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Archive for the ‘Cardinals’ Category

Despite the St. Louis Cardinals and the Albert Pujols camp breaking off talks until the off season,  the speculation about where the games best hitter will be sign will continue throughout the season. The White Sox GM Kenny Williams has already told everyone what he thinks of Albert’s salary demands.  He is by far the best hitter I have seen. Even though he has not been at 100% health wise the past few years,  he has still performed at an elite level . Just take the Quad which takes into account both counting stats in Times on Base, and Total Bases and the rate stats in On Base Percentage, Slugging average.

Times on Base
Albert Pujols  290
Prince Fielder 286
Rickie Weeks 276
Joey Votto 275
Adrian Gonzalez  271
Matt Holliday  263
Aubrey Huff 257
Jayson Werth 253
Ryan Braun 250
Dan Uggla 249
Kelly Johnson 247
Jason Heyward 245
Carlos Gonzalez 239
Andrew McCutchen 238
David Wright 237
Ryan Zimmerman 234
Hanley Ramirez 234

Total Bases (BABIP)
Carlos Gonzalez 351 0.384
Albert Pujols 350 0.297
Joey Votto 328 0.361
Matt Holliday 317 0.331
Ryan Braun  310 0.331
Rickie Weeks 302  0.332
Adrian Gonzalez 302 0.322
Dan Uggla 299  0.330
Adam Dunn 299 0.329
David Wright 295  0.335
Jayson Werth 295 0.352
Corey Hart 293  0.324
Kelly Johnson 290 0.339
Aubrey Huff 288 1 0.303
Hunter Pence 283 6 0.304
Casey McGehee 283  0.306
On Base Percentage (BB%)
Joey Votto 0.424 14.04%
Albert Pujols  0.414 14.71%
Prince Fielder  0.401 15.97%
Carlos Ruiz 8   0.400 12.7%
Jason Heyward 0.393 14.61%
Geovany Soto  0.393 16.02%
Adrian Gonzalez  0.393 13.48%
Matt Holliday   0.390 10.22%
Josh Willingham  0.389 14.89%
Ryan Zimmerman 0.388 11.44%
Jayson Werth  0.388 12.58%
Chase Utley  0.387 12.33%
Aubrey Huff  0.385 12.43%
Troy Tulowitzki  0.381 9.09%

Slugging (Contact Rate)
Joey Votto 0.600  77.15%
Carlos Gonzalez  0.598 77.00%
Albert Pujols 0.596  87.05%
Troy Tulowitzki 0.568 83.40% 0
Adam Dunn 0.536 64.34%
Jayson Werth 0.532  73.47%
Matt Holliday 0.532 84.40%
Corey Hart 0.525 74.91%
Adrian Gonzalez 80.71%
Ryan Zimmerman 0.510 81.33%
Dan Uggla 0.508 74.70%
Mike Stanton 0.507 65.74%
Aubrey Huff 0.506 84.01%
Ryan Howard 0.505  71.45%

The funny thing in all of these numbers is that Pujols is near the top in all the categories. But, his batting average with balls in play is below .300. This means he has gotten some bad luck and might be a better hitter than his numbers indicate. With Pujols slimmed down, and healthy there is no telling what he is capable of in 2011!

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The final rosters do not have to be finalized until Sunday afternoon, but looking at what we know today, here’s how I see it in the NL Central:

Pos Cards Astros Pirates Cubs Brewers Reds
C Molina Towles Doumit Soto Zaun Hernandez
1B Pujols Blum Clement Lee Fielder Votto
2B Schumaker Matsui Imamura Fontenot Weeks Phillips
SS Ryan Manzella Cedeno Theriot Escobar Cabrera
3B Freese Feliz LaRoche Ramirez McGehee Rolen
LF Holliday Lee Milledge Soriano Braun Gomes
CF Rasmus Bourn McCutchen
Byrd Gomez Stubbs
RF Ludwick Pence Jones Fukodome Hart Bruce
OF Craig Sullivan Raynor Nady Edmonds Dickerson
OF Stavinoha
Michaels Church Colvin Gerut Nix
IF Mather Keppinger Young
Tracy Counsel Fransisco
IF Lopez Johnson Crosby Baker Inglett Balentien
C LaRue Quintero Jaramillo Hill Kottaras Hanigan
SP Carpenter Oswalt Duke Zambrano Gallardo Harang
SP Wainright Rodriguez Ohlendorf Dempster Wolfe Cueto
SP Penny Meyers Maholm Wells Davis Arroyo
SP Lohse Norris
Morton
Gorzelany Bush Bailey
SP Garcia Paulino McCutchen Silva Parra Leake
RP Franklin Lindstrom Dotel Marmol Hoffman Cordero
RP McClellan Lyon Donelly Grabow Hawkins Masset
RP Motte Gervacio Meek Marshall Stetter Herrera
RP Miller Byrdak Taschner Caridad Vargas Owings
RP Boggs Sampson Penn Samerdzija Coffey Lincoln
RP Hawksworth Moehler Carrasco
Berg Villenuava Rhodes
25th Reyes Fuclhino Lopez
Russell Hopper Ondrusek
  • Cards: Pagnozzi, Greene, Jay, Robinson, P.J. Walters, Hill
  • Astros : Berkman, Barzado, Arias, Shelton, Cash, Borguios, Bogesivic, Banks, Switzer
  • Pirates: Pearce, Hanrahan, Ascancio, Hart, Pearce, Vazquez, Jones, Ford, Tabata, Sanchez, Jakubauskas, Yates, Lincoln
  • Cubs: Lilly, Guzman, Castro, Hoffpauir, Scales, Fuld, Gray, Vitters, Jackson
  • Brewers: Suppan, Riske, Butler, Naverson, Gamel, Lucroy, Salome
  • Reds: Volquez, Chapman, Wells, Janish, Miles, Castillo, Burke, Cairo, Sutton, Wood, Lehr, Maloney, Miller, Dorn, Heisey, Anderson, Valaika

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I can remember that miracle rookie season of 1988, Mark McGwire hitting home runs at a mammoth pace.  Its hard to recall someone coming on the scene and being a slugger like we were witnessing that year.  With his Bash Brother counterpart Jose Canseco, these guys were the talk of baseball.

We have heard the Jose Canseco claims that McGwire participated in steriods as they were slugging home runs together in Oakland. I don’t really believe McGwire saying he did not discuss steroids with any other players, as I believe it was Jose Canseco that introduced McGwire to the steroid lifestyle.

Sure, McGwire had been blessed with the ability to crush a baseball. However, steroids do help you. In the steroid era, the record setting numbers were enhanced like never before. I am puzzled why he took this long to come clean. I believe he did go on an exile, refusing to speak to reporters. Additionally, it’s hard to  believe that  reporters failed to approach him to tell his story.

As McGwire gets ready to start a job in baseball, I find it hard to believe he will not become a distraction to the St Louis Cardinals. It will be a traveling roadshow in every town he enters. Instead of the players on the field being the focus when the Cardinals come to town,  the local press will replay the steroid story.

I wonder at what point McGwire fessed up to LaRussa on the steroids. Was it after he accepted the job as the hitting coach, or is it something that McGwire wanted to get off his chest before starting his new job. In a way, he did prevent alot of the negativity that was sure to come his way, as the last image we have of him is his claiming to congress that ‘We are not here to talk about the past’.

I am sure as a man, its freeing to get this out of his system and to turn the page. We’ll see how this plays out, but he sure has a lot more explaining to do.

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The Quad takes into account both counting stats in Times on Base, and Total Bases and the rate stats in On Base Percentage, Slugging average.

Below is the top 10 overall finishes in MLB over the course of the 2008 season (either American League or national League results). If a player makes it to the top 10 list, its really a great accomplishment.  The fact that Albert Pujols made the top overall in 3 of 4 catgeories, and got beat out by only Chipper Jones in On Base Percentage shows that the NL MVP voters got it right.

Dustin Pedroia placed 8th in times on Base, 10th in Total Bases, but was absent on any other top 10 finishes.  The American league numbers  were way below the National League at the top  of the heap. Albert Pujols was the most impressive offensive force in 2008. The fact that he was playing somewhat hurt makes this offensive display even more of a standout.

Times on Base

  1. Albert Pujols 296
  2. David Wright 287
  3. Nick Markakis 283
  4. Lance Berkman 279
  5. Grady Sizemore 279
  6. Hanley Ramirez 277
  7. Jose Reyes 271
  8. Dustin Pedroia 270
  9. Ichiro Suzuki 269
  10. Chase Utley 268

Total Bases

  1. Albert Pujols 342
  2. Ryan Braun 338
  3. David Wright 334
  4. Ryan Howard 331
  5. Miguel Cabrera 331
  6. Josh Hamilton 331
  7. Aubrey Huff 330
  8. Jose Reyes 327
  9. Chase Utley 325
  10. Dustin Pedroia 322

Slugging

  1. Albert Pujols 653
  2. Ryan Ludwick 591
  3. Chipper Jones 574
  4. Alex Rodriguez 573
  5. Carlos Quentin 571
  6. Kevin Youkilis 569
  7. Carlos Lee 569
  8. Lance Berkman 567
  9. Milton Bradley 563
  10. Ryan Braun 553

On Base Percentage

  1. Chipper Jones 470
  2. Albert Pujols 462
  3. Lance Berkman 420
  4. Joe Mauer 413
  5. Matt Holliday 409
  6. J.D. Drew 408
  7. Nick Markakis 406
  8. Hanley Ramirez 400
  9. Brian Giles 398
  10. Manny Ramirez 398

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It was early 2008, and we kept hearing how Albert Pujols had a bad elbow. He was said to be shut down early if the Cardinals fell out of contention.  People in their fantasy drafts were told to be hesitant of picking Albert in his usual elite status. Also, their was talk in the 2007 post season how Albert simply was not his usual season self.   Albert Pujols took home the hardware yesterday achieving his second National League MVP award while being reportedly hurt in 2008.   Let alone his bat, Albert brings a nice glove to the mix as well.   He has achieved legendary status by doing all this while at full strength.   For all those risk takers  out there  took a flyer on Pujols in 2008, it was something that came up smelling like roses.

For a look back at what the voting by bloggers for the NL MVP early on looked like in 4 voting periods:

Week 2 , Week 4 , Week 6 , Week 8

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In a fitting tribute to the QS, Brandon Webb continues the Quality start steak going six innings with 0 ER and picks up the win to make it 6-0 on the season. Lets not forget who he was facing in Jake Peavy who also pitched a good game, but takes the loss.

I told you about James Shields brilliant first year numbers from last year, he backs it up yesterday to complete the sweep against the Red Sox. Lets me say that again, The Rays have swept the Red Sox, and welcome to first place! Let I say, help is also on the way.

In case you missed it, Edwin Volquez who the Reds traded for one of my favorite player Josh Hamilton is fooling many NL batters so far this season. He is an emerging Ace. Talk about a trade that really helps both teams. Too bad John Daniels has made some mistakes along the way. The biggest probably being trading Chris Young for Adam Eaton.

The Pirates fan base seems like another club who thinks their GM is doing no favors for them in releasing Matt Morris. I personally would blame the last GM for acquiring that bad contract, more so than not getting value for Morris when he had some.

To me, the surprise team the first four weeks is the St. Louis Cardinals. This is a team that the experts were saying had a good chance of shutting down Pujols down by mid season. They are in the thick of it in the NL Central. They are doing it with solid role players like Skip Schumaker and Aaron Miles. Tony LaRussa is working some magic. They do have some concerns such as at closer where Isringhausen has blown some games. But, overall its Pujols in his MVP form, along with some surprising good pitching especially from the two Kyles – Lohse and McClellan. They have Mulder and Colby Rasmus who could help later on in the year. By September, maybe Chris Carpenter is there in the mix too.

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It’s preview season at Beyond the Boxscore and people are taking notice . I had the opportunity to ask R.J. Anderson, Columnist at Beyond the Boxscore and DRaysBay a bunch of questions. Anderson has also appeared at Deadspin and just completed a book on the Tampa Rays called Lamar-itis.

With the loss of 40 year old Tom Glavine to Braves, how much of an impact to the Mets pitching staff of the Mets be affected? To what extent will this help or hurt the Braves in the N.L. East?

It won’t hurt or help either team as much as his name would suggest, last year he was below average and I’m not sure I really can see him responding like he did in 2004 with a 119 ERA+, but who knows, maybe he has one last run in that left arm. It certainly can’t hurt the Braves to have him as their third starter at least it’s not someone like Mark Hendrickson.

The Mets are rumored to be considering surrendering a ton of minor league minor league talent to the Twins to land Johan Santanta. The package of Fernando Martinez , Philip Humber , Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, and Mike Pelfrey to land the Ace of its staff. Would you make this deal to win now?

No, the deal reeks of short-sightedness and frankly I don’t trust either Omar Minaya’s prospect valuing skills or the idea that Johan will simply re-sign with the Mets without at least fishing on the open market for a few days. Do I think the Mets will end up with Johan? Wouldn’t surprise me, this is the same general manager who went for a “win now” approach with the Expos and Bartolo Colon, how’d that end up?

Chipper Jones has been a household name for the past decade for Braves. Would you consider him a Hall of fame player. Is he worthy of a gold glove at this point of his career?

I really don’t get into either the Hall of Fame or Gold Glove arguments since both are pretty arbitrary, but at first glance I’d assume he’s pretty close to being a HOFer, I’m not sure if he is or not though.

The Royals have made a alot of moves the past few years. How do you see the moves working out this upcoming season?

Dayton Moore has done a solid job, but I didn’t really like the Jose Guillen signing, it seemed like he was their third choice – at best – and they decided to write a large paycheck to get their “man”. I’d like to see them finish in front of the White Sox, but even that might be a bit of challenge.

How much of an impact offensively will Mike Cameron be aided by his move to the Brewers ?

I’m not sure how much it’ll help him with his bat – although moving from PETCO elsewhere can’t hurt. If nothing else it gave the Brewers a reason to move Ryan Braun to left.

The Mets obtaining a defensive minded catcher Brian Schneider and Ryan Church for youngster Lastings Milledge, how sweet of a trade was this for an up and coming team like Nationals?

Very sweet in a vacuum; the market for “troubled” young outfielders is non-existent and the Nats took advantage in both the Milledge and Elijah Dukes deals. If neither work out people will mock the Nationals, personally I don’t blame them for either deal, consider they essentially acquired two players who would be top prospects in their organization for a top 10 in their system and two major league players who I don’t think they’ll miss too much given their glutton of outfielders.

Is Rockies Chris Iannetta worthy of playing time in Colorado or should Torrealba be given most the work at catcher?

I think they should give Iannetta more playing time, it’s not like he could do much worse than Yorvit Torrealba did with the bat last year.

Tell me about Michael Bourn and what he may be able to do now that he gets a starting job in Houston . Is he Juan Pierre II?

He’s a young lefty bat who went to the University of Houston and was actually drafted by the Astros in 2000 but didn’t sign. I suppose he’s Juan Pierre like, and I don’t doubt he’ll produce better than Willy Taveras as soon as next year.

Who got the better end of the Troy Glaus / Scott Rolen Trade?

I think the Cardinals, Glaus is younger, lately a little more consistent, and not nearly as volatile. He has his own issues, but at least he’s not gun powder waiting for a spark.

Is Josh Hamilton going to stay healthy and break out this year?

Didn’t he break out last year? Health wise I have no idea, two seasons in a row ended by injuries, eh it’s a trend that can be broken at least.

When Dan Haren was last in the NL, he was not special the way he is today. Why was he successful in Oakland and not under LaRussa?

Well he barely had over 100 innings in St. Louis , and remember Oakland ’s ballpark dimensions include a ton of foul room, there probably isn’t a correlation between Haren’s success and his departure from St. Louis.

Tell me about Brian Barton who came to St. Louis in Rule V draft. Was he the best talent made available in the Rule V draft?

He’s a rocket scientist, seriously. I’d like to think he wasn’t the best talent in the draft because he slipped and I’d like to believe the teams picking would’ve taken the best talent. Speaking of the Rule V isn’t it a bit amusing that the purpose is to prevent farm system monopolies yet in theory the teams with the highest potential to have a good farm system – bad teams with high draft picks – are the ones who pick first?

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