Results tagged ‘ Cliff Lee ’

Philadelphia Phillies Offseason Recap and Preview

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I think it’s safe to say the first year of the Roy Halladay Era in Philadelphia went well for the Phillies. The playoffs under their standards but still pretty good.

Grade: A

Notable Additions:

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Cliff Lee, Delwyn Young, Brandon Moss, and Brian Bass.

Notable Subtractions:

 

Jayson Werth, Nate Robertson, Greg Dobbs, Jamie Moyer, and Chad Durbin.

Why?:   They got Cliff Lee and this might have varying responses. Some may say higher than an A some may say lower. The reason I gave the Phillies an A is because Lee was the only difference maker they signed but that one player caused a HUGE spike in Phillie mentions and stock sale.

Did they gain enough in net player Werth (heh, how’d that get in there?) to deserve an A? No. Did they also go overboard the set budget and break their own rule about signing pitchers? Yes. However, the whole Lee situation has done them infinite wonders as far as publicity is concerned and therefore ticket sales (which is why I won’t go to Philadelphia that much this year). So, I did factor in what it did for them as a business as well as what it did for them as a team.

I also learned to never underestimate a Young, as demonstrated by both Dimitri and Delmon (did these people have names not in D?). So, the signing of young Delwyn did not hurt my grade.

Not much else happened besides the Cliff Lee signing but as those of you reading since December know and as those of you who haven’t can see here, I thought highly of how this signing was set up in the previous years.

Predicted Record Range: 94-99 This may seem a bit low considering how much I have lauded them in this entry but their line-up has pacified considerably with the loss of Utley and worth(so that’s where it went). Do I think that they will win the World Series if/when Utley comes back full force? Yes, but until then they will struggle in streaks to put runs up. I actually have the NL East being a race if not the Braves winning it.

Survey of Adults’ Perception of Baseball

I may have mentioned this is some other entry but here’s the actual layout of the survey:

I wanted to see how the average adult viewed baseball. So, instead of running up and down Fordham Road trying to get the ideas of random adults, I asked my 19 former and current high school teachers (20 if you count the baseball team’s pitching coach). The process went like this:
1. Ask teacher who their favorite baseball player was.
1a. If yes, why this was their favorite player
2. If no, what they would like to see in athletes as role models.
3. Wait a few weeks and then follow up with them if they gave me a name for the first question.
4. Asking who their favorite player was outside of New York.
5. Again, asking why.
The purpose of asking them their favorite player instead of outright asking what they think of the game is to see how well their ideals (or lack there of due to them compartmentalizing) matched up with what they think of the game. This is most evident in why they picked a certain player over another. Oh, and keep in mind that I am doing this in a private school in the Bronx so the results will be how adults view baseball in New York.
The Results:
5 Do not follow baseball
93% of favorite players were of New York teams (shocker) leading me to make step 4 (the one teacher that mentioned a non-New York player was a coin flip away from picking David Wright)
10 of those had a favorite player on the Yankees
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5 of those had a favorite player on the Mets
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The Players chosen for question 1:
Derek Jeter 6
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David Wright 2
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Jose Reyes 2
Pittsburgh+Pirates+v+New+York+Mets+sBhfaN_0XwOl.jpg
Mariano Rivera 2
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Jorge Posada 2
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Andy Pettitte  2
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Robinson Cano 1
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R.A. Dickey 1
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Tim Lincecum 1
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 But like I said above, this study isn’t about the players themselves but how the teachers view the game. Let’s start with the teachers who don’t follow baseball:
This was by far the most varied bunch that I can categorized. With five different people there were five different answers, connecting occasionally but still, varied.
3 were about attitude
2 were about integrity
Because they were all different I will sum them all up (this is again, what they would like to see in athletes).
  1. This teacher actually watched as a kid but stopped in the 90′s because of the McGwire and Sosa steroids issue. His answer was: he would like to see more integrity in the game, less money, and more teams made up of non-superstars.
  2. I actually never asked him question 1 because he mentioned in a class that he didn’t watch sports. His answer was: An athlete should be gracious in both defeat and success. He repeated the same concept in different forms trying to get it just right. I have a feeling about what he meant. He was trying to get at that an athlete should not cry in defeat nor should he dance in victory. He should have grace no matter what the outcome. For example, if he loses, he should just walk off the field, comfort other teammates, and start preparing for the next game (professionally).
  3. He just thinks that professional athletes are a spoiled bunch. (Can anyone argue that this isn’t true in New York?) His answer was: he wanted to see less athletes living the fast life (he gave the example of Derek Jeter but I hope he meant it in terms of attitude because has anyone seen his mansion:
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Over 5,000 square feet). He wanted athletes to be down to earth and to play hard and work hard.
4.     He simply doesn’t follow baseball, no special story. He wanted to see more well behaved and humble baseball players.
5.    The last again did not have any special story and simply did not want to see PEDs in baseball.
I think that there is a relationship between the fact that these people don’t watch baseball and their opinions are so varied. I think that it is because baseball is so big in the country that morals are shaped by it.
The people who gave me a name were far more uniform. Probably because most of these centered primarily on one player and one team.
The top five characteristics listed are:
  1. The player tries his best 7
  2. The player is a good teammate 6
  3. The player is a good role model 5
  4. The player is a leader 5
  5. The player is a hard worker 4
Remind you of anyone? This is mostly why I think that for those who watch it, baseball shapes the person more than the other way around.
Because I was getting so many Jeter and Yankee responses, I thought I should add another question to get a truer response. I wanted to see if their beliefs for why they picked the first player held up for the second one or if they had picked the first one by his play and created a list of his positive attributes to justify it to themselves (sorry to the teachers but a lot of people do this).
Obviously I did not follow up with those who don’t watch baseball but the results were:
43% were players who played in this past World Series (counting the Lincecum fan from question 1)
36% were players from the rival of their favorite team because they had respect for what that player can do.
29% of teachers were completely stumped. Taking over 3 minutes to answer the question because they had never thought about it before.
There were three teachers that picked Albert Pujols. I think it might have been that he is the best player in baseball.
The remaining teacher picked Jeff Francouer because he used to be on the teacher’s favorite team, the Mets, and threw him a ball during bp (I have much to teach that one).
The players for step 4:
Tim Lincecum 3
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Albert Pujols 3
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Cliff Lee 1
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Buster Posey 1
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Jeff Francoeur 1
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Ryan Howard 1
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David Ortiz 1
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Josh Hamilton 1
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Carl Crawford 1
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Roy Halladay 1
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Dustin Pedroia 1
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and if you can’t believe that no one picked a certain bearded World Series hero. Well, neither can he:
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The top five characteristics for this group were:
1. The player is very talented ( it could have been worded differently like: “He is a five tool player” but the gist of the teacher’s reasoning was talent) 7
2. The player is a professional 3
3. The player is a teammate 3
4. The player is determined/persistent 3
5. The player is a family man 3
Now, there are two similarities between the two lists but the major difference shows in that the #1 attribute by far for the non-New York players was the player’s talent. This is because when a player is from your favorite/local team you are more apt to chose him as a favorite player. When the player is not on your local team, you differentiate based on the actual attributes you value in a player. The reason for the overlap of the two categories is because when amongst your local team, you find a player who fits your attributes you are more likely to see him as your favorite.
Of course, this is just my opinion of the numbers. The beauty in statistics is that as empirical and objective as the numbers themselves may be. The interpretation of those numbers is entirely subjective.
*No teacher’s names were mentioned in the process of making this blog. Any physical or emotional damage is done at the risk of the teacher for reading this entry and Observing Baseball and all of its employees cannot be held accountable for any lowering of self-esteem that occurred from this entry. However, any praise for his entry is freely accepted at fischerm@fordhamprep.org

Seattle Mariners Offseason Recap and Preview

In any sport, when you lose 100 games in a season it ain’t good. When you lose that many and have the best defensive player (pitcher in baseball) in the game it’s even worse. You may have remembered the lofty predictions for this team at this time last season:
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and actually those three players did do well this season. Lee became the highest paid pitcher in the game, Ichiro just went onto hit another 200 hits for the tenth time in his career (he has only played 10 seasons), and King Felix became a King to sabermetricians everywhere when he won the Cy Young award with only 13 wins.Unfortunately, they had a histroically pathetic offense, despite Ichiro.
 
Grade: C-
 
 
Notable Additions:
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Jack Cust, Brendan Ryan, Miguel Olivo, Nate Robertson, Chris Ray, and Manny DelCarmen.
 
 
Notable Subtractions:
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Jose Lopez, Chad Cordero, Jack Hannahan, Ian Snell and Ryan Rowland-Smith( for the people that will now see the Astros because they know RRS is so fan-friendly).
 
 
Por Qua?:  They lost some and added some. Not really much improvement or depletion. They lost a lot of depth in the bullpen but made up for it in their added depth in the field and rotation. Not really much to report on this team as far as transactions are concerned.
 
I do feel that they will win more games because of their young talent. There is a lot of room for growth in the form of Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley. Justin Smoak has now spent close to two years in the majors and I don’t see him hitting 50 homeruns but I do see him improving for next year and helping the run starven Mariners. Dustin Ackley, forever entrenched in the shadow of being the guy picked after Steven Strasburg (it could vice versa if Strasburg is a bust like Greg Oden and Kevin Durant but whatever), he is the Mariner’s top prospect and could fill the hole left by Jose Lopez as early as this year. Both have great hitting talent but have yet to translate it into statistics. When (if?) they do, they could anchor the middle of this line-up for years to come.
 
One thing I would worry about if I were the Mariner’s fans is the status of Felix Hernandez. His contract is back loaded and if the Mariner’s don’t get it started quick enough we could see another Zack Greinke. This is because the front office won’t want to pay big money for a star if they are not yet in contention. They realize (at least I hope they do) that they could save up the money that they would have normally paid Hernandez and buy a few good pitchers to solidify the staff or an Ace when their young players come around.
 
 
 Predicted Record Range: 61-65 wins. The seasons like the one after the one the Mariner’s just had are always difficult because there is such a range of factors going into the season and how they do. I expect them to be at least a little better but how much better… I don’t know. Long Story short, dont’ kill me if this isn’t true ( Well actually don’t kill me if anything I write doesn’t come true. Us atheists tend to value our lives.).
 
Up next: Minnesota Twins

Pure Genius

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Tis’ the month of formulating a business plan and the Phillies have certainly done that. Where others see the disgust inducing spending of millions on already rich baseball players, I see a work of art. I am a General Manager in Training (well GM hopeful at least). So, when a string of moves is made, one to complement the previous, I see the Venus De Milo being constructed before me (that is before all the breaking etc.).

The explanation for the following series of moves involves conspiracy theory on the part of the Phillies. I only use this as an explanation because of the wishful thinking on my part that general managers are now coming to the realization I came to when Johan Santana was traded from the promise land to the abyss (I know I said I wouldn’t be biased but it’s so hard when you experience such awfulness on a daily basis). I realized that an unhappy but loyal player could work out a way to stay with a team he likes and yet help them.

I asked, “Dad, couldn’t a team just: trade a player with one year left on his contract, get the prospects from the trade, then resign him the next off-season, and have a team with both prospects for the future and a great player now.” I needed no answer in return to realize yet another idea, besides Animal Baseball patent pending, had come from too much boredom and a radio with New York sports talk radio on. I had created the ideal momentum turner in a league.

I thought no one would dare to even attempt something similar… until now. Well, let’s drop the story telling mood and add some actual baseball to this entry. The deal was indeed pure genius, conspiracy or not. For the sake of argument, we will say there was no conspiracy:

There were a series of four transactions that enabled the current pitching rotation of the Phillies to exist. The numbers next to the names are where those players were ranked as prospects in 2010, that would be overall.

—————————>
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The obvious Roy Halladay trade:
Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies and P Kyle Drabek(15), OF Michael Taylor(38), and C Travis D’Arnaud (UR) to the Toronto Blue Jays. So you see they gave up some pretty good talent, need I explain further?

———————>
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Next came the Cliff Lee trade:
Cliff Lee
  to the Seattle Mariners and P Phillippe Aumont (29) and OF Tyson Gillies (50) to the Philadelphia Phillies. An important note is that the Phillies would have had to give up their #1 prospect at the time, Dominic Brown, had they not traded Cliff Lee.

——————->
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Then, the Roy Oswalt deal:

Roy Oswalt to the Phillies and J.A. Happ(MLB), Anthony Gose (46) and Jonathan Villar(UR)  to the Houston Astros. Without trading Cliff Lee, the Roy Oswalt trade would have completely decimated the Philly farm system. They are currently ranked #9 for 2011.
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—————>

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The Culmination of these was the recent Cliff Lee free agent acquisition.

 
There was an obvious temptation to keep both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. However if this had been the case, the Phillies would have had to either pay more for Cliff Lee in this free agency (remember, he took a pay cut because the Phillies gave him the best chance to win. Without Oswalt, who knows who he thinks is the best situation for him. There is no Yankee fan spitting on his wife if he is not with the Rangers in the playoffs.) or lose him to the Yankees or who ever would have developed as a candidate for his services.

The conspiracy, if in existence, would be that the Phillies agreed that they would trade Cliff Lee and try and trade for a Pitcher i.e. Roy Oswalt, Dan Haren, or Zack Greinke, and he would come back to them for less money if this was done. To me, this was indeed pure genius, conspiracy or not.

Season end review

I know I haven’t written anything in a while. I started a world series preview but this was as far as I got by the first game

I personally prefer a good pitcher’s duel to a shoot out. That’s why I love this series. Four good pitchers for the Giants, three for the Rangers, it will be amazing.

 

Giants

MVP: Matt Cain-

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This may seem strange as a choice for MVP. Now, I am not saying that he will be voted MVP of the series or even that he will be the best pitcher on his team. I do not think Cain’s scorless streak will last the world series but will pitch close too that quality. I predict Tim Lincecum will pitch almost as well as Cain if not as well. However, Tim Linceucum is going against Cliff Lee two, possibly three times. I think that Lee will pitch better than Lincecum and beat him in at least one of those games. Cain on the other hand, is pitching against C.J. Wilson twice and will not have to pitch as well as Lincecum to win a game. I think the Giants will get two wins out of cain, which is pretty valueable in a best of seven series.

Cy Young: Tim Lincecum-

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“But mister, why would you have one pitcher as the most valuable player and the other as the Cy Young while they are on the same team?” Well young grasshopper, the logic behind this is that I predict Lincecum will pitch better but Cain’s preformance will be worth more because he will get more wins out of pitching to the quality that I think he will pitch to. Thus, he will be more valuable to his team than Lincecum. If Lincecum wins 2/2 or 3/3 games in this series against Cliff Lee than this all changes but I think winning 2/2 games is more valuable than 2/3.

Silver Slugger: Tim Lincecum!!! … Or maybe Buster Posey/Pat Burrell

 
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Some of the old with some of the new. Pat Burrell will get many more at-bats with the DH spot in three out of the first five games. He had the second highest slugging percentage on the Giants despite being close to the end in batting average. Buster Posey has shown only improvement under pressure and shouldn’t stop now.
 

X-FactorBrian “fear the beard” Wilson 

This article is not about that. This article is an end of the year review of my ballhawking. This one will be interesting for the fact that I only blogged about one game but here it is.

Obviously
I got somethings wrong to this point i.e. Lincecum and Lee will be
amazing. If they pitch well tonight I am partially redeemed. But I
digress.

Balls: 56

Autographs: 17

Games: 20

Avg: 2.8 balls per game

Hit: 15

Thrown: 41

Retriever: 0 (no retrievers allowed in NYC) but for those who are wondering I will use both a cup and a glove trick. For some things I have a really unimaginative mind.

July-
Balls: 1
Thrown: 1
Hit: 0

August-
Balls: 24
Thrown: 17
Hit: 7
Games: 9
Avg: 2.67

 
September-
Balls: 24
Thrown: 16
Hit: 8
Games: 7
Avg: 3.43

October:
Balls: 7
Thrown: 7
Hit: 0 ( At the end of September I went to games
in which bp was rained out and stayed in the habit of getting thrown balls into October which you can see on my mygameballs.com profile http://www.mygameballs.com/baseballdata?db=fischerm )
Games: 2
Avg: 3.5

Citi Field-
Balls: 41
Thrown: 32
Hit: 9
Games: 13
Avg: 3.15

Yankee Stadium-
Balls: 13
Thrown: 7
Hit: 6
Games: 3
Avg: 4.33 ( wow how’d I do that)

Nationals Park-
Balls: 1
Thrown: 1
Hit: 0
Games: 1
Avg: 1.00

AT&T Park-
Balls: 1
Thrown: 1
Hit: 0
Games:1
Avg: 1.00

Competition factor for the year: 1,985,159

I will blog about the off-season moves of the different teams but the volume of articles will pick up very much in the spring and summer when baseball starts up again.

Pitching Aces in the Playoffs

When has this ever happened? By my count, (whatever that’s worth) we have eleven potential aces and four of the best pitchers in baseball heading the four different teams.
Texas Rangers
1. Cliff Lee

56686053.jpg-Twenty-one strikeouts without a single walk in Rookie ball is impressive much less the playoffs.
2. Christopher John Wilson

San+Diego+Padres+v+Texas+Rangers+67JNLiPCTXdl.jpg-Now he may not be the most obvious ace but out of his thirty three 2010 starts,  TWELVE were of seven innings or more and two or fewer runs allowed, EIGHTEEN were of six innings and two runs or less.
 
New York Yankees
1. Carsten Charles Sabathia- I watched this guy throw what should have been a no-hitter two years ago in Pittsburgh.

cc-sabathia-7.jpgAs fast as he throws, is how he throws balls that move in every direction that sets him apart.
2. Andy Pettitte

AndyPettitte33.jpg -For a good part of the year, this was the best pitcher on the best team in the Majors.

Philadelphia Phillies
1. Roy Halladay

56585128.jpg-One Postseason start, One postseason no-hitter. It is scary to think what would have happened had he been with the Phillies for the last five years. His sinker, cutter scissor effect rules supreme.
2. Roy Oswalt

Phils.jpg-Is one of the most accurate fastballs in the game supported with an absolutely hittable curve (opponents are hitting just .125 off of it) makes him an ace wherever he is if not the number one pitcher.
3. Cole Hamels-Remember, he was the star of the playoffs just two years ago

cole-hamels.jpgand with the same nasty change and a rejuvenated fastball he is ready to regain that spotlight.

images.jpgSan Francisco Giants
1. Tim Lincecum- Scouts were impressed with the fact a 5’11″ kid could hit 100 mph.

t1_lincecum.jpgLincecum showed a curve that was even better. The MLB hitters couldn’t hit him, he then added a change up that could dive to either side of the plate. He won a Cy Young in his first full year in the MLB.

images2.jpgEveryone thought he couldn’t get better, he added a slider and won his second Cy Young.
2. Matt Cain- Is something like 48-0 in games where he is given four runs or more of run support. Of course, the Giant’s offense is not know for that.

sp-cain19_0498804498.jpg3. Jonathan Snachez- Like Wilson, he won’t pitch a shutout every game but who could forget he pitched a No-Hitter last year

504x_sanchez.jpgand could any day with an amazing slider.
4. Madison Bumgarner 

MadisonBumgarner.jpg-He is the reason I pick the Giants for the World Series this year. He had some difficulty in adjusting to the Majors but in his last seven starts he has an ERA of 1.78. If he stays healthy, I predict another Matt Cain waiting in the wings.

Well, I just love this because I prefer pitchers above hitters by a sizable margin. However, this is just my opinion. If anybody has started reading, first thank you, but secondly give your opinion of who is an ace or not and why.

P. S. just to preview I will most likely be going to Yankee Stadium for Game 4 of the ALCS

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