Tagged: Joe Mauer

All-Stars Confusing as Always…

Happy Tuesday to everyone out there on MLBlogs.

Some of you may have been misled by the title of this post. You may be expecting a full-out rant on Bud Selig, the fan-vote, the ridiculousness of the All-Star Game, and of course, a certain Mr. Joey Votto. However, I’ve read enough of these rants in the past few days, and I’m sure you have as well. I know that another one is not needed. And while I’ve read some interesting suggestions for how the All-Star situation can be improved, most of the complaints revolve around the same issues. I agree with most of the complaints, and I support any measures people are taking to change them, but for now there is little we can do. That’s why I plan to focus more on those that are on the team, and why I’m excited for the All-Star break festivities; rather than everything that’s wrong with the ASG and all the outrageous snubs, and players that should have made it. (However, I do believe that Joey Votto exclusion from the game is a matter worth discussing, so you’ll have to bear with a little ranting when I get to that topic)
2010-All-Star-Logo-Anaheim2.jpg
Since I can’t write about every All-Star, I’ll focus on some picks I find interesting, or those I find most deserving. Today I’ll discuss the AL team, tomorrow the NL. Here goes…
Trevor Cahill, SP, A’s

Cahill has emerged as an ace for the surprise Oakland A’s, a team that’s hanging tough in the AL West, a very competitive division. To me, the selection of Cahill was a surprise as well, partly because I don’t watch much A’s baseball and I had honestly never really 

trevor-cahill-pic.jpgheard of the guy. And while stats never tell the whole story, his are very solid, and he definitely does deserve this spot. However, being the only Oakland player on the ro

ster, I’ve gotta wonder whether his All-Star spot is just meant to comply with the rules (each team
 must be represented) or not. This is not to take away from the honor of being an All-Star, and he seems to be a player deserving, whether it’s for the sake of rules or not.
And here I was, thinking if anyone made it from the A’s it would be Dallas Braden (
although I don’t know if A-Rod and him would even be able to share a dugout together)!
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers and Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins
There is no doubt Miggy should be an All-Star, that’s for sure. The interesting thing about this is that he’s a guy batting .339 with 20 homers and 70 RBIs, and he’s not a starter. Many would wonder what kind of circumstances would ever cause a player having that kind of season to not be a starter in the ASG. Well, I think the only possible situation where this could happen is if the guy starting in front of you is having a season like Justin Morneau is. Morneau is simply tearing the cover off the ball, batting .344 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs. And while Miggy’s power numbers are slightly higher, I don’t at all disagree with Morneau getting the starting spot here. However, if it happens to come down to an MVP race between these two, and their stats stay similar to what they are now, my vote is with Cabrera, because he both does not have Joe Mauer on his team, and is producing significantly more r
uns than Morneau is. A stellar season for both of them so far.
miguel-cabrera.jpg
Matt Thornton, RP, White Sox 
This one seems to be even more of a “complying with the rules” vote than the pick of Cahill. I truly can’t think of any other reason for Thornton to be on the All-Star team other than the rules. He’s a reliever who pitches about an inning in every appearance, and I don’t kno
w enough about the White Sox situation to know whether he’s a setup man or some kind of short middle reliever. He’s picked up 5 saves this year, picking up a few of these in the past week in normal closer Bobby Jenks’s absence from the team. Thornton doesn’t have an abnormally high strikeout rate, or anything else I notice that really makes him stand out, so this pick is kind of a head-scratcher for me. Out of any players on the White Sox that deserve an All-Star bid, I think Paul Konerko is most deserving (he may still make it in with the Final Vote), however there was a pitching spot to fill, and I guess Thornton was the guy for it. Still a little confused on this one…
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
Jeter is truly a baseball icon by my standards. Having now made back-to-back All-S
tar games in the latter part of his career, he is really a player to be admired. He continues to produce day in and day out, and is a real iron man among MLB players. I look up to him both on and off the field, as he constantly reminds me why he’s my “favorite” Yankee. He is now headed to Anaheim for his 11th career All-Star game, and shows no signs of stopping 
anytime soon. I wish Jeter the best of luck in the ASG and in the future.
Just not during the division race 🙂
derek-jeter.jpg
Kevin Youkilis, 1B, Red Sox (Final Vote)

My man Youk is currently one of 5 players (Konerko, Delmon Young, Michael Young, and Nick Swisher) up to make the All-Star team by the Final Vote (voted by fans). According to the latest update, Youk is in the lead, and I am very happy for him, because he really deserves it. However, I’m currently boycotting the Final Vote based on the sugge
stion from my friends over at The Game Above All. That’s right, boycotting. And while I don’t tot
ally agree with all their complaints about the ASG, I do think that they make a good point when suggesting the boycott. Check out their blog to see why, it’s a great read. 
Therefore, I don’t have much to say about Youkilis, other than that he’s having a fantastic season, and has done an especially good job holding the team together in the wake of all the injuries we’ve suffered. I wish him the best in his quest to make the team! 
Tomorrow come my NL All-Star thoughts, but for now, thanks for reading!
P.S.

Congrats to David Ortiz on his selection to the Homerun Derby! Should be great to see Papi mashing ball after ball in Anaheim.
Also, for those
of you that are interested in the notable AL All-Star snubs, here’s a nice gallery with discussions of some of them.
ortiz.jpg

My MVP

I figure I should make this another relatively quick entry, just because I am on vacation and I want to enjoy the outdoors a little. So here we go…

This morning, due to my struggling to figure out what to blog about, I decided to check out espn.com for some inspiration. I was hardly inspired by the centerpiece article on Brett Favre’s signing with the Minnesota Vikings, but that is a long story that many others have complained about already, so I will leave it untouched upon in this blog.

I did, however, notice a link at the bottom of the page, titled “Joe Mauer vs. Mark Teixeira.” It also happened to be a poll. As some of you may have discovered by now, I like polls. I enjoy voting on them as well as seeing the results of other peoples’ votes. So you can imagine my joy when I noticed this poll about one of my favorite baseball topics: the MVP race.

As my main rooting interest (the Red Sox) lies in the American League, I would say that I have a little more expertice on the goings on in the AL than in the NL. Therefore, I was even more thrilled that the poll concerned the AL MVP race. At this point in the season, the MVP race is usually narrowed down to 2-4 players that really deserve it and have a chance at winning. In the AL this year, the race is roughly down to 2 players: Mark Teixeira and Joe Mauer. While others are certainly close to them, these two are the front runners and it will most likely stay that way.

As with all awards races, there is constant debate over who of the two deserves the award more, who is better, etc. I like these discussions, because they really get me thinking and they allow me to apply a lot of baseball knowledge (as well as learn new things) in the process.

When I got to the poll, it was as simple as can be: “Who gets your American League MVP vote?”- Mauer, Teixeira, other.

I paused for a minute after reading this, carefully thinking over my answer. For this I had to rethink the criteria of an MVP. According to wikipedia.org, the MVP award was originally created to “honor the baseball player who is of greatest all-round service to his club and credit to the sport during each season; to recognize and reward uncommon skill and ability when exercised by a player for the best interests of his team, and to perpetuate his memory.”

Of course, the main idea of this quote is the part about being the greatest all-round service to your club. The player who is of most service to his club is, therefore, the “most valuable” player in the league.

When you run both Teixeira and Mauer through these criteria, both match that main idea. Teixeira has led his team to the best record in the MLB, and Mauer has carried his team to still be relatively in the running for the Wild-Card. However, a common accusation of both of these players (particularly Mauer, I think) is that each may not even be the most valuable player on his own team. Mauer’s teammate Justin Morneau won the MVP award in 2006, and has remained among the leagues top players since then. Teixeira is on one of the most star-studded lineups in baseball, including 2 time MVP Alex Rodriguez, and likely the best hitting shortstop of all time, Derek Jeter.

However, I believe that this season, both Mauer and Teixeira have been more valuable to their teams than any of their teammates, so those accusations can be forgotten in this argument.

The next criteria- “uncommon skill and ability.” Of course both of these players have uncommon skill and ability, as they are both even in the MVP race. This one isn’t even worth contemplating for very long.

And finally, these skills are “exercised for the best interests of his team.” I think that both of these players have used their skills to help their team. Both teams are in the hunt for the playoffs, and both have respectable records. While the Yankees have a very good all around team, Teixeira has been the main reason for their passing of my Red Sox in early August. Mauer has been playing as good as ever, and although his team has been great at times, he is largely the reason they are still in the chase.

After contemplating all of this (and remarkably, I didn’t really bring stats into all that much of it), I decided to vote for who I felt deserved the award most, and that was Mark Teixeira. While Mauer is one heck of a player and could very well win the award, I think that Teixeira deserves it, because he has led his team to take the league (and the Red Sox) by storm. If the Yankees end up going far in the playoffs (let’s pray they don’t!), it should be even more enforced that Teixeira is the MVP.

After I voted, I found that nearly 70% of people had in fact voted for Mauer. I can see why they would do so. However, I’m standing by my decision. What do you think?

Thanks for reading.

 

Joe Mauer’s Quest For .400

Here’s a fantasy team update for anyone who’s interested…

-I won my last matchup 9-3, now I have 60 wins on the season and I’m still in the running for the top 4
-Andrew McCutchen has basically forced Melky Cabrera out of the starting lineup; I was even more happy with McCutchen after that 13 game hitting streak, the longest this year for a rookie
-However, Melky might get back into the lineup as Juan Pierre, my other great pickup, will go back to being only a role player as Manny returns to the team in a few days or so
-I am really eyeing Wakefield as he again impressed me, getting the 1-0 nothing win last week; a trade could be in order very soon
-I officially have 5 of the top 15 hitters in the AL on my team, and no more than 2 or 3 in the NL; I can’t figure out why

 

06.29.09

I also thought I should talk a little about Joe Mauer and his chase for .400. He still can’t be statistically considered the best hitter in the majors, because he’s below the required amount of plate appearances, but whenever he passes that mark (he might not reach it until the All Star break), see ya later Pujols, and the others up there. Mauer is in a different class, Pujols is one of the only guys who can even compete with Mauer’s stats right now, and Mauer is a good ways above even him.

Anyone who read the article in Sport Illustrated this week should be as full of discouragement for Mauer fans as I am, as it was loaded with reasons why it will be extremely difficult for Mauer to bat .400 this year. As Joe Sheehan discussed in his sidebar article in the issue, Mauer also needs a fair amount of luck and the ability to keep pace with his stats so far to reach the hallowed mark last reached by the great Ted Williams. He’s hitting about 1 in 4 of his fly balls this year for homeruns, more than two times more power than he’s ever had. As Sheehan said, if this powerful streak drops off a little, Mauer’s average could suffer.

Among other reasons adding to the difficulty Mauer should continue to encounter on his chase for .400 are the fact that only 2 men alive played with a .400 hitter, and the fact that so many players “destined” to hit .400 after a hot first half, or in the case of George Brett and Todd Helton, even a hot first 5 months, have suddenly dropped off and ended up to 20 points below .400. If Mauer can reverse that pattern and keep up the hot streak through September, he will have beaten all the odds. I guess that is pretty obvious.

We could witness history this year, folks, and I’m rooting for Mauer.

Also, Tim Wakefield is making his 383rd start for the Red Sox, and therefore passes Roger Clemens for first in this category. Congratulations Wake!