@ The All-Star Break! (American League)

So, what have we learned during the All-Star Break?

  1. The Home Run Derby is still tons of fun.
  2. Yoennis Cespedes rules.
  3. Wherever there is a ballplayer living in the United States who speaks poor English and needs a translator, lowlife rednecks will call him out for “ruining Americas pastime”.

Seen Here: America’s pastime.

4. Prince Fielder is capable of hitting triples. However, in doing so, the resulting tremors usually result in the complete destruction of a small Asian country. Nice knowing you, Singapore.

God forbid he slide.

5. Mariano Rivera is awesome and his last All-Star Game was quite heartwarming. However, if he pulls an un-retirement (Andy Petitte style) let’s all agree not to do that again, okay?

However, the All-Star Break is also a fantastic moment to take stock of the season do far. It’s not the halfway point that everyone keeps calling it for some reason, but who’s got time to calculate half of 162?

“Fuck math! From now on, dealing crack is the life for me!”

So, here are the current standings and my predictions for the major award winners and division/league/World Series champions.

AL EAST

My Pre-Season Prediction:

  1.  Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card)
  3. Baltimore Orioles
  4. New York Yankees
  5. Boston Red Sox

Current Standings:

  1. Boston Red Sox (58-39)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (55-41, Wild Card)
  3. Baltimore Orioles (53-43)
  4. New York Yankees (51-44)
  5. Toronto Blue Jays (45-49)

Well, this division is stacked.

Biggest Surprise: That would be the Red Sox who, in the wake of the tragic Boston Bombings, have been exceptionally good even after injuries to Clay Bucholz and Joel Hanrahan, putting together a great (Likeable!) team. While it’s kinda tough to determine what exactly made this team click, I’m pretty sure it was getting Alfredo Aceves to fuck right on off to AAA that relaxed the mood.

And to think it took the Canadian national team to kick his ass before…

Biggest Disappointment: Well fuck, I don’t really need to say it, do I?

Alright, fine. The biggest disappointments are my beloved Toronto Blue Jays. As it turns out, assembling a whole shitload of talent and throwing them onto a baseball field isn’t always the way to go.

On the positive side, we didn’t take the Marlins logo along with Emilio Bonifacio.

MVP: Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox

I will probably get brutalized for not picking Chris Davis (Or not, considering how much people read my blog) and for picking a Red Sox when I am a Certifies Red Sox Nation Hater, but goddammit, I LIKE Dustin Pedroia! A .316 Batting Average and excellent fielding don’t hurt, either.

Cy Young: Clay Bucholz, Red Sox

Even with his recent DL stint, Bucholz was leaps and bounds over any other AL East pitcher in the first half.

Rookie of the Year: Jose Iglesias, Red Sox

After a (Very) unimpressive cup of coffee in 2012, Iglesias got himself a starting job this year, with both Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew on the DL, and has run with it so far, hitting .367 in 180 At-Bats while playing excellent defense.

My All-Star Break Prediction:

  1. Boston Red Sox (98-64)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (95-67, Wild Card)
  3. Baltimore Orioles (93-69, Wild Card)
  4. New York Yankees (81-81)
  5. Toronto Blue Jays (79-83)

AL CENTRAL

My Pre-Season Prediction:

  1. Detroit Tigers
  2. Kansas City Royals
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Cleveland Indians
  5. Minnesota Twins

Current Standings:

  1. Detroit Tigers (52-42)
  2. Cleveland Indians (51-44)
  3. Kansas City Royals (43-49)
  4. Minnesota Twins (39-53)
  5. Chicago White Sox (37-55)

Biggest Surprise: Cleveland Indians

The Indians have beat the odds by proving that you can stay over .500 despite having an aged, 250 pound Jason Giambi on your team.

Biggest Disappointment:

Fuck, I dunno. The White Sox, I guess? Truth be told, I just really wanna get to the AL West.

MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Well duh.

Cy Young: Max Scherzer

I don’t take too much stock in wins and losses, mainly because they’re bullshit, but thirteen straight wins is nothing to thumb your nose at.

Rookie of the Year: David Lough

Who? David Lough? Really? Fuck it, okay, let’s roll with it.

My All-Star Predictions:

  1. Detroit Tigers (93-69)
  2. Cleveland Indians (87-75)
  3. Kansas City Royals (69-93)
  4. Minnesota Twins (69-93)
  5. Chicago White Sox (61-101)

Lessons Learned: 1. The Detroit Tigers don’t have to do too much to win this division and 2. The White Sox suck pretty bad.

AL WEST

My Pre-Season Predictions:

  1. Los Angeles Angels
  2. Oakland Athletics
  3. Texas Rangers
  4. Seattle Mariners
  5. Houston Astros

Current Standings:

  1. Oakland Athletics (56-39)
  2. Texas Rangers (54-41, Wild Card)
  3. Los Angeles Angels (44-49)
  4. Seattle Mariners (43-52)
  5. Houston Astros (33-61)

Biggest Surprise: N/A

There haven’t been many positive surprises in this division. The A’s and Rangers have been as good as expected, and the Mariners and Astros have both been bad and terrible, respectively.

Biggest Dissapointment: Los Angeles Angels

It just wasn’t a very good offseason to spend big, huh?

MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

He probably should have won MVP last year, but Superfish (A nickname that I really want to have catch on) hasn’t ;et his lack of a trophy slow him down. He may be the best all-around player in the game at the age of 22.

Cy Young: Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners

His fellow countryman Yu Darvish gets most of the credit (And he is really, really good) so it’s easy to forget that Iwakuma has been just as or almost as good in his Big League Career. It was almost a tie, but I went with Iwakuma for the reason that he has played more games than Darvish.

Rookie of the Year: Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners

With all due respect to Nick Franklin… I think the AL West might have blown their prospect wad last year with Trout and Cespedes.

Damn you, Superfish, you ruin everything!!!

My All-Star Predictions:

  1. Oakland Athletics (99-63)
  2. Texas Rangers (91-71)
  3. Seattle Mariners (77-85)
  4. Los Angeles Angels (73-89)
  5. Houston Astros (53-109)

Yeah, I’m feeling the A’s. The Angels, not so much.

AL AWARDS

Manager of the Year: John Farrell, Red Sox

I hate this motherfucker. He openly stabbed the Jays in the back and half-assed it in 2012 after not getting his dream job that year instead of when his contract was up. Not that he did a great job managing the team anyways, but still.

That said, raise your hand if you thought the Sox would be a great team this year.

No you didn’t, you fucking liar.

Rookie of the Year: Jose Iglesias, Red Sox

Cy Young Award: Max Scherzer, Tigers

I may reconsider if Clay Bucholz stays excellent when he comes back from his injury.

MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Mike Trout may have deserved it last year, but this year, it’s all Miggy.

Tune back in soon for the National League and my playoff picks.

All-Star Rosters Revealed! (Part 1)

Well, after two months of debating, complaining and typing death threats in caps lock, MLB.com has finally released the rosters for the 2013 All-Star Game in Citi Field, New York. This promises to be both an interesting game and a way for Mets fans to take a break from being Mets fans (God help them.) and play host to the Midsummer Classic, that grand celebration of baseball, fandom and idiotic popularity contests.

Proof that you can finish in the top 5 in the voting standings by playing a single game in AAA. Why do we not want Yasiel Puig playing, again?

I kid the ASG. I do love watching the game, and it’s really nice to see the (Usually) top players in the game on the same field at the same time. You know, at least until they are caught using steroids and publicly disgraced, but until then, it’s usually a fun ride.

Yeah, there’s no way signing this guy to an inappropriate amount of money would blow up in our faces.

So, initial reaction upon seeing the results? Well, mainly that I’m actually okay with them. Yes, I do have some quibbles, like the exclusion of a certain Mr. Santana…

Well, he HAS played as much big league games as Derek Jeter this season…

and a certain Mr. Lind, I’m pretty satisfied with the teams the two sides are sending to Queens. Here is my review of the AL roster.

Starters
C: Joe Mauer, Twins
1B: Chris Davis, Orioles
2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
SS: J.J. Hardy, Orioles
3B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
OF: Mike Trout, Angels
OF: Adam Jones, Orioles
OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox

I would’ve changed:

2B: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

SS: Jhonny Peralta, Tigers

Not to draw the ire of Yankees fans, because I’m sure you’re all beautiful people…

Most of you, I mean.

… but I voted for Dustin Pedroia. It wasn’t an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination, but I can’t really argue with a .325 batting average.  Besides, this Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is irrelevant and retarded. Can’t we all just kiss and make up?

Was that so hard?

I approve of all the other choices with the exception of J.J. Hardy at shortstop. Sure, he’s having a solid season, but a) Jhonny Peralta is having the better season and b) watching someone with an On-Base Percentage under .300 (Hardy’s is .290) is not that fun. Take it from somebody who’s been watching J.P. Arencibia for three years.

Pitchers
RHP: Clay Buchholz , Red Sox
LHP: Brett Cecil, Blue Jays
RHP: Bartolo Colon , A’s
RHP: Jesse Crain , White Sox
RHP: Yu Darvish, Rangers
RHP: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
RHP: Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners
RHP: Justin Masterson, Indians
RHP: Joe Nathan, Rangers
LHP: Glen Perkins , Twins
RHP: Mariano Rivera, Yankees
LHP: Chris Sale, White Sox
RHP: Max Scherzer, Tigers
RHP: Justin Verlander, Tigers

Note: Bucholz and Crain are both injured and will miss the Game. Perkins and Colon are their replacements.

I would’ve changed:

There is no way in hell I’m gonna comb through every single fucking team comparing pitchers.

I don’t have too much to say in this category, but I’m gonna talk about Brett Cecil a bit.

For those of you who don’t follow the Blue Jays (I know, few and far between, right?) Brett Cecil was a fairly highly touted lefty starting pitcher prospect in our organisation, earning quite a bit of praise at the minor league level. He was called up in 2009 and proceeded to suck at the big league level, posting a 4.79 ERA between 2009 and 2012 with a couple trips back to AAA. That coupled with his incendiary attitude (Think Brett Lawrie but left-handed, wearing goggles and generally less of a douche. (Just kidding. Love you B.L.)) drew the ire of Jays fans, and he only made the roster this year because we needed a lefty and he was out of options.

He was moved to the bullpen and, possibly thanks to the smaller workloads and less pressure, is now, quite possibly, the best reliever in the AL. This brings us to my final remark of the section…

Why the FUCK aren’t the Giants doing this with Tim Lincecum?

Reserves
C: Jason Castro, Astros
C: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Prince Fielder, Tigers
2B: Jason Kipnis, Indians
2B: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
2B: Ben Zobrist, Rays
SS: Jhonny Peralta: Tigers
3B: Manny Machado, Orioles
OF: Nelson Cruz, Rangers
OF: Alex Gordon, Royals
OF: Torii Hunter, Tigers
DH: Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

I would have changed:

C: Carlos Santana, Indians

1B: Adam Lind, Blue Jays

2B: Howie Kendrick, Angels

This is where I have the most objections. If it wasn’t for the rule of having one representative from each team, the three players I mentioned would have those roster spots down. I would even argue that Adam Lind deserves the spot instead of Prince Fielder, but nobody likes the guy who beats up on a teams “designated teddy bear”, so I won’t bother.

I don’t care how bad Munenori Kawasaki’s hitting is…If you diss him, I will fucking cut you.

(NL Roster coming soon…Veeeery sooon…)

AL All-Star Ballot Update!

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I last checked out the All-Star Vote standings for the AL and the NL. I’d say we’re probably overdue for another tirade against ballot-stuffers, eh? Well, as soon as I tear my eyes away from the mean-spirited ugliness that is the MLB.com comments section. Is it just me, or do all people named “commenter” have some form of mental instability issue?

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE ALL-STAR VOTING
(as of June 15)

FIRST BASE
Chris Davis, Orioles 2,999,094
Prince Fielder, Tigers 1,980,129
Mike Napoli, Red Sox 744,334
Albert Pujols, Angels 693,062
Mitch Moreland, Rangers 645,071

My Vote: Chris Davis, Orioles

It’s good to see that at least one of the starters will be deserving. Chris Davis is absolutely killing it in Baltimore. Really, if anybody has a .330+ average and is on pace for 40+ home runs, then they better be the ASG starter.

I’m kinda dissapointed that Adam Lind isn’t getting any love, and especially dissapointed that Albert Pujols is seen by some as an All-Star. I can’t really complain otherwise.

SECOND BASE
Robinson Cano, Yankees 2,409,512
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox 1,635,674
Ian Kinsler, Rangers 1,123,654
Omar Infante, Tigers 872,142
Jose Altuve, Astros 734,896

My Vote: Robinson Cano

Man, was probably the most difficult position to vote for. I mean, in the top 3 spots are three EXTREMELY good ballplayers in Robbie Cano (Who will almost certainly be voted in) Dustin Pedroia (Who may be having a better season, and Howie Kendrick, who- wait a minute. Where’s Howie? Howie!? HOWIE!?!?

Wrong one, asshole.

In the end, I voted for Cano, but going back on it, I think Howie Kendrick was the better choice. I can live with Cano starting though.

However, the fact that Kendrick isn’t in the Top 5 is inexcusable.

SHORTSTOP
J.J. Hardy, Orioles 1,871,010
Elvis Andrus, Rangers 1,358,412
Jhonny Peralta, Tigers 1,322,791
Jed Lowrie, Athletics 1,019,861
Derek Jeter, Yankees 669,698

My Vote: Jhonny Peralta.

My God, there were slim pickings at this position. The only truly worthy contenders (That I remember) are Hardy, Peralta, and Lowrie. This seems as good a time as any to speculate on why exactly Elvis Andrus is here. I must have been asleep when a sub .600 OPS was declared an acceptable quality for an All-Star. Bot his OBP and his Slugging Percentage are under .300. Stop. Voting. For. Him.

As for Derek Jeter, i’m not going to bother  chastising the idiots who voted for the guy who hasn’t played a single game this season and  probably won’t play in the game anyways. I just find it weird that in the comments section, nobody seems to own up to voting for him. Does this mean that whoever’s voting for him is embarrassed that they voted for him? I mean, they should be, but they should be able to put their money where their mouth is, right?

THIRD BASE
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers 3,277,890
Manny Machado, Orioles 1,626,209
Adrian Beltre, Rangers 1,105,706
Evan Longoria, Rays 898,422
Josh Donaldson, Athletics 500,773

My Vote: Miguel Cabrera

What can I possibly say about Miguel Cabrera that hasn’t been said already? I can really only express my condolences for Machado, Beltre, Longoria and Donaldson. Any one of them (Mainly Machado) would have had a decent shot had it not been for Miguel Cabrera existing.

CATCHER
Joe Mauer, Twins 2,127,175
Matt Wieters, Orioles 1,615,625
A.J. Pierzynski, Rangers 885,137
Carlos Santana, Indians 864,779
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox 748,725

My Vote: Joe Mauer

My only two complaints here are: a) That Matt Wieters has more than a million votes and b) That Jason Castro is nowhere to be see on the list. This is mostly as a result of the obscurity that comes with working in Houston.

DESIGNATED HITTER
David Ortiz, Red Sox 2,488,451
Lance Berkman, Rangers 1,239,521
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays 769,322
Mark Reynolds, Indians 745,058
Mark Trumbo, Angels 722,667

My Vote: David Ortiz

Big Papi’s monster season took me completely by surprise. How often does an obese, non-juiced 37 year old put up a .900+ OPS?

Ha. No.

On a bitter note, how the fuck did more people think that Lance Berkman deserves the vote more then Edwin Encarnacion?

OUTFIELD
Adam Jones, Orioles 2,740,505
Mike Trout, Angels 2,710,115
Nick Markakis, Orioles 1,463,392
Torii Hunter, Tigers 1,425,571
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays 1,379,251
Nelson Cruz, Rangers 1,310,079
Nate McLouth, Orioles 1,300,158
Alex Gordon, Royals 1,040,685
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox 1,004,434
Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics 926,611
Coco Crisp, Athletics 869,153
Josh Hamilton, Angels 726,485
Austin Jackson, Tigers 712,623
Shane Victorino, Red Sox 682,220
Ichiro Suzuki, Yankees 620,734

My Vote: Adam Jones, Mike Trout, Jose Bautista

This list starts off strong (With the exception of Torii Hunter and Nick Markakis over Jose Bautista) but gets dodgy near the end. Angels fans can’t stop spewing hatred at Josh Hamilton, and yet, they keep voting for him. And it boggles the mind to ponder how Ichiro got here. I love the guy too, Yankee fans, but come on. He’s a defense only ballplayer nowadays, and God bless ’em (I may be the world’s biggest John McDonald fan) but  he’s definitely not an All-Star

Tomorrow, be sure to check in for the NL ballot update and my thoughts.