Baseball season has been done for a little over two weeks.
I miss it.
I was down in Florida this weekend, and although I was in Tampa, I noticed very few Marlins shirts from the locals. I’m not sure if it’s team loyalty to the Devil Rays or what, but you’d think they’d get a little more excited about a World Series down there. Maybe if I had made it down to Miami I would have seen more.
Angel Berroa and Dontrelle Willis are your Rookies of the Year. Berroa I like, because he had a great season. Willis had some great moments, and the good start, but really looked mortal by the end of the year. Brandon Webb had in my mind a better year in a hitters park, but chalk one up to the hype machine. This makes me think Pujols is going to win the MVP over Bonds.
There have been some seasons where the lineup for the Rookie of the Year voting was stacked, and then some that you had to look long and hard to find someone to even claim the award with some degree of decency. And sometime these even happen in consecutive years. The 1987 AL ROY, although the first place votes were swept by Mark McGwire and his 49 homeruns, had a great field. The Tiger’s Matt Nokes came in third, despite playing catcher and hitting 32 homeruns. Devon White set a career mark by hitting 24 homeruns in his rookie season while stealing 32 bases. These good numbers only garnered him a fifth place finish. Runner up Kevin Seitzer had 207 hits, hit .323, and scored a 105 times. Any one of these guys could have won it this year.
And then you have the 1988 ROY. Walt Weiss dominated the field by hitting only .250 (and a .633 OPS, but he can play defense). Runner up was Bryan Harvey, who had some pretty good seasons as a reliever for the Angels, and then would play on the very first Florida Marlins team.
So this category is really hit or miss. The infamous Jose Canseco won the award in 1986. He did by having the lowest batting average of any hitter who would win the award, hitting a paltry .240. The 33 homeruns definitely helped.
The free agent market officially opened today. ESPN has their Top 50 List. I was a little surprised to see Colon so high on the list, but I guess he is the best pitcher available, and is still only 30. One interesting prediction had Keith Foulke going to the Braves. Unless they move Smoltz back into the rotation, you’d be looking at the best one-two relief punch in the game.
I know the predictions are just guesses, but the most discouraging thing was ESPN not thinking any of the Top 50 would come to Detroit. Not that I’d want Jose Mesa (listed at number 50), or even Brian Jordan (number 49), but it shows the so called experts don’t think Dombrowski is going to get anyone to come to Detroit.
The Tigers had the day off yesterday, and play on the West Coast (10 pm here), so I’m going to throw some things out and discuss them.
In an earlier column, I mentioned bring up Shane Loux from AAA, and the Tigers did just that. Billfer sifted through a good Baseball Primer article about scouting pitchers and a workup on Shane Loux was included. This, along with the article on scouting hitters, are excellent reads. I don’t see him listed as a probably starter anytime soon, so he must be coming out of the pen.
Shane Loux is interesting in that, at 24, he’s already in his third year at Toledo. His first two were pretty mediocre, but this year he seems to be finding something.
Also of interest in the minors is Kenny Baugh, the Tigers first round draft pick from last year. Coming off of surgery for a torn labrum, Baugh was getting roughed up when he initially came back, but yesterday, he gave up only one hit (in the eighth inning) in 7 2/3 shutout innings for Erie. Hopefully this trend will continue, and Kenny will be able to get his career back on track.
Bob Boone was fired yesterday, and I say good riddance. It will be interesting to see where he ends up next, but Boone inherited a good batch of young talent, and never seemed to use players effectively. The only good idea I could think of that he came up with was batting Adam Dunn lead off, which he never really did (although he tried it later in the year). Dave Miley, the interim coach, worked down in Louisville for their AAA affiliate, the Cardinals. I’ve heard some good things about Miley, so hopefully he’ll be able to turn these guys around. Although from what I’ve heard, the Reds are going to be very active before the trade deadline, and not neccesarily in a good way if you’re a Reds fan.
Rob Neyer has written a nice set of articles, the first of which talks about how he prefers watching a game at Fenway versus watching on at Yankee Stadium. In the second article, he responds to some mail essentially calling him baised in his conclusion, since he’s a Red Sox fan. Personally, I agree with him after going to Fenway last year and Yankee Stadium this year.
So that’s about it for now. I should have a game report up in the morning, and I eventually plan on writing something about my first experience with Strat-O-Matic baseball.