Wednesday June 30, 2004
TWINS LOSE GAME 1 TO SOX
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Before we get started with my All-Star selections, I want to again thank Dave Anderson for his wonderful article on fantasy baseball. If you missed it, it gave very detailed statistical analysis of 5x5 fantasy draft strategy. Be sure to read it here.
I briefly mentioned yesterday that Twins OF Lew Ford was participating in an online chat on TwinsBaseball.com. Lew took time to answer questions from fans. For the transcript, click here.
Matthew Namee, who previously worked as an assistant for Bill James, wrote a great article on The Hardball Times on one of my favorite players growing up, Roberto Alomar. I completely agree that Alomar should be a first-ballot hall of famer, even though he has not been good since the Indians traded him to the Mets after the 2001 season. Matthew does a great job of pointing out just how incredible his career has been.
SethSpeaks NL All-Stars
The All-Star break is now less than two weeks, and it is time for me to throw my two cents into the world. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on what the All-Star Game is, and what it should be. Bud Selig wants it to be more than an Exhibition, so much so that he decided that home field advantage in the World Series should be determined by the game’s winner. Young players seem to enjoy the festivities of the three-day event while veteran All-Stars are looking for minor injuries to help them get out of playing in the game.
Last week, Aaron Gleeman, in an article in The Hardball Times, gave his thoughts on who should play in the All-Star game. He believes that a player should be a star for more than the first 10-12 weeks of a season. He thinks that a player such as Jack Wilson, who was a career .246/.292/.330 hitter in three major league seasons, should not be an All-Star even though he is hitting .338/.357/.500 this year. I have to say that I don’t completely disagree with Aaron on this. It would be nice if all of the “All-Stars” were truly ‘stars.’ Here is a great line that Aaron used to almost summarize his thought:
If Jack Wilson is "for real," we can certainly wait a year just to make sure, and pick him as an All-Star next season. If he's not for real, he doesn't deserve to be an All-Star this year any more than Paul Quantrill in 2001 or Scott Cooper in 1993 and 1994 anyway. A mediocre player who has 10 good weeks is not an All-Star, he's just a mediocre player who happened to put his hot streak together in the first-half of the season.
However, I disagree with that for just one reason. It is the 2004 All-Star Game. Because it has a year associated to the name, it should be the best players in baseball in 2004, even though the 2004 season is less than three months old. The NFL All-Pro Game occurs after the season, so it is a measure of a full season. The NHL All-Star game selects the best players of the season to that point. The NBA season has a mid-season All-Star game comprised of the best players to that point in the season.
Aaron’s follow-up article to his all-star picks was a really great article discussing who has had the best (and worst) statistics from last year’s All-Star Game to this point of this season. Maybe that is the best way to select who should be in the All-Star Game. But those types of statistics are difficult to come by.
The “Star” portion of who becomes an All-Star comes from the fan voting. I think that generally the fans do a good job of voting. Occasionally, however, they are flat-out wrong about who most deserves to play in the game (ie - Jason Giambi will probably be voted in as a starter). Because it is a game for the fans (an exhibition, making home field advantage even dumber), they determine who they want to see start. After the starters are determined, I believe that the players and coaches who decide the reserves (and the team’s managers- this year the Yankees Joe Torre and the Marlins’ Jack McKeon will be managing), should be responsible for putting the most deserving players on the team. In some cases, fan voting is right. In other cases, like AL shortstop this season, someone who shouldn’t will make the team, meaning someone who should, will not be an All-Star.
There are always “mistakes” made. I mean, how was the Devil Rays’ Lance Carter an All-Star last season. So was Mike Williams despite an ERA over 6.00.
So, enough background. I am going to discuss who I would like to see play in the All-Star game, the people I feel are deserving of the spot. Let me say that this will have nothing to do with the fan voting. It will basically be the team I would select if I was the sole person responsible for picking the All-Star teams. I will follow a couple of the rules as well. First, I will pick 32 players from each league, 11 of which will be pitchers. As with the real rules, I will also include at least one member of each team. Today, I will post my National League All-Stars. Tomorrow, I will select my American League All-Stars.
I would love to hear your thoughts and get some debate going on these selections. If you have any thoughts you’d care to share, or if you feel I missed an obvious choice, please feel free to e-mail me.
So, let’s get to the 2004 SethSpeaks National League All-Stars:
(Note - All Stats through Monday 06/28/04)
Mike Piazza, New York Mets (.317/.399/.566, 16 doubles, 16 HR, 38 RBI)
Johnny Estrada, Atlanta Braves (.338/.388/.500, 24 doubles, 4 HR, 44 RBI)
Paul LoDuca, Los Angeles Dodgers (.323/.365/.432, 14 doubles, 4 HR, 28 RBI)
Mike Piazza will be the starter, and his numbers warrant that again. Johnny Estrada is proving that maybe the Braves did get the better of the Kevin Millwood trade a year ago. Paul Lo Duca should have been an All-Star at least the last two years and always just misses the cut. He is having another strong year and deserves it.
Others Under Consideration: Charles Johnson (.254/.362/.503, 14 doubles, 10 HR, 28 RBI), Jason Kendall (.321/.398/.442, 12 doubles, 2 HR)
Jim Thome, Philadelphia Phillies (.314/.424/.715, 17 doubles, 26 HR, 55 RBI)
Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies (.340/.461/.594, 23 doubles, 13 HR, 46 RBI)
Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals (.298/.399/.592, 20 doubles, 20 HR, 51 RBI)
This a very strong position in the National League. I wish that I could put Albert Pujols in the OF and select another 1B, but I guess that wouldn't be fair either. Jim Thome is a star and he showed that with a huge June. Todd Helton is so incredibly consistent that he probably gets overlooked at times. But just look at those numbers. He is amazing.
Others Under Consideration: Derrek Lee (.306/.384/.520, 26 doubles, 10 HR, 46 RBI), Sean Casey (.352/.402/.606, 26 doubles, 15 HR, 54 RBI), Lyle Overbay (.336/.401/.551, 30 doubles, 9 HR, 55 RBI), Craig Wilson (.296/.373/.547, 18 doubles, 15 HR, 42 RBI), Phil Nevin (.286/.368/.460, 15 doubles, 11 HR, 48 RBI) - Casey and Overbay should absolutely be All-Stars this year.
Mark Loretta, San Diego Padres (.323/.372/.465, 24 doubles, 6 HR, 33 RBI)
Jeff Kent, Houston Astros (.293/.348/.507, 20 doubles, 10 HR, 52 RBI)
Jose Vidro, Montreal Expos (.280/.346/.439, 16 doubles, 9 HR, 35 RBI)
Mark Loretta is having his second straight really strong season. Jose Vidro goes from a weak position because someone needs to represent the Expos. I don't like Jeff Kent or Todd Walker, but I went with Kent because the game is in Houston.
Others Under Consideration: Todd Walker, Chicago Cubs (.288/.370/.502, 12 doubles, 11 HR, 27 RBI), Alex Cora (.301/.375/.552, 4 doubles, 4 HR, 17 RBI)
Scott Rolen, St. Louis Cardinals (.339/.414/.620, 16 doubles, 18 HR, 76 RBI)
Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs (.325/.370/.542, 20 doubles, 14 HR, 54 RBI)
Adrian Beltre, Los Angeles Dodgers (.323/.351/.579, 16 doubles, 19 HR, 52 RBI)
Scott Rolen is the leading MVP candidate (non-Bonds division) in the NL. This is a tough position to pick just three players from though as a number of quality candidates are left off this list. Aramis Ramirez is the 3B that Cubs fans have waited for since Ron Santo. Adrian Beltre, even with his injury, has been absolutely incredible all season, finally meeting the potential that people have been waiting for.
Others Under Consideration: Vinny Castilla (.275/.346/.547, 24 doubles, 16 HR, 60 RBI), Mike Lowell (.301/.375/.552, 22 doubles, 16 HR, 46 RBI),
Jack Wilson, Pittsburgh Pirates (.337/.356/.498, 18 doubles, 6 HR, 30 RBI)
Edgar Renteria, St. Louis Cardinals (.283/.326/.391, 18 doubles, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 9 SB)
Barry Larkin, Cincinnati Reds (.302/.354/. 419, 9 doubles, 4 HR, 19 RBI)
I can't look at Jack Wilson's numbers and say that they are not worthy of All-Star status. Edgar Renteria has put up very good numbers, even if they aren't up to his standards from the past few years. The Reds didn't even want Barry Larkin back. He was brought back for cheap. He has stayed healthy. And he has been productive.
Others Under Consideration: This is how sad the SS position in the NL is this year... Cesar Izturis (.301/.335/.377, 12 doubles, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 12 SB)
Lance Berkman, Houston Astros (.315/.469/.605, 19 doubles, 16 HR, 66 RBI)
Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants (.352/.612/.764, 11 doubles, 19 HR, 40 RBI, 109 BB, 16 K)
Steve Finley, Arizona Diamondbacks (.306/.369/.553, 13 doubles, 19 HR, 40 RBI)
Adam Dunn, Cincinnati Reds (.263/.407/.574, 12 doubles, 22 HR, 48 RBI)
Bobby Abreu, Philadelphia Phillies (.304/.438/..572, 19 doubles, 16 HR, 50 RBI, 15 SB)
JD Drew, Atlanta Braves (.285/.414/.573, 13 doubles, 16 HR, 44 RBI)
Like so many others, I hope that the final vote for the NL OF would leave a starting OF of Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey and Sammy Sosa, and if that is how it happens, I have absolutely no problem with that. They all have over 500 homers and have had great careers. But, for me, just one of them deserves to be an All-Star this year. Just take another look at Barry Bonds' numbers. He gets on more than 3 of every 5 plate appearances. He's just incredible. Lance Berkman has some pretty incredible numbers. My selection for the Reds is Adam Dunn over Griffey. Junior is hitting just .239. Dunn doesn't hit for average, but look at the power numbers and the on-base percentage. Steve Finley has quietly had a very solid big league career. I think he should make the team. Bobby Abreu is so underrated. He always puts up strong, all-around numbers, and this year is no exception. Injuries have always kept us from seeing JD Drew. He has been relatively healthy and is putting up very strong numbers for the Braves.
Others Under Consideration: Moises Alou (.285/.325/.529, 16 doubles, 18 HR, 47 RBI), Sammy Sosa (.285/.378/.570, 11 doubles, 12 HR, 29 RBI... just too much time missed because of The Sneeze), Ken Griffey (.239/.340/.507, 15 doubles, 19 HR, 54 RBI), Jeromy Burnitz (.275/.347/.543, 15 doubles, 16 HR, 48 RBI), Juan Pierre (.302/.364/.386, 10 doubles, 5 triples, 2 HR, 18 RBI), Craig Biggio (.298/.360/.464, 23 doubles, 9 HR, 31 RBI), Scott Podsednik (.259/.338/.421, 15 doubles, 9 HR, 26 RBI, 31 SB), Brian Giles (.273/.368/.442, 7 doubles, 5 triples, 10 HR, 42 RBI), Jim Edmonds (.274/.377/.544, 23 doubles, 15 HR, 47 RBI)
Roger Clemens, Houston Astros (10-2, 2.73 ERA, 9.5 K/9, 1.20 WHIP, .218 Opp BA)
Jason Schmidt, San Francisco Giants (10-2, 2.43 ERA, 9.63 K/9, 0.95 WHIP, .178 Opp BA)
Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks (9-5, 3.10 ERA, 10.15 K/9, 0.91 WHIP, .188 Opp BA)
Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs (8-3, 2.56 ERA, 8.38 K/9, 1.19 WHIP, .221 Opp BA)
Ben Sheets, Milwaukee Brewers (6-5, 2.41 ERA, 9.36 K/9, 0.89 WHIP, 1.98 Opp BA)
Carl Pavano, Florida Marlins (9-2, 2.78 ERA, 5.65 K/9, 1.05 WHIP, .222 Opp BA)
Tom Glavine, New York Mets (7-4, 2.11 ERA, 4.64 K/9, 0.98 WHIP, .200 Opp BA)
Eric Milton, Philadelphia Phillies (9-2, 4.38 ERA, 7.03 K/9, 1.53 WHIP, .273 Opp BA)
Roger Clemens should start because the game is in Houston, but Jason Schmidt is the best pitcher in baseball right now. Carl Pavano recently broke up with Alyssa Milano, so he should make the team just because I feel bad for him. Oh, and his numbers are really good too! Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Greg Maddux are the "names" of the Cubs rotation, but Carlos Zambrano has been their best and Matt Clement just missed my list. Randy Johnson has been dominant. If he played for a decent team, he could have a much better record. Ben Sheets is great. Just look at his numbers again. I almost took Eric Milton off this list after last night. He gave up 7 runs in 5 innings... and recorded his 10th win of the year. That is a great example of why the "Win" stat means so little. However, 10 wins at the break is 10 wins. Giving up 7 runs last night didn't matter because his team scored a lot more runs. And, he's a former Twin who previously made the All-Star team in 2001 and didn't get to pitch. Maybe he can this year.
Others under consideration: Matt Clement (7-6, 2.98), Russ Ortiz (7-6, 3.87), Paul Wilson (7-2, 3.69), Brad Penny (7-5, 2.65), Odalis Perez (4-3, 2.96), Kaz Ishii (9-3, 3.93), Doug Davis (8-5, 3.34), Livan Hernandez (5-7, 3.47), Brian Lawrence (9-5, 3.87), Chris Carpenter (8-2, 3.61)
Eric Gagne, Los Angeles Dodgers (2-0, 1.69 ERA, 18/18 Saves, 12.1 K/9, 0.81 WHIP, .153 Opp BA)
Armando Benitez, Florida Marlins (2-0, 1.15 ERA, 25/27 Saves, 7.6 K/9, 0.85 WHIP, .158 Opp BA)
Danny Kolb, Milwaukee Brewers (0-0, 0.94 ERA, 21/22 Saves, 2.5 K/9, 0.80 WHIP, .196 Opp BA)
Eric Gagne is the best. He's just perfect. Armando Benitez wasn't as bad in 2003 as many wanted to think. A change of scenery was great for him. Danny Kolb doesn't strike anyone out, but he doesn't give up hits or walks either. I can't explain it, but numbers like those deserve a spot in Houston. Alot of people will think that Danny Graves should make it, but I think the Save stat itself is very overrated. I think Graves has so many because of having so many opportunities. He has blow 7 saves. That's more than Armando Benitez had last year for the Mets.
Others under consideration: John Smoltz (0-0, 2.78, 13/14 Saves), LaTroy Hawkins (1-0, 2.13 ERA, 11 Saves), Danny Graves (1-3, 3.16 ERA, 29/36 Saves), Chad Cordero (2-1, 2.61, 4 saves), Jose Mesa (0-0, 2.40, 17/17 Saves), Trevor Hoffman (2-0, 2.08, 17/19 Saves)
So there you have it. My selections for the 32 player National League All-Star team. I'm sure there are some choices that you disagree with. Let's discuss this. Send me some questions or arguments about these selections. Maybe there'll be a Mailbag later in the week. E-mail me.
WHITE SOX WIN GAME ONE
Twins 2, White Sox 6
Mark Buehrle has been bad of late. The Twins hitters made him look real good last night. Buehrle worked quickly and he hit spots. His pitches were clocked between 75 and 91 mph and his location was impeccable. Carlos Silva was really quite good too. He went 8 2/3 innings. He gave up six runs, but five of them came with 2 outs. If he could have been able to get out of those innings, the game was different. The big hit thought was the Juan Uribe 7th inning homer that expanded the Sox lead to three.
The story, as it has been much of the last two months for the Twins, was their inability to do much of anything offensively. Lew Ford, Torii Hunter and Joe Mauer each went 2-4. Mauer and Ford each hit a double. The Twins were just unable to bunch hits together to score any runs. Corey Koskie opened the scoring with a long homer to center. Later, Hunter singled in Ford for the second run. The White Sox on the other hand, can flat-out hit and hit for power. Carlos Lee had an RBI double. Jose Valentin hit his 16th homer. Juan Uribe hit his 11th homer. Timo Perez was 3-4 against Silva.
Yes, my friends, it may be time for even us, the most ardent of Twins fans, have to admit that the White Sox have a far superior team than the Twins. Does that mean I'm conceding the AL Central to them? Not at all. I think the same comment could have been said the last two years too. The two teams are now virtually tied. If the Twins win tomorrow, they're back in the lead. It's only the end of June. There is a lot of season yet to play.
That said, that Twins need to do something. I am not going to join the bandwagon of Doug Mientkiewicz bashers. He has hit .300 two of the last three years. He's in a slump. Same with Jacque Jones. That said, Justin Morneau is... OK, I've made that point too frequently already, so I will just leave it alone.
Anyway, tonight the teams play Game 2 of this series. A couple of really good pitchers who are throwing that ball really well but not getting any run support go against each other. Of course, Freddy Garcia went from the league's worst offensive team to the best offensive team, so if he continues to pitch exactly the same way, he will record a lot of wins. It should be interesting to see what happens.
Wednesday - 7:10 - Brad Radke (4-3, 3.22, 1.22, .282) vs Freddy Garcia (4-7, 3.29, 1.20, .236)
Thursday - 1:10 - Johan Santana (6-4, 4.38, 1.20, .248) vs Jon Garland (5-5, 4.84, 1.33, .260)
Again, if you have any thoughts on the Twins or this series with the White Sox, or if you think the Twins should make a trade to counter the Sox deal, just E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Redwings 6, Toledo 8 - Adam Johnson made his first start of the season. He went just 3 2/3 innings. He gave up three runs on five hits. He struck out four and walked none. Luis Rodriguez went 3-5 with a double. Justin Morneau knocked in two runs with a 2-4 performance. Todd Dunwoody was 2-3 with a double and an RBI.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS
Sunday - Game 2 -New Britain 0, Trenton 2 (7) - I didn't realize that the Rockcats played a double-header on Sunday. Maybe I just shouldn't mention it. Jamie Vemilyea pitched the seven-inning no hitter against New Britain. Bigger news thought for Twins fans is the return of JD Durbin. He made his first post arm surgery and was on a pitch count. He was held to just two innings. He gave up two runs on two hits and two walks. And then, our hero, Travis Bowyer came in and didn't allow a run in four innings of relief. He gave up three hits and walked just one while striking out three.
Monday - New Britain 5, New Hampshire 10 - Scott Baker started and by looking at the score, you wouldn't think it was a good start for him. But it wasn't bad at all. He went 7 innings and gave up four runs on six hits and one walk. He struck out seven. However, in the 8th, the bullpen imploded. Jon Pridie got one out, but gave up three runs on a hit and two walks. Bobby Korecky came in and got one out too. He gave up three runs on two hits and a walk. Pat Neshek came in and got the third out. 1B Garrett Jones was the lone offensive star. He was 2-3 with three RBI. He hit a double and his 10th homer of the season.
FORT MYERS MIRACLE
Miracle 8, Daytona 14 - OK, there were a LOT of runs scored in this series. Not good for the Miracle. Matt Yeatman started and gave up 10 runs (8 earned) on 7 hits and a walk. Levale Speigner went the next two innings and gave up three runs on four hits and a walk. Justin Olson gave up a run on two hits and a walk. Then position player Michael Sandoval pitched a scoreless 9th inning. Elvis Corporan was 2-4 with a triple. Jesus Merchan was 2-4.
THE SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Swing 0, Cedar Rapids 3 - The Swing swung, but they had just three hits. Not good.
ELIZABETHTON TWINS (ROOKIE LEAGUE)
E-Twins 3 , Bristol 13 -
GULF COAST/FT. MYERS TWINS (ROOKIE LEAGUE)
GC Twins 8, GC Reds 6 - CF Edward Ovalle went 2-5 with three RBI. DH Dante Blancarte was 2-2. Jilmer Arratia was 2-4 with three RBI. Joe Gault picked up the win by going 2 2/3 innings of relief. He gave up a run on three hits and a walk. Robbie Hebert recorded his second Save with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Any questions or comments on the Twins minor league system, e-mail me.
That is it for me for today. Tomorrow, I will post my AL All-Star team. I hope you have a great day. Any more moving hints would be greatly appreciated. As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
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