In 2008, Al Franken defeated Norm Coleman in the Minnesota Senate race. It was a close battle, and the recount took eight months. We're going to steal that excuse and say it took us that long to count, recount and recount again before we could declare a winner in the Internet Baseball Awards' unbearably close AL Player of the Year vote. Today, we can. Without further ado, here are your picks for the 2015 Greg Spira Internet Baseball Awards.
With the year winding to a close, Baseball Prospectus is revisiting some of our favorite articles of the year. This was originally published on September 9, 2015.
On Sunday, Kris Bryant hit what might have been the longest home run of the year, at 495 feet. When we see one of these home runs on the internet, we have one of two experiences: 1) We see a ball hit out of our screen's frame with what appears to be considerable distance and trajectory; some combination of batter, pitcher or catcher body language provides a clue that it is far enough to avoid being caught; and then we cut to a ball landing, far away; or 2) Somebody shows you a video and says "this is an absurd home run," and you watch, sure in the knowledge that what follows will be a long home run. There is little suspense, and there is little in the way of a journey; as far as our perception goes, the ball might as well have teleported to its landing spot. The ball might as well have been filmed in two separate shots, like made baskets in the basketball episodes of Family Matters. In fact, I wouldn't call either of these "experiences." They're moments of storywatching, at best. Still fun, mind you. In fact, let's storywatch this right now!
The Cubs power their way through a pivotal game against the Cardinals.
Game Three of the NLDS between the Cardinals and the Cubs shifted to Wrigley Field on Monday night, with the advantage tilting to the Cubs not only because they split the first two games of the series in St. Louis but because their ace was taking the hill. While Michael Wacha certainly isn’t any kind of slouch, it would be difficult to argue that the Cubs didn’t have a significant edge with the white hot Jake Arrieta on the mound.
Here you will find an exploration of the best, worst, and weirdest career ROY pairs
The only facts worth knowing are fun facts. I was recently struck that 2015 Rookies of the Year Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant are both very good baseball players, the one a no. 1 overall pick (Correa, 2012), the other no. 2 (Bryant, 2013), one topping out as our no. 3 overall prospect (Correa, 2015), the other as our no. 5 (Bryant, 2015). These aren't flashes in their respective pans, like Pat Listach or Ron Kittle. You don't expect 50-WARP careers out of anybody, but if you're going to put those expectations on any rookies currently playing, it's Correa and Bryant.
So here's the question I will answer using a spreadsheet built for me by the wizard Rob McQuown:1 What are the best and worst Rookie of the Year classes in terms of career value, and how does the Correa-Bryant pair look to fit in? (To be completely clear: Everything discussed in this piece is about careerWARP. The goal isn't to talk about whether Rookie of the Year votes were "bad" or "good." Sometimes the legitimate best rookie in a season just BABIP'd his way into a career year; sometimes it's a precursor to greatness. These are their stories.)
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A look at what PECOTA forecasts for 2015's rookie hitters.
If you’re into prospects—and I think it’s safe to assume that you are, given that you (a) clicked on this story on the BP website and (b) were on the BP website in the first place—then 2015 has been a fun season for you. Seemingly every week, a player featured on BP's Preseason Top 101 list has been called into his manager’s office and had his life changed forever. In Des Moines, Toledo, Pawtucket, and a score of other mid-sized American cities, they’ve called their families and friends, made frantic plans to meet up wherever they’re going, and boarded a plane to a better life.
View from the turtle during batting practice at this year's MLB Futures Game during All Star Weekend.
The Baseball Prospectus prospect team is constantly on the road, getting eyes on the top talent throughout baseball -- from the amateur ranks up through the majors. Moving forward I'll be working to bring you inside my travels (hopefully with contributions from others on the prospect team), including pictures and video. There will be a lot of baseball and some broader travel stuff if I think you might find it interesting.
JakeMintzand JordanShusterman, the proprietors ofCespedes Family Barbecue, are taking a baseball road trip and chronicling their travels at Baseball Prospectus. You can find the series introduction and itineraryhere.
Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Nationals righty Lucas Giolito and Astros outfielder Delino DeShields Jr.
Friday, May 9
Delino DeShields, OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. By now, you’ve probably seen the photo of DeShields after he got hit in the jaw with a pitch. He returned to action on Friday in tremendous fashion with a pair of home runs, something he doesn’t normally contribute.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro and Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Hitters of the Night:
Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 3-5, 3 R, 3B, HR.
There aren’t too many catchers who possess an 80-grade arm and can hit triples, which gives you a good idea of Alfaro’s unique and impressive skill set.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Twins righty Jose Berrios.
Hitter of the Night: Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (Tennessee, AA): 3-4, 4 R, 2B, 2 HR, BB, K. Remember when there were teams that had fellow college third baseman Colin Moran rated ahead of Bryant on their draft boards? The next time you want to berate the Cubs for their decision-making, let’s remember the one they most definitely got correct.
Pitcher of the Night: Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (Fort Myers, A+): 5 IP, H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K.
Berrios still has a ways to go with his fastball command, but the life on it is electric, and he’s pairing it with a plus changeup that was dominant on this night.
Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including outfielders Victor Roache and Raimel Tapia.
Friday, May 2
Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Iowa, AAA): 0-4, 2 K. When Baez homered in the I-Cubs’ final April game, we all hoped it would be the boost he needed to turn the page on a rough month. Instead, Baez is now 1-for-16 with nine strikeouts in May, including an 0-for-12 weekend that included eight punchouts. He’s not close right now.