Rookies of the Year to be announced today

Leave a comment

Bobby Crosby. Bob Hamelin. Jason Jennings. Kazuhiro Sasaki.  Immortals all, each of whom got their start with the Rookie of the Year Award.  Who will join their esteemed ranks today, as the major post season awards begin to be rolled out?

AL:  Multiple candidates here. Elvis Andrus probably deserved a Gold Glove this year. And though his bat wasn’t anything to write home about, it wasn’t an embarrassment, and at 21 there is every reason to expect a bright future. But the Rookie of the Year Award is less about projectablitiy than it is about what happened in year one.  Rick Porcello is just as young and just as projectable as Andrus, but probably had a better season in a playoff race.  Gordon Beckham overcame his own manager’s initial reluctance to play him and, before it was said and done, was about the only reliable guy in the lineup.

Beckham has won a couple of non-BBWAA rookie awards so far this postseason. If I had to bet, I’d say he takes home the official Rookie of the Year Award as well.  None of those three would be a bad choice.

UPDATE: I somehow left Andrew Bailey out of this discussion. Aaron’s smarter than me about these things anyway, so you should probably just read his post. I still think they’ll give it to Beckham, though.

NL: Four guys have an argument: Tommy Hanson, J.A. Happ, Andrew McCutchen and Chris Coghlan.  Because the latter two get way less attention due to their Pittsburghality and Floridaness, I think it will come down to the two pitchers.  Happ and Hanson had a similar number of innings and a similar ERA, but Happ was up earlier and pitched from the pen some, which may make him seem more valuable and versatile and all of that to the voters.

I’d clearly want Hanson long term — better arm, better stuff — but I think Happ probably gets it by virtue of the key role he played on a division winner (remember: the votes came in before the playoffs started, so the postseason doesn’t enter into it).

Overall, there’s always way less to argue about with the Rookie of the Year Award than there is with the other awards that’ll come out in the next eight days. None of the folks mentioned here will be silly choices. Indeed, hardly any Rookie of the Year choices ever seem silly at the time.  As the Hamelin and Sasaki choices show, It takes some years for the true humor to reveal itself.

Video: Minor League Manager goes on epic rant

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 2.56.42 PM
Leave a comment

Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik got his money’s worth last night. He was ejected after arguing an automatic double play on an enforcement of the slide rule, and he didn’t go gently into that goodnight.

Rather, he threw things, kicked things, threw things and then subsequently kicked those same things, gave overly-demonstrative slides and safe signs and basically went all Earl Weaver/Lou Piniella on everyone.

Double-A baseball is the best minor league because you tend to see more prospects there than you do at Triple-A. But it’s also the best because, when you’re a manager who is not quite a heartbeat away from getting your shot at the big leagues, you’re a little less uptight about things. Or at least Mikulik was. Or maybe he was more uptight. I don’t know. He just went with it, and going with it has its charms.

 

(h/t Big League Stew)

A must-read oral history of the 1998 home run chase

7 Jul 1998:   American Leaguer player Mark McGwire #25 of the St Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa #21 of  the Chicago Cubs answer questions during  the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver,  Colorado.The American  League defeated the
Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the nation with their epic chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. But it has been, and after years of reaction, counter-reaction and, of course, baseball’s reckoning with the performance-enhancing drugs which helped fuel the chase, it’s probably finally time to do our best to contextualize it historically.

Today one of my favorite news outlets does that with an oral history. All of the key figures weigh-in on it, from McGwire and Sosa to Bud Selig to Tony La Russa. Randy Johnson makes an appearance as well, reminding us that it wasn’t just the sluggers who had an amazing year in 1998. Indeed, his story, including his being traded to Houston and going on an amazing second-half run, has almost been lost to history.

This is bookmark material, my friends. For savoring later if you can’t read it now. And for revisiting at another time given the depths to the drama which justifies multiple readings. I’ll just warn you that there is some adult language in the story, but that’s to be expected given the passion the 1998 baseball season inspired.

Go check it out.

UPDATE: Asdrubal Cabrera leaves Mets-Nats game with back spasms

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the New York Mets throws to first from his knee after diving to catch a ground ball to get Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second out of the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
2 Comments

UPDATE: Cabrera was removed from the game due to back spasms.

1:21PM: This is not good: Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from today’s game against the Nationals with an apparent injury.

It’s unclear what the injury was, as Cabrera had yet to even play in the game. Matt Reynolds came on to play shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, but Cabrera didn’t bat in the top of the first. It could be an illness. Or some freak occurrence.

We’ll update when we hear more.

There are apparently unwritten rules about manager replay challenges now

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs shakes hands with manager Mike Matheny #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals before the Opening Night game at Wrigley Field on April 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images
11 Comments

Last night’s Cardinals-Cubs game was a blowout, with the Cubs beating the Cards 12-3. Apparently, however, in the ninth inning of the game, Reynoldsburg, Ohio’s own Mike Matheny played the Cardinals infield in, which is a move you never see in a blowout. Why did he do that?

He hasn’t said yet, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon just spoke to the media before today’s game and he’s speculating that Matheny did it as a form of protest:

God, I hope that’s true. I hope that manager replay challenges, which are already dumb enough inasmuch as they turn what should be an officiating correction device into a strategic tool, are now turning into another front in the Great Unwritten Rules Wars. I hope that we now have a bunch of people talking about how there’s a right way and a wrong way to use the replay system and that one can disrespect the other side if they do it the wrong way. The way the replay system has been implemented often resembles tragedy. Why not make it farce?

Oh well, I guess it beats throwing at someone for doing that wrong. And I guess it’s just a reminder that no matter what we do, baseball is always gonna give us an opportunity for petty bits of silliness.