Results tagged ‘ Miguel Cabrera ’

Alex Cobb’s Got Shiny New Curve

Alex+Cobb+New+York+Yankees+v+Tampa+Bay+Rays+Fs-EfbETid_lHey guys! Sorry for the delay, it’s been a crazy week. Here’s some of what I’ve been working on for High Heat Stats.

When Alex Cobb was a prospect coming up through the ranks in the Tampa Bay minor league system he was never considered all that highly. Noted prospect hound John Sickels ranked Cobb 17th in the Tampa Bay system, behind luminaries like Aneury Rodriguez, Kyle Lobstein, Wilking Rodriguez, and Alexander Colome. Sure, there was some potential back-of-the-rotation starter sheen there, but nobody was touting the righty as a future staff ace. Even when Cobb arrived in the big leagues he was still somewhat of an afterthought struggling to stay in the rotation before grabbing the 5th spot in the rotation this past spring.

Well, here we are in June and it’s Cobb who’s having the last laugh. After toying with a potent Tigers lineup on Wednesday, Cobb’s ERA now sits at 2.39, good for 3rd best in the American League. Cobb’s striking out a career best 8.24 hitters per 9, and his walk rate is down to a career low as well. More importantly, Tampa Bay is now 8-3 in games started by the 25-year-old righty, which has allowed the Rays to remain competitive despite the struggles of 2012 Cy Young winner David Price and the departure of longtime staff leader James Shields. So how has Cobb been able to go from seldom-discussed 5th starter to one of the most dominant pitchers in the American League?

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Yankees’ Sloppy Defense has Been Their Undoing Thus Far

usp-mlb_-new-york-yankees-at-detroit-tigers-4_3_r536_c534For the majority of the past four seasons the Yankees have had the luxury of putting a top notch defense on the field anchored by former Gold Glove award winners at almost every position. The fact remains that many of those players were a bit past their prime but for the most part the defense the Yankees have put on the field these past four years has been solid. They didn’t make many mistakes, they hit they cutoff man, and they generally played smart baseball.

Well, during the first five games of this young season, the 2013 Yankees have looked nothing like their predecessors. The infield defense has been sloppy, teams are going 1st-to-3rd on every outfield single, and I don’t think a single New York outfielder has hit a cutoff man to date. And I haven’t even touched the surface on the defense behind the plate, where both Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart appear to be overexposed in full-time duty. Let’s break down some of New York’s issues on defense:

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Canada-Mexico Play Basebrawl; Wright Powers the U.S. Past Italy and other WBC News

Jay Johnson, Eduardo ArredondoAnother day, another round of fireworks for the participants in the World Baseball Classic. Cuba got the day started off with a brilliant display of power, eviscerating the club from Chinese Taipei 14-0. As the day roll on we saw a pair of teams advance out of Pool C, while the favorite, Venezuela, saw their tournament come to a quick conclusion. Over in Arizona things got a little more heated with Mexico and Canada having a good ole’ fashion brawl before the United States vanquished Italy on a David Wright grand slam. Let’s run through all of Saturday’s action:

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World Baseball Classic: Previewing Pool C

Venezuela-Miguel-Cabrera-Clasico-MundialThe World Cup of soccer has this great concept that you may or may not be familiar with. It’s called the Group of Death and it’s usually the most interesting group in the entire tournament in part because it has the strongest collection of teams. The Group of Death also derives its name in part from the fact that one or two of the strongest teams in the tournament will be eliminated after just 3 games. Well, Pool C features Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and (hilariously) Spain. Let’s just be honest right now: Spain’s not winning a game in this group. They will be lucky to avoid getting 10-runned three straight times. As for the other three teams, they each have a hefty amount of Major League talent on their respective rosters, and all three expect not only to advance, but to win the group as well. Let’s take a look at which team stands the best chance:

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Building Baseball’s Dream Teams: Venezuela

bildeThanks to some savvy reporting courtesy of MLB.com beat writer Alden Gomez, we’ve learned that preliminary rosters for the World Baseball Classic are due on January 17th. Player decisions have been coming through the wire just about daily. Some have been negative, like Andrew McCutchen withdrawing his name from consideration, while others have been positive with the likes Ryan Braun and Adam Jones joining the Red, White, and Blue. Team USA isn’t the only country pulling in All-Star commitments either. Venezuela has already pulled in Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera to man one of the infield corners, and the nation appears to be close to getting a positive confirmation from ace right-hander Felix Hernandez. Those two players alone give the Venezuelan team a ton of MLB star power, and if the country can successfully fill out the rest of their roster with some more big league talent, they could head into the WBC on the short list of favorites to win the whole damn thing. Let’s take a glimpse at their best potential roster.

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World Series Preview: Detroit Tigers vs. San Francisco Giants

Major League Baseball fans everywhere should be a bunch of happy campers today. We’ve been blessed by the Baseball Gods with a star-studded World Series match-up between the American League champion Detroit Tigers and the National League champion San Francisco Giants. There is MVP and Cy Young hardware all over the place in this series. We have the presumptive 2012 MVP winners in Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey, seated to your left (although there are MVP arguments for other players, Mike Trout in particular). Over in that corner you have the 2011 AL MVP/Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander. Turn around and you can catch a glimpse of Barry Zito, the 2002 Cy Young winner. Just strolling in the door is Tim Lincecum, the winner of the 2008 and 2009 Cy Young awards in the National League. It’s ridiculous how many big names are in this series, and we haven’t even mentioned the perennial All-Star types like Prince Fielder and Matt Cain. Every single playoff series, except for the ALCS, has been remarkably balanced and has gone the distance this year, and with two evenly matched competitors set to take the diamond tonight, you can expect more evenly matched world-class baseball. Here’s some of what you should be keeping your eye on in the games to come.

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How Does Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown Season Stack Up?

Yesterday, Detroit Tigers’ 3rd baseman Miguel Cabrera became the 14th player in baseball history to pull off the Triple Crown, leading the American League in batting average (.330), home runs (44), and RBI (139). His other-worldly ability to square up a baseball on the sweet spot of the bat is uncanny in today’s game, and Cabrera’s power to all fields can only be matched by one or two other players in baseball . These unique skills have allowed the 29-year-old slugger to achieve a Triple Crown season, something that has become a part of American iconoclast, due both in part to its rarity and its difficulty. How difficult is hitting for the Triple Crown you might ask? Well there are now only 3 living players who have achieved the feat: Cabrera, Carl Yastrzemski (1967), and Frank Robinson, who achieved the treble in 1966 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.

To put it simply, Miguel Cabrera has put up a season for the ages. But how does his fantastic 2012 season stack up against other famous Triple Crown-winning seasons? And does Cabrera have a shot to repeat his feat in the future, which would put the slugger in the same class as Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby, the only players ever to accomplish the feat twice? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

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Previewing a Wild Final Day in Baseball

Even though all 10 playoff spots have already been claimed this year, the last day of the season still has the potential for fireworks, particularly in the American League. There are plenty of important story lines floating around out there including: the American League West having a winner-take-all game out in Oakland, the AL East dogfight finally reaching a conclusion , and a Triple Crown coming into fruition, among other things. Let’s take a sneak peek at some of the more intriguing bits of news still left in the regular season.

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Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, and the MVP Race for the Ages

The race to win the MVP award in the American League is starting to look like one of the best contests in recent baseball history. In one corner you have Miguel Cabrera – the all-around best hitter in the American League over the last 5 seasons, who is also having his finest season in 10 years in the Major Leagues in 2012. This year the Tigers 3rd baseman is on his way to a potential Triple Crown, needing just one more homerun to hold the lead in all three categories (batting average, homers, and RBI). In the other corner we have Mike Trout. The precocious 20-year-old already locked up the AL Rookie of the Year award months ago and is wowing fans on a nightly basis with his ability to make an impact in every facet of the game, becoming the first rookie to hit 25+ homers while stealing 40+ bases. Cabrera holds the American League lead in many of the classic power stats (batting avg, homers, RBI, slugging, while Trout reigns supreme in many of the sabermetric and base running statistics like defensive runs saved, steals, runs scored, and WAR (wins above replacement).

It’s a classic duel of the great, middle-of-the-order slugger vs. the young speed demon with a glove of gold and great pop in the bat at the top of the order. Basically it’s baseball’s version of chicken or the egg. Do you prefer the player who sets the table, scores the runs and plays great defense or the one who clears the bases by driving in everybody while knocking the ball all over the diamond? I’ll get into who I think will win the award in a bit, but first I want to examine this great debate.

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Contenders, Pretenders Emerge as September Baseball Arrives – AL Edition

The stretch drive in baseball has finally arrived. It’s September, which means that each and every Major League team has about 30 or so games to make one final push toward October. Some teams like Texas, New York, Detroit, Cincinnati and St. Louis were expected to be here, possessing teams that lived up to their early season potential. Other teams like Baltimore, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Washington have surprised this year, finding themselves in a position to chase a playoff spot. Others (Boston and Philadelphia) have been far more disappointing in 2012 and won’t be participating in the October fun this year. With just one month left it’s a good time to survey the field of contenders to try to find the teams that have the best chance to make some noise come playoff time.

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