Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Pythagorean Expectation 9/13/18

Hey baseball fans!

The title of this post really sounds like the name of a "Big Bang Theory" episode, right? Correct! Today's blog post is very stat-heavy and mathematical. In other words, it should be pretty fun for me to write! Anyway, while perusing through Baseball Reference and looking at team win-loss records throughout the years, I came across the following stat: the Pythagorean expectation. Basically, this stat tells you how many games a team should've won based on how many runs they scored and gave up in a given season. The actual formula is as follows: runs scored raised to the power of 1.83 divided by the sum of runs scored raised to the power of 1.83 and runs allowed raised to the power of 1.83.

Let's look at the 2017 season as an example for understanding how the stat is actually implemented.  The 2017 Red Sox scored 785 runs and allowed 668 of them. Plug those numbers into the Pythagorean expectation formula and you get a winning percentage of .573. Multiply that by 162, the amount of games in an MLB season, and you get that the BoSox should've won 93 games in 2017, which they actually did. The 2017 Yankees, on the other hand, should've won 100 games according to the formula, but instead only won 91. Now, does this mean that the formula is faulty? Maybe, but it could also mean that the Yankees were just unlucky. The same thing goes for the 2017 Indians, who should've won 108 games in '17 but only won 102. Then you have a team like the 2017 Padres, a team that should've won only 59 games according to the Pythagorean expectation formula, but actually won 71 games.

So, why is this formula good to use in order to judge the prowess of MLB teams? Well, I've always been a big fan of run differential and this statistic uses exactly that to determine how good a team is. This same formula using different exponents is also used in the NFL, NBA, and NHL, so you know it's valid. After all, it was created by the great Bill James (pictured below). In conclusion, I may be old school when it comes to stuff like sabermetrics, but this new way of looking at teams is really quite interesting.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 10: The Top 10 9/2/18

Hey baseball fans!

It's time for the epic conclusion to my summer-long series to tell you all my top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history! And it's also time for the real scrutiny to come my way, so let's get to it!

#10: Rogers Hornsby
The first real National League power hitter is actually on this list for a different reason: his .358 career batting average ranks second all time. In fact, he is only one of three hitters ever with a lifetime batting average above .350. He even batted .424 in 1924, which is the highest single-season batting average of the World Series era!

#9: Jimmie Foxx
"Double-X" sure knew how to hit when power was so primitive in baseball. He represented the AL in the All Star Game in the first nine years of the Midsummer Classic, won three MVPs, and was the second ever member of the 500 home run club. His 534 homers rank 19th on the all-time list and his .325 lifetime batting average and 1,922 career RBIs aren't bad, either.

#8: Lou Gehrig
His career was cut short, but amazing. He averaged 29 homers and a staggering 117 RBIs a season to go along with a .340 lifetime batting average. Gehrig won the AL MVP twice and topped 100 RBIs in 13 consecutive seasons (1926-1938). Oh yeah, and he played in 2,130 consecutive games or whatever.

#7: Honus Wagner
The Flying Dutchman terrified National League pitching at the beginning of the 20th century, batting .328 lifetime to go along with 3,420 career hits. The eight-time batting champ and four-time OBP champ is part of the first ever Hall of Fame class in 1936.

#6: Stan Musial
24 gosh darn All Star Games and the fourth-most hits in baseball history will definitely put you at #6 on this list. Stan the Man batted .331 lifetime and also drove in 1,951 runs during his career, the eighth-highest RBI total in baseball history.

#5: Willie Mays
Just like Musial, Mays was a 24-time All Star. Just like Musial, Mays is one of the most feared hitters in National League history. And just like Musial, Mays is up there with the best of them on the all-time hits list, as his 3,283 career base knocks rank 12th on the all-time list. But unlike Musial, Mays had some power. His 660 career home runs put him in the top ten of the category and his .302 lifetime batting average is pretty impressive as well.

#4: Ted Williams
Let the hate comments roll in! First, let's talk about why Teddy Ballgame was so great and then we can talk about why he isn't "the greatest hitter that ever lived." 19 All Star Games. 1,839 career RBIs. 521 career home runs. A .344 lifetime batting average. The best OBP of all time at .482. 2,021 career walks. The last man to hit over .400 in a season. All of that is great, don't get me wrong, but do you really mean to tell me that the "greatest hitter that ever lived" isn't even in the top ten for career hits or home runs? The Splendid Splinter is definitely great, but he doesn't deserve the number one spot in this countdown.

#3: Ty Cobb
The Georgia Peach may have played in a different era, but his stats are undeniably off the charts. His .366 batting average ranks as the best batting average ever and his 4,189 hits rank number two on the all-time list. From 1907-1919, he won 12 of 13 batting titles, batting over .400 twice. Surprisingly, he also has a high RBI total, as his 1,944 RBIs are ninth all-time.

#2: Hank Aaron
The 25-time All Star is quite simply the best hitter of the second half of the 20th century and for three simple reasons:
  1. Third all time in hits with 3,771.
  2. Second all time in home runs with 755.
  3. First all time in RBIs with 2,297. 
That's all I need to say about Hammerin' Hank. 

#1: Babe Ruth
Honestly, who else? A .342 batting average. 2,214 career RBIs. 714 career dingers. The highest slugging percentage in MLB history at .690. Won the AL home run title 12 times in a 14-year span. Per season with the Yankees, he averaged 44 home runs and 132 RBIs. But most of all, he ushered in the Live Ball era, changing the game forever. His transcendence is the real reason for why he's number one and I will never change my opinion regarding this decision. He's just plain revolutionary. 

The list is finally finished! Thank you to everyone for reading this series throughout the summer, but what did you think of it in its entirety? First of all, do you agree with my picks and second of all, would you like to see another series like this in the future? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and, as always, check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, August 24, 2018

Steroids 8/24/18

It’s time to talk about something I haven’t ever discussed on Baseball with Matt and for good reason. However, I feel like the following topic is important to address at this moment because of my list of the best Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history and why it’s restricted to only Hall of Famers. That’s right: let’s talk about steroids.

A lot of people have their opinions on steroids, but I find that a lot of people don’t have the information to back their opinions up. So before I tell you what I think about performance-enhancing drugs, here are the facts. From 1962-1994, just three players hit over 50 homers in a single season. But once the late ‘80s and early ‘90s came and went, home run numbers started to skyrocket. MLB executives probably had an idea of what was going on, which is why they banned the use of steroids in 1991. However, drug-testing didn’t start until 2003. So there was a period of 12 years when steroid users could operate above the law, so to speak. Coincidentally, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire had their crazy race towards breaking the single-season home run record in 1998 and these twelve years were also the beginning of the out-of-this-world career of Barry Bonds.

Jose Canseco, a famous steroid user and McGwire’s former teammate on the A’s, stated that 80% of the hitters he played with took steroids, while others claim the numbers are lower but still bad, around 40-50%. From 1998-2009, the 500 home run club got 10 new members, which is insane because between 1987, when Mike Schmidt hit homer number 500, and 1996, when Eddie Murray accomplished the feat, not a single hitter joined the 500 home run club. Seven of those ten hitters have since been accused or proven to be steroid-takers: Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro and Gary Sheffield. Even other hitters of the era, like Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell, had their Hall of Fame election delayed because of steroid skeptics. But, no hitter positively associated with PEDs has been elected into the Hall of Fame, let alone any pitchers. Although some of the all-time greats just based on their numbers may be getting close, as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have seen their Hall of Fame numbers rise ever since they got on the ballots.

The main argument I’ve heard for letting players linked to steroids into the Hall is that because there’s no way to prove that players before steroids were banned actually took steroids, you can’t discriminate against the players who we know took steroids, despite the fact that they took steroids. Although that is true, like I said before, look at the numbers. When guys like McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds joined the league, home run numbers went up so much that rules had to be changed. On top of this, even if someone like Babe Ruth took some sort of performance-enhancing drug, back then, it was legal. It’s not like he was breaking any rules. It’s not like he cheated.

So, how do I feel about steroid users? Because PEDs have been illegal since 1991 and some of the aforementioned members of the 500 home run club have made it an extremely big deal to admit to their use of steroids and have admitted that they used the substances regrettably, steroid users do not belong in the Hall of Fame. They themselves have told the public that they cheated, so that’s what I think of them as well. Even for guys like Andy Pettitte and Robinson Cano, guys who I grew up watching as a die hard Yankees fan, their career stats must be taken with a grain of salt. I hate saying that, but the members of the Hall of Fame who may or may not have used substances legally do not deserve to have their statuses tarnished by a terrible era for the reputation of baseball. This is the stance I’ve always had about steroids and it’s how it will always be. It’s why I’ve never mentioned Barry Bonds’s name in any blog post I’ve ever written and it’s why I never plan to do so after today.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 9: #15-11 8/13/18

Hey baseball fans!

Welcome to the Top 15! It's such an exciting time during the summer, as we near the end of my top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history. But anyway, let's get to it!

#15: Wade Boggs
Boggs is the AL hitting machine successor to Rod Carew. Both hitters had crazy batting averages and made a ton of All Star Games. Boggs went to twelve Midsummer Classics from 1985-1996, led the league in batting average in five seasons, and batted a staggering .328 lifetime. It took Boggs 11 years to bat under .300 (.259 in 1992) in a season and he only did that two more times in his entire career. His 3,010 career base hits rank 30th on the all-time list and, overall, he's one of the most heralded hitters in Red Sox history.

#14: Roberto Clemente
Batted .317 lifetime. 3,000 hits on the dot in only 17 years in baseball. Four-time batting champion. Had over 200 hits in a season on four occasions. Won 12 consecutive Gold Gloves for the outfield from 1961-1972. 12-time All Star. Two-time World Series champion. Most beloved hitter in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates. But most of all, gone too soon, just because he had a charitable soul. Rest in peace, Roberto.

#13: Frank Robinson
There's Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, but there's also Frank Robinson. One of the more unsung power hitters of the 1950s and 1960s, Robinson could slug the baseball with the best of them. His 586 home runs rank tenth on the all-time home runs list and his 1,812 RBIs and .294 career batting average aren't so bad, either. He was the first hitter in baseball history to win the MVP in both leagues (1961 with the Reds and 1966 with the Orioles), even winning the Triple Crown in '66 with Baltimore. He hit 30 or more homers in 11 seasons and led the league in slugging percentage in four seasons. To top it all off, he's the first black manager in baseball history.

#12: Tony Gwynn
Sorry, Wade Boggs, but it's Tony Gwynn who actually owns the highest batting average out of all the ballplayers who debuted after 1950. Gwynn's .338 lifetime batting average is 18th on the all-time list, leading the league in batting eight times, even batting .394 at the age of 34 in 1994. Gwynn led the league in hits seven times and his 3,141 career base knocks rank 19th all time. On top of all of this, "Mr. Padre" is the only member of the franchise to participate in both of the team's World Series appearances, 1984 and 1998.

#11: Cal Ripken Jr.  
Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive games, a record that will most likely never be broken. Don't get me wrong, this is an amazing achievement, but Cal is way more than a games played streak. For example, did you know that he is 15th on the all-time hits list with 3,184 hits? Did you know he hit 431 career home runs? Did you know he made 19 straight All Star Games? Did you know he's a two-time MVP? Did you know he's probably the most celebrated hitter in the history of the Orioles? Maybe you did, maybe you didn't, but either way, what a career for "The Iron Man."

Next post is the top ten! What do you think of the list so far? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, August 6, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 8: #20-16 8/6/18

Hey baseball fans!

We're getting to the point where the names on this list will be some of the most famous in baseball history! I'm so excited that we've finally reached my top 20 Hall of Fame hitters! Let's get started with this post with #20!

#20: Mickey Mantle
The Commerce Comet is not only my favorite of the Yankees' historical "Big 4," but also the youngest. From 1951-1968, Mantle smacked 536 homers out of the park, good for 18th on the all-time list. The 1956 AL Triple Crown winner and three-time MVP had 30 or more homers in a season nine times, eight of them being consecutive. The most underrated stat about Mantle is his record 18 World Series home runs and his seven World Series rings rank tied for seventh all time.

#19: Ken Griffey Jr.
As good as his dad was, Junior was infinitely better. His 630 home runs puts "The Kid" in seventh place on the all-time home runs list. Yes, he was injury-prone when he went to play for his hometown Reds, but he will always be remembered for his time with the Mariners. Griffey played 11 seasons in Seattle, making ten straight All Star Games from 1990-1999, winning seven Silver Slugger awards and ten straight Gold Gloves. The four-time home run champ wasn't even on Seattle's 116-win team in 2001, but could you imagine if he was?

#18: Mike Piazza
Let this be known to all who choose to argue with me: Mike Piazza is the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history and, to be frank (sorry, Johnny Bench), it's not even close. His 427 homers rank first all-time amongst catchers, his 1,335 RBIs rank second, and his .308 batting average is third all-time for backstops. Sure, Ivan Rodriguez, Mickey Cochrane, and Bill Dickey are also great, but Piazza was a revolutionary talent. Ask anyone from the 1990s to confirm that last statement because I'm sure they will do so gladly.

#17: Tris Speaker
In his 22-year career from 1907-1928, "The Grey Eagle" was one of the best hitters of his era. His 3,514 career hits rank fifth on the all-time list and his 792 career doubles actually rank first all time. It's not a record you think about like other records, but for the Dead Ball era especially, it matters a lot. In fact, Speaker's .500 career slugging percentage is up there with some of the other hitting greats that played during the dawn of the World Series era. Oh, and his .345 lifetime batting average wasn't that bad, either.

#16: Eddie Murray
This is probably a very controversial pick, but let me say this: Eddie Murray is one of the most underrated hitters in baseball history and the reason is quite simple. There are three Hall of Famers with 500+ homers and 3,000+ hits, making them twice as worthy for the Hall of Fame. Two of them are Hank Aaron and Willie Mays and you won't see them on this list for a couple of weeks. The other one, with 504 career homers and 3,255 career hits, is none other than "Steady Eddie" Murray. The eight-time All Star batted .287 lifetime and in the strike-shortened 1981 season, led the AL with 22 homers and 78 RBIs. He's not the best Oriole that will appear on this list, but he is certainly up there.

What do you think of these players' rankings? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, July 30, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 7: #25-21 7/30/18

Hey baseball fans!

Congratulations to the recently-inducted Hall of Fame class! None of you are mentioned in this particular post, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be read, so let's do it!

#25: Carl Yastrzemski
I don't buy the whole "Ted Williams is the best hitter ever" thing (but that doesn't mean he won't be very high on my list). But this guy is one of the most underrated hitters in Red Sox and baseball history. Let me break down Yaz's career for you: 3,419 hits, 452 dingers, 1,844 RBIs, 1,845 walks, and a .285 batting average. Oh yeah, and he single-handedly led the Red Sox to the 1967 World Series by winning the AL Triple Crown and MVP that year.

#24: Mike Schmidt
My favorite player of all time is also one of the most efficient power hitters in baseball history. In his 18-year career with the Phillies, he led the league in homers eight times and slugging percentage five times. His 548 home runs rank 16th on the all-time list. On top of all of this, he's a three-time MVP, 12-time All Star, and helped the Phillies win the franchise's first World Series when he won the 1980 World Series MVP.

#23: Cap Anson
Cap who? The oldest player on this list comes in at #23 and for good reason. In 27 seasons from 1871-1897, Cap collected 2,075 RBIs, the 4th-highest RBI total in history. He also batted .334 lifetime, led the league in batting average four times, and even batted .335 in 1895 at the young age of 43. Sure, it was a different era, but he's a Hall of Famer for a reason. 

#22: Frank Thomas
Let's jump about a century into the future from Anson and look at the Big Hurt! Frank the Tank was a five-time All Star and back-to-back MVP in 1993 and 1994. He hit more than 30 homers in nine seasons and is one of only a few players with 500+ career homers (521 to be exact) and a lifetime batting average better than .300 (.301). From 1991-2007, he averaged a staggering 30 homers and 97 RBIs a season. 

#21: Mel Ott
To keep this one simple, Ott was the National League's Babe Ruth. The first modern premier power hitter of the Senior Circuit made 11 straight All Star Games from 1934-1944 and led the NL in homers six times in his career. The .304 lifetime hitter retired with the most homers in National League history with 511. Today, that mark gives Master Melvin the 25th-most homers in baseball history. 

We're down to the top 20! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, July 23, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 6: #30-26 7/23/18

Hey baseball fans!

We are about to reach the halfway point in my countdown of the top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history! So, let's get down to business!

#30: Rod Carew
One of my favorite hitters in baseball history, Carew made an All Star Game every year he played except his last. During those 18 years of All Star worthiness (and 19 years of MLB service time), Carew was a seven-time batting champ, batting .328 lifetime, which is one of the best marks of the latter half of the 20th century. His 3,053 hits rank 27th on the all-time list and he is arguably the greatest contact hitter in the history of two separate franchises: the Twins (1967-1978) and Angels (1979-1985).

#29: Dave Winfield
The king of the line drive made 12 straight All Star games from 1977-1988. He was a jack of all trades, collecting 150 or more hits and 25 or more home runs in eight seasons. His 3,110 hits are 22nd on the all-time list and he had a .283 career batting average. Fun fact: Winfield was also drafted into the NFL and NBA, but decided to play baseball professionally. What a career move that was.

#28: Eddie Collins
One of the oldest and longest-playing hitters on this list, Collins was basically Ty Cobb's arch nemesis in the first days of the American League and was almost as good. Collins played from 1906-1930 with the A's and White Sox, collecting the 11th-most hits by a hitter in baseball history with 3,315 career base knocks. On top of this, his .333 lifetime batting average is 22nd on the all-time list. 

#27: Napoleon Lajoie
But not even Collins was as good as this guy. Nap's 3,243 career hits are less than that of Collins, but his .338 batting average isn't. Lajoie led the league in hits four times and even batted a staggering .426 in 1901. Lajoie was such a good player that the team he played for, the present-day Indians, was renamed the Naps. The name change lasted for 12 whole years, from 1903-1914!

#26: Vladimir Guerrero
Now let's jump to the 21st century to one of the most recent Hall of Fame members on this list. Vlad only played 16 years, but his per-year stats are off the charts: 28 homers, 94 RBIs, 162 hits, and a .318 batting average. The nine-time All Star and 2004 AL MVP was elected into the Hall in 2018 with 92.9% of the vote.

How's the list looking so far? Leave your thoughts on hitters 50-26 in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, July 13, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 5: #35-31 7/13/18

Hey baseball fans!

I'm back and better than ever! I hope your summer is going quite swimmingly. Speaking of summer, let's talk some baseball, shall we? Specifically, let's talk about the fourth part in my ten-part countdown of the top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history.

#35: Ernie Banks
Arguably the most famous member of the Chicago Cubs in the franchise's storied history, "Mr. Cub" was an 11-time All Star on 19 pretty horrible Cubs teams from 1953-1971. One of the best hitters to never get even so much as a taste of postseason baseball, Banks is one of the most powerful shortstops in baseball history, slapping out 512 career long balls. The back-to-back NL MVP in 1958 and 1959 was elected into the Hall in 1977 in his first year of eligibility.

#34: Joe DiMaggio
It's Joltin' Joe! DiMaggio is distinguished by being the only Hall of Famer to make an All Star Game every single year he played (1936-1942, 1946-1951). The Yankee Clipper was a .325 lifetime hitter, a three-time MVP in 1939, 1941, and 1947, and averaged 118 RBIs a season! Oh yeah, and that 56-game consecutive hits streak or whatever.

#33: Reggie Jackson
Jackson wasn't always a fan favorite, but what he lacked in popularity, he made up for in power. Jackson smacked out 563 career home runs, which is good for 14th on the all-time list. He was a 14-time All Star, 1973 AL MVP with the A's, and 1973 and 1977 World Series MVP for the A's and Yankees, respectively. That latter year was when he hit four homers on four consecutive swings, just saying. Fun fact: Jackson is the only player in baseball history to win the World Series MVP for two different teams.

#32: Jackie Robinson
As I've said before on BwM, Robinson isn't in the Hall of Fame solely because he broke the color barrier. He was a darn good hitter as well. He batted .311 lifetime and made consecutive All Star Games from 1949-1954, winning the NL MVP in '49 while leading the league with a .342 batting average. He also led the league in stolen bases two times (1947, 1949).

#31: Harmon Killebrew
He was the premiere slugger of the AL during his career from 1954-1975 with mainly the Twins franchise (they moved from DC to Minnesota during his career, but it's the same franchise), hitting a whopping 573 career homers, which ranks 12th on the all-time list. The eleven-time All Star and 1969 AL MVP led his league in out-of-the-parkers on six occasions, topping 35 homers in a season on nine occasions.

We are nearing the halfway point of the list! Are you excited to see more hitters? Let me know your predictions for the rest of the list in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 4: #40-36 6/27/18

Hey baseball fans!

Do you know what time it is?! It's time to talk about my 40th to 36th best Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history! Let's get on with the show, shall we?

#40: George Brett
Probably the greatest hitter in the history of the Royals, Brett collected 3,154 hits in 21 years in the bigs. He won the 1980 AL MVP, made 13 straight All Star games, and led KC to its first of two world championships in 1985. Fun fact: he's the only guy to get picked off after collecting his 3,000th career hit. Nonetheless, he was amazing.

#39: Paul Molitor
"The Ignitor" made seven All Star games with the Brewers and Blue Jays (and also batted .341 with the Twins in 1996 at the age of 39) and is tied with Pepper Martin for the highest lifetime World Series batting average at .418. The .306 regular season hitter broke the 3,000 hits barrier easily, finishing his career with 3,319 base knocks, good for tenth on the all-time list.

#38: Eddie Mathews
Despite being overshadowed by Hank Aaron for a majority of his career, Mathews was still one of the premier power hitters of his era. In just 17 years from 1952-1968, the Braves big bat smacked out 512 career home runs, good for an average of roughly 30 homers a season! He led the league twice in homers (47 in 1953 and 46 in 1959) and led the league in walks four times.

#37: Willie McCovey
McCovey had the same career as Mathews: lots of homers, but overshadowed by someone who will not appear on this countdown for another several weeks. McCovey is tied for 20th on the all-time home runs list with Ted Williams and Frank Thomas with 521 career dingers. McCovey led the league in homers and RBIs in back-to-back years in 1968 and 1969, winning the NL MVP in the later year. He also holds the record for the least amount of games played in a Rookie of the Year-winning campaign at only 52 games. But in those 52 games, he hit .354 with 13 homers.

#36: Jim Thome
One of the youngest and most underrated hitters on this list, Thome is the all-time leader in walk-off home runs at 13. In fact, the 500th home run of his career was a walk-off while playing for the White Sox. The all-time great with mainly the Indians collected a whopping 612 career home runs, good for eighth on the all-time list.

As always, let me know what you think of the list so far in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 3: #45-41 6/17/18

Hey baseball fans!

It's time to reveal the 45th to 41st best Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history (in my humble opinion, of course)! Who's ready? Let's do it!

#45: Willie Stargell
This 21-year veteran for the Pirates was a key contributor to the Buccos' 1971 and 1979 World Series championships. The 1979 NL MVP and seven-time All Star hit 25+ homers in a season on ten occasions during his career and topped 100 RBIs in five seasons. In terms of best Pirates ever, the .282 lifetime hitter is right up there with another Pittsburgh legend who will appear on this list soon.

#44: Rickey Henderson
Yes, Henderson is the all-time steals leader, but did you know that he also has 3,055 career hits and the all-time record for runs scored at 2,295? The ten-time All Star and 1990 AL MVP led the league in stolen bases in twelve seasons, including in 1998, when at 39 years old, he stole 66 bases for the A's.

#43: Al Kaline
The all-time Tigers leader in hits made the All Star Game in 13 straight years from 1955-1967. The .297 lifetime hitter even won ten Gold Gloves as an outfielder. He finished his Hall of Fame career with 3,007 hits.

#42: Johnny Bench
17 big league seasons. 14 All Star nods. Eleven seasons of 20 or more home runs. NL MVP in 1970 and 1972. Two-time home run leader and three-time RBI leader. Back-to-back World Series champ in 1975 and 1976. Ten consecutive Gold Gloves as a catcher. Need I say more?

#41: Robin Yount
Yes, he only made three All Star teams for the AL during his 20-year career with the Brewers, but he did win the AL MVP twice in 1982 and 1989, collect 3,142 career hits, and bat .285 during his career.  And to top it all off, what a mustache this guy had!

#40-36 are coming up next, so get pumped! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 2: #50-46 6/2/18

Hey baseball fans!

It's time for Part 2 of my list of the top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history (and the first part that actually includes part of the list)! Without further delay, here are the first five entries to BwM's Top 50:

#50: Kirby Puckett
We're kicking off the summer festivities with one of the two best contact hitters the Minnesota Twins have ever had on their roster. Spoiler alert: the other one will appear on this list in several posts. Anyway, Puckett made ten All Star appearances in his twelve years in the MLB, averaged 192 hits a season, and batted .318 lifetime. His Hall of Fame moment came in the 1991 World Series, when he hit a walk-off home run in Game Six to extend the series to a seventh game that the Twins would eventually win.

#49: Jeff Bagwell
Bagwell's 449 career home runs and 1,529 RBIs in just 15 MLB seasons should've punched his ticket into Cooperstown on the first ballot, but his election was delayed due to steroid speculators. Nonetheless, the 1994 NL MVP for the Astros batted .297 lifetime and had an on-base percentage above .400 in seven seasons.

#48: Craig Biggio
He's the second Astros HoFer on this list and the first member of the 3,000 hit club on this list. Biggio's 3,060 career knocks rank number one in the Astros organization and 24th on the all-time list. The seven-time All Star second baseman led the league in runs scored twice and doubles three times.

#47: Lou Brock
Larcenous Lou stole 938 bases during his career, which at the time of his retirement, was the best mark in history (and now stands second only to someone who will appear in the next blog post). But something you probably didn't know about Mr. Brock is that he is also a member of the 3,000 hits club with 3,023 career base hits. He posted 190+ hits in a season seven times throughout his career with the Cardinals and Cubs from 1961-1979 and even made six All Star Games.

#46: Chipper Jones
The face of the Braves franchise in the 1990s and 2000s batted .303 during his Hall of Fame career in Atlanta and even smacked 468 long balls out of the yard. From 1996-2003, he never collected less than 100 RBIs in a season and even won the 1999 NL MVP.

Next post will include #45-41, so get excited as we move along into the dog days of summer! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 1: Introduction and Honorable Mentions 5/29/18

Hey baseball fans!

This summer here on Baseball with Matt will be devoted to ranking my top 50 Hall of Fame hitters of all time! I've always wanted to do a list like this because every time I read or watch a list of the top hitters in baseball history, I always have comments. Basically, the top 50 will consist of some of the greatest names of America's pastime, but you're going to have to stick around until mid-August to read the name "Ruth" (yes, he is in my top five). But to start off this series, this post is devoted to the top hitters who didn't crack the top 50. Trust me, these omissions were very tough, so these guys definitely deserve to be in my top 60. But the list is the top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history, so, in no particular order, here are the honorable mentions.

The Catchers: Carlton Fisk, Yogi Berra, and Roy Campanella
All Hall of Fame catchers. All with multiple All Star Games and seasonal awards. All regarded as some of the best ever from behind the plate. But all just missed the cut.

The Injury-Prone: Ralph Kiner and Hank Greenberg
Both of these sluggers could mash the baseball, but were both hampered by injuries that cut their careers short. But when your slugging percentage is more than double your batting average in multiple seasons, you deserve a shout out.

The Miscellaneous Cubs Hall of Famers: Andre Dawson and Billy Williams
Both of these guys were great hitters, don't get me wrong, but just didn't have the stuff for the top 50. However, with that being said, don't let their absences on my list detract from their Cooperstown worthiness.

I would just like to point out a common theme you'll see throughout the top 50 that you might've seen in these honorable mentions as well. I will not be playing the "what if" game, meaning that in the construction of this list, I never said "well, if blank happened, he would've had better stats." Just keep that in mind as you read the list (and specifically Ted Williams's name on said list). Anyway, who's excited for #50-46? I know I am. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Postseason for the History Books (literally) 5/24/18

Hey baseball fans!

The 2018 MLB season is still in its infancy, but it's still fun thinking ahead to October. Rather than give a playoff prediction, though, here is a playoff scenario. What if the teams with the most World Series championships made the playoffs this year? How would the playoff bracket look and, ultimately, who would win the 2018 World Series? Here are my two cents on the subject:

First off, before we get to my predictions for this playoff scenario, here are the participating teams:

AL East champion: New York Yankees (27 championships)
AL Central champion: Detroit Tigers (4 championships)
AL West champion: Oakland Athletics (9 championships)
AL Wild Cards: Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox (8 and 3 championships, respectively)*
*The Twins and Orioles also have three Fall Classic trophies, but the ChiSox have a better winning percentage than both of them in the World Series (60% compared to 50% and 42.9%, respectively)

NL East champion: Atlanta Braves (3 championships)
NL Central champion: St. Louis Cardinals (11 championships)
NL West champion: San Francisco Giants (8 championships)
NL Wild Cards: Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates (6 and 5 championships, respectively)*
*The Reds also have five Fall Classic trophies, but the Pirates have a better winning percentage than Cinci in the World Series (71.4% compared to 55.6%)

Ok, now here are my predictions:

AL Wild Card Round: White Sox vs. Red Sox
Winner: Red Sox. The best team in baseball would absolutely annihilate their footwear brethren and, honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the run differential was in the double-digits for this game.

NL Wild Card Round: Dodgers vs. Pirates
Winner: Pirates. As much as their season is surprising me right now, Pittsburgh is doing much better than I thought and the Dodgers are doing much worse. Sorry LA, but you're not getting World Series redemption in this scenario if the season ended today.

ALDS 1: Red Sox vs. Yankees
Winner: Yankees. This one would go five games, for sure, but New York has an unbelievable lineup right now.

ALDS 1: Tigers vs. Athletics
Winner: Athletics. The A's have an interesting team this year and could make a surprising run at the AL Wild Card in real life, but in this scenario, considering they're facing one of the worst teams in the AL, this series isn't going longer than four games.

NLDS 1: Pirates vs. Cardinals
Winner: Cardinals. It seems that the Cards' eerie 2017 is over and the Cards are playing up to the hype. I think this series would be close, but St. Louis would take it. Pittsburgh being good still doesn't make a whole lot of sense for me right now.

NLDS 2: Braves vs. Giants
Winner: Braves. It's an even year, yes, but the geriatric Giants would be no match for the upstart and young Atlanta squad. Braves take it in four or maybe even a sweep.

ALCS: Athletics vs. Yankees
Winner: Yankees. The A's, to be frank, will slow down eventually in 2018, while the Yankees will only continue to soar.

NLCS: Braves vs. Cardinals
Winner: Cardinals, for basically the same reasons as the ALCS outcome. The Braves' luck will run out and St. Louis will, literally, only rise (get it? Birds) in the wins column.

World Series: Cardinals vs. Yankees
Winner: Cardinals. This Fall Classic would be extremely close, but the Baby Bombers just don't have the high-pressure experiences that the Cardiac Cards don't even need to win. Just look at the past Cardinals championship squads: all underdogs.

Obviously, the Tigers and White Sox will not be playing October baseball in 2018, but this was a fun little experiment. What other playoff scenarios would you like to see me analyze? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Derek Jeter's Season that Wasn't Really a Season 5/12/18

Hey baseball fans!

So I recently learned that Derek Jeter holds the record for the most postseason games played at 158. This number is pretty interesting because there are 162 games in a season, so it's almost as if Jeter played an entire season over many Octobers (and Novembers). This got me thinking: how well did Jeter do in his postseason-season, if you will? Well, I have your answer and it turns out, he did pretty well, as he did in most of his actual MLB seasons.

In 158 games, Jeter batted .308 with 200 hits on the dot, 20 home runs, and 111 runs scored. To put those numbers into perspective, thinking about Jeter's 158 postseason games as a full season, the .308 batting average would be the twelfth-best single-season batting average of his career, the 200 hits would be his ninth-best seasonal hits total, the 20 home runs would rank fourth, and the 111 runs scored would be tied for eighth. So, in conclusion, I'd say Jeter was just as consistent in the last months of the season as he was in the first several. No wonder the Yanks won so many World Series championships during his career (five, to be exact).

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, May 5, 2018

ML"what would"B: What if the D-Backs and Rays Never Existed? 5/5/18

Hey baseball fans!

1998 saw the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays join the MLB, but what if their efforts to join the league had failed? What if they folded before ever playing a game? That's what this edition of ML"what would"B is going to look at. This long-running series looks at some of the biggest "what-if's" in baseball history, so let's look at a what-if scenario where Major League Baseball opened the 1998 season with 28 teams instead of 30.

Let's start with the divisions. They don't look much different, except for a couple of notable changes. Basically, the Astros and Brewers stay in their original leagues, the Tigers stay in the AL East, and the AL and NL West divisions have four teams each. Considering the Yankees are in the middle of a dynasty, the playoff results stay relatively the same, that is, until 2001. Remember: the Diamondbacks rolled through the National League playoff bracket in '01 and eventually downed the Yanks in the World Series in seven games. This time around, however, the Braves get to the Series to face the Yankees for the third time in six years and just like in the previous two times, New York wins handily. They still lose to the Angels in the 2002 ALDS, but the Angels don't face the Giants in the World Series that year. They instead go up against the Astros. How, you ask? Well, the Diamondbacks had two key pitchers on their roster when they got good: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. Johnson, instead of getting traded to Arizona prior to the 1999 season, stays in Houston, who trades for Schilling midway through 2000.

So the 2002 Astros win the NL Wild Card with 90 wins, then take care of the Giants and Cardinals in the NLDS and CS to reach the '02 Fall Classic. Johnson, Schilling, and company are able to survive the Angels and their rallying ways by winning the franchise's first World Series. Johnson has a bad year in 2003, but Schilling picks up the slack to help the 'Stros win the 2003 NL Central title by one game over the Cubs. Without the Curse of the Billy Goat, the Marlins get eliminated from the '03 postseason in the NLCS by the Braves, who finally break their World Series drought against the Yankees by winning the Fall Classic in six games. But the Yankees get their redemption in 2004, where they do not meet the Red Sox in the ALCS because Curt Schilling's league-leading 21 wins are still in Houston. The Yankees win the '04 ALCS against the Angels and get to the World Series to face... the Astros! Houston gets its second Fall Classic trophy in three years by downing the Yanks in five games.

It's around this time that the Expos have decided to move. Because there is a vacancy in the desert, they switch divisions and time zones to become the Arizona Diamondbacks. Besides that shakeup in baseball's standings, nothing really changes in 2005; Johnson and Schilling have declined, so the Astros still get swept in the '05 World Series by the White Sox. In 2006, the Tigers don't beat the Yankees in the ALDS because back then, a Wild Card team couldn't face a division rival in the division series, so they instead lose to AL Rookie of the Year Chad Billingsley and the A's, who go on to the World Series to face the Mets. The Mets managed to beat the Cardinals in the NLCS with the help of their new breakout pitcher... Justin Verlander? Yeah, with a mixup in the 2003 standings, the Amazins get Verlander in the 2004 Draft, who gives the Mets 17 wins in '06 and helps them beat the A's in the World Series in five games.

The 2007 season still saw the Red Sox sweep the Rockies in the Fall Classic, breaking the Curse of the Bambino, but 2008 sees a crazy change in the standings. The Brewers manage to win the AL Central by a game over the White Sox and Twins, but lose to the Yankees in the ALDS, who lose to the Angels, with the help of their midseason trade acquisition C.C. Sabathia (because the Indians wouldn't deal C.C. within their division to Milwaukee), in the ALCS. The Halos go on to win the franchise's first World Series against... the Cubs? Yeah, the Cubs and their 2008 Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum, who they drafted in 2006. The Cubs soar past the Dodgers and Phillies to make their first World Series since 1945, but as said before, lose to the Angels.

In 2011, the Marlins are thinking of switching stadiums, when they instead switch cities altogether. The Fish move to the nation's capital and become the Nationals. Now, Florida has ridden itself of its toxic MLB franchises. You're welcome, Sunshine State. But now DC will be forever in pain due to the Marlins-turned-Nationals' failures. Some things stay constant, even in the ML"what would"B. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, April 30, 2018

These HoFers Have Long Resumes, Too 4/30/18

Hey baseball fans!

There are plenty of names in baseball that are defined by one statistic or important fact, but baseball players have accomplished way more than just one specific thing. I know, that was some bad explaining, but here are some examples of what I mean:

Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken, Jr.
Baseball's iron men. The top two hitters in consecutive games played. But so what? It's not like they did anything during their respective games played streaks, right? Wrong. Gehrig is one of the best first basemen in baseball history, averaging 29 home runs and 117 RBIs a season during his 17-year career. Oh, and he also batted .340 lifetime. Ripken, on the other hand, homered 431 times in his 21 years in the bigs, made 19 consecutive All Star Games from 1983-2001 and, oh yeah, is 15th on the all-time hits list with 3,184 career knocks.

Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby
These trailblazers broke the color barrier in the National and American League, respectively, but if only they were actually HoF-worthy. Psych! They were! Robinson won the 1949 MVP and went to six All Star Games during his ten-year career. He stole almost 20 bases a season and even batted .311 lifetime. Doby led the league in home runs twice, hit 20+ homers in eight consecutive seasons, and even made seven straight All Star Games from 1949-1955.

Joe DiMaggio
56 straight games with a hit is surely an accomplishment, but you know what else is an accomplishment? Making an All Star Game every single year of batting at the major league level. That's right; DiMaggio played for 13 years from 1936-1951 (he missed 1943-1945 due to military service) and made 13 Midsummer Classics. The Yankee Clipper batted .325 during his illustrious career and is tied for the most MVPs in AL history with three (1939, 1941, and 1947).

So yes, Gehrig and Ripken will always be known for their determination; Robinson and Doby will always be known for their resilience; and DiMaggio will always be known for his streak of consistency. However, these guys are enshrined in Cooperstown because they were great ballplayers, not one-trick ponies. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The True Win: Another BwM Advanced Statistic 4/25/18

Hey baseball fans!

ERA and WHIP are, in my opinion, the easiest measurements of a pitcher's ability. You'll notice that I didn't say wins. That's because the "win" statistic can be extremely misleading. In some cases, a pitcher can get a ton of run support, allow a lot of earned runs, and still win the game; in other cases, a pitcher can go eight scoreless innings only to leave the game in the ninth with the contest still tied at zero. So, in order to make the calculation of wins seem a bit more correlated to a pitcher's skill, I present to you my new statistic: the true win.

The true win is calculated as follows: if a pitcher allows less earned runs than the average annual league ERA during a start, that pitcher is awarded with a true win. A pitcher can even earn a true win in cases where his bullpen blows (and loses) the game. On the other hand, if a pitcher allows more earned runs than the average annual league ERA during a start, that pitcher is awarded with a true loss. Here's an example: the average league ERA for 2017 was 4.35, so if a pitcher goes six innings and allows three runs, which equates to an in-game ERA of 4.50, then he gets a true loss. Some FAQs: a pitcher's true record can only be recorded at season's end; a pitcher is in line for a true win only if he pitches for at least five innings, which is the same rule for real wins; true wins and losses only apply for starters.

In 1968, Bob Gibson's real won-loss record was 22-9, which is impressive, but what's even more impressive was his 1.12 ERA that year. Because the 1968 average league ERA was 2.98, Gibson's true record was 27-7, meaning some real losses turned into true wins for the Hall of Famer. 1963's average league ERA was 3.46, giving Sandy Koufax (pictured below) a 1963 true record of 31-9 in his 40 starts that season, compared to his real record of 25-5. Like I said before, the average league ERA in 2017 was 4.35, so the 2017 Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer, had a 2017 true record of 23-7, but a real record of 16-6.

What are some faults with this new system of determining wins? What are some faults with the old system? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, April 20, 2018

Famous Home Runs That Didn't Actually Matter 4/20/18

Hey baseball fans!

We all remember Joe Carter's walk-off, World Series-winning home run in 1993 because it, well, won Carter's Blue Jays the World Series. The same goes for David Freese's walk-off, Series-tying home run in Game Six of the 2011 Fall Classic because it set up a Game Seven that Freese's Cardinals would end up winning. But what about the home runs that didn't lead to anything, that are just famous for the moment that they were in?

Carlton Fisk walks off the Red Sox in Game Six of '75
In arguably the greatest World Series in baseball history, the Red Sox entered Game Six of the 1975 Series down three games to two to the Reds and the sixth game required extra innings to be resolved. Luckily, Carlton Fisk came up clutch in the twelfth for the BoSox, sending the Series-tying home run off the left field foul pole. This has become probably the most famous home run in Red Sox history, but it actually didn't matter in the long run; the Reds won Game Seven and, thus, the Series, making the Hall of Fame catcher's walk-off dinger the previous night completely obsolete.

Chris Chambliss sends the Yankees to the 1976 World Series
The very next year after Fisk's temporary heroics, the Yankees were on the cusp of making their first World Series in 12 years, but they first needed to get past the AL West champion Royals. The 1976 ALCS went to five games (the maximum at the time) and Game Five was tied at six runs apiece entering the bottom of the ninth at Yankee Stadium. Chris Chambliss led off the half-inning with a home run to send the Yanks to the promised land. There was only one problem, though: once New York got to the Fall Classic, they were swept by the same Reds that beat Fisk's Red Sox in '75. Once again, another home run that didn't really do much to change the course of history.

Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard Round the World"
This one is the saddest of the bunch, only because this home run is probably the most famous in baseball history, at least in my opinion. Let me set the scene: the Dodgers and Giants were tied at the top of the NL standings at the end of the 1951 season, so a best-of-three playoff series was implemented to decide the NL pennant winner. The two teams split the first two games, but the third game looked to go to the Dodgers, who were leading 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth at the Polo Grounds in New York. A run was driven in for the Giants, which brought up Bobby Thompson to the plate with two runners on and one out. Miraculously, he hit a home run! To use Russ Hodges's famous call of the play, "the Giants [won] the pennant!" Everybody was going crazy in the stadium because the Giants were headed to the World Series! Too bad they lost the 1951 World Series to the Yankees in six games.

What other famous moments in baseball history are overrated because they didn't really matter in the end? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

BwM's Consistency Index 4/16/18

Hey baseball fans!

So there's always this talk about which team is the greatest in baseball history and there are always these comparisons made that aren't applicable for most teams. For example, how can you judge a team's success based on World Series championships when some teams have never been to the World Series in the first place (I'm looking at you, Nationals and Mariners)? With this in mind, I wanted to come up with a definitive way to define a team's success with the one stat that is measurable among all MLB teams: regular season success. After doing some calculations, I came up with a sort of consistency index, a score that measures a team's year-to-year success during the MLB regular season.

Here's how the index is calculated. To be fair to all teams, I took the total number of wins of every MLB team since 1998, the last year of MLB expansion, and averaged them out to get an average wins per season. From there, I took the absolute value of the change in wins from season-to-season for all the teams and I averaged those numbers out to get a volatility score. From there, I subtracted the volatility score from the average seasonal wins total to get the consistency index. There are several numbers that caught my eye that are worth mentioning. First of all, it's no secret that the Yankees had the best average seasonal wins total at 94.75 wins a season, but they also had an extraordinary volatility score; their wins total from year-to-year only changed by 5.84 wins a season, meaning they were consistently good. In fact, their consistency index of 88.91 was the best in the majors. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Diamondbacks averaged 79.80 wins a season from 1998-2017, but their year-to-year difference in wins was an average of 14.95. Their MLB-low consistency index of 64.85 means that they were consistently mercurial, meaning that their season-to-season win total is completely random and void of any trend.

Other teams with good consistency indexes include the Braves, Dodgers, A's, and Cardinals, among others. To see my calculations, click here. Would you change any of my math? What other ways could you objectively determine a team's success? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Five Historically Significant World Series Matchups We Could See 4/12/18

Hey baseball fans!

We are officially two weeks into the 2018 MLB season, which means it's only right to start talking about the World Series, right? Well, that's wrong, but still: what historically significant World Series matchups would be possible for us to see this October? Here are five:

Matchup: Yankees vs. Dodgers
Historical significance: Out of all the World Series matchups in history, this one has happened the most times: 11 to be exact. In those Fall Classics, the Yankees have won eight of them, while the Dodgers were victorious in three.
Likeliness of happening: Both of these teams played in their respective championship series last year, so this matchup is pretty likely.

Matchup: Red Sox vs. Mets
Historical significance: These two teams squared off against each other in the 1986 World Series, regarded as one of the best Series ever. The Mets won in seven, but it was close throughout the seven games.
Likeliness of happening: These two teams have been the hottest coming out of the gate in 2018, but will their hot starts continue into the dog days of summer? My guess is not for the Mets.

Matchup: Indians vs. Cubs
Historical significance: Both of these teams were famous for their long World Series droughts, until of course the Cubs ended their 108-year drought two years ago against the Indians in the 2016 World Series.
Likeliness of happening: Both of these teams have declined since their runs to October in 2016, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this World Series rematch.

Matchup: Astros vs. Cardinals
Historical significance: Back when the 'Stros were in the NL Central, these teams had a sort of mini-rivalry, facing off in consecutive NLCS's in 2004 and 2005, with each team winning one.
Likeliness of happening: I don't like the Cardinals' chances of making the playoffs in a very competitive National League Central/Wild Card race.

Matchup: Mariners vs. Nationals
Historical significance: Not only have these two teams never won a World Series in their respective histories, but both have never even been to one.
Likeliness of happening: The Nationals will probably do the same thing they've done every year in the playoffs: lose in the first round. The Mariners, on the other hand, will be lucky if they even make the playoffs.

What other World Series matchups would have an interesting historical significance? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

BwM's Five Bold Predictions for the 2018 Regular Season 3/28/18

Hey baseball fans!

The 2018 MLB regular season starts tomorrow, so it's only fitting I give you five of my boldest predictions for the upcoming campaign.

Prediction #1: The Mariners break their playoff drought
The Seattle Mariners have the longest postseason drought of any major professional American (or Canadian, for that matter) sports team, but that streak is getting snapped this year. Seattle has been so close the last couple of years, but in 2018, thanks to a revamped lineup that now includes Ryon Healy and Dee Gordon, the Mariners will sneak away with the second AL Wild Card spot.

Prediction #2: The Nationals come close to breaking the single-season wins record
Yes, not the Dodgers or the Cubs, but the Nationals. Let me break it down: the Nationals are the best team in the NL East and it's by a long shot. The Marlins will finish with less than 60 wins this year, the Phillies haven't done anything in years, and the Mets and Braves might crack 75 wins this year. If the Nats win less than 100 games, I'll honestly be shocked, considering they play four subpar teams for almost half of their schedule.

Prediction #3: Nolan Arenado wins NL MVP
I've said it in years past and I'll say it again: Arenado is the most underrated player in baseball. So what if he plays in Coors Field? His home and away statistics were virtually identical in 2017. And his fielding? Immaculate. He's a better version of Mike Schmidt and considering Schmidt is my favorite player of all time, that's saying something. If you want me to go into specifics for Arenado's stats, his baseline, in my humble opinion, for 2018 is a .280 batting average with 35 home runs and 125 RBIs. And that's me being conservative.

Prediction #4: An unlikely candidate wins AL Cy Young
James Paxton? Carlos Carrasco? Marcus Stroman? Honestly, who knows and who cares? Chris Sale and Corey Kluber are taking steps back this year, so the AL Cy Young will be up for grabs for anyone.

Prediction #5: Yankees vs. Brewers in the World Series
The fact that I'm predicting the Yankees to be in the World Series shouldn't be shocking, but the Brewers pick might turn some heads. They added some key bats this past offseason and have a very underrated pitching staff. They'll sneak into the NL playoffs at least with the first Wild Card spot (but I think they're winning the NL Central, to be honest) and could make a Cinderella-type run that puts them in the 2018 Fall Classic.

Am I biased because my 2018 World Series prediction features my two favorite MLB franchises? Maybe a little. But anyway, leave me some of your MLB bold predictions for the upcoming season in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Greatest Game Ever Pitched 3/22/18

Hey baseball fans!

As most of you know, I celebrated ecstatically when Alan Trammell got into the Hall of Fame this past December, but at the time, I failed to shed light on his former teammate and fellow 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, Jack Morris. Well, that's what I intend to do in this post and I'll be doing that by backing up the following claim: Jack Morris's pitching performance in Game Seven of the 1991 World Series was the greatest pitching performance in baseball history. What a claim, am I right? Well, hear me out.

Reason #1: The Magnitude
Morris and the Minnesota Twins made their second Fall Classic in five years in '91, where they met the Atlanta Braves. Atlanta and Minnesota fought hard throughout the whole Series, setting up a Game Seven that would feature the mustachio-ed All Star on the mound for the Twins.

Reason #2: The Matchup
Morris didn't go up against some scrub, however. On the mound for Atlanta was none other than Hall of Famer John Smoltz. Any fan in the Metrodome that night had to have anticipated an unbelievable pitching duel.

Reason #3: The Duel
Morris and Smoltz went toe-to-toe through eight innings of ball, when the score remained tied at zero. Morris had allowed just seven hits and two walks to this point. Smoltz had put up similarly exemplary numbers, but exited after the eighth. Morris, however, was not ready to leave the mound.

Reason #4: What Happened After Smoltz Left
Morris sat down the next six Braves batters, setting up the walk-off, World Series-winning single by Twins pinch hitter Gene Larkin in the bottom of the tenth.

Separately, all of these reasons might sound pedestrian at best, but now let me put them together: Jack Morris pitched a ten-inning shutout in Game Seven of the World Series against a fellow Hall of Famer. Don Larsen's perfect game in Game Five of the 1956 World Series was literally immaculate and Madison Bumgarner did a great job fending off the Royals in his five innings of shutout relief in Game Seven of the 2014 World Series, but Morris stands alone and no one will convince me otherwise. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Guess That Hall of Famer!!! 3/18/18

Hey baseball fans!

Who's ready to play "Guess That Hall of Famer!!!"? Here's how the game works: I'm going to show you screenshots of the career statistics of five MLB Hall of Famers. The screenshots will increase in difficulty from the first to the last. You're job is to guess that Hall of Famer, as the name of the game suggests. I played this game recently for the first time and it was extremely fun!

Some quick notes:
  • Bolded numbers means league-leading
  • Highlighted career numbers means all-time leader
  • A star next to a year means he was an All Star
  • "GG"= Gold Glove; "SS"=Silver Slugger
  • There is an answer key at the bottom
  • These pictures might be hard to see. If so, get a friend to look up the Baseball Reference pages for the players listed in the answer key in the order that they're listed, but make sure you can't see the players' names on their pages. 
Let the game begin!

How'd you do? Tell me your results in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Answer key (first to last): Babe Ruth, Pedro Martinez, Frank Robinson, Goose Gossage, Rogers Hornsby

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Oldies, But Goodies 3/13/18

Hey baseball fans!

A lot of baseball players tail off in terms of their yearly statistics after their early 30s, but that's not always the case, especially with these special players.

Willie Mays, Johnny Mize, and Barry Bonds
"The Say Hey Kid" and fellow Hall of Famer Mize are two of the oldest players to ever hit 50+ homers in a season. Mays hit 52 homers in 1965 at the young age of 34, while at the same age, Mize smacked out 51 bombs of his own in 1947. However, it is Bonds (pictured below) who is distinguished, having set the record for the most home runs hit in a single season with a whopping 73 in 2001 at 36 years young.

Tony Gwynn
Gwynn won four consecutive batting titles from 1994-1997... from the ages of 34 to 37! His 1994 performance is probably the most impressive of the bunch, when even though the season was shortened due to a players' strike, the Hall of Fame member of the San Diego Padres batted .394, the highest single-season batting average since Ted Williams's .406 batting average in 1941.

Pete Rose
Although mostly remembered for his time on the Cincinnati Reds, Rose actually had a lot of success with the Phillies as well. "Charlie Hustle" made four straight All Star Games for the Fightin' Phils from 1979-1982, even though he was 38 years old or older in all four years. And in those four years, he batted a solid .300 while also helping out during the Phillies World Series championship run in 1980.

David Ortiz
The greatest clutch player in Red Sox history had one of the greatest farewell seasons of all time in 2016. That year, at the age of 40, he set records for single-season homers and RBIs for a 40-year-old (38 and 127, respectively). Oh, and he also batted .315 that year while leading the league in slugging (.620, also a single-season record for a 40-year-old).

Jamie Moyer, Satchel Paige, and Nolan Ryan
No list of great geezers is complete without talking about these three pitchers. Moyer retired when he was 49 years old after playing for 25 seasons in the Majors, making his first career All Star Game at 40 years old in 2003. Paige played most of his career in the Negro Leagues, and didn't make his Major League debut until he was 41, but he actually made two All Star Games at ages 45 and 46 in 1952 and 1953 and didn't pitch in his final Major League game until he was 58. Ryan's (pictured below) career ERA at age 40 and after (he pitched until he was 46) was a respectable 3.33, while leading the league in strikeouts in four consecutive seasons and collecting career no-hitters #6 and #7.

What performances, am I right? If only more players could age as gracefully as these guys did. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

BONUS: Babe Ruth averaged 42 homers a season in his 30s. Holy cow.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Yay for Alan Trammell! 2/22/18

Hey baseball fans!

Finally, Alan Trammell is in the Hall of Fame! For the first time, my annual Alan Trammell appreciation post won't be one of yearning, but one of celebrating! Let the confetti rain down!

For those of you who are confused, let me explain: Alan Trammell was a shortstop for the Tigers in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s and me and him happen to share a birthday: February 21st. For almost every year that I've blogged on my birthday, I've pleaded for Trammell to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The reason is that without Trammell, I would have no Hall of Fame birthday buddy (yes, former Red Sox owner and HoFer Tom Yawkey does share a birthday with me as well, but it's not the same). And it's not like Trammell hadn't been deserving of induction; he was a six-time All Star, four-time Gold Glover, three-time Silver Slugger, and 1984 World Series MVP. It just took him a little longer to get in than he deserved.

For 15 straight years on the BBWAA ballots, Trammell never got higher than 40.9% of the vote, roughly 34% less than what he needed to join his fellow All Stars in Cooperstown. But the Veteran's Committee thought otherwise because just this past December, Trammell and former teammate Jack Morris were voted into the Hall by the VC. When I watched Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson formally announce Trammell's introduction to the Hall of Fame, I was ecstatic. I finally have a Hall of Fame birthday buddy! I can't wait to watch his induction speech in July.

And, here's a bonus: my live interview with Alan from 2015. Just click here.

Who's your Hall of Fame birthday buddy? Tell me in the comments section below. Thanks for the birthday wishes and for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

7 Obscure Facts about the New York Yankees 2/13/18

Hey baseball fans!

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training today and I couldn't be more excited for baseball to be back! My mind has been going nuts without baseball and, because of my insanity, I've garnered a lot more baseball knowledge just out of the boredom I've had to endure due to a lack of America's pastime. Naturally, the team I've researched the most is the Yankees, so without further delay, here are seven super rare fun facts about the New York Yankees.

Fact #1
The Yankees have won 40 American League pennants in their history, the most of any team. But we can go deeper than that, right? Well, let's try. Even before MLB expansion started in 1961, the Yanks had beaten all eight original National League teams in the World Series at least once. Since expansion, the only NL team that has been to any World Series that New York has yet to face there is the Rockies. (The Nationals and Brewers haven't been to the Fall Classic as NL teams yet.)

Fact #2
The Bronx Bombers have finished last in their division only four times in their 115-year history and have yet to finish last since the American League expanded to three divisions back in 1994.

Fact #3
Including the postseason and in terms of winning percentage, the 1927 Yankees are the best AL team of all time; they posted a regular season record of 110-44 and swept the World Series for a total winning percentage of .721.

Fact #4
The Yankees' worst seasonal attendance, according to the team's official website, came in 1906. In their fourth year of existence, the Yanks only brought 35,500 fans to the ballpark, which is a shame because they finished the season at a very respectable 90-61.

Fact #5
Nick Swisher was a fan favorite for the Yankees from 2009-2012, bringing a very chill vibe to the clubhouse and a productive bat to the batter's box. However, after the 2012 season, he decided to sign with the Indians and the Yankees got a compensatory pick at the end of the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft in exchange for Swisher's services. Who did they use this pick on, you ask? Aaron Judge.

Fact #6
Since interleague play began in 1997, there is actually only one NL team that the Yankees have played against in more than 20 games and have lost in those games more times than they've won: the Phillies (13-14). Ironically, the Phillies have the most all-time losses in baseball history at 10,837.

Fact #7
I am one of three people in my family born during a year in which the Yankees won the World Series! My cousin Max and I are born five days apart in 1999 (Yanks swept the Braves) and my mom's mom was born in 1941 (Yanks over Dodgers in five).

I hope you learned a thing or two about the greatest baseball franchise in history. Oh, you want to make the claim that the Yankees won most of their World Series before free agency? Well, here's a bonus fun fact for you: in the Super Bowl era (since 1967), New York has won seven World Series, the most of any team during the time period. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Red Sox vs. Phillies: Who Will Win the Super Bowl? 2/4/18

Hey baseball fans!

Because the Super Bowl is today, everyone is comparing the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles to predict who will win the game. I, however, have a different technique. Instead of looking at these two teams in depth, I looked at their MLB counterparts to see which of those teams is better. So, who's better, the Red Sox or the Phillies? (Disclaimer: this is not my actual Super Bowl prediction. It's just a funny way to compare two MLB teams on a historical perspective.)

Category One: Overall Winning Percentage
During Boston's 117-year history in Major League Baseball, they've won an astounding 9,410 games and have only lost 8,776 games for a winning percentage of .517. Meanwhile, the Phillies have an all-time record of 9,664-10,837 for a winning percentage of only .471. After category number one, the Red Sox are up, 1-0 over the Fightin' Phils.

Category Two: Head-to-Head Winning Percentage
These two teams squared off in the 1915 World Series, with the Red Sox beating the Phillies easily in five games. Besides that series that was more than 100 years ago, the two squads have faced each other in interleague play many a time. In their 63 matchups, the Red Sox have won 39 of them. After two categories, Boston's up two on Philly.

Category Three: Hall of Famers
These two clubs have been around for more than a century each, so they each have plenty of Hall of Famers to go around. There are 14 Hall of Famers who wear the Red Sox logo on their cap in their Cooperstown plaques, including legends such as Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx, while the Phillies can only claim that distinction for six Hall of Famers. So Boston is now up 3-0, meaning that with one more categorical victory, the BoSox will secure the Patriots' sixth Super Bowl.

Category Four: World Series Championships
What better way to determine which of two teams is better than by looking at how many times they've won the big one. The Phillies didn't win their first World Series until 1980 and have only won one other since (2008). The Sox have won eight World Series, despite their 86-yearlong drought. Well, that settles is. Sox win, 4-0.

Sorry Eagles fans, but it looks like the Patriots will win Super Bowl LII. Maybe next year the Eagles will face the Texans or Chargers in the Super Bowl, because the Astros and Angels have less World Series championships than the Phils. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."