all star game

Fan Failures on All-Star Vote


-David Strobach-

The annual All-Star Game rosters are out and the fickle fan vote has resulted in some poor choices once AGAIN!

 

I actually really like how the AL votes panned out.  I agree with most main starters that the fans picked here.  Miggy could very well be starting over Hosmer at first, but Hosmer has been incredible.  Many may be fuming over the fact that Astros SS Carlos Correa isn’t in the game, but Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor have been two of the best players in the game.  The AL SS position is incredibly strong and Correa simply has not been as good as the two that are in the game.  It’s great to see Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright (2.68 ERA) deservedly make the roster.

Lindor has been a major sparkplug for the thriving Indians (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Although I thought the fans did a good job with the AL, it is embarrassing for the NL showing.  The entire Cubs infield starting is ridiculous.  Don’t me wrong, I am a Brewers fan but I am not being biased here because some facts and stats offer up some better some options.   Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant deserve to start, they are some of the best in the league.

Addison Russell starting…you gotta be kidding me! He’s hitting .242/.337/.418 with an OPS of .754 and 11 home runs.  The fans voted him to start over Corey Seager! Seager is hitting .303/.363/.537 with an OPS of .900 and 17 home runs.  Seager is a reserve and is  currently the BEST shortstop in the NL and beats Russell in almost EVERY WAY!  By no means is Russell a bad player, but there’s not a chance in the world he should be starting.  Trevor Story (.257/.324/.530 with an .854 OPS and 19 home runs) is a final vote candidate so he may make it, but he could have been on the team easily over Russell  The slick fielding and most underrated player in baseball, Brandon Crawford (.271/.344/.425 with an OPS of .769 and 8 home runs) would have been a better choice too. It is impossible to say Russell is the top NL SS.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Second baseman, Ben Zorbist, has been stellar this year, but starting over reserve Daniel Murphy….c’mon.  Zorbist is hitting .291/.399/.474 with an OPS of .873 and 12 bombs while Murphy has arguably been the best hitter in baseball and is leading the league in hits (101) and average with .345/.384/.574 and an OPS of .957 and 14 home runs.  Zorbist should be the reserve here.

Love em or hate em, Ryan Braun (final vote candidate) should have been a sure thing starter for the All-Star Game. He could still get in the game, but it is absurd he isn’t starting.  He leads all NL outfielders in batting average and is slashing .322/.378/.533 and an OPS of .912 and 13 dingers.  He’s arguably also been the best outfielder in the NL and more than deserving for an All-Star spot. It makes total sense that fans may not vote for Braun because of the PED cloud hanging over his head, which is a big reason why the fan vote itself needs to end because this game matters.

The MLB All-Star Game winner’s league earns World Series home field advantage which is huge.  Baseball’s “best” is not being truly represented by the fans for a game of significant value.  I think most Cubs fans would agree they would rather have Seager up to win the game than Russell.  Teams should have full control of their World Series destinies, including who has home field advantage and not let fans put that in otherplayers hands.  The MLB needs to do one or the other: take away the fan vote or take the value from the game.

 

 

Rosters below:

AL Starters

C Salvador Perez, Royals (highest total vote getter)
1B Eric Hosmer, Royals
2B Jose Altuve, Astros
SS Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
3B Manny Machado, Orioles
OF Mike Trout, Angels
OF Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
OF Mookie Betts, Red Sox
DH David Ortiz, Red Sox

 

AL Reserves

C Stephen Vogt, Athletics
C Matt Wieters, Orioles
1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B Robinson Cano, Mariners
SS Francisco Lindor, Indians
3B Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
IF Eduardo Nunez, Twins
OF Carlos Beltran, Yankees
OF Ian Desmond, Rangers
OF Mark Trumbo, Orioles
DH Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

AL Pitchers

RHP Marco Estrada, Blue Jays
LHP Cole Hamels, Rangers
RHP Danny Salazar, Indians
LHP Chris Sale, White Sox
RHP Steven Wright, Red Sox
RHP Dellin Betances, Yankees
RHP Brad Brach, Orioles
RHP Zach Britton, Orioles
RHP Alex Colome, Rays
RHP Wade Davis, Royals (injured)
RHP Will Harris, Astros
RHP Kelvin Herrera, Royals
RHP Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox
LHP Andrew Miller, Yankees

 

NL Starters

C Buster Posey, Giants
1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2B Ben Zobrist, Cubs
SS Addison Russell, Cubs
3B Kris Bryant, Cubs
OF Bryce Harper, Nationals
OF Yoenis Cespedes, Mets
OF Dexter Fowler, Cubs

NL Reserves

C Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
C Wilson Ramos, Nationals
1B Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
1B Wil Myers, Padres
2B Daniel Murphy, Nationals
SS Corey Seager, Dodgers
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
IF Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
OF Odubel Herrera, Phillies
OF Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
OF Adam Duvall, Reds

NL Pitchers

RHP Jake Arrieta, Cubs
LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants
RHP Johnny Cueto, Giants
RHP Jose Fernandez, Marlins
LHP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (injured)
LHP Jon Lester, Cubs
RHP Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
RHP Noah Syndergaard, Mets
RHP Julio Teheran, Braves
RHP Jeurys Familia, Mets
RHP Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
RHP Mark Melancon, Pirates
RHP A.J. Ramos, Marlins
RHP Fernando Rodney, Padres/Marlins

 

 

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Put Pitchers in the Derby!


-David Strobach-

Recently in the media there have been tons of buzz about a pitcher possibly being in the Home Run Derby. Specifically, a lot of talk about Madison Bumgarner . Noah Syndergaard, aka “Thor,” has expressed interest in this event as well as Jake Arrieta.  Also, Adam Wainwright wants a part in the derby.  Should the MLB have a pitcher’s Home Run Derby or let them hit with the big boppers?  The answer to either question is YES, absolutely.

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

This is something baseball needs.  It’s a breath of fresh air to the All-Star break and would be wildly entertaining. The new derby rules the MLB put into place were a fantastic addition last year, but this would make the event even better.  Having either a pitcher derby or throwing some in with everyone else would make the event must-see T.V.  The MLB has even discussed the possibility having a pitchers derby.  It would probably make more sense to only add a pitcher or two to the mix of all other players.

It is totally understandable for teams and managers to be worried about the health of the pitchers if they partook in this.  It’s the ony arguemnt on why pitchers shouldn’t be included.  It’s safe to to say all of Chicago would be furious if Arrieta went out there swinging out of his shoes, causing a severe oblique strain.  No team wants their ace going down for a fun little show.  It’s risk that has to be taken for every player that participates.

Out of all players, I truly believe MadBum could give everyone a run for their money in the derby.  Some players are mesmerized by his batting practice sessions.   He’s simply a BEAST or “ox-strong, farm-bred,” as Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson described him.  After all, he has homered twice off one of the greatest pitchers of our time, Clayton Kershaw.  Watch, in awe as MadBum drops two bombs off the star lefty.  If these two swings don’t influence you to put him in the derby, I don’t know what will.

 

 

Imagine MadBum sailing balls into the sand of Petco Park, Thor using his hammer to crush balls out and Arrieta hitting bombs off of Western Metal Supply Company in left field.  Talk about a the best All-Star event ever.  Baseball, it’s time for pitchers to be involved in the Home Run Derby!

 

What would you think of this?  Should they be included or have their own derby?

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Who is the True “Hit King,” Rose or Ichiro?


-David Strobach-

Ichiro Suzuki lined a double off San Diego Padres pitcher  Fernando Rodney for his 4,257th hit of his baseball career from Japan and Major League Baseball which combined passed Pete Rose for all-time hits.  In Japan Ichiro had 1,278 hits and 2,979 MLB hits.  Many people are crowning Ichiro the “Hit King” which is spurring much debate, is Ichiro the true “Hit King,” or is it Charlie Hustle?

 

Ichiro right away was his respectable humble self saying, “For me, it’s not about the record, it’s about my teammates and the fans.”  He has always been a such a humble and great man.  He did not claim himself as “Hit King” or boast about it in any way.

Ichiro’s iconic at-bat routine will forever be remembered- Nick Wass/Associated Press

Pete Rose made his opinion known to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale saying,

“It sounds like in Japan they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen. I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high school hits. I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to Major League Baseball. There are too many guys that fail here, and then become household names there, like Tuffy Rhodes. How can he not do anything here, and hit (a record-tying) 55 home runs (in 2001) over there? It has something to do with the caliber of personnel.”

As much as this pains me to say it, I agree with Pete Rose.  All of Ichiro’s hits in Japan shouldn’t be in consideration when talking about MLB records.  It is incredible that Ichiro has hit that much in his career and even more incredible that he is approaching 3,000 MLB hits after coming into the Majors as 27 year-old.  Pete Rose, however, should still be considered MLB’s “Hit King” because he hit all 4,256 of them in the MLB.  He really does have a strong point that I agree with concerning the type of play here and in Japan.  The talent is simply better here and they are completely different leagues.  There’s reason tons of Japan players dreams are to play in the MLB.   Only MLB stats should be in consideration when talking about MLB records.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Ichiro deserves to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and should be considered to be one of the greatest hitters the world has ever seen.  Not only has he been one of the greatest, but Ichiro is an international icon.  Many around the world will recognize the name Ichiro.   He plays with all his heart and has made great contributions to the MLB.  I am not trying to take anything away from his stellar career, but unfortunately, the one and only Charlie Hustle deserves the title, “Hit King,” not Ichiro.

Let’s all enjoy the major milestones of future Hall of Famer:

 

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The Revelation of Jonathan Villar


-David Strobach-

Brewers shortstop, Jonathan Villar, has been nothing short of a revelation.   He was supposed to be just a gap shortstop until top prospect, SS Orlando Arcia, made his way up.  He was acquired this past off-season from the Astros in exchange for minor league RHP Cy Sneed.  Jonathan Villar has been a stud for the Brew Crew this year. Why is no one talking about him?  Let’s see just how good Villar has been.

Source: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images North America

Villar, only 25 years old, is slashing .296/.387/.426 with an OPS of .813, 5 home runs, and a league leading 23 stolen bases.  Jonathan has exceptional on-base skills with his .387 OBP.  As soon as he gets on first, it’s almost a sure bet he’ll be swiping second.  Villar has been hitting around .300 all year and it is far enough into the season to say he is no fluke.  He’s challenging pitchers with every aspect of his game.  His most underrated tool is his defense.  Defensively, Villar makes the plays and is always smooth at short.

FanGraphs states in their post on Villar: “Villar is on pace to hit 13 home runs, steal 60 bases, and bat .292. That’s 2014 Jose Altuve, but more power and less batting average.” That’s a pretty darn good way to look at how well he has been performing.  Mentioning Jose Altuve‘s name in the same sentence as Villar’s shows what kind of player he has been.  If you would like a more advanced breakdown on his success, I encourage you to read FanGraphs work.

From a fantasy perspective, ESPN fantasy baseball has him ranked as the seventh player in all!  Pretty amazing for a huy that was only supposed to be “gap player.”

Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports

What makes Villar even more valuable is that not only is he playing All-Star caliber baseball, he’s young (25) and controllable (Brewers control through 2020).  David Stearns, Brewers GM, has said time and time again how his main goal is to find young controllable talent and he has found quite a hidden gem in Jonathan.  Villar should be a valuable core in the Brewers rebuild by moving positions (probably 3rd) when Arcia comes to take his spot. Let’s all applaud David Stearns for this fantastic find.

 

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Why The All-Star Game Shouldn’t Count


-David S.-

Currently, whoever wins the All-Star game gets home field advantage for the World Series.  This is supposed to give players the incentive to play hard to win and make the game entertaining.  Even if it does give the players something to play for,  I don’t think it’s fair for the two teams that make it into the World Series.  This year the AL won the All-Star game 6-3.  Therefore, the AL team in the WS gets home field advantage.  Let’s say that the Minnesota Twins and the St. Louis Cardinals play each other in the World Series this October.  The Twins would get into the playoffs by being a Wild Card team, while the Cards own the best record in all of Major League baseball.  Game Seven would be played at Target Field in Minnesota instead of in St. Louis. It just doesn’t make sense that a team that barely gets into the playoffs gets an advantage over the best team in baseball.  Shouldn’t the team with the higher winning record have home field advantage?  The problem with the All-Star game is that in my example the Cardinals wouldn’t be rightfully rewarded.  So, a fun exhibition game, like the All Star Game, could effect the outcome of a team’s World Series hopes by possibly awarding an “unearned” home field advantage.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the All-Star game.  I  just don’t think the Cardinals should be playing Game Seven away from their electric home just because K-Rod pitched a bad inning at the All-Star Game.  Each playoff team should use the regular season as a way to decide their World Series destiny so it’s fully in their control.  The chances, of the Cardinals winning Game Seven at home is much greater than being away.  Most importantly, (according to my theoretical example), I would much rather see the Cardinals lose Game Seven at home with the whole stadium crying…A beautiful site………:)

Invaluable To Hold Rare Baseball Auction


-David S.-

Invaluable reached out to me to help announce a pretty amazing auction during this All-Star week.  Invaluable and Hunts Auctions are teaming up for this special event that has some truly extraordinary lots that any baseball fan would love.  Here are their words below describing it:

This auction, 2015 Live Auction at T-Mobile All-Star FanFest, will be on tomorrow July 14, 2015, at 10:30am EST, and will feature a selection of noteworthy auction lots. The sale will feature more than 450 lots of rare baseball memorabilia, including a select grouping of items from the Johnny Bench Collection, which will headline the auction. Items being offered as part of the sale include:

Lot 286: Significant Roy Campanella 1953 National League Most Valuable Player award

Estimated Price: $175,000 – $200,000

Significant Roy Campanella 1953 National League Most Valuable Player award. A star player in both the Negro and Mexican Leagues, Campanella transitioned into the Brooklyn Dodgers Minor League system in 1946 and would ultimately join Jackie Robinson in the Major Leagues in 1948. A fixture in every All-Star Game played from 1949 to 1956, Campy was the National League’s Most Valuable Player (3) times in that same span of seasons. In 1953 he set then records for home runs (41) and RBIs by a catcher (142) hitting .312 in the Dodgers effort for a second consecutive National League Pennant. Important original award measuring 16″ across has octagonal Sterling Silver placard affixed at front. A gold colored bust of K.M. Landis sits below the second base position of a baseball diamond which also holds “Roy Campanella” engraved nameplate below “Most Valuable Player National League” titling, “Brooklyn Dodgers” team name, and a crossed bats/baseball applique which notes year, “1953.” Front is marked, “Sterling Dieges & Clust” and their tacked on metal tag remains on back below an eyelet for hanging. Very clean overall with a few minor scattered imperfections. One of the most high profile pieces of its’ type to have entered the marketplace. Includes letter of provenance from the Campanella Family: EX/MT

Lot 254: Important Ted Williams 1960 All-Star Game autographed professional model bat used for his final All-Star game appearance and base hit (Ted Williams Collection Provenance)

Estimated Price: $100,000 – $150,000

We were honored to conduct the Ted Williams Collection live auction event on behalf of the Williams family in 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston. Within that sale was included Ted’s other 1960 All-Star Game bat which also exhibited fine overall use indicative of regular season use after the All-Star Game similar to the offered specimen. The offered bat was only recently discovered within Ted Williams’s former personal residence in Florida along with an incredible handwritten note by William’s own hand. The note is written in pencil by Ted Williams on the back of a local safe company note paper and reads, “1960 Last Bat used single NY Kansas City”. Williams went 0-1 in a pinch hit appearance in the first 1960 All-Star Game played in Kansas City. In the second game played in New York, Ted collected a single in a pinch hit appearance which was also his final base hit in his All-Star Game career (14 total in his career).

Lot 253: 1953 Mickey Mantle All-Star Game professional model bat

Estimated Price: $75,000 – $100,000

1953 Mickey Mantle All-Star Game professional model bat (Direct Team Employee Provenance, PSA/DNA “GU 9”). Significant bat as issued to Mickey Mantle for use in his second All-Star Game appearance is one of the earliest dated examples, which can be definitively dated, to have surfaced. Louisville Slugger 125 model bat has Mantle facsimile signature burned into the barrel along with “All Star Game Cincinnati 1953” in block letter. Model “K55″ is factory stamped in the knob and the bat measures 35” long and weighs 33.2oz. An expected level of mild but well defined use is evident throughout with ball and stitch marks visible on the hitting surface along with some rack streaks. The offered bat was obtained directly from Mickey Mantle by the former equipment manager of the Washington Senators continuing with the Minnesota Twins. The young man had worked to earn Mantle’s trust by assisting the player while in town for visiting games. In return, the young man asked Mantle for his bat after he was done with it at the 1953 All-Star Game. Mantle obliged and the bat has remained in his personal collection until its current offering. Hitting for both average and power through all of his (18) seasons in baseball Mickey Mantle is firmly established as one of the games’ greatest sluggers. Named Most Valuable Player of the American League (3) times, he won the Triple Crown in 1956, and played on (7) Championship teams. In total Mantle enjoyed (20) All-Star Game appearances, a feat topped only by Aaron, Musial, and Mays. Statistics aside, there is a lore which surrounds his name that few others can conjure up. Mantle simply had intangibles, which cannot be charted in box scores or accounted for in comparison to the standard measure of pure athletic ability. Includes full LOA from PSA/DNA (graded “GU 9”),LOA from Hunt Auctions, and letter of provenance with related photo (see catalogue image) from the equipment manager: EX

Lot 156: Pete Rose “Babe Ruth Crown” for Outstanding Batting Achievement

Estimated Price: $50,000 – $75,000

Pete Rose “Babe Ruth Crown” for “Outstanding Batting Achievement.” Highly visual award piece done in the fashion of the “Sultan of Swat Award” which was an honor bestowed each year, starting in 1956, to the player with the highest slugging percentage. The roster of recipients read like a who’s who of great hitters to include Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew, and even Joe DiMaggio whom was honored in 1956 for his 1939 season statistics. This later period piece, awarded by the same organization, offers similar display value with some subtle differences in text/design. Done in brass with affixed placard at front that reads, in both applied block letter and engraved text, “Babe Ruth Crown Presented to Pete Rose, For Outstanding Batting Achievement, Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association.” The (6) points are each done to resemble a baseball diamond with colored jewel fitted at center. Ringing the body are applied crossed bat/ball decor pieces alternating with engraved career related statistics/notations. In fine overall condition with hint of light tarnish/wear mentioned for accuracy. Includes signed letter of provenance from Pete Rose: EX/MT

Check out the other memorabilia and collectibles up for auction!

#BlameLucroy…..Only Cry Baby Cardinal Fans


-David S.-

St. Louis is crying again!  I am not bashing on Adam at all.  He’s a great pitcher who I respect, and yet I’m very jealous of his pitching performances against the Brew Crew.  Adam Wainwright struggled in his All-Star start.  So, there’s no way it could possibly be his fault….  So….let’s blame Jonathan Lucroy!  Why not, right?  Yea, that’s right.  Cardinal fans unite and cry because supposedly Lucroy caused Wainwright’s struggle.  The Cardinal fans have reached an all-time low!  Did you know Wainwirght would have had the loss if Lucroy didn’t clutch hit?  So it’s not Adam’s fault for pitching poorly?

Wainwright on pitching to Derek Jeter: “I was gonna give him a couple pipe shots. He deserved it. I didn’t know he was gonna hit a double or I might have changed my mind.”

He did later take the comments back, stating they were jokes.  Still, read the line above, that doesn’t seem like a joke to me.

Online comments are on fire from Cardinals fans blaming Lucroy.  I say, Sour Grapes you crybabies!!!  If I didn’t know better, I’d say Tony La Russa is behind this conspiracy……….

Seriously man!?!? Who and why would do that?

Come on Cardinals fans, have some class!!!  Do you honestly believe Lucroy plotted to make Adam Wainwright pitch poorly?  Could it really be that Adam just pitched poorly?

Shoot! I just spilled my drink #BlameLucroy.

This rivalry just got a little more heated.

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