Today the American League Gold Glove Awards will be announced, here are my picks for the AL and National League.
C: Gerald Laird
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Placido Polanco
3B: Melvin Mora
SS: Erick Aybar
OF: Carl Crawford
OF: Torii Hunter
OF: Adam Jones
P: Kevin Millwood
C: Yadier Molina
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Freddy Sanchez
3B: Ryan Zimmerman
SS: Jimmy Rollins
OF: Matt Kemp
OF: Shane Victorino
OF: Jeff Francoeur
P: Adam Wainwright
The Month in Review: April
Every April, year after year, there are the big suprises (teams or players) that get off to hot starts and there are also the disappointments of the month. One thing for sure is that, the MLB season is a lengthy one. Teams are given 162 chances and then the playoffs to prove that they are the best and the best teams will win the divisions and the worst teams will finish last. That’s what makes the game so great, the fact that there are so many chances to prove that you are the best. According to descriptive statistics, Major League Baseball is the sport that gives the best chances at seeing the true best team in the league (descriptive statistics involve the collection of data).
April provides the suprises by underdogs and by the unexpected players. It involves dissapoint from the supposive “good” teams and slow starts by perennial all stars. Here are my thoughts on the month that was.
American League: Mike Lowell
The power behind the big Boston win streak, Lowell is third in the league with 23 RBIs. He is also hitting .310 and has four homeruns in the first month. He seems to have recovered from his injury just fine and do the Red Sox ever need him to be hitting like this or what.
National League: Adrian Gonzalez
He has nine homeruns and twenty RBIs for the 11-11 Padres. A great hitter with a great approach at the plate leads the National League in homers. He’s also slugging .704 with an OBP of .438.
April Cy Youngs
American League: Zack Greinke
Well, I talk about him later here but he is 5-0 with 44 strikeouts and leads the league with a 0.50 ERA.
National League: Johan Santana
Maybe if the Mets bullpen could hold together for him, he would have another win. He is 3-1 with the best ERA in the National League (1.10) and is tied with Greinke for the most strikeouts in the league.
Team that suprised: Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays are the one team in the AL East that I did not expect. I thought their offense was too unproductive (although I do think Adam Lind and Travis Snider are going to be great) and I thought the loss of Burnett killed them. Well, they have had different ideas throught the first month of the season as the offense is the best in the American League thus far and the pitching has certianly stepped up as pitchers with injuries have gone down.
Team that disappointed: New York Mets
This offense was supposed to produce runs and keep them in games as the back end of their rotation is shaky. But they are less than average and have a 9-12 record so far. The Mets with their revamped ‘pen are also 4-5 in one-run affairs which doesn’t give me much confidence that they’ll win close ballgames.
Best story: Zack Greinke
Right now, he poses a threat for the pitching triple crown. The first MLB pitcher to reach the five win mark also leads the league in ERA and is tied for the lead league in strikeouts with Johan Santana. His 0.50 ERA was all zeros going into his fifth start as well. He’s the leader of a great rotation in Kansas City that consists of Gil Meche, Kyle Davies, Sidney Ponson, and Horacio Ramirez. Okay, so maybe Ponson and Ramirez need to work on a few things, but if Davies can keep up what he’s done thus far, those Royals lead by Greinke, will be in the October hunt because pitching wins. Perhaps the best part of this story is that Greinke overcame depression and anxiety disorder to get to where he’s been today.
Best moment: Ellsbury steals home
In the final game of a heck of a series last weekend, Jacoby Ellsbury took off on a straight steal of home against veteran Andy Pettite. In a rivalry series, on primetime television, in a tie game, only making it a walkoff steal would have made it better, but hey, you can’t have everything. As I said in my most recent Monday Ten post, I didn’t even see it live but I had to watch the steal over and over online once I heard about it. The steal of home just capped off a great series for the Sox against the Bombers as they swept them right out of Boston.
Questions to Consider:
Feel free to answer these questions as comments as well, I want to know what you all think.
1. Will the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to lead the entire league in ERA?
No, the ERA has risen over the past week as the Buccos are on a three-game skid. Expect some more of those.
2. Will Wandy Rodriguez keep up his performance thus far?
Well a 1.69 ERA is good, but the 2-2 record basically explains how good the team is. I’ll answer this by saying the Astros need him to keep it up.
3. Over/Under Nats wins: 50
4. Over/Under Mariners ERA after May: 3.50
5. Who will be leading the AL Central at the All Star break?
Still too early to tell, but I’ll say the White Sox.
6. When will the Rays start to turn it around?
Right now, did you see Matt Garza last night.
7. Who/what will give up more homeruns, the Phillies at home or Yankee Stadium?
8. When will the Cubbies listen to Alfonso Soriano and get back to 2008 form?
Mid-May. They’re too good for this.
It is said that April showers bring May flowers. If you consider this past April showers, then these flowers are going to be some good ones.
Season Preview: San Diego Padres
Projected MLB Rank: 26th — NL Rank: 15th — NL West Rank: 5th — Record: (69-93)
Regarding the title of this post–Jake Peavy staying in San Diego does not correlate with them staying at the bottom of the division. He is one of the best righthanded pitchers in the game and once (or if) they trade him, they will certainly recieve some great young prospects in return.
But for this year’s Padres I don’t think anything other than fifth place is an option. In a division where pitching is an absolute strong suit in every team, the Padres don’t have the arms to contend.
So let’s start with their pitching. Beyond Jake Peavy, and I guess Chris Young, the rotation just looks like a mess. The last three spots are up for grabs between Kevin Correia, Cha Seung Baek, Josh Geer, Chad Reineke, and Wade LeBlanc. I assume Baek takes the three spot in the rotation behing Young. Correia can snag a spot in the rotation this year if he has a good spring. Reineke, Geer, and LaBlanc are 26, 25, and 24 years of age, respectively. So they’re unproven for the most part. Basically, the Padres rotation can be summed up as questionable, young, and to put it bluntly-not good.
The bullpen isn’t too much greater. The loss of one of the best closers of all time in Trevor Hoffman doesn’t help their cause. Heath Bell steps into the closer role and should do the job effectively for San Diego. He had 23 holds last season, 71 strikeouts in 78 innings, and a 3.58 ERA. He did have a sour second half last season, but given that the role is his alone, he should have nothing to worry about. The others that highlight their bullpen include Cla Meredith, Chris Britton, Mike Adams, and Justin Hampson. For some reason, when I hear those names, the words “lost leads,” come to mind.
Last year, the lineup produced 3.93 runs per game, enough for worst in the NL and I’m pretty sure most of those runs were produced by Adrian Gonzalez. Kidding Pads fans. It’s okay, they brought in David Eckstein to try to improve the offense. Kidding, again. Kevin Kouzmanoff will probably give you the same numbers he produced last year (.260 / 23 HR / 84 RBI). Scott Hairston will give you some pop but not a good average. Chase Headley should continue to develop into a better hitter. Brian Giles, who is 38 by the way, will hit for .300 every season until further notice.
The lineup can be summed up like the rotation beyond Gonzalez, and I guess Giles. Basically the Padres can be summed up as questionable, young, and bad. I would have liked to see them trade Peavy because by not trading him, they are just taking steps backward. I would expect him to be in a different uniform by the end of the season.
Maybe this season the Padres should be more concerned about revamping their team, changing the name of their ballpark (sorry I think it sounds awful), and finding an alternate uniform that don’t include camo.