Rookies of the Year

With the season slowly coming to an end in a month and a half, all the award talks are starting to come up. This year, there have been a lot of stand out rookies in both leagues. But who will take home the Jackie Robinson Award from each league?

In the AL, you have many rookies that have made a case to win this award. One rookie that jumps out is Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova. Nova’s 12 and 4 record is the best among AL rookies and his 75% winning percentage is fourth among AL pitchers with at least 12 decisions. Then there’s Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo. After losing Kendry Morales to injury sometime last year, the Angels needed someone to fill that hole at first. So they called up Mark Trumbo, and boy has he produced. He leads all AL rookies in home runs (22), RBIs (64), and doubles (21) and has helped the defense cut down on errors this year. Michael Pineda is a standout this year, and is my pick for AL Rookie of the Year. The Seattle Mariner starter has been over looked this season, probably because he plays on the Mariners. Pineda leads all rookies (AL and NL) in starts (23), innings pitched (141.0), strikeouts (143) and batting average against (.209). He also walks less then three guys per 9 innings pitched, the only rookie pitcher that can say this.

Then you have the NL. Danny Espinosa of the Washington Nationals is a big contender for this award. Espinosa is leading all NL rookies in homers (17), RBIs (55), runs (55), and stolen bases (12). Espinosa is the only rookie this year to play in every single team game this season. Then you have Phillies starting pitcher Vance Worley. Although it is hard to find time on a team with four aces, Vance was able to get a starting job when Roy Oswalt went down with an injury. Since taking over the job, Worley is 8 and 1 with a 2.85 ERA and has only given up 6 home runs in 88.1 innings. My pick for this years NL rookie of the year is Braves rookie closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel has a 1.81 ERA and leads all MLB in saves with 36. He is also first in innings pitched (59.2) among closers and leads all relievers in strikeouts with 94. He hasn’t given up a run since June 11th and has more strikeouts then 3 rookie starting pitchers.

Those are my choices for AL and NL rookie of the year awards, what are yours?

Jim Thome Reaches a New Milestone

Twins first baseman and designated hitter Jim Thome reached a milestone that only 7 other players in history have reached, 600 home runs. Going into Monday nights matchup against Rick Porcello and the Detroit Tigers, Thome had 598 home runs under his belt. Jim Thome approached the plate in the top of the sixth inning with Rick Porcello on the mound, and sent a ball 412 feet to left field for career home run number 599. Then, just an inning later in the top of the seventh, Thome came to the plate again, this time against relief pitcher Daniel Schlereth. Thome got ahead in the count 2-1 then let loose on a breaking ball, sending it to the left field bullpens for number 600.He fist pumped his way around the bases, meeting his teammates at home, along with his father, wife, and son. His 65th home run off the Detroit Tigers is the most of any team in his career. Jim Thome joins Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, and Ken Griffey Jr. to hit 600 career homers. Yet being the oldest to hit it, he is the second fastest (at-bats wise) to do so. He’s also tied for the all-time lead in career walk-off home runs, and with him still healthy and playing well, he has a good chance to break that one also. Thome is a no doubt first time Hall of Famer and an amazing, classy ball player that has deserved everything that he has earned. Congrats to Jim Thome on his amazing feat.

Uggla’s Streak Frozen at 33

Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla was on a Atlanta record, 33 game hit streak entering Sundays game against the Chicago Cubs. Dan Uggla went on to have a 0 for 3 day at the plate which stopped the streak 4 games short of a Braves record set by Tommy Holmes of the Boston Braves in 1945. Uggla almost had a broken bat base hit in the first inning, which he had done in the last 3 games of the streak. He went on to pop out in the third inning against Matt Garza. During the bottom of the fifth inning, Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney made a highlight diving catch to rob Dan Uggla of a hit which would have continued the streak if it had dropped. Then in the seventh inning, he had grounded out to shortstop to end the streak at 33. Uggla was batting .173 when the streak began in early July. During the streak, he batted a high .377, going 49 for 130 with 15 homers and 32 RBIs. By the end of the streak, Uggla had raised his average 58 points bringing it to .231. Among the all-time hit streaks, Dan Uggla’s streak is tied 19th of all time. The streak was good for Uggla, who struggled during the first half of the season, and says he “Hopes to start the new streak tomorrow”. What do you think of Uggla’s streak?

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AL Cy Young Race

This year, there are many dominant pitchers in the American League that are all contending for the American League Cy Young Award. The top 3 contenders for this season are Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers), Jered Weaver (Los Angeles Angels), C.C. Sabathia (New York Yankees). In my opinion, Justin Verlander is the deserving pitcher for this years award. Justin Verlander leads the league in many categories, such as innings pitched (195.0), wins (17), and strikeouts (195). Verlander has also thrown a no-hitter this season, taken two other games into the 8th inning with no-hitters, and has practically carried the tigers rotation. It certianly seems like, with these numbers, he’s a lock for the Cy Young, being mid august. But then you have 2 other aces making a case for their shot at the award, C.C. Sabathia and Jered Weaver. Jered Weaver leads the MLB in ERA with a microscopic 1.78, but doesn’t compare to the other to contenders in other categories, such as wins (14) and strikeouts (150). Weaver does have an edge in that he has only given up 36 runs in 24 starts and has only given up four runs in a game once, while Verlander has given up 57 runs in 26 starts and has given up four or more runs 5 different times. So with that, Weaver may have the edge for an easy second place in the voting, and maybe even first. The Yankees ace Sabathia is second in the American League in wins (16), innings pitched (190.2), and strikeouts (175), all behind Verlander. One thing that may factor in for C.C. is that he does play in the AL East, which is a MLB power house (which he doesn’t have to face the yankees of course). All three of these pitchers still have big starts to go during the rest of the regular season, so maybe this will all sort itself out by the end. But for now, Justin Verlander is my pick for the American League Cy Young Award this year, what’s yours?

Are the Cleveland Indians Legitimate Contenders?

Nobody would have guessed that by August 11th, 2011, the Cleveland Indians would be 2 games out of first place in their divison with a winning record. Especially looking back over the last two seasons and seeing that the Indians have had a 97 and 93 loss season. But is the under dog team a legit contender in the playoffs this year? In my opinion, the Indians are strong yes, but not a contender in the AL. The AL is loaded with power house teams such as the Red Sox and the Yankees and the Indians would have a hard time getting passed a team like the Rangers or even the Angels. But there is also the thought of that under dog team, which have been showing up every where lately in the playoffs. The Cleveland Indians are making a strong showing this season and possibly showing they’re going to be a force in seasons to come., but I don’t think they have all the tools to put a World Series contending team together yet. I do see them progressing in the future and eventually being a power house in the AL and even the MLB. They can use a few more players to add to they’re young gun team that can push them there, starting with the addition of starting pitcher Ubaldo Jiminez. They should add another bat or two to help out Asdrubal Cabrera, Travis Hafner, and Shin-Soo Choo this off season. But as of this year, I don’t think they have the ability to beat the big teams in the AL to get to the fall classic. What do you think?

Blue Jays Stealing Signs?

The Toronto Blue Jays were accused of stealing signs from the opposing teams catcher during a recent series. According to some reports, the Toronto Blue Jays placed a fan in all white clothing in dead center field, right above the pitchers head so the batters didn’t have to move their eyes that far to see the fan. They say he was waving his hands over his head for any type of off speed pitch, and just standing there whenever the pitch was a fastball. The bullpen pitchers caught on to the fan in all white and began yelling insults and threats at Blue Jays left fielder Jose Bautistia. The inning after the incident with the Blue Jays outfielder, the man in the all white had left his seat and the game. Normally, signs are picked up by players and tipped to their teammates on  a game to game basis. Players tip signs from second base to the players batting, which is why catchers use multiple signs when runners are on second. Now the real question is, were they really stealing the signs and is there a possible punishment for them?