Tag Archive | "Franchises"

Pirates Gear Up For Playoff Run

A day after major changes for both franchises, the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets completed a trade that alters the remainder of the season for both.

Marlon Byrd

The Mets were told their ace pitcher, Matt Harvey, would miss the remainder of the season due to a UCL tear.  Meanwhile, the Pirates fell out of first place when the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Cincinnati Reds in dramatic fashion.  The events of yesterday got the gears turning for both clubs and an agreement was reached.

The news was first reported by Anthony DiComo, the Mets beat writer for MLB.com.

The Pirates have acquired Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the Mets in exchange for second base prospect Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.

Byrd is the notable piece of the deal for the Pirates as his stellar play this season shores up an outfield that has struggled for consistency.  His bat plugs nicely into the heart of the Pirates order and he brings with him 21 home runs and 71 runs batted in.  He has continued to produce in a season that was all but written off before it started.  Byrd was not expected to be a key piece at his age but he has provided a consistent bat and above-average defense to Pittsburgh and, more than likely, play right field alongside Andrew McCutchen while Starling Marte continues to recover from hand issues.

Buck, meanwhile, is a depth move that adds veteran leadership, solid defense, and a inconsistent bat to the bench.  He continues to throw out 30 percent of would-be base stealers and can drive in runs from time to time when he is playing well.

The Pirates part ways with a minor league second baseman who projects to be a decent hitter when he arrives at the big league level.  Herrera is only 19 years old and ranks just outside of the top ten prospects in the Pirates organization.  He benefits well from above average speed and surprising power, according to Baseball America, who ranked him 20th among Pirates prospects prior to this season.

The Pirates added two veteran pieces and a solid bat to their lineup as they enter the final push of a playoff run.  It is the type of mood that the Cardinals would have made under the Tony LaRussa leadership.

Cardinals fans hope it is not worthy of the same results LaRussa normally found.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
You can find his work on Yahoo!InsideSTL, and here on i70.
Talk baseball with him on Twitter @poisonwilliam

Posted in Cardinals, MLBComments (0)

Cooperstown Choices: Shawn Green

With the Hall Of Fame election announcement coming on January 9, 2013, it is time to review the ballot, go over the names, and decide who belongs in the Hall Of Fame.

There are twenty four men on the ballot for the first time this year and we will take a look at each one individually prior to official announcements. You can find all of the profiles in the I-70 Baseball Exclusives: Cooperstown Choices 2013 menu at the top of the page.

In this article, we take a look at Shawn Green


Shawn Green
Green’s 15 year major league career spanned four franchises, most notably the Blue Jays and Dodgers.  He would be named to two All Star rosters, in 1999 as a Blue Jay and again in 2002 as a Dodger.  He would also win a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove in 1999.

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1993 TOR 3 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100
1994 TOR 14 33 1 3 1 0 0 1 1 1 8 .091 .118 .121 .239 -38
1995 TOR 121 379 52 109 31 4 15 54 1 20 68 .288 .326 .509 .835 115
1996 TOR 132 422 52 118 32 3 11 45 5 33 75 .280 .342 .448 .790 99
1997 TOR 135 429 57 123 22 4 16 53 14 36 99 .287 .340 .469 .809 110
1998 TOR 158 630 106 175 33 4 35 100 35 50 142 .278 .334 .510 .844 117
1999 TOR 153 614 134 190 45 0 42 123 20 66 117 .309 .384 .588 .972 144
2000 LAD 162 610 98 164 44 4 24 99 24 90 121 .269 .367 .472 .839 116
2001 LAD 161 619 121 184 31 4 49 125 20 72 107 .297 .372 .598 .970 154
2002 LAD 158 582 110 166 31 1 42 114 8 93 112 .285 .385 .558 .944 154
2003 LAD 160 611 84 171 49 2 19 85 6 68 112 .280 .355 .460 .814 116
2004 LAD 157 590 92 157 28 1 28 86 5 71 114 .266 .352 .459 .811 113
2005 ARI 158 581 87 166 37 4 22 73 8 62 95 .286 .355 .477 .832 114
2006 TOT 149 530 73 147 31 3 15 66 4 45 82 .277 .344 .432 .776 95
2006 ARI 115 417 59 118 22 3 11 51 4 37 64 .283 .348 .429 .778 95
2006 NYM 34 113 14 29 9 0 4 15 0 8 18 .257 .325 .442 .768 97
2007 NYM 130 446 62 130 30 1 10 46 11 37 62 .291 .352 .430 .782 103
15 Yrs 1951 7082 1129 2003 445 35 328 1070 162 744 1315 .283 .355 .494 .850 120
162 Game Avg. 162 588 94 166 37 3 27 89 13 62 109 .283 .355 .494 .850 120
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
TOR (7 yrs) 716 2513 402 718 164 15 119 376 76 206 510 .286 .344 .505 .849 117
LAD (5 yrs) 798 3012 505 842 183 12 162 509 63 394 566 .280 .366 .510 .876 130
ARI (2 yrs) 273 998 146 284 59 7 33 124 12 99 159 .285 .352 .457 .809 106
NYM (2 yrs) 164 559 76 159 39 1 14 61 11 45 80 .284 .346 .433 .779 102
NL (8 yrs) 1235 4569 727 1285 281 20 209 694 86 538 805 .281 .361 .489 .850 121
AL (7 yrs) 716 2513 402 718 164 15 119 376 76 206 510 .286 .344 .505 .849 117
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/12/2012.

Why He Should Get In
Green had a span of five to seven years of top production.  His career numbers in doubles (445), home runs (328), runs batted in (1,070) and hits (2,003) paint him as an elite ball player.

Why He Should Not Get In
Elite ball player is accurate, but he would have needed a few more years to translate that into being an all time great ball player.  His numbers are good, but not quite good enough for Cooperstown.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in Cooperstown Choices 2013, I-70 Baseball ExclusivesComments (0)

The Non-Quantifiable Jeff Francoeur

The Kansas City Royals are, arguably, one of the most exciting franchises in the league today.  They are young, talented, and have proven they can win at various levels on their way to the Major Leagues.

Exciting as that may be, when those young guys arrive in “the bigs”, they need leadership.  They need someone to show them how to act like big leaguers.  They need a guide along this journey that can show them, for lack of a better phrase, “The Royal Way”.

During the off-season, Dayton Moore and company were faced with a tough decision.  They had a glutton of youth that was becoming ready for the next step and a solid group behind them that could be ready sooner than later.  In particular, this created a problem in the outfield where they had two veteran players that showed promise.  The decision needed to be made between Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera.  Many fans point out the inequity of the choice that was made.

A quick look at Baseball-Reference, accurate through 6/26…

Jeff Francoeur
Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2012 28 KCR 70 293 277 28 73 14 2 7 24 1 3 13 51 .264 .300 .404 .705
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/27/2012.
Melky Cabrera
Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2012 27 SFG 72 321 298 52 105 15 7 7 37 10 4 21 41 .352 .393 .520 .913
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/27/2012.

Statistically speaking, it is obvious the wrong choice was made.  Now, I know, hindsight is 20-20 and by no means do I feel that anyone could have predicted that Melky would have such a great year or that Frenchy would have such an average one.  What I am here to say is simply that the choice of Francoeur over Cabrera cannot be measured by the typical numbers.  Nor do I feel that it will be something we may ever be able to measure.

Jeff Francoeur was kept on this team for his ability to usher in a crop of young guys into the proper way of handling themselves.  The intangibles around him as a man, a clubhouse personality, and a mentor all lead to the real reasons that he has a two year deal with this club.

Will he stick around beyond the trading deadline this year?  That will rely largely on factors of the production of other players in the system and the maturity of the roster as a whole.  If he should leave, who assumes his role as leadership both on and off the field?

Eric Hosmer
Hos is a bit of a natural choice here.  He was, in a very big way, the beginning of the youth movement in Kansas City.  He has spent a large amount of time in the system with a lot of the young players that are beginning to surface.  He’s young…very young, but his composure, quiet attitude, and expectation of winning will serve him well in the future.

Mike Moustakas
Moose is a much different candidate for leader of this team.  Throughout his minor league career, he has been known as a fiery personality that expects to win and is not afraid to tell anyone that they need to step it up a notch.  He is a player that will be vocal and visible in a leadership role.  In addition, he has earned a lot of respect for toning that side of his personality and game way down as he learns the ropes in Kansas City.

Alex Gordon
This is not only the most logical choice, but may be a change that is already in motion.  Gordon has been the player that has possibly most benefited from the presence of Jeff Francoeur.  They locker near each other, they are seen frequently together on road trips, and they have been seen working together in the field during warm ups.  Gordon received a long term deal from the club, is a leader on the field offensively and defensively, and has shown a large amount of maturity over the last few seasons.

As this team grows and becomes more and more competitive, leadership will be needed to help culture a winning environment and teach the players how to keep their heads down, their noses clean, and their game on the field pristine.  The right guys are in place to do just that and Jeff Fracoeur is a big part of ushering in a whole new era of Royals baseball.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (1)

Three To Watch: Final Opener Is Royals and Angels

Opening Day has come and gone for almost every team in baseball.  But when you play on the West Coast, you get the distinction of being the last.  The Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will take the field as the final two teams to open 2012.

After you take that afternoon nap to ensure that you will be awake for the entire late night affair, kick back and read the three things you should be watching closely during this nine inning battle between two of baseball’s most talked about teams.

Albert Pujols and Eric Hosmer
This game will feature two first baseman that the league will be watching closely.  Pujols is on a mission to prove that he deserves the money he is being paid, that he is capable of being the focal point of this team, and that he can handle the media pressure of the Los Angeles market.  Hosmer will attempt to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump, continue to establish himself as a premier first baseman in the league, and start what many hope to be a All Star worthy campaign.

With so many storylines for both teams swirling around the first base bag, all eyes will be on the veteran and the youngster to make Opening Day a memorable one for two franchises.

Mike Moustakas
The young third baseman was the other half of the two “can’t miss prospects” in the Royals organization.  The problem, to this point, has been that he is missing.

Moustakas struggled last year but seemed to put it together in September.  That success, however, did not carry over into Spring.  With as many strikeouts (21) as hits and walks combined, the confidence level is thin currently and he may be walking an even thinner line.

The Royals believe it is “Our Time”.  If that’s true, than Moustakas will be expected to perform sooner rather than later or the team may have to look for someone who can hold down the hot corner.  Seeing him get off to a hot start while on the West Coast will put many fan’s minds at ease.

Kendrys Morales
It has been almost two years since the then first-baseman broke his ankle celebrating a walk off Grand Slam.  But Morales is back, and that makes the Angels’ offense that much better.

Spring was a big test to see if the big man was ready and, by all accounts, that test was passed with flying colors.  Morales posted a .367/.387/.600 slash line and hit a few home runs that we are not sure have landed yet.  If the Angels are successful this year, the strength of the lineup will be a big part of that success.  Morales in the Designated Hitter role will play a big part in that.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Doing The Difficult

It has been 43 years since the St. Louis Cardinals appeared in consecutive World Series.  One has to go back before the advent of divisional play to find the last instance:  1967-68.  The Cardinals have won the National League in back-to-back years twice before, 1930-31, and 1942-44.  The Cardinals have never won the Fall Classic in consecutive years; the 1942 and 1944 titles are the closest they’ve ever come to accomplishing that.

Winning two straight titles is hard for teams not named the New York Yankees, and especially hard for National League franchises.  The first team to do so – the 1907-1908 Chicago Cubs – has not won a World Series since.  A historical oddity, sure, but let’s not miss a chance to tweak Cub fans. The list of NL franchises who have successfully defended their title is short and sweet.

  • Chicago Cubs (successful defense in 1908)
  • New York Giants (successful defense in 1922)
  • Cincinnati Reds (successful defense in 1976)

That’s it.  A National League franchise has successfully defended its title once since the end of the Dead Ball Era.  St Louis will have to defy 9o years of history to join the Cincinnati Reds as the only NL team to accomplish the feat since Babe Ruth played.

That’s not the only challenge, of course – the Cardinals have to win the NL first to play for the World Title.  For the purposes of this discussion, we will assume St Louis qualifies for the playoffs either as a wild card or the NL Central champs.  As you might expect, it is considerably more difficult to win the National League today under the current post-season format.  During the 65 seasons when the league’s best record played in the World Series, a team won back-to-back NL titles 17 times.  Said another way, a defending champ had a 1 in 4 chance of a successful league title defense.  Since the playoff system was instituted, only 11% of World Series included an NL participant who was there the previous year (5 of 42).  The AL percentages are higher across the board, thanks to some team called the Yankees, but even in the AL there has been a drop in repeats since 1968.

Does this mean St Louis will not repeat?  No; each season is unique, just like each team is unique.  The loss of Albert Pujols weakened the middle of the order, but the acquisition of Carlos Beltran should replace most of that lost offense.  The return of Adam Wainwright makes the 2012 rotation far stronger than the 2011 version.  St Louis has as good a chance of repeating as World Champs as any recent team.  The hardest part won’t just be winning the Series; it will be getting there in the first place to defend their title.

Mike Metzger is a baseball writer based in San Diego. He also blogs about the Padres. Follow him on Twitter.

Posted in Cardinals, FeaturedComments (0)

Cooperstown Choices: Larry Walker

With the Hall Of Fame election announcement coming on January 9, 2012, it is time to review the ballot, go over the names, and decide who belongs in the Hall Of Fame.

There are twenty seven men on the ballot this year and we will take a look at each one individually prior to official announcements. You can find all of the profiles in the I-70 Baseball Exclusives: Cooperstown Choices 2012 menu at the top of the page.

Tune in Saturday, January 7, 2012 as I-70 Baseball Radio will host a panel of writers discussing the Hall Of Fame Ballot in a 2-hour special.

In this article, we take a look at Larry Walker

Larry Walker
Walker spent 17 years as an outfielder for three different franchises. His debut came in 1989 for the Montreal Expos and retired as a St. Louis Cardinal in 2005. This is his second year on the ballot.

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1989 MON 20 47 4 8 0 0 0 4 1 5 13 .170 .264 .170 .434 26
1990 MON 133 419 59 101 18 3 19 51 21 49 112 .241 .326 .434 .761 112
1991 MON 137 487 59 141 30 2 16 64 14 42 102 .290 .349 .458 .807 127
1992 MON 143 528 85 159 31 4 23 93 18 41 97 .301 .353 .506 .859 142
1993 MON 138 490 85 130 24 5 22 86 29 80 76 .265 .371 .469 .841 120
1994 MON 103 395 76 127 44 2 19 86 15 47 74 .322 .394 .587 .981 151
1995 COL 131 494 96 151 31 5 36 101 16 49 72 .306 .381 .607 .988 130
1996 COL 83 272 58 75 18 4 18 58 18 20 58 .276 .342 .570 .912 116
1997 COL 153 568 143 208 46 4 49 130 33 78 90 .366 .452 .720 1.172 178
1998 COL 130 454 113 165 46 3 23 67 14 64 61 .363 .445 .630 1.075 158
1999 COL 127 438 108 166 26 4 37 115 11 57 52 .379 .458 .710 1.168 163
2000 COL 87 314 64 97 21 7 9 51 5 46 40 .309 .409 .506 .915 110
2001 COL 142 497 107 174 35 3 38 123 14 82 103 .350 .449 .662 1.111 160
2002 COL 136 477 95 161 40 4 26 104 6 65 73 .338 .421 .602 1.023 150
2003 COL 143 454 86 129 25 7 16 79 7 98 87 .284 .422 .476 .898 121
2004 TOT 82 258 51 77 16 4 17 47 6 49 57 .298 .424 .589 1.013 153
2004 COL 38 108 22 35 9 3 6 20 2 25 23 .324 .464 .630 1.093 166
2004 STL 44 150 29 42 7 1 11 27 4 24 34 .280 .393 .560 .953 143
2005 STL 100 315 66 91 20 1 15 52 2 41 64 .289 .384 .502 .886 130
17 Seasons 1988 6907 1355 2160 471 62 383 1311 230 913 1231 .313 .400 .565 .965 140
162 Game Avg. 162 563 110 176 38 5 31 107 19 74 100 .313 .400 .565 .965 140
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
COL (10 yrs) 1170 4076 892 1361 297 44 258 848 126 584 659 .334 .426 .618 1.044 147
MON (6 yrs) 674 2366 368 666 147 16 99 384 98 264 474 .281 .357 .483 .839 128
STL (2 yrs) 144 465 95 133 27 2 26 79 6 65 98 .286 .387 .520 .908 134
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2011.

Why He Should Get In
Walker was known as a guy that could produce runs batted in and he did so to the tune of 1,311 in his career. He won three batting titles in his career and has a career average of .313. He has five All Star Games to his credit, three silver sluggers, the 1997 National League Most Valuable Player award, and seven Gold Glove Awards. He posted 383 home runs and 230 stolen bases as well as 2,160 hits and 471 doubles.

Why He Should Not Get In
Walker has a lot of really good numbers but not one outstanding one save his batting average. Ten years with the Colorado Rockies pre-humidor will have many writers question some of his career offensive numbers. One counting stat above and beyond the norm and he would be shoe-in.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in Classic, Cooperstown Choices 2012, I-70 Baseball ExclusivesComments (0)

Cooperstown Choices: Tony Womack

With the Hall Of Fame election announcement coming on January 9, 2012, it is time to review the ballot, go over the names, and decide who belongs in the Hall Of Fame.

There are twenty seven men on the ballot this year and we will take a look at each one individually prior to official announcements. You can find all of the profiles in the I-70 Baseball Exclusives: Cooperstown Choices 2012 menu at the top of the page.

Tune in Saturday, January 7, 2012 as I-70 Baseball Radio will host a panel of writers discussing the Hall Of Fame Ballot in a 2-hour special.

In this article, we take a look at Tony Womack

Tony Womack
Womack spent thirteen season playing primarily shortstop for seven franchises. He debuted in 1993 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and retired as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 2006. This is his first year on the ballot.

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1993 PIT 15 24 5 2 0 0 0 0 2 3 3 .083 .185 .083 .269 -24
1994 PIT 5 12 4 4 0 0 0 1 0 2 3 .333 .429 .333 .762 102
1996 PIT 17 30 11 10 3 1 0 7 2 6 1 .333 .459 .500 .959 150
1997 PIT 155 641 85 178 26 9 6 50 60 43 109 .278 .326 .374 .700 81
1998 PIT 159 655 85 185 26 7 3 45 58 38 94 .282 .319 .357 .677 77
1999 ARI 144 614 111 170 25 10 4 41 72 52 68 .277 .332 .370 .702 77
2000 ARI 146 617 95 167 21 14 7 57 45 30 74 .271 .307 .384 .692 70
2001 ARI 125 481 66 128 19 5 3 30 28 23 54 .266 .307 .345 .652 64
2002 ARI 153 590 90 160 23 5 5 57 29 46 80 .271 .325 .353 .678 71
2003 TOT 103 349 43 79 14 4 2 22 13 9 47 .226 .251 .307 .558 40
2003 ARI 61 219 30 52 10 3 2 15 8 8 27 .237 .270 .338 .607 53
2003 COL 21 79 9 15 2 0 0 5 3 0 9 .190 .200 .215 .415 3
2003 CHC 21 51 4 12 2 1 0 2 2 1 11 .235 .250 .314 .564 46
2004 STL 145 553 91 170 22 3 5 38 26 36 60 .307 .349 .385 .735 91
2005 NYY 108 329 46 82 8 1 0 15 27 12 49 .249 .276 .280 .556 50
2006 TOT 28 68 7 18 3 0 1 5 1 8 7 .265 .342 .353 .695 77
2006 CIN 9 18 1 4 2 0 0 3 0 4 3 .222 .364 .333 .697 78
2006 CHC 19 50 6 14 1 0 1 2 1 4 4 .280 .333 .360 .693 76
13 Seasons 1303 4963 739 1353 190 59 36 368 363 308 649 .273 .317 .356 .673 72
162 Game Avg. 162 617 92 168 24 7 4 46 45 38 81 .273 .317 .356 .673 72
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
ARI (5 yrs) 629 2521 392 677 98 37 21 200 182 159 303 .269 .314 .362 .676 69
PIT (5 yrs) 351 1362 190 379 55 17 9 103 122 92 210 .278 .325 .363 .688 79
CHC (2 yrs) 40 101 10 26 3 1 1 4 3 5 15 .257 .292 .337 .629 61
COL (1 yr) 21 79 9 15 2 0 0 5 3 0 9 .190 .200 .215 .415 3
STL (1 yr) 145 553 91 170 22 3 5 38 26 36 60 .307 .349 .385 .735 91
CIN (1 yr) 9 18 1 4 2 0 0 3 0 4 3 .222 .364 .333 .697 78
NYY (1 yr) 108 329 46 82 8 1 0 15 27 12 49 .249 .276 .280 .556 50
NL (12 yrs) 1195 4634 693 1271 182 58 36 353 336 296 600 .274 .320 .362 .681 73
AL (1 yr) 108 329 46 82 8 1 0 15 27 12 49 .249 .276 .280 .556 50
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2011.

Why He Should Get In
Womack was an All Star during his rookie campaign in 1997 and led the league in stolen bases three consecutive seasons.

Why He Should Not Get In
While Womack found himself in the right place at the right time a few times in his career, he was a bit player for most of those franchises. His numbers are low, even his 363 stolen bases are underwhelming for a speedy player.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in Classic, Cooperstown Choices 2012, I-70 Baseball ExclusivesComments (0)

Cooperstown Choices: Bill Mueller

With the Hall Of Fame election announcement coming on January 9, 2012, it is time to review the ballot, go over the names, and decide who belongs in the Hall Of Fame.

There are twenty seven men on the ballot this year and we will take a look at each one individually prior to official announcements. You can find all of the profiles in the I-70 Baseball Exclusives: Cooperstown Choices 2012 menu at the top of the page.

Tune in Saturday, January 7, 2012 as I-70 Baseball Radio will host a panel of writers discussing the Hall Of Fame Ballot in a 2-hour special.

In this article, we take a look at Bill Mueller

Bill Mueller
The St. Louis native spent his 11 year career playing for four different franchises. His debut would come wearing the Giants uniform in 1996 and he would put the finishing touches on his career in 2006 as a member of their division rival Los Angeles Dodgers. This is his first year on the ballot.

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1996 SFG 55 200 31 66 15 1 0 19 0 24 26 .330 .401 .415 .816 121
1997 SFG 128 390 51 114 26 3 7 44 4 48 71 .292 .369 .428 .797 110
1998 SFG 145 534 93 157 27 0 9 59 3 79 83 .294 .383 .395 .778 110
1999 SFG 116 414 61 120 24 0 2 36 4 65 52 .290 .388 .362 .751 96
2000 SFG 153 560 97 150 29 4 10 55 4 52 62 .268 .333 .388 .721 87
2001 CHC 70 210 38 62 12 1 6 23 1 37 19 .295 .403 .448 .851 125
2002 TOT 111 366 51 96 19 4 7 38 0 52 42 .262 .350 .393 .743 98
2002 CHC 103 353 51 94 19 4 7 37 0 51 41 .266 .355 .402 .757 101
2002 SFG 8 13 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 .154 .214 .154 .368 2
2003 BOS 146 524 85 171 45 5 19 85 1 59 77 .326 .398 .540 .938 140
2004 BOS 110 399 75 113 27 1 12 57 2 51 56 .283 .365 .446 .811 106
2005 BOS 150 519 69 153 34 3 10 62 0 59 74 .295 .369 .430 .799 109
2006 LAD 32 107 12 27 7 0 3 15 1 17 9 .252 .357 .402 .759 94
11 Seasons 1216 4223 663 1229 265 22 85 493 20 543 571 .291 .373 .425 .797 109
162 Game Avg. 162 563 88 164 35 3 11 66 3 72 76 .291 .373 .425 .797 109
SFG (6 yrs) 605 2111 333 609 121 8 28 214 15 269 295 .288 .369 .393 .763 102
BOS (3 yrs) 406 1442 229 437 106 9 41 204 3 169 207 .303 .378 .474 .853 119
CHC (2 yrs) 173 563 89 156 31 5 13 60 1 88 60 .277 .373 .419 .792 110
LAD (1 yr) 32 107 12 27 7 0 3 15 1 17 9 .252 .357 .402 .759 94
NL (8 yrs) 810 2781 434 792 159 13 44 289 17 374 364 .285 .370 .399 .768 103
AL (3 yrs) 406 1442 229 437 106 9 41 204 3 169 207 .303 .378 .474 .853 119
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/29/2011.

Why He Should Get In
Mueller was a defensive player that managed to show an offensive side to his game. In his short career, he would win a batting title in 2003 with the Red Sox and finish 12th in the Most Valuable Player voting that year as well. That season would also bring Mueller’s only Silver Slugger Award.

Why He Should Not Get In
Mueller’s career was shortened by injuries and therefore remained a bit lack luster. Though his career batting average was .291, that only equated to 1,229 hits and 493 runs batted in. A career that had a lot of promise, as often is the case, simply never materialized.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in Classic, Cooperstown Choices 2012, I-70 Baseball ExclusivesComments (0)

Fixing The Front Of The Rotation

Greetings everyone, I need to start off with that I am not a prototypical Royals fan. I should mention that I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan first and a Royals fan second but that being said, I am a die hard for both teams. I grew up and lived in St. Louis for most of my life but I have lived here in Kansas City for the past three years. Living in Kansas City now, I have noticed an odd hatred that Royals fans have toward the Cardinals and St. Louis but in my eyes, I do not see why I cannot be a fan of both franchises. I am probably too young (24) to understand all the hatred but I digress. Hopefully I have not turned off readers but I think I need to be open and honest. I really want the Royals to get back to their glory days so I can see a Royals-Cardinals World Series someday, hopefully sooner than later.

With that out of the way, time to talk 2012 Kansas City Royals. Before he was traded to the Washington Nationals, I was pretty vocal about the Royals making a serious push for SP Gio Gonzalez. After what the Nationals gave up for Gio, I am relieved that my wish for a Kansas City push for him was just a fantasy and not reality. Washington gave up FOUR B-/B+ level prospects for him which was a big haul for an Oakland Athletics pitcher who Oakland has been known to sell high (curse you Mark Mulder!).

If you could not tell already, I believe the Royals are in desperate need of a frontline starting pitcher and now with Gio Gonzalez off the market, now what? The 2012 Royals rotation right now is made up of entire #3, 4, 5 starters but if Kansas City truly is serious about contending for the AL Central, which I believe is possible, they need to bring in a #1 or #2 level starter. Without one, I view this Royals club as a .500 team that could win 75-83 games but with an ace that win total gets closer toward 84-90 and a potential division title.

That level starting pitching is hard to acquire or luck into via trade or free agency but there are several options that the Royals should be looking into. My trade targets would be James Shields (Rays), Wandy Rodriguez (Astros), or Matt Garza (Cubs). I’m not sure if the Royals would be able to bring in any of these guys but they all fit the mold of one a top of the rotation starter and have been made available in the past. I am not sure what it would take to acquire one of them but I am very curious about what a reasonable offer would look like.

If Kansas City does not wish to make a trade for a starter, there are several free agents that have not been signed yet that would instantly make the Royals rotation much more respectable than it currently is. Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson, Paul Maholm, Scott Kazmir, and Brad Penny are all quality starters that would look great in Royals blue and are also looking for an opportunity to show that they are still top notch starters. I truly believe you could get any one of these free agents on a one year deal in the $6-12 million range. That might seem like a lot but if it works out then Dayton Moore looks like a genius and the Royals are contending for a division title. Worst case scenario is that the deal flops and you are not hurt to make a run at the many frontline starters who could be free agents next offseason. I really don’t see what the harm is to bring in one of the remaining starting pitchers. The AL Central is down this year it seems and the Royals need to take advantage of their window to contend which is starting to open up.

The Royals have a great, young offensive core that is ready to compete at the major league level but that will go to waste into another mediocre season if the rotation is not addressed with another starter or if they luck out and someone steps up into that ace pitcher that has been missing in Kansas City for quite some time. Hey Dayton Moore, this team is much improved from the 100 loss teams I have come to grow up with but please address the rotation because this AL Central is there for the taking (also, it is time to trade Billy Butler while his value is high and is only a DH but that is a separate article). Is it spring yet? Go Royals.

Posted in RoyalsComments (2)

Shelby Miller Scares Me

Over the past month or so, a lot of focus has been given to the minor league system and what players the Cardinals may have for the future. While the list of prospects and future major league contributors has grown, there has been the consistent focus that Shelby Miller is not just the “cream of the crop” but he is as can’t miss as anyone we have seen.

That scares me.

The Cardinals do not have a great track record with “can’t miss” prospects. This is not to say that the team cannot grow players from the farm system. Quite the contrary, players like Jaime Garcia, Daniel Descalso, Tyler Greene and many more have made their way through the system and into roles on the big league club. Okay, Tyler Greene was stretching a bit, but you get my point.

Here’s a look at some of the players that have come through the farm system for the Cardinals:

Adam Wainwright
I will start off with my “exception to the rule”. Wainwright was a key part of the Atlanta Braves system and the key component to the trade that sent J.D. Drew off to Atlanta. The prized piece of the trade for the Redbirds was to obtain Wainwright and get him working through the minor leagues as quickly as possible. He was, in fact, hit with the “can’t miss” label and in this instance, it was spot on. Wainwright has gone on to become the ace of the staff for the Cardinals and proved that sometimes, “can’t miss” is spot on.

J.D. Drew
Speaking of Mr. Drew, he makes our list next. A highly touted draft pick that the team picked up after he refused to sign with Philadelphia the year before, Drew was signed to a contract that put the team in a position to have him at the big league level immediately. Drew floundered a bit before finding his footing but found that the footing was a dangerous slope that kept him on the disabled list a lot more than expected. He has gone on to be a contributor with a few franchises, but I’m not sure he has become the star player we were all told he would be.

Rick Ankiel
It may be possible to list Ricky on this list twice, in all actuality. Rick was the “can’t miss” pitcher of the 90’s that came in and dominated hitters with his fastball and sweeping curve. Of course, when you put a lot of pressure on a young hurler, sometimes it can backfire. The implosion of Rick Ankiel on the mound made it hard to accept that he failed, but his reinvention as a power hitting, left handed center fielder brought him quickly back to the forefront of everyone’s mind. This time as a “can’t miss” outfielder, Ankiel proved the old Spiderman mantra – “With great power comes great responsibility”. In this case, responsibility would be to the strike zone and Rick seemed to have very little respect for it, chasing anything and everything that a pitcher let loose.

Yadier Molina
The backstop for the Cardinals since 2004 might be laced in gold, but his arrival to St. Louis was not an expected surge. Molina came onto the scene as the heir apparent to the Mike Matheny catching throne, but was surrounded with stigmas of being a defensive catcher and a liability at the plate. His manager stood by him and today Molina has proven that he belongs both at the plate and behind it, but he makes this discussion simply because he was not labeled as “can’t miss” and was more of a surprise than an expectation.

Albert Pujols
The guy no one wants to read about right now was a home grown talent himself. However, a late round draft pick from a junior college did not label him as the next great thing early on. An injury to left fielder Bobby Bonilla forced Tony LaRussa to let a young Pujols onto the roster, despite Tony’s desire to have him play another season at Memphis first. Albert is the exact opposite of the discussion here, a prospect that came through the organization, but not one that everyone was talking about before he arrived.

David Freese
The Most Valuable Player for both the National League Championship Series and the World Series, Freese is home grown and made his way through the minor leagues before arriving in St. Louis and taking over the hot corner. That being said, Freese was a cast off player from the San Diego Padres that was the proverbial “bag of balls” the team received when dealing Jim Edmonds. Even then, he was expected to be surpassed by Brett Wallace on his way to the majors and had many grumbling when he arrived at the big league level that he was a “stop gap” player at best.

Colby Rasmus
The five-tool player that was one of the biggest prospects to come through the organization in a long time, Colby Rasmus never materialized into the player the team thought he would be. In addition, through his time in St. Louis prior to the trade that would banish him from St. Louis, the National League, and even the country, Rasmus began to prove that his tools might have well been overstated as well.

Tyler Greene
Greene was the Cardinals’ first round draft pick in 2005 and was the player coming through the minors that would put an end to the revolving door at shortstop, giving the team a legitimate, long term answer to the middle infield conundrum. As he continued to produce through the minor league system, the team continued to project him being a bit part of the major league answer. When given the chance to grab that brass ring, however, Greene has provided fodder for many writers questioning his place in the major leagues. The “can’t miss” shortstop has become such a minimal part of the Cardinals’ future that they have signed Rafael Furcal to a two year contract to hold down the position while they wait to see what is happening with some of the younger guys.

Brett Wallace
Do you remember “The Walrus”? There was one thing we were promised about the big guy, he would hit. At every level the team placed him, he did just that. His defense, however, never improved and before you knew it he was blocked by the sudden surge of David Freese and was on his way out of St. Louis in order to acquire Matt Holliday. The addition of Holliday makes the Wallace situation a win for the Cardinals, but Wallace himself has struggled to find his footing. On the back end of two more trades, he now plays for the Houston Astros and the team is trying to determine if he deserves a shot to prove that he will be in their future, as a first baseman.

Jaime Garcia
The jury is still out on Jaime, trying to determine if he can find the magic he uses in April and May and spread it out over the course of the season in the near future. Another late round draft pick that has succeeded at every level in the minor leagues before arriving in St. Louis, Garcia is proving once again that sometimes it is the guys behind the “can’t miss” prospect that truly produce at the major league level. Garcia has been projected to have “ace type stuff”, but it was not until he was in the big leagues that we started hearing about it.

There are many players in the minor league system that may have a big impact on the big league club. There are a few that were with the big club last season that have the opportunity to contribute on a much larger scale. The track record for the Cardinals with “can’t miss” prospects suggests that Shelby Miller may not be the player that everyone should focus on going forward. It may be that guys like Matt Adams, Tony Cruz, Ryan Jackson, and even Daniel Descalso deserve some of that attention.

Shelby is a talented pitcher with a bright future. Due to recent history, however, that scares me.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in Cardinals, FeaturedComments (0)