Tag Archive | "Jose Valverde"

2011 Greatness In Baseball Yearly Award Winners Named

2011 Greatness In Baseball Yearly Award Winners Named
Freese Takes Two of World Series Champion Cardinals’ Four GIBBYs

NEW YORK & SECAUCUS, December 16, 2011 – The winners of the 2011 Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards were unveiled tonight on MLB Network and MLB.com during a show hosted by MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger and Mitch Williams. David Freese of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals was the only multiple award winner, as he earned Postseason MVP and top Postseason Moment for his dramatic game-tying, ninth-inning triple in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.


In addition to the Cardinals, four other Clubs claimed multiple GIBBY winners, including the Arizona Diamondbacks (Kirk Gibson, Manager of the Year; Ian Kennedy, Breakout Player of the Year); Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander, Starting Pitcher of the Year; Jose Valverde, Closer of the Year); New York Yankees (David Robertson, Setup Man of the Year; Robinson Cano, Wow Factor of the Year; Derek Jeter, Performance of the Year); and Tampa Bay Rays (Dan Johnson, Moment of the Year; Evan Longoria, Walk-Off of the Year).

This year’s winners of the GIBBY Awards – the ultimate trophies honoring the best players and must-see moments from the 2011 Major League Baseball season – were determined through a comprehensive six-week voting process (Oct. 29-Dec. 4) that included national and local media members, Major League Club front office personnel, former Major League players and online fan balloting at MLB.com. Over the past four seasons, fans have cast more than 40 million online votes for the 19 categories, none of which were restricted to individual League affiliation. A complete list of 2011 winners and highlights can be found at MLB.com/GIBBYs.

GIBSON – “I’d like to thank all the fans and everybody who voted for me for Manager of the Year. It’s an exceptional honor for me, being a rookie manager. … It’s exemplary of why we all get up and play the game hard with dedication, and do it the right way every day.”

KENNEDY – “I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me for this award. It’s an honor. Every one of those guys is deserving and had great years. I’d like to thank my teammates for putting me in this position to win this award.”

JOHN MOZELIAK (Executive of the Year) – “I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me on this award. It’s a great honor, and I take a lot of pride in being recognized in this. … There are so many great people who work in our front office who deserve credit for this award. I’m honored and humbled by this. I also want to recognize our ownership that gives us so much support throughout the year.”

Ben Revere (Play of the Year) – “I just want to say thank you to the fans who voted for me, to the Minnesota Twins faithful, and to MLB.com and MLB Network for allowing me to accept this honor.”

ROBERTSON – “This is a huge honor. This is one of those things I didn’t expect to win.”

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BBA Selects Kimbrel, Valverde For Goose Gossage Award

BBA Selects Kimbrel, Valverde For Goose Gossage Award

In earlier voting this postseason by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel won the Willie Mays Award for top rookie handily while the American League race for that award was much tighter. With the Goose Gossage Award, handed out to the best reliever, Kimbrel got to see how the other half lives, at least somewhat.

Kimbrel beat Milwaukee’s John Axford by 13 points in the votes submitted by the National League voters of the Alliance, accumulating 78 points and garnering 12 first place votes. Axford, on the other hand, received 65 points on the strength of seven first place selections. Kimbrel’s bullpen teammate Johnny Venters was a very distant third with nine total points.

The race in the American League was a little more anti-climatic as Detroit closer Jose Valverde gained 13 first place votes on his way to a league-leading 74 point total. Two New York Yankees followed him in the voting, with Mariano Rivera receiving four first place votes and 56 total points while David Robertson gained 39 points for third.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League
Jose Valverde, Detroit (13) 74
Mariano Rivera, New York (4) 56
David Robertson, New York (3) 39
Jonathan Papelbon, Boston (1) 21
Koji Uehara, Texas (1) 6
Alfredo Acevas, Boston (1) 5
Neftali Feliz, Texas 2
Greg Holland, Kansas City 2
Chris Perez, Cleveland 2
Brandon League, Seattle 1
Vinnie Pestano, Cleveland 1

National League
Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta (12) 78
John Axford, Milwaukee (7) 65
Johnny Venters, Atlanta (1) 9
Joel Hanrahan, Pittsburgh 8
JJ Putz, Arizona 7
Sean Marshall, Chicago 6
Heath Bell, San Diego 3
Tyler Clippard, Washington 3
Sergio Romo, 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 316 blogs spanning all 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 all but two instances in the past two 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 5-3-1 point scale for first through third place. In the interest of transparency, links are given below for the ballots. Chapter affiliation is in parenthesis. Those chapters that decided on the group method are noted with an asterisk.

American League
Baltimore Sports and Life (Baltimore)
Baseball Is My Boyfriend (Texas)*
Baseball North (Toronto)
Boston Red Thoughts (Boston)*
Contract Year (Oakland)*
The Flagrant Fan (General)
Kings of Kauffman (Kansas City)*
Lady At The Bat (New York)
Misc. Baseball (History)
Motor City Bengals (Detroit)
North Dakota Twins Fan (Minnesota)
The Rays Rant (Tampa Bay)
Seattle Mariners Musings (Seattle)
Seedlings To Stars (Other)
Some Thoughts On Baseball (Toronto)
Tigers Amateur Analysis (Detroit)
The Tribe Daily (Cleveland)*
Twins On Twins (Minnesota)

National League
Appy Astros (Houston)
Blog Red Machine (Cincinnati)
Cincinnati Reds Blog (Cincinnati)
Dugger Sports (Philadelphia)
The Eddie Kranepool Society (New York)*
The Flagrant Fan (General)
Misc. Baseball (History)
On The Outside Corner (St. Louis)
Phils Baseball (Philadelphia)
Prose and Ivy (Chicago)*
Raise The Jolly Roger (Pittsburgh)
RJ’s Fro (San Diego)
Rockies Woman (Colorado)
22 Gigantes (San Francisco)
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)
Websoulsurfer (San Diego)
Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? (Pittsburgh)

Prior Winners: 2010: Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay; Brian Wilson, San Francisco

The official website of the BBA is located atbaseballbloggersalliance.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 founder@baseballbloggersalliance.com.

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Crow Logs Yet Another All-Star DNP

Well, make it six out of 10.

Sorry, Aaron Crow. Hope you enjoyed that free plane ride to Arizona.

Royals fans and your friends from Topeka are all proud of you. But I guess we shouldn’t have gotten our hopes up that you would actually play in this year’s All-Star Game.

After all, six of the last 10 Royals to be named to the All-Star Game have failed to leave the bench.

American League manager Ron Washington did about as well as he could to utilize his full compliment of pitchers. No pitcher went more than a single inning. But when the AL didn’t have to pitch the ninth, Crow was left without need of a shower.

Three other pitchers who were available on the AL bench did not play – Detroit’s Jose Valverde, Toronto’s Ricky Romero and Boston’s Josh Beckett. Beckett complained of discomfort when he warmed up, or he would have played.

For another year we’ll assume there was no malice behind the decision to keep Crow on the bench. No need to suspect a plot to discriminate against the Royals is afoot.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

But still, this is getting old.

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Cardinals Farm Report

Pete Kozma
AA-Springfield Cardinals
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 170 lbs
Drafted by the Cardinals in the first round (18th pick) of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft
Just like every Saturday here on i70baseball, the Cardinal Farm Report spotlights one of the prized Cardinal minor leaguers. This week, it is Pete Kozma, the first round draft pick of 2007 who has yet to live up to the expectations.

When Kozma was drafted as the 18th overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft, there were certainly a handful of critics. It definitely was not a “sexy” pick by the Cardinals, but he did have the skill set. Coming out of high school, Kozma was compared to the Texas Rangers shortstop, Michael Young. He has always been scouted as doing everything well, but nothing incredibly well. He has all-around average MLB tools, but no standout tool.

Jeff Luhnow, the Cardinals VP in Player Operations, says Pete Kozma has the potential to be a top 15 Major League shortstop. He fields his position well, he has decent power (10-15 HR in MLB), but has never finished a minor league season with a batting average over .300. That is odd because, when Pete was drafted out of high school, his best tool was hitting for contact. Ben Badler of Baseball America believes that Kozma could very well be a .270/.350/.430. If he can post those numbers on offense, and be a good defensive shortstop, that makes Koz a very valuable prospect.

I believe his bat is still there, he’s not a lost cause, but he has had his fair share of tough times at the dish. In May of this year, Cardinal fans got a taste of the type of hitter Kozma can be. In 26 games, the young shortstop batted .327 with three home runs and 20 RBI. To put that into perspective, if that was his April in the Majors, he’d be on pace to drive in 124 runs.

The problem is, his consistency at the plate is sub-par to say the least. While his power numbers have improved, Kozma’a ability to find the gap has been questionable at best. The kid has very good tools, even on the offensive end, but just hasn’t produced like the club thought he would. Some blame this on management. Kozma was promoted to Double A-Springfield in only his second full minor league season. He was 21-years-old at the time and, with only 165 minor league games under his belt (in which he only hit .252), that could have been a little premature.

So far this season, Kozma is batting .234/.305/.357 with 44 runs scored, eight home runs, 43 RBI, and 10 steals in 88 AA games.

The potential is still there. Some have given up on Kozma, but I actually think he has improved a ton this season. If he can develop a somewhat consistent bat, and still play good defense at a premium position, he may just pan out to be the player we thought he would be in 2007.

AAA-Memphis Redbirds
Record to date: 52-47, third place in the PCL American North, 2 games behind Iowa.

This past week: 3-3
Behind another great start by P.J. Walters last weekend, the Redbirds took game four before losing the final game to New Orleans. The team then traveled back home to take on Omaha starting on Monday. The ‘Birds lost game one, won games two and three, then dropped the final game of the four-game set for a series split. Last night’s game against Oklahoma City was postponed due to a power outage in downtown Memphis.

Transactions: P.J. Walters was promoted to St. Louis from Memphis (4-2, 2.79 ERA, 63 SO, 61 1/3 IP in AAA), Allen Craig was optioned to Memphis from St. Louis (.139, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 36 AB in MLB), Ryan Ludwick was assigned to Memphis for a rehab stint (.273, 11 HR, 42 RBI, 264 AB in MLB), Ryan Kulik was promoted to Memphis from Springfield (7-2, 3.08 ERA, 45 SO, 76 IP in AA), David Kopp was optioned to Springfield from Memphis (0-5, 8.62 ERA, 12 SO, 24 IP in AAA), Evan MacLane was optioned to Memphis from St. Louis (0-1, 9.00 ERA, 0 SO, 1 IP in MLB), Fernando Salas was promoted to St. Louis from Memphis (17 saves, 2.10 ERA, 35 SO, 30 IP in AAA), Mark Hamilton assigned to Memphis from the disabled list (.296, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 115 AB in AAA)

Coming up: The Redbirds will finish up their series against Oklahoma City this weekend. There will likely be a double-header thrown in somewhere (Sunday?) to make up for last night’s postponed game. They will then travel back down to New Orleans for another four-game series that will go through Friday.

AA-Springfield Cardinals
Record to date: 12-14 in the second half (50-46 overall), third place in the TEX North, 7 games behind NW Arkansas

This past week: 6-2
Springfield had the best week that any of the Cardinals minor league teams have had in a while. They started off last weekend finished up the NW Arkansas series with a double-header on Saturday, which was spilt, and game three on Sunday. The Cardinals then were the host to Tulsa for a five-game set. Springfield took four of the five games to inch a little closer to the league leader. Last night, the Cards began another series with Northwest Arkansas by taking game one 9-8 in extra innings.

Transactions: Ryan Kulik was promoted to Memphis from Springfield (7-2, 3.08 ERA, 45 SO, 76 IP in AA), Arquimedes Nieto was promoted to Springfield from Palm Beach (8-5, 3.36 ERA, 65 SO, 99 IP in A+), Gary Daley was released by Springfield (3-11, 6.70 ERA, 62 SO, 88 2/3 IP in AA)

Coming up: There won’t be much traveling this upcoming week thanks to the fine people that scheduled Springfield to play NW Arkansas, Arkansas, then NW again to wrap up the month of July. The Cards will continue with the NW Arkansas series tonight through Monday. They will then take on Arkansas for a three-game set before facing off with NW again starting Friday.

A-Palm Beach
Record to date: 15-14 in the second half (53-45 overall), third place in the FSL South, 2 games behind St. Lucie

This past week: 2-5
Palm Beach started the week with a loss to Lakeland and that theme stuck with them for most of the week. Thanks to a magnificant start by Nieto, the Cardinals took the first of four games against Brevard County. Palm Beach would then lose two before winning the fourth to earn a series split. The winning stopped there though as Tampa won Thursday and Friday night’s games.

Transactions: Deryk Hooker was promted to Palm Beach from Quad Cities (5-4, 2.83 ERA, 88 SO, 70 IP in A), Ryde Rodriguez was promoted to Palm Beach from Quad Cities (.274, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 274 AB in A), Ryan Jackson was promoted to Palm Beach from Quad Cities (.272, .366 OBP, 47 R, 302 AB in A), Ted Obregon optioned to Quad Cities from Palm Beach (.174, 11 R, 5 RBI, 69 AB in A+), Oliver Marmol was released by Palm Beach (.221, 19 R, 12 RBI, 104 AB in A+), Devin Shepherd was released by Palm Beach (.171, 3 R, 4 RBI, 35 AB in A+)

Coming up: The Cardinals will play the final two games of the Tampa series today and Sunday before heading to Daytona for a four-game set that will run all the way until Friday.

Alex Castellanos, RF, Palm Beach
.500 AVG (12-for-24), .583 OBP, three runs, two doubles, two home runs, five RBI, two walks
Castellanos is a part of that Palm Beach offense that often punishes the opposition. He was tearing the cover off the ball this week. On the year, Alex is hitting .269 with 36 runs scored, five triples, five home runs, 43 RBI, and 15 stolen bases.
Arquimedes Nieto, SP, Springfield
W, 8 2/3 innings pitched, 3 hits, 0 runs, seven strikeouts
It says Springfield next to his name because that is the team he is currently on. When he pitched his near-complete game, it was with Palm Beach. This is the second consecutive week that Nieto has been award PITCHER OF THE WEEK. This season, Nieto is 8-5 with a 3.36 ERA and 65 SO in 99 innings.

Justin Hulsey covers the Cardinals for i70baseball.com and his blog, Cardinals Front Office, that is also dedicated to Cardinal baseball.You may follow him on Twitter @JayHulsey by clicking here.

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Cardinals Farm Report

Francisco Samuel
Relief Pitcher
AA-Springfield Cardinals
23 years old
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 185 lbs
Signed by Cardinals as an undrafted Free Agent in 2006
Just like every Saturday here on i70baseball, the Cardinal Farm Report spotlights one of the prized Cardinal minor leaguers. This week, it is Francisco Samuel, one of the most talented pitching prospects the Cardinals have ever produced.Samuel was signed by the Cardinals in 2006 as an 18-year-old, undrafted Free Agent. In his first two seasons as a Minor Leaguer, Samuel struggled getting people out. His ERA was over seven and his WHIP hovered around 2.5.

Yet, in 2008, Samuel experienced the breakthrough that caught so many eyes. He started out the season in Quad Cities but only pitched seven innings there before promoted to Palm Beach to take over their closing role. In 63 2/3 innings with the Single-A club, Samuel struck out 94 batters while saving 30 games. He finished the season off with an ERA of 2.86 and his WHIP had dropped a full point.The following year, Samuel spent his entire season in Double-A Springfield where he again ran into a rough patch. He ended up recording 22 saves, but had given up 30 runs in only 47 2/3 innings of work. He was, however, selected to the MLB All-Star Future’s Game for the first time.

This season has been up and down for the right-handed flamethrower. He seems to finally be back on track after suffering from a minor shoulder tweak earlier in the season. Thus far this year, Samuel has three saves, a 4.19 ERA, and 21 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings pitched.

Like I said above, I think there is little doubt that, when it comes to “stuff”, Samuel is one of the best the Cardinals have seen. This kid can simply bring it. He has been compared to Jose Valverde, and Carlos Marmol. His 99 mph fastball is reason enough to be amazed, but his best pitch is actually his slider. There is no doubt that his slider is MLB-ready. A scout/friend of mine told me that it was “devastating” and “full of life”. It tops out around 92 mph and is considered Samuel’s definite strikeout pitch.

There is one major problem though… His control.

Baseball America said it best, “Control is the only thing keeping Francisco Samuel from rocketing through the Cardinals system. His stuff is generally unhittable.”

He is talented enough to be a closer in the big leagues today, but he has to find command. Hitters have learned they can work him for a walk. In his five seasons in the minors, Samuel has a BB/9 mark of 8.3. In 2010, it is 7.5. Once he gains some control, he’ll be a Major League pitcher. Until then, he will idle in AA.

Things are appearing to get better though. Samuel has recently reclaimed the closing role for Springfield and, according to his coaches, the control is starting to come along.

“He’s keeping his delivery a lot more efficient, and his misses aren’t as drastic as they have been. He’s getting to where he can repeat his mechanics,” says Springfield manager Pop Warner.

Pitching coach Dennis Martinez believes he has found and fixed the problem. He told Samuel to incorporate his legs and torso into his delivery. Before, he would rely too heavily on his arm and just “let it rip”. This often causes control problems for young pitchers.

Martinez has spent a ton of time with the prospect pitcher and he believes it is paying off. “Finally, Samuel is not jerking. We’ve really been hammering that out. And finally he’s starting to look comfortable.”

AAA-Memphis Redbirds
Record to date: 49-44, fourth place in the PCL American North, 1.5 games behind Omaha and Iowa.

This past week: 1-3
The Redbirds finished off a five-game series with Nashville at the beginning of this week. They dropped game four 5-1 but took the final game of the series behind another great start by P.J. Walters. Memphis then had three days off for the All Star break before heading to New Orleans for a four-game set. Lance Lynn’s six innings of four-hit ball wasn’t good enough in game one and the Redbirds lost 1-5. Last night’s 4-7 loss was just as disappointing though.

Transactions: Allen Craig was promoted to St. Louis from Memphis (.308, 11 HR, 65 RBI in AAA), Adron Chambers was promoted to Memphis from Springfield (.282, 5 HR, 52 R in AA)

Coming up: The Redbirds will finish up their series in New Orleans. Games three and four are on Saturday and Sunday. They will then come home for a four-game series against Omaha that will go through Thursday. Oklahoma City will then take on the Redbirds in a four game set starting Friday.

AA-Springfield Cardinals
Record to date: 6-11 in the second half (44-43 overall), fourth place in the TEX North, 7.5 games behind Tulsa

This past week: 2-3
Just like Memphis, Springfield did not exactly have a week’s full of games. Unlike Memphis however, the Cardinals were plagued by rainouts instead of having the All Star break. Sunday, Thursday, and both of the games last night were rained out. They did get a double-header in on Saturday but only managed a split with Frisco to wrap up a four-game series. Game one of the series with Midland was rained out, but the Cards won behind an excellent start by Ryan Kulik on Monday before dropping games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Transactions: Adron Chambers was promoted to Memphis from Springfield (.282, 5 HR, 52 R in AA), Chris Swauger was promoted to Springfield from Palm Beach (.294, 4 HR, 26 RBI)

Coming up: The Cardinals have three games to make up with NW Arkansas, but when those games will be made up is yet to be known. They will have a double-header on Saturday that will cover one of those games, but I doubt they will make up the other two until next weekend. The Cardinals will then take on Tulsa, the league leaders, on Monday through Thursday before starting another series with NW Arkansas on Friday.

A-Palm Beach
Record to date: 12-8 in the second half (50-39 overall), third place in the FSL South, 1 game behind Bradenton and St. Lucie

This past week: 3-3
Palm Beach started the week with a series against the league leaders, Bradenton but only took one of three thanks to a great start by Arquimedes Nieto. The team then traveled to Lakeland to take on the Flying Tigers. Game one was a tough 3-4 loss and game two was rained out, but Palm Beach won both of the games of the double-header last night with a combined score of 13-1.

Transactions: Chris Swauger was promoted to Springfield from Palm Beach (.294, 4 HR, 26 RBI)

Coming up: The Cardinals will play the final game against Lakeland tonight before they take on Brevard County in a four-game series that will go through Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will be game’s one and two of the Tampa series.

Matt Carpenter, 3B, AA-Springfield
.500 AVG (7-for-14), .643 OBP, five runs, two doubles, two home runs, four RBI, two walks
Carpenter has been the Cardinals best hitter since being brought up from Palm Beach a couple months ago. This week was no exception. On the year, Matt is hitting .304 with 43 RBI and 55 runs scored.
Arquimedes Nieto, SP, Palm Beach
One win, seven innings, six hits, no runs, no walks, seven strikeouts
Not to take anything away from Ryan Kulik’s one-hitter in seven innings on Monday because he did great, but Nieto was on his game and, more importantly, didn’t allow a run. This season, Nieto is 7-5 with a 3.57 ERA and 62 SO in 93 1/3 innings.

Justin Hulsey covers the Cardinals for i70baseball.com and his blog, Cardinals Front Office, that is also dedicated to Cardinal baseball. You may follow him on Twitter @JayHulsey by clicking here.

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