Monday, May 20, 2013

Quarter Season Look-In

We're a little more than 1/4 of the way through the 2013 baseball season. I made some predictions for the 2013 season, which you can find here.

Today, I'm going to offer some of my awards for the first half of the first half of the baseball season.

Starting with the senior circuit, the National League.

My pick for NL MVP so far is none other than Paul Goldschmidt. If you're not a baseball follower, this name probably doesn't mean a whole lot to you. But Goldschimidt, who plays first base for the Arizona Diamondbacks, has had a fantastic first quarter-season. He's hitting .335 with 12 homers and 35 RBI's. His Diamondbacks are 6 games above .500 and sitting a game ahead of the Giants in the NL West.

However, the most incredible stat for Goldschimdt would have to be his WAR. WAR is the ultimate sabermetric stat, it's the abbreviation for "Wins Above Replacement." Effectively, what WAR calculates is how many wins a particular player is worth over a replacement (generally a Triple-A-level player). The formula for WAR is wildly complex, taking into account six components (batting runs, baserunning rins, runs added or lost due to grounding into double plays in double play situations, fielding runs, positional adjustment runs and replacement level runs [based on playing time]). Seriously, this is the most complex statistic in the world. Suffice it to say the higher the number, the better off you are (according to sabermetrics).

To put this into perspective, last year Mike Trout led the major leagues in WAR with a 10.9 (absolutely off the charts). Miguel Cabrera, who won the Triple Crown and the AL MVP over Trout had a WAR of 7.3. Divide those by 4, and you'd have (sort of) 2.7 for Trout and 1.8 for Cabrera over 1/4 of a season.

Goldschmidt is at 2.8 right now. An incredible start to the season, if he continues at his current pace, he'll definitely be the NL MVP.

Honorable Mentions for NL MVP: I'll give the nod to a few other players for Honorable Mention in the NL, namely Justin Upton and Joey Votto, both of whom are having fantastic seasons!

My NL Cy Young award pick is Clayton Kershaw (duh.). Kershaw is out of this world. He's boasting a 1.40 ERA, 67 strikeouts and an incredible .87 WHIP. His record stinks right now at 4-2, but he can't be blamed for the Dodgers being a dumpster fire so far this season. Don Mattingly is absolutely mismanaging this team of superstars. Kershaw has only given up 10 runs through the season but isn't getting the support he needs from the rest of the team. I can't fathom how he's only won 4 games.

Honorable Mentions for NL Cy Young: I'll give the honorable mention to the man who plays second fiddle to Stephen Strasburg in the Nationals' rotation, Jordan Zimmerman. Matt Harvey for the Mets is also having a great season.

Onto the American League, my choice for AL MVP is Robinson Cano.

Whoa whoa whoa, major homer pick there, right? I'm sure I'm blinded by my love of all things pinstripes, but I think Cano is a definite MVP pick for this portion of the season. He's hitting .295 with 12 homers (which co-leads the AL) and 31 RBIs. He's also been the catalyst for a surprisingly strong start for the Yankees, who were picked by just about everyone to finish at best 3rd in the AL East. They're currently sitting a half-game up on Boston in the division.

Cano is making his case for an MVP trophy by leading a team that would normally be STACKED with superstar talent. This could surely be the year he adds an MVP trophy next to his Home Run Derby championship.

Sabermetrically (not sure that's a word), Cano is boasting a solid 1.4 WAR.

Honorable Mention for AL MVP: In the honorable mention category, I have to mention Miguel Cabrera. He's leading the league in two of the three triple crown categories and only one off the homerun pace currently shared by 4 other players, including Cano.

Finally, my pick for AL first half of the first half Cy Young Award is Yu Darvish. Darvish started the season off with a bang, seeking out a perfect game and has been money all season. He has a 2.97 ERA with 86 strikeouts (that's 12.76 K/9 if you're counting) and a .92 WHIP. He also boasts a great 7-1 record, helping Texas to take a 6.5 game lead in the AL West which was supposed to be DOMINATED by the Angels.

Honorable Mentions are Felix Hernandez and Matt Moore. I've got a great big baseball crush on King Felix (I was really wanting him to become a Yankee). If he were playing on the east coast, I think he'd be the biggest name in baseball, but he's playing for the Mariners in Seattle and has to deal with the east coast bias. The simple fact is, though, people aren't able to watch him pitch a lot because his games start, quite frequently, at 10:00 eastern time.

Matt Moore has had an incredible start to his season, going 8-0 for the Rays. ESPN even told me tonight that his 8-0 start is somewhat unparalleled. He's the youngest left-handed pitcher to start the season 8-0 since 1917 when a young fella named Babe Ruth did it for the Boston Red Sox.

The last baseball related topic is Biggest Surprise. The biggest surprise of the 2013 season has been the Los Angeles Angels. This team should be far and away the best in baseball. Their lineup is incredible. The 2-5 hitters are Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo. Seriously, those names are fantastic. They traded away what was thought to be dead (old) weight in Vernon Wells. If you're counting, Wells has more homeruns than Trout, Pujols or Hamilton (tied with Trumbo at 10). He's also hitting .286, which is better than all 4 of the Angels' big bats. Maybe Wells is part of this biggest surprise, for me.

But seriously, the Angels should be MUCH better than 12 games back in their division.

Also, if you're keeping track. If the season ended today, I would've correctly picked 3 of the 10 postseason teams (none of them in their proper place though).

What about you, what do you think of my picks so far?


  1. I'm not gonna HATE on the picks, but I would disagree a little on your MVP picks. I absolutely believe Goldschmidt is a candidate, but I still think Votto, especially with his recent 10 game surge, deserves the nod (Now I know you will think IM just being the homer). His OBP is out of this world, and many people also overlook his great glove. I would simply flip flop the two, so no major problem with your pick there.

    For AL MVP, I do think the homerism is coming out in you! Cabrera is mashing it, and if you are gonna make WAR a major stat (which I like, Moneyball FTW) He is 3rd in the AL, far ahead of Cano. Cano is making a case to be his teams Most Valuable Player, but Cabrera is no doubt far and ahead of Cano.

    I definitely agree with the rest of your award picks though. Nice and thoughtful post man! I look forward to seeing the rest of these later on in the year!

    1. Votto/Goldschmidt is probably a toss-up at this point in the season. There's still a ton of baseball to play. If I had to choose one of those two that I'd predict to actually win the MVP, it would be Votto, just because he has a history of being a gamer, whereas Goldschmidt is still new to the scene.

      Even if you look at their last 7 days, you're still looking at a really tight race:

      Votto: .583/2 HR/5 RBI
      Goldschmidt: .500/3 HR/ 5 RBI

      As for Cano/Cabrera. I know, I'm a filthy homer. I like WAR, love stats and analysis but I honestly went with a little bit of intangible on that pick, because I believe without Cano, the Yankees are actually hovering in third or fourth place in the East. He's got great stats this year (not monster stats like Cabrera), but they're still solid. His WAR is good (not great). Intangibly though, he's holding a bunch of has-beens and never-weres together and making them formidable.

      All that said, if I had a vote for the real MVP award, I'd probably have given it to Cabrera, heh.

      Finally, in my defense, all of this was postured before Miggy hit 3 bombs yesterday =)