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MVP Predictions with a Month Left – September 4, 2008

Last season, I wrote an article on September 26 in which I assailed the notion that Jimmy Rollins could possibly be considered the NL MVP, and laughed at Phillies fans for chanting "M-V-P" when Rollins came up to bat. But by the time the World Series was grinding to a close, I supported the idea of Jimmy Rollins as the Most Valuable Player because the Phillies actually wound up winning their division in shocking fashion, Rollins was the hero of the team. It is amazing how much can change in just five games.

With this in mind, along with other great September performances which have catapulted players into position to win awards (Vlad Guerrero's enormous September in 2004, when the Angels won the AL West by one game, comes to mind), I have decided to try a little experiment – let's take a look at the players we expect to win each league's major awards with just under a month to play, and then see how things ultimately turn out.

One Day Done, Already a Shift – September 5, 2008

Okay, so I didn't mean this to be a daily feature.

As you'll recall, yesterday I decided to do a little experiment to see how much of my perception of the persons most deserving of post-season hardware changes from shortly before the end of the season to after the season. Well, things have already changed, and its only been a day.

Beware the Bradley Ballpark Boondoggle – June 26, 2008 Sometimes a player's overall numbers for a season can befuddle post-season awards voters into voting for a guy despite the fact that his home/road splits indicate that his performance had a lot more to do with his home park than with his overall abilities. Dante Bichette in 1995, Ellis Burks in 1996, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Juan Gonzalez . . . the list goes on and on.

We have long known that the Ballpark in Arlington is a hitter’s park. Witness some of the seasons put up by the likes of Michael Young, Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Gary Matthews, Jr., and others. However, I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like what Milton Bradley is doing before. But beware voters, and don’t be befuddled again.

More on Ridiculous Splits – June 27, 2008 Seems I may have jumped the gun on Milton Bradley a little. What I should have done was researched a bit more thoroughly before I put pen to paper.


October 21, 2008: Derek Jeter's "dive" into the stands - the Greatest Lie Ever Told

July 29, 2008: Jon "Scoop" Heyman gives some useless commentary regarding the trading deadline.

July 25, 2008: Fred Lewis and the New Giants

November 1, 2007: Will joining the Los Angeles Dodgers finally expose Joe Torre?

July 27, 2007: Trade Analysis: Kenny Lofton to the Cleveland Indians

October 1, 2006: Taking inventory on Ichiro Suzuki's Sixth Year in Major League Baseball

April 22, 2006 - Well, well, well. Mr. Big Talk appears to have missed the mark, at least here in the early going. When I say Mr. Big Talk, I mean me. And when I say "the mark," I mean my assessment of the Alfonso Soriano – Brad Wilkerson trade.

As I am sure you are all aware by now, Alfonso Soriano hit three homeruns on Friday night to bring his season total up to six. He currently has six dingers and four stolen bases. He is hitting .333, with an OPS over 1.000! He has struck out 13 times to go with four walks, but his OBP is still .377, so not complaining. Plus, after a dismal start, the Nationals have put Soriano at the top of the lineup more regularly, and they have won five out of six.

Soriano's Current Pace -
162 114 229 57 114 38 28 124 0.333 0.377 0.653 1.029

But we need not only look at Soriano's stats to be convinced that the trade was a good one for the Nationals, and that I was a bit off in my analysis. It appears that Brad Wilkerson and Soriano have united in conspiracy to make me look bad, and Wilkerson is certainly doing his part.

As of last night, Wilkerson's OPS, .585, is lower than Soriano's slugging percentage alone. Wilkerson has managed only 13 hits in 68 at-bats for a .191 average, and his four walks have contributed to an on-base percentage of .247. He has only two homers and six RBIs. But the truly alarming part of Wilkerson' game has to be his 29 strikeouts in 17 games. With 29 strikeouts in only 68 at-bats, Wilkerson is coming painfully close to averaging a strikeout every other at-bat!

Wilkerson's Current Pace -
162 105 124 19 57 10 38 276 0.191 0.247 0.338 0.585

That's right, Wilkerson is on pace to have as many RBI as Soriano has homeruns, and to become to strikeouts what Barry Bonds is to walks. I mean, it is not time to call it, but it is not looking good.

For my part, I just don't understand.

The D.C. Daily Diary


Lou Brock - Overrated, But Still A Hall of Famer
Is Lou Brock overrated? Yes, he is. Lou Brock is a member of the 3,000 hits club, but he got there because of longevity and because he hit leadoff and thus got lots of at-bats, not because of his hitting ability (though his .293 average does put him ahead of Ripken and Palmeiro). He is second all time in stolen bases, but as has been pointed out, his stolen base percentage was not particularly great, and he got to 938 on longevity, not because of any ability to get on base or steal bases efficiently.

Having said that, I must quibble with Keith on something over which we have quibbled before. Keith has, in my opinion, a misguided understanding of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Keith is under the impression that the Hall of Fame is kind of like a Top 100, that the only players who should be allowed in should be the best overall players in baseball history, based on overall value rating rather than based on individual accomplishments. Read more.

Matt's Email | Richard's Take | Keith's Take

Patterson Comes to Play
Run Corey Run. 
April 20, 2006 - The Orioles-Indians series which just concluded today in Baltimore was perhaps the wildest of the early season and may be the wildest we see for a while. (Warning - cross-sport cliché coming) The Indians won the first game by two touchdowns, 15-1, behind the solid pitching of Jason Johnson, of all people, a former Oriole who went 26-46 in four seasons with the O's. The series looked like a wash, but things changed in the bottom of the third inning of game two. That is when none other than Corey "Tools" Patterson came to the plate to lead off the inning. As Asher writes, that is when the truly unexpected happened - Corey Patterson came to play.


Has Randy Taken A Little Something Off?
Something a little more comfortable. 
Through three starts, the Yankees Randy Johnson is looking much more like his old self than he did in 2005. His WHIP is back down under 1.00, his opponents batting average is back to a respectable .213, and his ERA is 2.25.

The Unit's most intriguing stat, though, is K/BB ratio, which currently stands at infinity – 16 Ks to go with 0 BB. This is interesting for two reasons. First, obviously, he hasn't walked anybody this season, which is always good. But second, Randy's 16 strikeouts have come in 20 innings, which means for the second year in a row it appears that he is headed for less than one strikeout per inning.

In truth, Johnson's strikeouts have been declining for several years, and after his injury year of 2003 Randy acknowledged changing his approach and his arm angle slightly to reduce his risk of injury. Though this changed approach appears to have resulted in decreased strikeouts per inning, it also seems to have lessened the number of walks Randy gives up each year (47 and 44 in 2005 and 2004 compared with 71 in 2002 and 2001). Basically, Randy has traded some power for some control.

The Pace

April 7, 2006 - It was starting pitching gone astray day in the Majors today, as no fewer than four pitchers came through with outings which could easily get them sent back to the minors, or perhaps even little league.

As a caveat, it is always important to remember that at this point in the season, guys will be left in a little longer than usual in order to work out kinks, try to establish a rhythm, see how well they can get themselves out of a jam, etc. Nonetheless, these guys were awful, even relatively speaking.

For example, take Kyle Lohse. He gave up 11 hits and three walks on his way to allowing 8 earned runs in four and two thirds. Gavin Floyd continued Philadelphia's dubious starting pitcher run by walking four and giving up 5 runs, three earned, in two and two thirds innings. In Pittsburgh, Paul Maholm managed to be outshined by Eric Milton, giving up five earned on five hits and five walks in six innings.

Interestingly, there were a couple of guys yesterday who were terrible in their start, but their team ended up winning because the other team's pitcher was just as bad. In Kansas City, the 6-spot that Jeremy Affeldt gave up in four innings didn't hurt because opposing pitcher Jon Garland managed to surrender nine earned runs on ten hits in five and one third inning. In Toronto, the D'Rays managed to pull out the 9-8 victory despite Casey Fossum's six earned runs in four and two thirds performance.

But the King of the Eve was truly Daniel Cabrera. In an inning and a third, Cabrera allowed 7 earned runs on three hits and seven walks. Cabrera walked six in the opening inning and a seventh in the second before getting yanked. Cabrera threw 60 pitched in his 1 and a third inning, only getting a terrifying 22 of them over strikes.

The Notebook

2006 Season Predictions
Asher sees big things in the future of the Cleveland Indians. Oh, and he predicts things for other guys, too.

Ranking Relievers
Surely, Trevor Hoffman is the third best closer ever.

Asher Gabs about the Greats
Asher comments not only on the more interesting players among his top 200, but also on why several players didn't make his list.

Bill James
There is no one in the game today we enjoy disagreeing with more than Mr. James. It is done out of reverence and respect, because usually we find him insightful and ground breaking. But sometimes . . . . yikes!

Singleton vs. Rice
Asher, meanwhile, praises Keith for deftly leaving Jim Rice off of his list. Keith responds.

Sandy Koufax: What Could Have Been
Think Sandy Koufax is the best pitcher of all time because of four seasons of stellar play? Player Rankings Home

Lowe on Lowe
Asher mixes it up with Keith on the subject of Derek Lowe. Asher thinks Lowe will perform poorly, while Keith thinks otherwise.

The D.C. Daily Diary, Part II
Asher covers the Nationals from close up.

Alfonso Soriano
Asher foresees bad things for the Nationals big pick up.

Some notes on Sammy Sosa for 2006
Asher points out that Sammy's big homerun totals tend to obscure weaknesses in his overall game and career.

Top Ten Players to End Their Careers with the A's.
With Frank Thomas headed to Oakland, ostensibly to end his career, one may wonder whether he is the best player to end his player in Oakland. Not even close.

More on George Sisler
Apparently still annoyed about being the only person to have voted for George Sisler, Asher belabors the point by taking Bill James to task for his ranking of Sisler.

Asher Takes Some Off the Top
In response to Keith, Asher explains his feelings on a number of players, including:

- Eppa Rixey
- Toby Harrah
- George Sisler and Sam Rice
Lou Brock and Cesar Cedeno
Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis
Spud Chandler and Smokey Joe Wood.

Matt Williams and Graig Nettles
With a lack of third basemen in the Hall, Asher looks at two and determines that there may be a reason for such a lack.

Catfish Hunter vs. Ron Guidry
One is in the Hall, while the other one isn't. The one without the nickname was actually better.

Getting Defensive About Cooperstown on Defense
Asher amends some of his statements.

Not in the Hall of Fame, But Why Not?
Some players rank amongst the All Time Greats in certain categories, and yet remain unrewarded by induction into the Hall of Fame.

Similar Names, Similar Stats, Similar Snubs
There is a group of players from the old days whom I always get confused. Babe Ruth is not one of them, but he is relevant to this discussion because his name, George Herman "Babe" Ruth is similar to the names of a couple of guys I always get confused. Those players are Babe Herman, Billy Herman, and Stan Hack.

A Side Order of Baines and Rice
Harold Baines and Sam Rice are two players who, because of various external factors, were unable to reach certain career milestones. One thing they do not share in common is that one is in the Hall of Fame, while conventional wisdom says Harold Baines will not end up in the Hall.

Top Ten Hall of Famers Who Should Make it Obvious to Anyone With A Pulse That Gil Hodges Should Be in the Hall of Fame
Before we get started here, it is important to point out the possible misguideness of this venture. I do not think that a player belongs in the Hall of Fame simply because there are lesser players also in the Hall. What this really means is that such lesser players shouldn't be there in the first place.

Whether Gil Hodges is a Hall of Famer
Although Hodges will probably not end up in any of our Top 200s, whether or not he should be a Hall of Famer is a different question altogether, since there is no number limit on the Hall. So, we consider the merits and attempt to answer the question – does Gil Hodges belong in the Hall of Fame.

Top Ten Stories of 2005
As the new year approaches, a look back at the Top Ten Baseball Stories of 2005.

An Early Look at 2006 - Andruw Jones
Andruw Jones was very impressive last year, as he hit over 50 homeruns. But as Asher notes, his game was not actually significantly improved overall, and in 2006 we may see a regression.

Cubs Sign Jacques Jones
The Cubs announced that they have signed Jacques Jones to a 3 year $16 million deal. The Cubs will add Jones to an outfield already comprised of Corey "Tools" Patterson, newly acquired Juan Pierre, and youngster Matt Murton.

Giants, Angels Complete Insignificant Deal of Off-Season
In perhaps the most meaningless trade of the off-season so far, the Giants sent Edgardo Alfonzo to the Angels for Steve Finley. How it is that the Giants expect Finley to fit into their plans next season remains to be seen.

The Cardinals Sign Troubled Pitcher Ponson
The signing of Ponson is similar to my plan to buy Enron stock because, like Enron, Ponson value on the free agent market is at absolutely rock bottom, as he has been plagued by poor recent performance and scandals which have made him a most unattractive investment.

Top Ten Reactions to Elliot Kalb's Top 100
Elliot "Mr. Stats" Kalb has a new 100 list out. A lot of it is good, but a lot of it is . . .

Marlins Firesale Continues . . .
The Marlins continued their firesale on Friday, trading Luis Castillo to the Twins for pitching prospects Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler. Bowyer appears to be a stud, standing 6'3" and averaging better than a strikeout per inning in the last two years. Tyler is a good looking Single A baller who is all of 23 and stands 6'5".

Moving and Shaking in the National League East
The Mets, it would appear, have made two moves which automatically make them the conventional favorite next year in the NL East – acquiring Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner. The great thing about these two moves if you are the Mets, other than the material benefit that will be conferred by these two players, is that they get the daily double which comes from knowing that your acquisition is your division-mates’ loss.

Paul Konerko Re-Signs with the White Sox – Two Things
I just got word that Paul Konerko re-signed with the White Sox. In this era of big free agent deals, and guys leaving winning situations to join losing ones (Derek Lowe?) simply based on dollar signs, Konerko’s resigning is an interesting one. I have two reactions to this – one immediate, and one that dawned slowly. I will start with the one that dawned slowly – “the bad news first,” if you will.

Thankful for November Trades
I had no idea that trade season was going to kick up so soon. But just like that, Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell appear headed to the Red Sox, Carlos Delgado is headed to the Mets, and the White Sox have shipped Aaron Rowand in exchange for Big Jim Thome.

2005 Season In Review
After the World Series, a train of thought style exposition of somethings that stuck out in review of the 2005 season.

The 2005 National League Least Valuable Player
Derrek Lee, Albert Pujols, and Andruw Jones look to reign in the NL MVP. But Asher points out that there is a far more compelling race than that to watch in the National League this year.

Some Unconventional Picks for the 2005 American League Most Valuable Player
While David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez vie for the AL MVP, Asher offers some unconventional picks for AL MVP.

The Irony of Bartolo Colon
So, here I am mired in the reality of my Cy Young picks. I steadfastly picked Bartolo Colon to win the Cy Young in both 2003 and 2004, only to give up on him this year and see him finally take the trophy.

2005 Dave Kingman Award Winner
So, which player did the least with the most this season? Find out as we unveil the 2005 Dave Kingman Award.

What's the Deal with Carlos Beltran and Adrian Beltre?
Wanna see something weird? Check out how similar the careers of the Belt Brothers Carlos Beltran and Adrian Beltre have been.

Astros Headed to the World Series
As the Astros move on the World Series for the first time in their history, score another victory for teamwork and chemistry.

October 17, 2005 - Some Thoughts for the Evening
What goes through the head of a Cubs fan pondering the reality of the White Sox going to the World Series, and getting to face either the Astros or the Cardinals?

Some Year-End Observations About Albert Pujols
He is great. No doubt about it. But, amongst other observations about Mr. Pujols, did you notice that 2005 was actually a down year for him?

What's the Deal with Gold Gloves
Am I wrong to be ABSOLUTELY FURIOUS that Torii Hunter won the gold glove this year even though he only played 98 games? Surely, this is not Palmeiro '98, but still.

The Outfield Gold Glove Sham
Temporarily forgetting that every year, all the outfield Gold Gloves go to centerfielders, I was struck by the oddity of this fact, and I suddenly realized that this is an absurd system, and it is depriving deserving outfielders of their rightful hardware.

What Kind of Player Makes a Good Manager?
What do seven out of the eight managers in the post-season all have in common? Hint - the one manager who is not like the others is, in my opinion, one of the most overrated managers in the league today. Check it out.

The D.C. Daily Diary
Asher will be working in Washington D.C. for the summer, and while he is there, he will be keeping tabs on the Orioles and Nationals via a semi-Daily Diary that he will keep as he get the opportunity to watch these two teams close-up.

In Case You Missed It
So, is the Kid finally going to play all year? Why are the Astros and Braves starting to turn it around? And what National League catcher is having a career year? Asher knows and has it herein case you missed it.

The First Ever "Not A Bonehead Sportswriter of the Week"
Check out David Schoenfield's remarkably well thought out and well considered article about 40 current players headed for the hall of fame.

New Stat Page
What do Babe Ruth, Andre Dawson, Lou Gerhig, Eddie Murray, and Bill Nicholson all have in common? Find out in the new Double Crown Stat Page.

The Beane Watch Continues
On July 9, 2005, we have a look at a player Billy Beane cut loose and a plyer he picked up, and see how they compare as the Beane watch continues.

Another Double Crown
Derrek Lee is threatening to win the triple crown this year. But last year, Ichiro Suzuki won a very rare double crown, and it was the second time he has done it.

The Pace
As the season approaches the midpoint, Asher continues his obsession with Brian Roberts, Adam Dunn, and the 300/300 club as he tries to keep up with The Pace.

Asher's Triumphant Return
Asher disappeared for a while (why remains a mystery), but after being gone nearly three months, Asher makes his triumphant return.

A Few Thoughts - June 25, 2005

The D.C. Daily Diary

Asher's Triumphant Return

The Pace

An Era of Aging Veteran Pitching

The Double Crown

The Curse of the Bambino Lives On.

Second Best Pitching Staff in Baseball

Asher's Triumphant Return

Finding Things Not That Hard to Believe

Just Give Him the Damn Ball

Dodgers, Angels set to Rock the Sports World

Top Ten “What Were They Thinking” Moves of 2004-2005 Off Season.

Sandy Koufax and the Importance of What Could Have Been

Yankees the Greatest of All Time?

The Quest for 200

Another Beane-er in Oakland

2004 AL ROY Pick

2004 NL ROY Pick

Top Ten Rookie of the Year Classes of All Time

Top Ten Rookie of the Year Busts of All Time

Some Things You May Have Missed

Ken Caminiti (1963-2004)

October 2, 2004: The Fifty-Fifth Annual Dave Kingman Award

Summer 2004: The Bagwell Conspiracy

July 7th: Over-Hyped Pitcher Acquisition Comparison Game

Daily Report: Grady Little's Effect on the Cubs

Jose Canseco: Person Most Living In His Own World

11/5/2003: A Warning for Andy Pettitte

10/5/03: Chancey on Rivera

Fifteen Years Later - 1986 Revisited

Questions? Concerns? Comments? Asher lives in Philadelphia, PA, and can be reached at