Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Congratulations to Ted Simmons... and Joe Mauer. Here is why.

Over the weekend, the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted two new members into the Hall of Fame: Former Saint Louis Cardinals backstop Ted Simmons and late executive Marvin Miller were elected off of the Modern Era ballot, which featured Lou Whitaker, Thurman Munson and Dale Murphy, among others. To be clear: this isn't the traditional ballot featuring former New York Yankees SS Derek Jeter. Here is some background on the traditional BBWAA ballot:
  • A voter can select a maximum of ten players from the ballot. 
  • To become inducted into, a player needs 75% of votes.
  • If a player gets <5% of votes, they will be removed from the ballot.
  • If a player isn't elected after 10 years on the ballot, they will be removed from the ballot.
Each year, the BBHOF has four different committees to give another chance for players who missed out on the traditional BBWAA ballot. The Today's Era committee focuses on player contributions from 1988 to the present, Modern Era (1970-1987), Golden Era (1950-1969) and the Early Baseball Committee, which features players from 1871-1949. Each committee will meet twice every five years, while the Early Baseball Committee will meet every ten years. 

Now, let's get back to Ted Simmons. Simmons, an 8x All-Star and Silver Slugger, was largely viewed as one of the more consistent hitting catchers to play, but struggled with his defense to start his career, gradually improving. It also didn't help that Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, who is viewed as one of the top all-around catchers, was also playing during that era. However, Simmons didn't fare well on Hall of Fame ballots, which is surprising, consider how his offensive stats match up. Here are some eye-popping (good and bad) stats about Simmons:
  • Simmons had a WAR of 3.0 (Wins Above Replacement) for 10 years in row, a metric only Johnny Bench, Gary Carter and Ivan Rodriguez (who, by the way, are all Hall of Famers).
  • Simmons was in the top three for stolen bases allowed for 11 years.
  • Simmons was also the top three amongst catchers in RBIs.
Simmons only polled 3.7% on ballots and immediately was eliminated. To Simmons' argument, he was buried in a star studded ballot of future HOFers Steve Carlton, Bruce Sutter and Don Sutton.  After Simmons got elected, he credited sabermetrics for his rise to relevancy. By Simmons getting elected, he paved the way for a lot of players who weren't considered for Hall of Fame, who will now be considered. Enter: Joe Mauer.

Mauer, a career Minnesota Twin riddled with accolades, has often been the subject of Hall of Fame controversy. The 6x All Star, AL MVP and 3x Gold Glover known for his solid offense and stellar defense had a great career, but some question if his move to first base affected his career. Additionally, some critics think if Mauer hit more consistently later in his career, he would have a better chance at getting in. However, Mauer was a better catcher than Simmons, purely based on the following:
  • Mauer has numerous accolades as mentioned above, including 3x AL Batting Champ.
  • Mauer posted a higher WAR than Simmons, while playing six less years.
  • At his worst, Simmons committed more defensive errors than Mauer.
  • Mauer was always a consistent contact hitter, finishing with a career .306 batting average.
I created a statistical comparison chart to analyze the major statistics between Simmons and Mauer. I was surprised at the results and take this with a grain of salt, considering Simmons played six more years than Mauer.

Simmons won the major categories 10-9, leading in some major defensive categories. However, even a novice stathead knows how much of an offensive prowess Mauer was, especially playing six fewer years. Mauer easily won the average category, slightly falling behind in the hitting and runs categories. Mauer produced a 55 WAR, which is impressive, considering some of his injury-plagued seasons. Even though Simmons seemed to be a strong power hitting catcher (posting higher numbers in HR, RBI, H and R) Mauer seemed to consistently hit for contact throughout his career, only posting strong home run numbers a few times. 

After analyzing the statistical comparison and doing research, I strongly believe Joe Mauer will be elected in the Hall of Fame. Will Mauer be a first ballot Hall of Famer? No. However, I think he has a strong chance of being voted in on his 6th or 7th time on the ballot, strongly depending on the incoming first ballot players. If he doesn't get elected on the traditional ballot, he will be elected on the Today's Game ballot. 

So, congratulations to Ted Simmons... and Joe Mauer, for paving the way.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

My Interview with Matt LaPorta

While I am crafting my update post, I wanted to post some of my interviews I've done recently. Here is one with former Cleveland Indians 1B Matt LaPorta. LaPorta, a former first round pick and Olympic medalist, currently lives in Tampa, Florida working as a mortgage consultant. Here is the link to our conversation:

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

An Update: I'm Back

To those reading this and thinking that the blog has been hacked.... it hasn't. I figured I'd start this over again and update from time to time. Stay tuned for more. Lots has changed and I'm excited to restart this journey.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hit It Out Of The Byung-Ho Park

Hit It Out Of The Park

I'm back and better then ever. Kidding. I thought I would post an article since I have ample time and have been meaning to post one for quite some time now. This summer was one of the busiest I've had. I've also had a school year with substantial workload so I haven't had a lot of time to post. This article will just be a summary of the last six months and what I'm doing in the next couple of months. I've been playing a lot of baseball and basketball and have started working. I have started making photo edits on GIMP. For all those who don't know what GIMP is: GIMP is a free photo editing program that is similar to Photoshop (but cheaper!!). I will post some of my edits later (and you'll notice a theme). I also will be talking about the  Rule V Draft and how someone I know was drafted in it.

The Twins recently signed Byung Ho Park, the Korean slugging first baseman, who has hit 50+ homers in the past two years.

The main question is: Can he reenact his power to the major league level or will he be the next Tsuyoshi Nishioka? For all those who don't know- Tsuyoshi Nishioka was a heralded shortstop who batted .346 in 2009 and won the 2010 batting title. The Twins won the contract rights to him and paid $5.3M. They later signed a contract with Nishioka for three years, $9M w/a $4M team option or the Twins had the option to buy him out in 2014 for $250,000. The hype was similar to the Park signing- could this be the piece that helps the Twins become one of the top teams again? The 2011 season came and went and Nishioka was, to say the least, disappointing (see here). He batted a dismal .226 and only got 50 hits in 68 games. The Twins thought 2012 would be a bounce back year with higher expectations. It was the polar opposite. In the 6th game of the season versus Cleveland, Nishioka broke his leg- therefore rendering him useless for the rest of the season. After that, the Twins went 66-96 and [Ron] Gardenhire was fired two years later. On September 29th, 2012- Nishioka and management officially parted ways. Looking back on the signing, was it good for the Twins?

Nishioka had a NEGATIVE WAR. N-E-G-A-T-I-V-E. His WAR was -2.4 which is horrible. That signing could go down as one of the worst in Twins history. Byung Ho Park will play a vastly different role on this team. He will either occupy the first base position or play the designated hitter. Assume Mauer plays first base and Park gets some, but not a lot, of playing time at first base. Byung Ho Park will be the power source for this team, as the Twins have been lacking the home run stat for quite some time. Ever since Joe Mauer's knee injury, he has hit for less and less home runs each year. And to think we paid about $184M for him .....

 Anyway, Park should be a valuable asset if he turns out and produces like he did in South Korea. I'm predicting Park's stat line will be:

.287 AVG, 24 HR, 76 RBI

That would be an ideal stat line for Park, since Japan baseball varies significantly from the MLB. Park's stats (click here) were astronomical in Japan and he proved to be purely dominant. Park also brings to the table a series of eccentric bat flips (here and here) (he says he'll leave those back in South Korea). It will be interesting to see the learning curve on Byung-Ho Park. Safe to say, this has made a lot of fans excited this perspective season.

I've started making photo edits. I varied the opacity on each and tried the blend tool. GIMP is a free photo editing software that you can download onto your computer. I also learned that Microsoft Word can help eliminate the background. Here are some of my edits below:
Jose Berrios

Garin Cecchini

Ervin Santana

Cecchini #2

Byung Ho Park

Ho Park #2

John Ryan Murphy

Nick Gordon

Ervin "May the Force Be With You" Santana

Trevor May

Hope you guys enjoy these edits! Now I'm going to talk about something that some of you may remember. A part of my blog has been interviews (click here for the complete list) and I've interviewed a player named Maxx Tissenbaum (My interviews with him are here and here). We have been in close contact and he recently informed me that he was eligible for the Rule V Draft. The Rule V Draft is a draft for the teams who don't have 40 men on the roster, to draft prospects and to have them on their 40 man roster for the upcoming season. There is also the AAA phase and the AA phase. I was watching anxiously because Maxx was sleeping. Huh? Why would he be sleeping? He is playing for the Brisbane Bandits, an Australian Fall Baseball League. So it was 16 hour time difference. I saw his name pop up and immediately texted him. He was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the AAA phase. The AAA affiliate for the Marlins is the New Orleans Zephyrs. Tissenbaum has been stuck in High-A for the past two years and has clearly shown that he has been ready for the AA level and beyond. I'm glad he can finally get that opportunity. Anyway, I'm wrapping this blog up. I'm glad to be back blogging and glad to update content for you guys. 

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My Interview with Donald Lutz- the first German developed player to play in the MLB

Donald Lutz

My interview with Donald Lutz went awesome. I interviewed him as a member of the Triple AAA Louisville Bats. Unfortunately, he was released about a week after this interview was taken place. Lutz is the first German developed player to play in the MLB.

Lutz played for the Cincinnati Reds. Lutz had a .211 career average over two years and had a .987% career fielding percentage with a -0.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Here's the rest of the interview- it was conducted over email (this is a direct transcript).

1. What's an interesting characteristic about you that no one on your team knows?

Haha I I've been around some of these guys for the past 7 years so they kinda know me pretty good!
2.  Who is your favorite German athlete besides yourself (meaning the athlete you admired/revered while you were in Germany)?

My favourite German athlete was always Dirk Nowitzki, not just because of all the success he had but the way he was on and off the field!
3. When was your first professional home run?

My first professional homerun I hit in 2008 I think in the Gulf Coast League against the Twins to complete my first cycle.
4. When was your first hit and who was it off of?

Not sure if you mean professional hit it first hit ever haha
But my first hit ever was an inside the park homerun in Germany
I hit a ball over the center fielders head and ran like crazy lol
5. When did you sign your first autograph?

I signed my first autograph 2007 when I signed my professional contract I also signed my friends reds hat
6.  One state in the U.S. you'd like to visit but haven't yet.... Why?

Just havnt had time yet or the opportunity to go there but one day I will!
Just heard good things about it and I love traveling the world!
7.  Who's your favorite old-time baseball player?

Funny thing is I don't really have one because I never even watched or heard anything of baseball until I was 15
8. If you had to assemble your starting lineup (all baseball players that have existed), who'd be on the team?

Let’s skip 8!

Lutz w/his awesome mustache

9. The most imposing pitcher you've faced this year is...?

Haven't really faced many guys this year due to injury!

10. Having a short stint in the Majors, how different is AAA life from Major League life?

It's really different in the majors you just get treated like a king everywhere you go!

11.  Who's the funniest guy on your team?

We had a bunch of funny guys on the team so I can't really point one out!

12. What's your favorite visiting ballpark in AAA?

I like Indy the most it's a really nice park and always fun to play!

13. What's the weirdest experience that has happened to you this year?

I had tommy john lol that was pretty weird.

14.  Where do you see yourself after baseball?

I can see myself being a financial advisor or built my own zoo!!

15.  Who's the best player you've seen come through Louisville?

Donald Lutz (myself)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

My Interview with Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown

My interview with Kevin Brown was awesome. Kevin Brown is a 24 year old outfielder from Northborough, Massachusetts who plays for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Pelicans are the Class A advanced affiliate for the Chicago Cubs. Brown went to Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island.  An interesting fact about Kevin Brown is that he's played at every minor league level (Rookie Ball, Single A, High A, Double AA & Triple AAA). Here's the rest of the interview!

1. What's an interesting characteristic about you that no one on your team knows?

 That both of my parents contributed to my baseball success. Most of the time, players say that their dad was their primary contributor to their baseball career. My mom was an excellent softball player.

2.  What was it like playing in the Cape Cod League?

It was an unbelievable experience. I played for the Orleans Firebirds. It was an unbelievable experience and a dream of mine because of how close I was to the fields as a kid.

3. When was your first professional home run?

It was in my rookie season in the Arizona League.  I was playing against the Cincinnati Reds in their spring training complex.

4. When was your first hit and who was it off of?

It was again in the Arizona League, but this time it was against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

5. When did you sign your first autograph?

When I signed my first pro contract, some of my buddies asked me for an autograph as a joke. 

6.  One state in the U.S. you'd like to visit but haven't yet?

I'd like to visit to California.

7.  Who's your favorite old-time baseball player?

Ted Williams. He's the greatest hitter that ever lived.

8. If you had to assemble your starting lineup (all baseball players that have existed), who'd be on the team?

P- Pedro Martinez

9. The most opposing pitcher you've faced this year is...?

It was Reynaldo Lopez

10.  What was it like playing for Bryant University?

Playing for Bryant University was an unbelievable experience. I'm so thankful for all of the staff who helped me, and it's just a beautiful campus out there in Rhode Island.

11.  Who's the funniest guy on your team?

Without a doubt, Ben Carhart.

12. What's your favorite visiting ballpark?

My favorite visiting ballpark I've played is the Birmingham Barons ballpark, Regions Field.

13. What's the weirdest experience that has happened to you this year?

My weirdest experience has defintely been how my coach told me that I needed to stay in Extended Spring Training, and then the next day I was flown to The Iowa Cubs ,   the Triple-AAA affiliate for the Cubs.

14.  Where do you see yourself after baseball?

I hope to coach collegiately or start my own business.

15.  Who are the best players you've seen come through Myrtle Beach or through any of the levels you’ve played at?

It was Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. They are both really talented.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Analyzing Baseball Prospects

I'm baaack!! I haven't posted in a long time, but here's a couple things I'm looking forward to that I'm doing this summer:

Tonight, I'm going to a Torii Hunter signing and I'm looking forward to it a lot. I'm also enjoying the prospect of going to the National Sports Collector Convention this summer is Chicago. It'd be my first time going to a card show since I started collecting.

Anyway, in this post, I'm going to be covering prospects and the top 5 for each team  for 2015. I will also give an indication on who I think the top prospect will be on each team and who has the highest ceiling/potential as well. I will also give an indication of the "impact prospect" on each team.

Here we go! Enjoy!

* means the top prospect
* means the highest ceiling/potenial on each team.
* impact prospect

Arizona Diamondbacks:

Archie Bradley*
Braden Shipley
 Touki Toussaint*
 Aaron Blair
Brandon Drury*

Atlanta Braves:

 Jose Peraza*
Mike Foltynewicz**
 Lucas Sims
Matt Wisler
 Max Fried

Baltimore Orioles:

 Dylan Bundy*
Hunter Harvey**
 Christian Walker
 Chance Sisco
Tim Berry

Boston Red Sox:

Yoan Moncada*
 Henry Owens
 Blake Swihart
 Manuel Margot*
 Rafael Devers*

Chicago Cubs:

 Kris Bryant*
Addison Russell*
Kyle Schwarber*
Albert Almora
 C.J. Edwards

Chicago White Sox:

 Carlos Rodon*
 Tim Anderson**
 Micah Johnson
 Spencer Adams
Francelis Montas

Cincinnati Reds:

Robert Stephenson*
Jesse Winker*
Michael Lorenzen*
Nick Travieso
Nick Howard

Cleveland Indians:
Francisco Lindor**
Clint Frazier*
James Ramsey
Tyler Naquin
Bradley Zimmer

Colorado Rockies:
Jon Gray*
David Dahl**
Eddie Butler
Ryan McMahon
Kyle Freeland

Detroit Tigers:
Steven Moya**
Derek Hill*
Kevin Ziomek
Austin Kubitza
Buck Farmer

Houston Astros:
Carlos Correa*
Mark Appel*
Colin Moran
Domingo Santana*
Vincent Velasquez

Kansas City Royals:
Raul Mondesi*
Kyle Zimmer
Brandon Finnegan**
Sean Manaea
Hunter Dozier

Los Angeles Angels:
Andrew Heaney*
Sean Newcomb**
Nick Tropeano
Joe Gatto
Roberto Baldoquin

Los Angeles Dodgers:
Joc Pederson**
Corey Seager*
Julio Urias
Grant Holmes
Alex Verdugo

Miami Marlins:
Tyler Kolek*
J.T. Realmuto*
Justin Nicolino
Jose Urena
Trevor Williams*

Milwaukee Brewers:
Orlando Arcia*
Clint Coulter
Kodi Mederios*
Jake Gatewood
Monte Harrison*

Minnesota Twins:
Byron Buxton*
Miguel Sano*
Alex Meyer
Nick Gordon*
Jose Berrios

New York Mets:
Noah Syndergaard*
Kevin Plawecki
Michael Conforto*
Steven Matz*
Brandon Nimmo

New York Yankees:
Aaron Judge*
Luis Severino*
Jorge Mateo
Ian Clarkin*
Eric Jagielo

Oakland Athletics:
Franklin Barreto*
Matt Olson
Matt Chapman*
Renato Nunez
Dillon Overton*

Philadelphia Phillies:
J.P. Crawford**
Aaron Nola
Maikel Franco
Tom Windle
Jesse Biddle*

Pittsburgh Pirates:
Tyler Glasnow*
Jameson Taillon
Austin Meadows*
Nick Kingham*
Josh Bell

San Diego Padres:
Hunter Renfroe*
Trea Turner*
Austin Hedges
Rymer Liriano*
Cory Spangenberg

San Francisco Giants:
Kyle Crick*
Tyler Beede**
Keury Mella
Christian Arroyo
Adalberto Mejia

Seattle Mariners:
Alex Jackson**
D.J. Peterson
Gabriel Guerrero*
Austin Wilson
Patrick Kivlehan

St. Louis Cardinals:
Stephen Piscotty*
Marco Gonzales
Rob Kaminsky**
Alex Reyes
Carson Kelly

Tampa Bay Rays:
Justin O’Conner*
Daniel Robertson
Willy Adames*
Adrian Rondon*
Blake Snell

Texas Rangers:
Joey Gallo**
Jorge Alfaro*
Nomar Mazara
Jake Thompson
Luke Jackson

Toronto Blue Jays:
Devon Travis*
Daniel Norris*
Dalton Pompey
Max Pentecost*
Jeff Hoffman

Washington Nationals:
Lucas Giolito*
A.J. Cole
Michael Taylor**
Erick Fedde
Brian Goodwin