It has become ritual for we blogger-types to scan the awards ballots to find the oddities, outliers and outrages of the BBWAA vote, so I dutifully do so now. No real outrages here. Any reasonable person figured that Votto, Pujols and maybe — maybe — Carlos Gonzalez were your huckleberries, and they finished 1-2-3. So to the extent there is any reason to complain here it’s of the “downballot snarking” variety, not the “this is outrageous!” variety. To wit:
- Ryan Howard got a second place vote, a third place vote a fourth, two fifths, two sixths and a seventh. He’s a poor defensive first baseman who ranked 17th in OPS, yet he beat out Buster Posey on the ballot. I know he’s a popular player and everything — and I would never say that he’s not a good player — but is there a player in the league for whom there is a greater disconnect between perceived value and actual value?
- Roy Halladay was sixth. I haven’t thought hard about it, but it sort of feels right. He didn’t have a case or anything, but I want voters to get back to seriously considering pitchers for the MVP. There will come a season soon when someone goes, like 24-4 with 300 strikeouts and a low walk total. When he does, I want that guy to win the MVP.
- Ubaldo Jimenez got a fourth place vote, but no other votes. No man is an island. Except, that is, for the man who voted Jimenez fourth.
- Dan Uggla got five votes. I can now officially taunt Marlins fans by saying that the Braves traded Omar Infante and Mike Dunn for an MVP candidate. Wait, that’s silly. There aren’t any Marlins fans.
- Deep thought: how can Omar Infante beat Joey Votto onto the All-Star team and not be considered more valuable?! It’s the All-Star game, people!!
- Adrian Gonzalez was the highest ranked player who got left off of someone’s ballot. Voters can pick their top ten. I don’t believe that voters have to vote for ten players, however, so that could explain it. I mean, if a voter figured “top three is all that matters” it makes sense to leave him off. But if the guy who left off Gonazalez actually voted for ten other dudes, that seems a bit nuts to me. UPDATE: reader Whitakk points out that there were 32 10th-place votes cast, so each voter must have turned in a complete ballot. So someone didn’t think Gonzalez was top-10 material. Odd.
Like I said: no basis whatsoever for outrage. Votto deserved it in my view, and there were no atrocities on the ballots. But it’s fun to talk about it all the same, so we talk.
Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera, playing in his second game since being benched for a lack of hustle, hit a three-run home run to extend his team’s lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning on Wednesday afternoon. After putting a sweet swing on an Anibal Sanchez 2-1 slider, Herrera flipped his bat in grand fashion. It wasn’t quite as emphatic as Jose Bautista‘s from last year’s ALDS, but it was glorious nonetheless.
To the Tigers’ credit, Herrera’s bat flip didn’t result in any shouting or fighting or throwing intentionally at hitters. So that’s nice.
Herrera is now batting .327/.440/.461 with five home runs and 17 RBI on the year. The Phillies selected him in the Rule 5 draft from the Rangers ahead of the 2015 season and he’s proven to be the lifeblood of the offense thus far.
Someone on Reddit’s /r/baseball page linked to this New York Times article from June 1986.
Dave Kingman, then with the Athletics, was 37 years old and playing in what would be his final season. He was fined $3,500, which is a little over $7,600 in 2016 dollars, for sending a live rat in a pink box to a female reporter, Susan Fornoff of The Sacramento Bee. The rat wore a tag that said “my name is Sue.”
Kingman refused to apologize, saying, “I’ve pulled practical jokes on other people and I didn’t apologize to them.”
According to Fornoff, Kingman had said to her that women don’t belong in the clubhouse, and Kingman had been harassing her since she began covering the team in ’85. The Athletics didn’t keep Kingman around after the season, and he ended up hanging up the spikes.
Pete Dexter wrote in more detail about the incident at Deadspin a few years ago. It’s a good read.
I wasn’t familiar with this story as I was still more than two years from being born when it happened. Sports media has made strides towards being more inclusive of non-white cisgender straight men, especially compared to 30 years ago. But, of course, we’re still a long ways away from an ideal world in which everyone is treated equally and everyone has equal access. Some of the best baseball reporting and analysis these days is being done by women and it’s nice to see sites, especially FanGraphs recently, make a concerted effort towards diversification.
Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller continued to struggle on Tuesday, serving up six runs on eight hits and four walks with three strikeouts over five innings against the Pirates. His ERA, in 10 starts this season, stands at an unsightly 7.09 with 30 strikeouts and 29 walks in 45 2/3 innings.
The D-Backs acquired him from the Braves over the winter, sending 2015 first overall pick Dansby Swanson to Atlanta along with pitching prospect Aaron Blair and outfielder Ender Inciarte. It’s a trade they’d most likely take back if they had the luxury.
Instead, GM Dave Stewart is considering optioning the right-hander to Triple-A Reno to figure things out, Jack Magruder reports for Today’s Knuckleball. Stewart said, “We want to get him on track the best way we can. We will figure it out and do what’s needed.”
Miller is currently slated to start against the Padres on Sunday, so the club has a few more days to consider what to do. Josh Collmenter will likely be activated over the weekend, which would create a convenient way to put him back on the roster and deal with Miller.
Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. and shortstop Xander Bogaerts both extended their hitting streaks on Wednesday night against the Rockies, and both did it in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Bogaerts led off the inning with a solo home run to left-center off of Chad Bettis. After David Ortiz walked and Hanley Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice, Bradley laced a single to left field. Bogaerts’ streak now stands at 18 games and Bradley’s is at 29. Bradley is tied with Johnny Damon for the fourth-longest streak in Red Sox history. He trails Tris Speaker and Nomar Garciaparra at 30 and Dom DiMaggio at 34.
The Red Sox entered Wednesday’s action averaging 5.87 runs per game, the best mark in baseball. The major league average is 4.28. Bogaerts and Bradley, unsurprisingly, have been a big part of the offense’s success thus far.