Baseball 2012: Other Stuff I Want To Say

31 Mar

Today I announce the rest of my predictions for the year. The obvious stuff – MVP, Cy Young – is all well and good, and I put a lot of effort into them. Below them, though, are the less obvious things, and writing those were damn fun, y’all.



Jose Bautista: If the Blue Jays are going to be the surprise playoff team this year, Morrow, Lawrie, Rasmus, et al, are going to have to be more productive than ever. No question. But the most important piece of that puzzle will be Bautista. He doesn’t have to increase his production at all — he should have been the MVP last year — but as long as he keeps doing what he’s been doing, he can take this thing. Frankly, I think Eric Hosmer will have a better year, but voters go for the guys on the playoff teams.

Runners-up: Eric Hosmer, Evan Longoria.

Giancarlo Stanton: Have you seen this guy hit baseballs? I feel like all baseballs in the world owe him an apology for something or other. He hit 34 home runs last year. At age twenty-one. That’s just all sorts of insane. This kid is a special piece, and we’ll be watching him hit balls a long way for a long time. With the Marlins finally getting good again this year, everyone will realize it.

Runners-up: Hanley Ramirez, Joey Votto.


Cy Young:

David Price: Hey, you know what? 2011 David Price (12-13) was a better pitcher than 2010 David Price (19-6, second in the Cy Young voting). The 2011 guy had a higher strikeout rate, a lower walk rate, a better strikeout-to-walk ratio, a lower xFIP…the only difference between those two David Prices is luck, and the 2011 one caught the bad breaks. The luck will even out in 2012, and, at age 26, he’s going to be all sorts of lights out.

Runners-up: Felix Hernandez, Ricky Romero.

Cole Hamels: It’s hardly an insight to pick Phillies pitchers to be good. Then again, it’s hardly an insight to pick Kentucky to go a long way in the tournament, but if it’s right, it’s right. I think this is the year Halladay finally slides a little, and Hamels is pitching for the billion-dollar deal he’s going to get from Magic Johnson in the offseason. Kid’s going to go nuts.

Runners-up: Adam Wainwright, Cory Luebke. (Yes, Cory Luebke. Absolute stud this year.)


Rookie Of The Year:

Matt Moore: You know how John Calipari produces point guards like a conveyor belt? (Two Kentucky references in two paragraphs? Can you tell I watched them play the day I wrote this?) Tampa Bay produces young pitchers the same way. Even the relative failures — Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Andy Sonnanstine — would be considered successes when not stacked next to the Prices, Moores and Jeremy Hellicksons of the world. Moore couldn’t have been more impressive at the end of the year last year, and I see nothing but more of the same.

Runner-up: Yu Darvish.

Tyler Pastornicky: This pick is as much a result of a poor field as anything. Just like last year, the best rookies in baseball are in the American League and Atlanta. It’s interesting — between Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel, Pastornicky, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, etc., etc. — the Braves are going to be stout very soon. Just in time for Chipper Jones to retire. Harsh.

Runner-up: Devin Mesoraco.


Managers Of The Year:

John Farrell: The other day, I tweeted “All Coach/Manager of the Year awards could be rechristened “Surprising Team of the Year” with no other alterations.” If you are the head guy on a team that improves by 20% (or whatever), whether because of your input or not, you’re getting the award. So congratulations, John Farrell. You’re perfectly fine at your job, but you win the award primarily because Alex Anthopoulos know what he’s doing.

Runner-up: Ned Yost.

Ozzie Guillen: See what I just said a couple lines ago? Yeah, that. The Marlins bought a bunch of players, their existing players are going to progress, and Ozzie Guillen is going to reap the benefits.

Runner-up: Davey Johnson.


Players Most Likely To Get Unwarranted Award Support

CC Sabathia is a good pitcher. A great pitcher, even. But, counting postseason, he’s thrown more than 240 innings every year since 2007. He’s 31 now, getting heavier all the time, and, while his xFIP last year was the lowest it’s ever been, that’s going to slow down soon. In the meantime, though, he’s still an upper-tier pitcher, and with the offense he’ll have around him, he can win 18-20 games without trying too awfully hard. He’s going to get Cy Young support forever, whether he deserves it or not.

Similarly, Prince Fielder is going to be hyped for MVP like crazy. The Tigers are going to win a boatload of games – frankly, I probably undershot on my projection for them, mostly because they’ll get to beat up on Chicago, Cleveland, Minnesota all year. Award voters don’t understand things about things, so an alarming number of them are stupidly convinced that a player has to be on a playoff team to be valuable. That’s the stupidest thing in the world – no, it is – but Fielder will garner a lot of MVP support as a result.


Players Most Likely To Get Overlooked For Awards

I feel like I’m belaboring the point, but Eric Hosmer is going to play off the freaking chain this year, and miss out on the support he deserves, simply because the Royals won’t be good enough. Not his fault.

Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain are in a similar boat in the National League. The Giants are all pitching, so even if Cain and Bumgarner manage a 1.00 ERA all year long, they might lose half their games by shutout. They won’t be that good, but they’re both stud pitchers, only their win totals won’t reflect that.


Crazy Storylines That Will Happen This Year, Damnit

Jamie Moyer is going to notch double-digit wins. He turns 50 in November, he’s older than Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley, he spent last year manning the desk with Baseball Tonight. I don’t care. Moyer is making the Rockies this year and, while he won’t be an upper-echelon pitcher, while his ERA will start with a 4, he’s going to get his share of wins. And that’s just the coolest thing ever.

Bryce Harper is going to be a Rookie of the Year candidate. He won’t start the season with Washington, but the kid’s going to rake in the minors, and they’ll call him up in late May/early June. You know who else made his debut around that time of year? Ryan Braun, in 2007. While we might like our ROY winners to play the full season, that’s just not the reality for most of them in the game these days. On the other hand, Braun was 23 that year, while Harper is 19. Kid’s an absolute stud, but it’s going to take him some time to become the major league star he’s going to become. Just enough time that his rookie-year stats will suffer.

People stop caring that Logan Morrison tweets a lot. I don’t think LoMo is going to be quite the standout hitter that some of the people who are way smarter than me do, but he’s still a fine hitter, and his tweeting is hardly controversial. Most non-story story ever. Who cares?

The Kansas City Royals will be in first place when they host the All-Star Game. The Royals’ biggest weakness this year – and it is admittedly a huge weakness – is their starting rotation. But that’s the kind of think I see hurting them more late in the year, when they have to run out the few decent pitchers they have way too often, and they kind of fall off the cliff. Early in the year, they’ll be strong, and the Hosmer-Gordon-Cain-etc. lineup is going to carry them for a while. And Royals in first place while hosting the All-Stars? That’d just be cool. (I just reminded myself of the fact that I traded Hosmer for Carl Crawford and Pedro Alvarez in fantasy last year. At the time, I thought I was a genius. Less so now. I miss him.)

The Los Angeles Dodgers will be in dump-the-crap mode, rather than buy mode, through at least July. With the news of the Magic Johnson coalition buying the Dodgers for all the money (No, that’s all the money. There isn’t any more. Say goodbye to your precious economy.), some people have been saying the Dodgers will open the checkbooks and buy every player they can find. Well, they timed it poorly. Six months ago, Magic would’ve been able to buy a first baseman, a shortstop, some pitchers, basically put the Dodgers in prime position. Now, there’s…Roy Oswalt? Magglio Ordonez? No, they’re better served to sit on their wallets, deal away any contracts they can that aren’t attached to guys named “Kemp” or “Kershaw,” hope they can nab a player or two at the trade deadline, and hope to dive in full-throttle this offseason. Cole Hamels and Matt Cain are already putting things on layaway.

Josh Hamilton is among those players that ends up with the Dodgers. And, as a Rangers fan, I’m fine with that. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Josh, but his is not a body that will hold up long term, and I don’t want my favorite team to pony up what it’ll take to keep him. Let Magic foot the bill.

Tim McCarver will retire from baseball broadcasting. Okay, so he probably won’t. I’m being wishful here.

You will buy my massive baseball card collection from me. Containing the assorted collectibles amassed by my father and me over the past billionty jillion years, it’s an awesome collection, and you know you want it.


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