I am a Red Sox fan. If you follow me on twitter via @AV_MLBSweetSpot, then I am sure you have been aware of this for awhile now. The reason I have decided to state my team preference at the beginning of this article is because of the delicate topic that I am about to discuss. The current talk around the game is Giancarlo Stanton and his potentially record-breaking homerun pace. He has 44 through Wednesday and is on a pace that could bring him in the range of Roger Maris’s non-steroid record of 61. Stanton is a slugger for sure, and reaching the 60 homerun plateau would be an amazing accomplishment, but fans around the game need to pump the breaks. The level of hype and the “willing to trade anybody for Stanton” talks have become unreasonable, at least in Boston. That being said, I am not here to discuss the merits of Stanton’s recent surge. Instead, I want to talk about another player who, two months ago, was in the position that Stanton is currently in: Aaron Judge.
Sometimes in life, you do not feel that you have been dealt a fair hand. No matter who you are, no matter how much you realize that your situation isn’t all that bad, you cannot help but feel sorry for yourself. There are people starving, people suffering, and people dying all over the place. Human nature is selfish; even when there are people out there worse off than we are, we often times fail to see beyond ourselves. It is selfish, but it is natural and it happens to the best of us. What do you find yourself complaining about?
Last Friday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals finalized a 5-year, $82.5 million with former Cubs center-fielder Dexter Fowler. As has been explained in the media, the Fowler addition was meant to add more athleticism both on defense and atop the Cardinals’ lineup. At face value, this seems to make sense; Fowler’s skills are indicative of a lead-off hitting center fielder. In theory, inserting Fowler in center in place of incumbent Randal Grichuk should improve the outfield defense. In researching this theory; however, I have found that the ‘Fowler Effect’, while certainly providing plus-value, is not as straightforward as it may seem.
MLB Sweet Spot is back! After a long hiatus that has spanned from the middle of September until now, I will be slowly providing content once again, just in time for the Hot Stove season. A lot has happened since I was gone, ranging from the Cubs’ all-too-predictable World Series victory, to the not-so-predictable results of the presidential election. Baseball activity will be picking back up now that free agency is open, so it is only appropriate that I provide my thoughts and analysis, whether you, the reader, likes it or not! Many of my articles in the coming months will be featured at Off The Bench Baseball, whom I was writing for previously. In addition, I will do my best to provide some original content for MLB Sweet Spot too. To kick-off the my grand return, I thought I would re-blog an article that was written by Johnnie Teng over at Baseball More Than Just A Game. This article focuses in on a few one-dimensional MLB players who still have managed to add value to their major league ballclubs. I beleive that it also does a nice job of explaining the 5 tools of baseball to for those casual fans who may not be as scouting-oriented. Stay tuned for more, and enjoy!
For the fourth time in five years, Mike Trout may not win the AL MVP award, despite yet another outstanding season by the Los Angeles Angel. Entering play Monday, Trout had put up a triple-slash of .312/.431/.546, accumulating 24 home runs, 21 stolen bases, 82 RBI’s and 98 runs. Defensively Trout has ranked about league average, but advanced metrics have been bullish on him in the past, and to the naked eye he can still impress with his glove. His base-running has been great, per usual, and looks to once again be in the running for AL MVP. Other candidates, like Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve, come and go from year-to-year, but Trout can always be counted on to be right in the thick of the race.
With the trade deadline in the rear-view mirror, rather than a typical team/player/trade analysis, let’s get theoretical: What would the playoffs look like, and how would they unfold, if the season were to end today? Before getting started though, some ground rules:
Aroldis Chapman is now a member of the Chicago Cubs. It had long been speculated that Chapman would be on the move at some point before the trade deadline, as the Yankees currently sit 7.5 games back in the AL East and 4.5 games out from the second wild card spot. With a record of 50-48, the deficit may not seem too large, but the Yankees have question marks all over their lineup and rotation. 39-year-old Carlos Beltran, who like Chapman is in a contract year, has been the team’s best hitter. The rotation has failed to find consistency beyond Masahiro Tanaka.