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 - http://baseballevolution.com/asher/belt.html.

 

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.

 

Nope.

 

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?

 

 

 

W

L

WIN%

K

BB

K/BB

ERA

ERA+

Mark

Mulder

16

8

0.667

111

70

1.59

3.64

117

Tim

Hudson

14

9

0.609

115

65

1.77

3.52

125

Barry

Zito

14

13

0.519

171

89

1.92

3.86

116

 

Totals

44

30

0.595

397

224

1.77

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe

Blanton

12

12

0.500

116

67

1.73

3.53

127

Rich

Harden

10

5

0.667

121

43

2.81

2.53

177

Danny

Haren

14

12

0.538

163

53

3.08

3.73

120

 

Totals

36

29

0.554

400

163

2.45

 

 

 

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.

 

Steroids

 

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 . . .