Joel Sherman of the New York Post polled 18 scouts and executives for a ranking of the five best position players, starting pitchers, relief pitchers, managers and general managers entering the 2014 regular season.
As you can probably guess, Mike Trout won the ballot for best position player, with two-time defending AL MVP Miguel Cabrera finishing as the runner-up. One GM called Trout “basically the real-life version of Robocop”.
Kershaw ran away with the vote for the best starting pitcher, and respondents were effusive about everything he does on and off the field. Justin Verlander and Jose Fernandez tied for second place. Craig Kimbrel received praise as the game’s best reliever, with Aroldis Chapman finishing a close second.
Joe Maddon and Mike Matheny took home the vote for best manager. Billy Beane of the Athletics and Andrew Friedman of the Rays were one and two for best general manager. Nothing shocking there, either.
Major League Baseball just announced that it has approved a roster substitution for the Milwaukee Brewers due to the ankle injury sustained by Gio Gonzalez: right-handed pitcher Zach Davies will take his place. In accordance with league rules, Gonzalez will be ineligible to return if the Brewers make it to the World Series.
That rule is designed to prevent roster gamesmanship such as having a pitcher fake an injury after he’s done being used in an effort to give a team a fresh arm in a short series. A second layer on that is an independent consult with the league, which may approve or disapprove the request based on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. In this case, Dr. Gary Green, MLB’s Medical Director, confirmed Gonzalez’s injury after communicating with the Brewers’ evaluating physician. Not that anyone can really suggest that Gonzalez was faking. The dude’s ankle went sideways.
That being said, this is a benefit to the Brewers at least for the short term. Davies did not have a fantastic season, going 2-7 with a 4.77 ERA in 13 starts and failing to make the Brewers’ initial postseason roster, but he is fresh — he hasn’t pitched since September 28 — which could prove very useful for Craig Counsell and the Brewers after last night’s 13-inning game.