Yesterday's games included three walk-offs and a no-hitter.
The Wednesday Takeaway
Trying to choose one takeaway from a night like last night is like being a 5-year-old at Baskin Robbins deciding between ice cream flavors. It might be doable, but whichever one you pick, you’ll be slighting other, equally worthy choices.
Two players over the age of 40 hit walk-off home runs last night.
BP's new expert on pitcher mechanics debuts with a primer on the most important components of the pitching motion.
My name is Doug, and I am a baseball junkie.
It all started with an eight-year old kid and an innocent pack of Topps baseball cards. There must have been something laced into that stale piece of gum, because my formative years are nothing but a haze of cardboard stats, makeshift whiffleball fields, Mark McGwire moon shots, and heated Saberhagen-Valenzuela duels in RBI Baseball. By college I was on to the hard stuff, with fantasy baseball teams stretching as far as the eye could see, buoyed by the mass consumption of designer statistics like VORP, PAP, and EQA.
Now that the regular season has wrapped up, here's a look at who BP staffers think should win the major awards.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff choices for the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.
How Jered Weaver's contract extension will affect C.J. Wilson's impending free agency.
One week ago, I labeled Jered Weaver's looming post-2012 eligibility for free agency as one of several key threats to the Angels' five-year competitive window. Turns out it took only a couple of days for that threat to end up completely neutralized because Weaver (much to the dismay of the AL West's other denizens) will play out each of his next five seasons in an Angels uniform, having consented to a five-year, $85 million deal that most neutral observers seem to regard as a win-win pact for player and team alike. Ben Lindberghalready analyzed the direct implications of the contract in exhaustive detail, and I can't think of much to add on that front that wouldn't be redundant, so this obviously isn't going to be an article dedicated solely to Jered Weaver.
My only addition would be this: since the deal's announcement, Weaver's drawn great praise from some circles for choosing comfort and loyalty to the Angels organization over the largest guaranteed dollar amount. I appreciate that, and I do find his choice and willingness to eschew the extraction of every last possible dollar at least somewhat commendable. But at the same time, I've stumbled upon some comments from people in those same circles who have used the Weaver extension as a jumping-off point to snipe at those professional athletes who do gun for deals promising the most money.
Jered Weaver's ability to induce pop-ups is one of his greatest strengths, but opinions differ as to how he does it.
NEW YORK—Jered Weaver insists that he doesn't have an answer. For starters, he isn't even trying, at least not consciously. Pop-ups, he said earlier this week, just happen.
He gets more of them than any other starting pitcher in the game, and throughout his career, he's consistently been among the game's leading purveyors of this underappreciated batted-ball type. But at no point has the Angels ace thrown a pitch specifically to induce a pop-up.
A look at Jered Weaver's outstanding 2011 season, his perpetually great ERA, and his propensity for pop-ups.
On July 21, Jered Weaver recorded his 13th win of the season. His box score recorded his seven innings, two walks, and six strikeouts to go with his zero runs and seven hits. His box score even recorded his 122 pitches—the sixth time this year he has thrown 120 pitches or more. Next to his box score, Weaver sits atop the leaderboard for ERA. But Weaver’s box scores do not tell the whole story.
With All-Star selection around the corner, the BP staff fills out their ballots for who deserves to start in the Midsummer Classic.
It’s July, and that means another All-Star Game, one which—we might as well get this out of the way now—won’t be as exciting as those wonderful old All-Star Games when important things happened, like Ted Williams breaking his elbow and Dizzy Dean breaking a toe (Williams said he was never the same hitter; Dean destroyed his arm with altered mechanics) and Ray Fosse getting run over because damn it, Pete Rose just had to win an exhibition game.
(It is at times like these that I like to recall Mickey Mantle’s immortal words on the subject of Rose: “If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete, I’d wear a dress.”)
It appears Jered Weaver's mastery of a relatively new pitch has allowed him to punch out hitters like never before.
When Jered Weaver made his major-league debut on May 27, 2006, the Angels were 20-28, in last place in the American League West, and five games behind the division-leading Rangers. After the mega-prospect blanked the Orioles over seven strong innings to the tune of a 75 game score, Angels fans were more than enthused that their rotation had been vastly improved by his addition. Weaver would finish the season with a 2.56 ERA in 123 innings with an impressive 3.18 K/BB ratio and 1.03 WHIP. He walked few, proved stingy with allowing hits, and recorded his fair share of strikeouts. Though his rookie numbers were impressive, many would agree that Weaver’s lack of progress since then has been disheartening.
Before all the IBA ballots are counted, staff picks give a hint as to what hands the awards may find themselves in.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Travis Hafner posted the highest OBP in the AL while nobody noticed, while Neifi Perez ended up getting playoff PT. The young guns had their day and then some. Jermaine Dye gave a lengthy spanking to his 90th percentile PECOTA projection (PECOTA's .288/.359/.516 versus an actual .315/.385/.622). The crop of AL rookies included a guy with a 0.92 ERA finishing third, and rooks like Jered Weaver (105:33 K:BB) and Francisco Liriano (144:32) threatening to be Johan Santana's biggest challengers in 2007. The National League featured tighter races, including a four-way brawl for the Pitcher of the Year and another impressive crop of newbies.
Eight staff members weighed in on the season that was, casting their ballots for the Internet Baseball Awards. We summarized their findings below, and then let them have their individual say.
Simi Valley, Calif. native and Long Beach State (No. 5) RHP Jered Weaver sat down with BP to discuss Team USA, superstitions and how he dominates hitters. Jered is a six-time 2004 National Player of the Week, seven-time Big West Player of the Week, a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy awarded to the top player in collegiate baseball and a potential #1 overall pick in the upcoming June draft. His 2004 line:
W-L ERA IP H R ER BB SO
14-0 1.27 113.1 55 19 16 14 171
W-L ERA IP H R ER BB SO
14-0 1.27 113.1 55 19 16 14 171