Asher's 2005 Year In Review

November 10, 2005


A few thoughts on a few things . . .


Bobby Abreu


You know, in many ways this was the year that people really stepped up and took notice of the Phillies fantastic outfielder. Ironically, despite playing 162 games, he declined in every offensive category except triples from his 2004 season


Moises Alou


Only played 123 games, but very quietly had a very good year, going 3-4-5 for only the second time and batting .321.


Jose Reyes


Tied for sixth on the all-time list with 696 at-bats in 2005. Managed 60 stolen bases and 17 triples (!), but finished with an on-base percentage of exactly .300.


NL Leader in Hits


For the first time since 1993, a player managed to lead the league in hits in a non-strike year with less than 200. Derrek Lee took the crown with 199.


Michael Young


I do wonder if people realize that he is only getting better. His AVG, OBP, and hits have improved every season.


Miguel Cabrera


Yes, Virginia, there is a Miguel Cabrera. Hit into 20 double plays for the second year in a row, but improved in most other categories. Struck out 23 fewer times han last season, raised hi average 29 points, and put his OPS over 900. 22 years old. He and Albert Pujols are starting to look like the latino version of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.


Five Players I Bet You'd Like to Have Despite Their OPS


Jose Reyes (100), Jimmy Rollins (94), Scott Podsednik (86), Juan Pierre (84), Rafael Furcal (100)


Adam Dunn


If his singular goal this season was to strikeout less and walk more, then Congrats to the Dunner he struck out 27 fewer times and walked 6 more times. He also batted 19 points lower, lost 29 points on his slugging, hit 6 fewer homers, failed to improve on 2004's runs and RBI totals. Remarkably, though, he hit into only 6 double plays, and has a career high of eight.


Felipe Lopez


Best offensive shortstop in the National League this season. He is to 2005 what Jose Guillen was to 2003 the former big name prospect who finally showed up.


Wily Mo Pena


For the second year in a row, Pena played about half the season, and managed to stike out over 100 times. For his career, he is averaging WAY over one strikeout for every three at-bats (.347), which over the course of 600 at-bats would be 208 strikeouts.


Cincinnati Reds Outfielders


How the Reds managed to go the whole season without turning one of their outfielders into much needed pitching is one of the biggest mysteries of the season (along with how the Orioles failed to make any mid-season pitching acquisitions when they were in first place in the AL East). The Reds have Ryan Freel, Ken Griffey, Jr., Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, and Wily Mo Pena. They could move Freel to third if not for Joe Randa, and they could move Dunn to first if not for Sean Casey. The Chicago Cubs, meanwhile, have pitching out the wazoo and would love to have one of those outfielders. In theory, that is.


Todd Helton and Lance Berkman


Had two very good seasons, but down years by their own standards.


Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz


Missed (by one Manny Ramirez RBI) becoming the first teammates to join the 100-plus club in the same season since Jeff Cirillo and Todd Helton in 2000.


Guys with "Belt" in Their Name


Sucked this year check it out -


Ichiro Suzuki


Pretty funny year, if you think about it. Nearly doubled his home runs from last season, from 8 to 15; more than doubled his triples from last year, from 5 to 12, scored 10 more runs than last season in 25 fewer at-bats; his average dropped 69 points, but he still hit over .300; and he collected 56 fewer hits, but still had over 200.


Interestingly, his numbers almost exactly mirrored his numbers from 2003 he had the same number of at-bats (679), runs (111), caught stealings (8), and slugging percentage (.436), while hitting a similar number of home runs (13 to 15) hits (212 to 206) RBI (62 to 68) stolen bases (34 to 33) OBP (.352 to .350) and strikeouts (69 to 66).


Ichiro continued to be a statistical marvel, or at the very least, a statistical enigma.


The Texas Rangers Infield


Obviously, we will have to wait and see how long these guys stay together, as free agency will probably break them up sooner than later. If they do somehow stay together, they should become the greatest offensive infield of all time.


The 100-plus Club


David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox, 47 and 148

Mark Teixeira, Texas Rangers, 43 and 144

Honorable Mention Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox, 45 and 144


300-300 Club


Reggie Sanders needs 8 home runs and 3 stolen bases. After a terrible season, Steve Finley needs only 3 home runs. Importantly, Alex "How Can He Only Be 29?" Rodriguez needs only 74 stolen bases to get there, after stealing over 20 for the second year in a row.


Craig Biggio, after hitting 50 home runs over the last two seasons, is now 40 home runs short. Biggio is an interesting one, because ostensibly he is going to play 2 more years, because it will take that long to get to 3,000 hits. He is averaging exactly 20 home runs per season over the last five years, but 25 over the last two. What we might get to see, in 2007, is Biggio get to 3,000 hits relatively early in the season, and then chase 300-300 down to the last day.


Vinny Castilla


The ONLY good news for Vinny is that in his Encore Presentation of "I Shoulda Stayed In Colorado," he managed to hit into fewer than 22 double plays for the first time in five years.


Cristian Guzman


The only good news for Cristian Guzman is that he didn't have to suffer the indignity of being benched on the last weekend of the season to avoid hitting less than .200. This guy was lucky to have his SLUGGING stay over .300. His OBP was .260. He went on a season ending TEAR to get his average up to .219. He scored 39 runs in 456 at-bats. He just eked out 100 hits (exactly). He was completely worthless in every aspect of the game. I have not checked yet (and I will eventually, I am sure) but Guzman may have had the single worst season with more than 140 games played in the history of baseball. That he walked 25 times is a miracle. His OPS+ was 55. %%! Guzman made $4,200,000 this season. The Orioles got more value per dollar out of Albert Belle those last years when they were paying him even though he wasn't playing. I think the Nationals would have preferred to have had Bobby Bonilla this season.


Morgan Ensberg


From now on, when ever a player follows up a good first year with a bad second year, i.e., has a sophomore slump, we will ask if his first year was a fluke, or whether he is "pulling an Ensberg."


Sammy Sosa


Remember when the Cubs traded Sammy Sosa for Jerry Hairston, Jr., and we all complained that it was an unfair, one-sided trade? We were all correct.


Brian Giles


The era of the underrated, Pittsburgh Pirate Brian Giles with the gaudy numbers is over, that much is clear. Likewise, is no longer a member of the 3-4-5 club. Nevertheless, Giles is still a very good player. Just one indication his BB/K this season was a remarkable 119/64, almost 2 to 1 (1.86/1).


Brady Clark


Certainly a remarkable season. Would have been nice to see what he would have done if he had not gotten hurt. But Brady, Brady, Brady . . . what is up with that stolen base ratio he only stole 10 bases out of 23 attempts.


Andruw Jones


We all know the gaudy numbers 51 homers, 128 RBI. But Andruw lost 10 doubles and a triple in increasing his homerun production by 22. His average and on base percentage each increased only 2 points, though his slugging percentage increased from .488 to .575. The most impressive thing, other than the homers, was his strikeout total at 112, his lowest total in 5 years.


Eric Milton


That he went 8-15 is not surprising. That he had an ERA of 6.47 is not, to me, surprising. What is surprising is that Milton not only didn't set the record for most home runs given up in a season, but he actually gave up 3 fewer than last season. Truly a surprisingly good season indeed.


Derek Lowe


Derek was Eric Milton's partner in "bad off-season pitching deals of the 2004-2005 off-season." Lowe's win total went down for the 3 time in three years. Nevertheless, Lowe pitched surprisingly well he struck out a career high 146 batters and walked 16 fewer batters than last season in 40 more innings. And, his 3.61 ERA was a significant improvement over his 5.42 last season. Curiously, despite moving from Fenway Park, regarded as a home run ballpark, to Dodger Stadium, regarded as a pitcher's park, Lowe gave up 13 more home runs this season than last.


Jason Giambi


Two things are clear: Jason still has skills, and Jason is still on 'roids.


Brian Roberts


On May 17th, Brian had 11 homeruns and 13 stolen bases. From May 18th to the end of the year, Roberts had 7 homeruns and 14 stolen bases. He had a very good year and was much improved from 2004. But . . .


Miguel Tejada


For the fifth straight season, he played 162 games. But . . . he declined in every offensive category except doubles and triples, produced 70 fewer runs plus RBI than last season, and set a career high in double plays. It is too early to say that letting him go was a good move for Billy Beane to make, but Beane is a little redeemed.


Ivan Rodriguez


For a moment in spring training, I thought the Tigers had sent the bat boy to the plate. Apparently, IRod shed 30 pounds in the off-season, and it showed. IRod declined drastically his .290 on base percentage was only 14 points higher than his average. He walked 11 times in 504 at-bats, while striking out 93 times. He hit in 19 double plays, his second highest total ever. Ivan the Terrible.


Jason Kendall


Have I made fun of him enough?


27 double plays, no home runs, .271 average, .321 slugging percentage, no home runs, 50 walks and 53 RBI in 601 at-bats, and no home runs.




Johnny Damon


18 stolen bases, 1 caught stealing


Young Exciting Players


Jhonny Peralta (23) 24 HR 78 RBI, .292-.366-.520; also 35 2B and 82 r in 141 games

Jorge Cantu (23) 28 HR 117 RBI, .286-.311-.497; also 40 2B, but 24 GDP

Jonny Gomes (24) 21 HR 54 RBI, .282-.372-.534 in 101 games

Ryan Howard (25) 22 HR 63 RBI, .288-.356-.567 in 88 games; but 100 K in 312 games

Nick Swisher (24) 21 HR 74 RBI, .236-.322-.446; but 1/2 BB/K

Chase Utley (26) 28 HR 105 RBI, .291-.376-.540; also 93 R, 16/19 SB

Jeff Francoeur (21) 14 HR 45 RBI, .300-.336-.549; but 11/58 BB/K in 70 games

David Wright (22) 27 HR 102 RBI, .306-.388-.523; also 99 R, 42 2B in 160 games

Chad Tracy (25) 27 HR 72 RBI, .308-.359-.553


Zach Duke


Okay is he for real? Will 1.81 hold up over a whole season? If so, the Pirates pitching staff should be fantastic next season.


Placido Polanco


25 strikeouts in 501 at-bats. .331 average while playing for two different teams.


Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria


Both of these guys were good at shortstop in 2003. Both of these guys were in the World Series in 2004. Both of these guys signed big free agent contracts in the off-season. And both of these guys were pretty much bad this season.


Steve Finley


How could the Angels win their division with TWO free agent busts in Steve Finley and Orlando Cabrera. Finley managed only 12 home runs after hitting 36 a year ago, and managed only a .271 on-base percentage.


Cliff Lee


ERA dropped from 5.43 to 3.79. Walked 29 fewer guys in 23 more innings. 18-5 record. Gave up 8 fewer homers than last year. The year of the Lee indeed.


Randy Johnson


His WL record went from 16-14 to 17-8. Other than that, there was not much to celebrate for Randy. Still got a shot at 300 wins if he can play three more seasons.


Roger Clemens


Greatest pitcher of all time? The case could certainly be made. Would have been truly a special season if the Astros offense could have given him some more run support.


The American League Leader in ERA


Kevin Millwood?!?!?! Are you kidding me?


Carlos Silva


Nine walks?!?!?! Are you kidding me? Only had 9 wins though, which kept him from walking fewer than he won. Also had zero wild pitches.


Brandon Webb


In 21 more innings than 2004, Webb walked 60 fewer batters, reducing his walk total by more than half, from 119 to 59. Also hit only 2 batters. Remarkably, his ERA remained relatively unchanged, from 3.59 to 3.54.


Andy Pettitte


Had his best season in years, possibly ever. 2.39 ERA, 171/41 K/BB, 17-9 record. 222.3 innings pitched were the most 1997.


Oakland's Big Three, Past and Present


Which set of three pitchers would you rather have on your team?







































































































Alex Rodriguez


Last year, I had the audacity to say "decline" and "ARod" in the same sentence. I think I was justified he declined in AVG/OBP/SLG; he hit fewer home runs, produced fewer runs and RBI, had fewer hits, walked less and struck out more. Clearly, I simply must have underestimated the impact of playing in New York for the first time, because ARod rebounded big time this season. Playing every game, virtually all of his stats improved. He once again led the league in homeruns and OPS. His OPS was the highest its been since his fantastic 1996 season, and his OPS+ tied a career high. He also finished second in batting, and second in on-base percentage. Impressively, he hit into a career low 8 double plays, and tied a career high with 16 HBP. His runs plus RBI was the highest it has been in 3 years. His 91 walks were the second most of his career. Simply put, ARod was back this season, and looked unstoppable as ever.


Mark Teixeira and Rafael Palmeiro


The Rangers have had two first basemen in a row whose name I have trouble spelling because of the "ei" in their names. FYI it is always e before i.




Ken Caminiti, Jose Canseco, Jason Giambi, and Rafael Palmeiro have all either come up positive or admitted that they did it. Each of these guys' reputations have been sullied by their association with the juice, but we must remember that these guys were once the darlings of our game. Giambi, Canseco, and Caminiti were all MVPs, and Palmeiro was having praise heaped upon him just days before he tested positive because of his 3,000th hit. The point is that, if these four players are guilty, what are the odds that it is JUST these four players. No way.


Grady Sizemore


In my opinion, the Cleveland Indians are ripe with underrated talent, and this guy is a prime example. Only 22, and in his first full season, Grady showed both power and speed this season, going 22-22, and scored 111 runs, which was good for ninth in the league. He also had 37 doubles and 11 triples. Again, only 22.


Eric Chavez


After missing 37 games last season and cranking out 29 home runs while walking 95 times, we would have expected a special season out of Eric Chavez this season. Despite playing in 35 more games this season, his home run total declined, his only scored 5 more runs, and his walks inexplicable dropped from 95 to 58. Remarkably, he managed to hit into fewer double plays, dropping from 21 to a remarkable 9, but this may simply have been a result of his hitting the ball less overall. With such a down year, we may need to dub him Eric "Belt" Chavez.





more later . . .