Friday, November 30, 2018

What the Heck is a Hold? 11/30/18

Hey baseball fans!

Relievers don't get enough love. Closers have their own statistic, the save, but what do relievers in general have? Ladies and gentleman, I present to you one of the more under-the-radar statistics that isn't even an official MLB stat: the hold.

So, what the heck is a hold? A hold is when a pitcher comes into the game in relief with their team winning and keeps it that way. That's the simplest definition of a hold, but there are a couple of technicalities. A reliever is only eligible for a hold if he comes into the game in a save situation; he must record at least one out; and he has to leave the game before it ends and keeps his team's lead. This stat was not regularly used until 1999, so great relievers like Jesse Orosco aren't credited with all of the holds they ever recorded.

But let's improve on the hold because it definitely has its faults as a statistic. First of all, a big proponent of the hold is that it's calculated by appearance and not by inning. This should be reversed, for sure. Second of all, why does it matter if a reliever comes in during a save situation, let alone with his team winning? Teams make wild comebacks all the time, which could make holds seem meaningless or a non-hold situation very meaningful. And lastly, for this new stat, a reliever has to pitch a scoreless appearance because no reliever should be awarded anything for giving up two runs while only recording one out. That's an in-game ERA of 54.00, but it could still be a situation in which a reliever is credited with a hold. How absurd!

What do you think of this improved hold? Should it have a different name? 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, November 20, 2018

The Case for Adrian Beltre 11/20/18

Hey baseball fans!

First of all, happy Thanksgiving! I'm sure Adrian Beltre will be having a good Turkey Day as well, given that the 21-year veteran just announced his retirement from baseball. In my last post, we took a deep dive into the career of Joe Mauer to see if he should be a Hall of Famer. This post will do the same for Beltre, but the dive will not be NEARLY as deep, mostly because it doesn't need to be. Why is this the case? Well, you'll see in a second, but first, let's discuss the career of the former All Star.

Adrian Beltre played from 1998-2018 with the Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox, and Rangers. In those 21 years, he made four All Star Games, won four Silver Slugger awards, and also took home five Gold Glove awards at third base. Beltre also batted .300 or above in seven seasons and hit 30 or more home runs in five seasons. I'm sure that this all sounds great and worthy of the Hall of Fame, but there is one key statistic that Beltre achieved that OFFICIALLY secures him a spot in Cooperstown in five years.

Lend me your ears because I'm about to tell you one of baseball's rare unwritten laws regarding Hall of Fame legitimacy: if a hitter did not do anything to limit his Hall of Fame candidacy (I'm looking at you, Palmeiro and Rodriguez) or if a hitter isn't Pete Rose, 3,000 CAREER HITS IS A TICKET TO COOPERSTOWN. Every single hitter in baseball history, except for the three listed above, with 3,000 or more hits are/will be in the Hall of Fame and Beltre ranks 16th on the all-time hits list with 3,166 career base knocks. It doesn't matter that he only ranks 16th; he will get into the Hall of Fame, whether he gets 75.1% or 100% of the ballot votes.

Who's excited for another foreign hitter to get inducted into the Hall? 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, November 15, 2018

The Case for Joe Mauer 11/15/18

Hey baseball fans!

Last weekend, longtime Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer announced his retirement from the MLB after 15 seasons. I can understand if some of the younger folk don't know who this is, but my mini-generation of baseball fans can definitely recognize the former All Star. Mauer was something rare in baseball, a contact-hitting catcher, and this anomaly might hinder his Hall of Fame case. I, however, think his rare talent enhances his chances.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mauer's career accomplishments, let me tell you a little bit about him. Mauer grew up in Minnesota and played his entire career with the Twins. In that career, he batted .306 with 2,123 hits, and an OBP of .388. He's a three-time batting champ, two-time OBP champ, a six-time All Star, five-time Silver Slugger, and three-time Gold Glover. He was also the 2009 AL MVP, helping his Twins with the AL Central in the process.

It's important to note that Mauer played for 15 years and was a Hall of Fame-worthy player for his first ten. Because of injuries, he tailed off in his last five years in baseball. I am a firm believer that starting off a career as a Hall of Famer and then going through a prolonged and significant decline in talent and production does not give a player the worthiness of being a Hall of Famer, but injuries are a different story. There are some Hall of Famers that had their careers completely cut short due to injuries (think Ralph Kiner and Sandy Koufax) who are in the Hall, while Mauer just had to move to first base for his last couple of years, so the fact that Mauer wasn't as good as when he started shouldn't hurt his Hall of Fame credibility. In addition, Hall of Fame catchers Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza saw similar declines to their numbers later in their careers, so Mauer's decline isn't something abnormal for catchers. Yes, Bench's and Piazza's declines weren't as severe as Mauer's, but that's only because they're two of the best hitting catchers ever and it wouldn't be fair to compare Mauer's career to either Bench's or Piazza's.

If we're going to apply a fair edition of baseball's common law to Mauer's Hall of Fame case, let's look at Mickey Cochrane, a Hall of Fame catcher for the Tigers in the 1920s and 1930s. Cochrane's career abruptly ended due to a head injury he suffered in 1937, so he only played for 13 years in baseball. Cochrane had a lot of great years, but had subpar years sprinkled in here and there, so although he had some seasons in which he batted north of .335, he ended his career with a .320 batting average, 1,652 hits, and a .419 OBP. Now, I have already told you Mauer's career stats, but those stats include Mauer's later years. Mauer's stats in his first ten years are as follows: a .323 batting average, 1,414 hits, and a .405 OBP. The batting average and hits per season are both better than Cochrane's and although it's not by much and Cochrane's OBP is better, this is still very telling of just how good and how impactful Mauer was. In addition, Mauer's career WAR is better than Cochrane's (39.0 to 36.9) and is, in general, better than the average Hall of Fame catcher's career WAR.

My opinion alone might be biased, but based on the numbers, I don't see how Mauer doesn't at least eventually make it into the Hall. But what do you think? Is Joe Mauer a Hall of Famer? 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, November 10, 2018

BwM's 2018 MLB Award Predictions 11/9/18

Hey baseball fans!

The 2018 MLB major awards will be given out starting this coming Monday, November 12! But, before the winners for the Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP awards for the AL and NL are officially announced, I'm going to try to predict the winners. Last year, I went 5/8 on the predictions, so let's see if my luck will change for the better in 2018!

AL Manager of the Year
Winner: Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox
Why? A rookie manager winning the World Series and leading his team to the best season in terms of wins in franchise history? This one should be pretty obvious.

NL Manager of the Year
Winner: Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers
Why? You could make a case for Brian Snitker of the Braves, but the Brewers had the best record in the National League in 2018 and, out of the three managers in the NL who are nominated for Manager of the Year, the Brew Crew had the best bullpen in terms of ERA, one of the best ways you can judge a manager who is in contention for this award.

AL Rookie of the Year
Winner: Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees
Why? Andujar was towards the top among AL rookies in hits, home runs, RBIs, batting average, and slugging percentage. He is an extra base hits machine and a fan favorite in New York. Shohei Ohtani had a great year, but Andjuar put up All Star stats in 2018.

NL Rookie of the Year
Winner: Ronald Acuna, Atlanta Braves
Why? I wouldn't be surprised if Walker Buehler of the Dodgers walked away with this award, but Acuna was a powerful, contact-hitting star this past season and you could argue that the Braves wouldn't have won the NL East without his help.

AL Cy Young
Winner: Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
Why? Snellzilla came out of what seemed like nowhere this past year, leading the AL in wins and ERA and coming in second in WHIP. Justin Verlander of the Astros and Corey Kluber of the Indians are definitely in the conversation, but I think Snell takes this award.

NL Cy Young
Winner: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
Why? We've seen pitchers with no run support win the Cy Young award before, so why can't it happen again? DeGrom led all National League pitchers with a staggering 1.70 ERA and had he been given even a little bit of more run support from the Mets' lineup, he could've easily been a 20-game winner.

Winner: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
Why? Mike Trout of the Angels is, as always, in hot pursuit of this heralded award, but I'm picking the AL batting champ to win it this year; along with leading the AL in batting, he was also the 2018 MLB WAR leader, which matters a lot to voters in this type of close race.

Winner: Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
Why? Almost winning the Triple Crown and being a massive help to his team in achieving the best record in the NL certainly gives the former Marlin the advantage here, but this is going to be a close race regardless between him, Javier Baez of the Cubs, and my favorite player in baseball, Nolan Arenado of the Brewers.

What do you think of my picks? 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, November 1, 2018

Miscellaneous Hall of Fame Awards 11/1/18

Hey baseball fans!

Welcome to the MLB offseason, when teams try to reshuffle their rosters in hopes of a future run at a World Series title. But first, we have some awards to discuss! As I do every year, I will try to predict the 2018 MLB major award winners, but we're saving that for a different post. In this post, I will be giving some fake awards to Hall of Famers for some of their amazing career accomplishments. So, without further delay, let's get to it!

Face of the Franchise Award: Napoleon Lajoie
What's the award for? Most people don't know who Lajoie is, mostly because he played more than 100 years ago. However, from 1896-1916, Lajoie batted an astounding .338 with 3,243 hits, both among the best marks in their respective categories in baseball history. In fact, he was so good that the Cleveland Indians temporarily changed the team name to the Cleveland Naps, while Lajoie was still on the team. Cleveland wasn't named the Indians until 1915.

Super Star Award: Joe DiMaggio
What's the award for? Joltin' Joe was one of the best hitters of his era, but because he only played 13 seasons in the MLB, he's not regarded as one of the best of all time. But DiMaggio managed to do something that not even Hank Aaron managed to do: make an All Star Game every single year he played. Yes, Joe DiMaggio doesn't have the most All Star appearances of all time (that accolade belongs to Aaron with 25), but DiMaggio made 13 All Star Games in the 13 years he played in the MLB. No other Hall of Fame can say they did that besides the Yankee Clipper.

Neighbor to the North Award: Fergie Jenkins
What's the award for? Jenkins was an All Star pitcher who pitched for mainly the Cubs and Rangers from 1965-1983, winning 284 games during his Hall of Fame career. So, what makes him so special, you may ask? Well, besides being a great pitcher, Jenkins is Canadian and was the first Canadian inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 1991 with 75.4% of the BBWAA vote.

The Butt of No Joke Award: Heinie Manush
What's the award for? Please ignore my potty humor, but do not ignore Manush's Hall of Fame worthy career. From 1923-1939, Manush batted an out-of-this-world .330 during his career with just over 2,500 hits. He led the league in hits twice, including a 241-hit year in 1928, which is the twelfth-most hits in a single season in baseball history. He finally got into the Hall of Fame in 1964 via the Veteran's Committee.

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