Tag Archives: Jason Heyward

Fastest Speed Off the Bat: Does It Matter?

Getting bogged down in a super post on the Giants winning the World Series (congrats, San Francisco). So here’s a brief post.

First of all, http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2010_20&type=hitter&sortm=sob&sort=desc

I love Jason Heyward. Looking at the numbers, though, there seems to be a pretty strong correlation between speed off the bat and distance.

Likewise:
http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2010_716&type=hitter&sortm=sob&sort=desc

Doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure that out, but there’s more to it. More on this later this week.

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The NL Line-Up Once More: Ideal vs. Realistic vs. What We Got

I like how this line-up went from sure-fire awesome to “eh” in about a week.

What the NL ASG starting line-up looked like from voting:

Hanley Ramirez, SS
Chase Utley, 2B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Ryan Braun, LF
Andre Ethier, RF
Jason Heyward, CF
David Wright, 3B
Yadier Molina, C

Not Charlie’s fault Utley and Heyward had to cancel because of injury, so here’s an ideal line-up with ideal replacements:

Hanley Ramirez, SS
Albert Pujols, 1B
Adrian Gonzalez, DH
Ryan Braun, LF
Colby Rasmus/Angel Pagan/Andrew McCutchen, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
David Wright, 3B
Martin Prado, 2B
Yadier Molina, C

And here’s an ideal line-up with the current replacements:

Hanley Ramirez, SS
Albert Pujols
, 1B
Adrian Gonzalez
, DH
Ryan Braun
, LF
Andre Ethier
, RF
David Wright
, 3B
Marlon Byrd/Chris Young, CF
Martin Prado, 2B
Yadier Molina, C

And now, just a reminder, here’s what we got:

Hanley Ramirez, SS
Martin Prado, 2B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Ryan Howard, DH
David Wright, 3B
Ryan Braun, LF
Andre Ethier, CF
Corey Hart, RF
Yadier Molina, C

Charlie Manuel is trolling us all.

E: I’d like to add I have no serious stake in the All-Star game, I find these decisions hilarious.  After all, it’s just an exhibition game.

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Andre Ethier to Start in CF for NL in All-Star Game?

Hanley Ramirez, SS
Martin Prado, 2B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Ryan Howard, DH
David Wright, 3B
Ryan Braun, LF
Andre Ethier, CF
Corey Hart, RF
Yadier Molina, C

That’s the rumor swirling around the NL roster debate today, anyway. Today, the line-ups were posted.

Charlie Manuel has made a few odd decisions, the only parts of which were redeemed by selecting decent players as fill-in for the injured players on the roster. Hong-Chih Kuo and Rafael Furcal were both selected to replace Jose Reyes and Jason Heyward respectively. They’ll join fellow Dodgers Andre Ethier and Jonathan Broxton, all four of whom were deserving this year, so Dodger fans have nothing to gripe about. However, the NL roster still features several questionable picks.

The ASG rosters were announced a couple weeks ago and the NL outfield featured three men who have no business playing center field: Ethier, Heyward and Ryan Braun. Heyward’s injury creates a hole in the outfield and with three center fielders on the bench (Chris Young, Michael Bourn and Marlon Byrd), you’d figure one of them would be bumped up to starting CF, but nope.

Ethier, if you don’t know, is one of the worst fielders in baseball. Worse than Manny Ramirez, worse than anybody else in right field in baseball, except Carlos Quentin, who splits his time between RF and DH. Ethier makes up for his fielding in RF with his bat, but that’d be questionable in CF.

A friend posted on twitter that this should open the flood gates to vote for the best outfielders by position and I agree. That or put freaking Colby Rasmus on the ASG roster.

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Perhaps the Biggest Anti-Snub to the All-Star Game?

Blah blah blah, I don’t care for the All-Star Game, but I do believe the players should receive some kind of honor for the season they’re having. And heck, if it’s going to matter, the leagues might as well have the best teams possible.

With that in mind, the National League’s starting catcher is literally the worst starting catcher in baseball. On offense, anyway. Cardinals fans stuffed the ballot to put the worst offensive catcher in baseball not only on the All-Star roster, but to have him start.

The great irony of this is the starting outfield for the NL is Ryan Braun, Jason Heyward and Andre Ethier. While I admit I don’t know much about Heyward’s defense, Ethier and Braun are both awful and the outfield noteably lacks a centerfielder. Huh, if only St. Louis fans had voted for a centerfielder deserving of starting at the All-Star Game ….

You can argue that Molina is the best defensive catcher in baseball, and you’d have a good point. Only problem is catcher defense is still being figured out and it’s unknown how many runs saved Molina is worth–and it’d have to be a lot–to balance out his atrocious offense.

Miguel Olivo, Geovany Soto, Nick Hundley and Carlos Ruiz all stand out as snubs. Colby Rasmus is probably the biggest outfield snub. Joey Votto and Rafael Furcal were the biggest infield snubs. The whole NL is hilarious, with Ryan Howard and Omar Infante on the roster. Chances the NL wins this? It’ll be a big upset if they do, that’s for sure.

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Damn! Can Jason Heyward keep this up?

Jason Heyward’s slash stats, as of this morning, are .293/.413/.624.  That’s a 1.037 OPS.  He’s 20 years old.  He’s not old enough to drink yet, but he can mash the crap out of the ball.

For your information, only nine players in MLB history have posted an OPS greater than .950 before their age 21 season (since 1901).

1911 Joe Jackson
1929 Jimmie Foxx
1929 Mel Ott
1930 Mel Ott
1930 Hal Trosky
1939 Ted Williams
1940 Ted Williams
1953 Eddie Mathews
1955 Al Kaline
1996 Albert Pujols

And only two did it in their first season: Pujols and Williams.  Williams and Pujols both started every day upon their first call-up and both OPS’d above .950.

Even if you lower the standards to first year and under age 21, you have to dip all the way down to 200 plate appearances before you see another player (Willie McCovey, 1959).

I’d say that it’s because Heyward’s on a hot streak, but looking over his game performance, is it?  He’s yet to post a multi-homer game; he’s yet to even post a multi-extra base hit game, aside from April 15 when he had two doubles.  His BABIP is in line.  In fact, the only thing that’s slightly skewed is his K-rate, which should lower as he learns the difference between AAA and majors pitching through the season.

You know, we get all in a huff about prospects, but every once in a while, there’s a really great prospect who’s talked about all the way up and performs to that ability.  I don’t know if Heyward is that prospect, but he’s making a good case for himself right now.

We’re still a ways off from the end of the season.  That’s a testament to just how great Pujols and Williams were, but maybe we’re in the midst of watching something great.

—————————-

Since last writing about the possibility of the Marlins breaking the all-time team strikeout record, the Marlins have fallen a little bit in the race. They’re still averaging 8.1 Ks per game, but a new contender has risen.  They have 260 strikeouts in 29 games, good for a 8.96 K-rate and that would put them well above the 1,400 mark.

They are the Arizona Diamondbacks.  And in their division is Ubaldo Jimenez, Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum.  Gonna be hard to not get K’d a lot.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Who are you looking forward to seeing this year?

Man.  We’re so close to the season right now, it’s just so awesome.

As per usual, since I go to 30 games, I get about 5 or so in really good seats to watch the players I’ve wanted to see or like to see the most.  Here’s who I’m looking forward to seeing this year:

  • Tim Lincecum: The obvious choice. A two-time NL Cy Young winner, his delivery is a magnificent thing.  Since he plays for San Francisco, I get to see him a lot at Dodger Stadium and he’s yet to disappoint.
  • Albert Pujols: Another obvious choice.  This man is, without a doubt, the best hitter of our time.  I thought I read somewhere that he swung and missed at a pitch fewer times last season than some people struck out, but I can’t seem to find it now.  The man is just amazing.
  • Justin Upton: Yes, I follow Keith Law’s blog.  Upton had a great year last year (.300/.366/.532 with 26 homers in 588 PAs) and he’s still only 22.  I can’t wait to see what he does in 162 games.
  • Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun: I’m not saying this just ’cause I drafted Braun in my fantasy draft this year. This pair is probably the best pair of hitters in a line-up today and I’m looking forward to the early-May match up.
  • Miguel Cabrera: Maybe the most underrated player in the game today. Detroit plays the Dodgers for the first time in a few years and they’re coming to Los Angeles May 21-22.  Cabrera had a phenomenal year last year (.324/.396/.547) and he’ll be 27 on April 18. Not bad for a guy with 200 career home runs already.
  • Jason Heyward: You can probably tell I keep up with Baseball America and a lot of prospect rankings and Heyward was unanimously No. 1 or 2.  Word came today he’s officially starting in right field on opening day, so great for him.
  • Alex Rodriguez: Hey, if you haven’t heard, the Yankees are playing the Dodgers in LA May 25-27.  The consummate professional, A-Rod basically does his thing every year.  Problems these days are if he’s going to stay healthy through the end of his career–he’s missed 60 games the last two seasons.  But he’s still the second-best hitter of our generation.
  • Stephen Strasburg: Another case of following the hype. I’m always interested in seeing what scouts see in players, this being one of those times.  Fortunately, the Dodgers host the Nationals late in the season (Aug. 6-8), so there’s a good chance I get to check him out.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez: I’ve had a crush on this guy for years and it was great to see him finally put together such an amazing year last year after all he’s done.  Can’t wait to see what he does this coming year.
  • Chase Utley: Yet another consummate professional, he does every part of hitting well and he’s a fantastic defensive second baseman to boot.
  • Tommy Hanson: No doubt a legit starter for the Braves, he pitched 127 innings last season and posted a damn-fine 2.89 ERA. He’ll be 23 at the start of the season.

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Prospects prospects prospects!

We’re officially in the baseball dead period, but Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com and Keith Law of ESPN.com have both released their top 50/100 lists, which you can see in order and with my analysis after the cut.

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