Thursday, December 21, 2017

Baseball: A Balance of Skill and Luck 12/21/17

Hey baseball fans!

I watched a video on Vox's Youtube channel about the major American sports and how luck-oriented or skill-oriented they are. The video was based on a book called "The Success Equation" by Michael J. Mauboussin and in it, he explains why mathematically each sport lies where it does on a luck-versus-skill linear graph that he himself constructed. There's a lot of very interesting math involved, but let me just say this: all five sports on the graph (baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and soccer) all vary in terms of which concept, skill or luck, is a bigger factor, but baseball is the sport that's right smack in the middle of the other sports. Why is that? Without getting numbers-crazy, here's my explanation.

I think the bottom line is that baseball is really a game of inches, like football (which would explain why it too is located relatively in the center on the luck-skills graph amongst its fellow sports). It takes extreme precision and reaction time to hit a baseball; hitting a ball just millimeters away from the optimal area can turn a home run into a popup and a standard-speed fastball travels from the pitcher's hand to the catcher's mitt in about the time it takes for your eyes to blink. Developing the skills to even just make contact with a baseball requires a lot of effort and the same thing goes for pitching. If a pitch is even just a little bit off from the pitcher's desired location, then he heightens his risk of giving up a hit. Whether one is on the mound, in the batter's box, or even on the field, the main disciplines of baseball take time to master, which is why it's very rare to see an MLB draftee make his MLB debut soon after being drafted.

However, while the internal factors of a given play are more skill-oriented in baseball, the external factors are more luck-based. What if a good hitter faces an even better pitcher? What if that pitcher misses his spots and the hitter is blessed with a base hit? What if a key player on a team's roster gets injured right before facing a worse team? What if a fielder randomly makes an error that grants the other team an advantage? There are way too many variables that go into every moment of a baseball game to determine that the better team will always win, which is what makes the game so exciting.

One of the most interesting points made in the book by Mauboussin is how the rules of each game play a heavy role in a sport's placement on the luck-skill graph. Baseball is like hockey, in that the best hitters have the ability to impact a game just as much as the worst ones in a lineup, because a batting order is rotational. But baseball is like basketball in that a single player (in this case, a pitcher) has the time and position to completely take over a game. There's a sense of randomness that goes along with each baseball game, but it's still fair to say that a team of players with better stats is already favored to win a game over a team with inferior players.

Probably my biggest takeaway from the video is the fact that baseball's playoffs are the most random out of any sport, meaning that the winner of the World Series is not guaranteed to be the best team in baseball, not even in the slightest. Some people might view this as detrimental to better teams that deserve a championship, but I believe that because of baseball's balance of skill and luck, this randomness adds an entirely new factor to the graph: being clutch. In baseball, it's not the best teams that win, but rather the teams that want it the most and actually show up when games matter most. That's why I love baseball so much; it has the innate ability to turn nobodies into somebodies as quickly as it turns favored teams in April to September into losing teams in October.

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

My Thoughts on the 2018 Hall of Fame Class (Part 1) 12/10/17

Hey baseball fans!

Today, the Modern Era Committee's electees for the 2018 MLB Hall of Fame class were announced and, boy, was I thrilled with the results. Here's why!

Quick background: players on the ballot for the 16-person committee to vote on had to have their major career accomplishments come between the years 1970-1987. The nine players (and one executive) on the ballot were Steve Garvey, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Luis Tiant, Dale Murphy, Ted Simmons, Dave Parker, Tommy John, and Marvin Miller.

The No-Doubter: Alan Trammell
I FINALLY HAVE A HALL OF FAME BIRTHDAY BUDDY AND I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER! Trammell played shortstop from 1977-1996 exclusively with the Tigers and built the reputation of being one of the best-fielding shortstops in baseball history. The 1984 World Series MVP was called "the model of consistency" by famous sportswriter Peter Gammons, having collected at least 25 home runs, 100 RBIs, 150 or more hits, or a batting average of .300 or higher in separate seasons all across his career. Here's a link to my live interview with Trammell from the 2015 Hall of Fame Classic (pic below, too).

Finally gets the credit he deserves: Jack Morris
The winningest pitcher of the 80s who started 14 Opening Days during his career is the second and final member of the 2018 Hall of Fame class so far. Morris pitched from 1977-1994 with the Tigers, Twins, and Blue Jays, winning 254 career games and posting 15 or more wins in twelve seasons. The five-time All Star is most known for his Game Seven performance during the 1991 World Series while playing for the Twins against the Braves, when he pitched a 10-inning shutout en route to a championship for the Gopher State.

The one I though should've gotten in: Steve Garvey
The National League version of Lou Gehrig (in terms of consecutive games played) was a ten-time All Star playing with the Dodgers and Padres from 1969-1987. Garvey collected 200+ base hits in six out of seven seasons from 1974-1980, twice leading the NL in the category. The .294 lifetime batter brought some great baseball memories to Southern California, which is why I was surprised to not hear his name called out with Trammell's and Morris's.

Overrated: Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy
Let me just say that as a Yankees fan, I love Don Mattingly. However, just like Murphy, he had a solid start to his careers that fizzled out by the end. If both of them were more productive over longer periods of time, then they're Hall of Famers.

Last but not least...
Put Gil Hodges in the Hall, already!

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Congratulations to Jack Morris and Alan Trammell on their election into the Hall of Fame and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Céspedes Trade to the Mets: Who Got the Best Deal? 12/2/17

Hey baseball fans!

The 2017 MLB offseason is still in its infant stages, but that doesn't mean we won't see any blockbuster trades any time soon (i.e., Giancarlo Stanton). In honor of this excitement, let's take a look at one of the biggest trades in recent MLB history: Yoenis Céspedes to the New York Mets from the Detroit Tigers.

Trade: Yoenis Céspedes of the Tigers for Luis Cessa and Michael Fulmer of the Mets
When? July 31, 2015
What Happened? The Mets were in the thick of a division race with the Nationals in the middle of the 2015 summer and were looking for a big bat to give them a decent advantage over the team from DC. Meanwhile, Detroit was having a down season and, seeing as Céspedes would be a free agent at the end of the year, decided to trade him to Flushing for minor leaguers Fulmer and Cessa, two promising young pitchers.
Immediate Impact: Céspedes was so good for the Amazins in the final two months of the season that he was in the NL MVP conversation! His 17 home runs and .287 batting average in only 57 games were arguably the biggest reason out of many that the Mets won the 2015 NL East crown with 90 wins. Even though he wasn't a huge factor for the Mets in the playoffs, they still appeared in their first World Series in 15 years, but wouldn't have had the chance to do so if Céspedes wasn't traded to them. Fulmer and Cessa did not make their major league debuts until 2016.
What Happened Next: Céspedes has re-signed with the Mets on multiple occasions and will stay with the club until 2020 at the minimum. Since his amazing start in New York, Céspedes made the NL All Star team in 2016, but missed half of 2017 due to injury. However, his batting average for 2017 was a very respectable .292. Fulmer is probably one of the only bright spots on a sad Detroit Tigers team that just finished with the worst record in baseball. However, Fulmer did win the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year and made the AL All Star team's pitching staff in 2017. Cessa was traded to the Yankees following the 2015 season and hasn't done much in the Bronx.
Who Won the Trade? Even though both Céspedes and Fulmer are All Stars on current subpar teams, Céspedes gave the Mets a real chance at a championship back in '15, so I'm giving this win to the boys in blue and orange.


Thanks for reading it this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Do you agree that the Mets came up on top in this trade? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Free Agents That Changed Baseball 11/23/17

Hey baseball fans!

Free agency and the Winter Meetings are just around the corner, so in honor of that, let's talk about some of the best free agent signings in baseball history.

Greg Maddux
After the 1992 season in which he played with a subpar Cubs team, Maddux's contract had run out, so he could sign with any team he wanted. Instead of going for the more lucrative deal and signing with the Yankees, he decided to take his pitching talents to Atlanta and became an absolute pitching star with the Braves. Out of all the teams he played for in his career, Maddux's years with the Braves are definitely his best: 194 wins and a 2.63 ERA in 11 years. Also, don't forget about his three straight NL Cy Young awards from 1993-1995 and his six All Star appearances while playing home games down South.

Randy Johnson
A 35-year-old Johnson signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks in just the franchise's second year of existence. So much of this deal was criticized at first on both sides, but after four straight Cy Young awards won, a co-World Series MVP & a World Series ring in 2001, five All Star teams made, and an average record per season of 17-8 with a 2.65 ERA, the critics had been silenced. Johnson's first of two stints with the D-Backs was magical to say the least.

Manny Ramirez
With the Curse of the Bambino still in full swing, the Red Sox made the move in 2000 to sign the eccentric left fielder Ramirez. Although his actions off the field have since been revealed to be questionable, he went to the All Star Game every year and hit over 30 homers in all but two seasons. And let's not forget his curse-breaking performance in the 2004 World Series that was recognized with a World Series MVP.

Kirk Gibson
After having success with the Detroit Tigers for nine years, Gibson signed with the Dodgers prior to the 1988 season. His three-year career in LA was short-lived and injury-ridden, but he did something for the franchise that Dodgers fans will always be thankful for. In 1988, Gibson won the NL MVP with 25 home runs, 76 RBIs, 31 stolen bases, and a .290 batting average. Without the help of the Dodgers' rosters of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Gibson basically led LA's batting order to the World Series single-handedly, even though he was injured badly during the NLCS against the Mets and couldn't play in the Fall Classic. But in a surprise move by Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, Gibson was put in as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth of Game One of the Series, even though he could barely walk. But miraculously, down by one run and going up against future Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley with a man on base, Gibson hit a walk-off homer in his only at-bat of the '88 World Series. It's one of the most legendary moments in baseball history and basically propelled the Dodgers to the Series win. LA hasn't won one since.

In your opinion, what free agent moves this offseason could define a franchise? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Roy Halladay 11/7/17

Today, the sports world mourns the loss of one of the best pitchers of the 2000s in Roy Halladay. An eight-time All Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner, Halladay captured the attention of all fans, whether they be north of the border or in the city of brotherly love. With a 203-105 career record, Halladay sits 19th on the all-time career win-loss percentage list by an MLB pitcher with a winning percentage of .659. He struck fear in the hearts of opposing batters in both the AL and NL, especially during Game One of the 2010 NLDS. In his first postseason start, Halladay led the Phillies to a victory over the Reds by pitching the second no-hitter in MLB postseason history and the first by a National League pitcher. It wasn't even his first career no-hitter; Halladay actually pitched a perfect game earlier that year against the Marlins, becoming the first pitcher in baseball history to throw at least one no-hitter during the regular and postseason.

As a Yankees fan, Halladay, when he was on the Blue Jays, was one of the first pitchers that I was taught to despise. However, as it goes with most AL East stars not in New York (sorry, David Ortiz), I ended up admiring and respecting Halladay. He was such an amazing pitcher and watching him on the mound was like watching an artist paint on a canvas. When I saw he was heading to Philadelphia for the 2010 season, I breathed a sigh of relief that, one, he wouldn't be in the same division as the Yankees anymore, and two, that all of my friends who were Mets fans could now see how great a pitcher Halladay was. 

It's quite gloomy to think that all the recent generations of baseball fans have mourned the loss of an All Star who died in a plane crash. My grandpa's generation had Roberto Clemente, my dad's had Thurmon Munson, and now mine has Roy Halladay. It's sickening that this type of news keeps on resurfacing in sports news sources every so often and my thoughts and prayers go out to the Halladay family. We'll always remember and love you, Doc. 

BwM's 2017 MLB Awards Predictions 11/7/17

Hey baseball fans!

Now that the World Series is officially over (congrats, Astros), it's time to talk about end-of-season MLB awards! With that being said, here are my predictions for the MVP, Cy Young Award, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year in each league.

AL MVP: Aaron Judge (Yankees)
Why? No offense to Jose Altuve and his league-leading batting average, but as has been seen with Mike Trout's numerous MVPs, the MVP award usually comes down to WAR (wins above replacement) as a tie-breaker. Judge and Altuve are the front-runners for this award and have plenty going for them in different categories; Altuve is your typical modern contact hitter/speedster, while Judge is Mickey Mantle without the batting average. The bottom line is that this decision for MVP should come down to WAR, a category Judge topped in the AL at 8.75, compared to Altuve's 7.94. Both are extremely proficient run-producers, but Judge consistently carried the Yankees in a year when they were supposed to stink. To simplify, when Judge was hot, so were the Yankees.

NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks)
Why? This is a very awkward decision for me. Originally, I had Nolan Arenado winning this award, but APPARENTLY, he will remain the most underrated hitter in baseball by not being selected to be in the top three for this award category. With that being said, Paul Goldschmidt still had an insane year that eventually helped his team to the playoffs. Sure, Joey Votto and Giancarlo Stanton had arguably better years in certain statistical categories (batting average and home runs, respectively), but Goldy was the best all-around AND Votto and Stanton didn't get to taste October because of the subpar teams for whom they play. That's why considering WAR in the 2017 NL MVP conversation is misleading; Votto and Stanton have the highest WARs in baseball, but that's only because they were the only producers for their teams. Goldschmidt plays on a stacked Diamondbacks lineup and still posted a top-ten WAR in baseball, not just the National League.

AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber (Indians)
Why? No offense to Chris Sale, but your league-leading strikeout total won't win you the Cy Young Award. Kluber led the AL in wins (18), ERA, (2.25), ERA+ (202), and WHIP (0.869). Actually, that WHIP is the 26th-best single-season WHIP in baseball history. That's pretty Cy Young-worthy to me.

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
Why? Not to sound repetitive, but no offense to Max Scherzer, but your league-leading strikeout total won't win you the Cy Young Award. Kershaw led the NL in wins (18), ERA (2.31), ERA+ (180), strikeouts-to-walks ratio (6.73) and came in second in the NL in WHIP (0.949). Seems like another Cy Young season for Kershaw to me.

AL and NL RoY: Judge and Cody Bellinger (Yankees and Dodgers)
Why? Both of these decisions should be unanimous. Judge has the record for most rookie home runs in baseball history (52), while Bellinger holds the same record in National League history (39). Case closed.

AL Manager of the Year: Paul Molitor (Twins)
Why? Who knows how Molitor got this team to the playoffs, but props to him for doing it. No team before the 2017 Twins had made the playoffs just a year after losing 100 or more regular season games. Honestly, I think this team is a major fluke and will be back in the basement of the AL next year. However, for the time being, nice job, Paul. I guess now I know why your nickname is "The Ignitor."

NL Manager of the Year: Torey Lovullo (Diamondbacks)
Why? The D-Backs went from posting their worst team ERA in franchise history in 2016 (5.09) to posting their best in 2017 (3.67). Lovullo's emphasis on small ball, even though the team can really smack the ball around, led to one of the best run-preventing and baserunning teams in baseball in 2017. Regarding baserunning, the D-Backs ranked second in baseball in taking the extra base (45%) and first in least amount of outs made on the base paths (35).

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know 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, November 2, 2017

Looking Back on the 2017 MLB Season (and BwM's 500th post!!) 11/2/17

Hey baseball fans!

This is my 500th post on Baseball with Matt! I can't believe I've been doing this for almost five years now and I'm so thankful for my loyal readers. You guys are the reason I keep writing, so thank you for looking at my stuff. Now, for my 500th post, I wanted to do something special, so why not talk about one of the most special MLB seasons I've ever witnessed as a baseball fan: the 2017 MLB campaign.

The Homers
Boy, there were a lot of them, a record-setting number to be exact. Giancarlo Stanton smacked a whopping 59 dingers and Aaron Judge added 52 of his own. Hitters like J.D. Martinez, Mike Moustakas, and Logan Morrison shocked fans with their home run numbers, while Edwin Encarnacion, Nelson Cruz, and Nolan Arenado put up their normal, astronomical statistics. So many batters hit over 30 home runs that the Home Run Derby could've had at least twice the amount of competitors it did have and it would've still been exciting. What more is there to say besides people dig the long ball?

The Rookies
As mentioned before, Aaron Judge was a monster this year, but he wasn't the only rookie who shined in the spotlight. What about probable NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger? I also can't forget Andrew Benintendi, Trey Mancini, or Josh Bell, and all the guys you hadn't heard of before the season, like Matt Davidson, Matt Olson, or Ian Happ. But I should also probably mention Rhys Hoskins, the Gary Sanchez of 2017 in terms of immediate carnage of baseballs. Paul DeJong, Hunter Renfroe, and Yuli Gurriel are even more hitters who in one way or another will continue to lead baseball's youth movement for years to come.

The Team Stories
Whether it be the Astros' hot start to the Dodgers' amazing summer to the Indians' record-breaking September, lots of teams had plenty of amazing story lines that carried them throughout the season. Other incredible plot lines includes the Diamondbacks and Rockies and their seasons that defied preseason expectations, and the Yankees who turned their "rebuilding year" into a redefining year. Many teams had things going for them come postseason time, which is why coming up with postseason predictions was so hard for me.

The Postseason
It was an October (and November) that I don't think I will be forgetting anytime soon. There were insane comebacks, nail-biting pitching duels, and one of the greatest World Series games in history. I couldn't care less about how the Fall Classic ended, to be completely honest, because all I can think about now is how grateful I am for having witnessed that Series and the playoffs in general.

The Swagger
It's no secret that baseball's popularity has been dwindling the last couple of years compared to sports like football and basketball, but 2017 saw baseball switch attitudes completely. It wasn't just a sport for people with plenty of patience; it became a sport full of bat flips, walk-off celebrations, and cocky egos. The team that best exemplifies this is the Yanks, who ditched the proper "Yankee Way" in favor of the thumbs-down hand gesture and in-game, post-home run amateur interviews. Baseball just got so much more fun to watch.

Thank you, 2017, for a fantastic baseball season. Let's just hope the offseason features even more unbelievable moments. Yes, I'm looking at you, Marlins front office and probably-former Royals stars. Thanks for reading post #500 on Baseball with Matt and I hope you enjoyed it. Here's to another 500 and to checking back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, October 22, 2017

7 Historical Facts about the 2017 World Series 10/22/17

Hey baseball fans!

Yes, I'm upset that the Yankees lost to the Astros in the ALCS, but the World Series is upon us! It's the 'Stros vs. the Dodgers in the 113th edition of the Fall Classic. Before the series starts, however, here are seven facts that'll give the matchup a little more meaning.

Fact #1: 
Much like the last couple of Fall Classics, the 2017 World Series is heavily focused on drought-ending. The Dodgers haven't won a World Series since 1988, while the Astros haven't won a single World Series in their 56-year history. Houston actually did appear in a World Series back in 2005, but they were swept by the White Sox. Speaking of which...

Fact #2:
The Astros are the first team in baseball history to win both the AL and NL pennants. The only other team that could also do it would be the Brewers, but they haven't made a World Series since their switch to the National League back in 1998.

Fact #3:
It's only the second World Series ever in which California and Texas, the two biggest U.S. states in terms of population, are represented by at least one team each. The first time this occurred was back in 2010, when the San Francisco Giants won in five games over the Texas Rangers.

Fact #4:
We could possibly see the hottest World Series game ever in terms of temperature. The hottest World Series game on record is a 94-degree Game One of the 2001 Series in Phoenix, but Game One of the 2017 Series has a predicted first-pitch temperature of 95 degrees.

Fact #5:
Because the Astros and Dodgers used to be in the same league and division, they've played a fair amount of games against each other. LA holds the edge, however, having won 388 of their 711 head-to-head matchups.

Fact #6:
In their Major League playing careers, the managers for LA and Houston, Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch, respectively, combined for 55 career home runs in 17 MLB seasons. Not a lot of power from the skippers, I see.

Fact #7:
The Dodgers, in terms of win-loss record in the World Series, are actually ranked 19th amongst all qualified teams, with only 45 wins in 105 World Series games played. The Astros, on the other hand, are tied for dead last in the category, having been swept in their only World Series appearance thus far.

Who's winning this series, Dodgers or Astros? 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."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Analyzing the Potential 2017 World Series Matchups 10/15/17

Hey baseball fans!

We are down to the final four! Yes, the American League and National League Championship Series are finally here, which means we have ourselves four potential World Series matchups. In this post, I'll be looking at each of these matchups with a historical perspective and stating which World Series matchup I'd like to see the most, starting with number four.

Number Four: Astros vs. Dodgers
Historical Significance: These teams were National League competitors for ages before Houston switched over to the American League in 2013, but it's not like they were heated rivals, as they were in different divisions. What makes this matchup interesting is the potential drought-ending. LA hasn't won or been to a World Series since 1988 and the Astros haven't won a World Series at all, their last appearance coming in 2005, where they were swept by the White Sox. It would kind of have the feel of last year's World Series, but on a smaller scale.

Number Three: Yankees vs. Cubs
Historical Significance: These two teams haven't met in the World Series since 1938, but in both times this pair squared off on baseball's biggest stage (1932 and '38), Lou Gehrig and the Yankees swept the Lovable Losers easily. From the Cubs' last pennant to their World Series championship in 2016, the Yankees have won 17 World Series, but obviously it would be the Cubs trying to repeat as MLB champs. Both of these franchises have incredible histories with some incredible Hall of Famers and, down the road, if this World Series matchup were to happen this year, we could be seeing a lot of future Cooperstown inductees.

Number Two: Astros vs. Cubs
Historical Significance: No, these teams have never met up in the World Series because Houston has never made the Fall Classic as an AL team. Instead, these two ball clubs were NL Central rivals for almost 20 years. What's interesting about these teams is that when I was first getting into baseball, both of these teams were absolutely abysmal, each losing 90+ games consistently, while teams like the Phillies and Braves were winning 90+ games (how weird is that?). But ever since Houston switched leagues, these teams have become juggernauts and this World Series matchup would pit potential dynasties against each other. In my opinion, if this World Series were to take place, the winner will turn into a force to be reckoned with for the next five or more years.

Number One: Yankees vs. Dodgers
Historical Significance: Legendary moments have occurred when these teams face off in the World Series, mostly because this matchup has occurred so many times in the past century. The Yanks and Dodgers hold the record amongst all baseball teams with 11 World Series meet-ups. In those meet-ups, the Bronx Bombers hold the advantage, winning eight of them. However, the Dodgers won their first World Series ever in franchise history in 1955 versus New York and also beat them in 1963 and 1981. Snider vs. Mantle or Judge vs. Bellinger? Seriously, this could be one fun World Series.

Which of these World Series matchups would you want to see the most? 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, October 5, 2017

My 2017 MLB Postseason Predictions 10/5/17

Hey baseball fans!

Even though I'm in college, what would October baseball be without some BwM MLB postseason predictions? So, without further ado, now that the Wild Card round has concluded, here's how I think the 2017 playoffs will go.

ALDS Series 1: Yankees vs. Indians
Winner in X games: Indians in five
Why? There's only one AL team that can beat the Indians and it just so happens to be the Yankees. Cleveland and New York had the best and second-best run differentials this season, respectively, so these teams give their pitchers plenty of run support. But Cleveland is just too good. If it goes to a fifth game, Corey Kluber is scheduled to pitch, so mark that down as a New York loss.

ALDS Series 2: Red Sox vs. Astros
Winner in X games: Astros in four
Why? Houston is way too dominant at the plate. Sure, their pitching has slumped this season, but they had the best team batting average in baseball this regular season by a long shot and the Sox can't send Chris Sale to the mound every day.

NLDS Series 1: Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers
Winner in X games: Diamondbacks in five
Why? LA is not the team that it was in the middle of the season and we all know how Clayton Kershaw performs in the postseason. Sure, the D-Backs barely have any playoff experience, but the Dodgers don't have much non-choking playoff experience in recent memory. In short, I'm giving this one to the boys in Arizona because of  a well-rounded pitching staff and a strong lineup filled with plenty of MVP candidates that hasn't quit basically all season.

NLDS Series 2: Cubs vs. Nationals
Winner in X games: Nationals in five
Why? It's about time the Nats lift the Washington sports choking curse and this is the year to do it. With an absolutely insane starting pitching staff, a revamped bullpen, a healthy Bryce Harper, and a weakened Cubs team from last season, this is the year for the Nationals to finally win in the playoffs.

ALCS: Astros vs. Indians
Winner in X games: Indians in six
Why? The Yankees are a balanced team and that's why I think they'll go toe-to-toe with the Tribe until the end of their ALDS, but the Astros don't have pitching. Cleveland is just too powerful on all fronts.

NLCS: Diamondbacks vs. Nationals
Winner in X games: Nationals in seven
Why? What a series this would be: two really good expansion teams who've never enjoyed a lot of success in the playoffs. But there is one constant for pennant winners that'll be true again in this series: pitching wins championships. The Nats will outlast the D-Backs because of their All-Star caliber starters, but it'll definitely be a close series overall.

World Series: Nationals vs. Indians
Winner in X games: Indians in five
Why? Plain and simple: World Series jitters in DC. If this World Series were to happen, it'll be exactly like the 2015 Fall Classic: a pennant winner of the previous year avenging their heart-breaking World Series loss by obliterating a team that is just happy to be there. I guess the Mets and Nationals will have more in common than just being in the same division together. Congrats, Cleveland.

Do you agree with my World Series picks? 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, September 25, 2017

The Bash Brothers: Big Mac and Canseco 9/25/17

Hey baseball fans!

Aaron Judge just set a new rookie record with 50 home runs in a season! But who hit 49, you ask? Well, his name is Mark McGwire and he was one half of one of the greatest hitting duos of the late '80s: the Bash Brothers.

The Oakland Athletics went to three straight World Series from 1988-1990 and one (well, more like two) of the reasons for their success was two young sluggers who won back-to-back Rookie of the Year Awards in 1986 and 1987, respectively: Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. They were known as the Bash Brother because, well, they could really bash the baseball. Like I said before, Big Mac hit 49 home runs in his rookie season, 1987, but Canseco's 33 rookie dingers in '86 aren't half bad either. During the full seasons that they played together, which was from 1987-1991, they won a combined three home run titles, each hit 30 or more home runs in four seasons, and played for the AL in the All Star Game a combined nine times. Big Mac and Canseco helped the A's win the World Series in 1989 in a sweep over the Giants and even though neither hit any home runs during the Bay Area Series, both batted over .290 to etch their names into Oakland sports lore.

Canseco was traded to the Rangers midway through the 1992 season and then bounced around the league until retiring in 2001, but finished his career with 462 career home runs. McGwire, meanwhile, stayed with the A's until getting traded to the Cardinals during the 1997 season and would go on to set the record for most home runs in a single season in 1998 with 70 (but it was broken three years later by Barry Bonds) and is one of two hitters in baseball history with back-to-back seasons of at least 60 home runs (the other being Sammy Sosa). He finished his career with 583 home runs, which is good for eleventh on the all-time list.

It's sad that neither of these great hitters are in the Hall of Fame, but boy did they give excitement to the city of Oakland in the late 1980s. "The Bash Brothers" is a pretty good nickname, after all. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tie Goes To The Runner... or the 1916 Giants 9/14/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Cleveland Indians have set a new American League record with 21 straight games with a victory! It's an insane streak, but it actually isn't the best of its kind. Let's talk about the team with the most consecutive games without a loss: the 1916 Giants. And yes, the phrasing is different for a reason.

Entering a game against the Brooklyn Robins (present-day Dodgers) on September 7, the 1916 Giants had a win-loss record of 60-62-2. Yes, back in the day, there were ties if games had to be called due to darkness or precipitation. The Giants ended up winning that game on the 7th by a final score of 4-1. Then, they won their next three games against the Phillies, their next four against the Reds, and their next three against the Pirates. So, they've won eleven straight so far, which is not half bad at all in the slightest. However, in their next game, which was against the Pirates, they tied by a final score of 1-1. So the Giants have gone 12 straight games without a loss, but their winning streak is over.

But that didn't stop them from winning 14 of their next FOURTEEN GAMES! That means that the 1916 Giants went 26 games, almost a whole month, without suffering a loss. How crazy is that? Sure, the streak did stop at 26 straight games without a loss after an 8-3 loss to the Braves, but a quasi-winning streak like that has never been done in baseball history before or since. Three other teams have streaks of 20 or more games without a loss in baseball history, but none of those streaks surpass 21 games. The 1916 Giants ended up improving their total season wins from September 7th by 26 at season's end.

Will the 2017 Indians surpass the 1916 Giants for most consecutive games in baseball history without a loss? 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, September 5, 2017

My Catching College BUddy 9/5/17

Hey baseball fans!

I start my classes at Boston University today and there is a member of the Hall of Fame who also attended BU. The only thing is, he went to college almost a century ago: Mickey Cochrane!

Cochrane played for the then-Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers from 1924-1937 and quickly in his career became one of the premier catchers of his era in Major League Baseball. Although he didn't have that long a career, his biggest claim to fame is his career batting average, which was a miraculous .320. Yes, there have been plenty of hitters with higher lifetime batting averages, but none of them are catchers. So essentially, the best hitting catcher in baseball history shares an alma mater with me, so that's cool. Nicknamed "Black Mike" for his "fierce, competitive spirit" according to the Hall of Fame's website, Cochrane batted over his lifetime batting average in seven seasons and batted over .300 in two more seasons. The two-time MVP has a ton of seasons that can be argued were his best, but in only one season did he lead the league in on-base percentage. That year was 1933 and his OBP was an astounding .459, but his highest single-season batting average was a "measly" .357, which he accomplished in 1930.

Cochrane's fiery attitude helped lead his teams to five pennants and three World Series championships. With the A's, he went to the Fall Classic from 1929-1931 and with the Tigers in 1934 and 1935. His batting average during his World Series appearances dropped significantly compared to his career average, but he made up for that while in Detroit when he was the team's player-manager. In fact, Cochrane was such a good manager that even Hall of Fame Hank Greenberg called him "inspirational." That's high praise coming from one of the game's best sluggers.

The legendary catcher's career came to an abrupt end on May 25, 1937, when he was struck in the head by a pitch thrown by Yankees pitcher Bump Hadley. It is that injury that sparked conversation about making wearing a helmet while batting mandatory. However, despite retiring at the age of 34, Cochrane was still rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947 with 79.5% of the vote. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, August 26, 2017

ML"what would"B: What if David Freese Failed the Cards in the 2011 World Series? Part 2 8/26/17

Hey baseball fans!

It's time for Part 2 of my ML"what would"B about what if David Freese hadn't come up in the clutch in Game Six of the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals. We last saw the Albert Pujols-led Cardinals beat the Josh Hamilton-led Texas Rangers in the 2013 World Series, while Prince Fielder and his Los Angeles Angels watched from their couches. But what happens to the Halos and the plump first baseman in the coming years?

Remember in real life how Fielder was traded for Ian Kinsler of the Rangers in a surprise move right after the 2013 season? Well in the continuation of this alternate timeline, because Fielder isn't on the Tigers, that trade never happens. Instead, Kinsler and Josh Hamilton get shipped off to the Motor City for Chris Davis, who was acquired by the Tigers just a year prior from the Orioles. The Rangers already had a terrible 2014 season in real life, but it gets a lot worse for them as Davis underperforms.  The Angels, on the other hand, soar to a better record than anyone could've expected. Fielder still gets injured for most of the season, but the re-signing of Zack Greinke turns out to be a beautiful move, as he wins 20 games and finishes in the top for AL Cy Young Award voting. Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker flourish as well and LA ends up with the best pitching staff in baseball. Couple that with Mike Trout's first AL MVP and the emergence of C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun and the Angels go 103-59 in 2014.

Meanwhile, the Orioles still win the AL East with 96 games, but the Royals sneak away with the AL Central, as V-Mart can no longer provide the pop the Tigers' lineup needed in the DH position, considering he now plays for the AL East-champion Orioles. Nonetheless, the Tigers get the second Wild Card spot while the A's keep the first spot. In the NL, the Nationals still win the NL East on the back of their pitching staff. The Giants win the NL West with 92 wins over the Dodgers, who finished with 91 wins and the first NL Wild Card spot because Zack Greinke is still with the Angels and Clayton Kershaw can't carry the entire starting pitching staff. The Cardinals win the Central at 95 wins with Pujols still in the lineup and the Pirates finish with the second Wild Card spot at 88 wins. The Giants end up making the World Series like in real life, but instead meet the Angels in the Fall Classic, whose pitching carries them to the AL pennant, despite Mike Trout's struggles. The even-numbered year dynasty for the Giants runs out of steam, as the Los Angeles Angels win the 2002 World Series rematch, as Greinke, not Madison Bumgarner, wins World Series MVP.

The 2014 MLB offseason remains the same, but the 2015 season has a lot of shake-ups in just one division: the AL West. Chris Davis's numbers pick up again, so the Rangers win 93 games and the AL West title. The Angels win 91 games on the back of a great bounce-back season from Fielder and a second consecutive great season for the pitching staff. The Astros lose an extra three games and the second AL Wild Card spot, which is now occupied by the Yankees, while the Blue Jays and Royals still win their respective divisions. The only massive change in the NL standings comes for the Cardinals. Mark Reynolds's 13 home runs are replaced with Pujols's 40, which boosts the Cardinals win total from 100 to 105, giving them more momentum come playoff time. The Cardinals end up winning the NL pennant after taking care of the Cubs and Mets in the playoffs on the strength of Pujols and meet the Blue Jays in the World Series. Wait, how the Blue Jays? Well the Angels win the Wild Card game versus the Yankees and are actually able to put the Royals away in the division series, unlike the Astros in real life. But they are just no match for the fearsome lineup the Blue Jays possess, who fly to their first Fall Classic in almost a quarter of a century. So who wins the Battle of the Birds? Who cares? At least they both got to the World Series, here in the ML"what would"B.

Who do you think would win this version of the 2015 World Series? 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, August 17, 2017

ML"what would"B: What if David Freese Failed the Cards in the 2011 World Series? Part 1 8/16/17

Hey baseball fans!

It's time for another ML"what would"B, where I analyze a "what-if" scenario in baseball history, like what if the Yankees had won the 2004 ALCS. In this installment, let's see what would have happened if David Freese hadn't come up clutch for the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Six of the 2011 World Series. To refresh, the Texas Rangers were one strike away from winning the franchise's first World Series in 2011, when they were up by two in the bottom of the ninth against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Then, David Freese hit a two-RBI triple that was just barely out of the reach of Nelson Cruz in right field to tie the game and would go on to hit a walk-off home run a few innings later to send the series to a final game, a game the Cardinals won. But what would've happened if Cruz made the catch in right to secure a ring for the team from the Lone Star State?

Well, the butterfly effect would be felt just a few short months later during free agency. You see, coming off a World Series loss and with only one career World Series ring, there's no way Albert Pujols would've left St. Louis to take the massive ten-year contract with the Angels. It would be a disservice to Cardinals fans everywhere. So, instead, he re-signs with the Missouri team on a cheaper and shorter deal with the thought of avenging the team's Fall Classic defeat. That leaves the Angels without a first baseman, but Prince Fielder is still a free agent. So, LA uses the money they would've used on Pujols to instead sign the plump former slugger of the Milwaukee Brewers to a nine-year, $214 million deal. Without the help from Fielder, the 2012 AL real-life pennant-winning Detroit Tigers dip, as Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera can't carry the whole team to glory. So the White Sox finish tied with Detroit in the AL Central at 86 wins and beat them in the one-game playoff, as Chris Sale out-duels Justin Verlander. Meanwhile, the Cardinals turn into a juggernaut, fueled by the re-signing of one of the greatest hitters in franchise history. They win 95 games in 2012, good enough to edge out the Reds by a game for the NL Central crown, meaning Cincinnati gets the second NL Wild Card spot. The win-loss records for the rest of the teams remain virtually the same.

In the 2012 playoffs, the Rangers lose to Baltimore in the AL Wild Card Game, while the Braves edge out the Reds because in this scenario, there is no bad infield fly rule call that messes up Atlanta's chances at advancing in the playoffs. In the divisional round, the Yankees take care of the Orioles and the A's crush the White Sox in the AL, while in the NL, the Nationals actually win a playoff series by taking their series against the Braves in five games and the Cardinals beat the Giants. In the championship series, the Yankees take down Oakland and the Cardinals actually fall to Washington. Remember: the St. Louis bats went completely quiet in the actual 2012 NLCS against the Giants. So, the 2012 World Series is set: Yankees vs. Nationals. Aaaaaaand, the Nationals sweep the Yankees! Slumping bats in the Bronx couldn't stop the upstart Nationals, who win the franchise's first World Series!

After coming up short in the AL West race in 2012, the Angels make a statement by not signing Josh Hamilton in the offseason, who instead goes back to Texas. Instead, they re-sign Zack Greike to help the pitching staff get back on track. But the biggest move comes from the Tigers, who trade DH Victor Martinez to the Orioles for young slugger and first baseman Chris Davis. With the addition of Torii Hunter as well, the 2013 Tigers manage to win the AL Central, as Davis explodes for 53 home runs and the AL MVP. Meanwhile, the Rangers win the AL West at 94 games in a tight race with Oakland, who finishes just a game back. The Nationals, coming off their historic run in the 2012 playoffs, win five more games and the second NL Wild Card spot, which pushes the Reds out of the playoffs entirely. The Cardinals make the NL look silly, cruising to the World Series to face... the Texas Rangers? Yeah, remember how Texas re-signed Josh Hamilton in the offseason? Well, he goes nuts in the playoffs, carrying the Rangers past the Tigers and Red Sox and onto the World Series for a World Series rematch. This time, the Cardinals don't squander the chance to give Pujols his second ring, using their number one offense and number five pitching staff to take down the Rangers.

But wait, what's that "Part 1" doing in the title of this post, you may ask? Well, we have to see what happens to Prince Fielder and the Angels in 2014 onward, don't we? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ichiro, Edgar, and the 2001 Seattle Mariners 8/9/17

Hey baseball fans!

The 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers just went 43-7 over a 50-game span! That hasn't been done in more than a century! The Dodgers' performance this year begs the question of whether or not they will break the record for most team wins in a single season. This record is owned by two teams, the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Cubs set the record while only playing a 154-game season, so their winning percentage is a lot better than that of the '01 Mariners. With that being said, it is virtually impossible for the Dodgers this season to break the record for single-season winning percentage, but let's talk about that Mariners team for a second. 116 wins? How?

To put it simply, Ichiro Suzuki (pictured below) is how. The Japanese All Star debuted in the MLB in 2001 with Seattle and boy did he have an unbelievable rookie season. The then-27-year-old batted a league-leading .350 and also led the league in base hits with 242, over 30 hits more than the second place finisher. His insane season made him the second-ever hitter to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season (the first being Fred Lynn of the 1975 Red Sox). But it wasn't just the Asian phenom who helped the Mariners go 116-46. Edgar Martinez, Brett Boone, and John Olerud each batted over .300 on the season and they & Mike Cameron each drove in over 90 runs. Brett Boone probably had the best slugging season of the bunch, punching out 37 home runs and collecting a league-leading 141 RBIs.

The starting pitching staff wasn't half bad, either. Each pitcher who made at least 15 starts also won at least ten games. Freddy Garcia (pictured below) probably had the best season out of the starting pitchers, placing third in Cy Young voting, going 18-6 with a 3.05 ERA. 38-year-old Jamie Moyer won 20 games for the first time in his career and Paul Abbott won 17 of his own. The bullpen was backed by Japanese closer Kazuhiro Sasaki, whose 45 saves were second in all of baseball that year. All in all, the Mariners batted .288 as a team, tops in the American League, while their 3.54 team ERA was tops in baseball. Suzuki, Boone, Olerud, Martinez, Cameron, Garcia, Sasaki, and reliever Jeff Nelson were all All Stars and the Mariners' run differential that season was 300 runs, which is absolutely unprecedented.

The Seattle magic ran out eventually, however, as they ended up losing the 2001 ALCS to the Yankees. That's interesting, because the 1906 Cubs also didn't win that year's World Series either. Maybe 116 is an unlucky win total in baseball. If the Dodgers reach 116 wins on the dot, we'll find out the number's luck in October. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Preview of the 2018 Hall of Fame Vote 8/1/17

Hey baseball fans!

Hall of Fame induction ceremonies took place yesterday, which means it's time to start discussing the potential members of the 2018 HoF class. I don't want to dive too deep (I will instead save my hardcore analyzing for right before the vote), but let's look at some of the names on the ballot for next year.

The Non-Debatable Hall of Famers
Chipper Jones and Jim Thome highlight the class and both have a 99.9% chance of getting in on their first try. Jones was the face of the Braves franchise for well over a decade and has a .303 lifetime batting average, while Thome is seventh on the all time home runs list at 612 career dingers. In my mind, these guys are no-brainers.

Other Intriguing First-Timers
Johnny Damon, Andruw Jones, Scott Rolen, and Omar Vizquel (pictured below) headline the remaining first-timers on the ballot and are all very up in the air. Due to the strictness of Hall of Fame voters for the last couple of years, it would be hard for these guys to get in, but I wouldn't be blown out of my chair if one or more do. Notice how there aren't any pitchers listed yet in this post. That's because the first-time pitchers' class is weaker this year than in past years.

The "Should've Gotten In Last Year" Guys
Vlad Guerrero absolutely deserved to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but we'll have to see if the voters come to their senses next January. Billy Wagner (pictured below) and Trevor Hoffman are in bad positions because if they don't get into the Hall in '18, they will have to compete for votes with Mariano Rivera in 2019, which is a battle they will both painfully lose.

How Is Edgar Martinez Not A Hall of Famer By Now?
Seriously, how? The guy has an award named after him that is awarded to the best DH in the AL every season. For Pete's sake, even the MLB knows that Martinez is the best DH of all time (sorry, Big Papi), so why can't BBWAA voters see that?

As for Sosa, Bonds, and Clemens...
We'll just have to wait and see.

It's never too early to start talking about the next generation of Cooperstown inductees, so thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Killer Nickname, Killer Bat 7/26/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Twins are (magically) in playoff contention! What an exciting time to live near the Twin Cities. In fact, one of my favorite hitters in baseball history played for the Twins. His name is Harmon Killebrew and he was purely awesome.

Ever hear of Willie McCovey? Well, think of Killebrew as his AL counterpart. The Indiana native played in the majors from 1954-1975 with the Senators/Twins and Royals, the latter for just a year. "The Killer," as he was nicknamed, actually didn't even play a full season until 1959, but boy, did he have a great year: 42 homers, 105 RBIs, and All Star Game appearance number one of eleven. Killebrew torched AL pitching throughout the years, amassing 40 homers in eight different seasons and leading the league in homers in six of those seasons. He also collected 100+ RBIs in a season nine times, three times leading the league in the category. All of these slugging milestones helped him reach the following career numbers: 573 homers (12th all time) and 1,584 RBIs (tied for 41st on the all-time list with the great Rogers Hornsby). He is one of 99 hitters in baseball history with a career slugging percentage over .500 (.509) and is 15th on the all-time walks list with 1,559. He must've been a pretty feared hitter, if he could work the count like that.

His best year in baseball was 1969, when he cracked a career-high 49 dingers, drove in a career high 140 runs, and walked an astounding 145 times, tied for the 20th most walks by a batter in a single season. His Twins went 97-65 and although they lost to the Orioles in the ALCS, Killebrew still won the MVP that year. Earlier in his career, during the '65 Fall Classic, Killebrew batted .286 (his career BA was .256) with a homer and two RBIs, but LA won the series in seven.

Despite never attaining the glory of winning a World Series, Harmon Killebrew was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984, his fourth year on the ballot, with 83.1% of the vote. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Matt Nadel's First Ballot Hall of Famer Criteria 7/19/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is right around the corner, but what makes someone qualify as a first ballot Hall of Famer? Obviously the definition of greatness in baseball has changed over the years, but here are the most up-to-date criteria with which I judge baseball personalities on whether or not they're a first ballot Hall of Famer, whether the voters agree with me or not:

For contact hitters:

Criteria: .300+ career batting average
Why? Getting three hits in ten at-bats seems lackluster to most beginner baseball fans, but think to yourself about how you analyze a player's season, just based on batting average. Seeing a three in the tenths place is just a lot more attractive than a two.

Criteria: 3,000+ career hits
Why? Usually, Hall of Famers play around 20 years in baseball. If you average 150 hits a season over 20 years, you're Roberto Clemente (he finished his career with 3,000 hits on the dot). Who doesn't want to be Roberto Clemente? But seriously, usually the best contact hitters will have some 200+ hit seasons during their primes and then tail off a little bit at the end. That makes a round number like 3,000 so applicable. Recent Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio, had 3,060 hits for example.

For power hitters:

Criteria 500+ career home runs and/or 1,500+ career RBIs
Why? It's the same logic as with hits; a power hitter might have 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons during his prime, but then won't do as well later in his career. It's just a good number because it takes consistency into consideration while leaving room for bad seasons.

For the all-around hitters:

Criteria: 10+ career All Star Game appearances
Why? Ryne Sandberg, Pudge Rodriguez and Yogi Berra don't have career stats that jump out at you per se, but what they do have are a ton of All Star appearances. If a player is considered the greatest at his position in the league he plays in for ten or more years, then of course he deserves enshrinement in Cooperstown.

For pitchers:

Criteria: 250+ wins
Why? It used to be 300, but no pitcher has eclipsed that milestone since Randy Johnson did almost ten years ago. It's very rare that a pitcher even gets over 200 wins in a career, let alone 250, which makes the number extra special. Bert Blyleven, a Hall of Famer, had 287 wins. To put it into perspective, there are only 116 pitchers in baseball history to get over 200 career wins. Wow. Pitching is hard.

Criteria: ERA lower than 3.00
Why? It's a lot harder than it seems and it goes back to the batting average criteria, except the opposite; a two in the ones place looks better than a three.

Criteria: 8+ All Star Games
Why? I call this the "John Smoltz Rule" because he was a reliever and a starter at different points in his career, only has 213 career wins, has an ERA of 3.33, made eight All Star Games, and is in the Hall of Fame. So if a starter or reliever could pull off John Smoltz-like stats that gets them at least eight appearances in the Summer Classic, they should be in the Hall.

For managers, owners, and GMs:

Criteria: Win a lot.
Why? I'm grouping all of these positions together because they all are judged based on their team's success. Whether it be with one or multiple teams, if a head honcho leads his club to the promised land on multiple occasions, thus building at least a quasi-dynasty, then it's a done deal for me. See you in the Hall soon, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon!

Just remember that these criteria are for slam dunk Hall of Famers. Jeff Bagwell definitely deserves a spot in Cooperstown, but didn't amass any of these stats, so my criteria could be taken as unfair, right? Well, I didn't think he was going to get into the Hall on his first try anyway because BBWAA voters are a lot stricter when it comes to filling out their ballots. How else do you think potential HoFers should be judged? 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."

Sunday, July 9, 2017

An All-Out Slugfest: The History of the Home Run Derby 7/9/17

Hey baseball fans!

The All Star Game Home Run Derby is tomorrow, pitting the best sluggers in a competition of who has the most power! Personally, it's my favorite side event of the MLB All Star Game, so here are some things to know about the Home Run Derby before watching it tomorrow on ESPN:

The Derby started in 1985, with five players from each League participating. The number of participants changed throughout the 90s, but the four-person-per-League format that is used today was adopted in 2000. The way the tournament has been set up has also changed over the years. From 1991, the first year it was televised, to 2013, all the players were playing against each other and were given ten "outs," or hits that weren't home runs, to hit as many home runs as they can. The top home runs hitters in each round moved on until the final two. For the 2017 Home Run Derby, for example, Giancarlo Stanton will square off against Gary Sanchez, the one seed vs. the eighth seed, in a March Madness-style, head-to-head battle, where each player will be given four minutes to hit as many home runs as they can.

Despite the rule changes, there have been some players who have clearly dominated the Derby. Todd Frazier of the White Sox leads all players in HRD history with 91 career Derby homers. He won the whole thing in 2015 while playing for the Reds. Josh Hamilton hit a single-round record of 28 home runs in the first round of the 2008 Derby, but eventually lost in the final round to Justin Morneau. Ken Griffey, Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes are the only two players to win the contest in back-to-back years (Griffey in '98 and '99 & Cespedes in '13 and '14). Griffey also won it in 1994, making him the only three-time champ. Prince Fielder is the only Derby participant to win it at least once in both Leagues, winning it in 2009 as a member of the NL Milwaukee Brewers and in 2012 as a member of the AL Detroit Tigers (pictured below). Hall of Famers to have won the homer tourney are Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken, Jr., Griffey, and Frank Thomas.

My favorite Home Run Derby that I've ever watched was in 2011, when in Chase Field, Robinson Cano of the Yankees, while being pitched to by his dad, beat Adrain Gonzalez of the Red Sox in the final round of a classic desert showdown. What's the favorite Derby you've ever watched and who do you think will win it tomorrow? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! 7/1/17

Hey baseball fans!

Happy Bobby Bonilla Day! July 1 is the day of the year when the New York Mets pay a retired, slightly ok baseball player about $1 million annually until 2034! Now I know some of you may be confused, but let me explain.

Bonilla played in the MLB from 1986-2001 with a plethora of teams, actually making six All Star Games as an outfielder. He doesn't have the stats to be in the Hall of Fame, so the fact that he is still receiving money from the Mets is mind-boggling. Basically, the Mets signed Bonilla to a deferred-money deal after not wanting him on the roster after the 2000 season, meaning that rather paying all of Bonilla's $5.9 million salary for the year right then and there, they would pay percentages of it over time with interest (at a negotiated 8% per year). The deal kicked in with the first payment being issued on July 1, 2011. The only problem for the Mets is the $5.9 million in 2000 will be worth $29.8 million by the time the deal is done. So now, the Mets organization is stuck paying Bonilla $1.19 million every July 1 until 2033! The worst part of it all for the Amazins is that Bonilla lives in Florida now, where there's no income tax, so he's really taking aaaaalllllll of that dough. Classic move by the Mets' front office.

On a separate note, happy Canada Day to Joey Votto, Russell Martin, and the Toronto Blue Jays. If you were in Bobby Bonilla's shoes, how would you spend your annual mega-paycheck, eh? Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."