Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trout Wins Third Straight Stan Musial Award

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout swept the balloting on his way to his third successive Stan Musial Award, as selected by members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  Trout, who had arguably his worst full season in the big leagues, still posted a 7.9 bWAR on his way to leading the Angels to their first playoff appearance since he became part of the team.
Trout won in a rout, capturing all 15 first place votes and beating out his closest competition, Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley, by 90 points.  Only Trout and Brantley were able to cross the 100-point plateau.
In the National League, fresh off winning the Walter Johnson Award (again), Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers took home the Stan Musial hardware as well.  Kershaw was the only player in the big leagues to outperform Trout according to bWAR, coming in with an even 8.0.
Kershaw garnered nine of the possible 13 first place votes and beat out the runner-up, 2013 Musial winner Andrew McCutchen, by 23 points.
The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):
American League
Mike Trout, Los Angeles (15) 195
Michael Brantley, Cleveland 105
Jose Bautista, Toronto 74
Corey Kluber, Cleveland 67
Victor Martinez, Detroit 66
Josh Donaldson, Oakland 65
Jose Abreu, Chicago 51
Felix Hernandez, Seattle 47
Alex Gordon, Kansas City 45
Jose Altuve, Houston 44
Robinson Cano, Seattle 35
Adrian Beltre, Texas 29
Ian Kinsler, Detroit 12
Nelson Cruz, Baltimore 9
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit 8
Adam Jones, Baltimore 7
David Price, Tampa Bay/Detroit 4
Phil Hughes, Minnesota 3
Brian Dozier, Minnesota 2
Jon Lester, Boston/Oakland 2
National League
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles (9) 151
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh (4) 128
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami 106
Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee 82
Anthony Rendon, Washington 66
Buster Posey, San Francisco 62
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago 32
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles 25
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati 16
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 15
Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee 11
Jason Heyward, Atlanta 11
Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis 10
Jayson Werth, Washington 9
Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles 8
Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh 8
Justin Morneau, Colorado 6
Justin Upton, Atlanta 4
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia 2
Todd Frazier, Cincinnati 1
Hunter Pence, San Francisco 1
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 215 blogs spanning most of the 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.
The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.
Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot.  Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.
Notably, though the Alliance’s awards come out well before their official counterparts, the BBA selections have matched those of the Baseball Writers of America in many instances over the past five years.  This, of course, does not include the Goose Gossage Award that is exclusive to the BBA.
Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated on a 13-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale for first through tenth place. In the interest of transparency, links to the ballots are listed below.
Prior Winners:
2013: Mike Trout, Los Angeles; Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
2012: Mike Trout, Los Angeles; Buster Posey, San Francisco
2011: Jose Bautista, Toronto; Matt Kemp, Los Angeles
2010: Josh Hamilton, Texas; Joey Votto, Cincinnati
2009: Joe Mauer, Minnesota; Albert Pujols, St. Louis

Monday, October 27, 2014

Plouffe's Defense Worth Its Weight In Gold

Near the end of last week, the Rawlings Gold Glove finalists were announced for both the American League and the National League. It's hard to take these nominations too seriously when Derek Jeter has multiple Gold Gloves on his mantle and Rafael Palmeiro won one as a DH. Rawlings has been moving in the right direction as they have started to use SABR's Defensive Index to help decide the winners. 

Three former members of the Twins organization (JJ Hardy, Justin Morneau, and Denard Span) were all names as finalists while no members of the current team were among those selected. That's where some of the debate can be made since Trevor Plouffe seems to have compiled the numbers to at least be considered for a nomination.

There are two third baseman in the American League that are head and shoulders above the competition. The A's Josh Donaldson and the Mariner's Kyle Seager. These two men will battle for the honor but it's the third nomination spot that should be in question.

Adrian Beltre got the nod but he had a very sub-par year when it came to defensive numbers. According to SABR's Defensive Index, Beltre ranked sixth in the American League at the hot corner. This put him behind the two men mentioned above and the trio of Manny Machado, Trevor Plouffe, and Mike Moustakas.

This isn't the only metric that shows Plouffe's superiority to Beltre throughout the season.

According to FanGraphs version of defensive WAR, Plouffe's 8.6 mark far outpaced Beltre's 6.0 ranking. Both forms of ultimate zone rating also had Plouffe ranked higher than Beltre. Plouffe's 6.7 UZR was superior to Beltre's 4.0 mark and Plouffe was 2.4 runs higher in UZR/150 games.

Plouffe also ranked better than Beltre when it comes to range runs above average. Plouffe had ranked negatively in this category over the last two seasons but he posted a 5.4 RngR in 2014. Beltre was limited to a 2.8 RngR.

Revised zone rating is the proportion of balls hit into a fielders zone that he successfully converted into an out. Plouffe turned 73.6% of those balls into outs. When it comes to RZR, Beltre was below 70% for the first time since 2007. He has a .725 RZR mark for the duration of his career.

Beltre already has four Gold Gloves with his last award coming back in 2012. He was also awarded the AL Platinum Glove in 2011 and 2012 for having the best defensive in the entire American League. His defensive reputation and previous awards probably put him ahead of Plouffe on the nomination list.

Was there any chance of Plouffe walking away with AL Gold Glove at third?

No, but it would have been nice to see him being honored for his outstanding defensive play at a very tough fielding position. This award should go to Donaldson or Seager but Plouffe proved himself to be one of the top three defensive third baseman in the American League.

Plouffe was most certainly worth his weight in gold this season even if the nomination didn't follow the outstanding play.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Episode 105: Talk to Contact Goes to the World Series

You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.

The Royals and the Giants are playing for baseball's biggest prize and we're all sitting around talking about Paul Molitor, Torey Lovullo and Doug Mientkiewicz and how to build a coaching staff when your new manager has never been the skipper in the big leagues. 
We also revisited the Twins payroll situation with half of our team back from a week long hiatus.

Down on the Pond we talked all about Eddie Rosario and the differences between what he's doing in the Arizona Fall League this autumn and what he did all year long in the Minor Leagues.

Of course we finish with beer, baseball, and the news.

65 minutes of postseason fun.

Thanks for listening and enjoy the show.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Twins Managerial Application

The Minnesota Twins are in the midst of the search for their next manager. As an organization, they are looking hard at candidates that are already inside the organization like Paul Molitor and Doug Mientkiewicz. They are also considering some other men from outside the organization and that's where I come in.

I would like to throw my name in the hat as a candidate for the next manager of the Minnesota Twins. I might not have the pedigree of a Hall-of-Famer or a World Series ring on my finger but I have the drive and passion to bring the Twins out of the dumpster.

Cody Christie
North Dakota/Twins Territory | nodaktwinsfan@gmail.com
Education
  • University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND)
    • Bachelor of Science in Education
  • I graduate from the same university as Twins President Dave St. Peter so that has to count for something.
  • I have the hard Midwest work ethic that will get the job done!
Experience/ Qualifications
  • JV Head Coach Fastpitch Softball
    • I worked with young players moving through the system trying to make the varsity team
    • The Twins will have many young players comprising the core of the team in the coming years
    • I can work with these younger players to improve their basic skills and eventually succeed at the highest level 
  • Varsity Head Fastpitch Softball Coach
    • I ran the team, organized practice plans, and was in charge of in-game strategy
    • The Twins need an in game manager with the ability to meet the skill level of the players on the roster
    • We might not have won a ton of games but we tried hard and worked on succeeding at the basics of the game.  
  • Twins Blogger
    • I've written about the team extensively during the Target Field era. 
    • The Twins need a manager with a combination of sabermetric analysis and old school style.
    • My knowledge of the Twins minor league system and current 40-man roster will help to make the tough decisions that need to be made.
Plan for Recovery
  • Let the Kids Play
    • Young players like Danny Santana, Kennys Vargas, and Oswaldo Arcia were successful this past season
    • Alex Meyer will be in the rotation on Opening Day
    • Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton will make their debuts in 2015
    • There might be some bumps and bruises from these players next season. Hopefully these scrapes will be out of the way by the end of the year and it can set-up a successful 2016 season.
  • Chicks Dig the Long Ball
    • The Twins scored a lot of runs last season and that needs to continue
    • If the team isn't going to spend money in the off-season on pitching, the offense is going to have to score more runs.
    • Might as well let the kids go up there hacking away at the ball
    • More fans will come to Target Field to see a 10-8 game than a 1-0 pitchers duel
  • Managerial Influences
    • Billy Heywood- Minnesota Twins
      • Young and energetic about the Minnesota Twins
    • Joe Riggins- Durham Bulls
      • Ability to work with veteran players and rising stars
    • Lou Brown- Cleveland Indians
      • Ability to win with a team no one thought he could
    • George Knox- California Angels
      • Uses a little help from above to get the team back on track
There you have it. Start spreading the word so I can get an interview with the Twins and we can get the team back to winning baseball. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kluber Edges Hernandez For Walter Johnson Award

In a thrilling race, some new blood emerged to win the American League Walter Johnson Award.  Corey Kluber, the unexpected ace of the Cleveland Indians, nipped 2010 winner Felix Hernandez of Seattle by six points in voting held by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.
Kluber, who went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and a 152 ERA+, received eight of the possible 14 first place votes and 80 points overall.  Hernandez received the other six first place nods and 74 total points, coming just short of being the second American League pitcher to have two Walter Johnsons on his mantle.
Unsurprisingly, it was a much different story in the National League as Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers won his third Walter Johnson in four years.  Kershaw swept the voting, receiving all the first place votes and more than doubling the point total of the runner-up, St. Louis’s Adam Wainwright.
The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):
American League
Corey Kluber, Cleveland (8) 80
Felix Hernandez, Seattle (6) 74
Jon Lester, Boston/Oakland 26
Chris Sale, Chicago 26
David Price, Tampa Bay/Detroit 19
Phil Hughes, Minnesota 10
Max Scherzer, Detroit 3
National League
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles (14) 98
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 47
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati 43
Jordan Zimmerman, Washington 17
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia 11
Jake Arrieta, Chicago 6
Stephen Strasburg, Washington 6
Zack Greinke, Los Angeles 5
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco 3
Doug Fister, Washington 2
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 215 blogs spanning most of the 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.
The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.
Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot.  Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.
Notably, though the Alliance’s awards come out well before their official counterparts, the BBA selections have matched those of the Baseball Writers of America in most instances over the past five years.  This, of course, does not include the Goose Gossage Award that is exclusive to the BBA.
Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated on a 7-4-3-2-1 point scale for first through fifth place. In the interest of transparency, links to the ballots are shown below.
Prior Winners:
2013: Max Scherzer, Detroit; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
2012: Justin Verlander, Detroit; R.A. Dickey, New York
2011: Justin Verlander, Detroit; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
2010: Felix Hernandez, Seattle; Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
2009: Zack Greinke, Kansas City; Tim Lincecum, San Francisco
The official website of the BBA is located at baseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com. The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at baseballbloggersalliance@gmail.com.
American League
National League