Dugout Central’s April round-up

by JohnBowen

One month is in the books, let’s look at what’s gone down:

If the playoffs started tomorrow (The May Classic?), your AL division winners would be New York, Cleveland, and Texas, with Tampa and LA playing a one-game playoff for the wildcard. Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Colorado would be division winners with Florida getting the wildcard. Cincinatti would get the second wildcard if this were 2012.

Your AL MVP would have to be Jose Bautista, who currently leads the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, total bases, walks, homeruns and runs scored. Miguel Cabrera, who finished second last year, would be my pick for another runner-up.

NL MVP? I’d love to give it to Ryan Braun and his Major League leading 10 homeruns, but you’ve got to go with the guy in St. Louis. He’s been tearing up NL Central for a decade now and he’s off to a hot start. That’s right. Lance Berkman is your NL MVP. Honorable mentions go out to reigning MVP Joey Votto (.504 OBP) and Matt Kemp (1.059 OPS from CF).

The AL Cy Young award is an easy pick, with Jered Weaver currently 6-0, with an ERA of 0.99. He will put that perfect record on the line today against the Tampa Bay Rays.  Teammate Dan Haren currently leads the American League in WHIP and is an easy choice for second with Indians starter Justin Masterson and his 5-0 record coming in at third.

The NL Cy Young award would go to Josh Johnson and his 0.88 ERA. That’s right, in his 41 innings of work so far this year, he’s give up exactly four runs. He also leads the league in WHIP at 0.707. JJ’s challenger is Roy Halladay who already has two complete games and has averaged about an extra inning per start on the Marlin righty.

I think the defensive play (or, I should say, plays) of the year was from Brent Lillibridge of the Chicago White Sox. Against the Yankees earlier this week, he came in as a pinch-runner for the lead-gloved Carlos Quentin and replaced him in the field as the rightfielder. With two on and 1 out and the White Sox up by 1 run, he made an absolutely spectacular runner grab on the warning track to rob A-Rod of a probable game-winning hit. One play later, he made a tremendous diving catch off Robinson Cano on what might otherwise have been a game-ending hit. If there’s a defensive equivalent to a game-winning homerun, that’s it.

Biggest surprise team? Easily the Cleveland Indians. They have the best record in the American League and that’s without big-time performances from Shin-Soo Choo, Fausto Carmona, or Carlos Santana. Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner are playing like it’s 2006 and they haven’t had 27 surgeries in between the two of them. At some point, Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin (combined 9-0 with a WHIP just over 1 and a 2.32 ERA) have to come back down to Earth. The question is – when do we start taking this team seriously?

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67 Responses to “Dugout Central’s April round-up”

  1. JohnBowen Says:

    Weaver was actually scratched today. Too bad.

  2. Raul Says:

    I’ve seen Justin Masterson pitch twice this year and I can’t understand how the hell he is 5-0.

  3. Chuck Says:

    Weaver’s replacement, Tyler Chatwood, allowed five runs on seven hits in the first inning.

  4. Chuck Says:

    Kevin Millwood opted out of his Yankee contract.

  5. Raul Says:

    As for the Indians…

    “My God! Good news, fans. The Indians are showing signs of life for the first time in weeks.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RfMVu-bfng

  6. JohnBowen Says:

    Some unlikely Brewers flashing the leather in the first inning today. Prince Fielder made a nice snag to save probably a triple and Yuniesky Betancourt made an outstanding back-handed stab and throw.

  7. Raul Says:

    Someone made mention of Alex Gordon’s homer yesterday.
    I saw it.

    Wow.

  8. JohnBowen Says:

    Bud Norris has struck out 5 through 2 innings.

  9. Raul Says:

    Anyone named Bud Norris should be pouring my beer at the bowling alley. Not pitching in the Major Leagues.

  10. Raul Says:

    Mitch Maier, with men on 2nd and 3rd and nobody out grounds right back to Carl Pavano.

    Somehow, Matt Treanor finds himself far enough off the bag that Pavano gets him in a rundown.

    First and third, 1 out.
    What a shitty play for KC.

  11. JohnBowen Says:

    Runners on first and second, 0 outs, Astros already have a run in. Batter hits a long fly ball to CF. The runner on second leaves a split second too soon; Rickie Weeks sees this and calls for Gomez to throw the ball into second.

    It’s clear from the replay that the umpire made the right call. But I (along with the Astros’ color commentator) wanna know how he was able to make it. It wasn’t blatant at all, like we’re talking about a couple milliseconds. Hard to imagine the umpire was really in a position to make the call.

    Today is the anniversary of Babe Ruth’s first HR as a Yankee.

    Hard to believe he made it until May without a HR and wound up hitting 54. A good thing to know if you’re Adrian Gonzalez.

  12. Raul Says:

    And it’s a 3-run homer for Curtis Granderson.

  13. JohnBowen Says:

    “He is not ideally suited to batting second in the lineup.”

    Astros color commentator, on Carlos Gomez.

    No shit.

    Maybe Ron Roenicke should pay attention. It’s hard to believe anyone can be worse at managing than Ken Macha, but man…batting a guy with a .290 career OBP 2nd in your lineup is just asking to cripple your offense.

  14. Raul Says:

    Well, I suppose if there’s a stadium where a player could hit 15-20 homers in a month, it could be Fenway — provided you pull the shit out of the ball as a lefty.

    Or, provided you have the kind of swing where you can uppercut that sumbitch to left-center.

  15. Raul Says:

    lol
    Carlos Gomez isn’t suited to batting anywhere in the lineup.

  16. JohnBowen Says:

    @15

    If the Brewers were in the AL, I would let our pitchers bat and DH for Gomez.

  17. JohnBowen Says:

    Zack Greinke is scheduled to start Wednesday.

    I think I speak for all of Brewer Nation when I say: FINALLY.

  18. JohnBowen Says:

    Raul, your bowling alley bartender has allowed just a walk and a hit through 4. He’s looking sharp.

  19. Raul Says:

    Good for the Astros.

  20. JohnBowen Says:

    Yeah. 9 K’s through 5. We can’t get anything going off this guy.

  21. Chuck Says:

    Wow, the Angels came back and tied up Tampa.

    Pittsbugh has four runs and five hits so far off Ubaldo Jimenez in less than 2 IP.

    Can you say one year wonder?

    Not even one, he sucked last year post AS break.

  22. Raul Says:

    lol @ Carl Pavano taking a bat and going “batshit” in the dugout after giving up a triple to Mitch Maier.

  23. Chuck Says:

    You guys remember Joe Koshansky?

    He had a couple pit stops with the Rockies a few years ago.

    He’s playing first base for the Giants now…in Double A.

    Yesterday, in an 18 inning game, he went 0-8 with seven strikeouts.

  24. Chuck Says:

    http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=g_box&gid=2011_04_30_ricaax_bowaax_1

  25. Raul Says:

    0-8 with 7 strikeouts.

    I’d take that teammate out for dinner and some beers.
    He certainly earned it, lol.

  26. JohnBowen Says:

    “Not even one, he sucked last year post AS break.”

    Last year, post-ASB for Ubaldo Jimenez:

    3.80 ERA, 1.299 WHIP, 9.6 K/9, .644 OPS-against. So, when he was “sucking,” teams hit like the Mariners against him.

    I wouldn’t call that sucking. I would actually call that “very good” considering he pitches at Coors Field.

    Also, he was pretty damn good in 2008 and 2009. He just didn’t make headlines, because the Rockies don’t play in NY or Boston.

  27. Chuck Says:

    Whatever John.

  28. Cameron Says:

    I’m sort of John’s side. Ublado wasn’t bad compared to the average pitcher, but he certainly came back to Earth and had some truly horrid starts right after the break.

    …As I recall, I nabbed Josh Hamilton in last year’s fantasy league as soon as that first or second bad start.

  29. JohnBowen Says:

    Jimenez got screwed out of 20 wins. In his final start of 2010, he went 8, gave up 0 runs, 3 hits, and 2 walks while striking out 10.

    Immeadiately after the break, he had two straight terrible start, but after that reeled off 7 consecutive “quality starts” (yes, one was of the 6&3 variety).

  30. Chuck Says:

    Wins are an irrelevant stat, right, John?

  31. JohnBowen Says:

    Correct, Chuck.

    You know what proves that? The example I JUST cited.

  32. Raul Says:

    Dustin Moseley.
    Fuck the heck?

  33. JohnBowen Says:

    That was actually his first win all year.

    Going into the game, he was 0-3 with a 1.99 ERA.

  34. Cameron Says:

    Talk about shit run support.

  35. JohnBowen Says:

    More run support today (7) than in his first 5 games combined (6).

  36. Chuck Says:

    There’s a big fly.

    Then there’s a Mike Stanton big fly.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_05_01_minmlb_kcamlb_1&mode=box

  37. Raul Says:

    There’s nobody in the Majors with Mike Stanton’s power.
    Nobody.

    And he’s only been in the Majors for 5 minutes.

  38. John Says:

    Maybe Adam Dunn.

    Eat shit Bin Laden.

  39. Raul Says:

    I think Adam Dunn hit a baseball out of the state of Cincinnati once.

  40. Raul Says:

    I have Zach Britton and David Price on my team and they pitch against each other this week. Not sure who to start.

  41. Cameron Says:

    David Price, no question.

  42. John Says:

    When is Price going? It seems like he should be in line for two starts this week.

  43. Raul Says:

    It looks like he’s just going once, on May 6th against Baltimore.

  44. Cameron Says:

    Well, well, there’s rumblings of a long-term extension for Andrew McCutchen since he’ll most likely fall just short of the Super Two status and can’t file for arbitration.

    I hope they go the Evan Longoria extension route and not the Troy Tulowitzki route.

  45. John Says:

    I probably shouldn’t feel this way, being an NL Central fan and all, but it would be nice to see the Pirates finally lock up a player longterm. Especially McCutchen, who is one of the game’s very best up and coming players.

  46. Cameron Says:

    I like the direction the Pirates are going, but I love McCutchen as a player and he’s one of the guys that truly deserves and extension, he’s the franchise in that town.

  47. Raul Says:

    I think the Pirates would be smart to lock-up Andrew McCutchen for a while, and it’s probably a good idea to consider doing the same with Neil Walker (perhaps at a later time), as he appears to be a solid contributor.

    For the record, though, I don’t think McCutchen is that “franchise player” that you necessarily build a championship team around. I mean, I don’t think he’ll ever be an MVP contender. That’s not a bad thing. I just think he won’t be in that Top Elite.

    They’ll either build around Taillon and Gerrit Cole, or they’re going to build around Anthony Rendon.

    After thinking about it for a while, I’m guessing they are going to take Rendon.

    They can plug Rendon at 3B along with McCutchen in CF and Walker at 2B, shift Alvarez to 1B and find a SS capable of defense and hitting his weight, and they’ll be alright.

    It remains to be seen how the MLB Draft will look after the CBA but the Pirates figure to have another top draft pick next year where they can further address pitching concerns. I am not sure they’ll find a player of Rendon’s quality, or close to it, at the 3B position next season.

  48. Raul Says:

    Did I mention that I have a mild hatred of Gerrit Cole for blowing the Yankees off a few years ago?

    I’m just saying…that kinda stung.

  49. Raul Says:

    Read a Top 50 Draft Prospect list from BA…

    14. Matt Barnes (RHP) Connecticut: How deep is 2011? Barnes would have been in the running to be top college pitcher drafted in 2010.

  50. Chuck Says:

    “They’ll either build around Taillon and Gerrit Cole.”

    You don’t build a respectable team around ONE guy who plays once every five days.

    Look at the Braves.

    They ran out three HOFers three times a week for ten years and were built for the regular season, not the postseason.

    You need balance.

    While Rendon hasn’t done anything either, except show a propensity for getting hurt, he’s a safe pick because Alvarez has first base written all over him anyway.

    Look at Dustin Ackley.

    According to alot of people, he should already be established in Seattle’s dogshit lineup, yet he’s barely hanging on in AAA.

    Rendon COULD be the next Buster Posey, he could also be the next Tim Beckham.

    His odds are much closer to the latter.

    On the other hand, you could draft a pitcher and have him end up like Stephen Strasburg.

    The Pirates drafted two studs in the first round last year, if they draft Cole or even another pitcher they would have the foundation of three top pitchers. If they had the first pick last season they would not have taken Bryce Harper, they were that committed to Taillon.

    With McCutchen, Walker, Tony Sanchez and nothing else.

    Cole’s gotten hammered his last three times out, possibly swaying the vote back to Rendon, which is the way I would go, I think.

    There’s just such a higher risk with pitchers, that even if Rendon turns into a .260 hitter he’s still a gold glove defender.

    If Cole turns into the next Strasburg, all you’ll end up doing is paying him three million dollars to learn to wipe his ass with his other hand.

    Nice investment.

    The position player is the surer bet.

  51. JohnBowen Says:

    “They ran out three HOFers three times a week for ten years and were built for the regular season, not the postseason.”

    I thought that the Braves were ideally suited for the postseason (even though they weren’t as successful as they should’ve been). Instead of a 5-man rotation with two guys who might not be that great, you have the option of using ONLY hof starters in the post-season. That would be awesome.

    Let’s see…from 1991-2000 (which kinda cuts some time from Maddux at the beginning and Smoltz at the end) the Braves went 11-7 in playoff series.

    Besides, I have a hard time comprehending how you can be too much more successful than the Braves were. Once you get to the post-season, you basically have a 1/8 chance of winning it all. Some teams are better and some teams are worse, but crazy, wonderful, unpredictable things can happen in a short series, like the 83-win Cardinals winning it all a few years back, or Jeff Suppan being a series MVP.

  52. Raul Says:

    Nobody is saying the Braves weren’t a fantastic team, John.

    But if we can compare them to the Yankees, it’s probably fair to say the Braves had the better rotation, but the Yankees were better stocked across the field.

    And that’s probably why the Yankees won in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000.

    It’s conceivable that Pittsburgh could have the best 3B and CF in the NL Central in 5 years. And if they can manage a good 1-2 starter, with a competent #3 they should be a competitive team able to make a considerable playoff push.

  53. Chuck Says:

    “It’s conceivable that Pittsburgh could have the best 3B and CF in the NL Central in 5 years.”

    McCutchen’s the best CF in the NL right now.

  54. John Says:

    Better than Kemp? Maybe. McCutchen is way smarter.

  55. Raul Says:

    Neftali Feliz has decided that he wants to be a closer for the rest of his career.

    This is a smart man. Where else can he get a 7 or 8-figure salary to pitch a few times a week?

  56. Chuck Says:

    The Pirates are making strides in their organization, especially when it comes to rebuilding the organization, specifically as it relates to the draft.

    If you look at their depth charts, they have a top ranked prospect at every position, if you count Pedro Alvarez.

    There aren’t alot of big market teams which have their balance, they are almost at the point the Rays were at in 2009 and where the Royals are now.

    In the ten year history of BA’s organizational rankings, the Pirates have never ranked in the top third in baseball and have never had a winning record in that time, either.

    That’s not a coincidence.

    If I’m a Pirates’ fan I’m WAAAAY past the point of patience, but I also can, for the first time in a while, see some light at the end of the tunnel.

  57. Raul Says:

    Right now their pop figures to come out of Garret Jones, McCutchen and Walker.
    Jones is hitting better than expected while McCutchen is struggling and Walker should be doing a bit better.

    I have seen enough to have little faith in Pedro Alvarez. He’s a bust, or will be, shortly. Had the Pirates managed to draft even an average hitter, they would be in much, much better shape.

    Let’s play a little Monday Morning Quarterback for a moment.
    In 2008, Tampa Bay Rays took Tim Beckham with the overall #1 pick.
    Choosing 2nd, Pittsburgh took Pedro Alvarez.

    The rest of that draft unfolded as follows:
    3. Eric Hosmer
    4. Brian Matusz
    5. Buster Posey
    6. Kyle Skipworth
    7. Yonder Alonso
    8. Gordon Beckham
    9. Aaron Crow
    10. Jason Castro
    11. Justin Smoak
    12. Jemile Weeks
    13. Brett Wallace
    14. Aaron Hicks
    15. Ethan Martin
    16. Brett Lawrie
    17. David Cooper
    18. Ike Davis
    19. Andrew Cashner
    20. Josh Fields

    Ouch.

    And if I can take a shot at Bryce Harper (which is always fun), he probably would not have even gone in the 1st round that year.

  58. Chuck Says:

    The Rays have a team policy of not giving draft picks major league deals.

    Up until the day before the draft, they were still talking with Posey, who is the guy they wanted.

    Alvarez also ended up with a ML deal, but was never really considered by TB because they already had Evan Longoria.

    At the time, Jake McGee was still starting and hadn’t had his TJ yet, plus Scott Kazmir, so they never gave much thought to Brian Matusz, either.

    They ended up with Beckham by default, and basically drafted him because they couldn’t agree on who to take.

    Guys lost their jobs over that one.

  59. brautigan Says:

    Crap. Jenrry Mejia just busted an elbow ligament and is going to do T.J. surgery. He was going to be fun to watch, so I guess we’ll have to wait until the latter part of 2012 now.

  60. Raul Says:

    Something is wrong with the way coaches are teaching kids to pitch, or the way they are allowing kids to pitch these days.

    When Tommy John had his surgery, it was a new thing to help a freak injury.
    Now, there’s some guy getting TJ every other week.

    I don’t believe this is something that’s the result of over-throwing or pitchers throwing harder.

    This is the result of really crappy mechanics, or kids simply not practicing and throwing enough to build up their strength.

  61. Raul Says:

    Yovani Gallardo, you fucking suck, and I’m trading you.

  62. JohnBowen Says:

    Yeah.

    I dunno what his deal is.

    He hasn’t been striking out nearly as many guys this year as he had been.

    But he struck out 7 today. A lot of good it did him.

  63. Chuck Says:

    In the Columbus/Charlotte game tonight, eighth place hitter Gookie Dawkins and ninth place hitter Eduardo Escobar went back to back.

    Twice.

    By the fourth inning.

    Off the same pitcher.

    http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2011_05_02_colaaa_chraaa_1&t=g_box&did=milb

  64. Chuck Says:

    Raul..

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_05_02_flomlb_slnmlb_1&mode=video

  65. Raul Says:

    When Mike Stanton hits home runs, God masturbates and lions die.

  66. Raul Says:

    It may surprise some to know that the Florida Marlins are tied with the Philadelphia Phillies for the NL East lead.

  67. Cameron Says:

    That Stanton hit was pure bullshit. Most guys would’ve broken their bat and that ball goes back to the pitcher for an easy grounder, but Mikey somehow muscled that fucked into the cheap seats.

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