Remembering Dave Freese's heroics from last October, and wondering who'll join him in the postseason pantheon in 2012.
I named this story “The Shot before the Shot” when I sent it to my editors, although I don’t know if that’s the title under which you’re now reading it. [It is! Ed.] As you may already know, it isn’t my job, or even my right, to entitle what I write. Titles are the domain of editors, not writers. I may call the thing a changeup, but if the editors think the sound of “Gyroball” will sell it better, then “Gyroball” it is.
As a general rule, though, if I do have a suggested title for a piece of writing I submit, most editors I’ve worked with, here at BP and elsewhere, will use it as long as it’s reasonably punchy and apposite. Editors are busy, busy people, happy not to have to be the heir of entitlement.
David Freese did major damage during the postseason, but scouts still have mixed ideas about what his future holds. Joe Maddon also sits down for a chat.
The Cardinals had just won an improbable World Series championship, and the on-field celebration was barely over last October when David Freese was ushered into the media interview room at Busch Stadium. The third baseman sat on the stage with a look of disbelief on his face as he answered questions about living out a dream. The St. Louis area native was the named the Most Valuable Player of the Cardinals' win over the Rangers in the World Series, adding to the MVP trophy he won in the National League Championship Series.
Presenting the three filthiest pitches from the first week of the season.
If you followed any games last season on MLB.com’s Gameday application, you saw “Nasty Factor,” which assigned a number to each pitch based on its perceived nastiness. If you have followed any games this season on Gameday, you’ve seen “Scout,” which describes the action like this: “Sergio Romo is having trouble locating his four-seam fastball” and so on. We’re about to watch the three best pitches* thrown in the first week of the season, and, frankly, Nasty Factor and Scout can’t do these pitches justice. So enjoy the moving pictures, and then read the expert analysis provided by some MLB.com apps that are still in development.
While anticlimactic after Game Six, the final game of the World Series capped off one of the most exciting postseasons in recent memory
That Game Seven of the 2011 World Series couldn't match the drama of Game Six was almost a given even before the first pitch was thrown. We don't talk about the finales of the 1975 or 1986 World Series in the same reverential tones as we do their penultimate contests, great though they may have been on their own merits. So unsurprisingly, we were not treated to a Jack Morris-level performance or an extra-inning walk-off win to complete the neat historical parallel provided by the Buck family’s "We'll see you tomorrow night!" calls following game-winning homers. Nonetheless, the first Game Seven in nine years required one more come-from-behind effort—down 2-0 before their starter had retired a single hitter—as well as heroics from some familiar names for the Cardinals to complete one of the most unlikely comebacks in baseball history en route to winning their 11th world championship via a 6-2 win over the Rangers.
If you tuned out when the Rangers led 7-5 in the ninth, you missed quite a finish
It was the best worst World Series game—or perhaps the worst best World Series game—I've ever seen. Four and a half hours, 11 innings, 42 players, 19 runs, 23 men left on base, six home runs, five errors, two final-strike comebacks, a handful of bad relief performances, some managerial howlers including a cardinal (not Cardinal) sin… and it all ended with the much-maligned Joe Buck giving a fitting nod to history by emulating one of his father's most famous calls. As David Freese's game-winning blast landed in the grass beyond the center field wall of Busch Stadium, Buck exclaimed, "We'll see you tomorrow night!" Game Six of the 2011 World Series will be remembered as a classic—a Game Six that can sit alongside those of 1975, 1986, and 1991, among maybe a couple others—as the Cardinals staved off elimination to beat the Rangers 10-9, forcing a Game Seven.
In this week's column, Michael looks at how injuries and inconsistencies have created some big keeper question marks
One of the toughest calls in keeper leagues come from players whose values have been diminished by injuries or shaky play. Does a strong September erase the memories of a weak season? Did that long cold streak come from injury or diminished skills? Will a delicate player finally put together a healthy year? As we know (and Collateral Damage analyzes) remaining healthy is a skill, while other skills neither evaporate entirely, nor do they suddenly improve. I’ll try to answer some of these question marks in response to reader requests; as always, feel free to offer suggestions of your own in the comments field.
Our latest Keeper Reaper twist provides links to BP’s PFM dollar valuation for 2011 player performance, courtesy of our own fantasy/programming guru, Rob McQuown. You’ll find those values linked to the names of each league depth next to the player’s name below, for easy reference.
Michael examines fantasy trade-deadline swaps and how fantasy owners are valuing some prominent corner infielders.
Though it’s late in the season, our new Trading Post tool (explained at its unveiling by Derek Carty) can tell us a lot about how owners make pennant-drive trades, whether it’s keeper owners dumping big names for future success, or contending owners chasing specific categories. As Derek and Michael Jonghave already shown, Trading Post can show us whether owners believe in certain player performances, both year-to-date and during the season’s final month. BP writers can also look at the fascinating back end of the TP engine to see the specific trades involved and look for dump trades or category-chasing. Since corner infielders and designated hitters are my Value Picks beat, those are the positions I’ll be looking at here—a selection of overperformers, underperformers, and players with different long- and short-term expectations.
The tater trots for July 22: another pitcher home run and a big game in Toronto.
Apologies for not putting up Thursday's trots yesterday. There were only twelve home runs hit that day, but the day was too busy to fit them in. The times are included below. There were a few more hit Friday night. Fans in Cincinnati even got to see back-to-back home runs hit in two different innings, once by the Braves and once by the Reds. That doesn't happen all that often.
David Freese, Colby Rasmus, and Mark McGwire discuss their approaches to hitting.
David Freese and Colby Rasmus will play key roles for the Cardinals this year, as will their hitting coach, Mark McGwire. Both players will be counted on to provide offensive punch, while Big Mac will be entrusted to help the young sluggers surpass their 2010 production. Rasmus is coming off a season where he hit .276/.361/.498 with 23 home runs. Freese hit .296/.361/.404 with four home runs before having his rookie campaign derailed by an ankle injury after just 80 games.
Michael Street swaps out third basemen in his Value Picks list, and looks back on his first month's choices.
This week’s Value Picks list graduates one third baseman from the top, drops another from the bottom, and adds in two hot-corner denizens to replace them.
I told you last week to grab David Freese quickly, and his ownership shot up by 70% in ESPN leagues, thanks to his .333/.419/.556 week. This produced the tastee Freese line in the table, though a 891 OPS ain’t exactly soft-serve. Freese will certainly melt back to earth at some point, but you won’t find him on your league’s waiver wire until he does.