The actual NL and AL Rookies of the Year

The BBWAA announced the voting for the NL and AL ROYs yesterday, and well, it was interesting.

AL winner: Andrew Bailey RP (Oakland) – He was definitely impressive, was he really that much better than Brett Anderson? Speaking of Brett Anderson, how did he did up with only 1 2nd and 1 3rd place vote? As Rob Neyer points out, Brett Anderson was better (in a fielding-independent world) than either Neimann or Porcello, both of which scored a lot more votes.

NL winner: We can all be a little saddened by the fact that Chris Coghlan OF (Florida) somehow conned the voters to get the win. I mean, are that many BBWAA writers still impressed with a pretty batting average? Apparently so. I would like to be the first to congratulation our 2009 version of the immortal Todd Hollandsworth. Now, how J.A. Happ got more votes than Tommy Hanson will baffle me for quite a while too (and poor ol’ Andrew McCutchen came in 4th! Fourth, people!)

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2009 MLB Awards

Now that we’ve crowned the truly uninspring 2009 World Series Champions, we can move onto the offseason hoping that 2010 offers a little more drama than the richest team in the league winning it all.

Next week, the MLB Writers will announce the 2009 MLB awards, so on that note, I’m posting my ballot (if I had a vote …)

All players listed with their WPA and WAR (from FanGraphs)

Rookie of the Year

American League:

  1. Brett Anderson SP (Oakland) – 0.12/3.8
  2. Jeff Neimann SP (Tampa Bay) – 1.87/3.2
  3. Elvis Andrus SS (Texas) – (-0.66)/3.0

WAR tends to heavily favor starters in these situations and also favors defense, which is why Andrus snuck in at #3 instead of Gordon Beckham (3B CHI).

National League:

  1. Andrew McCutchen OF (Pittsburgh) – 2.02/3.4
  2. Tommy Hanson SP (Atlanta) – 2.04/2.6
  3. Randy Wells SP (Chicago) – 1.64/3.0
  4. Garrett Jones OF (Pittsburgh) – 1.25/2.6

UPDATED 11/13: You know, somehow I completely forgot Tommy Hanson (SP Atlanta). He rolls in with a 2.04/2.6, which puts him very close to McCutchen. My gut says to rank the position player higher than the pitcher, so there you have it.

Amazingly, J.A. Happ’s WAR was only 1.8, below all of the above and guys like Casey McGehee (UT MIL) and Chris Coghlan (OF FLA).

MVP

American League:

  1. Joe Mauer C (Minnesota) – 3.64/8.2
  2. Ben Zobrist UT (Tampa Bay) – 4.10/8.6
  3. Derek Jeter SS (New York) – 1.41/7.4
  4. Franklin Gutierrez OF (Seattle) – 3.72/5.9
  5. Zack Grienke SP (Kansas City) – 6.07/9.4
  6. Kevin Youkilis 1B/3B (Boston) – 2.36/5.6
  7. Miguel Cabrera 1B (Detroit) – 1.59/5.4
  8. Mark Teixiera 1B (New York) – 3.58/5.1
  9. Shin Soo Choo OF (Cleveland) – 2.11/5.0
  10. Victor Martinez C (Boston) – 3.23/4.9

A few surprises, wouldn’t you say? I couldn’t bring myself to putting Zobrist at the top over Mauer – too many questions in my mind about the value of C defense in the WAR calculations. It was also hard to figure where to slot in the pitchers, but Grienke belongs in the list somewhere. Franklin Gutierrez looks like the steal of the year for the Mariners – adequate hitting and remarkable defense = high WAR (yet no Gold Glove … gotta love it). I was also surprised to see the good showing of Shin Soo Choo.

National League:

  1. Albert Pujols 1B (St. Louis) – 8.24/8.4
  2. Chase Utley 2B (Philadelphia) – 4.3/7.6
  3. Tim Lincecum SP (San Francisco) – 4.26/8.2
  4. Hanley Ramirez SS (Florida) – 3.09/7.3
  5. Prince Fielder 1B (Milwaukee) – 7.79/6.8
  6. Adrian Gonzalez 1B (San Diego) – 4.2/6.3
  7. Derek Lee 1B (Chicago) – 3.84/5.3
  8. Pablo Sandoval 3B (San Francisco) – 4.71/5.2
  9. Ryan Howard 1B (Philadelphia) – 6.03/4.8
  10. Ryan Braun OF (Milwaukee) – 4.73/4.8

Nothing too shocking – Pujols wins by a (not as big as I expected) margin over Chase Utley. Tim Lincecum is the on the list as the only starter. This was quite a year for 1B in the NL.

Cy Young

American League

  1. Zack Grienke (Kansas City) – 6.07/9.4
  2. Justin Verlander (Detroit) – 4.19/8.2
  3. Roy Halladay (Toronto) – 3.52/7.3
  4. Felix Hernandez (Seattle) – 3.26/6.9
  5. Jon Lester (Boston) – 2.50/6.2
  6. CC Sabathia (New York) – 2.89/6.0
  7. Andrew Bailey (Oakland) – 2.68/2.4
  8. Mariano Rivera (New York) – 3.99/2.0
  9. Jonathan Papelbon (Boston) – 5.13/1.9
  10. Josh Beckett (Boston) – 2.2/5.3

OK, anyone who says Grienke shouldn’t be the Cy Young should be excommunicated from baseball fandom. There was a steep dropoff in starters after CC, thus the three relievers in a row … and yes, Andrew Bailey was the best of that bunch.

National League

  1. Tim Lincecum (San Francisco) – 4.26/8.2
  2. Javier Vazquez (Atlanta) – 2.41/6.6
  3. Dan Haren (Arizona) – 2.95/6.1
  4. Adam Wainwright (St. Louis) – 3.60/5.7
  5. Ubaldo Jimenez (Colorado) – 3.16/5.7
  6. Josh Johnson (Florida) – 3.05/5.5
  7. Chris Carpenter (St. Louis) – 5.41/4.5
  8. Jair Jurrjens (Atlanta) – 3.35/3.9
  9. Randy Wolf (Los Angeles) – 0.69/3.0
  10. Huston Street (Colorado) – 3.38/1.5

Much like the AL, anyone who thinks Lincecum shouldn’t win the Cy Young (again) is silly. He didn’t get the wins, but everything else was hands-down better. And two Colorado pitchers in the top 10? Go figure.

MLB All Stars 2009

It is that All-Star time of year, so I thought I’d be ahead of the curve and post my AL and NL All Star picks for 2009. Now, mind you there is no equation I follow or anything like that. Just who I think deserves the accolade here at the midpoint of 2009. Anyway, 32 players per team and 1 player (at least) from each team. A couple players are injured (marked with an *), so I’ve also designated their replacements on the squads.

American League

Starters

  • C: Joe Mauer – MIN
  • 1B: Mark Teixiera – NYY
  • 2B: Ian Kinsler – TEX
  • 3B: Evan Longoria – TAM
  • SS: Derek Jeter – NYY
  • RF: Ichiro Suzuki – SEA
  • CF: Torii Hunter – LAA
  • LF: Jason Bay – BOS

Reserves

  • C: Victor Martinez – CLE; Kurt Suzuki – OAK
  • 1B: Kevin Youkilis – BOS; Justin Morneau – MIN
  • 2B: Aaron Hill – TOR
  • 3B: Brandon Inge – DET
  • SS: Marco Scutaro – TOR; Jason Bartlett – TAM
  • OF: Shin-soo Choo – CLE; Ben Zobrist – TAM; Jermaine Dye – CHW

Pitchers

  • SP: Cliff Lee – CLE; Zack Grienke – KCR; Tim Wakefield – BOS; Roy Halladay – TOR; Josh Beckett – BOS; Edwin Jackson – DET; Felix Hernandez – SEA
  • RP: Joe Nathan – MIN; Jonathan Papelbon – BOS; Mariano Rivera – NYY; David Aardsma – SEA; Hideki Okajima – BOS; Jonathan Johnson – BAL

National League

Starters

  • C: Brian McCann – ATL
  • 1B: Albert Pujols – STL
  • 2B: Chase Utley – PHI
  • 3B: David Wright – NYM
  • SS: Hanley Ramirez – FLA
  • RF: Justin Upton – ARI
  • CF: Carlos Beltran* – NYM (replacement: Matt Kemp – LAD)
  • LF: Ryan Braun – MIL

Reserves

  • C: Yadier Molina – STL
  • 1B: Prince Fielder – MIL; Adrian Gonzalez – SD; Adam LaRoche – PIT
  • 2B: Orlando Hudson – LAD
  • 3B: Pablo Sandoval – SFG; Ryan Zimmerman – WAS
  • SS: Miguel Tejada – HOU
  • OF: Raul Ibanez* – PHI (replacement: Hunter Pence – HOU); Brad Hawpe – COL

Pitchers:

  • SP: Dan Haren – ARI; Josh Johnson – FLA; Johan Santana – NYM; Matt Cain – SFG; Chad Billingsley – LAD; Tim Lincecum – SFG; Javier Vazquez – ATL; Ted Lilly – CHC
  • RP: Heath Bell – SD; Francisco Rodriguez – NYM; Ryan Franklin – STL; Huston Street – COL; Ryan Madson – PHI; Francisco Cordero – CIN

There you have it! Enjoy!

2009 MLB Predictions

You’ve seen the BB Mogul simulations, now I make the real predictions. This takes into account the simulations and some old fashioned hunches, mixes them in a big bowl, and spits them out as my real feeling for the 2009 season. Enjoy!

AL East

  1. Boston Red Sox – 95-67 – Pretty much three words sum up with the Sox will win the East: depth, depth, depth. This is the deepest Red Sox team in years … and they have a pile of budget room to go after players midseason without worrying about breaking the bank.
  2. Tampa Bay Rays – 92-70 – The 2009 Rays will be a balance of progress and regression, but like the Red Sox, they have the depth to make up for the regression.
  3. New York Yankees – 89-73 – Spend half a billion dollars and all you get is 89 wins? I think the Yankees will be a study in whether the sum of the parts vs. the whole. They also lack the depth of their division rivals Red Sox and Rays. However, the Yankees prediction is highly variable – I wouldn’t be shocked to see them win anywhere from 85 to 95 games.
  4. Baltimore Orioles – 77-85 – Now, I’m not saying the O’s are good, but they are better than people think. Maybe not in 2009, but watch out in 2010 if they can get their pitching in order and jettison more of the veteran flotsam.
  5. Toronto Blue Jays – 69-93 – Now, I’m not saying the Jays are bad … OK, I am. I have this feeling the Jays will bottom out this year and clean house – bye bye Roy, J.P., Vernon and maybe even Alexis.

AL Central

  1. Minnesota Twins – 88-74 – The Twins have a lot of pitching depth, a good mix of youth and veterans and its their last season before a new stadium. How that last one matters I’m not sure, but if Mauer is out for a long time, all bets might be off. (It also helps that the Central is pretty weak this year).
  2. Chicago White Sox – 86-76 – My SABR-loving side really wants to pick against the ChiSox. Every year, in almost every regression, they should suck. And then they win. Why fight it? Kenny Williams will beat Big Blue again, but not enough to best the Twins.
  3. Cleveland Indians – 82-80 – Back in January, I picked the Indians to win it all. Then I noticed something: their rotation, well, is terrible. Lee, Carmona, Pavano, Reyes, Lewis. Three one-hit wonders, one half-a-hit wonders and a rookie. Lee will regress, Carmona will rebound, God knows what Pavano will do and Reyes will be decent, but it won’t lead them to the post season.
  4. Detroit Tigers – 78-84 Getting older, questionable starters, bullpen in disarray. Doesn’t sound like a recipe for success does it?
  5. Kansas City Royals – 77-85 – Now, I really wanted to have the Royals finish above .500, mostly because I am a big fan of Gordon, Soria (the “Mexicutioner!”) and Grienke, but with guys like Jacobs and Olivo and a RF at 2B, the defense will be the death of them.

AL West

  1. Oakland Athletics – 83-79 – Blammo! Yes, Billy Beane’s patchwork magic will work. This prediction relies on the pitching taking a step forward in unison and Matt Holliday being Matt Holliday, but the AL West is nuts anyway, so why not let the A’s win it?
  2. Seattle Mariners – 81-81 – Blammo redux! You have to love the potential OF defense of Ichiro, Franklin and Endy. They’ll cobble together enough runs – especially if the front offices smartens up and brings up Clement (and thus boots Kenji from the island) and maybe puts Tuisosopo at SS instead of Betancourt. However, I can also guarantee you the ‘Ners will have a negative run differential this year.
  3. Los Angeles Angels – 78-84 – You know, I think until Mike Scoscia ends his love affair with guys like Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar and starts playing the Brandon Woods of the world, I won’t predict the Angels to be over .500. Their rotation looks like their arms might fall off, the OF is old and the defense is suspect. Color me skeptical.
  4. Texas Rangers – 72-90 – Fear not, Rangers Fans, there is a lot for which to look forward. Sadly, that “forward” will be 2010. 2009 will be more transitional as we let Padilla and Millwood (and Blalock?) leave the flock. And look from Smoak in the majors by August.

NL East

  1. Philadelphia Phillies – 95-67 – Just another year of Philly excellence. And thats all I really have to say about them: they’re good.
  2. New York Mets – 90-72 – You know, after Johan, the Mets rotation is, well, almost bad. Maybe they can convert JJ Putz to a starter? Or David Wright? The offense will carry them, but only so far.
  3. Atlanta Braves – 84-78 – Good pitching, but need to stay healthy. The bullpen could be dominant or terrible. They really don’t have a weakness, but they don’t have a strength either (beyond McCann). I think that’s why I can’t get behind the Braves in 2009.
  4. Florida Marlins – 80-82 – They have Hanley and some great arms in the rotation. However, the rest of the team is downright questionable or bad. Uggla needs to play third, but so does Hanley. The bullpen might be a black hole. What this team needs is direction, maybe the stadium deal will help.
  5. Washington Nationals – 62-100 – Now that Jim “I want every underperforming OF and 1B in the league” Bowden is gone, maybe we can make some progress? This is a big transition year where the Nats need to get value by trading Guzman, Nick Johnson, Kearns and whoever is over 27 (other than Dunn) and not bolted down for some value. Then, maybe, the Nats can make progress.

NL Central

  1. St. Louis Cardinals – 91-71 – On the backs of Pujols and Dave Duncan, the Cardinals will give Tony LaRussa one last ride to the top. Now, they need to solve their 2B dilemma and get Troy Glaus back, but the pitching is good and when you have Pujols and “Dick” Ankiel, that is all that matters in the Central.
  2. Chicago Cubs – 90-72 – Milton Bradley breaks down, but Rich Harden doesn’t. Kevin Gregg is the closer … until May. This is the year that Aramis Ramirez gets his MVP and Soto takes over as team leader.
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates – 84-78 – Maybe I think pitching coaches make more of a difference than they do – I mean, look at what happened to Leo Mazzone in Baltimore. However, I think Joe Kerrigan will straighten out the Pirates pitching, the offense will click and a little magic will happen to save the Pirates from their 18th straight losing season.
  4. Cincinnati Reds – 80-82 – Maybe Dusty is mellowing with age, but I think he’ll go easier on his young arms. So, with Volquez, Cueto, Bailey, Bruce, Dickerson and Votto, the Reds will be getting primed to be good again … in 2010.
  5. Milwaukee Brewers – 75-87 – You know, I had a lot of trouble knowing what to do with the Brewers. They made the playoffs in 2008, they have a lot of young talent and, well, I like them. However, they made the playoffs last year on the back of the departed CC and, well, Braden Looper is not CC. This prediction is pretty loose – like the Yankees, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Brewers win anywhere from 74 to 88 games in 2009.
  6. Houston Astros – 64-98 – How did Homer put it? “They were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.” No depth, no young talent (beyond Pence) and a rotation of Oswalt and pray for apocalypse. It will be ugly in Houston this summer.

NL West

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks – 90-72 – They have great pitching, they have depth, they have youth, they have veterans. It is the mix you love to see – especially when they have a chip on their shoulder, which I think they will after letting LA steal the division in the last couple months of the season.
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers – 88-74 – Why do I have the feeling that having Manny this year will be less fun for LA (and yes, he opts out after the season). The starters will hurt the Dodgers – well, everyone but Billingsley – and they’ll miss D-Lowe more than you’d think.
  3. San Francisco Giants – 82-80 – Maybe add some offense, and the Giants might make a run for the division in 2010. However, you will not win any division with guys like Ishikawa, Burriss, Lewis and Molina populating the middle and top of your lineup. The rotation, however, will be great.
  4. Colorado Rockies – 70-92 – We’ll always have 2007! Thats because 2009 is a retooling year. If they’re smart, they’ll move Helton, Atkins, Street and Hawpe for parts while they have value.
  5. San Diego Padres – 60-102 – What is the stage beyond “retool”? Burn it and salt the earth? The new ownership will breathe much needed life into the franchise and hopefully get it back on track.

Playoffs (winner in bold)

ALDS

  • Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland A’s
  • Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins – Just think, the last time we can have a dome/dome series… ever!

NLDS

  • Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals – The Phillies just don’t have the belly-fire for a repeat.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs – The Cubs win a tiebreaker with the Mets, but thats as far as they get.

ALCS

  • Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays – The Sox have the depth to make it over the Rays youth movement.

NLCS

  • St. Louis Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – Do you want to face Webb and Haren in a playoff series?

World Series

  • Boston Red Sox vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – Sorry, I didn’t see a way around it anymore. Sox in 2009.

Awards

AL

  • MVP: Grady Sizemore – OF, Clevaland
  • Cy Young: Daisuke Matsuzaka – SP, Boston
  • Rookie of the Year: Matt Weiters – C, Baltimore
  • Surprise: Alex Gordon – 3B, Kansas City

NL

  • MVP: Aramis Ramirez – 3B, Chicago
  • Cy Young: Rich Harden – SP, Chicago
  • Rookie of the Year: Jordan Schafer – OF, Braves
  • Surprise: Paul Maholm – SP, Pirates

Here’s to 2009!

BB Mogul 2009 MLB Simulations

OK, I said I’d post the full results of my Baseball Mogul simalutions, so here it is (in PDF form). I ran 2009 150 times with current rosters/depths, mostly from ESPN along with some corrections on my part. Now, I also tried to add in the Alex Rodriguez situation in New York by simulating 25 seasons with Cody Ransom starting at 3B for the whole year, then did a weighted average of the wins from those sims with the 150 with A-Rod to get at how many fewer wins the Yankees might get with one or two months without A-Rod. More or less, it works out to a win per month. The simulated standings (below) represent the idea that A-Rod will miss ~1.5 months of 2009 (with Ransom or a player thereabouts taking up the playing time). Remember, these are not my official predictions for 2009, they will come next week, but the results of the BB Mogul simulations – I’ve tried to make comments on some of the issues with the simulations.

AL East

  1. New York Yankees – 95-67
  2. Boston Red Sox – 94-68*
  3. Baltimore Orioles – 80-82
  4. Toronto Blue Jays – 78-84
  5. Tampa Bay Rays – 76-86

Notes: For what its worth, Baseball Mogul, at least up to the 2009 version, seems to be very pro-veterans and anti-youth. Thus, the very poor performance of the Rays and the surprising good performance of the Orioles. The Red Sox and Yankees, in these simulations, are more or less in a dead heat for 1st in the Division and nobody has a >3.5% chance of winning the division beyond those two.

AL Central

  1. Minnesota Twins – 92-70
  2. Detroit Tigers – 83-79
  3. Cleveland Indians – 81-81
  4. Kansas City Royals – 77-85
  5. Chicago White Sox- 76-86

Notes: Minnesota walks away with the division, mostly thanks to its pitching. Chicago gets pounded thanks in part to an unforgiving home stadium for its pitchers (and its defense). The Indians are in trouble with their pitching as well. However, Cleveland and Detroit win the division almost the same amount of the time (18.7, 17.3).

AL West

  1. Seattle Mariners – 82-80
  2. Los Angeles Angels – 81-81
  3. Oakland A’s – 78-84
  4. Texas Rangers – 64-98

Notes: The AL West is where the park effects are most glaring: Seattle gains a lot from playing in pitcher-friendly Safeco, while the Rangers lose a lot in Arlington. However, that set aside, the AL West looks very much up for grabs, even without the current pitching woes factored.

NL East

  1. Philadelphia Phillies – 92-68
  2. New York Mets – 91-71*
  3. Atlanta Braves – 81-81
  4. Florida Marlins – 77-85
  5. Washington Nationals – 65-97

Notes: Well, New York misses the division title by a hair – again. However, they are the favorite for the Wild Card. Everybody else has <10% chance at the division and Washington only finished 2nd once (<1% of the time).

NL Central

  1. St. Louis Cardinals – 88-74
  2. Chicago Cubs – 86-76
  3. Houston Astros – 82-80
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates – 78-84
  5. Milwaukee Brewers – 78-84
  6. Cincinnati Reds – 75-87

Notes: St. Louis wins mostly thanks to Pujols and a strong showing by Chris Carpenter. Why BBM loves Houston so much is beyond me – I think its the power of Lee, Berkman and Oswalts, but what else do they have? Pittsburgh is the big surprise, winning the World Series in 2% of the simulations – you have to admit, that is a lot for Pittsburgh. Again, BBM undervalues the Reds young pitching to the tune of the basement and the only NL Central team to not win the division in any sim.

NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers – 92-70
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks – 86-76
  3. San Francisco Giants – 78-84
  4. San Diego Padres – 70-92
  5. Colorado Rockies – 70-92

Notes: Manny helped the Dodgers a lot – in earlier sims, the division was much closer. Now the Dodgers win it handily, 81% of the time. I thought the Giants would do better, but their aenimic offense lead to only 3.3% division wins.

* = wildcard winner

Overall notes: Talk about parity. Only one team never made the playoffs in all 150 sims: the Washington Nationals. The one-off World Series winners were Oakland, LA of Anaheim, and Houston while Detroit, Cleveland and Arizona won twice.

As for the playoffs, here is how they stack (winners in bold, based on % of wins for each type of series and above).

AL

LDS

  • New York Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners
  • Minnesota Twins vs. Boston Red Sox

LCS

  • New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

NL

LDS

  • Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals
  • Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets

LCS

  • Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

World Series

  • Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Notes: The BBM sims call for the Boston Red Sox to win it all in 2009. The Phillies do well for themselves making back to the World Series as well.

Look for my official picks next week!

MLB Preseason Rankings … sort of!

This is my first post in quite a while. Sorry to the 3 of you who might have been perturbed … other pursuits got in the way.

Anyway, MLB season is around the corner (< 10 days), so I thought I’d post my predictions. This will come in three installments:

  1. The MLB preseason ranking determined by my Baseball Mogul 2009 simulations of the 2009 season.
  2. An indepth look at the simulations with division-by-division blows.
  3. My real picks that combine the simulations with good, old fashioned hunches (how do you think I got the Philly pick right last year?)

So, without further ado, here are the rankings. I ran 150 simulations of the 2009 season (plus 25 seasons to run an “ARod” correction – see the second installment for details), and this is the rankings by total wins for 2009. Enjoy!

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. Philadelphia Phillies
  4. Minnesota Twins
  5. Los Angeles Dodgers
  6. New York Mets
  7. St. Louis Cardinals
  8. Chicago Cubs
  9. Arizona Diamondbacks
  10. Detroit Tigers
  11. Seattle Mariners
  12. Houston Astros
  13. Los Angeles Angels
  14. Cleveland Indians
  15. Atlanta Braves
  16. Baltimore Orioles
  17. Oakland A’s
  18. Milwaukee Brewers
  19. Pittsburgh Pirates
  20. San Francisco Giants
  21. Toronto Blue Jays
  22. Florida Marlins
  23. Kansas City Royals
  24. Tampa Bay Rays
  25. Chicago White Sox
  26. Cincinnati Reds
  27. San Diego Padres
  28. Colorado Rockies
  29. Washington Nationals
  30. Texas Rangers