Tagged: randy johnson

My All-Time Team

I’m on a blogging spree right now.

A few weeks back during a lengthy car ride from Asheville, NC to the research triangle, I put together my all-time team. That’s right, team is italicized. I put it together as if these are the guys that I would want out on the field, on the mound, in my bullpen, and on bench fulfilling different roles.

So I put together a 25-man roster consisting of Major Leaguers past and present. Here they are with some explanation.

Starting Lineup

Secondbase – Rogers Hornsby
He holds the second highest batting average ever at .358, who else would you want as your leadoff man? He hit over .400 three times and won seven batting crowns. He fell just 70 hits short of the highly regarded 3,000 hit club.
Centerfield – Willie Mays
Power and speed reign in my centerfield as “Say Hey” topped 3,000 hits, 2,000 runs, stole 338 bases, drove in 1,903 runs, and hit 660 homeruns. This one’s really no competition.
Leftfield – Ted Williams
Don’t look at the numbers because he went to war in the middle of his career. Number 9 could rake. Just know that he was the last player to hit over .400 in a season. In my opinion, Williams and my cleanup hitter are the best hitters ever in the game, and the three spot is where you put your best hitter.
Rightfield – Babe Ruth
In his time, no one even came close to his power numbers. Little does anyone know that he also was a career .342 hitter. Do I really need to rattle off the stats? He may be the most highly regarded athlete in history.
Thirdbase – Mike Schmidt
Michael Jack had that lethal combo at the hot corner of power and fielding ability. Along with his 548 career longballs, he won ten gold glove awards. He may be part of that last group of unskepticized power hitters.
Firstbase – Lou Gehrig
Overshadowed by the Babe, Gehrig quietly hit .340 for his career and posted a .632 slugging percentage along with 493 homeruns and 1,995 RBI. Starting Pujols was tempting here, but I stuck him on the bench until further notice.
Catcher – Johnny Bench
He was clutch, great defensively, and won two MVP awards as a catcher.
Shortstop – Derek Jeter
I’m sorry. I needed someone from my generation in the starting lineup. Just kidding. But honestly, the level of hate I have for the Yankees is the level of respect I have for Jeter, ironic? He is the best hitter I have seen at taking the ball the other way. He inside-outs the ball like no other, how could you not want that at the bottom of your lineup?

Starting Rotation

Righthander – Walter Johnson
“The Big Train” threw hard. 417 career wins on one of the worst teams in baseball history is an impressive feat on its own. Imagine the amount of wins he would get on this team. Yikes.
Lefthander – Sandy Koufax
Yea yea, I know, “he only had a bunch of great years and not a whole career.” The thing is, those years weren’t just great, they were amazing. In a five-year span, Koufax won 111 games, had an ERA under 2.00, struckout a boatload, and threw four no-hitters. Untouchable.
Righthander – Satchel Paige
This is tough because the Negro Leagues didn’t keep statistics really. But the fact that whenever I hear anyone relate what Satchel did on the mound to Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax, and Nolan Ryan combined and even better. I’m going to trust them. I’ll just say that he did well in the Majors at 60 years of age.
Lefthander – Lefty Grove
He won exactly 300 games in the big-leagues and sported a .680 winning percentage which is the third highest in the Hall of Fame.
Righthander – Cy Young
Well he does have an award named after him. Denton True holds a plethera of pitching records including wins (511) and complete games (749).

Bullpen

Righthander – Dennis Eckersley
He recorded 320 saves as a closer after he turned 32 years of age. I could use him to spot start if I needed to, but given my starters, he would just be coming out of the bullpen for me.
Lefthander – Randy Johnson
It’s my team, so I can put a starter in the ‘pen. Imagine Johnson coming out of the bullpen to face a few lefties.
Righthander – Nolan Ryan
Same story here. He’d be another starter out of the bullpen for me. In a much needed strikeout situation, why not bring in the all-time leader?
Righthander – Rollie Fingers
It would be impossible to keep that mustache and those 341 career saves out of this bullpen.
Setup Man – Trevor Hoffman
The all-time saves leader and his changeup would be my setup man.
Closer – Mariano Rivera
The cutter is absolutely filthy and once he’s retired, he will be considered the best closer of all-time, to me atleast.

Bench

Catcher – Ivan Rodriguez
Around a .300 career average hitter, he would be on my bench for his defense. Whenever Bench would need a break, his defense wouldn’t be missed because Pudge’s is amazing as well.
Firstbase – Albert Pujols
359 career homeruns and counting. Around a career .333 average. In each of his first nine seasons in the Majors, Albert has topped 30 homeruns and 100 RBI. He doesn’t turn 30 until next year.
1B/OF – Hank Aaron
Who better to bring up with the game on the line other than the all-time homerun leader?
Infielder – Pete Rose
The Hit King can come off my bench to pinch-hit, I don’t care if he gambles.
Outfielder – Rickey Henderson
Pinch runner extraordinaire. The all-time steals leader would tear up the basepaths late in the game when we need a runner to get into scoring position.
Outfielder – Roberto Clemente
With exactly 3,000 hits and the cannon for an arm that he’s got, he would be a perfect role player for this team, getting starts here and there.

It is Part of the Game

bobbyjenks.jpgWhen a pitcher is throwing at a batter, there’s usually good reason to it. Throwing at batters is part of the game (just not at the head, i.e. Hiroki Kuroda to Shane Victorino). But really, anything below the shoulders is fair game.

So why is Bobby Jenks being penalized? No, not because of his weird bleached blonde gotee. Jenks is being fined x dollars for throwing behind Ian Kinsler the other night. Now, of course, I don’t want Kinsler injured because he’s on my fantasy team, but throwing at batters is just part of the game. If a pitch doesn’t even hit the batter, then why even penalize the pitcher? Why even penalize the pitcher anyways?

I can’t say it enough, It is part of the game.

For further words on my opinion of this, I have post on this a ways back about the nonsense Josh Beckett incident in LA a few weeks back. But all of you are most likely too lazy to look that up. So here are some of my former words from that post:

Throughout baseball history, there have been many players that return the “favor” to the teams and players that deserve it. Roger Clemens is one of the most recent to throw up and in. When he nailed Mike Piazza once he said after the game, “I pitch the way I pitch.” Clemens has plunked 159 batters in his career. Ironically enough, Beckett’s idol growing up was Roger Clemens.

The most notable pitcher to drill batters is Bob Gibson. The hall of famer was fiery pitcher who loved to knock down batters. Hitting 102 batters in his career, it’s said that they lowered the height of the mound for Gibson.

A current pitcher that has been known to to brushback hitters in his presumable hall of fame career is southpaw Randy Johnson. The Big Unit leads all active players with hit by pitches with 188 and is in third place all-time, trailing HOFers Eddie Plank (196) and Walter Johnson (203).

It’s part of the game, and some of the best pitchers of all-time are on the leaderboard for career hit batsmen. So even if it was intentional, it’s justifiable by the unwritten rules of the game.

Yea.
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chickiesnpetes.gifWERTH IT

In hopes of ending a string of bad play, the Phils beat out the Manny-less Dodgers tonight. Jayson Werth stole home, after stealing second once and third twice! Wow, wish I could have seen it live. Me and a couple of my buddies went down to The Park tonight for dollar dogs in hopes that we would be able to get some standing room only tickets (because all the seats were sold out).

Well, as we’re driving down I-95, I call the ticket office (for the second time, because they couldn’t answer my question the first time). I ask (again) if they still have standing room only tickets left (which go on sale at 4pm before the game). This time, the person on the other side of the line says “We are completely sold out.” I reiterate the question, hoping he heard me wrong. He didn’t. “We are completely sold out.”

So we’re in South Philly and we’re hungry. We ended up going to Chickie’s and Pete’s to watch the game and we had some amazing crab fries and awesome cheesesteaks. It was Werth it. Ha.

I’m going to Thursday’s game (already have tickets for it, so there will be no dilemma). 

Beckett Charged with Six

beckettabreu.jpgJosh Beckett was hit with a six-game suspension after throwing at the head of Bobby Abreu. He appealed it right away. He’ll miss a start and is expected to make his next start at home in Boston against Baltimore.

Is it even reasonable to even issue this suspension to Beckett?

I don’t think it is. There’s a reason he wasn’t ejected from the game. The umpires didn’t feel it was necessary, and it wasn’t. Beckett says he wasn’t intentionally throwing at Bobby’s head. But even if he was, that’s the way it used to be. If a player waited a while to throw the pitch and then after an extreme amount of time the batter finally calls a timeout, the batter should expect one in his ear.

Throughout baseball history, there have been many players that return the “favor” to the teams and players that deserve it. Roger Clemens is one of the most recent to throw up and in. When he nailed Mike Piazza once he said after the game, “I pitch the way I pitch.” Clemens has plunked 159 batters in his career. Ironically enough, Beckett’s idol growing up was Roger Clemens.

The most notable pitcher to drill batters is Bob Gibson. The hall of famer was fiery pitcher who loved to knock down batters. Hitting 102 batters in his career, it’s said that they lowered the height of the mound for Gibson.

A current pitcher that has been known to to brushback hitters in his presumable hall of fame career is southpaw Randy Johnson. The Big Unit leads all active players with hit by pitches with 188 and is in third place all-time, trailing HOFers Eddie Plank (196) and Walter Johnson (203).

It’s part of the game, and some of the best pitchers of all-time are on the leaderboard for career hit batsmen. So even if it was intentional, it’s justifiable by the unwritten rules of the game. For now though, I’ll believe Beckett, he’s my favorite major leaguer.

HAPPY JACKIE ROBINSON DAY

Writing a paper last night about the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and whether it was ethically right, I came further to realize what Jackie did for not only the game, but the country. In the experiment, scientists used uneducated, illiterate blacks in the south to let their syphilis go untreated so the scientists could see the later stages of the disease. The experiment lasted forty years from 1932 to 1972. And it’s ironic that during that span of time, the country saw the likes of Jackie, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. come across the civil rights scene.

Jackie joining Major League Baseball formed this country to become the way it should be. It was the first of the historical events and the most respected by myself.

All of Major League Baseball is expected to wear Jackie’s 42 on their jerseys today, which is nothing new for Yanks closer Mariano Rivera, who is the last player who wears the number.

San Fran Needs Offense for Success

Season Preview: San Francisco Giants
Projected MLB Rank: 9th (t) — NL Rank: 6th (t) — NL West Rank: 3rd — Record: (88-74)

The Giants had a rough season last year with a 72-90 record with few highlights, with the giantslogo.gifexception of star righthander Tim Lincecum. This year I would expect a difference if the offense can find a way to produce some runs. They were second to last in the league last year in runs per game with 3.95 and were the only team in the major leagues to not top 100 homeruns as a team. This year I think that will change.

They have a bunch of good young players that should step up and improve their batting from last year. A big part of the improvement should come from thirdbaseman Pablo Sandoval. The 22 year old hit .345 with 3 homeruns and 24 RBIs in 41
sandoval.jpggames last season. Once he gains some patience at the plate, watch out for this kid. Quick leftfielder Fred Lewis should get on base and steal some bases for this lineup and give the middle of the order players a chance to drive in some runs.

Along with Sandoval, the middle of that lineup should consist of veterans Bengie Molina and Randy Winn. Molina nearly hit .300 last season while hitting 16 homeruns and driving in 95 runs. Winn hit over .300 and provides a little bit of production while stealing some bases at the same time. Aaron Rowand also has the potential to hit in the middle of the order. He doesn’t hit for too much power, but he’s as blue-collar as it gets concerning his work on the field.

The right side of the infield consists of guys who are competing for starting spots. The projected starters are Travis Ishikawa and Kevin Frandsen at first and second bases, respectively. Ishikawa doesn’t hit for much power but posts a good on base percentage. Also in the running for the firstbase job is John Bowker and even Sandoval, if he doesn’t start at third. Frandsen and Emmanuel Burriss seem to be the main candidates for the secondbase job. Shortstop is a position they upgraded this offseason by bringing in veteran Edgar Renteria. Last year with the Tigers, Renteria hit .270 with an OBP of .317 while driving in 55 runsmattcain.jpg.

As we know, in baseball, pitching wins ballgames. The Giants certainly have pitching. It all starts with reigning Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. With the struggling offense last season, Lincecum found a way to chalk up 18 wins while having the lowest ERA in the National League and leading the entire league in strikeouts. In three full seasons, righty Matt Cain has yet to breakout as he’s posted an ERA in the high threes and having similar strikeout totals. He’s still only 24, so all hope in not lost in the young Cain.

Another offseason acquisition, Randy Johnson, should help this team out a bunch. The future hall of fame lefthander is 45 years young and can still pitch well. Last season he posted a 3.91 ERA and won 11 games. Then fellow lefty Barry Zito, who seems to haven’t been the same since he got to San Fran in 2007, is now considered the fourth starter. One thing he has proved is that he’s reliable despite the high ERA, WHIP, and bad strikeout to walk ratios. The fifth starter looks like it will be Jonathan Sanchez who is a good power pitcher that needs to find his control if he wants to stay a major league pitcher.

The offseason acquisitions continue as we move to the bullpen. Southpaw Jeremy Affeldt, coming over from the Reds has great stuff and will be in the set up mix along with fellow winter add on Bob Howry. Howry had a rough year in 2008 statistically but I think he fits in with the Giants nicely. Rounding out the solid bullpen in righty Sergio Romo (2.12 ERA / 0.71 WHIP / 29 games), lefty Alex Hinshaw (3.40 ERA / 48 games), Merkin Valdez (1.69 ERA / 17 games), and many others. Brian Wilson will get many chances for saves once again as he posted 41 of them last season. He posts a nice strikeout rate but last season had a high ERA and WHIP.

I think that this pitching staff may be the most underrated in the league (thus why I have them ranked so highly). Look for a Blue Jays-esque season with the Giants as I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs but I have them tacking a win total in the high eighties. Awesome pitching staff with improving bats could lead to a productive year by the bay.

Schill Leaves Winning Legacy

Curt Schilling, at 42 years old, is hanging up the spikes. In his twenty year career he went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts. He had a career 1.13 WHIP and was a six time all star. The legacy he will certainly leave with Major League Baseball is his winning tradition.

Whether he was on the mound against the Blue Jays for the Phillies in the 1993 World Series, bleeding on the mound for the Red Sox and helping them win the World Series, or winning a World Series MVP as he and Randy Johnson lead the Diamondbacks to their first World Series win — there seems to be a trend with the righthander. Winner.

He started his career in 1988 with the Baltimore Orioles and pitched three years for them. In 1991, he spent a year in Houston. While in those two locations, he was mainly used as a reliever. He then joined the Phillies in 1992 and threw ten complete games for the fightins that year. The next season, he lead the Phillies into October (I was three years old so I don’t really remember). He remained in Philly, which was his longest stay, until 2000 when he was traded to the Diamondbacks. The next season he propelled the Diamondbacks, along with southpaw Randy Johnson, to the top of the baseball world.

In 2004, he joined the Boston Red Sox. He would help them reverse the curse that year as they became World Champions for the first time in 86 years. In 2007, he was a World Champion for the third time as the Red Sox won their second championship in four years.

Schill will always be remembered to me as a winner and a Philly favorite. He wrote on his blog (http://38pitches.weei.com/);

“This party has officially ended.”

And what a party it was.

schilling.jpg

Junior Returns, But He, nor 2009 M’s are of Old Glory

Season Preview: Seattle Mariners
Projected MLB Rank: 30th — AL Rank: 14th — AL West Rank: 4th — Record: (62-100)

Back in 1997, the Seattle Mariners went 92-70 en route to winning the AL West. That year, Ken Griffey Jr. belted 56 homeruns and knocked in 147 RBIs while batting .304. That was also the year he won his first and only MVP award. The Mariners also played in the Kingdome. Joey Cora, Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, and Griffey all hit for .300 or better that season. Lefties Jeff Fassero, Jamie Moyer, and Randy Johnson all had over 15 wins and under a 4.00 ERA.

marinerslogo.jpgWell Seattle, I’m sorry but that’s the past.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m excited to see Griffey play in Seattle again, but I don’t think this year’s going to be any better than last year for the Mariners (okay, I have them winning one more game).

The bright spot on the team is the two frontline starters they have in Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard. Bedard is coming back from injury and Hernandez is becoming a hiding elite talent in the league. Placing Brandon Morrow in the rotation could also be a promising move for Seattle. The downfall in the rotation is “big bucks” Carlos Silva who went 4-15 last season with a ERA well over 6.00. He started 28 games and averaged about five and a half innings per outing.

marklowe.jpgLosing JJ Putz in the bullpen will certainly hurt and right now, it’s not official who will step into the closer role. It could go to Miguel Batista who, as a reliever, kept his ERA under 5.00. There are many other options in David Aardsma, Ray Corcoran, Tyler Walker, and the one I believe to be the frontrunner — Mark Lowe. Lowe was one for five last year in save oppurtunities and had an ERA 5.37 out of the bullpen. But he wants to be in that role in the ninth and certainly has the stuff to do it. A hard fastball with a nasty breaking ball.

The lineup suffered when Raul Ibanez packed his bags. The left field spot could go to either Wladimir Balentien, Endy Chavez, or even Mike Morse. There is also competition at first base between Bryan LaHair and Russell Branyan. Behind the plate, they may platoon Kenji Johjima and Jeff Clement. At almost the worst offense in the AL last year (second to last in runs scored per game), this year will not be any better. Ichiro, Griffey, Adrian Beltre, and Jose Lopez will be looked to for production. New manager Don Wakamatsu has many options to shake up the lineup. Here’s how I would project itjoselopez.jpg:

RF Ichiro Suzuki 
CF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Ken Griffey Jr.
2B Jose Lopez
1B Bryan LaHair
LF Wladimir Balentien
C Kenji Johjima/Jeff Clement
SS Yuniesky Betancourt

Lopez could also bat two, then Griffey and Beltre would switch spots, each player would move up a spot, and then Gutierrez would be the second leadoff hitter in the nine-hole.

Overall, the Mariners have a good mix of veteran talent with some young talent but the AL West is a tough division and I can’t see them anywhere but the bottom.