Sanchez might not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking about lefty-mashers, but he has hit southpaws quite well in his career. He has 465 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, and in them, he has a triple -slash line of .295/.388/.505. His ability to hit lefties fits well on the Pirates roster, as manager Clint Hurdle routinely wisely sits Garrett Jones against left-handed pitching. Sanchez is making the most of his playing time against southpaws this year, and has already smacked two doubles and three homers in 25 plate appearances against them.
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Given their overturned offense, will the 2012 Giants be able to improve their won-loss record from 2011?
Not long ago, while discussing the anemic offense of last year's Mariners, we noted that 10 MLB teams scored fewer than four runs per game in 2011. Only two of those teams finished with a winning record. The San Francisco Giants represented the most extreme case; they won 86 games despite having the National League's worst offense.
That got me to thinking: How often has the team with the NL's worst offense finished with a winning record? The answer may come as a surprise.
Prince Fielder's new deal has albatross potential, but the Tigers hope it doesn't turn out like one of John's picks for the worst contracts of the free-agent era.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
As your mind reels at the size of Prince Fielder's payday, take a look at this list of 10 free-agent deals that didn't work out well for the teams that handed them out, which originally ran on February 20, 2007.
Pegging BP's favorites in both leagues, both in the standings and for the major awards.
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 American and National Leagues. 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 with first-place votes in parentheses, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
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 and Rookie 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.
When is a World Series start worth as much as a Hall of Famer's whole career?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Bert Blyleven, in his final year of eligibility, makes his last stand for Cooperstown.
It's fair to say that in these quarters, the 2011 Hall of Fame ballot is the most hotly anticipated one in the eight seasons since I began covering the Cooperstown beat for Baseball Prospectus. That's because when the 2010 ballot results were announced back on January 6, Bert Blyleven fell just five votes short of enshrinement, receiving 74.2 percent of the necessary 75 percent. As disappointing as his close-but-no-cigar showing in his 13th year on the ballot might have been, Blyleven's tally represented a significant surge from the 62.7 percent he received the year before. After a long, hard climb from his having receiving less than 20 percent in each of his first three years on the ballot, his election is so close that the pitcher and all of those who have supported him over the years can practically taste it.
Upon further review, Kevin Brown's numbers reveal that he had a better career than credited.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article attempting to define the pitchers that best defined the most recent decade. The list certainly started a discussion as to the merits of some pitchers as well as one wondering about the lack of inclusion of others. This was the intended goal of the piece, as baseball memories are not developed in as confined a fashion as a decade, and so it was very possible that my list needed some tweaking. Merely as a way of framing the discussion, I offered that the starting pitchers who best defined the prior era of baseball could be grouped into a neat nonet: Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Kevin Brown. Interestingly enough, in the comments and in personal e-mails, it seemed that many wanted to steer the conversation toward this group, debating the merits of the last pitcher mentioned—Kevin Brown.
Brown doesn’t have the Hall of Fame resume of Maddux, Clemens, Pedro, or Unit. He doesn’t have the pedigree of a Glavine or the playoff mystiques of Schilling and Smoltz, and his win total pales in comparison to Mussina’s high tally. Put together, it is very easy to make a case that these eight, not nine, pitchers were the era’s best. Few produce Jim Halpert double-takes when reading those names, the same of which cannot be said for Brown. For various reasons, Brown just does not pass the smell test of many as far as being considered one of the best pitchers in baseball’s toughest era. While I do not necessarily think of him as worthy of being enshrined in Cooperstown, I did thoroughly enjoy watching him pitch while growing up. With that in mind, don’t think of this as comparable to Rich Lederer’s campaign to get Bert Blyleven into the Hall of Fame, but rather a reminder that Brown was a great pitcher for a long time.
Phillies outfield prospect Domonic Brown didn't get much of a chance to showcase his skills on Sunday.
ANAHEIM, California _ It is quite easy to see that Domonic Brown has not gotten caught up in the hype of being considered the top prospect in the minor leagues now that a number of promising rookies have made their major-league debuts this season. The outfielder in the Phillies' system is an outgoing 23-year-old with a friendly nature, easy smile, and not the slight hint of arrogance. And when it is mentioned that Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein and others have anointed him as the new chart-topper on the prospects hit list, Brown laughs it off.
"Really, the only thing being called a prospect does is give you a chance to participate in a special event like this," Brown said Sunday before an aborted stint for the United States in the All-Star Futures Game at Angels Stadium. Brown felt tightness in his right hamstring while running the bases in the first inning, and was lifted for a pinch-runner as a precaution in the a 9-1 US victory over the World.
Checking in on Daniel Bibona, Gary Brown, Christian Colon, and Francis Larson.
Christian Colon, Cal State Fullerton
Colon attended Canyon High School in Anaheim, where he was a teammate of Grant Green, the Athletics’ first-round pick in 2009. Green, the incumbent shortstop, usually got the nod to play his primary position, shifting Colon to second base until his senior season. Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 10th round of the 2007 draft, Colon followed through on his commitment to Cal State Fullerton and slid back to the left side of the infield, becoming Fullerton’s starting shortstop in his freshman year.
The retirement of a minor league catcher incites the revisiting of a now-infamous book.
The news that Jeremy Brown was hanging up his spikes due to "personal issues" made more of a stir last week than you'd expect from the retirement of a 28-year-old catcher who's spent the last two years in Triple-A. Our prospects expert, Kevin Goldstein, gave Brown an extremely evenhanded send-off over on Unfiltered; others have been less charitable, invoking imaginary choruses of scouts cheering the end of Brown's career. At least, I hope the cheering is imaginary: it'd take a Grinch-sized heart to rejoice in the end of someone's big-league dreams, unless their name is, say, Ben Christensen. The reason that Brown is the focus of such attention and schadenfreude is because the A's drafted him in the first round of the 2002 draft-an overdraft which, by itself, wouldn't be that noteworthy-and because Michael Lewis wrote a best-selling book which hailed Brown's selection as the bellwether of a new way of doing business, which the author dubbed "Moneyball" in the book of the same name. Apparently, those celebrating Brown's retirement are marking the occasion as the death of Moneyball acumen-a festive wake, with dancing and ironic toasts.