in MLB and the bullpen ranked 15th in FIP. Still, Zach Britton emerged as a lockdown closer. Nelson Cruz blasted 40 homers, Adam Jones did his thing and Steve Pearce was resurrected from the dead.

How much credit does Showalter deserve? Probably not much. But it was incredibly difficult trying to find a pic of him not pointing at something.

2. Terry Francona
It's not that I don't respect or care about these awards. But Manager of the Year is so hard to determine, I might have voted for Francona when he worked for ESPN one year. For example, when does a manager deserve credit for a player turning a corner? I don't know. But Corey Kluber led baseball pitchers in fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) and Michael Brantley finished third in fWAR behind Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen.

3. Mike Scioscia
Leading the Angels to the best record in baseball is reason enough to make the AL ballot. But there's a little more to it in my eyes this year. The Angels scored the most runs in baseball. Scioscia actually managed the team he was given instead of forcing his small ball approach on a Jerry Dipoto built roster. It's an old dog learning new tricks scenario that must have made his skin crawl. And for that, he gets a third place vote from me. That said, Dipoto had to trade Ernesto Frieri away from the skipper to keep Frieri from serving up enough meatballs to cure world hunger.

LVM. Ron Washington
Washington resigned on Sept 5 citing personal reasons and later declared he was embarrassed after not being true to his wife of 42 years. Those are certainly his issues to deal with and I don't care to speculate any further. Finishing below the Astros in the AL West is plenty embarrassing enough.

BBA NL Connie Mack

Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season, just with different names because they litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. First up, the Connie Mack, or, how I learned to stop agonizing over whether or not a manager really has as much control over a team's performance as I believe they do. 

What a strange season in the National League this year. 15 teams in the league, and only six finished with records better than .500. At least they made this ballot a little bit easier to fill out than the AL where you could have conceivably chosen from any number of managers to take the top spot. Not like it really matters anyway, these are the managers, their affect on the outcome of a baseball game is magnified by fans and media members, but I'm not totally convinced that they really make as big of an impact as we like to believe that they do. With that being said, here's the Off Base ballot for the Connie Mack Award in the National League.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Survivor Dips Into the Baseball's Retirement Home Again

Survivor comes back on September 24th, and for the second time in the TV show's history, a former Major League baseball player will be on scene trying to win some serious dough and be crowned The Survivor.

Two years ago it was Jeff Kent who stomped around shirtless for a few weeks before being voted off the island. I can only imagine whether or not Barry Bonds had some input on that vote. This year, the former baseball player playing the part of former baseball player on Survivor is everyone's favorite racist/conservative, John Rocker.

MLB Simply Couldn't Help Themselves, Could They

The Cubs have been steadily making the future right now by bringing up some of the best and brightest prospects (Except for Kris Bryant, who should totally be a regular in their everyday lineup. But I digress). A couple of weeks ago it was hard-swinging and hard-hitting Javier Baez. Yesterday, it was Jorge Soler.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Al Jean, Jose Canseco and Homer at the Bat

Perhaps you aren't a Simpsons fan and have no idea that every Simpsons ever started playing the marathon of all marathons last Thursday on FXX. If that's the case, this post isn't for you. Please go back to watching The Big Bang Theory on TBS. But if you're like me, you haven't been able to turn the channel in over 250-ish hours. Both work and my cable provider have called to make sure I was still alive. I am! And I still at least have cable for the moment.

Homer at the Bat, episode 8F13 with an original air date of February 20, 1992, aired during the marathon on Friday morning. This is important for a few reasons. Homer at the Bat was an amazing episode with player cameos galore. I also still had a concept of what day of the week it was. And finally, I hadn't fully armed myself with the protective coat of Cheeto dust that I'm sporting as I write this.

If you're unfamiliar with the episode, shame on you. You can catch up with my team study from 2010 right here. But the reason for rehashing this episode over 24(!) years later is that long time show runner, writer, producer and general Simpsons extraordinaire, Al Jean, is still not a fan of Jose Canseco. The commentary from Homer at the Bat is worth watching for a lot of nuggets but this was always my favorite, from Al Jean...

I usually say it's my favorite one, you know, people ask me, that I worked on, just because it was so exciting to meet all these guys and they were all really nice except for one whose name rhymed with Manseco

Of course, I pointed out that I knew this nerdy fact...

And got this response...

And now Blowsay Manseco will be the name of every fantasy baseball team I ever own again. Don't even think about stealing that either. Al Jean's blue haired lawyer claims I owe him $1.20 every time I type or say Blowsay Manseco. Dammit!

In case you are wondering why Al Jean might have been slightly annoyed grunt with Blowsay, I'll refer you to Deadspin's 20th anniversary post on the episode...

Aside from the logistics of recording nine separate guest roles, plot lines had to be rewritten on the fly. Jose Canseco's scene originally called for him and Mrs. Krabappel to engage in Bull Durham-inspired extramarital shenanigans. Canseco's wife rejected the scene, and the staff had to do a last-minute Saturday afternoon rewrite when Oakland came south on a mid-August road trip.

Instead of Lothario, Canseco got to play hero, rushing into a woman's burning house to rescue her baby, then cat, followed by a player piano, washer, dryer, couch and recliner combo, high chair, TV, rug, kitchen table and chairs, lamp, and grandfather clock. Requesting the new sequence turned out to be the wiser move. Canseco and his wife had nearly divorced earlier that year before reconciling, and a week before "Homer at the Bat" aired, Canseco was arrested by Miami police for chasing down and ramming his wife's BMW twice with his red Porsche at 4:30 a.m. After the chase ended, he allegedly got out of his car, came over to his wife's driver-side window, and spit on it.

It could have been the extra work the show runners, writers and cast had to put in to the episode that soured Al Jean on Canseco. Or it could have simply been from having to meet/work with him. I'll ask Jose his thoughts on the episode if I can raise enough money to pay him for an interview after his next PPV fight against a blindfolded bear.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge Crossed off the Bucket List

It was only a matter of time before I got nominated to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and that time has now come.

Golden Sombrero: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

The Miami Marlins flew into Anaheim last night to kick off a three game set with the Los Angeles Angels. On Garrett Richards Wade LeBlanc night last night, they kicked the shit out of the Angels, 7-1, dropping three runs in the third inning and another four in the fourth. Six of the runs were charged to Wade LeBlanc, a pitcher who the Angels should look into replacing as of last week.

Omar Vizquel Tries Out For Tigers Shortstop Position

OK, so it wasn't a full-blown tryout on the part of Omar Vizquel, but I wouldn't blame the Tigers for at least entertaining the idea of trying to coax the 47 year-old coach into maybe possibly playing a few games to give the Tigers a possible boost out of position that has combined to produce 0.6 fWAR between Eugenio Suarez, Andrew Romine, Danny Worth and Alex Gonzalez.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mets Turn Triple Play, Assist Given to Yasiel Puig

I'm not going to lie, I like Yasiel Puig. Not in the way that Dodgers fans like Puig, but because every time he takes the field he ends up doing something that either makes my jaw drop or makes me point and do the Nelson laugh. Yesterday, Puig had one of those "Ha ha!" moments.

There was Puig, standing on second base, doing what Yasiel Puigs do, when Matt Kemp hit a groundball to the left of David Wright. Puig did what he was supposed to do, and that's run to third base. It was a routine double play ball, so the Mets were going to get two out of this unless the went all Mets on the play, but the Dodgers would still have a man on third with two out. Not an ideal situation, but not the worst situation either.

But then, Yasiel Puig did a Yasiel Puig thing and...well, here's the video:

In Puig's defense, this is the Mets. So I imagine he thought that there was no chance they could make three good throws on the same play. Let's ask Zack Greinke what he thinks:

Zack, what did you think of Puig's baserunning blunder?

/backs away slowly

Thank you, Yasiel Puig, for just one of many LOLZ. And thank you Mets as well for not going all Mets on that play and finding a way to allow three runs score on the groudball. Don't kid yourself. You know they could do it. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Manny Machado Done for the Year...Again

Manny Machado, the 22 year-old third baseman of the Baltimore Orioles, will have season-ending knee surgery...again. Bill Murray may not be impressed, because this is only the second time that this form of history has repeated itself, but this is a blow to baseball in the form of one its youngest and brightest players not being able to avoid injury.

Javier Baez, My Goodness

For those of you who haven't been paying attention to the Chicago Cubs this season (and I'm sure that that is most of you), you might be missing something special. No, they aren't contending for anything, but they are starting to see the fruits of a lengthy rebuilding process pay dividends. And one of those key pieces, is 21 year-old Javier Baez.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bryce Harper Uses a Yasiel Puig Bat

On August 6th, 2014, Matt Williams got asked not once, but twice in the same day by media members if there was a possibility that Bryce Harper would get sent down to the minor leagues so that he could work on some things and get his swing back. On the surface, it seemed like a good plan.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Jim Edmonds Defends Home Against Pizza Delivery Guy

Jim Edmonds is, quite possibly, a future hall of famer. He of the career 64.0 fWAR thanks to both above average Fielding and hitting might need to wait a few years to get in, but he does have a legitimate outside shot at being enshrined. Until then, however, Jimmy is busy defending his St. Louis home from possible invaders.

Or simply from the occasionally lost pizza delivery guy.

It begs the question though: "What came after the 'wrong house' comment?" Inquiring minds want to know, Jim. We must know.

H/T to Halos Daily writer, Andrew Karcher for the find

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dan Uggla Rejects AAA Assignment from Giants

Two and a half weeks ago, the Braves released perpetually struggling second basemen, Dan Uggla. Two weeks ago, the Giants signed Uggla to a minor league contract. Four days ago, Uggla was designated for assignment. Today, Dan Uggla rejected a AAA assignment from the Giants, effectively making him a free agent again. This, undoubtedly, has been the most exciting three weeks of baseball talk regarding Dan Uggla since he a had an abs contest with Gerard Laird last September.

This season, Uggla is slashing a paltry .149/.229/.213 over 157 plate appearances for the Braves and Giants. And, at the age of 34, there probably isn't much hope that Uggla will become the monster hitter he was when he was a Florida/Miami Marlin. In fact, just for the sake of comparison, Brandon Wood slashed .220/.277/.347 in 257 plate appearances for the Pirates in 2011, and he just recently got released by the Sugarland Skeeters in June.

Want another comparison? Dan Uggla's OPS this season is .442. The lowest OPS that Jeff Mathis has ever posted during a single season is .484. In other words, even Jeff Mathis has never had a season this bad.

Enjoy the AAA contract you're going to sign in the next couple of weeks, Mr. Uggla, I doubt you'll receive a better contract offer than that considering you have forgotten how to hit baseballs.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Trade Deadline Day: Boston Sends Jon Lester to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes

For the last week, baseball fans have been waiting for today to arrive. With more impact players available this season than I can personally remember, it was only a matter of time before some GM for some team decided to press the detonator and blow everything up. And at 10:00 EST this morning, that is exactly what Billy Beane of the Oakland A's and Ben Cherington of the Boston Red Sox did. The Red Sox are sending Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes and an undisclosed amount of money to Oakland in exchange for Slugger Yoenis Cespedes and a competitive balance pick in next year's draft. Buckle up, everyone. Shit just got real.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ripken watches baseball game with block of cheese

Baltimore, MD - Former Baltimore Orioles' shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. was recently spotted watching a baseball game with a block of cheese, according to the above photograph obtained by Off Base Percentage. Ripken, who earlier this month was named the new head coach of the Blue Team, was finishing his diet soda when he confirmed that one of his goals as coach was "to teach cheese the game of baseball".

Ripken, with the help of top scout Barney Lyle, is also hoping to break baseball's Cheddar Barrier.

"We like (the block of cheddar's) speed, but at the plate and in the field, it is still a bit moldy," said Lyle, who also helped break baseball's Legume Barrier when he signed a garbanzo bean in 2009.

As for whether or not hats will stay attached to blocks of cheddar at the professional level, Lyle said it would depend on the game situation.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Illustrating Plate Appearances To Ruben Amaro

Crossing Broad recently uncovered that Phillies GM (General effing Manager) Ruben Amaro Jr. doesn't really understand the difference between plate appearances and at bats. While discussing Jimmy Rollins' run at Mike Schmidt's Phillies' hits record, RAJ dropped this unknowledge bomb on us...

“Yeah, we were checking it out. In fact Schmitty was in the booth yesterday when we were talking about it, and, um, I think it’s about a thousand difference in, ah, plate appearances. Pretty amazing. But their batting averages aren’t that different, which is kind of… weird. I don’t quite understand it.”

That man runs a Major League Baseball front office. Into the ground but the fact remains the same. The 28-36 Phillies are only 6.5 games out of first in the NL East. So, maybe they can turn things around. I designed this to help Ruben Amaro Jr. with his unsurprising lack of understanding baseball terms.

Obviously, there are some other factors that can play into the discrepancy of PAs and ABs but baby steps. Hope this helps!

Brandon Wood Should File For Unemployment

Remember Brandon Wood? Wait, maybe we should start from the beginning. Remember 2003? It was 11 years ago so my memories might be fuzzy. I believe George Bush captured Saddam Hussien during a bicycle race in France for a cancer charity? And Guy Ritchie destroyed a once promising career by making Swept Away because Madonna became British. Also, the Angels selected Brandon Wood with the 23rd pick of the Rule 4 draft. In 2005, Wood hit 43 home runs for High A Rancho Cucamonga and entered 2006 as Baseball America's third overall prospect. It was a simpler time. And maybe breaking balls didn't exist in the minors yet.

It didn't go downhill immediately. Wood made his Major League debut in 2007 and hopes were still high. Then it fell apart. Brandon Wood ended up with 751 plate appearances in the Bigs and was last seen around Pittsburgh in 2011. Career slash? .186/.225/.289 with a 29% strikeout rate. It was ugly. And if this feels a bit like an obituary, it shouldn't. I have been one, if not the biggest, Brandon Wood supporter. I have proof. But if that slash line isn't baseball nightmare fuel enough, Wood just posted a .098/.156/.159 in 90 plate appearances at Independent League, Sugar Land. Mmmm, Sugar Land. Turns out the Sugar Land Skeeters are in Houston and not downtown Diabetesville, Mississippi. Either way, the Skeeters released Brandon Wood on June 1 according to this transaction page that apparently exists.

Now, I've never played competitive baseball but I assume getting cut from an Independent Baseball club is the equivalent to being kicked off of the beer league bowling team. That uses bumpers. At 29-years-old, being released from an Independent League team should signal the end of the career from a legit former prospect. It's sad. And disappointing. What's next? He should file for unemployment. According to a 2012 Baseball America article, Independent League players could make up to $600 per month. That's a lot of cans of tuna. Provided he moves back in with his parents.

While this news does make me sad, for serious, I'm looking forward to the savings Brandon Wood will be able to get me when I buy a new Kia Spectra if he makes it through the training period at that dealership.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's MLB auction time

Major League Baseball is auctioning off some items tonight at A few pieces caught my eye, so I made a few bids.

First, we have Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon and his game-worn #35 jersey. The 'current bid' was $400, but I can't go any higher than 45 cents.

Next: it's Chris Stewart and his game-worn #19 jersey. I can almost feel the jersey on my back, caressing me while I cook breakfast for Chris Stewart.


The bidding for the Stewart jersey has picked up quite a bit. I will not be out-bid.

Finally, we have a lineup card from a game Kyle Lohse pitched against the Padres on April 23. Kyle Loshe? The Padres? A piece of cardboard? April 23rd?! Too good to pass up.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Lloyd-Trout Engagement Announcement

Anaheim Angels outfielder Mike Trout, the "pride of the Anaheim Angels outfield", has accepted a marriage proposal from 44-year old M.J. Lloyd of New Orleans. The two have known each other since Trout's senior year at Millville High School in New Jersey when Lloyd showed up to the school's prom with a cardboard cutout of Trout glued to his bare chest.

"It was a match made at my Uncle Murray's house," said Lloyd at the time. "That's where I had the cutout made and Murray did the gluing in the driveway before the limo came."

The two drifted apart after Trout was selected in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Angels and Lloyd began his career as an Applebees hostess impersonating an Elvis impersonator, coining the phrase "thank you, thank you very much for coming."

Trout would become one of the top players in baseball, while also becoming one of the country's most eligible bachelors, finishing first in his living room for five consecutive weeks on the reality TV show Watching 'The Bachelor'.

Little did Trout know, but his old flame was also watching Trout's television, from a Japanese maple, on the reality show Watching Mike Trout Watch Things. The two have been inseparable ever since.

"His eyes were so bloodshot, I had him come inside and I picked all of the leaves out of his ears. Then I realized how much I had missed him," said Trout. "Also, he had a fun size Butterfinger in his beard, so, he asked me to share a meal, and his life."

The pair hasn't yet set a date for the wedding, though Lloyd has suggested February of 2015, after his team's two decade-long wiffle ball season finally commences. Lloyd is his team's all-time leader in outfield fall downs with 117 and hangons (66), including a league-record 28 Hang On I Think I Was Stung By Somethings.

Pastor Irving Fleisch

is expected to preside over the wedding.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kevin Frandsen Did WHAT!?!?

Kevin Frandsen is your typical, run-of-the-mill, replacement level player (career fWAR of 0.4). He is not expected to be spectacular. He is not expected to be above-average. Hell, even average production from Frandsen would be a bonus. So when he does something that you have to watch multiple times, it is something worth noting. Like, the play in the video below, for instance.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Carlos Gonzalez News


Gonzalez left Wednesday's game in the sixth inning when he became dizzy after accidentally swallowing some tobacco dip.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Angels Soft: A Guide To The Big A's Facilities

A few days ago, an Angels website wrote about the best hot spots for pre-game activities. My wife's response to that was: "If that is a topic, then I should write about the stadium's bathrooms." She thought she was joking. I took her to be literal. Three days, and countless Twitter and Facebook votes, later, my wife was writing about the bathrooms at the Big-A. This is what she gets for underestimating me.

As a female in the bathroom-selfie-taking age range, who better to blog about a bathroom than a female in the bathroom-selfie-taking age range? I know, how about someone who has never taken a selfie, let alone a selfie in a bathroom, in her entire life. Someone who is more concerned with using the restroom for what it is actually for, not someone who is looking for the perfect lighting to accent their new highlights and perfect cleavage.

Thanks to a few pushy twitter followers, I have reluctantly taken on this responsibility and hope that when you are finished reading this post, you feel fully informed...and relieved. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Trolling Jose Canseco

I have a confession to make. About a year ago, I finally stopped following Jose Canseco on Twitter. I couldn't do it anymore. Just too much dumb in one place for my taste. But I felt compelled - for some odd reason - to scan through his tweets today and see what our buddy the Hugger has been up to.

Warning: Lots of facepalms ahead.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Baseball: Australian for Brawling

Just because it is December January, doesn't mean that there isn't baseball happening. And not just any baseball, but rough and tumble, rock-em sock-em robots baseball.