If the general premise of this sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve talked about this before.
On the heels of the Texas Rangers returning to the playoffs in 2015, I noticed they had similar roster uncertainties in advance of 2016. All they did once Opening Day rolled around was win the American League West with ease by posting an AL-best 95-67 record.
While they proved to be masters of winning one-run games, having just a +10 run differential made some wonder if they’d be able to hang in the playoffs. And before there was an answer, they were packing up for the winter after getting swept by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALDS.
The 2017 season is fast approaching, and the AL West will be interesting to follow. After all, Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto won’t stop making trades and the Houston Astros are doing whatever they can to make Sports Illustrated look like a bunch of geniuses.
The Rangers still have some roster questions to answer ahead of Spring Training — like, is this Mike Napoli reunion happening or not? — but one area that’s set is the outfield.
Texas will go to battle with 21-year-old Nomar Mazara in left, Carlos Gomez in center and Shin-Soo Choo manning right. This looks good on paper, but it’s far from a sure thing judging from each player’s recent history.
Yesterday, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell were voted into the HOF. For the first time, a steroid user has been voted into the Walhalla of baseball. I had to let that sink in. You can only wonder why a bunch of cheaters has been voted into the HOF.
It all started with the induction of a commissioner who used to turn a blind eye to the steroid use during the homerun race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in the late nineties. Baseball had lost ground due to the player strike in 1994 and fans had turned away from the game. This homerun race between McGwire and Sosa was heaven sent as it helped to get the fans back to the stadiums.
Only around 2004, Selig stepped up against steroid use so he would be remembered as the commissioner that fought steroid use….
In case you missed the news last night, the Tigers most likely just traded for their center fielder. In a move that isn’t going to get a ton of coverage, Detroit traded a player to be named and cash to Tampa for right handed hitting Mikie (pronounced Mike-ee) Mahtook.
The move doesn’t come as a big surprise as General Manager Al Avila mentioned that Detroit would be searching all avenues for a center fielder and had been connected to cheaper options recently.
With the 2017 baseball Hall of Fame election results being announced at 6p est tonight, I decided to share who I’d vote for if I had a ballot.
Player’s need 75% of the vote to be elected and those voting can only choose to vote for up to ten players (although not required) out of this year’s list of 34. Write-in votes are not allowed (sorry Shoeless Joe and Charlie Hustle).
Also, let’s get my steroid stance out of the way first…I believe first that there were far more players abusing steroids than we know and since we don’t know who was clean and who wasn’t, I won’t let it affect my vote. Second, I think the commissioner and team management are also partially to blame for this issue as they just looked the other way. Lastly, this isn’t the first time that performance enhancing drugs were an issue in baseball. Amphetamines were huge in the 70’s & ‘80’s and I’d guess more heavily abused than steroids. Oh, and don’t give me character clause BS, there are gamblers, racists, and alcoholics in the Hall.
Here’s my list…
Handing out a lucrative, multi-year contract to a player is always risky for an MLB organization, no matter how much of a no-brainer it appears to be. That risk factor goes through the roof when it’s a 10-year, $240 million deal, like the one Robinson Cano signed prior to the 2014 season.
Outside of a dip in power, his first season in Seattle was a success. He hit .314/.382/.454 with 14 home runs and 82 RBI, producing a wRC+ of 137 and a 5.2 fWAR – the fifth consecutive year he surpassed 5.0.
It was the first half of 2015 when people likely started to freak out, to a degree.
He limped into the All-Star break with a lackluster triple slash of .251/.290/.370, accompanied by just 6 home runs, 30 RBI and an wRC+ of 86. Providing power as a second baseman had always been one of his best attributes, but a .118 first-half ISO showed that the only thing his power was doing was continuing to deteriorate.
Cano did start to look like himself again following the midsummer classic — he hit .331/.387/.540 with 15 home runs, 40 RBI, a wRC+ of 157, and most importantly, his ISO jumped back up to .209.
That second-half performance ended up being a sign of what was to come.
Were there any similarities between 2016 and his prime years in the Bronx from 2010-12 when Cano’s ISO never dipped below .214 while posting a .311/.370/.539 line with a combined 90 homers and 321 RBI?
Yes, but there are also some interesting differences showing how his game has transformed over the years.
As we continue on exploring the greatest Tigers by position of all-time, we move on to what I am guessing is a slam dunk before any research is done. Before getting to the list however, looking back I’ve covered the all-time best Tigers catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, and left fielder. You can click on any of the previous links to check out that position.
Moving on to center field, we changed the criteria up a bit for outfielders where I still am looking for at least five years with the Tigers and playing a majority of time at that positon. The one change I did make however to gaging the outfield spots, is opening it up to majority of games played at that position, but looking at all outfield numbers, since it’s much more common to see a players shift positions.
For the Center Field spot, we have four qualifiers: Ty Cobb, Mickey Stanley, Ron LeFlore, and Chet Lemon. Austin Jackson just misses out being traded mid-way through his 5th season in Detroit, but could be back via free agency this season. Since this is a shoe in, we’ll take a look at all of the players…
Drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft, Honeywell didn’t come with the eye-catching fastball-curve or fastball-slider combo of other top pitching prospects. Instead, he comes with a well-rounded game; a four pitch mix, of which three project above average to plus, and quality command in an athletic delivery. And, of course, a screwball. Who doesn’t like screwballs?
Doing a mock for the MLB draft is a lot different from doing one for the other sports, as there are plenty of factors to be considered, among them the acknowledgment that there is no such thing as a “direct to the majors” pick. Additionally, individual picks may not even make it to the majors, further complicating picks. As such, here’s a disclaimer: The picks made here are suggestions made by the writer, and should acknowledge as pure speculation.
Draft picks are based on organizational weaknesses, although best player available is considered. Team tendencies are not actively considered, unless they are explicit, or there is any information on who the team is planning to pick. Additionally, compensatory picks will be done in this mock.
Many of you probably will never have heard of the Asahi baseball team. It was a team created by Canadian citizens of Japanese origin in 1914. The team had its home base in Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver’s little Tokyo. The team was the pride and joy of Vancouver’s Japanese community.
As stated above, the Asahi team was established in 1914 by Japanese immigrants in Vancouver. They came to Canada, then still British territory, around the turn of the century to try their luck. Most Canadians thought the Japanese would not stay long. Many tried their luck in the fishing business. As they became successful, the Canadian government revoked a third of their fishing licenses. “Industrious intruders” was the most polite of the many names that were given to them.
Read more here.
All baseball players – whether they’re amateurs or professionals – are creatures of habit. When you have a game to play every day, routines form (some on purpose, some by accident) and once a player notices those routines, they typically like to keep them as they are.
Advanced statistics have helped organizations and coaching staffs justify tinkering lineups on a daily basis, but one thing is for certain – most hitters like coming to the ballpark knowing exactly where their name will be penciled into the order.
It makes mentally preparing a lot easier, and they don’t have to wonder when they’ll get their first plate appearance of the night.
With that in mind, I was curious as to which hitters performed the best in 2016 at each particular lineup spot. The only criteria was sample size – 1-5 hitters needed at least 400 plate appearances to qualify, but it dropped to 250-plus for the six-hole and 200-plus for the bottom-third to generate players to choose from.
Here are your most dominant hitters at each lineup spot from 2016, ranked by wRC+.