Year End Sports Review- Part 1, Baseball

Posted: 01/01/2012 by levcohen in Baseball

I’m starting a sports blog and what better time than January 1. I live in Philadelphia and I’m a Philly sports maniac. I will be looking at the last year, from each of the four major sports. In the past year of baseball, my Phillies disappointed and other teams thrived. I’m going to talk about which teams performed better than hoped for and the ones that didn’t.

Teams that performed well and some reasons they did:

  1. St. Louis Cardinals: duh on this one.. WS Champs would be good enough for any team outside of one in New York.. just kidding, sorta.. The obvious reason is King Albert, but plenty of other players contributed, from Matt Holliday to Benjie Molina to John Jay..
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks: This team was picked as a last place finisher in the very weak NL West (sorry Giants), and ended up stunningly winning 94 games and the division by 8. Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy are the obvious answers. Upton got 214 points for the NL MVP, which was 4th on the list, and even got a first place vote. Kennedy also finished 4th, with 76 votes and a first place vote along with it. Lets look at some smaller players who got the job done all year. Gerardo Parra improved his BA by .31 and his ops by 100 points. Huge improvement there for the corner outfielder who also won his first Gold Glove. Robin Roberts was also a huge part of the team. After getting a meager 66 AB’s in 2010, last year he stepped up and had 482, in the process of hitting 19 homeruns, 3rd most on the team. Miguel Montero responded from an injury and shortened season last year in a big way, having a .820 OPS, 2nd best of any regular on the D’Backs. Let’s not forget the skipper, Kirk Gibson, manager of the year.
  3. Detroit Tigers: In what was supposed to be a close race in the AL Central, with the White Sox and Twins high in pre-season projections, the Tigers ran away from the pack here, winning the division by 11. Of course, they had the MVP and CY Young winner, Justin Verlander, the superb fire-thrower. They also had a plethora of good hitters, led by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and they got huge boosts from C Alex Avila and SS Johnny Peralta

Teams that underperformed and a couple reasons they fell short of expectations:

  1. Boston Redsox: This team had no excuses. Last offseason, they went out and got two top hitters, speedster Carl Crawford and power hitter Adrian Gonzalez. With those guys going with Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Youk and David Ortiz, they had the best lineup in the MLB. Their pitching staff was fine too, led by Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. Fans were hoping for a WS victory. Instead, they finished 90-72, blowing a huge wild card lead and finishing like the Mets.. Let us look at some reasons why they blew up. One, top 3 starters Lester, Beckett, and Lackey were said to be EATING CHICKEN IN THE CLUBHOUSE AND PLAYING VIDEO GAMES WHILE THEIR TEAM WAS PLAYING. Obviously, this is horrible chemistry. It’s as if they don’t care about their team at all. On the field, the same things bit them as they seem to do every year. The lack of a solid all around OF and SS. Reddick came on in the middle of the year and helped the RF spot, and Jed Lowrie showed some promise at SS, but he got hurt, again. 
  2. Philadelphia Phillies: This is pretty harsh for a team that won 102 games, no doubt about it. But the window is quickly closing on the Phillies aging core, and they want to win 1-2 + more WS with this group. Losing in the NLDS won’t cut it for the nasty Philly fans. Chase Utley continued declining, and the offense stalled in the playoffs, even with Hunter Pence in the lineup. Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee got hit in the NLDS for a team that didn’t do much wrong during the regular season.
  3. Minnesota Twins: This is a team that was supposed to win its division. It finished with the second worst record in the MLB, at 63-99. A lot of things went wrong with this team. Their two best players, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, underperformed and were both injured half the year. Michael Cuddyer was their only consistent hitter. Their ace, Liriano, had an ERA over 5

FANTASY PLAYER’S OF THE YEAR…

Top 5 hitters:

1. Matt Kemp, LA Dodgers: Kemp hit .324 with 39 Homers and 40 SB. wow. he also scored 115 runs and drove in 126. He finished close to the triple crown. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M805C5C5OCg

2. Jose Bautista, Toronto: While other players had better overall stats, Bautista was helped in this ranking by the fact that he was 3B eligible. Oh, and he did hit over .300 with 43 homers.. No biggy, right? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-2O14QnHqQ 

3. Ryan Braun, MIL: I know, I know. He took PED’s. But his #’s are fantastic none the less. He hit .332, and he could have won the batting title if Jose Reyes didn’t chicken out and bunt for a hit to secure his title. He had 100+ Runs and RBI, and hit 33 homers with 33 steals. Not quite Kemp numbers, but still very impressive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj0W7RpKwRw

4. Dustin Pedroia, BOS: This scrappy guy puts up very impressive numbers for a 2B. Not only did he hit over .300 and score 100 runs, he also went 20-20. Wouldn’t be great numbers for an OF, but for a 2B they are eye opening. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5RqmW5kt7I

5. Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS: This might be a bit too low for this speedster. He scored 119 runs, drove in 105, and stole 39 bases. He also hit .321. However, the two most impressive things about Jacoby, are his ability to stay healthy and his improved power. This is a guy who has always been injury prone. This year, he played in all but 4 games and had 660 AB’s. Before this year, Ells had 20 homers.. This year alone he had 32. Very impressive.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVQogFKbzpU

Honorable Mention:

Curtis Granderson, Troy Tulowitsky, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton

Top 5 pitchers:

1. Justin Verlander, DET: AL MVP and CY Young, Verlander won 25 games with 250 K’s. He also had a 2.40 ERA and a .92 WHIP… Nothing to see here, moving on.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g8ofmqID-8

2. Clayton Kershaw, LAD SP: One could argue his stats were almost as good as Verlander’s. He won 21 games with 248 K’s, had a lower ERA than Verlander.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91wIgu7zpp4&feature=related

3. Craig Kimbrel, ATL closer: Rookie of the year, Kimbrel saved 46 games against 8 blown saves. He had a 2.10 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. An astounding stat is that in 77 innings he struck out 127. While he blew an important save on the last day of the season, the Braves wouldn’t have been in that situation without the stud RP.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkCzKMM3228  

4. Roy “Doc” Halladay, PHI SP: No surprise here for the best pitcher in the MLB :D…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSKxTggz5Io

19-6 record, sub 2.50 era, etc..
those stats look kind of familiar.

5. Cliff Lee, PHI SP: No bias here. He won 17 games, struck out batters at the highest rate of his career, and posted a 2.40 ERA, to go along with a 1.03 WHIP..   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjISm1JZ2ac

Honorable Mention:

Jered Weaver, Drew Storen, Ian Kennedy, John Axford..

Now going onto the Bowl Projections for January 2. (I will be doing projections for each day of bowl games the day before):

Houston- 37 Penn State- 26

Ohio State- 27 Florida- 14

Georgia- 29 Mich State- 22

South Carolina- 37 Nebraska- 17

Oregon- 41 Wisconsin- 37

OK State- 48 Stanford- 42

AND thats it for today, tomorrow I will be going over the NFL season

Usually this will be shorter, but for the first week or so it may be lengthy

Sometimes it will be debates, or player/s tweets or opinions

Hope you liked it

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