Don Baylor

Carney Lansford replaces Don Baylor as Rockies hitting coach


Don Baylor is out as the Rockies’ hitting coach, which at first glance may seem strange after Colorado scored the third-most runs in the league this season. However, thanks to playing half their games at Coors Field the Rockies always score a ton of runs. In fact, they’ve finished among the league’s top five in 17 straight years.

To account for their hitter-friendly ballpark a stat like adjusted OPS+ is more useful than raw totals and the Rockies ranked just 10th among NL teams in OPS+ this season after ranking fourth in 2009. Away from Coors Field they hit just .226/.303/.351, ranking second-worst in both OPS and runs on the road.

On the other hand, both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki have thrived under Baylor’s instruction and it’s tough to blame him for Todd Helton getting old. Beyond that, Carney Lansford was fired after serving as the Giants’ hitting coach in 2008 and 2009 because San Francisco ranked 15th and 13th in runs.

Baylor has said that he’d like to manage again and Cito Gaston recommended him to the Blue Jays as his replacement, but there hasn’t been much talk of him being a top candidate for any openings yet. Colorado has reportedly offered him another job within the organization.

MVP or not, Mike Trout’s place in history is secure

Mike Trout
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Mike Trout may not win another MVP award, because Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays had a great season and voters seem to be leaning his way, but the Angels center fielder just completed his fourth MVP-caliber campaign in four full seasons as a major leaguer.

Trout has now either won the MVP or (presumably) finished runner-up at age 20, age 21, age 22, and age 23. And there were certainly cases to be made that he was deserving of all four MVP awards. It’s been an incredible start to a career. But how incredible?

Here are the all-time leaders in Wins Above Replacement through age 23:

37.6 – Mike Trout
36.0 – Ty Cobb
34.2 – Ted Williams
31.4 – Mel Ott
30.1 – Ken Griffey Jr.
29.7 – Mickey Mantle
27.7 – Alex Rodriguez
27.5 – Al Kaline
26.7 – Arky Vaughan
26.5 – Rogers Hornsby

I mean, just look at the 10 names on that list. Ridiculous, and Trout sits atop all of them.

Trout has been the subject of intense MVP-related debates in three of his four seasons, but regardless of which side of that coin you favor don’t let it obscure the fact that we’re witnessing something truly special here. There’s certainly room to quibble with the exact rankings–WAR is merely one prominent and easy way to do such things–but however you slice it Trout has been one of the best handful of players in the history of baseball through age 23.

Orioles say re-signing Chris Davis is “a top priority”

Chris Davis
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Last week impending free agent Chris Davis expressed frustration that the Orioles had not approached him about a contract extension during the season, pointing out that the team had previously locked up other players like J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones mid-season.

Now that the season is over and Davis had another monster year Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that re-signing Davis is “a top priority” and added:

He’s had a great year and he’s been a great player for us, so obviously, we’d like to have him back. Whether we can do that in the market, that remains to be seen, but we’re going to try.

Davis is 29 years old, has some defensive versatility, and has led the league in homers in two of the past three seasons while posting an .891 OPS during that time. He’s going to get plenty of huge multi-year offers and based on some of Duquette’s other quotes within Encina’s article it sure sounds like the Orioles are preparing for life without him.