Blog Archives

Staff Predictions on the 2012 AL Awards

Yesterday we revealed the staff’s predictions for the American League and the World Series. Today it is the staff’s picks for the AL individual awards.

AL MVP:

Matt B: Robinson Cano Mike P: Jose Bautista Fish: Robinson Cano Mike D: Miguel Cabrera Matt S: Prince Fielder Delia: Robinson Cano Brian: Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano was the leading vote getter among the staff. Myself, Brian, Fish and Delia will think hitting in the 3 hole will help him put up even more fabulous numbers. I think his protection going from Nick Swisher to Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira will help him see better pitchers than he saw last year. The other votes were split among Cabrera, Fielder and Bautista. Mike D sees no reason why Cabrera won’t be able to pound out another MVP season, while Matt S. thinks his teammate Fielder will put on a show. Those two teammates may have to deal with their votes canceling each other out. If the Jays do not make the playoffs it may be tough for Bautista to win with so many great players in the AL. The surprise I think is no votes were put in for Albert Pujols.  

AL ROY:

Matt B: Brett Lawrie Mike D: Matt Moore Matt S: Matt Moore Mike P: Matt Moore Brian: Matt Moore Delia: Yu Darvish Fish: Matt Moore

Matt Moore is the majority choice among the staff for very good reason.Moore threw 7 shutout innings in Game 1 of the ALDS against a potent Rangers lineup. That has everybody excited about him this year. I choose Lawrie to be a little different and because I think he will put up a very nice year. Lawrie hit .293, with 9 HR’s, 25 RBI, and a .953 OPS in 150 AB’s last year. He also had a big spring training. Delia is the only one going with the most experienced rookie Yu Darvish. 

AL CY Young:

Matt B: Jered Weaver Matt S.: CC Sabathia Delia: Justin Verlander Mike D. Justin Verlander Fish: CC Sabathia Brian: Matt Moore Mike P: Matt Moore

The first thing that jumps out at me the most is the bold picks by Mike P and Brian for Matt Moore to win the AL CY Young as a rookie. Despite his great talent, winning the CY Young as a rookie would be amazing, especially pitching in the AL East. In 1981 Fernando Valenzuela became the first and only rookie CY Young award winner, so Moore winning would be historic. Sabathia and Verlander tied Moore with 2 votes. Fish has Sabathia over Verlander because he thinks Sabathia’s BABIP will go down from .318 while Verlander’s will go up from .236. He also does not like Verlander’s defense behind him. Matt S. thinks the new rotation will take pressure off Sabathia. Mike D and Delia are sticking with Verlander until he proves otherwise. I was the only one to give Weaver a vote because of his improved team and him getting to face Oakland and Seattle so much.         

AL Manager of the Year:

Matt B: Mike  Scioscia Mike P: Joe Maddon Delia: Joe Girardi Matt S: Joe Maddon Brian: Mike Scioscia Fish: John Farrell Mike D: Mike Scioscia

Manager of the year usually comes from a surprise team that makes the playoffs. However, with so many strong teams in the AL not many surprises are being selected outside the top 6 teams. This makes predicting manager of the year this year very difficult. Scioscia is the leader among the staff with 3 votes and is Maddon 2nd with 2 votes. Delia was the only one to vote for Girardi. I think being the manger of the Yankees gives him no chance. If he did not get consideration last year when the Red Sox were projected by seemingly everybody to beat the Yankees than he never will.

Tell us your predictions in the comments.     

About these ads

Previewing the 2012 Tigers | Interview Series


Over the course of the next month or two, we will be previewing the Yankees’ competition in the American League. To do this, I will interview one blog for each team in the league.

We’re going to take a short break from the AL East and preview the reigning AL Central champs, the Detroit Tigers. I had the pleasure of interviewing Lee Panas of Tiger Tales.

Now as you may have heard, Victor Martinez was recently reported to have torn his ACL and will be out for the 2012 season. This interview took place before that came out, so I was unable to ask Lee about the impact of the injury. However, he does have a good piece out about how much the Tigers will be losing without Martinez in the everyday lineup.

Keeping the injury in mind, let’s get started…

1. The Tigers certainly excelled in 2011, reaching the ALCS (after ousting the Yanks, I might add). Could you reflect on why you think they were able to achieve success? In extension, what do you think the team could have done better at, in order to get beyond the ALCS?

The 2011 Tigers were able to win because they had a core of star players which allowed them to overcome a few weak spots. They had one of the highest-scoring teams in the league primarily because of four players – first baseman Miguel Cabrera, catcher Alex Avila, shortstop Jhonny Peralta and designated hitter Victor Martinez. This allowed them to score consistently, despite offensive voids at second base, third base, center field and right field. On the pitching side, they had the best pitcher in the league in Justin Verlander. He allowed them to survive gaping holes in the fourth and fifth spots of the rotation. The acquisition of Doug Fister, who actually pitched better than Verlander down the stretch, was also huge. They relied upon Jose Valverde and Joaquin Benoit to do the bulk of the relief work while trying to fill the back of the pen with youngsters.

Luck also played a factor in their success. They had the good fortune of playing in a division in transition where no other team won more than 80 games. They also won more games than their run differential suggested they should have won. This was the result of a great record in close games. Valverde was partly responsible for that, but good fortune also probably played a role.

I consider the playoffs to be mostly a crap shoot. The Tigers happened to have some key offensive players – Avila, Martinez and Delmon Young – get hurt at the same time, which put them at a disadvantage versus the high-powered Rangers offense in the ALCS. The Tigers also could have benefited from a deeper bullpen.

2. The story of 2011, or at least the end-of-the-year awards, was Justin Verlander. Fans of other teams have an outside look at how terrific a pitcher he is, but from a Tiger fan’s perspective, what does he mean to the organization?

As indicated above, the Tigers 2011 success was largely due to a group of star players. Verlander was obviously one of those players and he can be counted upon to excel again for the next few years. Because the Tigers have an ace in Verlander, they can afford to carry a young developing pitcher in the number five slot as they may do this year. Verlander’s ability to pitch deep into games all season long also helps to save the bullpen for other pitchers. Finally, one of the best things about Verlander is that fans know that the team is likely to get a great performance and probably a win every fifth game.

Miguel Cabrera plays a similar role among position players. They are pretty much guaranteed an outstanding season from him, so it’s not too much of a concern if they have one or two sub-par hitters elsewhere in the line-up.

3. Although they have shown some interest in several starting pitchers, the Tigers have had a relatively quiet offseason. Why do you think that is? Is it that the team doesn’t really have any gaping holes or weaknesses?

The quiet off-season has been a bit surprising, but I don’t think they are done yet. They have been relatively inactive partly because their biggest offensive needs – second baseman, third baseman and lead-off hitter – are not easy things to find this winter. I expect them to be heavily involved in the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes. They have scouted him for a long time and I believe owner Mike Illitch is willing to open up his wallet to sign a potentially exciting young player. That doesn’t mean they will get Cespedes, but I believe they will be one of the finalists. If they fail to get him, I think they may get more aggressive in pursuing a trade for a lead-off hitter or third baseman.  They have now pretty much settled on a Ramon Santiago / Ryan Raburn platoon at second.

The Tigers have made a couple of smaller moves which should help. The addition of Gerald Laird gives the Tigers a real backup catcher which allows them to rest Avila more often. Hopefully, with fewer games played, Avila will be stronger at the end of 2012 than he was last year. The move also means that Martinez can be a full-time designated hitter which should help keep him healthier. They have also addressed their bullpen depth with the signing of veteran reliever Octavio Dotel.

4. What is the general confidence level in the Tigers going into the 2012 season?

I still want to see the Tigers make more improvements, but I think they are the favorites to win the AL Central even if they stand pat. The Indians should be better and the Royals have an emerging young offense, but I believe the Tigers still have the most talent in the division. An upgrade at third base, a lead-off man or a proven fifth starter would certainly add to a fan’s confidence in the Tigers. One of the biggest factors in every season, of course, is health. An injury to one of their star players especially Verlander would change everything, but that is something you can’t worry about too much until it happens.

RHP top prospect, Jacob Turner.

5. How do you feel about the current state of the Tigers’ prospects, and minor-league system? Are there any prospects that you think could have an impact on the 2012 team?

In general, the Tigers do not have a lot of prospects who project to be stars in the majors. However, their top prospect Jacob Turner has the potential to eventually be a top of the rotation starter and could make an impact as early as this season. He’ll probably get an opportunity to make the club as the fifth starter coming out of spring training. If he doesn’t make the opening day roster, then we can expect him to get starts later in the season. Other prospects with a shot at the fifth spot include Duane Below, Andy Oliver, Drew Smyly and Adam Wilk.

None of their hitting prospects figure to play much of a role in the Tigers 2012 season.  Their most promising position player in the minors is third baseman Nick Castellanos, but he is probably a couple of years away.  Other youngsters include outfielders Danry Vasquez and Avisail Garcia, and catchers Rob Brantly and James McCann, all of which need more development time.

6. Lastly, how do you project the team will do in 2012?

It’s too early for my final projection but, at the moment, I project 92 wins and a division title. As I said earlier, I think the playoffs are a crap-shoot generally won by the team which gets hot at the right time. The Cardinals were a perfect example of that last year. Hopefully, it will be the Tigers turn this year.

Justin Verlander commits rare feat; Wins both Cy Young & AL MVP

Justin Verlander commits rare feat; Wins both Cy Young & AL MVP

By Delia E.

The American League MVP was just announced and the honors go to Justin Verlander who committed a rare feat. He won both the AL Cy Young Award along with a MVP honor. Verlander was 24-5 with a 2.20 ERA. Verlander became the second pitcher to win both the Cy Young and the AL MVP award since Dennis Eckersley in 1992.

In 2nd place in the MVP voting was Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox, in 3rd place was Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays and in 4th place was Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees. Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia & David Robertson also had MVP votes.

Congratulations to Justin Verlander!

Evaluating the AL Cy Young Candidates

Tomorrow, the AL Cy Young Award will be announced. Justin Verlander is the clear favorite in everyone’s eyes, but let’s see how the overall perception of his candidacy matches up with a purely statistical evaluation of the candidates.

First, I created 8 different categories with 2-3 stats per category:

Each category was worth a certain percent out of the total 100. Command, stuff, and durability were valued the highest, which was 15% each. The outcome of all these categories was added up for each pitcher, giving each a score. Scores were given based on the percent above average, for each pitcher’s stat. The 5 main candidates are C.C. Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Josh Beckett, and James Shields. Here are their point values (percent above/below average) for each stat:

fh

a

b

c

d

e

f

g

As you can see above, those are the point values by stat. Below, are the averaged scores for each category:

Since this is a Yankee blog, we’ll trace Sabathia closely throughout the evaluation.

As far as command goes, Justin Verlander had the best. His K/BB and BB/9 numbers were simply outstanding, outshining the second-best, Jered Weaver by 1.6 points, which is a lot. Sabathia was right behind Weaver, but still slightly above the average of the five starting pitchers.

According to the statistics, C.C. Sabathia in fact had the best stuff this season. So any time analysts talk about Justin Verlander’s tremendous stuff, we know that statistically speaking, C.C. Sabathia had the better stuff. Although his K/9 wasn’t the greatest, he manufactured plenty of ground balls, which is also a sign of “stuff”. In addition, he surprisingly got more swing-and-misses than Verlander. James Shields was close behind Sabathia’s 5% above average, for Swing-Miss%, at 4%.

Although “winning” has become significantly less important in statistics, it still has significance. To please the sabemetricists, I added WPA, win-probability-added to the stat pool for “winning”. Leading this category, of course, was Verlander with 1.9 points. The competition wasn’t even close; Jered Weaver scored 1.5 points lower at 0.4. Despite Sabathia’s 19 wins, his number of losses, along with his lower WPA, resulted in a below-average “winning” score.

Now we’ll move to an un-organized category I called Run Allowance. This was basically to find a spot for ERA and FIP, two very important stats. Verlander and Weaver were the front-runners here with 1.0 and 0.6, respectively. CC was right-on average with a score of 0.0. His stats were quite skewed, as his FIP was the same above average, as his ERA was below average. Maybe xFIP should have been added to the mix, but I’m sure the end result would be similar.

Another example of this “skewed-ness” is CC’s batted-ball category. His BABIP was quite a bit sub-par, while his HR/9 was the best of the five pitchers. This gave him a mere 0.1 points, possibly because of some bad BABIP luck. I find it ironic that the #2 of this category, Justin Verlander, had a worse HR/9 than Sabathia, when the first was pitching in Comerica Park, and the latter at tiny Yankee Stadium. Angels’ pitcher, Jered Weaver led the category with his solid performances in both BABIP and HR/9.

The next category I used was “Pitching Quality”. This enveloped the stats- Quality Starts Percentage, WHIP, and Average Game Score (devised by Bill James). Sabathia did not fare too well here at all, with -1.4 points. He was by 0.8 points, the worst in this category, especially in QS% and WHIP. Like usual, Verlander led this category, with 1.2 points followed by Jered Weaver and James Shields. Beckett remained in between Shields and Sabathia with -0.6 points.

In “Value”, which encompasses WAR (wins-above-replacement) and RAR (runs-above-replacement), CC really came back into the race. He tied Justin Verlander for first  in the category, with 2.4 points. The two out-valued the others by at least 2 points, which was substantial.

The last category, Durability, essential for an ace, was much closer. For the first time, Rays’ #1 James Shields led, with 1 point. Close behind were Verlander with 0.8, and Sabathia with 0.2 points. Beckett was the least durable, and really, the least horse-like, at 3 points behind the leader of the category.

TIME FOR THE FINAL RESULTS:

These are completely according to the statistical evaluation:

1st Place ~ Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers | 10 points

2nd Place ~ C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees | 2 points

3rd Place ~ Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | 0.6 points

4th Place ~ James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays | -2.5 points

5th Place ~ Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox | -10.6 points

2011 ALDS: Game 5 | Yankees vs. Tigers

It would seriously be a good thing to have a little more of ^^^ in tonight's Game 5.

Lineup:

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner LF

Pitchers:

Ivan Nova (1-0, 2.84) vs. Doug Fister (0-1, 11.57)

Pregame Notes:

— Justin Verlander will not be making an appearance in tonight’s game, much to the delight of all Yankee fans. Max Scherzer, though, is available to pitch.

— Joe Girardi has said that Mariano Rivera and Dave Robertson could both throw 35-40 pitches. Sabathia is available for possibly 2 innings.

— He also mentioned that he’d imagine A.J. Burnett has earned an ALCS start. However, he is not thinking that far ahead of things yet.

Enjoy the game.

 

Cashman: Sabathia will start Game 3.

Cashman: Sabathia will start Game 3.

by Mike D.

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yanks’ GM, Brian Cashman stated that Sabathia will be the starter of Game 3, despite the possibility that C.C. wanted to start tomorrow in Game 2.  That means Freddy Garcia will pitch tomorrow (Game 2), C.C. on Monday (Game 3), presumably A.J. Burnett on Wednesday (Game 4), and Nova on Friday (Game 5). Jim Leyland has slotted Tigers’ ace, Justin Verlander to pitch on in Game 3 on Monday. Ah, how wonderful the weather can be.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,319 other followers