What can the Mets do with their starting shortstop, and what should they do?
On Sunday night here in New York City, I had the pleasure of showing off a shiny new copy of Baseball Prospectus 2011 on the Fox Sports Extra Show with Duke Castiglione (clip here). Over the course of our rapid-fire four-minute exchange, Castiglione—who had me on twice last season for similar discussions—quizzed me about what BP's PECOTA projections say about the likelihood of various key Yankees and Mets rebounding from subpar 2010 showings, among them Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and A.J. Burnett on the Yankees' side, and Jose Reyes and Jason Bay on the Mets.
As in the AL, the Central division is as tight as can be, while in the East two Mets are predicted to take home some hardware along with their division flag.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the National League, along with the staff picks in some fun miscellaneous categories.
Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
Joe takes a long look at Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez, two right-now superstars with a lot to offer in the years to come.
Last weekend in Miami, the Mets swept the Marlins by scoring 20 runs to the Fish's eight in three games. The series wasn't really a divisional showdown-the Marlins were 6 ½ games behind the Mets when they opened play, and despite last year's storyline and the weight of expectations, they're no better than the fourth-best team in the NL East. However, it did feature a head-to-head battle of a different sort: Jose Reyes vs. Hanley Ramirez. The two shortstops, who as recently as 14 months ago were the subjects of skepticism about their abilities, have become the two best players at their position in the National League, each not only providing valuable performance, but improving many aspects of their games to become well-rounded stars who now look like they have the potential to be MVPs.
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.
Pujols being Pujols makes this edition of Game of the Week a must-read.
That's what makes today's game so important for the Cards. Knowing that they will be without Mulder, and holding no illusions about their remaining starters, it is vital to the team that rookie Anthony Reyes step up and claim Mulder's place in the rotation. Reyes was sent down in mid-August, because after a fine start to the season (1-2, 2.16 ERA in his first four starts), he'd gotten roughed up a bit in July (1-3, 6.84 ERA) and August (2-1, 5.40 ERA). But in two Triple-A starts after being sent down, Reyes didn't allow a single run; meanwhile, Mulder's physical problems and general ineffectiveness (his -15.1 VORP is the lowest pitcher VORP in the NL this season) meant that there was an opening in the rotation. Reyes has a month in which to prove he can provide the kind of pitching the rotation needs.
Alex Rodriguez...Derek Jeter...Jose Reyes? Reyes no doubt trails the left side of the New York Yankees' infield in matinee idol status, but it may not be long before the 20-year-old sets aside a slice of the Big Apple--if he hasn't already. In a 69-game sampling of the big leagues last season Reyes batted .307 with 21 extra-base hits and 13 stolen bases in just 274 at-bats. Reyes, who set a New York Mets rookie record in August with 39 hits, also flashed the leather by not committing an error in his last 35 games. The young Dominican made such an impression that he was mentioned as an early candidate for National League Rookie of the Year honors before missing the final month of the season with a left ankle sprain. Now, the potential All-Star returns for another go-round, with hopes of making Mets fans everywhere remember his name for years to come. Despite having to battle a strained right hamstring that could keep him out of the season opener, Reyes recently discussed his rapid climb through the minor leagues, playing in New York and what's expected of him--among other topics--with Baseball Prospectus.
The young Dominican made such an impression that he was mentioned as an early candidate for National League Rookie of the Year honors before missing the final month of the season with a left ankle sprain. Now, the potential All-Star returns for another go-round, with hopes of making Mets fans everywhere remember his name for years to come. Despite having to battle a strained right hamstring that could keep him out of the season opener, Reyes recently discussed his rapid climb through the minor leagues, playing in New York and what's expected of him--among other topics--with Baseball Prospectus.
A lost season for the Angels has folks in Anaheim scratching their heads. John Smoltz's injury buries Bobby Thigpen's name for another year. The Royals' run evokes memories of George Brett and company. Sandy Alomar...you can probably guess what Chris will write about Sandy Alomar. Witticisms, Kahrlisms and roster schmisms in this edition of Transaction Analysis.
The Diamondbacks keep cycling through injuries. The Red Sox keep cycling through relievers. Lima Time has Royals fans cowering. Izzy returns to a battered bullpen. News, notes, and Kahrlisms from 21 major league teams in the latest edition of Transaction Analysis.